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Carnival Cruise Lines: Carnival Valor

  • Carnival Cruise Lines
  • Carnival Cruise Lines
  • Carnival Cruise Lines
  • Carnival Cruise Lines
  • Carnival Cruise Lines
  • Carnival Cruise Lines
  • Carnival Cruise Lines
  • Carnival Cruise Lines

Carnival Valor Review

Insider Take

Should Be Avoided By People Who Prefer

An elegant, quiet and relaxing cruise; private areas away from the public, especially children.

Decor

Carnival's ship designer, the renowned Joe Farcus, in keeping with the name chose "Heroes and Heroism," as the theme for Valor. Along those lines, Joe chooses to play to his audience by using the American flag as inspiration for the main atrium. There are stark marble stars & stripes embedded in the floor and gilded eagle sculpturettes throughout the ship. Rather than brass and glass, most of the ship is molded with chrome & mirrors, which tends to send you confusing visual signals as you navigate the ship.

Public Rooms

Valor's layout includes a skeleton which is ideal to her sisters, starting with the imposing nine-deck American Atrium rising above the American Lobby. In the center is a small stage for non-imposing background music; behind the musicians glass elevators rise to the top deck. The "Promenade" on Deck 5 includes the Jeanne's Wine Bar, the kid's area called The Caboose, The Shogun Club Casino, The Lindy Hop sing-along piano bar, The Paris Hot for combo music and the One Small Step adult disco. The ship's secondary showroom at the stern, is the Eagle's Lounge, where entertainment varies between a live 4-piece band playing Beatles tunes and late-night "blue" comedy.

On the opposite end of Valor is the three-deck high Ivanhoe Theater; aim for the lower balcony seats, a little off-center, for the best view. Hidden on Deck 4 is Winston's Cigar Bar, a cigar bar which features jazz music and dancing before dinner. For sports fanatics, there is a Sports Bar with satellite ESPN on seven large-screen televisions, in addition to video poker machines built into the bar.

Other diversions include the small Iliad Library open for several hours each day and various boutiques selling a wide range of duty-free jewelry, perfume, and alcohol along with the usual cruise items.

Restaurants

Carnival's Total Choice Dining provides for four seating times for a table in the main dining rooms at 5:45 or 6:15 p.m. and 8 or 8:30 p.m. Of the two main dining rooms, the Washington, located aft, is framed by three walls of windows so it boasts better views. The Lincoln is located mid-ships with windows only on two sides. The best tables are on the balcony, the middle lower section being a bit noisy. The friendly atmosphere is encouraged by the tables seating between four and six people, although there are quite a few tables for only two diners.

The sunny and spacious Rosie's restaurant, which features amazing views of the sea, offers breakfast and lunch buffets. Alternatively, you can enjoy a meal served alfresco poolside in the Prometheus Lido area just behind Rosie's. For those who prefer to dine when the mood strikes them, this poolside Lido restaurants offer buffet dinner between 6:00 and 9:00 p.m. without reservations. Breakfast is also available in the Washington dining room. For those looking for a quick snack, the hamburger and hot dog stand, located in the Prometheus Lido near the stern pool, serves food throughout the afternoon. There are self-serve frozen yogurt and ice cream machines, and multiple lemonade, coffee, and iced tea stations. The Valor's pizzeria has a great variety of pizza types on offer in addition to Caesar salad, both served 24 hours a day. There is also a deli for lighter lunch choices. The room service menu features sandwiches, desserts and breakfast fare.

The Java Cafe on the Promenade Deck serves delectable sweets and a range of coffees. The Togo Sushi Bar, adjacent to the Java Cafe is open evenings only and serves sushi. Note that the name is Togo (one word), not Sushi to go.

For a cover charge of $30, guests can sample fine wines and dine on the excellent menu choices at Scarlett's. There is a small combo playing behind a tiny dance floor, which proves to be ample for those couples obviously celebrating a special date together.

Service

The staff on Valor is prompt, well-organized, and prone to showing off, as when balancing trays on their heads while serving dessert. The maitre'd makes a point of learning the names of all couples celebrating an anniversary.

Entertainment

The main theater, the Ivanhoe Theater, presents outstanding production shows featuring beautiful costumes and Vegas-quality light shows, but even the smaller venues have great acts and music, particularly the sing-along Lindy Hop piano bar. There is a Caribbean band on the pool deck. More interactive activities include numerous bingo games, ballroom dancing, karaoke, and "game show mania".

