Won't do Carnival again...
Carnival Valor Cruise Review to Caribbean - Eastern
Ship: Carnival Valor
Cabin Type: Inside
Traveled As: Family (young children)
Reviewed: 8 years ago
Just came back from June 3, 2007 sailing to the Eastern Caribbean. Having sailed Carnival before, I must say that this is my last cruise with them. The cruises are very cheap, however, the gouging on the ship doesn't stop. They offer milk and juices free - but charge for soda (which could be done for pennies from a fountain) - and they don't even pour you a whole can into a glass. Photography is very expensive - there are many opportunities to take pictures with the ship photographers, but at 7.99-21.99+ per picture, you will spend what you paid on the cruise and more to get them.
The library was open one hour - in the past, we have enjoyed 24 hour access to the library for playing games with our kids and quiet reading in a comfortable environment. Movies were shown only at 10 am. Even a simple game of bingo (about 30 minutes) cost $10.00 a card!! Most of the activities overlap and are crowded. Camp Carnival on the Valor needs nicer people working there - they are great with the kids and rude to the parents at times... and they have parents running all over the ship to drop off or pick up their kids at different places (lounges, disco room, etc.) - sometimes changing locations where the kids are.
I think my biggest complaint about cruising anymore is there is not a good system for checking in or disembarking - the zoo of people and baggage everywhere is ridiculous. To boot, when we were leaving, the baggage guy criticized our tip ($2.00 per bag) - and dumped our stuff on the wrong side of the street (where cars picking up weren't allowed). Miami in the summer is exasperatingly hot, you would think the cruise ships would provide shaded waiting areas for guests being picked up.
Ports of call are very short - sometimes as little as 6-8 hours. It would be nice to have full days at ports, instead of so many "fun days at sea". If your idea of fun is line dancing with 1,000 people (some very drunk) on the hot, muggy deck, or sharing the pool and hot tubs with so many people, it's elbow room only, or waiting in lines sometimes up to 45 minutes to get food (and good luck finding a seat), then by all means, go on the Carnival Cruise ships!
The people I saw on board having the most fun were the heavy drinkers (and smokers in some of the lounges we couldn't enjoy - like the piano bar - because it's a smoke cloud in there), and people that just love to make morons out of themselves doing silly dances and entering childish contests. Perhaps I have developed a higher expectation for my vacations, or I like a little more luxury and less immature activities. I like to relax, have some places other than a bar to hang out at - or something fun to do that doesn't require me to be part of a circus. What happened to the great classes, and such? Now, there's weight loss seminars and the same old art auctions (saw some art there selling for over $8,000.00?? On a $600 cruise??).
Oh well. My two cents. I have money to travel and choose not to do Carnival since they consistently offer less over the years. I'd rather get a condo on the beach in Hawaii.
Pros: dining room food
Cons: crowded - and short port calls