Number of Cruises: 5
Cruise Line: Carnival
Ship: Carnival Valor
Sailing Date: July 10th, 2005
Itinerary: Western Caribbean
The overall cruise was nice. I have sailed with other cruise lines and this comes in at number 2 in my book. This is a very good line to travel on if you have kids. We made good use of Camp Carnival for our 3 and 6 year old. They have camp during port days which is great so if you want to do a shore excursion without your kids you can place them in camp and they will entertain and feed them. We were uncertain about this part prior to our sail date as we kept getting conflicting answers on if there was camp during port days and if it was free. It was free up until 10 pm. Also our 6 year old is not a good at sitting through long dinners so 5 of the 7 nights you can send them to Rosie’s Restaurant on the lido deck and Camp Carnival feeds them dinner and then takes them back to the camp for activities. The camp counselors are for the most part very friendly. Some of them do not have a sense of humor but I think they were trying to show their professionalism and my kids seemed to like them so that was the most important.
I do recommend bringing a mug from home if you drink a lot of coffee, iced tea or juice. The cups in the buffet area are quite small and this way you can get more to drink and don’t have to go back so many times. They ship does provide shampoo, razors, toothpaste sample and soap in each cabin so that is very nice. They also provide beach towels.
The food I say was pretty good for having to be massed produced for over 3,000 passengers plus crew.
The dancing shows were excellent and so were the comedians.
We did not like the long lines you had to wait in to get on the ship when arriving in Miami as well when leaving Miami. We waited over an hour and a half and with kids that is not a fun process. Also, they have this new and improved way of getting everyone off the ship faster when arriving back in Miami which I did not see that it moved any better or faster than the old way. Also, the customs agent quizzed my 6 year old about my 3 year olds birthday, name, etc., and kind of got a little upset that my 6 year old only knew the month is brother was born in and not the actual date. I wanted to jump in and say he is only 6 but I know you do not want to joke around with customs.
I used the internet services on the ship to keep in touch with home since we did not take our 11 month old on the cruise. You could buy packages which were very costly or you could pay by the minutes you use which is .75 cents a minute. Some days if you look in your Carnival Capers you would see they would run a special for that day for use of the internet. This was much cheaper than calling home and luckily if you type fast you can get on and off email pretty quickly.
The photos onboard were very nice but very costly. They print most of them out as 8x10 size photos and charge you $20 for each 8x10 photo. I think they need to give you an option in which size photo you would like and more people would buy photos. You have to buy the large photo first and then they will make additional copies in any size you would like for an additional charge. I think they would sell a lot more photos this way.
We did not get off the ship is Isa Rotan because it did not look like a fun spot but our friends took a cab to the beach and said it was beautiful so please do not let the pier where you pull in fool you.
Also, in Grand Cayman you can take a taxi for $4 per person and they will take you to a free beach to spend the day. The funny thing is a lot of the shore excursion beach people from the ship were in our taxi b/c it was like a mini bus and they paid $33 a person to go to the beach and rode the same taxi as them. They get taken to a resort like club but the free beach had a nice hut and bathrooms and a rental place for water activities.
I defiantly recommend going to Playa Mia in Cozumel. This is a beach resort and it is a lot of fun. Defiantly, worth the money you pay and we did this one via shore excursion from the ship.
In Belize, we did the snorkel from boat and beach. Belize City they tell you not to go to but this shore excursion just picked you up on the ship and took you to this tiny island and you could snorkel off the boat or beach which was really fun.
Overall, I recommend this cruise to young people or people with kids.