Cabins

While the decor in the cabins is somewhat reserved, they are some of the largest available on any cruise ship, and many are fitted with lovely private balconies. The suites and ocean view staterooms come with complimentary bathrobes and a mini bar. The cabins located on the outside are 220 sq. feet and include a coffee table and plush leather sofa. The inside cabins are 195 sq. feet in area and are great for families or large groups of singles due to their pull-down berths that provide extra sleeping space. Families might prefer the 230 sq. feet cabins located next to the children's center. All the large bathrooms include a shower (the suites are the only cabins with tubs), basket of toiletries, and hair dryer. The cabins come standard with a color TV that includes ESPN, CNN, and movies. There is plentiful storage space, with three closets and a several drawers. Cabins for those of special needs are available.

Attire

Casual wear is standard during the day. For the two formal nights, men can rent a tuxedo, though most men opt for dark suits. The ship has men's and women's accessories available to rent for these formal nights. No jeans in the dining room ever, no shorts after dark.

Overview

Conquest-class; 22 bars & lounges, Farcus theme of "Heroes & Heroism" features chrome and mirrors. Large health club, sports deck.

Best For People Who Want

Exciting and ritzy nightlife; more than the average number of singles on board, better than average cuisine for a bargain to mid-priced vessel; a large casino; spacious cabins, some for three and four passengers, many with balconies; excellent fitness and spa facilities; and an abundant children's programs.

Onboard Experience

Carnival Valor is Carnival Cruises third ship within the Conquest-class of vessels which also include Carnival Glory, Carnival Liberty, and Carnival Conquest. They are all big sisters to Carnival's Destiny class. Valor weighs in at over 110,000 tons. The extra footage added to this vessel (compared to the 101-ton Destiny class) is given over to expanded children's facilities, comprising a separate children's pool, a mini-movie theatre, and an indoor playground. Additional alternative dining spots include Scarlett's, serving gourmet cuisine, and the best U.S.D.A. prime beef. There are 22 bars and lounges throughout the 13 passenger decks.

Other amenities include an Internet cafe, four swimming pools, and a 15,000-square-foot health club. The ship has no lack of entertainment of all varieties, featuring the Lindy Hop sing-along piano bar and One Small Step disco, along with gorgeous production shows and side-splitting comics.

Cuisine

Valor offers attractive breakfast and lunch buffets ,including an excellent salad bar and made-to-order dishes. For those with a sophisticated palate, the new menus feature chateaubriand, rack of lamb, and lobster, along with chocolate desserts. On the other end of the scale, delicious pizza and Caesar salad are available 24 hours a day. Delightful specialties can be found near the Prometheus Lido including the Sur Mer seafood station and an Asian food station that regularly rotates its dishes. There's a complimentary sushi bar on the Promenade Deck in the evenings, and vegetarian and low-salt items on every menu and at all stations.

Tipping

All Carnival cruises have a $10.00 per person per day (excluding children under two years of age) gratuity comprising $5.50 for the Dining Room service, $3.60 for the stateroom steward, and $.90 for the alternative dining rooms. This charge can be either automatically added to the Sail & Sign card or it can be prepaid (prepayment is mandatory on the Cruises-to-Nowhere). The purser's desk can decrease or increase this amount throughout the cruise. Tip room service, the maitre d', casino, spa, or other staff as you deem fit. The bar and beverage tabs all include a 15 percent gratuity to the bill.

Fitness/Spa

The gym's 15,000 sq. feet is full of treadmills, stationary bikes, stairmasters, rowing and hydraulic weight machines, and of course free weights. The strategically placed equipment allows you to enjoy the lovely panoramic views offered by the floor-to-ceiling windows. For runners, a lap on the jogging deck, which surrounds the smokestack, is equivalent to 1/11 of a mile.




Ship Overview

In 2004, the third of the Conquest-class ships, Carnival Valor launched with interiors designed as a tribute to valiant acts and heroic people. Colorful, yet for Carnival quite subtle, the flow of design and function work well and are not overwhelming. The ship is scheduled for refurbishment in 2014 when it will receive Carnival’s "Fun Ship 2.0" upgrades with new casual dining options and bars. From her home port in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Carnival Valoroffers weeklong sailings to the Southern Caribbean.

