Carnival Valor Review

Editor Rating:  4.0
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Carnival Valor Ratings

  • Category
    Member
    Editor
  • Dining
    4.0
    4.0
  • Public Rooms
    4.2
    4.0
  • Cabins
    4.2
    4.0
  • Entertainment
    3.9
    4.0
  • Spa & Fitness
    3.9
    4.0
  • Family & Children
    3.6
    4.0
  • Shore Excursions
    4.0
    3.5
  • Enrichment
    3.5
    2.0
  • Service
    4.3
    5.0
  • Value-for-Money
    4.2
    5.0
Editor Rating
4.0
Member Rating
Why Choose Carnival Valor?
  • Pros: More free than for-fee specialty dining venues
  • Cons: Unusual kids' club location near spa and Serenity deck
  • Bottom Line: Excellent value and fun, comfortable atmosphere for all ages

Carnival Valor Overview

By Gina Kramer, Associate Editor

If you're looking for a fun, affordable cruise with fewer sea days and floating resort-like amenities, Carnival Valor might be your perfect match.

The 2,980-passenger ship stands out among its fleetmates with port-intensive itineraries (one sea day versus two on a five-night sailing, for example), and, like its fleetmates, embraces the "no shoes, no shirt, no problems" mantra with multiple pools, Tiki-style bars, a three-deck-high water slide and handful of complimentary dining options.

Many of its bars and restaurants were added during a May 2016 refurb -- part of Carnival's $500 million Fun Ship 2.0 investment. The line's much-loved Guy's Burger Joint and BlueIguana Cantina are now open for lunch, while the BlueIguana Tequila Bar, RedFrog Rum Bar, RedFrog Pub and Alchemy Bar serve even more flowing drinks from morning to night. Those who've sailed on the ship before also will notice the new Cherry on Top candy shop and changes to the kids' club.

One of Carnival Valor's most appealing attributes is that it doesn't seem to draw one particular type of traveler over another. Friends can let loose, families can bond and couples can play without the ship ever feeling like a spring break party or playground. All ages and backgrounds come together at the main pool, outdoor movie nights and various deck games like Ping-Pong and cornhole (beanbag toss).

The service is also some of the friendliest and most attentive we've experienced on a mainstream cruise ship. Every crew member -- from the cabin stewards and guest services receptionists to the bartenders and waiters -- embodied the line's "Fun Ship" culture and made sure everyone was satisfied and having a good time.

Another reason we fell in love with this ship? Its decor pays tribute to American history in a fun, creative way.

Unlike some of the line's older ships that flaunt trippy colors and sculptures, Carnival Valor doesn't come across as ostentatious. Floors and cocktail tables are American flag print, and the trim is decked out with tiny Liberty Bells. Passing through the atrium, hallways and lounges almost feels like a scavenger hunt. See how many U.S. presidents, landmarks and major events you can identify in the artwork -- keep your eyes peeled for the Apollo 11 moonwalk!

Carnival Valor Fellow Passengers

Carnival Valor attracts a lively mix of families as well as couples and groups of friends, most of whom are in their 20s, 30s and 40s. The majority of passengers hails from North America, though you might notice other nationalities depending on the itinerary. On our short Bahamas cruise from Port Canaveral (Orlando), we noticed a couple British families who had tacked the cruise onto their trips to Disney World. The demographic also fluctuates depending on when you sail. For example, cruises during the holidays will likely see more families, while spring break months like March and April tend to draw a rowdier crowd.

Carnival Valor Dress Code

"Cruise Casual" is how Carnival describes its dress code. During the day, T-shirts, bathing suit cover-ups and flip-flops prevail. Bathing suits are not allowed in any of the dining rooms -- even if you're simply passing through the buffet. On our cruise, we were pleasantly surprised not to see anyone break this rule.

At night, the dress code translates to T-shirts with khaki pants or shorts for men and billowy blouses with shorts or casual sundresses for women. Both men and women can wear jeans, as long as they're not cutoff. Gym shorts, flip-flops, bathing suit attire and men's sleeveless shirts are prohibited.

Carnival also hosts "Cruise Elegant" nights, once during a short cruise and twice on longer sailings. This is an opportunity for passengers to get dolled up to their liking. Dress slacks, dress shirts and sport coats (optional) are suitable for men. The line suggests cocktail dresses, pantsuits, elegant skirts and blouses for women. Quite a few passengers on our sailing went all-out with tuxedos and evening gowns, plus some that looked like prom dresses.

Carnival Valor Gratuity

Carnival recommends $12.95 per person, per day, for gratuities ($13.95 per person, per day, for those in suites). The guidelines allocate a portion to dining room services, cabin services and alternative services, which include kitchen, entertainment, guest services and other hotel services. The amount is automatically added to your shipboard account, but it can be adjusted in either direction at the guest services desk. A 15 percent gratuity is automatically added to bar bills and spa treatments. Tipping a couple dollars for room service at delivery is appreciated by the service staff.

Next:  Carnival Valor Cabins

By Gina Kramer, Associate Editor

1,377 Carnival Valor Reviews from our Cruise Critic Community

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gigibrite1
Member Since 2017
1 review
0 forum posts
0 helpful votes
This 5 day cruise was a first vacation/first cruise for my 11 year old grandson. We purchased the Faster to the Fun package so we got to board first. We had a balcony room which was spacious enough and clean. Our cabin steward, Hamid, came ... Read more
TravelGirlinDallas
Member Since 2011
4 reviews
61 forum posts
0 helpful votes
Sailed August 2017
We chose this cruise because it sailed from Galveston, the port closest to us. This was my 6th cruise. My husband and 7-year-old son were also on board. It was our son's first cruise and he absolutely loved it. We all had a great time. ... Read more
scooterbump57
Member Since 2017
1 review
0 forum posts
0 helpful votes
Sailed August 2017
My wife's family set the cruise up last year as a family reunion cruise. The boarding process was what I expected with as many people as it was, but it went fairly smooth. The staff were great. Our cabin stewart was wonderful. Orlando, ... Read more
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1,147 Professional Carnival Valor Photos

We spent almost a full week on board the Carnival Valor with multiple photographers and took 1,147 pictures of the ship.  When you visit our new photo galleries you can be assured that what you see is what you get!

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