March 2015 - Carnival Valor to Caribbean - Eastern
This was our first cruise, so we really didn't know what to expect. I was pleasantly surprised with how easy the embarkation process was. Our luggage was a little slow getting to our rooms so we were not able to change for dinner, but with the anytime dining/casual dining we were dressed well enough and had no issues. Our waiter (Junyar) was amazing! As was our housekeeper - he made new towel animals of the kids choosing everyday. Overall the staff was very friendly and helpful and the ship was clean and comfortable.
I was a bit surprised about the amount of smoking on board. There were to be designated areas, but people seemed to be smoking everywhere. The smoke smell on the casino level was overwhelming to us.
Limited seating - on deck and also in the lobby area. You have to get chairs early! We ended up on the upper deck, which worked for us as that's where the water slide was and there was more of a breeze. but walking up and down the flights of slippery steps gets tiring. While there was deck space there were no chairs - we had to get them from the storage and set up ourselves. We attended some music & trivia in the lobby area and there is just not enough seating to have these kinds of activities there.
Food: The sit down meals were very good, better than I expected. There was something for everyone! The buffets got a little mundane. Would be nice to have some additional offerings, donuts at breakfast. Milkshake & smoothie bar. Snacks were eh - I never realized how much I really love chips until I couldn't get any! Small bags of snack items (pretzels, potato chips, tortilla chips w salsa, etc.) would be great to have available.
For the most part, the excursions were good. Well organized. A little pricey, but that's to be expected.
Overall a great vacation, we will definitely look into cruising again!