Just a quick note, and a few observations from a great father/son trip on the Carnival Valor to Cozumel (June 7-11)
Overall, I couldn't have asked for anything more for a trip to celebrate my son turning 18 this year. I initially booked an interior cabin late last year for this sailing. I received an email about an upgrade offer to a balcony on the lido for $200 and took it. My son has only been on one cruise before and not in a balcony so it was a nice little bonus for our trip. I didn't tell him before about the cabin change but let him find out when we checked in. He want surprised to say the least.
Weather - PERFECT - mostly clear skies, great temps, and smooth waters. We had a few dark clouds late in the afternoon in Cozumel, but not bad. As we left we hit some very mild waves and really it was the first time my son and I noticed the ship really moving.
Food - as usual, very good. He had Guy's Burgers for the first time - loved 'em. Pizza was good, and all the dining room food was very good.
Service - great. I can't tell you how many time my son noticed and commented about how hard the crew works. As a father, it really made me proud that my son noticed. Our dining room team really took good care of us, room steward offered me twice a day service, instead of pushing for either or, bartenders were overworked but tried to get to everyone as quickly as possible.
Excursions - mixed bag. I booked the Terra-cross 4x4 and speedboat excursion for Cozumel. Our guides were amazing (shout out to Marco!) and the beach / speedboat portion was really fun, but the 4x4 was just ok. We drove through the city which was nice to see some new areas. The description said we would stop and switch drivers to make sure everyone had a chance, but we only switched once and there were four of us in each one. That was really the only negative.
I also booked the "Behind the Fun Tour" as soon as we got on board. For those of you who have never done it - I highly recommend it. A neat 4 hour walking tour covering a lot of the back stage and crew areas with a meet and greet with the Captain on the bridge. Everyone we met was very nice and answered all of our questions. My son was very impressed with the tour and liked learning about life with Carnival and talking with the Captain.
Entertainment - very good. We enjoyed the playlist productions in the lounge, laughed so hard with the comedy shows, and loved all the live music on board.
Overall - Carnival did not fail to impress us once again.
Some general observations -
-Lifeguards were stationed at all the pools and hot tubs - this was the first time I've seen that onboard
-The A/C in our room was the coldest I've ever had onboard a Carnival Ship, it was great
-Last time I was in a balcony cabin, the slamming of the balcony doors bothered us during the night, but now the door would actually stay open and slowly close never slamming.
-There was a distinct lack of Trivia for me (I'm a trivia nerd and really enjoy when they have 3 and 4 booked back to back which was missing this time)
-Saw a lot of security on board talking with/to guests - more so than usual.
If anyone has any specific questions, I'll do my best to try and answer.