Valor review: 12/18-12/25 Eastern

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#1
Lafayette, IN
10,346 Posts
Joined Jan 2005
I know that there was another thread started about this voyage, but as I intend my review to be decently long, I didn't want to hijack the other one ....

Pre-cruise

I booked a flight leaving Indianapolis at 2:50 PM on December 17th. I had a lot of papers to grade from an exam the night before, so I was pretty grateful for the late flight. I took AirTran from Indy to Miami with a stop-over in Atlanta, where I met up with my girlfriend (who arrived in Atlanta from Philadelphia). I've never flown AirTran before, and now I know not to get a window seat, as the space underneath the seat in front of you is much smaller in that position. I usually keep my backpack (with laptop, etc) and camera bag under my seat, and just my pack would hardly fit.

Upon arriving in Miami, we proceded to take a cab to the Radisson Downtown Miami, which I had paid $65 after taxes for on Priceline (bid $50). The cab ended up costing about $22 before tip. The hotel itself seemed decent, and I was given the option for a king-sized, non-smoking bed upon check-in. The room was a bit musty, however, and the A/C was barely putting out any cold air. My g/f and I were exhausted, however, and decided that it was good enough for the price we paid. We grabbed dinner across the street at Burger King (which had two armed guards at night, by the way), and ate in our room.

Day 1: Emarkation

After getting up and once again heading to the Burger King for food, my g/f and I watched TV and played games a bit until we couldn't take waiting any longer (about 10:45ish). We checked out and grabbed a cab to the port ($11). The traffic around the terminal was hectic, but the cabbie let us off right in front of the luggage collection area, and the worker there got $1 a bag for moving them about 5 feet into their proper bin. We then made our way to the terminal itself, walked inside, and found a decently long line that went down a long hallway, came back, then zig-zagged a bit up to a desk that had about 6 employees checking passengers in. We were also handed Bahamas customs forms to fill out by a Carnival rep, so we had something to occupy us for at least a few minutes while waiting in line. The line didn't exactly move fast, but it did move, and most people seemed OK and anxious to get on the ship.

After about an hour in this line, we made it to the front and checked in. I received my gold S&S card (5th Carnival cruise), while my g/f received a blue and red card (1st cruise ever). We then made our way though the metal detector, where I managed to drop our S&S cards and didn't notice they were missing until walking through the metal detector and being called back by the security guard. Once through security, with our S&S cards now safely in our pockets, we weren't sure where to go and followed a few people being led by Carnival agents through some cattle chutes in what I would call the "main" check-in room ... ie, the room with 30 stations lined up at the front. The woman in front of us was pitching a fit about the line with a GD here and and SOB there ... etc. I just rolled my eyes and continued forward. I turned out that this was the start of the "new" line to check in, so once they noticed that we already had our S&S cards, the Carnival agents had us step under the ropes and cross through the check-in stations and continue through the terminal. As we got ont he escalator up to the second floor, some people in line below us, evidently from the previous cruise, shouted up at us to "enjoy our 3 hour wait to get off the ship on Christmas!" Unfazed, we continued through the lines to get our photos taken for both security and souvenirs, and come 1:00, we were on the ship.

Once on board, we got on the mid-ship elevators and proceded directly to the Lido deck, where awaited both food and our room. Even though it was after 1, the room was still not ready, so we headed out to explore the deck and take pictures. We grabbed some lunch in Rosie's, made a few phone calls to relatives telling them we were on board, and then headed on back to the room, which was finally ready. We had room 9262, a Lido balcony room that was just a few doors beyond the elevator lobby. The room was spacious and the balcony (my first) was nice. I immediately called Scarlett's to make a reservation for the last night of the cruise (Christmas Eve), and from the sound of it, that night was filling up pretty fast. We dropped our bags, grabbed our cameras, and I gave my g/f a tour of the ship as I knew the layout very well from my last two voyages on the Glory. When we got back to the room and began to unpack, I noticed that the safe was locked shut. I called the purser's desk, and they told me that they would notify the room steward. A knock on the door a few minutes later was the steward, but he was just there to introduce himself to me and unlock the mini-bar. I informed him about the safe and he told me that he would take care of it. Let me just say that that safe was never unlocked the entire trip, one of my few complaints, and leave it at that. The ordeal with the safe and talk with the steward occupied me from 3:00-3:30 (sorry about missing the meeting, roll-call folks), and then we decided to unpack before the boat drill.

Ah, the boat drill. We all know it is necessary, even if we really don't believe that we will ever need it. However, no cruise would be complete without donning a life jacket and standing on a hot crowded deck. Thankfully, almost all of the people in my muster station had the good sense to refrain (or have their kids refrain) from blowing on the attached whistle, so that annoyance was kept to a minimum. One person fainted on deck (I think ... I refused to try to climb over people to see whatever happened) and a medical crew rushed in a few minutes later. The silliest part of the ordeal, however, came after the CD (Rebecca) made her 15 minute long safety spiel. Just when everyone though that the drill was done, the Spanish version started and was met with loud groans, then even louder conversation. Now, I know that Spanish may be the primary language of many passengers aboard (especially out of Miami), but it seemed pretty worthless considering amount of noise made by the other passengers. The boat-drill ended with the much dreaded (on this board, anyway) CD Rebecca's dismissal and WOOHOO! (the only one I noticed, BTW).

When the boat drill finally finished, we dropped off our life jackets and headed out to the deck for sail-away. I bought my first (and only) drink of the day (the Funship, of course), and the passengers cheered as we manuvered into the channel and passed the Victory, which was docked in front of us. Once out to see, it was more relaxation/unpacking/exploring time until our 8 PM dinner in the Washington Dining Room. For better or worse, my g/f and I were given a table for two on the second story of the dining room in between two large tables of ten. Our waiter and assistant seemed very nice and were even gracious when they plucked the lit cigarette of a fellow diner out of her hands when she lit up during dinner. Shorts, flip-flops, and ball-caps were abundant in the dining room the first night, but I know some people had yet to get their luggage, so whatever.

The Welcome Aboard show for late diners was at 10:30 and featured some dansing and the comedy of Marcus Macey, who I had seen before on at least one previous cruise (and I think more). It was time for bed by 12:00, with the next day being a short call to Nassau, Bahamas.

--To be continued--
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Chris's guide for budget travel - Made for conferences (may make a cruise version some time) but airline, shuttle, Priceline, and Hotwire tips should remain the same

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#2
Lafayette, IN
10,346 Posts
Joined Jan 2005
Day 2 - Nassau, Bahamas

My g/f and I woke up about 7:30ish and headed down to the dining room for breakfast. This is really my preference, as cruise breakfasts are the only time I eat eggs benedict. Breakfasts were also a good time for us to chat with other people, which was definitely limited by our two-person dinner table. We wondered through Rosie's on our way back to our room and saw huge lines for the breakfast buffet (9ish) with some people that didn't exactly look too happy ... yet another reason to eat in the dining room.

