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Holger

Age: 54

Occupation:Airfreight Manager

Number of Cruises: 3

Cruise Line: Carnival

Ship: Carnival Valor

Sailing Date: October 29th, 2006

Itinerary: Western Caribbean

Carnival Cruise Lines
Carnival Valor Cruise Review
Western Caribbean

Holger


Before we booked our cruise, I reviewed numerous critics and found most of them useless. Either the critic was describing the ‘all-time-greatest-best-perfectest-travel experience’, and I just couldn’t believe a word. Or I read the other extreme as in ‘we-will-never-again-use-this-cruise-line-because-of-bla-bla-bla-and-the-weather-was-bad’. This does not really help anyone trying to make up his mind, which cruise line, which ship and which cruise to book. I hope to do better by writing truly about everything that we experienced during this cruise. If I do not voice an opinion on something, I either did not use this feature or forgot about it.

I’m German living with my Puerto Rican wife in Germany, so I had to include the flights into the consideration, which cruise we should take. We wanted direct, non-stop flights to/from the cruise port to a western Caribbean cruise. The main concern was the price, as money was tight. Our choice finally was the Carnival Valor sailing out of Miami to Grand Cayman, Roatan / Honduras, Belize and Costa Maya / Mexico.


Embarkation

We were warned that there would be long lines to get on the ship. There were, but they moved surprisingly fast. In less than an hour we went through security and the whole registration process and had our first drink at the bar.
TIP: Complete your passport details online (or let the travel agent do so) before going to the port and print the Fun Pass, which confirms that the data required is complete. This saves you one of the lines.

Large bags must be left with the baggage handlers on the pier (a tip of USD 1.00 per bag is recommended). They arrived two hours later at the cabin, but this could take longer.

TIP: Identify each of your bags with at least two baggage tags provided by the cruise line giving your name, sailing date and cabin number. Have some clothing in your carry-on, maybe including bathing suits, to get through the first hours on the ship.


Decor

For my taste the ship is decorated a little too colorful. Some of the paintings are really bad and golden plastic eagles are looking at you all the time. This is not American style, this is weird. I also wondered, why the theatre was decorated like a medieval castle with armored knights standing around. But the cabin and most of the public places are really nice, still colorful, but with some more taste.


Cabin

On our last cruise we had a balcony that we never used, so this time we booked the cheapest outside cabin (with two portholes). Besides the fact that you can check the weather before getting out of your cabin, these state rooms are much larger than the inside ones (220 sq. ft. instead of 185 sq. ft.). This does not seem like much difference, but believe me, it is. Be aware that the ‘normal’ balcony cabins also have 185 sq. ft. only (plus 35 sq. ft. balcony).

Our room also was much bigger than the ones we had on other ships. There was enough space and enough hangers for all clothes (and we always take a lot of clothes). 4 bags did nicely fit under the king size bed. Ladies will enjoy the large make-up mirror with good lighting. A hair dryer and 2 bath robes are also provided. The safe is free of charge and functions with any card with magnetic strip.

The bathroom had space for my comb, tooth brush and deodorant stick. Plus around 100 bottles, things and tubes that my wife travels with. Razors, soap, body lotion and other stuff are provided in a basket. If you need more, your cabin attendant will be happy to deliver. The shower is not what you are used to, but I had no problem showering my 250 pounds. I was surprised to have good Dove shampoo available (not the oil stripping type that you get even in good hotels) and shower gel.

TIP: Bring another card with magnetic strip so that you do not have to use a credit card for opening and closing the safe.








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