Taking Fun Ships to new lengths and widths, Conquest-class ships are among the largest in the Carnival fleet. They're basically larger and more feature-filled versions of earlier Destiny-class vessels. More space translates into additional decks, an upscale steak house, and even more bars and lounges; however, well-proportioned public areas belie the ships' massive size. You'll hardly notice that there's slightly less space per passenger after you take a thrilling trip down the spiral waterslide.

Public rooms flow forward and aft from stunning central atriums. Just off each ship's main boulevard is an array of specialty bars, dance lounges, discos, piano bars, and show lounges, plus seating areas along the indoor promenades. The promenade can get crowded between dinner seatings and show-lounge performances, but with so many different places to spend time, you're sure to find one with plenty of room and an atmosphere to suit your taste.

The world's largest cruise line—and one of the most widely recognized—originated its "Fun Ship" concept in 1972 and has been launching party-packed superliners with signature red funnels ever since. The line's ever-growing fleet features entertainment and activities designed for passengers of all ages, from game shows and lip sync competitions to twisting waterslides and mini golf. These ships are a reliable choice for families as well as young singles and couples who want a vacation that won’t break the bank.

Nearly all onboard dining options are included in the fare, as are comedy and production shows, children’s programs, and use of state-of-the-art fitness centers. With some of the most comfortable accommodations at sea, large new ships are continuously added to the fleet and rarely deviate from a successful pattern, while older vessels are updated with popular features, such as the poolside BlueIguana Tequila Bar with an adjacent burrito cantina, the Red Frog Rum Bar that also serves Carnival’s own brand of Thirsty Frog Red beer, and Guy’s Burger Joint, created with Food Network star Guy Fieri.

What You Should Know

Pros

  • The lounge chairs on the deck above the aft Lido pool are almost always quiet
  • Steak houses on these ships are some of the best restaurants—and dining bargains—at sea
  • The ships have been retrofitted with Carnival’s Seaside Theatres—the jumbo-size poolside LED screens

Cons

  • Cabins and balconies on deck 8 from mid-ship to aft are beneath the Lido and suffer from pool-deck noise overhead
  • Seating at the casino bar can be noisy with sound from the slot machines dueling with nearby musicians
  • Likewise, sound from the Seaside Theatre can be annoyingly loud
Ship Stats
  • Crew Members 1,160
  • Entered Service 2004
  • Gross Tons 110,000
  • Length 952 feet
  • Number of Cabins 1,487
  • Passenger Capacity 2,974 (3,700 max)
  • Width 116 feet
  • New

Mar 2, 2017

Cozumel and Progesso

Our first cruise on the Valor. The ship is beautiful. Our Jr Suite had wood flooring and carpet. Bath had tub/shower and double sinks. Normally our cabin steward greets us. Didn't see our steward until the second day of cruise. Made first reservation at Scarlett's steak house and all was well. Except for the stringy fillet. Also cheesecake could have been out of Costco. OUr table was a table for two. A very small table for two. Second reservation

didn't happen. We were told they were booked. Next night got a 9 pm reservation. We waited at the desk. The chef left the kitchen and found the hostess. The chef greeted us. Sat down and I had no spoon or napkin or bread plate. There was no salt and pepper on the table and we were never offered fresh ground pepper or any seasoning. I spent enough in the casino that I received a free drink card while in the casino. Great. However I could not find a cocktail server at the dice table. Walked to the casino bar and was refused a free drink. I had to be IN the casino. I think I earned that $800 cocktail. Good on buffet comparable to school food. Thank goodness for Guys Burgers. I have been loyal to Carnival. They must be rich because they are running me over to Royal Caribbean Room service was better than the buffet and dining room. 24 hour pizza quality isn't what it once was. Steak house was unprepared and meat didn't meet my expectations or previous experience at other Carnival steakhouses. The buffet is so far below expectations in variety. Quality of food on buffet is poor. Brown lettuce no spoons by soup salad choices are unheard of to me. Please explain and might try the items. Guys saved the day. The milkshakes at the Java Coffee Shop were nice. I do not drink alcohol. PLEASE do something about the iced tea. It's as dark and strong as cough syrup. Room was great. We sleep late. We had to explain that when we finally met our room steward. After that no problems. Are there King size beds or 2 twins pushed together? Ours had a hump in the middle and leaned on one side as if someone had worn that side of the mattress down. What activities? If you don't drink or dance or like art not much to do. I love the casino. It was my entertainment. We've done all in Cozumel. But that's okay for us. We just love this town. We just walk and eat and shop. Please drop Progresso off your itinerary. Just ride around the Gulf of Mexico or spend two days in Cozumel. This is a wasted day and not much to do. If you like taking a long bus ride to excursions this is your spot. Not my idea of fun. Just a 5 day cruise to get away. During debarkation we were told we were at the wrong holding area. I was so glad to get off that ship. Not a fun cruise. The casino a night of watching karoka in the Red Frog Pub and watching St Vincent on the movie channel over and over again fell short.