Anyway, we didn't have any concrete plans for the day, so we jumped cap and headed to Atlantis ($4 a person). Once there, we took some photos and wandered around a bit, though we lost most of the spirit for that when a staff member berated us for trying to walk into an area outside restricted for guests only. I guess my suggestion of using signs instead of screaming to mark restricted areas weren't taken too well, as the screaming continued. We stopped by the casino so that my g/f could donate a (literally) few dollars at her first attempt to gamble. She broke even and cashed out her two dollars a few minutes later. I sat down to play a dollar in a .05 Texas Tea machine, only to notice once my money was in that it was a .25 machine. I figured what the heck and played a few single line/one coin bets, and a few minutes later I cashed out with $45, which I was more than happy to leave Atlantis with. After looking at the shops, we hopped a cab ride back (another $4 apiece).

Upon our return to the ship, we headed to Rosie's for some lunch. The place was fairly empty, and I got some very good fish and chips from, well, Fish and Chips. The food was hot, tasty, and served in a metal bowl that sat upon a decorated metal plate. This presentation seemed a little more outgoing than what I remembered from the Glory.

Back in our cabin, we received a phone call from Lloyd, the Maitre D (sp?) asking us if we would be willing to help him out and move out from between "the two tables of Spanish people," as he put it. I agreed, and our new placement was a two-seat table in the back, lower floor of the dining room. Our new waitress (can't remember name) seemed rather cold most of the week and seemed to assume that we had been moved into her section because we had complained about our original seat. The assistant waiter seemed friendly enough and disappeared for long stretches of time, leaving the head waiter to fill drink glasses.

Thoughts/Impressions of Nassau: To be quite honest, I really don't like the Bahamas as a port of call, and didn't have too much of a problem with the Valor's short time there. The trip out to Atlantis was worth doing once for me, but unless I have a burning reason to do so, I can't see myself ever going back. I've heard that the slides, gardens, etc are nice, but I definitely travel on a budget, and would personally not be willing to spend as much as it would cost to get a room there for just a few hours use of the facilities.
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Chris's guide for budget travel - Made for conferences (may make a cruise version some time) but airline, shuttle, Priceline, and Hotwire tips should remain the same

Cruise Albums on Flickr
#3
Rochester, NY
1,754 Posts
Joined Feb 2005
Thanks so much for the review so far and cannot wait to hear more. The Valor is one of the 4 ships I am looking at for our next cruise
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Betty [email protected]
CONQUEST FEB 20 05 6343
TRIUMPH EASTERN DEC 3 05 7425
BREEZES BAHAMAS FEB 11 06
DOMINICAN REPUBLIC FEB 10 07
FASCINATION APRIL 23 07 E255


Dominican Republic Pics:http://community.webshots.com/user/bettyf12
Nassau Pictures: http://community.webshots.com/album/547715725NIQWqL
TRIUMPH~PICTURES http://community.webshots.com/album/522047869AjliRH
CONQUEST PICTURES: http://community.webshots.com/album/286552775xgjqIQ

#4
Lafayette, IN
10,346 Posts
Joined Jan 2005
Day 3 - Fun day at sea

We woke up at 7:30ish to head down to the dining room for breakfast when it opened at 8. Once again, we had a nice conversation with a couple there while eating. After that, the g/f absolutely needed to go out on deck for sun, while I was a bit indifferent. At 9ish, there was some seat saving near the Lido pool and on the "stadium" levels, but we found ourselves almost quite alone on the front of one of the upper decks (12 I think). I managed about an hour in the sun before calling it quits, then headed off to the room to sit out on the balcony and read. We went to lunch at about 1:15 or so, and the lines were not too bad at all. I hit Fish and Chips for some fish and chips as well as an onion and calamari ball ... tasty. I also had a deli sandwich, which was very good as well, though there was usually a little bit of a wait in line (5 min or so) unless you timed it just right. By the way, we always sat in the same place, which is (facing the back of the ship) on the second floor, right side of Rosie's Restaraunt. Quite frankly, this left us close to Fish and Chips, and it was also generally less crowded up there since most people did not want to climb stairs. There is also a drink dispenser on that side, so pretty much everything we needed was up there (except more food ).

Throughout the day, there were the "basic" two or three announcements by the CD Rebecca about the things going on around the ship ... ie, art auctions, the ONE DAY ONLY inch of gold (that is sold every sea day), etc. The first day at sea was also the formal night and Captain's Cocktail party. I dressed in a pin-striped suit and my g/f in a dress. She told me that she felt a little underdressed. I had told to wear something she would be comfortable with wearing while I was in a suit, but she felt, by surveying the evening attire of the women, that the dress code was more "prom dress" than what she had on. We stopped on the promenade to wait in line for a formal picture, and this was my g/f's low point of the cruise. The photographer took a few shots of us, then asked my g/f to remove her high heals so that she wouldn't be so much taller than me (I'm normally about 5' 11 and she's about 6' 2). She complied, but it upset her a lot (afterwards she complained that a photographer would never ask a tall man to remove his shoes) as people making comments about her height is one of her pet peeves.

With that experience behind us, we headed to the party a little early, meaning we got sucked in to a huge mass of people milling around the entrance to the Eagles Lounge, waiting to go in. I manuevered around, as most people were angling towards the wrong door, and we were about 4th in line when they opened the hallway to the Eagles Lounge that goes past the Lindy Hop (piano bar). We shook hands with the CD Rebecca and the captain, then headed into the lounge for our appetizers and drinks. Food items included mini-pizzas of some sort, meatballs, chicken nuggets, and fried seafood potstickers. Drink choices included whiskey sours, martinis, screw drivers, and non-alcoholic fruit punch.

We left the lounge before the party was over walked the promenade a bit, then headed for the dining room. It was lobster and prime rib night, and both that I were served were pretty good. We decided to forgo the main show for the night (not a big fan of "Vegas" style shows), and instead headed to the Lindy Hop and the One Small Step disco. The music at the disco was OK but by no means great. We both enjoyed Ron Pass at the piano bar, as he had a very good voice that didn't rely on his piano skills as a crutch. Others we talked to didn't like him very much, but I guess that's how things go. The mix of music was sometimes lacking (with a lot of Beatles and Billy Joel), but I kind of think that is expected. As with my other piano bar experiences on board, you could tell the hard-core fan base, as they were planted in the seats around the piano every night.

