I just returned from a 7 day cruise to the Eastern Caribbean on the Valor and thought I'd give a little review, as you all have been so helpful to me before I sailed. It was my first cruise - and everything was perfect for me. I had nothing to compare it to, but would go again in a heartbeat.
We left Miami on Sunday, May 7th. We boarded around 12:30 and although it seemed to take forever, it wasn't too bad. We finally checked in our room, which was a balcony cabin on Deck 10 - the Panorama. We had early seating for dinner at 5:45 p.m. in the Washington Dining Room, upstairs. Our dinner table companions were wonderful! We had such a good time with all of them for the entire trip. Our head waiter, Celio and assistant waiter Suryana, were also wonderful and attentive.
Monday we arrived in Nassau and after leaving the ship, we found taxi drivers (7 passsenger vans), waiting to take us on a tour of Atlantis and around the city of Nassau for $5 - $10 - not too much money. It was great not having to walk the 20 minutes or so from the water taxi service. Our driver gave us a short tour of Atlantis, and then left us on our own for about 30 minutes to take pictures, etc. Afterwards, he took us on a trip around the city and stopped at a little shopping area for handmade crafts, etc. After we left Charlie, our guide, there was a lot of time to walk around the shops in Nassau. We boarded the ship in time for the Captain's Welcome Dinner - Formal Night. After dinner we went to the Ivanhoe Theatre for the Night Club Express show.
Tuesday was a Fun Day at Sea and we explored the shopping areas and the casino. I'm not a big gambler, and was thrilled to find that they had penny slot machines! My roommates made up for my timid betting, however - they just lost their money faster than I did. That evening after dinner, the Ivanhoe Theatre show had the Cruise Director, Brett Alans, performing magic acts and also had a comedian, Pete Michael.
Wednesday we arrived in St. Thomas. We had signed up for a Carnival Shore Excursion for about $32 and had a taxi van tour around the island with plenty of time for shopping. I thought it was well worth the money and our driver was very funny and informative. I wish I had copies of the menu for each meal. Everything was so good and was presented very nicely. The program in the Ivanhoe Theatre that night was a hypnotist, and he was o.k. My roommates decided to go back to the cabin to watch Survivor or Lost or whatever was on that night. I headed out to the Eagles Lounge to watch the Karaoke and Legend auditions, as they were doing Frank Sinatra and Elvis that night. I really enjoyed it.
Thursday was St. Maarten and St. Martin. We had booked a Carnival excursion that included an air-conditioned bus trip as well as at least an hour trip on a catamaran around the entire island - rum punch included. I think that trip was about $62 but was most enjoyable. We shopped for a while, and ate at a little restaurant in St. Maarten, then boarded the catamaran which eventually dropped us off at the bus and back to the port. After dinner and a short trip to the casino, we went to the theatre where Melinda Chatman sang Motown and love songs, and Jim Brick was the comedian. It was a good show.
Friday and Saturday were Fun Days at Sea. It hadn't taken us long to realize that breakfast and lunch in the dining room was a good thing! We could have eaten at Rosie's, but having a nice cloth tablecloth, napkins, silverwear and having someone serve us - was heavenly. I can do paper plates and napkins at home! Friday night was formal night for dinner. The show that night was called Far From Over with the Valor Dancers and singers. It was a nice show.
Saturday at sea was sad, as we realized that the trip was almost over. We explored parts of the ship we had not seen before, played in the casino, did last minute shopping, and packed our bags so they would be ready to set outside our door that evening. After lunch, we found out that the Chocolate Buffet was going on, there was a class showing how to make the animals out of towels and an ice sculpture display - all at the same time! The wait staff were a lot of fun at dinner (waiting for their extra tip perhaps)! ;-) The Ivanhoe Theatre show that evening was the Carnival Legends - most enjoyable!! It didn't start until 10:30 and it was packed.
Sunday morning, around 4 a.m., I looked out of the window to the East and saw a couple of miles of bright lights in the distance - the City of Miami! Around 6 a.m., we were pulling into port and I went out on the front deck. There was a full moon - hanging over Miami. Shortly afterwards, there was a beautiful sunrise - with the sun coming up over Miami Beach. A perfect ending to a perfect cruise. We ate breakfast in the dining room and disembarked with absolutely no problem.
A trip to Alaska is planned for next year, but I don't know if I can wait that long to sail again. I'm a believer!!
If I can answer any questions - I'll be happy to give it a try.