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Age: 39

Occupation:retail owner

Number of Cruises: 10

Cruise Line: Carnival

Ship: Carnival Valor

Sailing Date: May 22nd, 2005

Itinerary: Eastern Caribbean

We just returned from a week long cruise on the Valor that departed Miami on 5-22-05 for the eastern Caribbean. Being a veteran cruiser I feel I have a very good feel for what people like when they go on a cruise especially when you are paying this kind of money. First let me note that I have been on all the major cruise lines so I have a good personal knowledge of their service. A good helpful review should be about the cruise and not things like, “it was a bad cruise because my wife and I are trying to reconcile and the cruise was awful”. Too many reviews are not good because people make their personal problems into the review either directly or indirectly. None of that here! Just an honest review. On this cruise were my wife and my 2 year old son. We flew into Ft. Lauderdale because of the lower air fares versus Miami. Originally we were going to take a private taxi to the ship in order to get there faster than the Carnival bus and also because this would be easiest for my little son. At the last minute we bought a shuttle pass for $62.00 round trip. Very large mistake! A taxi would have cost $50.00 one way and well worth every penny by the time the bus gets a full load together to leave in the 90 degree heat with poor AC. Now keep in mind here we are on this bus sweating like dogs waiting for people to come off of planes and claim their luggage and get to the bus. We waited like a good 45 minutes before we left and with the taxi we could have been at the ship by the time the bus left. So we get to the dock and unload our baggage to be greeted by the non-Carnival baggage handlers who told us it was tip time or our bags may not get on the ship. Now I must admit this was very rude but I sense these guys were joking and trying to be funny but at the same time trying to get the first timers to tip them. While the first people off the bus were tipping the baggage handlers the people behind them were walking around them to check in and didn’t tip anything. Use your own discretion at this point guys.

We finally got into the terminal after 45 minutes of waiting on the bus and then another 40 minute ride to the dock and it was no better here. Very hot inside with hundreds of people going no where fast. Oh by the way the fun pass check in on line does not help you get on the ship any quicker. All this does is helps the Carnival ticket agent not have to enter the info into the computer because you already did it for her back home. So we get checked in and then go up stairs to get our room keys and then hit the line to get on the ship. From the time you get off the bus until the time you get on the ship will be 1 ½ to 2 hours. We finally got on the ship at 2:45pm. We went upstairs on the Lido deck to get lunch as we were famished and didn’t eat all day as there was no time. Hint, eat a breakfast somewhere. On one side of the ship is the pizza parlor and the other side is the hamburger stand. Neither side could keep enough food cooking to feed the hundreds of people waiting. This was so funny. Instead of putting 100 burger patties on the grille and 20 pizzas in the oven at a time these guys were lazy and tired from the previous cruise and maybe feeding people 3 or 4 at one time. The grille only had maybe 20 burger patties on it cooking and had room for 100. They told us they were trying not to waste. Hey burger boy, there was 100 people in line! Anyway we got out of the burger line, saw the pizza line was no better and we went into Rosie’s Café. This is like a 50’s diner with a war time theme. Food was average at best but no one really cares because they are over whelmed with how much you can eat! Especially the rookie cruisers. We went back to the room, blew off the mandatory fire drill and fell asleep for about an hour.

Brent Mitchell is your cruise director from Canada and I must say that EVERY ship I have been on including previous Carnival ships the cruise director was always a front showman/comedian/entertainer in his own right. With no disrespect to Brent who is a walking computer of knowledge of the ship and ports he is no entertainer and very boring at times. He tries to be funny and he is great to talk to but just no showman talent here.

We requested a late dinner seating and they gave us an early seating which we changed. Food in the Washington Dining room is again average at best but many don’t care when you eat one prime rib dinner and tell the waiter to bring you another even though the quality is fair. Again first time cruisers were loving it. The days on Carnival with the table side wine porter who doubled as your cherries jubilee desert maker are long gone. We had to beg for the wine/drink server to even come by and many times they came after you were done with dinner. The soda card is a bad thing. They don’t get tipped off the soda card so they make you wait to get a cola and most times you won’t get it as they are serving alcohol drinks. Just order yourself a cola and pay the $.15 cents in tips. It’s the only way you will get it! Your options for dining during the day are only three if you miss your dining room seatings. You got Rosie’s Café which is a buffet and the pizza and burger bar all on the back of the ship on Lido deck. There is also a pay upscale restaurant on the ship but why???? This is Carnivals own admission that the service and food quality is only fair but you can pay for the top notch stuff!

The rooms on the ship are nice. We had an outside stateroom with balcony that was big enough for both of us and the baby. It was well kept by the cabin steward. The hair dryer in out room quit working and we had to beg the stateroom steward for another as he insisted it was an electrical problem and not the dryer. He kept wanting to call maintenance and I had to keep telling him just to give us a new dryer. Finally I had to call the Purser’s desk and they told the cabin steward to give us a new hair dryer. Other than that the room was in good working order as a new ship should. Room service menu was pretty small mostly of sandwiches and fruits and salads but good enough to get you by. The breakfast part is very slim and you will be in the diner for breakfast because the room service menu falls short on breakfast foods.

The shows were decent. Not Vegas quality but good enough. I don’t think if you were in a major resort town for a week you would pay for any show I saw on the ship and I saw them all. All the bars and night clubs were good and decent. Photos and things are quite expensive and just think if you don’t buy the $19.99 photo they took of you they just throw hundreds of them away per day. Lower the price and people will buy. No common sense!

I did have a massage on the ship. It was real bad and a waste of $120.00 but the spa was nice! By the way Carnival does not own the spa or run the massage part. It is ran by a company out of England and after your massage your massage girl will tell you how unhealthy you are and try to sell you $300.00 worth of sea kelp. Now I prefer sand in the desert myself as one could always use real estate.

You know I could go on for days but im going to cut this one short. I’m getting hysterical writing the review. It’s just too funny. If you need to ask me a specific questions just email me. In closing the cruise is about a 5 out of 10 stars. Spend the extra G note and go on RCL. You will reward yourself and family dividends. Carnival falls was short except for the novice cruiser or very young kid that wants to party all week long. By the way getting off the ship took two hours back at Miami. Then we waited again for a full bus back to Lauderdale in the 90 degree heat. They have no idea how to get people on and off the ship but they are promising a new state of the art terminal in December.

Mike V.


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