We headed to bed around midnight, knowing that we would have a full day in St. Thomas coming up ....
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Oasis of the Seas - 5/2017, Navigator of the Seas - 12/16, Harmony of the Seas B2B - 10/2016, Oasis of the Seas - 11/2015, Brilliance of the Seas - 5/2015, Quantum of the Seas - 11/2014, Brilliance of the Seas - 4/2014, Carnival Legend - 5/2013, Celebrity Solstice - 5/2013, Celebrity Eclipse - 12/2012, Allure of the Seas - 7/2012, Serenade of the Seas - 5/2012, Voyager of the Seas - 12/2011, Liberty of the Seas - 12/2011, Freedom of the Seas - 10/2011, Oasis of the Seas - 5/2011, Celebrity Eclipse - 3/2011, Celebrity Millennium - 12/2010, Radiance of the Seas - 12/2010, Majesty of the Seas - 12/2010, Majesty of the Seas B2B 11/2010, Radiance of the Seas - 3/2010, Rhapsody of the Seas - 12/2009, Mariner of the Seas - 8/2009, Mariner of the Seas - 5/2009, Navigator of the Seas - 2/2009, Jewel of the Seas - 12/2008, Navigator of the Seas - 11/2008, Majesty of the Seas - 9/2008, Explorer of the Seas - 7/2008, Monarch of the Seas - 5/2008, Grandeur of the Seas - 3/2008, Brilliance of the Seas - 12/2007, Carnival Glory - 6/2007, Monarch of the Seas - 5/2007, Voyager of the Seas - 3/2007, Grandeur of the Seas - 12/2006, Carnival Miracle - 9/2006, Carnival Valor - 12/2005, Carnival Glory - 3/2005, Carnival Glory - 7/2003, Sovereign of the Seas - 7/2000, CCL Sensation - 12/1999, CCL Ecstasy - 12/1997, NCL ?? - 6/1996, Hawaiian American Independence - 1992, Premier Atlantic - 1991


Chris's guide for budget travel - Made for conferences (may make a cruise version some time) but airline, shuttle, Priceline, and Hotwire tips should remain the same

Cruise Albums on Flickr
#5
Lafayette, IN
10,346 Posts
Joined Jan 2005
Day 4 - St. Thomas

Before the cruise, after having read the Cruise Critic boards about the ports of call, I booked a tour of St. Thomas with Sunny Liston. This was actually a bit of a surprise to my friends (and myself), as the last time I booked an independent tour, bad things happened ... let's just say I ended up traveling the Belizian country side in a ripped-out school bus, riding in a seat surrounded by camoflauge-wearing militia and was about 5 minutes from missing the boat. But I digress ....

We woke up at 7 and headed up (OK ... out, since our room was on Lido, which was very nice, BTW) to Rosie's for some buffet breakfast. It was evidently still quite early for most people to be up (were supposed to dock at 9), so the buffet had no line. After eating, we grabbed our cameras and took some pictures of the scenery. At 8:15, we decided to head down to the promenade and start waiting in line for customs, as we were supposed to meet Sunny at 9:00 ship time (which was not really feasible since that was when we were supposed to dock, but we wanted to put forth a good effort). Since St. Thomas is a US port (and we had visited the Bahamas already), all passengers must clear customs. US citizens are to report to the Eagles Lounge and non-US citizens were to report to the Ivanhoe Theater. People who did not have early tours were supposed to wait and let other who do pass (yeah, right). When we got there at 8:15, there were probably about 20 people already in line, sitting and standing around Jeanne's Wine Bar, with the doors to the Eagles Lounge and the stairwell sealed off by doors. We took a seat in the last two seats of Jeanne's and waited. About 8:45, CD Rebecca made an announcement that people with early tours needed to start waiting in line for customs, and the line really started to grow. Being at the front, the size of the line was hard to determine, but by the time the line actually started moving at about 9:15, I'd say that it probably stretched back to the Atrium and perhaps onto the stairs. At the front at least, the line moved very quickly, and within 5 minutes, we had flashed our passports to the customs officer, gotten a sticker for our shirt designating that we had cleared customs, and were on the gangway. I was wearing a Nike Dri-Fit polo shirt, and the sticker didn't stay on my shir too well, so I ended up sticking it on my S&S card. This was a good idea in theory, but it did leave a sticky residue on my card for the rest of the trip (I had to take some Goo Gone to it when I got home), so my suggestion is to wear a fabric type that an adhesive will cling to, and if you don't want to wear the sticker visibly for the rest of the day, placing it on the inside, bottom hem of your shirt where you can flip it up and show it if needed.

Once on the pier, we walked to the gate and saw a woman holding a Sunny Liston Tours sign with a few names on it. This turned out to be Angela, Sunny's wife. I approached her, and found that my name was on the back of the sign. She led us to her truck (think pick-up truck with benches and a roof in the back instead of a bed), where we waited for some of the other passengers from the Valor. Once everyone was rounded up, we paid ($25 a person, though some were quoted $20 evidently), were given a Sunny Liston Tours sticker to wear on our shirts, and were taken into town and dropped off for and hour and a half of shopping. Now, my g/f and I are on what you would consider a tight budget (both grad students), but we had a good time exploring the stores. My g/f found a pair of tanzanite earrings that she loved and purchases, but that was the extent of our splurging. We made our way back to the truck just as it started to rain (one of those 15 minute, tropical downpours). We found out that it was really three trucks, one driven by Angela, one by Sunny, and the last one by Godfrey. It took a while to get everyone situated, but we were finally off and into some horrible traffic (there were 8 ships in port). We headed to Mountaintop, and stopped for some pictures and information about the island from Godfrey on the way up. Once on Mountaintop, we headed out to the overlook and were given information about the view from Sunny. We were then given 15 minutes to poke around the stores contained in the complex. I purchased one of the banana daquiris I had read about, which came in a mid-sized plastic cup ($7.50, virgin $5.50) and contained more than a fair amount of alcohol. We then piled into the truck (slightly buzzed from the drink), and headed back down the mountain, stopping at another scenic overlook. We also sang along with Angela as she played a song for us. We were then taken to Sapphire Beach, and given the option of staying for a few hours or just a few minutes then heading back to the ship. We opted to go back to the ship, as we hadn't brought any beachwear, but we did go down and dip our feet into the water. Back at the pier, we walked around the shops for a bit, then headed back to the ship. We could get cell phone reception in St. Thomas, so the evening was spent making a few calls, and the ship pulled out after dark at about 7:00.

