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Valor Review 9/10-9/17 Very long


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I actually submitted this review, but it has not been posted.

I will answer any question I can, if you have any.


DH and I are about 30, from Indiana, and do not have children. We flew American Eagle out of Indianapolis to Miami, and then taxied to our hotel for a one-night stay at the Hyatt Regency booked through Priceline for a total of $115 including taxes. The cab ride from the airport to the hotel was around $30. We had a balcony room right above pool and the drawbridge. Really didn’t notice much street noise which is very surprising because there is construction everywhere you turn. But, I always take earplugs w/ me on vacation. The bed was very comfortable, nice down comforter and pillow. The shower in our room did not work properly, but we did not find out until the next morning before leaving for the ship, so we had to take baths, luckily the rooms were very clean and this did not make me feel too uncomfortable. Bayside is not far away via the tram. It was a bit disappointing we expected more nightlife. There was a live band, but they weren’t memorable. I’m sure others find it to be an interesting place.

The next day we took another tax to the port. I can’t remember how much it was. Our first impressions of Carnival’s port were not the best, especially compared to RCCL right next door. I kind of reminded me of driving through a city and going from the suburbs to the ghetto. We got to the drop off area and had to find our room number, since we had a guaranteed room. The porter first had to find who had the list, then he was fumbling over it, so I just took it from him and found it myself. I didn’t want him giving me the wrong number. He did not say anything about tipping or seeing my luggage for the last time, but I tipped him accordingly. Embarkation was pretty simple and straightforward. It took about 30min to get onto the ship after dropping off our luggage. They have all the rooms blocked off until 1:30 pm, so you might want to keep that in mind and not bring a bunch of bags with you. Our bags were all delivered before dinner.

Like I said, we booked an Inside Guar., from the looks of the S&S in the packet we received had been upgraded to 6E on spa deck, by the time we got to the ship we were back down to inside. Our cabin was 2219 on the Main deck. I think it was underneath the backstage of the theatre, because every night we heard people running back and forth over the ceiling. It really wasn’t that big of deal because it was quiet by the time we went to sleep. The room was always clean and tidy. The tv had news from Denver and TNT from Miami that played movies. You could also rent movies for $8 each, but they were very old and not worth paying for.

I didn’t find the ship to be offensive or goaudy at all. It was a nice ship. I wouldn’t say it was beautiful in comparison to the NCL Star. Even by the end of the week we hadn’t seen the whole ship. Also, as long as you keep in mind that floor 5 will take you anywhere on the ship, there is no problem with navigation.

The service from the crew was good, just not outstanding. Room was always clean and well taken care of, but never once met our room steward. NCL we saw him at least twice and day and addressed each other by name, he was a very pleasant man. We did enjoy the staff at the ShoGun Bar, Salvio is very “Johnny-on-the-spot” he does magic tricks and lights your cigarettes, also Dina is a very pleasant girl from Indonesia, then there’s Tommy “How yu doin’?” He’s funny. The staff, on the lido deck, keeps everything nice and they bus the tables as fast as they can. I didn’t notice the pool area to be overly crowded, nor did I notice a lot of chair saving.

We requested late sitting, but got early in the Washington dining room, table 324. It was a table for 8, but there were only 6 of us. We also initially wanted a table for two, but after the first night we decided to keep things as-is. We really liked our tablemates and paled around with each other the rest of the week. That being said, we didn’t even try Scarlett’s. Our headwaiter was Alex from Bulgaria and honestly I still can’t remember his assistant’s name, it was Melanie or Melody, but she really didn’t do much. She came by when we first sat down, gave us a roll and water/tea and then we didn’t see her again until the end of the meal when she asked if we wanted coffee with dessert. I thought this was a bit unusual; it seemed to me she should have been doing more. DH and I never had anything from the drink waitress, but our tablemates did and her service was absolutely terrible. They had soda cards and were lucky to get one drink by the middle of the meal even though they told her at the beginning of the week that they would want a coke every night. For all of you fashinistas, who would be offended if people change after dinner or didn’t comply exactly with the dress code, don’t cruise this ship. I, on the other hand, didn’t mind at all. We went with the flow and changed clothes after dinner like everyone else. Frankly, after all that food, we both felt constricted and we were still wearing nice clothes. Only witnessed a couple people wearing shorts and/or jeans in the dining room. Most of the men do wear a tux/suit. On all other nights, it really ran the gamut.

We were actually surprised at the quantity of food they served after reading people ordered two entrees etc. I thought that we would be served very small portions of everything, but that was not the case at all. Alex told us that we were the first to try this new menu. One couple that sat at our table said they didn’t think the food was as good as their previous cruise on the Miracle. IMO the food was very good, or at least better than I expected (I wasn’t expecting much). It was leagues better than the standard fare on NCL, but not as good as the extra pay restaurants on NCL. (You get what you pay for.) I was concerned about the “show” at dinner before we even booked our cruise and I can now say I had every right to be. No, it did not ruin our cruise, but it was a huge put off. We were not served dessert until after Shooow – tiiime with Mr. V the Matred'. We were trying to have a nice dinner and conversation with our tablemates and here comes the annoying conga line and bad music. Please save this for the lido deck, where it belongs.

That brings me to entertainment. A break down of activities – this is generalizing: sun worshiping, gambling (lump in bingo 24/7), drinking, shopping (limited), karaoke (late night), song and dance shows (3 nights), eating. If none of this interests you, then your going to be very board. We watched the two major musical productions, the ventriloquist, the talent show and a couple of the late night comedians. It is amazing how the dancers can do all they do twice a night on a moving ship. The second show about the 80s is much better than the first one. Maybe it’s just because I actually enjoyed the music. But, there was a surprise to this one; they had a couple guest stars. There were two break-dancers and they stole the show. The ventriloquist was pretty good, it is what it is. Of the late night comedians, the first one Allyn Ball (I think this was his name, tall, bald guy.) was the best. We also attended the talent show on the last night. This was a lot of fun because our tablemate was Elvis and he did a great job. You Rock Ben!

