First of all let me say the CD was Ryan Fitzgerald...He was great, and this was his first cruise as a CD! Thats been a popular question so I thought I would get it over with
Embarkation: We flew into MIA the day before, and arrived at the port at 10:15. We were the second people in line. Security, and checking in was a breeze. We were on the ship eating lunch in Rossie's by 11:30.
This ship is beautiful, and I found it easy to navigate than the other CCL ships I have been on. Every thing in American themed which was very nice salute to the past present and future of our country. Alot of you may be wondering about CCL new menu...well not much too it only a few things have changed, and mainly 1 item each night was new. I give Carnival great reviews for the shows and activities on the Valor...by far the best I have had on 14 cruises.
Grand Cayman: Nice weather! We did our own thing here...already done the "big" shore tours here...We mainly shoped, but we did get a cab and go to the turtle farm and we mailed a post card from hell.
Isla Roatan: Beautiful place, but very poor...Very sad to see the poverty here! We did the Canapy Tour which was fun. Its no where near as strengous as it is made out to be lol. After the tour we went back to the ship as it was a pretty warm day.
Belize: Tendering was ROUGH to say the least. The tender boats are smaller than those used in Grand Cayman and they seas didnt make things and better...Waves would occassionaly splash in the boats. We just shoped here in Belize mainly because we had already done the cave tubing and the canapy tour offered here...The shops along the port are nice, but beware once you leave that area the locals will not take no for an answer, and if tells you anything you need to have you ship card to even get back into the shops that face the port.
Costa Maya: Well it just wasnt to be...the seas would not settle down so we had another fun day at sea, and saild side by side with the Miracle for about 36 hours!
Debarkation: We qualify for the priority embarkation and debarkation so we meet in our lounge, and were off the ship right after the self assist people. Some of our bags were not in the VIP section, and found them in another area but didnt take long to find them.
Lastly this was by far my favorite cruise! We booked this cruise with some other family members right after we had a death in the family as a little escape, and this cruise went perfect! I personally reccomend this ship to anyone! If you have any questions please feel free to ask, and sorry for the long review.
Thank you so much for posting about the islands for your cruise. Sorry you missed out on Costa Maya though. We are sailing the Valor April 30th and are all so excited. I will be a bit bummed if we too miss Costa Maya but hey, how bummed can you get on that gorgeous ship???
I have one question for you though. We sailed the Valor last May on their Eastern itinerary so I am all set on the ship itself. But we were only in ports 2 1/2 days then. This time for 4 straight days. Do they get in all the great shipboard activities still and when? I would just kill to get my hands on the capers for this itinerary. Do they still do wine tasting, casino tourneys, and etc? Was the night life more active or less active with all the port days?
Thanks so much for your time in providing this info.
Heather...we did the same cruise he is talking about. I am not sure about the wine tasting (not a huge fan of wine) but we definitely still had all of the night life and shipboard activities you expect from a CCL ship. Even with 4 ports we still had 2 scheduled days at sea (3 with missing Costa Maya) and actually the evening we left Miami as well. Don't worry, the whole million ways to have fun thing still rings true, lol! Might I also suggest that if you are not planning on doing anything in Belize that you save yourself the awful tender ride. We stayed on the ship and just relaxed in the hot tub and pool all day and it was awesome because the ship was not so packed. From what I heard from people coming back was that the tenders were downright dreadful and the city itself is disgusting and sort of scary. Most people I chatted with said there was not much to do or see aside from shop for the same old stuff you can get in Grand Cayman and once they arrived they wanted to turn around and head right back to the Valor. I will say though that Isla Roatan in Honduras is absolutely gorgeous and I suggest heading to Gumbalimba Park on what the ship calls the "Pirates, Birds, and Monkeys Tour." It's an experience in history, culture, and nature that you will not soon forget and the grounds of the park (located on a beach) are breathtaking. Hope you have fun!
Jap77 ... well I am not one to ever miss a new island so we are doing the cave tubing in Belize. I made sure for every island we are having a blast. I have never done a tender before so this will be a new adventure. I can't imaging Belize not being gorgeous though. It might not be perfect but if I am one of the lucky people who get to see all the different places, believe me, I am taking advantage of it.
In Roatan we are doing the Zipline, Gumbalimba and Tabyana combination tour. To be honest...I think I am more excited about those monkeys than anything else.
