May 13, 2007
Carnival Valor attempts to be everything to everybody and seems to have succeeded in that endeavor. I saw 20-something "party animals" and seniors who enjoy classical piano co-existing. It's a big ship in which everyone can vacation in their own way. This was my 7'th cruise overall, third on Carnival, and first on a post Panamax ship over 100,000 gross tons. The Valor carries around 3000 passengers and over 1000 crew , which means a solo traveler such as myself can get lost in a crowd from time to time, so perhaps a single's group cruise should be a consideration for someone who is prone to the lonely in a crowd feeling. I found the décor to be both tasteful and dazzling at the same time.
The massive size does have its advantages in that motion sickness didn't seem to effect anyone that I spoke with. The Valor was without a doubt the smoothest ride of my 7 cruises. The only serious issue I had was choppy passenger flow. I dined in the aft Washington Dining room which is on decks 3 and 4, but cannot be accessed from deck 3 at all due to the galley obstacle. Deck 4 isn't much easier to navigate.. The upper forward dining room is actually used as a egress way . Embarkation and debarkation was orderly, efficient, and with a minimum of queuing. Tendering at certain ports required a timely queue.
The food was standard cruise fare in that it delivers what we expect. We expect lobster, escargot, baked Alaska, and fillet minion on a cruise and they present it on schedule. To a non-connoisseur such as myself, the food was wonderful . The seafood and warm chocolate melted cake were my favorites. Rosie's Restaurant on the Lido deck offered an abundant supply of food at every hour I visited. There are 6 hot-tubs and 2 wading pools that I was able to discover. While they were generally crowed, I was always able to find a niche and some meaningful conversation with potential friends. The best hot tub is hidden in the spa . The super slide is a must . Wow..what fun it is !
The production shows had plenty of sizzle and energy. One was cabaret/music venue theme, paying tribute to everything from the Cotton Club, Grand Ole Opry, to Copacabana. The second show was an 80's recollection . Except for the female dancers showing a bit too much derriere, I'm a big fan of Carnival's shows. Also there were about 3 comedians, a ventriloquist, a hypnotist, and the passenger show. No time for boredom!
They don't call them the "fun ships" for nothing.