7 Night Exotic Western Caribbean (Miami Roundtrip) Sail Date: December 12, 2010 Ship: Carnival Valor Cabin Type: Inside Traveled As: Couple Reviewed: 6 years ago
Not my favorite vacation, but certainly my most expensive. I spent about two and a half times what I thought I would spend, including extra fees/charges, tips, excursion costs, and things not related to the cruise company itself (souvenirs, taxi fare in the ports, etc.) It almost seemed like Carnival tries really hard to provide the cheapest crap at the highest prices they can get away with, but that seems to be all too common these days.
I did like the vacation overall, mostly due to the port stops. I arranged all but one port activity privately but I did book one via the cruise ship. It was about as much fun as the others but about 3 times as expensive.
Food and Dining
1 out of 5
The regular food outside of the dining room was horrific. Greasy, cheap, and tasteless for the vast majority of it. Half-decent burrito bar.
The food in the dining room was usually pretty good, although it frequently took a long time to reach the table from when we sat down to eat.
1 out of 5
The entertainment was mediocre at best. I didn't attend the official show, but I did attend many of the smaller shows, like the magic show (lasted like 10 minutes), the comedians (about the most unfunny comics I have ever seen), the game show (about as tacky as it gets), and a few other forgettable shows. The one very fun highlight activity-wise was the karaoke where people could sing with the live band.
Service and Staff
5 out of 5
Every single member of the crew was extremely cheerful, helpful, and interested in my having a great experience. Even the housekeepers asked specific questions about how my day was going and did so with great big smiles. I tipped the staff well above what was recommended.
3 out of 5
Nothing too shabby but nothing overly special, either. Clocks were very, very sparse. This is a big minus to me since all activities and events started at specific times but unless you wore a watch you were lost. If you plan on going on a Carnival ship wear a watch!
Cabin / Stateroom
3 out of 5
Nothing great but nothing terrible except for the fact that there was no clock in our stateroom. I had to find my cell phone to figure out what time I had woken up. The cleaning service was great at keeping the room clean and seemed to do the housekeeping twice daily.
We bought this excursion (Snorkeling at Goff's Cay) through the cruise, and it was okay. Nice little island with a beautiful beach but mediocre snorkeling. The guide said that since the waves were so rough we couldn't see the best part, so that's understandable.
We had a great time here, too. We grabbed a taxi for the day with another couple and just stopped where we wanted to. We found a cool little iguana farm that had monkeys, parrots, fish, and obviously iguanas. It was like $6 per person to get in and we got to interact and feed the animals. Pretty neat. Then we went to a beach (I forget which one) that was gorgeous.
Don't Miss: Iguana Farm
My wife and I rented a scooter and drove around the island stopping wherever we felt like stopping. One of the most memorable experiences of my life, but for reasons that may or may not be popular to the typical tourist.
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