Well as promised for those on the Valor in the future, a review from a first time cruiser's point of view.
All Aboard Process:
We arrived a little later than I had planned, so the line was LONG. Before everyone starts screaming at me, the line moved FAST. Really fast. We were through security within 25 minutes. The check in lines were confusing and we were lucky and wound up in the right line for people who completed the fun pass, however I know of 6 groups who wound up in the wrong line and it took a while for them to get in. We head up to the 9th floor for lunch and it was great. You had so many choices for lunch you didn't know what to eat. Ladies, Deserts were everywhere. The Carnival staff was great and everything seemed to be moving right along. Before you knew it we where off and sailing. Our room was ready and bags were droped off.
Always alot to chose from. More options than one could think of. The staff was 1st class all the way. The table entertainer was simply the best. On the last night, he even help a couple from New York get engaged with his carzy magic.
Always lots of options, however the buffet was only open from 12:00 to 2:30ish. So if you booked a tour or adventure the only options was burgers, chicken, pizza. This was one of the only negative point about the cruise. We always seemed to get back to the ship after the buffet was closed so no buffet for us. However when we did get to eat from the pick one of 1000 choices it was incrediable.
You had your typical options. Bacon, Ham, Sausage, Grits, Pancakes, and my favorite Omlets or Eggs your way. Thats right your choice any way you want it made fresh. Top notch all the way.
Always a favorite for us night owls. Each night something different. Each night a differnt preference.
Shows and Comedy:
This my friends was my biggest suprise. We all know the "LAS VEGAS STYLE SHOWS." Some are great others are well stupid. Let me tell you, I was suprised. Shows were entertaining and enjoyable. Always something fun and upbeat. If you tour the Valor, you MUST check out the Magic show, it is done by the tour dirrector and it was great. Fun for the kids and adults. nice show. Much to my suprise great shows. Comedy on board was great, from 2 night through las comedy, adult comedy after 12:00 is a must see. If you like the Adult comdey you will like what they provide for you.
Captin Marvins tours to Stingray bay and 2 stops snorkeling. What can i say he was as good as I read and heard about from my friends. It was 90 for us as a couple and we were only 30 people deep on our boat. That was the largest tour they send out. Normally it is a much smaller group, but bad weather had hotel guest backed up so we had a few extra people on board. Worth every penny.
Carnival Tour "Parrots, Monkey....Guntalmuba Bay" This was a great tour, however I think a large majority of why is was so good was because of the people we were with. I think it was a bit pricy, but all in all we had a great time. Glad we did it. I would also recomend the Zip line tour.
WOW. WOW this was my favorite stop. Beautiful. We chose Reggie Tour's for Cave Tubing. This day started out BAD. We were told to look for a bus/van with A-1 Tours. We never found any vehicle of the sort. We were stranded with no place to go. We quickly found a phone and called Reggie collect. He sent his son down and Jay his son was wonderful. Let me stop about the tour and talk about our guide. Jay was by far the most educated individual I ran into my whole trip. Lets just say he is on the for front of TV publication there. He impressed my so much. I can't say enough out him. Back to cave tubing. Cave Tubing was the highlight of our cruise. The was a quite peaceful tour that was worth every penny. Reggie's tour was great and recomended.
Carnival Dune Buggie tour. This was a fun tour that cost a lot of money $188 for 2 people, however, we rode 45 to a private beach with 13 people. We played beach vollyball and even the tour guides joined in to balance off the teams. Talk about fun.
Staff: Simply the best. As a first time cruiser we were treated like gold the whole trip. You have never lived like a king and queen until you cruise.
Drinks: Alchol is expensive, if you like to drink. Me and my wife are drinkers so we figured we would spend about 500 in a week per persona and that was about right.
Tiping: Please don't think that tipping is stupid. I found out that an average beverage server makes $70 a month, Free room and meal though. They do get 15% of your total bill on sales but that goes into a pot and it divided among everyone. So if you have great service and you want to show how much you like your service, pull out a $20 or $40 and give the cash to your server. They will thank you in so many ways and yes you will get that really good feeling along with much stronger drinks.
Hope this answers alot of questions. Any other questions email me any time. Yes we are looking into are next cruise already. What a blast.