Carnival Valor Cruise Review to Caribbean - Western

Deck Hand

Experience
1 cruise (first)

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3 out of 5

Decent but no what I hoped for

Sail Date: May 23, 2010

Reviewed: 6 years ago

Traveled As: Couple

Room Type: Balcony

I like the rooms and even the over all layout of the ship. I wasn't fond of the constant feeling that they were trying to sell us something. The one time we followed the advice of the cruise director was a complete rip-off (seeing the monkeys at Gumbalina Park in Isla Rota = 5 monkeys chained to trees). That said, the Atlantis submarine cruise out of Cozumel was amazing (of course that wasn't one of the director's recommendations). The food was oddly enough decent if you avoided the sea food. It definitely wasn't designed for a foodie. Thankfully, despite the warning, they were not strict on the dress code in the dining room, and after the first day, they always had your drink waiting for you at the table. The entertainment was really variable and often embraced the cheesy Vegas lounge act style. I would also warn that it was really smokey at many of the entertainment venues.

Pros: Incredibly good and friendly staff

Cons: the food and entertainment were average

Recommends Carnival Valor? Yes!

Food and Dining
We found it highly variable in quality, with the vegetarian often being the best and the sea food often being bad enough to send back. The soups and the molten chocolate cake were normally the highlights of dinner.
Ship Quality
The ship was easy to get around with many elevators in three different sections of the ship. Most of the activities were really located in three areas anyway; so we normally just took the stairs. There were separate adult and children's pools, which was nice, but the pools were rather small. (And were salt water for the first timers!)
Service and Staff
The staff was amazing. Everyone from the dining room to the bar tenders to the cleaning staff was really friendly and went out of their way to be helpful. The staff was, in many ways, the best part of the trip.
Cabin / Stateroom
We had a balcony. The room was nice and our room steward kept it very clean. The beds were surprisingly comfortable. I just wish they had more than one outlet in the room. We also found that if you wanted a normal size shower, to go use the gym showers.
Entertainment
We loved Lori in the piano bar (Lindy Hop), but I don't know if she always works the same ship. The art auction and gem discussions were a rip-off/complete waste of time. The trivia game events were a fun way to meet people. There were friends of Dorthy meetings for the gay cruisers. The shows on the big stage were sadly really lacking. Out of the four comedians/variety shows we attended, only one was worth going to.
George Town, Grand Cayman
Friendly and straight forward. We got a van for $4/each to paradise (?) beach. The para-sailing was great and was cheaper straight off the beach then through the ship. We got really burned though, even with 45 sun-block. For snorkelers, Eden Rock is a 5-10 minute walk from the pier, just go out the main gate, take a right, and walk along the shore. It has lots of fish, but little coral.
Coxen Hole, Roatan, Bay Islands, Honduras
Hated this Port. The docking area is owned by Carnival, so everything is clean and very expensive. We finally rented a car because it was cheaper than a cab. (I'm told you could walk a mile to get out the gate and the local cabs were much cheaper.) Gumbalina park was a joke- $25 each at the gate to go on a 10 minute walk to get a picture with parrots in a cage and a picture with one of the 5 monkeys chained to a tree. Avoid at all costs!
Belize City, Belize
All of the main events got rained out. So we did a city tour by horse and buggy. It was really sad to see just how bad off the locals really are. There were lots of warnings not to leave the tourist village, but even though it was just me and my mother (who was in a wheel chair), we always felt safe. You just need to be able to deal with the high pressure sales. We found great stone work in the market outside the gate to peer three, and great linens/pillows at a place in the tourist village.
Cozumel, Mexico
This was our second trip to cozumel. So we knew a little of what to do. Taxis to the town were $7 per trip (not per person). The main plaza has fun places to sit and drink, but beware, many places are cash only and only give a 10:1 (rather than the real 14:1) exchange rate. If you want beaches, avoid the town. They have great snorkeling/scuba, again, if you avoid the town. We took the Atlantis submarine tour of the coral reefs, and it was amazing! The direct booking price is nearly the same as the cost of going through the cruise.
Don't Miss: Atlantis submarine tour of the coral reefs


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