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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 09-12-2006, 10:27 PM
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We are back from the 9/3-10 Valor sailing.

It had been some time since we cruised Carnival, and I was a bit concerned because of my last experience, but we really enjoyed the Valor.

As most of you know, the ship is decorated with mostly patriotic things. . .There are gold eagles near the elevators. . . .The wallpaper in the cabins and halls features the visages of the likes of Lincoln, Eleanor Roosevelt, Washington, Churchill, etc. The tiled floor areas are done in red, white and blue tiles that resemble an abstract flag. Artwork near the elevators on some floors are from ParkWest, the onboard art auction company. Artwork on the staircases is original, but not too professional-looking. The Shogun Casino and Ivanhoe Theatre were also a little less glamorous than what we expected to see.

The cabin (We were in a balcony on the Panorama Deck.) was nice. I had heard a lot about the beds and how great they were. I didn't find them as comfortable as I expected, given the reviews, but I am pretty picky about beds. It's not a complaint, by any means. . .It's just me.

The food was above average. We had done RCCL's Adventure of the Seas last year and didn't like the buffet at all. We thought the Valor's buffet offerings were much better. The Valor's formal dining room offerings were very good, too.

Darcy Knievel was the Cruise Director, and she did a pretty good job although I think the only adjective she knows is "AMAZING." (Get a thesarus!!) The production shows were EXCELLENT! Both of the featured singers have GREAT voices, and the dancers were way above average. The comedians were pretty good, as was the ventriloquist. I wasn't wild about the hypnotist, but that was me. I don't really believe in it.

The Assistant Cruise Director, Ronaldo, is a hoot! He teaches Latin dances, does Bingo, etc. We had fun with him.

BTW. . . There is a quartet that performs in the Atrium Lounge every evening. They are FANTASTIC. Thre were three couples in our group, and we spent time there talking and listening to the music.

The ports of call were not the most exciting, but we enjoyed seeing them. We did the Western Caribbean (Grand Cayman, Isla Roatan, Belize and Costa Maya). The last three ports are all pretty undeveloped, but I'm guessing that's because they are relatively new ports. I think that within 5 years, they'll be as booming as Grand Cayman.

There is one piece of advice that I'll give regarding the ports. . . .If you take the Western Caribbean cruise, be advised that, as I mentioned above, the last three ports are not really too developed. If you don't take excursions, there is not a lot to do in most of port areas. Costa Maya has a pool right in the port area, but the other two have just a little shopping. Do excursions if you can!!

One of the gals in our group mentioned to me that she was amazed at how clean the Valor was, and I have to agree that the staff is constantly cleaning, vacuuming, wiping, etc.

I know this is a pretty basic review. However, if anyone has any questions, let me know, and I'll answer them.

Chris
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  #2 (permalink)  
Old 09-13-2006, 05:02 AM
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Great review Chris!

I am escorting a group of 22 on the Valor on November 26th, my first on her and some of the people sailing with me their first cruise ever.

I agree about the ports, in fact I am working now on setting up a cave tubing excursion for the entire group. Waiting to hear back from a couple tour guides in Belize.

Thanks for the great review.
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  #3 (permalink)  
Old 09-13-2006, 05:40 AM
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Chris,

Did you happen do dine at Scarletts?? That is the Supper Club on the Valor. I'm heading out on the Valor 10/1, and cannot wait. Any info would be great.

Thanks a million,

Billy
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Old 09-13-2006, 05:53 PM
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We went on the Valor(western) last November and we had a good time. Excursions-

Cayman Islands: We went to Hell (Could of lived without that but nice for bathroom stop), we went to the turtle farm (Small but the kids loved holding the turtles, and then swimming with the stingrays( That was really cool, and I would do it again)

Belize: We didn't do any excursions just took a tender to shore and ate at the Lazy Lizard. We really wanted to go to Caye Caulker but didn't have enough time.

Costa Maya: We took a jeep excursion to a little city, and then to the beach where they made lunch(Gross), the beach was very weedy and you couldn't really go in unless you had water shoes. And then back to the little city and then back to the boat. Costa Maya does have a shopping area with pool.

We thought that the ship was fine except for the lines on the buffet, they need to open more food lines with more options at all times. We also never recieved our receipt for the sign and sail card until we were were getting off the ship, good thing there was nothing wrong on it. And I just have to say that the beds were great, my husband wanted to take it home!!
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Old 09-13-2006, 09:43 PM
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Quote:
I am escorting a group of 22 on the Valor on November 26th, my first on her and some of the people sailing with me their first cruise ever.

I agree about the ports, in fact I am working now on setting up a cave tubing excursion for the entire group. Waiting to hear back from a couple tour guides in Belize.

Thanks for the great review.
Thanks for your kind words. I didn't want to go overboard on the review.

I think you'll like the Valor. We were with 2 other couples, both first-time cruisers, and they both loved the ship and everything associated with it.

