Carnival Cruise Lines
by Dewey Alderson
April 25, 2010
SUNDAY, APRIL 25, 2010:
How easy can it get? There were seven of us including my wifeís sister and her husband. They had never cruised before and had a wonderful week. We turned our luggage over to the porters, gave them a tip, and made our way inside. We hade a suite so we could have gone the VIP route but decided to stay with the rest of our group. We got there about 11:15 and were at our cabins by 11:45. They were ready and we put our stuff in and went to lunch. Eating is my favorite part of a cruise. The six new pounds will vouch for that. One word about the new kiosks that Carnival has installed to help you get through the lines quickly. GREAT! Use them. MEALS: Great food at lunch and in the main Washington Dining Room. Juan was our waiter for the early sitting and he was fantastic. Danilo was his assistant and they took great care of us all week long. We looked forward to the nights that they sang and danced. Two appetizers, two entrees and two desserts. This night was Cream Bruleí. One of my favorites but I had also heard about the Chocolate Melting Cake. Try both. CABINS; our suite was ready early and had a balcony that was large enough for all seven of us. The other two cabins were inside ones but were directly across the hall. ENTERTAINMENT: This was the one area where I thought some work could be done. We have cruised other lines and seen better. However, you have to realize that you get what you pay for. We could afford a suite on Carnival for the balcony cabin price on another line. The comedian that night was not great and we did not enjoy him. The dancers were not the best but we did enjoy them.
MONDAY, APRIL 26, 2010:
A nice, quiet day at sea. We did the hot tub thing and the pool. I must say that this is the only day that we took the time for this. Too busy otherwise. The best part of my day was sitting on the balcony and getting a chance to read and relax. MEALS: again great food and great service. There are eight different buffets on the Valor, not counting the burrito bar, the deli, the pizza place, sushi bar and fish and chips. If you canít find what you want stay home. The fish and chips were more than enough for me, but I also had the calamari. Like I said I like to eat. Got my brother-in-law to try the calamari and he loved it. ENTERTAINMENT: good show featuring the dancers and singers. I also enjoyed going along the fifth deck and listening to the individuals that sang on the small stage there. Some quiet time alone as I listened. Everyone else was in a hurry to do something or get somewhere.
TUESDAY, APRIL 27, 2010:
GRAND CAYMAN: A visit to the turtle farm, Hell and Sting Ray City. My sister-in-law was scared of them at first but warmed up to them and said that it was one of the high lights of her trip. The water was so clear that you could see the sand at you feet. I grabbed a snorkel and got a view of some beautiful fish under the boat. On the way back in, the Captain saw a star fish, threw the boat into neutral and jumped out the window. He brought on board one of the largest ones I have ever seen. Then jumped in and brought up another one. Great treat and great pictures. MEALS: we hit the buffet when we got back. I was still full when dinner time came around but that didnít stop me from eating. Tonight was escargot and I had three dishes. Love that stuff. Got the brother-in-law to eat snails and he enjoyed them as well. The first night he had shrimp cocktail and it became a joke every night because Juan would bring him two plus whatever else he ordered for the appetizer. Got him to try different foods but the sister-in-law stuck with steaks, pork chops and chicken. ENTERTAINMENT: Iím not certain if this was the night for the juggler or not. Just want to say that he was AWFUL. The comedian that followed him was a little better but not much. Again, you get what you pay for. I went back to a suite with a balcony and a Jacuzzi tub so it was worth it.
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 28, 2010:
ROATAN, HONDURAS: Yes, a nice relaxing day on Mahogany Beach. We took the chair lift and rented a clamshell to cover two lounges. It got warm but then we would walk out into beautiful water to cool off. Needless to say, the tan is looking good. I recommend this to anyone. Great time. MEALS: again, excellent. The waiters sang and danced. Our two were up on little tables in the main room and we laughed so hard we almost cried. Buffets were great for breakfast and lunch. I enjoyed omelets every morning. Was never disappointed in them. ENTERTAINMENT: again left something to be desired but enjoyed it. Slept like a baby.
THURSDAY, APRIL 29, 2010:
BELIZE: Rain started the night before and kept up all morning. Went to the Mayan ruins but did not enjoy them due to being wet. Not the cruise lineís fault. It stopped as we ate lunch at the Black Orchid Resort. A feast on the local cuisine: rice and beans, chicken, plantain and diet coke. Well, maybe not the diet coke. Then we got on a boat to float down the River Wallace. Wow, monkeys, iguanas, crocodiles, tarpon and manatees. Loved it. MEALS: We enjoyed the meal at the resort. It wasnít that expensive. Let me say this about the excursions, I do not mind paying a little extra to get them through the cruise line. Then I have someone to complain to, however, we enjoyed all of them that we took so no complaints. The meal in the main dining room was enjoyable as well. We also made late night trips to the ninth deck for pizza and deli sandwiches. Ice cream machines are everywhere. ENTERTAINMENT: well this was the night I had heard about. Some of you had mentioned that the dancersí costumes were getting smaller and they are. I knew this so when the girls came out in their cowgirl outfits I knew what to expect. I watched the eyes of my brother-in-law and thought that they would pop out when he saw the thongs that they had on.
FRIDAY, APRIL 30, 2010:
COZUMEL, MEXICO: a trip to Passion Island on the Twister boat. Ready to do it again. My sister-in-law was worried that the boat would turn over and we would all drown. Didnít happen, but the 360 degree turns at high speed made us hold on. Of course, you are strapped in and there is no danger. She says that this was the best thing all week. We got to the island and were treated like royalty. Wonderful water, great beach and good food. My brother-in-law slept most of the afternoon in a hammock. Got some pictures of him snoring. Then back on the twister boat. You have to take this trip. I told our host that when I retire I am going to come and be her assistant. No salary just all I can eat. MEALS: a Mexican buffet was included. Donít eat the habanera (sp) peppers. HOT! Again, the meal in the dining room was to die for. Tonight one of the dancers was at the door when you left for pictures. Got mine taken and have a big smile. The brother-in-law almost split his sides when his was taken. ENTERTAINMENT: this was the best night of the week. John Wesley Austin was the comedian and he was so funny that I cried.
SATURDAY; MAY 1, 2010:
A quite day at sea. MEALS: again, buffets for breakfast and lunch. Then into the dining room for dinner. I am one of those who enjoys shaving and a shower before the evening meal and donít shave in the morning. I also love the formal nights and have no problem putting on a suit. Our pictures from those two nights are part of our cruise memories. ENTERTAINMENT: well, this was karaoke. Iím not sure if I would have enjoyed some time on the balcony better, but I went any way. Good, bad and the ugly. The Clint Black and Frank Sinatra were very, very good. The Madonna and whoever the other lady was supposed to be were the bad and the cruise crew were the ugly (funny, but ugly.)
SUNDAY, MAY 2, 2010:
DEBARKATION: up early for a buffet breakfast. By 8: 30 you have to be out. We went to the theater and waited. I had anticipated a long one, but in less than 20 minutes our number (7) was called. Actually, our number was one because of VIP but we waited with the rest of the clan. We got off the boat quickly, had to wait for a few minutes on our luggage. Then into the Customs line. I think that they believe they have to make you wait no matter what happens. We had a good time joking with our porters as we stood in line. We were still through fairly quickly and off to home. Iím ready for the next one.
Like I said, you get what you pay for. Will I cruise Carnival again? Absolutely. They are a fine line and were worth what we paid. Will we cruise other lines? Absolutely, it just depends on where we are going and what the best value is.