by Kim D.
February 26, 2006
We just returned from a wonderful vacation on the Carnival Valor to the Eastern Caribbean out of Miami. It was a great break from the cold and snow of northern VT.
We flew down early to enjoy a day in Ft. Lauderdale. We enjoyed a water tour on the Carrie B. and wandered around Las Olas Blvd for awhile. We were part of a group and stayed as part of a package at the Ramada Cruiseport/Airport which also provided transportation from the airport and to the port Sunday morning. It was ok. It was safe and clean, but without going into specifics I will definitely find a different place next time. Tony's Transportation took us to the port efficiently and safely.
We arrived at approximately 1:00 and having cruised via this port previously we were prepared for the long lines. However, they moved right along and we were in our stateroom dropping off our carryons by 1:30. We liked the way our balcony stateroom was designed with plenty of storage space and floor space. The improved bedding is excellent. We loved the shower, shampoo, shower gel, bathrobes, fluffy towels and toiletries in the bathroom. Shortly after the boat drill, our luggage started arriving. We headed up to the Lido deck to enjoy the embarkation festivities.
They have changed the location of the lido deck band on this ship and there seemed to be less live music and more DJ music, not a good change in our opinion. The redesign of the deck also made it hard to see any activities that were going on that involved the main pool. We enjoyed many walks in the fresh air on the walking track and learned how to play shuffle board one day.
Immediately upon walking into the cruise terminal, we were informed that we would not be going to Nassau, but to San Juan instead due to weather and heavy seas. Since we had never been to San Juan and it would be an evening visit, we elected to do a City/Shopping tour which we booked online in our cabin. We were very disappointed with that experience and in hindsight, we could have walked to all of the attractions we were taken to. On St. Thomas, we booked an excursion that took us to Coral World and Magen's Bay. We thoroughly enjoyed this tour and it gave us the opportunity to view some of the island. On St. Maarten, we booked a catamaran excursion that took us to a deserted island for snorkeling and hanging out on the beach. We had never been on a "cat" before and it was one of the best times on our trip. The snorkeling is not instructional and we experienced some problems with equipment, but darn we just had to hang out on the beautiful beach in the wonderful water after that! Others in our group reported that they especially enjoyed the Divi Beach Resort and horseback riding excursions on this island also. Following, we spent 2 blissful days at sea, napping, walking, and enjoying the ships activities.
We always enjoy the dining room. The food was great and the waiters were excellent and fun to get to know. I'm especially partial to the capucino which the waiter always had ready for me with dessert. We also visited Rosie's, the grill (they have added an extra grill area on the Lido deck which was an excellent idea), the pizzeria, oriental and the fish and chips station. All of the food in these areas was also excellent and we enjoyed several lunches at the back of the ship enjoying full glass views of sea and sun.
As for entertainment we especially enjoyed the Music Zone Band. We also saw several production shows and enjoyed the comedians. We never made it to the casino, but most of our group enjoyed their time there (with some quite successful) and they also played bingo in the theater. There was definitely something for everyone to do on this ship.
Overall, we had an excellent experience. I would be happy to answer any specific questions at email@example.com.