Number of posts : 2004
Location : ND, USA
Reputation : 91
Points : 271
Registration date : 2008-05-30
|Subject: Carnival Valor Eastern ('07) part 2 Sat Jul 12, 2008 11:14 pm|| |
PORTS & EXCURSIONS: Nassau, Bahamas This is a short port stop, so we had to be back onboard by 1:30pm. Our plan was to take a taxi over to The Atlantis Resort to explore and view the aquariums. (The Dig) Upon arrival, we were approached by taxi tour guides, and decided on a tour with Derrall Fox. The price was $25 per person for a tour of Nassau, Paradise Island, Atlantis Hotel (including The Dig), some historic sites such as The Queens Staircase, and shopping. We thought this was MUCH better than a taxi ride to explore on our own. The driver was a very knowledgeable guide, and walked us through everything. I highly recommend doing this type tour instead of going out on your own. Atlantis is spectacular! A must-see. We then shopped near the ship, straw market, and hit Senor Frogs for some party action.
St. Thomas: USVI You must process through customs at this port stop whether you get off ship or not. The line moves very fast once they start processing. Start to finish it took us 25 minutes. We pre-booked a tour with SUNNY LISTON TOURS for $25 per person. We were picked up right on time and dropped off in Charlotte Amalie for shopping. Angela was our driver, and she was great. We were cut short on our shopping time, which was disappointing for some in our group. We did not visit Sir Francis Drakes Seat, Bluebeard’s Castle, nor did we choose the beach. She brought us to Sapphire beach, (where we wanted to go anyway) which is very nice. More beach time would have been great. After this stop Sunny himself picked us up. He is a very fun guy, and sang the “Sunday, Monday” song. They kept the music cranked up and the sing-along was really fun. People are definitely turning their heads as you pass by! The view from Mountain Top is spectacular, and the Banana Daq’s were great… and strong! Overall, the tour was very fun, and well worth the money. Angela and Sunny are great!
St. Maarten: We pre-booked a tour similar to Sunny’s…which Sunny himself booked for us with his friend Victor Bryan. The tour ($30 pp) was in an air conditioned 12 passenger van. It was nice and informative, but lacked the fun-spirited sing-along of Sunny’s tour. We toured the island, saw Maho Beach, around to (French side) Marigot for some shopping, photo stops, and to world famous Orient Bay Beach. This is a beautiful beach where tops are optional. You can go all nude at the end near Club Orient. You can Jet Ski, parasail, snorkel (go near Club Orient), swim, or play in the surf. There are bars, restaurants, playgrounds, chairs/umbrellas, you name it. Very beautiful place. Good for families too, if you aren’t hung up on topless or naked people. After 2 hours Victor was supposed to take us shopping in Philipsburg, but most opted to be dropped off at the ship instead. There is a small area of shops by the ship.
ENTERTAINMENT: I attended the welcome aboard show, and a couple comedian shows. I didn’t go to any others. Typical cruise show, nothing spectacular. Comedian made fun of himself for an hour, but he was good at it. My favorite entertainment is live music like the deck band ‘Eclipse’, Thomas with his guitar on the Promenade, and in the Lindy Hop with Trevor. I did participate in “Name that tune” and “Battle of the Sexes” games, and watched many others such as “Fear Factor”, “Survivor”, “Love, Sex & Marriage”, and others. There is an endless amount of activities for you to do all day…and you’ll never be bored.
Things that I liked:
The many activities offered.
The Topless deck! (What man wouldn’t like this?)
No tendering on this itinerary! Yah!
Carnival’s Veteran/Military discount! Hope it stays around. Other lines could take note!
Most of the staff onboard was very friendly. Bartenders and cabin stewards go out of their way to say hi, or make you laugh.
Towel animals are pretty cool.
The shops have good sales all week. There is a great Tanzanite sale as well, with drawings to win more jewelry. Must be present to win.
On St. Valentine’s Day, the ladies in the dining room were all delivered a single red Carnation to the table. A nice touch.
Buckets of beer…great idea. They go down quick on a hot day.
Those blue plastic rockers on the terraced deck. Fun to sit and people watch.
The chocolate buffet is pretty good. It’s served once in the afternoon.
The Deck Party under the stars is fun. They don’t do much besides line dance, but it’s nice to have live music on deck until late. The band was still playing at 2 am! Cool.
Thumbs up to the deck band, piano players, guitar player near the casino and all the other entertainers. They are all very good.
There was an entertainer who did tricks in the dining room. He was very good with coin tricks…and I liked him a lot. Amazing.
Getting through Customs in St. Thomas goes very smoothly. There is a huge line up, but the line moves really fast. In fact…you barely even stand still once the agents arrive onboard. Quick and painless.
Room service. It was great for us, but I heard from others that never received deliveries. Not sure what happened there but mine was always right, and on time.
All the different places to get a quick bite to eat! Deli’s, buffets, pizza joints, burger joints, sushi bars, dining rooms, room service, fish & chips, etc.
Warm Chocolate Melting Cake…need I say more???