Thoughts/impressions of St. Thomas: A lot of people love St. Thomas for the shopping, though that is not quite as enjoyable without much of a budget . There was a lot of confusion about the duty-free limits, so here's what I understand them to be. On a cruise that stops in St. Thomas, you may declare $1600/person duty-free, with the limit being $800 in St. Thomas and $800 coming from the other islands and the ship. Loose gemstones and artwork do not count in that total. The liquor and cigarette limit is variable depending on whether you purchase in St. Thomas, and I am not to clear on those limits, as I don't smoke and really, really, really hate having to travel with large amounts of liquor (usually feeling that it is worth spending the saved $10 not to have to carry the stupid stuff around while traveling). I would recommend the Sunny Liston and Godfrey tours in St. Thomas if you have never seen the island, but they are probably not something you would ever need to do more than once. They are a good value, as the cruise ship's shopping and island tour excursion runs around $40 a person as opposed to $20-25.
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Oasis of the Seas - 5/2017, Navigator of the Seas - 12/16, Harmony of the Seas B2B - 10/2016, Oasis of the Seas - 11/2015, Brilliance of the Seas - 5/2015, Quantum of the Seas - 11/2014, Brilliance of the Seas - 4/2014, Carnival Legend - 5/2013, Celebrity Solstice - 5/2013, Celebrity Eclipse - 12/2012, Allure of the Seas - 7/2012, Serenade of the Seas - 5/2012, Voyager of the Seas - 12/2011, Liberty of the Seas - 12/2011, Freedom of the Seas - 10/2011, Oasis of the Seas - 5/2011, Celebrity Eclipse - 3/2011, Celebrity Millennium - 12/2010, Radiance of the Seas - 12/2010, Majesty of the Seas - 12/2010, Majesty of the Seas B2B 11/2010, Radiance of the Seas - 3/2010, Rhapsody of the Seas - 12/2009, Mariner of the Seas - 8/2009, Mariner of the Seas - 5/2009, Navigator of the Seas - 2/2009, Jewel of the Seas - 12/2008, Navigator of the Seas - 11/2008, Majesty of the Seas - 9/2008, Explorer of the Seas - 7/2008, Monarch of the Seas - 5/2008, Grandeur of the Seas - 3/2008, Brilliance of the Seas - 12/2007, Carnival Glory - 6/2007, Monarch of the Seas - 5/2007, Voyager of the Seas - 3/2007, Grandeur of the Seas - 12/2006, Carnival Miracle - 9/2006, Carnival Valor - 12/2005, Carnival Glory - 3/2005, Carnival Glory - 7/2003, Sovereign of the Seas - 7/2000, CCL Sensation - 12/1999, CCL Ecstasy - 12/1997, NCL ?? - 6/1996, Hawaiian American Independence - 1992, Premier Atlantic - 1991


Chris's guide for budget travel - Made for conferences (may make a cruise version some time) but airline, shuttle, Priceline, and Hotwire tips should remain the same

Cruise Albums on Flickr
#6
Henderson, NV USA
558 Posts
Joined Jul 2000
Silentbob007:
I am really enjoying your posts on the Valor. My cruise is on the 26th of Feb and I am getting some really great tips here. Can't wait to read the rest of your review.

Ray
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Ecstasy 8/19/96
Holiday 1/18/99
Glory 5/22/04
Legend 3/3/05
Glory 5/21/05
Valor 2/26/06
Fantasy 5/27/06
Valor 9/10/06
Sensation 11/30/06
Paradise 1/15/07 (Platinum)
Liberty 3/3/07
Triumph 9/29/07
Diamond Princess 4/01/08
Glory 11/01/08
Disney Wonder 12/07/08
Elation 2/19/09
Elation 7/20/09
Valor 1/24/10
Imagination 10/25/10
Paradise 01/17/10
Legend 11/6/11
B2B Destiny 2/2011
Dream 9/2011
Spirit 11/2011
Inspiration 1/2012
Spirit Alaska Milestone 5/2012
Dream 8/31/13
Dream Part Deux 4/04/14
Carnival Splendor Western Caribbean 11/09/14 (Re_Retirement Cruise)
Princess to Ensenada Crown Princess 1/19/15
Freedom Western Caribbean 8/22/15
Magic Western Caribbean 7/9/16
Magic B2B East and West Caribbean 1/7/17 & 1/14/17
Miracle Journeys Hawaii 11/26/17
Legend Alaska 5/8/17


Pryd
Ray
#7
Las Vegas, NV
145 Posts
Joined May 2005
I love detailed (ie. long) reviews and really appreciate you posting your review of the Valor here! We leave on April 9th and cannot wait!
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CARNIVAL VICTORY (Southern) - 9/4/11
RCCL MARINER OTS (Western) - 12/30/07
CARNIVAL VALOR (Eastern)- 4/9/06
#9
3 Posts
Joined Jul 2005
Same sailing.

2nd cruise for me - 1st on CCL - other was on NCL a few years ago.
Profile - we are both 26, graduate students, like to have fun but a bit past the super party days. First cruise for my gf.

Flew in the day before to MIA and stayed on SOBE for the day. Had a good time eating, drinking, and relaxing before the cruise. I concur with others who say to get in a day early - no stress.

Embarking was not that bad - we got there at about 11 and the line was not too long. Took about an hour and a half to get on, mainly because it was taking awhile for the last cruise to empty out.

Food overall was good. We enjoyed breakfast and the lunch offerings were varied and overall solid. Late seating in the Lincoln Dining Room was nice as no kids around. Food in the main dining room was of good quality. Not top of the line but better than I expected with so many to feed. Waitstaff was excellent all around.

We had a 8E balcony cabin on the 10th deck. Upgraded from a basic balcony gte so this was a great upgrade. I enjoyed the balcony as I'm fair skinned and liked to go out there and read and have a drink to get out of the sun sometimes and to enjoy some peace and quiet. Did Atlantis in Nassau - was ok. Worth doing once.

Days at sea were relaxing - We didn't do many of the shows as dinner was late and we were usually tired afterwards. We did make it out to the Lindy Hop (Piano Bar) and enjoyed Ron each time we went.

Disco was geared toward the 18 to 23 set with loud rap and cheesy dance music. Didn't spend much time there - really never saw much action happening. I would recommend they retool it a bit for a wider crowd. The room itself is great - just the music didn't appeal. The band in the other lounge was good. Didn't check out the cigar bar jazz set. We are students so no splurging for the supper club for us. I'm sure it was great - but we were happy with the regular dining.

Late night pizza and grill was great after a few vodka drinks.

I came down with a cold about the 5th day - lots of people seemed to have the same. Goes with having so many children and people onboard. No big deal except cold medicine was $12 on the ship. I will remember to pack some next time. Speaking of the children - Rebecca said there were about 1000 children onboard which amazed me. I really don't even like kids and they didn't bother me or seem everywhere. Kudos to Camp Carnival on this point for keeping them out of the way for the most part.

Passengers were a mixed bunch. Most people were great - some were rude and complained but that happens anywhere you go.

In St. Thomas we booked with Godfrey. He was great and very informative. A steal at $20 a person. We sat in the front with him so he could get two more people onboard so those of you on the Liston/Godfrey tour if you saw two people in there that was us. Sapphire Beach seemed great (although way overpriced food - $12 for a hamburger etc - we even tried to walk a bit to find cheaper - no luck) but then it rained just as we got there. Oh well - can't control that part.

St. Marten was our favorite - gf went shopping in the morning while I slept in. Did the 1pm Golden Eagle Catamaran trip which was pretty good. Nice one hour ride to a secluded beach where you could swim or snorkel for about an hour. We did the snorkeling and it was ok. I'm a diver so snorkeling doesn't really do much for me but we enjoyed the beach overall. Only negative of the experience was a group of 6 - 4 17/18 year old girls and 2 parents who didn't seem to mind getting them wasted. They became very drunk and it just came off very irresponsible to us. They were super annoying on the way back as underage girls tend to get when drunk. Felt like I was back at the ol Frat party in undergrad. But, again, not a huge deal.

