by SUSAN D JONES
November 12, 2006
First time cruise for hubby and myself. This was a planned family reunion and celebration of a 50th wedding anniversary for my husband's Mother and Father. I really enjoyed myself; I read all the reviews concerning the gaudy display of decor that carnival is famous for but i thought the boat was in great taste. It may be a little over the top but most of the common areas were beautiful. I have to add this is a very big ship; huge smile!!! Be prepared to walk for miles, I am sorry I didn't have a meter to track the mileage I did during my walking from events, to my room, or to meals.
Though there were alot of people, the only time it felt overwhelming was on the lido deck where most of the activities were held during the day. The space was very small and the swimming pools even smaller so I was not able to enjoy the pools or hot tubs because they were overwhelmingly crowded. As for the buffets the dining areas were ran like a machine. The staff constantly cleaned up behind diners so there were always clean areas to sit. The buffet areas were vere appealing because they were not slopped over. The trays were constantly replaced so you did not have to scrap the remains; the staff would replace the trays with fresh refilled ones. The selections were great and I can not think of anytime during the day when the food was not acceptable. You could eat at special locations on the lido deck at a special hamburger/pizza/deli areas, even a fish and chips area that served salads. The dining rooms were supberb. If you were disappointed in the meal you received you were able to exchange for another meal. You always felt you were eating at a first class restaurant every night. Beautiful settings and you didnt feel on top of your neighbor. It was very pleasurable and the staff very professional. The staterooms are excellent for the price. The beds very comfortable and if you were lucky to have a balcony room very comfortable and enabled you to get away from the crowds and sit comfortably on your balcony and enjoy the scenery and sea. The entertainment was excellent; would enjoy if they had some top names on the bill like some other liners do but carnival did make sure the acts were topnotch. I heard one complaint from singles and that was they wished there were activities for singles to mingle and meet. They had one night and that was it as I was told. My only complaint was that the confusion of the halls and how sometimes some areas that one can use for shortcuts were cut off from public use. Valor does have a small brochure with the ship design but was not given to us until we complained about where some of the activities were located, and the confusion of finding the venues. Then was the brochure given to us. This should had been placed in our rooms when we arrived. And let me add another small complaint which can escalate to major if one misses a flight. The dembarkation process needs to be redone. we were unable to leave the ship until 9 am though the ship had been docked since 7 am. They had promised that those who had early flights would be able to leave early but that didnt happen. The distance we had to go to get to customs didn't help any. Please be prepared for a nightmare and please wear comfortable clothing and shoes because you are in for a trial. Request a wheelchair if you or someone in family are in not in tiptop shape. Do not be ashamed to request assistance, the distances from boat to exit to port side is a great distance and with small children or an elderly or disabled family member this can be a trying moment. You have the airport yet to deal with so by the time you arrive home you may wished you stayed there smile. Enjoy the cruise because Valor is a great ship and the shore excursions wonderful; wished they could be longer but wonderful. Will go on another cruise and will consider Valor once again and Carnival.