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  • New

Jan 25, 2017

Cozumel

Overall my first cruise ever was better than i expected it to be! I expected to get sea sick (I didn't). The first day was lost due to fog. So we lost one day at port. However, staff was amazing. I got really sick (gallbladder) right before we got on and ended up with fever. Our room attendant was professional but very attentive and caring! Fransiscus, Hendri and ___________ (can't recall the other name :( ) in the Washington

dining room was THE BEST! They were entertaining, helpful and made a HUGE deal out of this being our honeymoon - sooooo sweeet! Throughout the ship, the food was fresh and the staff preparing it pleasant! Beautiful cabin! Next time we're going to pay a little extra for a balcony though because it get stuffy! The activities were great! I didn't really feel like participating because I just wanted down time! But everyone had such a good time! MR SANCHOS in Cozumel!!!! Oh My Gosh!!! Fresh fish (whole), Mr. Sanchos special (I'm totally going to make this myself) and the shrimp! OMG the shrimp! And the pina coladas!!!! This was our honeymoon. We had a great time despite the rough start (fog and illness). We're booking another one same time next year when I get paid next week - i'm not even going to wait!

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  • New

Jan 10, 2017

Caribbean

Overall - nice. Being with family was the best. We dont usually have that much time together, especially not for 7 days! The children really enjoyed it and it was fun watching their reactions. The Gulf was really choppy, so we were all sick at one time or another. Not the cruise's fault, I know. The food was very good in the dining room, and our servers/waiters were the best. Hats off to HENDRI, MADI, and FRANCISCUS aka COO-COO for treating

us like their own family. The granddaughters loved them. They entertained them every night with animals made with napkins. Hugs to those three! Guy's Burger joint was good too. The pizza was OK but crust tough. Kids liked it though. The long lines for food on the Lido deck, not so good. Made me wonder if they overbooked their ability to serve, or understaffed, or if they are cutting costs and just did not make their food options available long enough during the day to accommodate everyone. Although there were about 4 24-hour soft serve stations, it seemed that whichever one I came to first was out of service, or no cones, or no spoons, etc. I'm guessing maybe 50% of the time they were functional. Maybe they have a limit that they can put in their machines per day, so they don't run out, but that was a little annoying, because that's one of our favorite things. No complaints at all about the way the stateroom was maintained. Our room steward, NOMER, was the best. He has been with Carnival for 12 years! He fascinated the granddaughters with his towel animals with great talent. The room, however, was not insulated very well for sound. We could hear lots of noise from the hall (kids running up and down yelling), from the next door rooms, (TV), and from the 5th floor "music". This cruise was geared towards people who like LOUD music. Sensory overload. In my opinion not family friendly. My biggest complaint is having to walk past the smoke-filled 5th floor casinos on the way to the dining room. The distance was longer than you could hold your breath. And didn't appreciate my grandchildren having to breathe that. Not many activities for kids, if you want them to stay with you. Even the shows that were not rated 18+ were not really kid appropriate. But the magic show was great. They did like the last night movie "Pets" and watching outside with blankets and popcorn. They also liked miniature golf. One other thing ---I asked if there were any worship services on Sunday. Or a place to conduct such. Or group. No. Nothing. I guess I was naive. My family liked the Dolphin encounter, which was good. Probably a once in a lifetime thing. If you want to do the cultural, native people thing, like go into the city and experience life on the street, shopping, etc. you are on your own to get a taxi and be responsible for getting yourself back to the ship on time. We were fortunate in Belize to get a good driver/guide - JULIO. But there are myriads of other drivers who are pretty persistent with their sales pitches. The required safety drill was a chaotic disaster waiting to happen. If you were on time for the drill, you were rewarded with having to stand shoulder to shoulder 4 people deep for about 45 minutes with little interaction and large gaps of time between bits of information, so you didn't know when you were going to be finished. That was torture. The disembarkation process was likewise. They had an option for people to carry their own luggage off to get off early. But unfortunately people with this option were called at the same time as those who chose the checked baggage option. The result, although they kept saying "we've done this many times, and have it down to a science", was that when your (luggage-less) group was called, you are in this mob of people AND luggage. Could have been dangerous. When our elevator stopped on the lobby deck, we couldn't even get out because of the crowd. Too many groups were called at once. Their processes need more work! Maybe all cruises are this way, but I don't recall having these problems on my one other cruise with Holland America.

