8 Night Eastern Caribbean (Miami Roundtrip) Sail Date: August 04, 2012 Ship: Carnival Valor Cabin Type: Balcony Traveled As: Family (young children) Reviewed: 5 years ago
Overall the cruise and ship was very good. The staterooms, common areas, dining areas, etc were very clean and spacious. The pools were good, but main pools were small and always filled with kids.
The food was good except for service for breakfast and lunch. They were lacking staff enough for the diners, and it led to a lot of frustration each day. You would think they would experience it one day and fix it for the next, but that was not the case.
Guest Services were not very helpful during this trip. We had several encounters with them and they were very matter of fact in their interaction and not helpful at all. My son got a cut on the main stairwell one night and we went to guest services (son bleeding and crying), and asked for some bandages. She handed us the bandage and said that she needs our sail and sign card to charge our account. The band-aid was apparently $2. I was floored. Here my son gets hurt on their property for which we have paid over $1200 for each of us to be there, including for my 5 year old son, and they were going to charge me another $2 for a band-aid. I would have expected that our $1200, plus gratuities would cover basic things like a band-aid! I was not impressed at all and it really frustrated us.
Food and Dining
3 out of 5
The food was actually pretty good on this ship and I was pleasantly surprised. The dinner staff was great and service was good. Breakfast and lunch at the main dining areas was a different story. Wait staff was overbooked\, and had too many tables to cover. Which meant that our food was late and cold\, and we never got everything we ordered\, nor did they bring us things like sauces\, ketchup\, jellies\, or drinks on time or at all during our meal..
They need more staff during lunch and breakfast as our experience here was not good at all. Dinner however was done pretty well with the occasional hiccup.
3 out of 5
The comedyy shows were really good and we enjoyed them. The other acts\, like the main showtime shows with the cruise dancers\, and the ventriloquist show was a bit of a waste of time. The regular shows (except for the 80s one) were pretty lame\, and didn't entertain. The guy with the puppet didn't know how to entertain the crowd either. He also picked someone from the audience to help him\, and she did NOT want to be there which added to the feeling like this guy didnt know what he was doing.
5 out of 5
The folks in the childrens area were great! they made my kids feel welcome and they had fun. We didn't use the program often\, only about 3-4 hours the entire cruise\, but the kids enjoyed it\, and whenever the kids saw the staff anywhere else on the ship\, they got excited and the staff was always friendly.
Service and Staff
3 out of 5
Ship staff was very friendly\, and did not encounter anyone that was not pleasant. Except for an experience where my son got a cut on the mail stairs\, and we went to guest services to get some bandages\, the lady informed us that it was $2. She was \"nice\" about it\, but it frustrated me that one of the kids gets hurt on the ship\, and Carnival is trying to make money on that by selling bandages for $2? Not impressed.
5 out of 5
Pools were small\, and they should keep slide open a bit longer than they did. Serenity was nice\, although only 2 hammocks and they were almost always taken. The ship was clean and the sizes of the common areas was good. Staterooms were also decent in size.
Cabin / Stateroom
3 out of 5
Stateroom was pretty good size and was clean. The bathrooms are very small\, but that's the norm on cruises. The TVs need to be updated for sure. The CRT TV in the stateroom is an eyesore\, and isn't as clear as you would like it to me. the programming on the ship was not too bad though as they had something for everyone. Paying $10.99 for a movie however is a bit much. They should have an option to keep that movie for the duration of the cruise at least.
Pros: Stateroom\, Staff\, Dinner\, Ports of Call\, Comedy
Cons: Breakfast Service\, Alcoholics\, Main Shows and Entertainers\, Guest Services
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