My husband enjoyed NCL entertainment more; they had a larger variety of magicians, comedians, local entertainment, bands, etc. He’s not really the song and dance type of guy.

We had three ports of call, the first of which was the Bahamas. We took Thriller boat to Blackbeard’s Cay which is a beach owned by Sandal’s resort. The driver on the boat was very nice and funny; he took us by Atlantis and explained some things about it so we could get pictures. There is really nothing to do on the island except swim and lay on the beach. There are stingrays there, but I think you have to book a different tour to do that. There is a gift shop that they open up for about 1-2 hrs. There are also some gals selling jewelry and trinkets on the beach. You can purchase a $6 hamburger w/ a bag of chips, if you’re hungry. We thought there would be shopping and eating places here according the description given for the tour…not. So, we paid $120 to ride a jet ski for an hour. This was a short day and by the time we returned we had to get back on the ship.

Second port was St. Thomas we did the BOB excursion. We had quite a long stay on this island. We got off the ship early to look around, there were shops when you get of the ship, but IMHO, nothing worth spending money on t-shirts and hats and things. We didn’t take the tram thing to the top of the mountain, but I heard that was beautiful. I think there were too many people on this excursion. There were two carnival ships in dock and took both ships at the same time. We had to break up into 5 groups and were supposed to get 30mins each, well by the time we got to our group (3) evidently we were running out of time because we had about 5-10 mins actually in the BOBs. The rest of the time out there you can snorkel while you wait your turn. Make sure you go out far enough to see the sunken ship, I heard there were jellyfish and barracuda out there. Overall – this was a neat experience, but for the money and time spent would not do it again. At the end of the excursion, before you got back of the boat, you were basically begged for a tip and some one stands there with a jar as your getting off.

Lastly, St Martin, we had the ATV excursion planned for this stop but for some reason it was cancelled. We had prepaid this tour through CCL and it was credited back to our S&S account with out any issues. Our waiter told us on Tuesday, before we went to St Thomas, not to do any shopping there to save it for St Martin and he was right. Since our excursion was cancelled, that was all we did. The dock is set up very well. There is a taxi hub off the right of the dock area where they can hail a taxi/tour for anywhere. We went to Phillipsburg via taxi. It is a set price of $3 pp. If you’re serious about shopping, this is the place to be. (BTW, someone on this board was asking about Absinthe a while back, it was all over the place here. You could also buy Cuban cigars, but you can’t bring them back to the states.) There is a beach in Phillipsburg if you want to swim; I think they had chairs to rent also. It’s along a boardwalk if you get hungry, but we checked the prices and decided to wait until we got back on the ship. This is all within walking distance if you want, but for $3pp why bother? That is another nice thing about this island. Everything is regulated; meaning no matter where you go there is a set price. Our tablemates went to the French side to Orient Beach. They said that was nice too and did some snorkeling, but said there wasn’t a whole lot to see in that area. From what they said, there is also a .50c charge to use the restrooms there and, of course there is the “European” half of the beach, if that’s your thing.

Now to disembarkation, this is my one HUGE complaint. It literally toke us 2 hours to get off the ship after our stateroom was called. We were supposed to vacate our cabins by 9 am and wait on the Promenade until our color was called. No big deal-normal. We proceeded to deck 3 when our color was called, had our S&S scanned one last time and went into the building to go through customs. Our groups got to the top of the stairs at the port and were there in line for 30 minutes. (Yes, we timed it.) After that we finally got to proceed to another line down the escalator, we snaked through that part of the terminal so we could wait to go down another set of stairs to collect our very unorganized luggage. We picked up our luggage in a very hot, very dark (we were told the lights had been out for 20mins) garage – for lack of a better term. You collect your luggage and proceed to yet another very long line; this is were they finally take your customs sheet and check your passport. This whole process took approx. 2 ½ hours, no, I am not exaggerating. There was a lot of complaining going on. We didn’t have this problem with NCL and we spoke to several people who said they’d never seen anything like this and had never experienced this on RCCL. We also spoke to some porters working in the terminal. They said this was the second week they had done things this way and it was absolutely the worst idea they ever had. According to the porter we spoke to, these are not my words, he said they needed more help and this is there way to prove it…to p*** the customers off. Well, I’m sorry that is not the way prove anything.

In summary, we had a very good time. We enjoyed all three ports and would return in the future to do some exploring on our own. The ship was very nice as were the people that worked on the ship. We did witness some fellow passengers being rude to some of the crew and ironically these passengers themselves were not Americans. DH and I agree that if we had not meet such nice passengers/new friends (which was our major complaint about NCL), then this cruise would not have been as great as it was. That being said, we heard many passengers playing up RCCL and I think that will be our next line to cruise. We like to always try new things and would like to find a cruise line we absolutely love. As much as I thought this would be the one, it was not.

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Now to disembarkation, this is my one HUGE complaint. It literally toke us 2 hours to get off the ship after our stateroom was called. This whole process took approx. 2 ½ hours, no, I am not exaggerating. There was a lot of complaining going on.


Hey BettyCrocker,


I was on the 9/10 Valor sailing too -- I'm still tired from disembarking. :) But, alas, I do miss the Valor. Sure wish I was back there and not at work. :D


Liked your review...



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