Nice 2 days at sea. Not a whole lot of activities but we were fine just relaxing and eating and enjoying being on vacation. Disembarking was way faster than I thought it would take. We missed the black tag call (upper decks leave first) but still made it out in about 30 minutes with no problem. Easy to get a cab and back to our hotel on SOBE where we spent Xmas day. Flew back home yesterday.

Overall - I would say that the cruise met our expectations for a nice vacation. I like the Western stops better that I did on NCL but perhaps that is because mainly I just did diving. Good value for the $ and as long as you have a positive outlook and don't let a few annoying people get to you everything will be fine. CCL does a good job of having something for everyone. I would sail with them again.
#10
Lafayette, IN
10,346 Posts
Joined Jan 2005
Lofwyr ... thanks for your addition. It sounds like we shared almost identical situations ... too funny.
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Chris's guide for budget travel - Made for conferences (may make a cruise version some time) but airline, shuttle, Priceline, and Hotwire tips should remain the same

Cruise Albums on Flickr
#11
South Florida
435 Posts
Joined Aug 2005
Thanks for the details and taking the time to review. We sail Valor on Sun and I had been reading some "not so good reviews" around Thanksgiving time.

I know we'll have a great time, as a cruise is what you make it. But it really helps to hear good comments in advance.

THANKS
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Carnival Vista 12/17/16
Norwegian Sky 11/11/16
Royal Princess, 25th Anniversary Cruise 11/20/15
Royal Caribbean Liberty of the Seas, 12/11/14
Regal Princess, Inaugural 3-DAY 11/6/14

Norwegian Getaway, March 29, 2014
Norwegian Getaway 2/7/14
Norwegian Epic 12/7/13
Norwegian Sky 11/7/13
Norwegian Breakaway 9/29/13
Norwegian Sky JAN 2013
Carnival Breeze 12/2/12
Norwegian Sky 11/4/12
Norwegian Sky 11/11/11

Norwegian Pearl 11/28/2010
carnival miracle 11/20/2009
Majesty of Seas 11/2008
Valor 11/18/2007
carnival valor 1/1/2006
carnival legend 11/2004
carnival triumph 11/2002
rccl sovereign of the seas 4/1997
norwegian, seaward 11/1990
carnival mardi gras 1988carnival jubilee ?
#12
Lafayette, IN
10,346 Posts
Joined Jan 2005
Day 5: Saint Martin, Sint Maarten, or whatever the heck you want to call it ....

Feeling a little better about independent tours after our experience with Sunny Liston in St. Thomas, both my g/f and I were looking forward to our tour with Joyce Prince in St. Maarten. We met up with the other couple (fellow CCers, BTW) on the tour outside the gates to the pier, and we waited for Joyce to arrive. A few minutes later, she called to us from behind, as she had already parked inside the dock complex. The four of us headed back to inside to her van, and we were off.

We started out (sorry for some lack of specific names here) by going up a large hill by the pier that had some timeshares at the top. Before we reached the gated area, however, Joyce pulled her van off the road, and we got out to take pictures of the ships in port (at that time, the Valor and the Costa Magica). She then wheeled the van around, teasing me that she wasn't going to drive off the cliff, and drove us into Phillipsburg, where she stopped at the Guavaberry Emporium. Now, it was about 10 AM and slightly early for me to start drinking, but the samples of guavaberry coladas were too good to pass up ... and believe me, they were tasty. I ended up buying a bottle of guavaberry rum and my g/f bought two for unique island presents ($14.95/L, and if you buy two, you get a nifty carrying bag ... later saw the rum in a shop on the pier for $14.50). After leaving the guavaberry store, we were given 30 minutes to walk around and shop. Now, I had convinced myself that I wasn't going to buy any more liquor, but St. Maarten seemed to have the best prices by far. For the things I was specifically looking at, I saw some Absolut priced at 2L for $11.95 ($10.95 each on the ship) and 1 L Johnnie Walker Blue for $115 ($135 on the ship). I didn't buy anything, but it was definitely worth taking note, especially if you buying one bottle of quality as opposed quantity (since you can legally buy more on St. Thomas without paying duty).

Once the shopping time was over, Joyce was nice enough to drive to a music store for my g/f who ran in to buy a CD of local music. After that, our tour continued as we drove through the island, with Joyce giving us information about the history, politics, weather, and economics of St. Maarten. She told us to ask her anything, that nothing was too personal, but none of us had too many burning questions, so Joyce filled the dead air as best she could. She showed us many different time share areas (in a second-hand way, not in a trying-to-sell-us way). We stopped off for a few minutes at Mullet Bay (I think), which was a small but very nice beach with semi-calm water. We then proceded on to the French side of the island, where Joyce discussed some of the island's problems with the French government and that side of the island's new seatbelt laws. She dropped us off at Orient Beach for 2.5 hours, saying that we could take a cab back to the port or she would come back and take us for an extra $5/person.

Orient Beach was pretty nice, but it was definitely commercial and crowded. Chair and umbrella rentals cost around $12, so my g/f and I threw our Carnival towels on the beach and made due. The water felt very nice, though there were definitely some waves. There were many activities at Orient Beach, including jet skis, parasailing, a water trampoline, and other items for rent. The jet skis worried me a bit, as I didn't notice a designated swimming area, meaning that people drove them right up to the beach to return them. There were also various other motorized craft that puttered through the swimming area that also made me nervous. The weather eventually cooperated, though we got a light sprinkle with a larger rainfall happening further inland. At each section of the beach, designated by the color of the umbrellas, there seems to be a restaraunt, bathroom, and changing area. I didn't notice any lockers, but I might have missed them. We were in the middle of the beach, not the infamous orange umbrella section, but there was still the occasional nude sunbather or beach walker. At the end of our time, we met up with Joyce and the other couple, finished our tour, and were taken back to the ship. The total price for Joyce's tour (with the beach pickup) was $35 each, and she gave us beers and waters out of her cooler at the end (since we hadn't drank any of them during the tour itself). My g/f and I though that this was money well spent, as Joyce was very nice, personable, and willing to do whatever we wanted. During the course of the tour, Joyce told us that she also rents cars, cell phones, babysits, cooks, braids hair, or sets up basically anything a visitor to the island could want ... she definitely does have a service-first attitude (and my g/f wants to have her hair braided on her next trip to St. Maarten ).

Upon returning to the ship, the security guard told both of us to check our liquor at the table even though we had it in our bags. My g/f checked hers, but I just stood beside her and walked away when she had finished. I know that's childish (since I didn't open or drink any of the "smuggled" liquor anyway), but I didn't feel like checking just one bottle. We dropped our stuff out at our cabin, then headed off to Rosie's for a very late lunch. We then headed back out to the shopping area, where I bought a small Tortuga rum cake for my g/f to try ($7) along with 3 mini bottles of liquor (Absolut Kurrant, Absolut Mandarin, Teacher's Scotch, $5 total). No attempt to take away these small bottles was even made, and we nipped on them for the next few days.

