7 Nights - Oustanding with Exursions
Carnival Valor Cruise Review to Caribbean - Southern
Sail Date: June 09, 2013
Ship: Carnival Valor
Cabin Type: Oceanview
Traveled As: Family (older children)
Reviewed: 4 years ago
Carnival Valor June 9th 2013, 7 night cruise from Puerto Rico and back visiting St Thomas, Barbados, St. Lucia, St Kitts, St Marten.
Our sweet spot for cruise lengths is 5 days. Less than, is too short as its over before you know it. More than, boredom sets in if days not planned, especially if too many sea days. True for us no matter what cruise line we have been on. For Carnival, this was our 4th trip with this line and the most frequented? Why? The crowds seem younger, livelier, and more participative. Other lines may be more refined but definitely felt older even though all seem to try to attract a younger or more energetic group.
Fly in early to visit Old San Juan, The ship does not depart till 10 PM. Complimentary trolleys are available to get around the island but we walked most of the time as it was easy to get around.
This trip had only one sea day which meant we were going to be on a very busy cruise. Planned self or purchased excursions where made for every port ensuring no overlapping activities (except the beaches, as you just have to visit them on all the islands). Every excursion was absolute perfection. We stayed away from the immediate port shopping areas as most were high priced tourist traps. Seen one, seen them all for the islands. Get away from them via rental cars, taxi, or excursions. As for taxis, most charge now by person, vs. the vehicle. Value is poor as for less, you can rent cars for the whole day, or for more, get a full tour. Driving was a hoot as some islands drove on the left, others on the right, where the steering wheel is placed is an anybody's guess as they were inconsistent., no matter which side of the road you drive on.
Service on the Carnival Valor was excellent. The main evening show however was dated as it was a repeat of several years ago featuring the “red couch” All the other shows were fine. The staff kept the common areas rapidly clean. We enjoyed full service breakfast and dinners. Full service breakfast was way underutilized by the ship guests and we had the restaurant almost to ourselves. Service was always quick, and just as attentive as dinner time. So think about skipping the overcrowded buffet corals.
Food quality was overall excellent. New on the menu for us this time was a category of "didja ever wanna try?" which explored alligator, frog legs, shark , and other unusual delicacies. At least two in our party ventured into this and shared a taste with all.
Our party of 8 had a very memorable cruise. We could not come up with a top favorite port or excursion as all were too different to compare making this Caribbean trip overall the best ever.