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vplsh

Carnival Valor Review 7/12-7/19

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Let me start this off by telling you all how much we enjoyed our week on the Valor! It is most definitely one of the friendliest ships we've ever been on.

 

Sailing this time were my husband, my 19 year old daughter, and myself. Hubby and I have cruised 7 times- 2 on Princess, 3 on Royal Caribbean, and 2 on Carnival. This was our daughter's 3rd cruise, second on Carnival.

 

We flew down from Newark on Saturday to Tampa in order to catch a performance of the musical Rent. We rented a car at the airport, stayed at the Residence Inn Downtown, and loved the show and our 2 meals in Tampa- one at Sonic and one at PF Chang's (neither of which we have close to our home). We left the hotel on Sunday morning at about 8:30 and began the over 4 hour drive to Miami. It was uneventful and we arrived at the Avis drop off area around 12:45PM. We took their van to the airport terminal where we picked up a cab to the port, arriving at the port about 1:15. We checked our luggage with the porter and went inside to be given a card with number 14 on it. They were calling group 10 so it was only about 20 minutes before we were at a check in counter. By about 1:45 we were on the ship, heading to our cabin.

 

We were in cabin 7225, on the Empress deck about 5 cabins from the front of the ship on the starboard side. The cabin was very nice, with a sleeper couch for Jennie and the beds pushed together for us. The balcony was furnished with 2 chairs and a small table.

We dropped off our things and headed to the Lincoln DR to check out our table. It was a nice 8 seater by the window on deck 3 so we decided to see how our tablemates were that evening. We usually prefer a table for just ourselves, but liked the location of this table so much we figured we'd wait and see. Turned out to be a great decision! More on that later!

Finally made it up to the Lido deck for lunch- I headed up to deck 11 for fish and chips and had the zucchini/shrimp fritters and fries. YUM! Steve took lots off the buffet and Jennie had a sandwich from the deli. All were very tasty.

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Can't wait to read more of your review...hey, wait a minute...I can just wait until Sunday and have you TELL me how wonderful it was when I see you for Kyle's birthday!

 

So glad you had a great time Sis. Especially since I'm your TA...would hate for you to have had a terrible time.

 

Oh, and you have to show me how you inserted those thumbnail photos.

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Next stop was the Prometheus Pool, which is for adults only at the aft of the ship. We hit the bar and ordered our first Miami Vices! Sat there both in and out of the water until it was time for the muster drill. The drill was called at about 4:15 and lasted about 25 minutes. We returned the life jackets to the cabin and found all of our bags had arrived, so we spent a bit of time unpacking. We still had not met our cabin steward, but figured he'd find us sooner or later.

 

We had late seating for dinner, so we headed to check out the sushi and casino beforehand. Sushi was really tasty- three kinds of rolls available. The casino, while smoky, was lots of fun and ended up taking a lot more of our money than usual. We played penny slots a lot and really enjoyed them. Got dressed for dinner and found the secret door on the Empress deck for some pictures beforehand. Took one of the captain on the bridge.

 

We headed to our table- 108 Lincoln- and found the others already seated. We really enjoyed the company and were glad we'd decided to keep the table. Our headwaiter was "D" from Indonesia. He was very pleasant and friendly. Food on the first night was very good- flat iron steak, sweet and sour shrimp and tilapia were some of the main dish choices we had. And I had my first of 7 Warm Chocolate Melting Cake desserts. As delicious as I'd remembered!

 

After dinner we went to the martini bar for the sampler. We chose the Pomtini, Blue Moon, and Tiramasu. Very delicious. The bartender there, Chanyarak from Thailand, was wonderful. She even left us at the bar to go to another bar to get Jennie a smoothie!

 

We headed up to the outdoor screen area and sat watching a movie for a while before heading to the cabin for bed. First day was over and we had really enjoyed it so far!

 

I'll continue on tomorrow. Thanks for reading!

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Can't wait to read more of your review...hey, wait a minute...I can just wait until Sunday and have you TELL me how wonderful it was when I see you for Kyle's birthday!

 

So glad you had a great time Sis. Especially since I'm your TA...would hate for you to have had a terrible time.

 

Oh, and you have to show me how you inserted those thumbnail photos.

 

 

Ha! Ha! Funny, Jan! You must be about as busy as I am today. Can't wait to show you all the pics. It was a terrific cruise!

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Never heard of the 'martini sampler' on board before? Is this something new???

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This is a great start to what looks like a fantastic cruise. Thanks for sharing your trip and your photos!!

