Number of Cruises: 1
Cruise Line: Carnival
Ship: Carnival Valor
Sailing Date: May 29th, 2005
Itinerary: Western Caribbean
This was my first cruise, my husband and I chose it for our honeymoon based on it being a new ship and the ports of call. The embarkation process is long, yes. If you go with the attitude that you are going to be in line for a while, it isn't so bad. My advice is to complete the " Fun Pass" on line that Carnival provides and get to the port about 10:30- 11 am. We waited in line for about 45 minutes, but it was much less than the line behind us. They are processing about 3,000 people!
When we arrived on the ship there were greeted with friendly faces walking around with tropical drinks and all the restaurants were open so we were able to get lunch. The ship is Beautiful and so big! We kept getting lost the first few days!
The staterooms are small, but they give you lots of closet space and drawers, after all, you aren't on a cruise to spend the whole time in the room! The rooms were kept very clean and always had fresh towels. The towel animals at night are a nice touch!
Most of the food is great, we usually ordered room service for breakfast, Which , by the way, is very nice being able to order room service if you don't feel like getting up for breakfast (or midnight snacks!) Although we did find that several times some of our order was messed up. Rosie's restaurant had the buffet for all meals, it was pretty good and there were lots of choices ( we loved the potato salad!) But some of it lacks flavor, it is mass produced. There were always lots of choices for the deserts, we liked trying EVERYTHING! The sushi bar had decent sushi, I was expecting a restaurant, but it is just a walk up place where they have a choice of 3 rolls. The pizza bar usually had a little bit of a line, but the pizza was well worth it...very good! I wsn't impressed with the fish and chips seafood, the fish lacked any flavor. The formal dinners were always wonderful and our wait staff was GREAT! Very friendly and helpful. There were a couple nights when I couldn't decide on what entree or desert I wanted, so our server would bring us both! The last day they had a "chocolate extravaganza" where there served every kind of chocolate desert that you can imagine! Don't miss that! Overall the food was pretty great!
At some of the ports you have to take a tender ship to the shore, the tender process is kind of long, here's what to do... go down early to get a tender number and once again, just be prepared to do some waiting.
The shore excursions were great, we did the dolphin encounter at the Isle of Roatan, it was one of the most amazing experiences of my life! I highly recommend either this excursion or the one in Cozumel (in Cozumel you actually swim with them, the one we went on we got in the water and got to touch them and play with them). My advice is to save up your money and do as many of the excursions as possible, yes, it is expensive, but what do you expect to do on vacations? We didn't do any excursions in Belize, but were told that the cave tubing was really great, in Cozumel we did the playa Mia beach break, where you take a cab to a private beach, where there is an open bar, little buffets and a restaurant and lots to do! I highly recommend this excursion. Then we had some extra time to just walk around the town and explore the city ane do some shopping.
The shows were great, we saw the hypnotist and the comedian, and both were excellent. The dancers and singers were very good and upbeat. I recommend visiting Shawn in Paris Hot, the Karaoke club. It was a lot of fun and a good family atmosphere.
Debarking was fairly easy, if you are not in hurry to catch a flight, wait until they do the final debarkation call that way most of the people are off the ship and you don't have to wait as long in customs lines.
Over all, this cruise was probably the best vacation I have been on. you will end up spending a lot if you want to buy alcoholic drinks, pictures or visit the coffee shop, but that is true on most vacations. I highly recommend this cruise ship and the itinerary. Carnival has a great staff and a great cruise ship!