Recommend the Carnvial Valor with exceptions. If you are looking for a bargain, this cruise line is for you. If your taste in food leans toward simple and bland flavors, this cruise line will suit you. Carnival lacks a certain sophistication in style, service and quality. A first time cruiser would probably enjoy this cruise line. A veteran would be disappointed.
Food and Dining
1 out of 5
The best food we ate was at the Deli sandwich counter. We even splurged for dinner at the on board steakhouse but were disappointed (as were other passengers we spoke with). The presentation at Scarlett's was beautiful, but the food was lackluster and the menu was very limited. Most meals in the main dining room were bland. Kudos to room service though which was always prompt.
3 out of 5
The crew shows were well done and most enjoyable. Most of the guest acts were great as well.
Service and Staff
5 out of 5
The on board shopping supervisor Rudy was the most involved staff member of any cruise line I have ever sailed with. He was on shore in the stores ensuring we truly did get the best price possible and kept hours on board ship to answer questions and advise. The Park West art handlers were also a joy to work with.
3 out of 5
The main decor theme was Americana/Patriotic which clashed with the Crusade theme of the "Ivanhoe Theater" and the Japanese theme of the "Shogun Casino".
Cabin / Stateroom
3 out of 5
We had a balcony stateroom which met all of our expectations.
The weather prohibited us from swimming with the stingrays which was a HUGE disappoint. The town of Hell was a disappointment. The devil did not greet us and there is not really anything there. The turtle farm and the stop at the Tortuga Rum Cake shop were the best parts. Due to the weather forcing us to use the alternate tender docking site, this entire tour felt rushed as our start was delayed. We were only given 10 - 20mins at each stop and about 45 mins at the turtle farm.
This was the best port of the entire trip. The port area is clean, the shopping is good. The Dune Buggy and Snorkel at Punta Sur tour was fabulous. Punta Sur is a protected wildlife area. We were shown a small Mayan ruin, a crocodile sanctuary, a lighthouse, which is the tallest point on the island (worth the climb to the top for the view!!!!) and served lunch on the beach. Our snorkel was moved to Chankanaab for our safety. My only complaint about the snorkel is that it was very much a beginner snorkel and will frustrate experienced snorkelers. The rest of the tour is a hoot! You drive the dune buggys yourself with a guide in the lead and bringing up the rear of the caravan. The scenery is spectacular as well. Plus this tour ran on time and we actually had time in port afterwards to shop.
Our tour to Altan Ha and the River Wallace was cancelled at this port due to weather conditions. Most disappointing. This was truly the best shopping port however. Rudy did wonders with the prices at the jewelry stores, plus no duty and no taxes. However if you step beyond the pier area to look at the roadside stands be prepared to see starving dogs get abused, as they are seen as a nusiance by the native people. The situation is so bad that the Humane Society had a booth set up in the pier shops to take donations to help these animals. Also be prepared to be hounded for money if you take a picture of the people in the marketplace who are playing music for the tourists and wearing native dress.
I first visited this island seven years ago. It has not improved. It is much impoverished and there is garbage everywhere including on the beaches around the island. We took the Garifuna Mangrove tour. A three hour tour that turned into a 5.5hour odyessy It was supposed to be a 30minute boat ride through the mangrove tunnels and a stop at the cultural center for the Garifuna people. The boat ride was only 20minutes from start to finish in small wobbly boats that only hold 5 passengers. We went through one section of tunnel, turned around and came back. We were the last tour to arrive at the cultural center so we got the dance, but no other demonstrations. On the way to the cultural center we were stopped at two different road side stands to look at trinkets (cousins of the tour operator perhaps?) and on the return were stopped at a store that sold trinkets. These stops were not listed in the tour description.
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