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Not sure, to tell you the truth. I don't remember it on the Destiny in December. It's a nice thing, though. Your choice of 3 for $10 or 5 for $15. We saw it listed in the Capers, so we thought we'd see what it was like. I brought home the drink menu and will try scanning it later in the week.

The picture below is of me drinking the Pomtini, but I have to say I liked the Tiramisu best!

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Not sure, to tell you the truth. I don't remember it on the Destiny in December. It's a nice thing, though. Your choice of 3 for $10 or 5 for $15. We saw it listed in the Capers, so we thought we'd see what it was like. I brought home the drink menu and will try scanning it later in the week.

The picture below is of me drinking the Pomtini, but I have to say I liked the Tiramisu best!

 

That sounds like fun - and I am always wanting to try new drinks but then don't want to get stuck with something I don't like - will let you know what I think of the tiramisu martini!!! :D

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Hi there! My husband, 12 year old, and I were on that same cruise! It was absolutely amazing! Our first cruise ever! The weather couldn't have been better! The shows were great! My husband also lost money in the casino. Wasn't Big Tex a hoot? I don't remember the last time I laughed so hard, especially during the "love and marriage" game. The food was amazing. I love reading your review, it brings back memories. Helps me with this cruise withdrawal.

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loved your review, I have just a few more weeks to wait on my honeymoon cruise on the valor. just reading every thing i can, as it is my first cruise, so keep it coming.

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Day 2 began with a room service delivery of coffee and danish at around 8 o'clock. Surprisingly we were not up and moving yet, but that was fine. This was my birthday and I was just so happy to be aboard a ship in the Caribbean! We enjoyed our coffee on the balcony for a little while (it sure was hot and humid out there!) and then I headed to the gym. I had great intentions of getting there every day of the cruise but I have to be honest that this was the only time I made it there.

 

The gym is located through the spa in the front of the ship so it was really convenient to our cabin. I got there around 8:45 and it was packed. Remember this was a sea day, so I guess people had gotten up and moving. I waited about 5 minutes (not bad) for a treadmill and enjoyed walking and watching a movie on the attached tv screen for 30 minutes. Then headed back to the cabin to change into a bathing suit and meet Steve and Jennie at Rosie's for breakfast. Just got a bagel and smoked salmon, Steve and Jennie enjoyed cereal and French toast. The coffee, for those of you who are interested, is very good in Rosie's. The room service coffee was good too. We read the Capers to see what we wanted to do and Steve decided to go to the Golf Clinic and 10. Jennie and I spent some time in the casino (she became hooked on the penny slots!) and then go to the Acupuncture talk at 11. We would then meet up with Steve for lunch in the Dining Room. Steve said the golf clinic was mostly a sales pitch, but we really liked the info we heard at the acupuncture lecture and signed up for treatments that afternoon.

 

We were seated in a booth for just the 3 of us in the Washington DR (this is the DR at the back of the ship). Steve had a burger and Jennie and I ordered chicken caesar salads and the grilled veggie sandwich. The salad had a very large chicken breast on it so we really didn't need the sandwich. Steve said the burger was just ok (we would discover the burgers at the grill later in the week which were much better!)

 

After lunch we headed to the deck to sit out for a while. There really wasn't difficulty finding chairs unless you wanted to sit around the Prometheus Pool (adults only) or right beside a pool. The Prometheus pool only has about 30 chairs and most of them were in the sun. There also isn't any air moving back there, so we weren't too sorry that we couldn't find a chair. We found some up on deck 11 overlooking the slide, so we watched people line up for that for a while. Jennie had her acupuncture at 4 and mine was at 4:30 so we headed in then.

 

The acupuncture treatment was terrific. I couldn't believe how much relief I felt in my shoulder afterwards. We both signed up for a second treatment. I would recommend this if you feel confident with the acupuncturist but be aware it's expensive- our 2 treatments each, with a tip, were $300.

 

The Captain's Welcome Reception was tonight, advertised in the Capers letting people know you could enjoy pre-dinner happy hour cocktails at $1 off all drinks. Since it was formal night, the photographers were also all around the ship. We decided not to go to the reception, since we had reservations at Scarlett's Steakhouse for 8PM. We dressed, took some pictures and headed up to Scarlett's around 7:45, where we were seated promptly.

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Edited by vplsh

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Scarlett's requires a section of it's own. The steakhouse is located on deck 12 forward and is the premier dining venue on the ship. According to Maitre'd Roland (during the galley tour, he talked about this) the best chefs and servers work in Scarlett's. It is a $30 per person charge.