The bathroom is very functional. This is one of the best showers I’ve seen on a ship. The curtain doesn’t attack you like on some ships. Love the shower head/hose and the soap/shampoo dispensers. Two thumbs up.
Love the Lobby (atrium). Valor’s goes from deck 3 all the way to the sky. Princess ships have short 3 story ones that aren’t that impressive. RCI still has them all beat! Love the décor with the wooden (flag) flooring.
The beds and comforters are very nice.
Carnival Capers with the removable schedule section.
Things that I didn’t like:
(this may sound like a rant...but this is how I feel...sorry)
No steel drum music! What’s up with that??? I really missed this.
Hot tubs were never really hot.
Security seems to hassle young people for ID all the time. You’d think by weeks end they’d stop asking the same people. It’s good to keep down the underage drinking that’s happening, but they don’t have to be rude about it.
We had multiple weddings, realtors, a large Do-Wop group, and other meeting groups onboard this week. Lounges and clubs were constantly closed for private parties. This just doesn’t seem fair. Many daily activities were moved to locations that weren’t very suitable. This is the first time I’ve seen a big, beautiful atrium/lobby used for such activities! They held break-dancing shows, cornhole tournaments, trivia contests, Battle of Sexes, Golf Putting contests, etc. This made taking a nap in your cabin or falling asleep before midnight very difficult…as they were using loud music and PA systems in the atrium at all hours.
Deck chair saving: This is WAY OUT OF CONTROL. Valor deck chairs were VERY hard to come by in nice sunny weather, or on sea days. People toss stuff on the chairs and never use them. On the bright side…you can bring home a lot of $22 towels. ? Chair hogs….two thumbs down to you. You know who you are.
Attention Smokers…you’re not going to like this part so just skip on by it… Interior smoking. I’m not a smoker, and don’t think it should be permitted anywhere indoors. Until society catches up with the times…I’ll deal with it best I can…in protest. The bars, lounges, and casino are smokey, as is the Promenade (deck 5) in general. It’s a high traffic area, and there is no shortage of smokers onboard. How does this affect my cruise…other than the deadly health hazard? I like to pack light, and sometimes wear my dinner clothes on more than one night. That’s tough to do when they smell like cigarette smoke the next day. Exterior smoking: While I’m on the subject…Starboard side of the pool deck is the ‘smokers-gone-wild’ section. Some people disregard this and smoke all over the place. The smell of cigars and cigarettes will sometimes chase you off of your ‘premium priced’ balcony as well. (Not to mention the marijuana smoke we smelled a couple times out there)
I didn’t like the fact that some passengers think it’s ok to walk around wherever they want with no clothes on. I don’t mind this outdoors…but I didn’t like all those shirt-less, and shoe-less men walking around inside Rosie’s getting food or in the American Lobby having drinks. It’s just tacky and unhealthy. Try this at a nice land based restaurant. Wise up fools…if you only knew how stupid you look.
I hate cruise ship coffee on all lines equally. It’s all very bad. I think it’s a ploy to get you to the Java Café for $4 lattes. Dining room coffee is a bit better than everywhere else…but not much.
This ship has a very crowded feel. I think it has to do with the proximity of all the clubs, venues, shops, etc all being located together. There are a lot of people on board…yes. It is nice to stroll down the Promenade and see what’s up. This is both good and bad because it gets crowded. (Can you tell I’m not a fan of crowds?)
I prefer a sliding door to the balcony. The swinging door just wastes space. The balcony seems even smaller because of this. I didn’t like the furniture out there either. The best furniture I’ve seen was on Island Princess. Large table right up against the rail, and two chairs that can lay back.
Shows starting at 10:30pm for late seating. Princess has many shows BEFORE dinner for late seating. This way, you are not up all night trying to see everything.
I like to see the ships position on a chart broadcast on the TV in your cabin like Princess and RCI. Carnival Valor didn’t have this feature. You had to go down on the Promenade to view it.
TIP: FRS radios: They are a good way to communicate onboard. The problem is, parents give these things to their kids and let them run amok! They are on every channel, screaming and cursing on them. I found them to be useless onboard because of this. If you bring them…bring one with privacy codes. Oh yeah, this ship has cell phone service at sea…so you’ll see people all over the place yapping it up.
Note: Parents…you brought those kids, and it’s YOUR responsibility to watch/parent them…24/7. I saw unsupervised kids running loose everywhere. I saw small children climbing up onto the upper rails of the 10th deck! Now I love kids, but they need tending to. Kids need supervision on a ship...you just don't let them run amok! ANYTHING can happen on a ship, and you have a FALSE sense of security about cruise ships if you don't supervise them!
CONCLUSION: Many things on this cruise simply didn’t live up to the ‘greatness’ I’ve experienced on other cruises. Don’t get me wrong, this was a good cruise…just not as good as it could have been. It started out on the wrong track right from embarkation…where I actually said I would never sail Carnival again…before I ever stepped foot on their ship! (Yea, I was mad!) There was a lot I liked about Carnival Valor, and a lot I didn’t care for. All in all we still had a good vacation experience. We received good value for our money. I believe we will sail Carnival in the future sometime. But for my money and experience…I think Royal Caribbean and Princess are more our style.