Final thoughts/impressions of St. Maarten: In the end, we were very glad that we had taken Joyce's tour, even it was slightly less "guided" than expected. We also liked St. Maarten a bit more than St. Thomas, and agreed that it would be the placw we would prefer to spend a week. The Dutch side (Phillpsburg) seemed to have better prices, while the French side seemed to have a few tonier stores. Both sides were beautiful.
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Oasis of the Seas - 5/2017, Navigator of the Seas - 12/16, Harmony of the Seas B2B - 10/2016, Oasis of the Seas - 11/2015, Brilliance of the Seas - 5/2015, Quantum of the Seas - 11/2014, Brilliance of the Seas - 4/2014, Carnival Legend - 5/2013, Celebrity Solstice - 5/2013, Celebrity Eclipse - 12/2012, Allure of the Seas - 7/2012, Serenade of the Seas - 5/2012, Voyager of the Seas - 12/2011, Liberty of the Seas - 12/2011, Freedom of the Seas - 10/2011, Oasis of the Seas - 5/2011, Celebrity Eclipse - 3/2011, Celebrity Millennium - 12/2010, Radiance of the Seas - 12/2010, Majesty of the Seas - 12/2010, Majesty of the Seas B2B 11/2010, Radiance of the Seas - 3/2010, Rhapsody of the Seas - 12/2009, Mariner of the Seas - 8/2009, Mariner of the Seas - 5/2009, Navigator of the Seas - 2/2009, Jewel of the Seas - 12/2008, Navigator of the Seas - 11/2008, Majesty of the Seas - 9/2008, Explorer of the Seas - 7/2008, Monarch of the Seas - 5/2008, Grandeur of the Seas - 3/2008, Brilliance of the Seas - 12/2007, Carnival Glory - 6/2007, Monarch of the Seas - 5/2007, Voyager of the Seas - 3/2007, Grandeur of the Seas - 12/2006, Carnival Miracle - 9/2006, Carnival Valor - 12/2005, Carnival Glory - 3/2005, Carnival Glory - 7/2003, Sovereign of the Seas - 7/2000, CCL Sensation - 12/1999, CCL Ecstasy - 12/1997, NCL ?? - 6/1996, Hawaiian American Independence - 1992, Premier Atlantic - 1991


Chris's guide for budget travel - Made for conferences (may make a cruise version some time) but airline, shuttle, Priceline, and Hotwire tips should remain the same

Cruise Albums on Flickr
#13
Lafayette, IN
10,346 Posts
Joined Jan 2005
Days 6 and 7: Fun days at sea

I'm running these two days together, I don't remember too many details about Friday (day 5). We sunned, we ate, we slept, we ate, and after all that, we fell asleep early that evening and missed the last production show and midnight comedian. This was the second formal night, and we again posed for some pictures. Luckily, my g/f's shoes stayed on and she had a much better experience.

On Saturday (day 6, Christmas Eve), we ate breakfast in the dining room, then my g/f headed off to sun on the deck while I read on our balcony then went to the debarkation talk. It was pretty standard, but I didn't want to miss anything and felt better going as opposed to trying to catch it on the TV. The CD Rebecca informed us that there were over 1,000 children on board to make us appreciate the job that Camp Carnival had done. To be honest, I saw a fair number of kids, but they were almost never bothersome and had no idea that there were THAT many on board. Upon returning to the room, it had been made up with the luggage matt placed on the bed, serving as a depressing reminder of the task that we would need to accomplish by 11 PM that night. I had decided we would put our bags out for traditional debarkation, as we were in no hurry to off the ship and didn't need to hassle with self-assist. My g/f returned from deck, reporting that for the last day, chair saving had been rampant, with each sea day seeing more and more.

We spent a few hours packing, then headed to Rosie's for the infamous lunch chocolate buffet. The lines for the chocolate were a bit long, so we got standard food first, which meant that I visited the salad bar and Fish and Chips. After eating, we stood in line for about 5 minutes to load our plate with chocolate cake, chocolate cheesecake, chocolate orange cake, chocolate rum balls, chocolate covered pistachios, chocolate fondue, and ice cream with chocolate sauce. After dessert, I think I seriously contemplated never eating chocolate again .... at least until dinner.

After heading back to the cabin for more packing and a quick nap, we went to the Ivanhoe Theater for a special Holiday show. The show featured some bits with the dancers, participation by the Camp Carnival kids, and a reading of Frosty the Snowman by the CD Rebecca. For the finale, members of the staff lined the ailes with candles and sang Silent Night along with the passengers. Once the show was over, we went to the photo gallery to finally purchase the photos we wanted. Formal 8x10 portraits were $19.99, and while you could buy prints of them in smaller sizes, you had to buy the $19.99 print first. For the first time ever on a cruise, I spent $30 on an 8x10 and a frame for one of the infamous "no shoes" pictures, but I figured that it was worth the money to use as a prop to deflect my g/f's anger from me if the need ever arises.

With our photo purchases in hand, we went back to the cabin a,d finished packing everything except for the clothes for the next day and our formal attire, which we put on for our trip to the supper club, Scarlett's. I had made the reservation for 8:30, which meant that we were worrying a little about getting our luggage out into the hallway by the 11:00 deadline. We arrived a bit early, at 8:15, and were informed that our table was not ready yet, but that we were welcome to sit at the bar with a menu to wait. We were finally seated at 8:40. I ordered the French Onion Soul "Les Halles", a caesar salad, the 24 oz. porterhouse, and the chocolate trio (without remembering how much chocolate I'd already had until later). My g/f ordered the trio of escargot (which I had insisted she try in the dining room and she loved ... and she liked the ones in Scarlett's better because of the variety of flavors), a caesar salad, the surf and turf (half a filet mignon and half a lobster tail), and the chocolate trio. We though that all of the food was excellent, though my g/f is used to New England lobster and thought what she was served tasted just a bit different (but was still good). The service was excellent, and they seemed to sense that we wanted a little quicker meal, so we were done by about 10:30. We thought that this was a good way to spend Christmas Eve and our final night on the cruise, and that the experience was totally worth the $60 fee.