 

We were seated at a table and given menus. The menu here is the same every night, with some different choices than in the dining room. And even the things that you do get in the DR, like lobster bisque and French onion soup, are bigger and better in Scarlett's. Steve ordered a glass of wine ($11.50!), Jennie and I stuck with water. We were offered several types of water, but stayed with tap. We had 2 waiters serving us, but one was definitely the "head". She came over with a tray to describe the various entrees to us. I had lobster bisque and the crab cake, both of which were delicious. Steve and Jennie had onion soup, which was very hot and difficult to eat, although it was tasty. I ordered the 12 ounce lobster tail, Jennie the surf and turf (4 oz. filet and 6 oz lobster tail) and Steve ordered the rib eye steak. Jennie and I really enjoyed our dishes; Steve said he'd have enjoyed the filet mignon better than his steak.

 

And then dessert! I ordered the chocolate medley and it was brought to me with a lit birthday candle. Oh my, it was absolutely delicious. 4 different chocolate dishes in little cups with ice cream or sherbet on top. Jennie had the fruit plate and Steve something I can't remember but have a picture of below.

 

The meal took about 2 hours from start to finish. I had expected the dinner to move slowly and leisurely, however the service wasn't all that I'd expected. We sat for a while with dirty dishes in front of us, and the waitress was difficult to understand. However, it was a wonderful meal and one we'd try again.

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Edited by vplsh

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After Scarlett's Jennie said she needed to go to the cabin for something and we walked in to find the cabin decorated with Happy Birthday decorations! She and Steve had ordered them before we'd left and our cabin steward had put them up this evening when we went to dinner. The were really nice and made the cabin look so festive for the rest of the week.

 

Next, we headed to the theater for the show. Tonight was Nightclub Express starring the Valor singers and dancers and we usually enjoy the production shows. We got a great seat up on deck 5 of the Ivanhoe Theater and waited for the show to begin. Unfortunately, we really didn't enjoy this one. The band wasn't that good and the dancers... We left about 1/2 hour into it. This kind of set the pattern for us with shows- although we tried them a couple of times, we didn't really go to most of them and only stayed the whole time for the last night, which I'll talk about later.

 

We walked around the ship a bit more, played a few more slots, then headed to the cabin. Tomorrow is Grand Cayman and we all have excursions planned.

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OMG!

 

We were on the same cruise as well!

 

We were in cabin 7365 on Empress deck. Wade was our cabin steward. He was AWESOME! He took great care of us all week. Not overbearing or intrusive, but very attentive and pleasant at all times. We definitely gave him more $$$ at the end of the week for his service.

 

And Monday was our 25th Anniversary, and we ate in Scarlett's as well. We actually saw you coming in, as we were finishing up. We were seated a few tables behind you (toward the kitchen area). Small world, indeed, huh?

 

 

Anyway, no need for me to write a separate review, but I will add some comments:

 

 

Positive: embarkation process was extremely smooth, fast, efficient

Tex was a fantastic cruise director---funny (loved the "Tex Messages"), not overly corny, and very friendly

food overall was excellent

great dining room service--we had early seating in Washington dining room; Raymond from Philippines and Carl from Trinidad were our servers and did a great job all week

cleanliness of the ship was excellent. They seemed to always be cleaning and painting, etc.

loved the Prometheus pool, as they strictly enforced the adults only rule! (finally)

enjoyed all the ports, excursions and sea days were very relaxing!

 

Negative:

 

the smoke smell on the ENITIRE Promenade area, mostly coming from the bars and casino. We couldn't even go in most of the bars due to the overpowering smokiness! Even after walking down the promenade to have pictures taken, etc, our clothes smelled like smoke!

 

debarkation process seemed chaotic, even though we self-assisted carrying off our own bags, we had to wait in LONG lines due to confusing announcements about which decks should leave at what times. Only ONE machine was working to "check out" our Sail and Sign cards, so that made for a longer wait

 

the ATM machine was broken almost the entire week. This didn't affect us directly, as we brought cash and Traveler's Checks on board, but some people we met complained about it all week long. They should have a backup machine for such cases.

 

I will be happy to answer any questions anyone has about the cruise. Overall, it was a FABULOUS cruise, great weather, fun people on board, lots of wonderful memories! We love Carnival, and can't wait to plan our next cruise!

Edited by dcrobin
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I have to agree with you about the smoke smell, particularly in the casino. There were a couple of times where we really couldn't stay because of it. And we would have liked to do a few activities in Winston's, but the smell there was overpowering as well, although it wasn't too bad for tea time on the last sea day.

 

How funny that we were on the same deck and at Scarlett's at the same time! Glad you enjoyed it as much as we did.

