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Mark Cothern

Age: 47

Occupation:Marketing

Number of Cruises: 6

Cruise Line: Carnival

Ship: Carnival Valor

Sailing Date: 2011-09-18

Itinerary: Exotic Western

We had a terrific time on the Valor. The ship is pristine and the employees enjoy being there. We sailed on their "Exotic Western" itinerary to Grand Cayman, Isla Roatan, Belize City and Cozumel. We met six fantastic young professionals at our table in the dining room and had a terrific time with them all week. The only time i felt ANY motion whatsoever was on the first night...there seemed to be a vibration in the dining room. Other than that, we couldn't feel any motion whatsoever. I would definitely sail on the Valor again.

My only quibble was with the food in the main dining room. There were certainly plenty of choices, but sometimes it seemed like there wasn't anything interesting on the menu. All of the "good stuff" seemed to be packed in to the menu on the final evening. The dining room service was terrific, but it seemed the food arrived just above room temperature. The only dish that was truly hot was the Bacon Mac 'n' Cheese - which was incredible!

We had a balcony cabin on the Promenade Deck (#8263). There was more than enough space for two passengers. Plenty of storage space with three closet areas and ample space in the bathroom. Our cabin steward was like a dang ninja....he could get in the room, clean it and be gone before we got back from breakfast!

Our cabin was near the forward elevator bay and I was concerned about noise from people traveling to and from the elevators. I'm happy to say we heard NO passenger noise at all.

There is never a dull moment on a Carnival ship. Between bingo, trivia, comedy club, magicians, jugglers, musical production shows, karaoke and much more, there is never a dull moment. In my opinion, i do wish they would do away with the Hairy Chest contest. All it does is reinforce the "K-Mart of the Seas" perception.

The production shows in the Ivanhoe Theater feature vocalists Nick and Bree - two of the best in the fleet. The dancers were much better than the group we saw on the Victory.

The Shipwreck Snuba excursion in Grand Cayman is a great bridge between scuba and snorkeling. Also, the Amazing Race Cozumel is a lot of fun.

If sailing to Belize, I strongly suggest booking excursions through the ship. There's a two-hour time difference between ship time and Belize time and many of the merchants on the pier are not yet open when the ship docks. Also, many of the attractions in Belize are well outside Belize city and require a bus or boat ride to get there. We did the Goff's Caye snorkeling excursion and saw a pod of dolphins, sea urchins, sea cucumbers and much more.

Mahogany Bay on Isla Roatan is a fabulous beach day at a pier/shopping facility built by Carnival.

This was my sixth cruise - fourth with Carnival. I would absolutely sail on the Valor again. The ship is spotless, the personnel are courteous and attentive - it's apparent they enjoy working on that particular ship, and the service is top-notch. Hands down one of the best vacations ever!!!

Carnival has streamlined the embarkation/debarkation processes, so the long waits are a thing of the past. Also, we got to our cabins at 1:30 and had our luggage at 1:45 p.m.! I couldn't believe it. We did the self assist debarkation and strolled off the ship at 8:00 a.m. - much better than the olden days of being herded into the theater.

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