Stuffed from dinner we headed back to the cabin, arranged our formal clothes, put our suitcases out in the hall, and headed to the theater to catch the last part of the Legends show that has passengers dressed up as singers doing kereoke on the main stage. The talent ranged from meager to excellent, and the show was a lot of fun. We then headed to the Lindy Hop and rang in Christmas with Ron Pass. After that, we hit the disco one final time for a few dances, then it was time for bed.
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Oasis of the Seas - 5/2017, Navigator of the Seas - 12/16, Harmony of the Seas B2B - 10/2016, Oasis of the Seas - 11/2015, Brilliance of the Seas - 5/2015, Quantum of the Seas - 11/2014, Brilliance of the Seas - 4/2014, Carnival Legend - 5/2013, Celebrity Solstice - 5/2013, Celebrity Eclipse - 12/2012, Allure of the Seas - 7/2012, Serenade of the Seas - 5/2012, Voyager of the Seas - 12/2011, Liberty of the Seas - 12/2011, Freedom of the Seas - 10/2011, Oasis of the Seas - 5/2011, Celebrity Eclipse - 3/2011, Celebrity Millennium - 12/2010, Radiance of the Seas - 12/2010, Majesty of the Seas - 12/2010, Majesty of the Seas B2B 11/2010, Radiance of the Seas - 3/2010, Rhapsody of the Seas - 12/2009, Mariner of the Seas - 8/2009, Mariner of the Seas - 5/2009, Navigator of the Seas - 2/2009, Jewel of the Seas - 12/2008, Navigator of the Seas - 11/2008, Majesty of the Seas - 9/2008, Explorer of the Seas - 7/2008, Monarch of the Seas - 5/2008, Grandeur of the Seas - 3/2008, Brilliance of the Seas - 12/2007, Carnival Glory - 6/2007, Monarch of the Seas - 5/2007, Voyager of the Seas - 3/2007, Grandeur of the Seas - 12/2006, Carnival Miracle - 9/2006, Carnival Valor - 12/2005, Carnival Glory - 3/2005, Carnival Glory - 7/2003, Sovereign of the Seas - 7/2000, CCL Sensation - 12/1999, CCL Ecstasy - 12/1997, NCL ?? - 6/1996, Hawaiian American Independence - 1992, Premier Atlantic - 1991


Chris's guide for budget travel - Made for conferences (may make a cruise version some time) but airline, shuttle, Priceline, and Hotwire tips should remain the same

Cruise Albums on Flickr
#14
Lafayette, IN
10,346 Posts
Joined Jan 2005
Day 8: Debarkation

That horrible day had finally arrived ... Christmas Day ... time to get off the ship. We woke up about 7:00 to find the ship already docked in Miami. We headed off to Rosie's for breakfast. Self-assist passengers were called to leave at 7:30, with a final call at 8:30. We lounged around our room as long as possible, but left at 8:30 for Rosie's as we were supposed to be out of our rooms by 8:45. Rosie's was pretty full, with a lot of people camping there with their bags. We were sitting at a window along the side, almost across from the Oriental bar, waiting for future announcements ... that never came. The area gradually cleared out as people wandered out but the only sounds that my g/f and I heard were Christmas music over the loudspeaker. At about 10:00, the place was decently empty, and we decided to head to the promenade to see what was up. As soon as we left Rosie's, we heard the CD Rebecca's voice over the outside PA announcing that everyone now had clearance to leave, and although they wished we could stay, they really needed us to vacate the ship. Shocked that this announcement was NOT made in Rosie's at all, we went down to the lobby to find a short line and two minutes later, we were off the ship. Twenty minutes later, we were through customs (and were told they were expecting 3,600 people to check-in that day) and looking for a cab. By 11 AM, we were on South Beach and checking our bags at the Winterhaven hotel (very nice for a ~$100 room on SoBe, BTW).
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Oasis of the Seas - 5/2017, Navigator of the Seas - 12/16, Harmony of the Seas B2B - 10/2016, Oasis of the Seas - 11/2015, Brilliance of the Seas - 5/2015, Quantum of the Seas - 11/2014, Brilliance of the Seas - 4/2014, Carnival Legend - 5/2013, Celebrity Solstice - 5/2013, Celebrity Eclipse - 12/2012, Allure of the Seas - 7/2012, Serenade of the Seas - 5/2012, Voyager of the Seas - 12/2011, Liberty of the Seas - 12/2011, Freedom of the Seas - 10/2011, Oasis of the Seas - 5/2011, Celebrity Eclipse - 3/2011, Celebrity Millennium - 12/2010, Radiance of the Seas - 12/2010, Majesty of the Seas - 12/2010, Majesty of the Seas B2B 11/2010, Radiance of the Seas - 3/2010, Rhapsody of the Seas - 12/2009, Mariner of the Seas - 8/2009, Mariner of the Seas - 5/2009, Navigator of the Seas - 2/2009, Jewel of the Seas - 12/2008, Navigator of the Seas - 11/2008, Majesty of the Seas - 9/2008, Explorer of the Seas - 7/2008, Monarch of the Seas - 5/2008, Grandeur of the Seas - 3/2008, Brilliance of the Seas - 12/2007, Carnival Glory - 6/2007, Monarch of the Seas - 5/2007, Voyager of the Seas - 3/2007, Grandeur of the Seas - 12/2006, Carnival Miracle - 9/2006, Carnival Valor - 12/2005, Carnival Glory - 3/2005, Carnival Glory - 7/2003, Sovereign of the Seas - 7/2000, CCL Sensation - 12/1999, CCL Ecstasy - 12/1997, NCL ?? - 6/1996, Hawaiian American Independence - 1992, Premier Atlantic - 1991


Chris's guide for budget travel - Made for conferences (may make a cruise version some time) but airline, shuttle, Priceline, and Hotwire tips should remain the same

Cruise Albums on Flickr
#15
Lafayette, IN
10,346 Posts
Joined Jan 2005
The Ship

The ship was extremely familiar to me after my two voyages on the Glory, so navigation was no problem. My g/f didn't seem to have any navigation problem either after I explained to her that, given our room Lido, we only needed to use our deck or the promenade to travel from the front of the ship to the back.

The decor of the ship seemed ... well ... fiercely pro-American (which is fine by me), although other examples of "valor" were around, as well (see Winston's Cigar Bar, for example). I've never seen an understated Carnival ship, and this one is no exception. Some of it was nice, some of it a bit gaudy, but overall, it was pretty decent. The ship seemed to be pretty well kept, and countless cleaning and painting jobs could be seen on the ship on any given day.

The Food

Overall, I found all of the food to be very good, while my g/f found it to be excellent. The buffet food was hot when it need to be and cold otherwise. I was served cold french fries a few times, but no real complaints. Fish and Chips is a little-known gem if you like battered fish that becomes more and more discovered as the week rolls on. My g/f loved the sushi on the Japanese Taste of Nations buffet, declaring it was some of the best she'd ever had. The dining room food was enjoyable, though the menus started to all sound the same towards the end (and this seems to be about the 4th time I've ordered from similar menus). There were some weird desserets offered in the dining room (stewed prune tart, anyone?), but overall, I could always find something that sounded good. Scarlett's was, of course, excellent and well worth the $30/pp cover in my opinion.

The Crew

Social Staff - To be honest from the CD on down, no one really made an impression on me. In all fairness, we didn't make it to a lot of the main shows, but no one had what I would call a vibrant personality. The CD Rebecca was adequate but forgettable. The only social host I can remember is Dangerous Brian, and he just seemed to be trying to hard to be funny.

Wait Staff - As I mentioned, after our table move, our head waitress seemed very cold and the assistant often absent. Their service barely met my expectations and definitely didn't stand out to me in any positive way. The staff working the buffet and bussing the tables all seemed more lively and happy. Everyone seemed to be going out of their way to be polite, so no complaints there.