 

We really liked Tex as the CD as well. The fact that he's American (Big Tex from Texas!) was a plus for me, because he was so easy to understand. We've been on other cruises where it was difficult to understand the CD. His Tex messages were not overbearing or too frequent and I loved his "bye bye y'all" at the end of each one! Did you see him at the Love and Marriage game??? OMG!!

 

I'll talk more about debarkation, which I agree was very confusing, later on. And we noticed that the cash machines were broken too. We ended up cashing out our seapass account in the casino on the last day and adding $100 to it.

Edited by vplsh

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Lisa - What a great review. Your pictures are wonderful and I'm glad you had a good time. Happy Belated Birthday!

 

Keep the review coming.

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Day 3, Grand Cayman

 

Steve and I have been to GC 3 times before, but Jennie never had. This is Steve's favorite dive stop, so he booked a scuba dive at Eden Rock for 9AM. Jennie and I booked a Stingray City and snorkeling tour with Stingray Sailing. I had done this before (with Nativeway) but felt it was THE thing to do in GC.

 

Our tour was set to meet at 8:00 Cayman time, which is one hour earlier than ship's time. The Capers remind you to stay on ship's time, but don't tell you how many hours later that is at each port. It would be helpful to have an announcement some time letting you know this. Depends on whether it's Daylight Savings or Standard time in the US. We got breakfast on the Lido deck, then headed down for a tender around 8:15 (ship's time). We were standing at the dock about 20 minutes later. Our tour operator was there, he checked us in and told us to be back around 8 (GC time). We headed to the liquor store at the dock and bought our flavored rum and vodka (not available on the ship). Since we bought 4 bottles we were given a choice of a free rum cake or an 11% discount. This brought the price down to under $10 a bottle for each, so we took the discount. Although the rum cakes are yummy!

 

Steve headed for Eden Rock and we waited with some other people until everyone was at the dock, around 8:15. Chip, the owner of Stingray Sailing, walked us to his bus and drove us to the dock where his catamaran, the Far Tortuga, was docked. We all got on board (there were 20 of us I think) and headed out to Stingray City. This is about a 30 minute boat ride, and the men on board (Chip, Mark and our captain, whose name I cannot remember!) were friendly and engaged everyone in conversation, pointing out landmarks. We arrived at Stingray City and there were several boats there, most of them the size of ours. Chip and Mark got off first and assisted the rest of us. It was windy and the water was choppy, but it's only about chest high so it wasn't a problem. They put a bucket in the water that had squid in it to feed the stingrays, and showed us how to hold them so that the rays would eat them. The water was the perfect temperature and I loved it! Jennie was very nervouse, but Mark was wonderful with her. She ended up being very comfortable and held a few stingrays. I took pictures with a disposable underwater camera and haven't scanned them yet, so sorry, no pics here. I'll try to get them in at the end.

 

After about 30 minutes, we got back on the boat and headed about 10 minutes away to snorkel. Again the staff was very helpful getting our fins and snorkels ready and we headed into the water. It was really rough here too, making it difficult. Mark offered to take us out to the reef, but we found it too difficult, so headed back on board. After about a half hour again, we were heading back to shore. Water and fruit was available free, and beer and soda available to buy. The sail was put up and we sailed back to shore. Once there, Chip drove us back to the port- although he'd have taken us anywhere else we wanted if that was the case. Jennie and I wandered through some shops, decided not to wait in the very long line at Margaritaville and headed back to the ship for lunch. Got right on a tender and got back to the cabin right after Steve did. We all headed up to the Lido for lunch- yummy again!

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Let me start this off by telling you all how much we enjoyed our week on the Valor! It is most definitely one of the friendliest ships we've ever been on.

 

Sailing this time were my husband, my 19 year old daughter, and myself. Hubby and I have cruised 7 times- 2 on Princess, 3 on Royal Caribbean, and 2 on Carnival. This was our daughter's 3rd cruise, second on Carnival.

 

We flew down from Newark on Saturday to Tampa in order to catch a performance of the musical Rent. We rented a car at the airport, stayed at the Residence Inn Downtown, and loved the show and our 2 meals in Tampa- one at Sonic and one at PF Chang's (neither of which we have close to our home). We left the hotel on Sunday morning at about 8:30 and began the over 4 hour drive to Miami. It was uneventful and we arrived at the Avis drop off area around 12:45PM. We took their van to the airport terminal where we picked up a cab to the port, arriving at the port about 1:15. We checked our luggage with the porter and went inside to be given a card with number 14 on it. They were calling group 10 so it was only about 20 minutes before we were at a check in counter. By about 1:45 we were on the ship, heading to our cabin.