I can tell you that a number of people that I had met on another cruise chat list did the cave-tubing in Belize, and I heard nothing but good things about it. . . .except for the one guy who got hurt because he fell off of a cliff. His foot got caught. .. unavoidable accident. He's okay, although he has a nasty cut on his hand. They went through an independent tour group, and I have the website if you want it.

FYI. .. I don't know where your cabins are located. We were on the Panorama deck, and the other two couples were on Veranda deck. We all had balconies, but I did get to see both inside and oceanview cabins, all of which seemed to be pretty roomy.

Chris
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Veracruz - '85
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Old 09-13-2006, 09:47 PM
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Quote:
Did you happen do dine at Scarletts?? That is the Supper Club on the Valor. I'm heading out on the Valor 10/1, and cannot wait. Any info would be great.
Billy, unfortunately, we didn't go to Scarlett's. Actually, I was quite surprised that they seemed to have availability every evening for some reason. Usually, I think the supper clubs tend to book up quickly.

The one person I know who went there said the food was great. You get a choice of two things. . .You can either order a multi-course dinner, or you can choose your entree and other courses. The cost is the same.

You are going to love it. Are you doing east or west?

Chris
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Veracruz - '85
CCL Tropicale - '94
RCCL Adventure of the Seas - '05
CCL Valor - '06
CCL Victory - '06
Celebrity Century - '07
CCL Triumph - '07
CCL Victory - '08
NCL Gem - '10


  #7 (permalink)  
Old 09-13-2006, 10:04 PM
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tonrat wrote:
Quote:
Cayman Islands: We went to Hell (Could of lived without that but nice for bathroom stop), we went to the turtle farm (Small but the kids loved holding the turtles, and then swimming with the stingrays( That was really cool, and I would do it again)

Belize: We didn't do any excursions just took a tender to shore and ate at the Lazy Lizard. We really wanted to go to Caye Caulker but didn't have enough time.

Costa Maya: We took a jeep excursion to a little city, and then to the beach where they made lunch(Gross), the beach was very weedy and you couldn't really go in unless you had water shoes. And then back to the little city and then back to the boat. Costa Maya does have a shopping area with pool.

We thought that the ship was fine except for the lines on the buffet, they need to open more food lines with more options at all times. We also never recieved our receipt for the sign and sail card until we were were getting off the ship, good thing there was nothing wrong on it. And I just have to say that the beds were great, my husband wanted to take it home!!
We did the same stingray excursion, which happened to be the day after Steve Irwin's death due to a ray sting. A lot of people canceled because of that, but there were still a bunch there.

In Isla Roatan, we didn't do an excursion, as I think I noted before. I did, however, hear good things about the canopy/zipline tour and the snuba excursion.

In Belize, we did the tour of Belize City. I would NOT recommend this excursion. Why? There is really nothing to see in Belize City unless you are interested in extremely run-down houses. We drove past what seemed like a zillion schools (All kids wear school uniforms, and the uniform colors vary by school, which is pretty cool.) and went to a pretty poor historical museum. Tendering in takes about 15-20 minutes because the ships have to tender 5 miles offshore because of the coral reef. All that being said, however, I can say that I did enjoy learning what I did about Belize. It's always interesting to see such a different culture and how others live.

We did a snorkel excursion in Costa Maya, and it was pretty poor compared to the one we did last year in Antigua and the other one in Gr.Cayman this year. The water was brown, and the floor of the sea was plant-covered. Yuck. And, I ended up getting bit by a million bugs on shore. Double yuck. I did hear good things about most of the other excursions, though. And, friends of ours went to Mahajual and loved it. They got great deals on jewelry and tequila. And, others who went to Mahajual got the $20 beach massages and loved them.

Chris
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Veracruz - '85
CCL Tropicale - '94
RCCL Adventure of the Seas - '05
CCL Valor - '06
CCL Victory - '06
Celebrity Century - '07
CCL Triumph - '07
CCL Victory - '08
NCL Gem - '10


  #8 (permalink)  
Old 09-13-2006, 10:08 PM
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Oops. I forgot to address the buffet comment. . .

We found that there were always four buffet lines going during the busy breakfast and lunch hours. After 2:00, there were always two lines going. The lines weren't bad at all, even on sea days. Maybe they got the waiting under control now.

I think the worst part of the food experience was at the pizza bar. There was always only one (surly) guy working there, and at times, the lines there were a little long. He was a little too slow, and we thought they should have had someone working with him at peak meal times.

Chris
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Veracruz - '85
CCL Tropicale - '94
RCCL Adventure of the Seas - '05
CCL Valor - '06
CCL Victory - '06
Celebrity Century - '07
CCL Triumph - '07
CCL Victory - '08
NCL Gem - '10


  #9 (permalink)  
Old 09-13-2006, 10:42 PM
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mooneydiva, thanks for the wonderful review as well. Valor has been on my list to cruise on for some time now.
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Old 09-15-2006, 08:28 AM
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I am interested in the cave tubing adventure. Does anyone recomend the cruise ship or an outside vender? Again I am a first timer and have been told that ourside venders are better? any advise?
 
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