Carnival Valor Cruise Review to Caribbean - Western
Review SummaryFirst off, the ship has a very nice interior. Every square inch of it was clean and it sparkled. We were on the lowest floor. We thought it was going to be terrible, but we were the first off and on the ship when we hit our ports of call. Not a bad thing when you are itching to get off, or back on. Our room was in great condition and housekeeping was top notch. Never had a problem with any kind of customer service. Food varied from Excellent to decent. We picked the early dinner seating because when we got back from our shore excursions, we were starving! There are plenty of activities and shows to keep you occupied when the ship is at sea. The shows were ok to Excellent.
We (my 27 year old roommate and I) decided to snorkel at Stingray City in Grand Cayman. Great choice. The water was amazing, and the tour captain was great. Very clean and comfortable.
For Isla Roatan, we went snorkeling again (kind of a disappointment), and clear kayaking. You couldn't see anything with it! And our tour leader was this huge, strong, dude that could probably kayak to Africa and back in a day. Not recommended if your hungover or you don't have strong arms. Otherwise, it was beautiful island with lots of wildlife and pretty beaches. Not as pristine as Grand Cayman though.
For Belize, we went on a riverboat tour/Mayan Ruins combo. Belize was a little sketchy. I felt it was dirty, unorganized and a little scary in some parts. The ruins were amazing, and you could still climb, and wander on them, unlike Mexico. It was a long day, so scored some food and lots of water for this one.
We didn't stay in Cozumel at all, we went straight to Playa Del Carmen and went to another Mayan site. Tulum. It was breathtaking and wonderful. The tour operator/bus driver were great. It seemed a little rushed, and we were able to leave the actual tour and explore ourselves. We did, and don't regret it.
The cons for my first cruise are:
You stand in a LOT of lines. It kind of sucks. Drinks add up FAST! My buddy and I drink quite a bit, so our wallets took a hit there. Depending on where you go on shore, you can always score cheap drinks elsewhere. They will add 70 bucks extra TIP for everyone not a part the actual serving crew. Individuals don't get personal tip, but the entire boat splits it. Kids can be running around all crazy sometimes, but there are plenty places to avoid them, and after a certain time, they disappear. Tenders. Tenders suck. It's ten times faster and better to have a deep sea port, rather than taking a little boat to the port. Some of these Captains were terrible drivers. Some were excellent. Cozumel had an excellent boat, and service. As did our first boat to Belize. These guys are truly professional. Tip them if you can. I had a great first cruise, and would go again. I love the Carnival Valor.
What would I do differently? When I get to the ports of call, I would just go to the beach and do NOTHING. ALL that rushing on and off the boats put a little stress into it. Beer, and the beach. I'm good.
Food and Dining
Service and Staff
Cabin / Stateroom
Pros: Excellent service, good food, and decent entertainment
Cons: LONG lines for just about anything, gets pricey.....