 

We were in cabin 7225, on the Empress deck about 5 cabins from the front of the ship on the starboard side. The cabin was very nice, with a sleeper couch for Jennie and the beds pushed together for us. The balcony was furnished with 2 chairs and a small table.

We dropped off our things and headed to the Lincoln DR to check out our table. It was a nice 8 seater by the window on deck 3 so we decided to see how our tablemates were that evening. We usually prefer a table for just ourselves, but liked the location of this table so much we figured we'd wait and see. Turned out to be a great decision! More on that later!

Finally made it up to the Lido deck for lunch- I headed up to deck 11 for fish and chips and had the zucchini/shrimp fritters and fries. YUM! Steve took lots off the buffet and Jennie had a sandwich from the deli. All were very tasty.

 

Di you get alot of movement in your cabin? We are in 7261 which is not far from yours so just wondering how much movement you felt.

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loved your review, I have just a few more weeks to wait on my honeymoon cruise on the valor. just reading every thing i can, as it is my first cruise, so keep it coming.

 

Hanks for the review I will also be on the valor for my honeymoon in October!!

 

 

This seems to be the honeymoon ship...I will also be on for mine in April 2010

Edited by Bajan Keith

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A note about the food in Rosie's. We are not usually great fans of the buffets on ships, but we really liked the food options here. The burgers and hot dogs were great, the food offered at the Fish and Chips area (upstairs on deck 11 inside Rosies) was also good and different. There were lots of options beyond the usual heavy buffet food, and we really enjoyed eating there. We didn't even go back to the dining room on the last sea day for lunch- we liked the options at Rosie's better.

 

After lunch we found a few chairs in the shade and sat out for a while. Again there was no problem finding chairs in the shade. We found an area by the ping pong tables that allowed us to see what was going on on the main pool deck and see the big screen- we returned there often.

 

The show tonight for late seating was at 7, and we didn't feel like getting ready so early, so we skipped it. It was a juggler and comedian. We discovered the music of 'Play That' in the American Lobby before dinner and absolutely loved them. They became more popular as the week went on. They played songs by other artists and sounded exactly like the originals! They were really wonderful! We enjoyed dinner with our tablemates tonight, heard about their last couple of days and stopped into the casino again. Tonight there was a big party at the Casino Bar area on the Promenade deck and there was music and dancing, which we enjoyed for a while. Went back to the cabin and watched Slumdog Millionaire on the movie channel before bed.

 

Tomorrow is Isla Roatan, and we don't arrive until noon, so it's a morning at sea.

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Di you get alot of movement in your cabin? We are in 7261 which is not far from yours so just wondering how much movement you felt.

 

I was concerned about this before we left, but we felt little movement if any. It was a great location! Make sure that you walk all the way forward and go out the door. There's a full deck in front of the ship there, right below the bridge.

 

Enjoy!

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I was concerned about this before we left, but we felt little movement if any. It was a great location! Make sure that you walk all the way forward and go out the door. There's a full deck in front of the ship there, right below the bridge.

 

Enjoy!

 

Thanks for the tip. will add this to my "to do" list.

 

Keep the review coming.:)

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Sorry for the delay- I took the day off yesterday so I didn't log on at all. Yes, I'm writing my review from work! I'm the principal of an elementary school and there's no one but me in the school, so I'm pretty flexible as to what I can do. Besides, who's there to catch me! LOL!!

 

Ok, so the next day was Roatan. We arrived there just before noon, so the morning was like a sea day. We had booked a private taxi tour with Diana and Cinthia of Roatan Cab Tours and were disappointed from the start. We had to walk outside of the port area to find our tourguide and it was really hard to find her. She turned out to be Diana's sister (she told us her name but I cannot remember it) and we had to walk a block or so to her car. To be fair, we were not interested in zip lining or shopping or going to the beach, but I had told them this when we booked our tour. However, this was really all she had to offer us. She drove us around, giving us some information along the way, but basically responding only to our questions. She took us to a restaurant for lunch, which was good but expensive, then drove us around the other side of the island. We were really disappointed in the tour, but paid her the $35 per person that I'd been told. She thought it was $25 but Steve insisted on paying the higher amount since we had spent about 4 hours with her. After talking to our tablemates, I would definitely do a beach day if we returned to Roatan. We hadn't really wanted to sit on a beach as it was really hot, but most people really enjoyed it. Live and learn.

 

Below are some pictures from the tour.

 

After we got back on the ship, we headed to our favorite on-deck spot on deck 11 and got a frozen drink and sat for a while before heading to the cabin to change for dinner.

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