Number of Cruises: 6
Cruise Line: Carnival
Ship: Carnival Valor
Sailing Date: September 10th, 2006
Itinerary: Western Caribbean
Carnival Cruise Lines
Carnival Valor Cruise Review
This is my 6th cruise, and 4th on Carnival. I sailed with my boyfriend and another couple. We are in our late 20’s early 30’s.
We arrived at the Port of Miami around 11:30 and we were onboard by 12:15. This process is really smooth if you have your Fun pass and all of your information filled out ahead of time. The Port of Miami was not as big as I had expected it to be. It was also a little weird because you drop off your luggage in the same spot that the semi trucks are dropping off their stuff, so it’s a little chaotic. Parking is $12 per day.
If you arrive on the ship before 1pm you will not be able to go to your stateroom. You can walk around the ship and have lunch on the lido deck until after 1 when the rooms are open.
We were in port from 7 am to 2 pm. We got off the ship early and took a cab to the Atlantis Resort. Our cab driver told us that we could go through the aquarium before 8 for free because there is no security on duty yet. He was right! The aquarium was awesome. We then took a cab to cabbage beach. There was a lot of construction going on as they are building new resorts, but the beach was secluded and perfect. After the beach we headed back to the port to do some shopping. I have to say that the straw market had the best deals out of all the shops and ports for souvenirs. It is a little annoying to haggle with the vendors, but you will find the best souvenirs and there are tons of good quality replica designer purses!! If you want a replica purse I would recommend buying it in this port! I however was waiting for the other ports to do my souvenir shopping because I heard that they had better deals, big mistake!
St. Thomas/St. John
We were in St. Thomas from 9am to 8pm. We took a cab from the port at St. Thomas to Red Hook, we then took the ferry to St. John. Once we arrived at St. John we had to take a cab to Trunk Bay Beach. Roundtrip this cost each of us about $50 (still cheaper then the shore excursion price of the cruise line). Trunk Bay Beach was beautiful. There is a snorkeling trail, showers, and a snack bar. The water was clear but was very wavy due to the tropical storm Florence that had just passed. We had a blast crashing in the waves all day. After Trunk Bay we took the ferry back to downtown Charlotte Amaille and did some shopping. If you are looking to buy Jewelry this would be the place for you, but for souvenirs and trinkets I was not impressed. I did however find the Coach Denim Hobo bag that I had wanted, I got it for $55 (I’m sure that I could of gotten it cheaper in Nassau, but it was still a good deal).
We were going to rent a car and drive around the island for the day bur we changed our minds once we arrived in port. I would not recommend driving on the island unless you are used to driving up steep hills and sharp turns. This island is very mountainous and driving around is not easy, especially since they drive on the left side of the road.
We were in St. Maarten from 7 am to 6 pm. We took a cab to Little Bay Beach. This beach was just as pretty as the others that we had visited. We could not snorkel because the water was rough from the storms. After the beach we went back to the ship and took a cab island tour for $25 each. This tour lasted around 3 hours. Our cab driver #11 was wonderful. He was so informative and very nice. He took us around the whole island and stopped at spots so that we could take pictures. He also took us to Fort Louis on the French side of the island. Here we climbed the steps all the way to the top of the fort. What a beautiful view. You could see Antigua from where we were. We asked our cab driver to take us back to Phillipsburg so that we could have lunch and do some shopping. He dropped us off right in front of a wonderful restaurant on the beach. I can not recall the name but they had wonderful ribs and fish with a local spicy flare. It was delicious and inexpensive. The beach at Phillipsburg is also nice because you are right next to Front Street. There are plenty of beach activities to participate in and you have a perfect view of your ship from here. St. Maarten has wonderful prices on cigarettes, alcohol, and jewelry. We also found a shop on Front Street that had shirts, towels, beach bags, etc for 4 for $10. This was the best deal on the beach. They also had embroidered beach bags for $1.99, (definitely a steal from the $10-$15 prices in other ports). There are also street vendors selling souvenirs with good prices. We did have a few people selling beach bags, hats and necklaces on the beach. We bought from them only to find the same items at the stores for much cheaper. I guess we should of shopped around before buying! Oh well.
If you want to rent a car on this island you can drive with little problems, however the roads are not signed very well and it is easy to get lost or take a wrong turn. It is also very hilly. The cab rides are very cheap and would be better to do for first timers to this island. Plus you get tons of information and can learn about the island from the locals, which is well worth it! Definitely ask for cab #11, I believe his name is Allan. He is super nice and will show you whatever you want to see.
The Carnival Valor is beautiful. She is decorated with a heroic theme. The staff was extraordinarily nice and took great care of us. Our room steward seemed like he was working all day long. He always had our room nice and tidy. We had an inside room on the 2nd deck. Our room was spacious and very comfortable. The only bad thing is that you can feel the ship move in the water more towards the bottom of the ship. The first night was a little rough because of the seas, but we were fine. There is also a wonderful mini bar in the room!! You can keep it locked the whole cruise, or have it opened for your drinking pleasure! Drinks onboard range from 3.50 on up. The they have daily specials where you can get great deals, if you want a drink in a souvenir cup it will be around $8 after gratuities.
There are 2 formal nights on the cruise. One with a Captains party, free drinks in the lounge! And the other is just another formal night.
The food on the ship was decent, but plentiful. The dining room and the fish and chips place had the best food. I didn’t find many desserts that I had liked, and I am definitely a dessert kind of person. They did have a chocolate fondue and chocolate buffet on the last day at sea which was good. There was also the midnight gala buffet one night.
There are plenty of activities on the ship. From afternoon tea, bingo, slot tournaments, movies, shows, kitchen tour, ice carving, deck parties, deck games, and I’m sure tons of other things that I have forgotten.
We went to the welcome aboard show and one of the dance shows. They were both ok, but I would rather spend my time in the casino. They did have 2 break dancers who were awesome. That was definitely the highlight of the show.
This is a great cruise vacation for the budget traveler. I have cruised 4 times with Carnival and I always have a wonderful experience. They also have great prices on cruises, and you honestly can’t beat the price for any land trip. It is also a great cruise for families, couples, and anyone who wants to relax and see the beautiful islands of the Caribbean.
You can carry all of your luggage off with you if you do the self checkout. This happens at 7 am. If you leave your luggage out the night before you will not be able to get off the ship until after 9:30. We chose the self checkout. This was very easy and we were off the ship by 7:30, however if you have a lot of luggage this will be very difficult as you have a long walk and have to go up and down a few stories. Luggage is heavy!!