Room Steward - He gets an automatic black mark in my book for not taking care of the safe issue in my room. The rest of his service was fine however. He was one of the stewards you never saw, which was a large contrast to my last steward on the Glory, Imade, who always stopped what he was doing to say hello and inquire about my day when I passed in the hallway.

Fellow Passengers - The age range of the passengers was diverse, from infant to elderly, with over 1,000 children on board. The children seemed well-behaved, for the most part, and I didn't notice too many roving packs of unsupervised children ... though I did see the occasional roving packs of teens, on the other hand. A lot of people seemed to be enjoying themselves, though there were definitely a handful of complainers aboard as well (see embarkation story). On the last night, while sitting in Jeanne's Wine Bar, I overheard one couple telling another that they hated how big the ship was and how there were too many people to find a secluded spot. This made me laugh, as they were sitting in a mostly empty bar (6 whole people) at 6 PM on the main promenade. Sure, if you hit the buffet lines at the wrong time, there will be some lines. Luckily, however, if you don't want to wait in line, there are 6 other food options available that might have smaller lines, and there is also the option to return later. In my opinion, if you put forth an effort to avoid things you dislike (such as avoiding lines if you cannot stand them), you will have a much better time.

Activities

This is one area where the cruise seemed to be lacking. During the days at sea, the big activities were tanning, gambling, shopping, going to the art auction, and the obligatory Hairy Chest contest. There just didn't seem to be as much going on as I remembered (ie, galley tours, pub crawls, ping pong tournaments, movie trivia, etc). I was never bored as I can easily entertain myself, but I never saw and event that I just HAD to go to.

Complaints
  • The embarkation process was slightly confusing (as we lost our way somewhere), but not too bad.
  • Room safe was never unlocked. This would be a much bigger complaint (and partly my fault since I didn't press the matter) if anything had been lost or stolen. I would have felt better not having to carry all of my travel money with me into the ports, however.
  • My g/f did not appreciate being asked to take her heels off for photos because they made her taller than me
  • BIGGIE: I never received an invitation to the past guest party. I don't know whose fault it was, but I didn't realize it until the last day and it slightly steamed me (this being my 5th Carnival cruise). I went down to the Purser's desk to get my pin, which they supplied, though they couldn't tell me why never received my invitation.
  • BIGGIE: We couldn't hear the debarkation announcements in Rosie's, even though it was open, serving food, and was place we could wait for our call. This was not a big deal considering that we were in no rush to get off the ship, but it could've been very frustrating if we had had a flight to catch. My advice: sit either outside on Lido or along the promenade.
I know this summary sounds a bit negative, but truth be told, we had a great time. My g/f is already wanting to go on another cruise with Carnival, and we both agreed that we got great value for our money. The ship is nice, well-kept, and offers a lot of entertainment choices. I think a few changes by the social staff, such as addition of a few more activities, would make this truly a superb cruising experience.

Oh, and BTW, after my first balcony, I'm not sure that I could go back to an oceanview or an inside unless it was that choice or nothing. My g/f said that she only wanted a balcony on Lido from here on out, so I guess she's spoiled ....

I'll update this thread with pictures in about a week (at parents' house on dial-up at the moment, so that's currently a no-go), and will gladly answer any questions that you may have. If you've made it this far, thanks for reading along.
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Oasis of the Seas - 5/2017, Navigator of the Seas - 12/16, Harmony of the Seas B2B - 10/2016, Oasis of the Seas - 11/2015, Brilliance of the Seas - 5/2015, Quantum of the Seas - 11/2014, Brilliance of the Seas - 4/2014, Carnival Legend - 5/2013, Celebrity Solstice - 5/2013, Celebrity Eclipse - 12/2012, Allure of the Seas - 7/2012, Serenade of the Seas - 5/2012, Voyager of the Seas - 12/2011, Liberty of the Seas - 12/2011, Freedom of the Seas - 10/2011, Oasis of the Seas - 5/2011, Celebrity Eclipse - 3/2011, Celebrity Millennium - 12/2010, Radiance of the Seas - 12/2010, Majesty of the Seas - 12/2010, Majesty of the Seas B2B 11/2010, Radiance of the Seas - 3/2010, Rhapsody of the Seas - 12/2009, Mariner of the Seas - 8/2009, Mariner of the Seas - 5/2009, Navigator of the Seas - 2/2009, Jewel of the Seas - 12/2008, Navigator of the Seas - 11/2008, Majesty of the Seas - 9/2008, Explorer of the Seas - 7/2008, Monarch of the Seas - 5/2008, Grandeur of the Seas - 3/2008, Brilliance of the Seas - 12/2007, Carnival Glory - 6/2007, Monarch of the Seas - 5/2007, Voyager of the Seas - 3/2007, Grandeur of the Seas - 12/2006, Carnival Miracle - 9/2006, Carnival Valor - 12/2005, Carnival Glory - 3/2005, Carnival Glory - 7/2003, Sovereign of the Seas - 7/2000, CCL Sensation - 12/1999, CCL Ecstasy - 12/1997, NCL ?? - 6/1996, Hawaiian American Independence - 1992, Premier Atlantic - 1991


Chris's guide for budget travel - Made for conferences (may make a cruise version some time) but airline, shuttle, Priceline, and Hotwire tips should remain the same

Cruise Albums on Flickr
#16
17,908 Posts
Joined Jun 2002
Silentbob.....great review....glad you had a nice time! And it was easy to read too! All in one place!

Thanks for taking the time to write.
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Cape Liberty Info blog

Cruise Photo Albums

My Cruise History:
Royal-too many to count, X-3, NCL-2, CCL-too many to count, MSC-1, HAL-1
So many cruises, so little time and money!

illegitmi non carborundum kmt
#19
2,909 Posts
Joined Jul 2005
Great review. I will definatly check out that ship for our next cruise.
I love all the detail you went into. Especially about the ports.
Hope you get to go again soon.
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#20
Connecticut
3,995 Posts
Joined Feb 2003
Thank you for your review!!

I LOVE these detailed reviews!!!!
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Upcoming:
5/21/17 - Carnival SPLENDOR - B2B 1st Leg - 6 Day - Daughters BIG Birthday Cruise
5/27/17 - Carnival SPLENDOR - B2B 2nd Leg - 8 Day - My BIG Birthday Cruise
1/27/18 - Carnival VISTA - 8 Day Havana Cabin - His BIG Birthday cruise

Sailed:
06/16 - Carnival SPLENDOR
01/16 - Carnival CONQUEST
02/14 - Carnival LIBERTY
01/13 - Carnival BREEZE
05/12 - Carnival MIRACLE
05/11 - Carnival VALOR
03/11 - Carnival LIBERTY
04/09 - Carnival LIBERTY
02/09 - Carnival FREEDOM
11/06 - Carnival LEGEND
01/06 - Carnival GLORY
04/05 - Carnival TRIUMPH
07/03 - Carnival DESTINY
04/03 - Carnival TRIUMPH