Cruise on the newest ship The Valor
Written: May 20, 2005
a Very Helpful Review
by the Epinions community
Pros:To say you went on a cruise, food 24 hours, visiting other countries.
Cons:Too crowded, pools were salt water & cold, price of drinks
The Bottom Line: I'm glad I was able to experience a cruise, maybe a Southern Caribbean or Eastern Caribbean cruise would be better and not seeing the poverty of 3rd world countries.
We just returned from our first Western Caribbean cruise aboard the newest Carnival ship the Valor. When we picked up our luggage at Miami International Airport, one piece of our new luggage was broken. Northwest Airlines said to take it back where we got it, so they were no help.
We took a bus to a pier where two of Carnival's ships were docked. The bus driver was trying to get people to tip him, but our travel agent told us they were paid quite well by Carnival and not to tip them. We stood outside in the heat to make sure our luggage was taken off the bus. The porters from Carnival said they would make sure our luggage was delivered to our room, then the porters wanted to be tipped $1 per piece of luggage that they would be delivering to our room. Our travel agent advised that we should tip the porters.
We went through a maize to check in at Carnival, seemed like too many people were working there with nothing to do. We got our room key and then noticed that the travel agent had put the wrong room number on our luggage. When we got to our room aboard the ship, which was beautiful, we told Ariel our Steward about the room number mix-up, he said not to worry, he would make sure we got our luggage. By the end of the day, our luggage was in our room.
We had a balcony room, which is what I would recommend. We were on the 8th floor, which I would also recommend. The higher the floor number, the less swaying of the boat I noticed. We would sit outside on the balcony and watch the waves. Some people we talked to that didn't have a balcony said they didn't know if it was daylight or night when they were in their room.
On your room key there is a dinner time, dining room and table number. Ours was at 6:15, in the Lincoln dining room. The first night we did not go there for dinner because you have to dress up and all of our better clothes were still in our luggage somewhere. We went up to the 9th floor and ate at the buffet. The food was good, but I expected better since everyone tells you how good the food is on a cruise. There is a pizza place that sells pizza 24 hours, and a great hamburger place that also gives you fries. Also by the buffet is a fish & chips section that had good fish and an oriental diner. I thought the oriental food was just fair. Also, they have vanilla and chocolate soft serve ice cream by the buffets. I enjoyed that more than I should have. The desserts were really good, they had a fountain of chocolate one evening.
In the Lincoln dining room, you always sit at the same table and you sit with the same couple. The couple we sat with were from West Palm Beach, Florida, they were very nice but it seemed like after eating dinner with them 2 or 3 nights our stories were being repeated since we didn't have much in common to talk to them about. You cannot wear tank tops, or shorts to dinner. Casual clothes were fine, except for formal night. For formal night it looked like prom. Tuxedos and long dresses were everywhere. The food was very good at the sit-down dinner. One night we had lobster tail (my favorite), other dinners consisted of tiger shrimp, steak, and prime rib. At the end of dinner each night, servers would put on a little dance for us. We would then go back to our room and change clothes to something less formal and go to the show.
The shows were Las Vegas style, very good. Make sure you go to the shows. There are usually two shows per evening, late night around midnight is an adults only show, which we did not go to since we were too tired.
The 3 pools are all salt water and the pool water was cold. When we first boarded the ship I had heard you should buy a fountain card for drinks. The fountain card covers only glasses of water and/or soda drinks-not mixed drinks. The fountain card costs $35 each. The only benefit of having the fountain card is that you are more apt to drink soda or water to get your moneys worth and less mixed drinks or beer. The mix drink specials are $2.75 each or $6.75 with a take home glass. Beware, the bottle of water in your room is not free, I understand there is a charge of $5 for each bottle of water you open. The drink specials changed everyday and were all pretty good. The soda is poured into a glass, about 1/2 can is what you get.
Our ship had 3000 people and an additional 2000 crew, so there were 5000 people on board. When we were sailing I believe all 5000 people were at the pools. The hot tubs, there were 3, was also salt water and cool. There was a water slide that my husband went on twice. A band played during the day outside of the 10th floor, by the pools. When you were sailing there was nothing to do it seemed like but to eat and lay out at the pool.
When we docked, we went off the ship and went on excursions we booked on line weeks before we left. See my write-ups on Stingray City in Grand Cayman. We also went snorkeling in Belize, moped tour in Honduras, and speedboats at Hideaway Bay in Cozumel. In Belize we never sat foot in Belize, a small boat took us snorkeling to a coral reef near a little island near Belize. My husband twisted his knee when he jumped off the boat and spent the remainder of our cruise with ice packs on his knee and taking aspirin. If he wouldn't have gotten hurt I believe the snorkeling would have been great. I really enjoyed the stingrays. See my write up under Stingray City. The speedboats to hide-away bay was fun, I'm sure my husband enjoyed it more than I. The boats were fiberglass and small, 2 people, we went very fast and flew out of the water at times. We went to an island where there was a nice Mexican chicken lunch prepared and we were able to lay out at the island. The cost was about $100 each for this excursion.
I enjoyed Moon Palace in Cancun so much more, please read my write up for that. We went to Cancun and stayed at Moon Palace for our 25th anniversary. The cruise was for our 30th anniversary, so you can see we are not young teens. I would probably go on another cruise, maybe not to the Western Caribbean since Honduras & Belize were 3rd world countries, I would rather see the tourist type of islands like Bahamas and go on an Eastern Caribbean cruise or Southern Caribbean cruise.
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