I appreciate you taking the time to reassure me on the daytime activitis for CCL. I am so excited.
i got all excited that i had found someone else going on valor on 4/30 until i realized it was heather and i already know her! lol
jap, i have a question for you.... someone gave us the "pirates, birds and monkeys" tour as a christmas gift. it says on the carnival site that the tour is only an hour long, though. is this true? i mean, to get there, walk around and do whatever and come back, an hour seems like NOTHING at all! plus, if there is access to this beach nearby, that would be such a bonus!
and tell me the truth.... do they REALLY let you hold the monkeys like the picture makes it out to seem? PLEASE SAY YES!!!
Life isn't measured by the number of breaths you take, but by the moments that take your breath away.
Carnival Valor April 2006
Contemplating a cruise wedding in 2010
Just wondering if you booked your cave tubing and zipline thru Carnival or private companies. We are sailing on valor 4/2 and talked of doing the same things. It's our first cruise and I'm a little nervous about using outside companies but so many people have recommended them and say they are cheaper plus not nearly as crowed. If we were with a group I wouldn't worry so much but it's just the wife and I. Being in a strange country and leaving with someone in a van going who knows where creeps me out a little.
LISA Quit following me girl!!! Lisa...I can answer about the tour you are doing. They estimate that you will spend about an hour at the actual park. Then Tabyana beach is attached to the park and you spend the remainder of the day there. Yes...the monkeys really do come and play and you get to hold them. We will be doing the zipline there and then we will come meet you guys at the beach or if you are still in the park. We leave for the zipline at 11:15. What time is yours? They have a hour on my tour on the Carnival site also but it is actually 3 hours for the zipline and park tour and then we will be heading to the beach.
TMBDAD...We booked the cabe tubing through Xstream and the Costa Maya beach party through a outside company. The zipline we found to be best through carnival for Roatan. Cayman we booked through a private tour company. There is nothing wrong with booking through outside companys and you will save money and have a less crowded tour. Some excursions are better booked through Carnival, just do your research and pick what you want to do. Either way...you will have a great time.
RAN...no problem on the scanner. Gives me something to look forward to. Really appreciate you doing this.
When we booked the tour on CCL's site it said that it would be at our leisure and it certainly was once we got there. The park is absolutely gorgeous!! And yes you WILL hold parrots and monkeys, the guide and park staff will assist you with this and let you take all the pictures you want. One word of caution that you will hear from your guide on the way to the park. No-one and I mean no-one can make the monkeys get on or off of you, they are not in cages and they do as they please. They were never aggressive with us at all but if they want to get up on you they do and if they want to get off you they do, never try and force them. My wife and daughter love monkeys and they had an absolute ball playing with them, one decide he liked my daughter's shorts and attempted to crawl up them, then he got tired and laid down in her lap for a nap as she sat on the ground. You can spend as long as you'd like there but just be careful you do not wait too long to grab one of the buses that heads back to the ship. Also there is a beach with a pavillion and there was a little refreshment stand and live music just a completely wonderful expierence!! You can enter the water at the beach and/or sit and relax on the chairs and look at the beautiful water. The only complaint about that area is that the women doing hairbraiding are a bit aggressive and it takes several no's before they get the message. Everyone at the park speaks at least some English though and everyone else was very friendly and helpful. When tipping keep in mind that one of their dollars or "Lempiras" is worth about 0.18 cents US so they are very pleased to see a US Dollar when you are tipping. Our tour guide showed us a $50 Lempira bill and then informed us it's worth about $2.50 US. But again rest assured that you will have all the time you need there and after her brief tour it's all at your own pace.
As far as booking outside of CCL, sometimes it is good and at other times it is not. Like RAN said, the ships will wait on late CCL tour patrons but on others they will not. On this last cruise we did not book a tour in Grand Cayman b/c we'd been there and already done the stingray thing so we decided we'd get a cab and head to the turtle farm and Hell but once on the pier we were convinced that a $20 1 1/2 hour tour was best for us. It was a great tour and when we got back on the ship we learned that CCL charges $59 for the same $20 tour. When were in Roatan, we had booked CCL's tour that I spoke about above but once at the park the guide told us we could do the zipline for $35 and they'd charge it to our S&S accounts onboard. When we returned to Miami we found that we had been charged $89 instead of $35 for the zipline but after an explanation to the purser desk it was all cleared up. I know that the ship did not have to do that though and we were lucky b/c someone at the park named the price and the Valor did not. Being the way that I am I recommend only booking through CCL and having the piece of mind and sense of security it brings. I'll try to get some pics on here from the park also.