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  • New

Aug 30, 2015

Mexico

The hospitality, kindness, and hard work of the cruise staff were all appreciated. Unfortunately, someone dropped the ball in the activities department. Excellent dinners. Phenomenal staff. The lines for lunch buffets were ridiculous (especially for Mongolian Wok, Butritos, Pizza). Cabin was perfectly cleaned and in good shape. The walls were very thin. We were woken up by our loud mouth neighbors every morning between

7-7:15. The stateroom doors slam very loudly, as well. Poorly organized activities. Not enough to do. Geared toward for older people. We had many moments of boredom. Im not joking. If you dont do casinos, art shows, or bingo-you're in trouble. They had the same lounge singing duo in the main area of the ship every evening for hours. No rotations. Just torture. My daughter loved camp carnival. She was there ALL of the time, by choice. The teens had their own club. Pool tables, dance music, etc. What about the rest of us?! We have to wait until midnight. Sorry parents, no late fun for you... Our activities included :waiting for meal times, walking through the smoky casino, looking at the horrible schefule 50 times a day, and walking around. They dont openly advertise it- but Roatan has an adorable and FREE beach thats gorgeous. Right off the ship. Book something for Belize or stay on the boat. Scary. I heard a couple ( 16 time cruisers) say it was the worst they've been on. And they were seniors. We are so easy going and never complain, but every single family we encountered had the SAME complaints. We all became fans of the Big Bang theory

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  • New

Mar 29, 2015

Group Getaway

Nice cruise for the value. So much to see and do with all the stops the ship makes. And if you like jewelry, there are plenty. If I had a $1 for every jewelry store I saw at the islands, I'd be a rich lady! The food was good and a nice variety. The dining room food was OK and nice to have it served to you. Pizza is available all the time and late night there is a burger/hot dog bar. There was one night a mexican buffet was served besides

the burger/hot dogs. Breakfast had a variety of dishes, including an omelet bar. You won't leave hungry on this ship! Had a balcony room on the Lido deck (9270) which was small, but Ok. It was so nice to go out on the balcony each morning and take pictures of the port and sit out while others were getting ready. And for being on the Lido deck where a lot of the action was going it, it was pretty quiet where we were. The activies (casino, comedy club, shows, bingo) were all good. There was something to do for everyone. Be sure to book excursions from Carnival because they are guaranteed. For instance, if any equipment of the excursion you are going on, Carnival will not leave until you get back to the ship. This is a "piece of mind" feeling knowing that if you book an excursion through them that you won't get left behind if you don't make the ship. We did the Sea Turtle snorkeling excursion in Barbados and had a blast! The guys on the catamaran were nice and friendly. They also provided information on the places along the shores and what famous people lived there. Almost missed the ship due to plane delays and trying to find our luggage. Leave a day early to check out San Juan and know you're going to get on the ship in time. And a few things to note: The San Juan port closes at 9pm so you need to be on the ship before then. And the time it took from the airport to get to the port is about 20 mins. Also, take advantage of the Cheers program if you are going to drink 6 or more drinks a day. The drinks are at least $6 or more a drink and the Cheers program is $50/day so it pays for itself! Since this was a first time cruise, I thought it was very nice, fun and had a great time. Would recommend this to anyone who is thinking about going on a cruise. There is so much to see and do. And with all the jewelry stores we were to, a lot of them offered you a drink while you look around. St. Maarten was my favorite of all the islands, St. Thomas was my second best.

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