Hello all cruise lovers, gurus, and experts! I am hoping to get some information from anyone who is willing to offer it. My fiance and I are taking our Honeymoon on the Carnival Valor in October. I have never been on a cruise before and I am more excited than I can even begin to explain. My biggest question is if this ship is a good choice and what kind of experience should I expect? Also, after paying for our own wedding we will not have a ton of money to spend on other things such as shore excursions and such, so I was wondering if anyone knew a cheaper way to enjoy the ports of call without booking an excursion through the cruise line. We are sailing the Western Carribean... is this a good choice? Any suggestions, advice, or even just good 'ol information is appreciated!
Welcome aboard to Cruise Chat, Supawerd1. You guys are going to love the Valor. She is 110,000 tons of pure entertainment. I would go through all of the entertainment venues and eating options, but.... It's your HONEYMOON!!! The only info that you need to know is that the sheets are soft and the room service is 24 hrs. Welcome to our forum and congratulations on your upcoming nuptials. Be careful, cruising is crack. It only takes one time to be hooked for life.
Supawerd1, Welcome to cruise chat and Congrads!
You guys are going to have a great time.
If you are wanting to do any shore excursions, do not book them through Carnival. You can save a lot of money booking them on your own. One site that we like to use is www.grandcaymancruiseexcursions.com
They offer great service at great prices. You can also go to Caribbean Port Chat and get a lot of info.
Welcome supawerd1, congratulations on your upcoming wedding. You're in for a wonderful experience. Not sure what ports you will be visiting, but most places you can hop in a cab and have a great time. We've done a lot of great excursions through the ship and on our own. If you let us know which ports, we'll be happy to try and help. Also, if you have any specific questions, we'll give it a try. Best wishes and have a wonderful cruise!
Thank you all for the information so far! The ports that we are visiting are Grand Cayman, Roatan Island (Honduras), Belize, and Costa Maya. I checked out the websited that 29dawgs posted and found some pretty good information there on the shore excursions. My fiance is crazy about going to the Mayan Ruins but Belize, Honduras, and Costa Maya all have ruins that you can go to... which place is the best?
We really appreciate all of your input and would love to hear more about the ship in general and what to expect. We just want to know as much as possible about this trip as we can before we go. Any major Do's and Don'ts???
Welcome! I have never been on the Valor but my husband and I did our honeymoon on the Conquest. We hit Grand Cayman, Jamaica and Cozumel. Definitely do the sting rays in Grand Cayman. Also, we often pass on the shore excursions and just hire a local taxi driver to take us on a private tour of whatever island we're on. That way, we can stop and take photos wherever we want without having to worry about other people.
We've had mixed results. Our Tortola tour this year was very dull, but our Puerto Rican cab driver was awesome and took us to a bunch of great spots, gave us an entire history of the island, snapped pictures of us galore, etc. The whole thing took about two hours and we paid $40! It was great. They'll negotiate with you and you can usually talk them down.
As far as onboard experience, the ships are a destination in and of themselves. There are a ton of lounges, bars, pools, etc. There's absolutely something for everyone, from Las Vegas-style shows to the casino to musical performances to game show-style competitions. Every night you'll get a "Carnival Capers" newsletter that tells you everything going on the next day. The great thing about cruising is you can do as much or as little as you want. And everyone pampers you, it's great!
Writing about cruising makes me realize just how much I can't wait for my next one! You will have a great time. And Dr. Livingston is right — once you do one, you'll be completely addicted!
Booked on Carnival Freedom, Feb. 2012 (Cozumel, Costa Rica, Panama)
NCL Gem, Sept. 2011
NCL Jewel, Feb. 2011
NCL Dawn, Sept. 2010
NCL Spirit, Feb. 2010
NCL Gem, March 2009
RCCL Explorer of the Seas, Feb. 2008
Carnival Miracle, May 2007
Carnival Conquest, April 2006
Caribbean Princess, Feb. 2005
I agree with Cortney, Stigray City is a must for Grand Cayman. In Belize we enjoyed the cave tubbing. Not much to do in Costa Maya. They have a big salt water pool right at the port that is free with shopping around it. You can also take a cab just a few miles to a free local beach. Costa Maya might be the place to go to the ruins. Don't know about Honduras, never been there. Hope this helps.
Grand Cayman, I definitely suggest Sting ray city, I also love 7 mile beach, absolutely beautiful. We also did some good snorkels right by where you tender. Costa Maya, beach day. 29dawgs is correct, not much going on. Belize, cave tubing or a snorkel trip. Never been to Honduras either, but had some friends from there. They told me the water was great and the island was beautiful. I'd probably opt for an organized tour since I've never been and some type of a snorkel trip. Usually, the first visit to an island, I'll do an excursion through the ship (snorkel and then a land) just to be safe. I know the ship will wait for me and I know the cruise line has checked out the operator(s). Like Cortney said, you can do as much or as little as you desire. Happy sailing!
Thank you all again for the advice and information!!! I am sure that this cruise will be wonderful!
Just one more question that I have... recently someone just mentioned to me that we are sailing during hurricane season. We depart from Miami on October 14th and return the 21st. Should I be worried about the weather cancelling my trip and what if it rains the entire time I am on the cruise? Will it still be fun?
Just a side note, I just read that if there are hurricane conditions at one of the ports of call, they will change the itinerary. Has this ever happened to any of you? Has it ever been so bad that you couldnt leave port at all or even return to port at the end of your cruise?!?