December 2016 - Carnival Valor to Caribbean - Western
My family and I had a wonderful time on the Carnival Valor! We celebrated the New Year on the ship! It was everyone's first time cruising except myself. They all loved their first cruise vacation! My mom suffers with vertigo and has always been too afraid to take a cruise, but with the patch behind her ear, she did great. No problems! Just be sure and get the patch if you are worried about getting seasick.
The cruise director, Lee Mason, was awesome and really made the cruise extra fun! We experienced some bad weather unfortunately but all the staff went above and beyond to give us the best cruise possible. The food actually impressed me, and was much better since my last carnival cruise, 5 years ago. (we REALLY enjoyed the 24 hour pizza! haha! Delicious!) The entertainment on the ship was great...comedians were hilarious (especially BT), sing along piano player was GREAT (Jamaican guy...can't remember his name), New Year's party was a blast, and the 80s performance the last night was TOP NOTCH!! It takes a lot for me to be impressed, with my background in the entertainment world...and this show was truly awesome to watch. Well done! I highly recommend the caverns excursion when you go to Progreso. Neat experience!
The only negative experience I encountered on the Carnival Valor was the spa. I had the worst facial of my life. I have had many facials in my life and some are better than others...you expect that, BUT my facial on the cruise was an absolute waste of money and time. The treatment room was not relaxing...it was battle of the music going on. The salon was right outside my door playing loud upbeat music, and then you had Enya inside my treatment room, trying so hard to sing over the loud music. But, it was impossible to relax with hearing all the conversations in the spa, loud music and to top it off...there was this frequent loud banging noise every 5 minutes above me. No idea what that was! (maybe the kid's slide to the pool?) My therapist spent the first 10 minutes of my hour treatment asking me questions about my face and facial care routine, 20 minutes cleansing/toning/exfoliating, and then left me alone in my room with a mask on for 20 minutes, finished off trying to sell me products the last 10 minutes of my hour I paid for. (products costing more than the total of my cruise, ha!) No massaging on my neck or shoulders (typically they do that when you have the mask on your face...instead she took a 20 min break), never put a light on my face to even examine it or do any extractions, and the oxygen/exfoliating machine she used kept having the nozzle fall off when she tried to use it. (looked pretty old...might be time to retire it) Honestly, you can wash and put a mask on your face at home and have the same experience. Lastly, be careful not to be tricked into buying a more expensive facial. I was definitely upsold to buy a more expensive treatment since I was supposed to receive a 30% discount...somehow the facial I had signed up for "wasn't the right one" and I needed to upgrade to a more expensive facial, THAT just happened to bring my total to the original cost I was spending after my "discount". Basically...I was pressured to get a more expensive treatment to off set the 30% discount I was going to get. I am in sales...so I knew what was happening but didn't have a way around it because magically all the other options I remembered seeing online at the spa section of the website were "not right" for me. Moral of the story...don't go to the spa.
I would put 5 stars if it wasn't for my spa experience. The cruise really is a lovely vacation to take with friends and family. They have something for everyone! You can't possibly get bored. AND what's nice is that if you are traveling with a group...everyone can branch out and do whatever activity they want and then meet up together for dinner. Such a relaxing, easy, stress free vacation. I will definitely be back!!