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Old May 23rd, 2007, 01:28 AM
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Default my reviews of Grand Cayman, Belize, Costa Maya, and Roatan

Carnival Valor 13 May 07

GRAND CAYMAN: ( tender) The island is basically a flat exposed coal reef creation with little historic, natural, or genuine cultural attractions. However the waters are gorgeous, so I recommend a water based activity . There are also plenty of shops and restaurant bars. I would say Grand Cayman is extremely touristy and presents an artificial ambience.
I took the “Off The Beaten Path? Jeep tour of the island in which I drove. There traffic is on the left side of the road but the jeeps have left sided steering wheels, which makes for some tricky driving. We visited Barkers national park which is basically a mangrove swamp, the village of Hell, and had lunch of a burger and punch. The Jeep tour was a lot of fun, but was very hot.
On Grand Cayman, suitable shade can be a problem so sun screen lotion is a must and a hat might be a good idea.

ROATAN: (dock) This was a pleasant surprise. For one thing the island is mountainous and lush. Second this is a real world port as opposed to being an artificially created tourist trap. It felt like Central America. They seem to be breaking ground on what will become a cruise terminal, which should make this port even better in the future.
I took the “Discover Roatan? tour where we visited a native village called Yubu, the Garifuna experience and were presented with a dance . At Dixie Cove Harbor we a boat ride out to see a couple of shipwrecks. We also visited Mable Farm which is famous for its jellies and hummingbird sightings.

BELIZE: ( tender) Here I took the “Jungle Buggy and Mayan Cave? tour which was very interesting. The ride out to the tour side presented the opportunity to see the real Central America’s landscape of homes and ecosystems. The “Jungle Buggy? is actually a converted army 2 ½ ton truck with a viewing platform. The jungle part was unremarkable, but the Mayan cave portion of the trip was most interesting. The ancient Maya believed caves to be portal to the under-world. Some ancient Mayan pottery remains where the left it a millennium ago.

COSTA MAYA : ( dock) This is an attractive tourist village created out of thin air for cruise passengers.
There I took a tour out to Kohunlich Mayan Ruins and was very much impressed with the site. This is the fifth Mayan city that I have toured and felt it to be under-rated. The temple of the mask is most impressive in that the facade dates from around 500 AD and has retained much of the original red color. The acropolis offers some great views as well. We were offered a boxed lunch which I found tasty.
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Old May 23rd, 2007, 07:16 AM
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Thank you for the review. I always wondered about those places.
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Old May 23rd, 2007, 11:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dina
Thank you for the review. I always wondered about those places.
Hopefully it was helpful. I have also submitted a ship's review for the Valor and it should be seen soon.
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Old May 24th, 2007, 11:02 AM
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The only thing I might add is to do Stingray City in Grand Cayman. This is a fantastic snorkling and up close experience not to be missed even though I must agree that the island otherwise is bland at best! 8)

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Old May 25th, 2007, 12:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nvabill
The only thing I might add is to do Stingray City in Grand Cayman. This is a fantastic snorkling and up close experience not to be missed even though I must agree that the island otherwise is bland at best! 8)

Bill
I whole heartly agree that the water activies are outstanding around Grand Cayman. 8)
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Old May 27th, 2007, 10:58 PM
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Any thoughts on booking tours thru private vendors??

I liked the activities that you did but suspect that is was costly.

Any comments??
We are on the valor in Aug.

Thanks,
Mitch.......
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Old May 28th, 2007, 12:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by takevtr1
Any thoughts on booking tours thru private vendors??

I liked the activities that you did but suspect that is was costly.

Any comments??
We are on the valor in Aug.

Thanks,
Mitch.......
Sorry can't tell you much about the private vendors, except they are available. Cost ?
The ship's Jeep tour in Cayman was around $100, the Jungle Buggy and Cave in Belize around the same, the van tour of Roatan and the Mayan tour in Mexico were both around $50 each. I found that bus or van tours are cheaper than anything special that one might ride, such as a Jeep, boat, or Jungle Buggy.
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Old May 28th, 2007, 09:23 AM
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Nice review of the ports. Thanks,
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Old May 29th, 2007, 03:35 PM
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Glad you enjoyed it. I enjoyed the ruins when I went also.
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Old May 30th, 2007, 02:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mehawk
Glad you enjoyed it. I enjoyed the ruins when I went also.
Yea, I thought Kohunlich was better than advertised. This was my fifth Mayan site, San Gervasio, Uxmal, Tulum, Xunantunich, the others. The temple of the mask was special in that the artwork has survived so well.
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Old May 30th, 2007, 08:26 AM
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Thoth,

I also enjoyed your review. Did I miss your ship's review?
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Old May 30th, 2007, 09:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Luanne Russo
Thoth,

I also enjoyed your review. Did I miss your ship's review?
It should be under "readers reviews" . If not now...soon.
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Old May 30th, 2007, 09:36 PM
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for those who wish to see, here's my ship review...
Carnival Valor attempts to be everything to everybody and seems to have succeeded in that endeavor. I saw 20-something "party animals" and seniors who enjoy classical piano co-existing. It's a big ship in which everyone can vacation in their own way. This was my 7'th cruise overall, third on Carnival, and first on a post Panamax ship over 100,000 gross tons. The Valor carries around 3000 passengers and over 1000 crew , which means a solo traveler such as myself can get lost in a crowd from time to time, so perhaps a single's group cruise should be a consideration for someone who is prone to the lonely in a crowd feeling. I found the d�cor to be both tasteful and dazzling at the same time.


The massive size does have its advantages in that motion sickness didn't seem to effect anyone that I spoke with. The Valor was without a doubt the smoothest ride of my 7 cruises. The only serious issue I had was choppy passenger flow. I dined in the aft Washington Dining room which is on decks 3 and 4, but cannot be accessed from deck 3 at all due to the galley obstacle. Deck 4 isn't much easier to navigate.. The upper forward dining room is actually used as a egress way . Embarkation and debarkation was orderly, efficient, and with a minimum of queuing. Tendering at certain ports required a timely queue.

The food was standard cruise fare in that it delivers what we expect. We expect lobster, escargot, baked Alaska, and fillet minion on a cruise and they present it on schedule. To a non-connoisseur such as myself, the food was wonderful . The seafood and warm chocolate melted cake were my favorites. Rosie's Restaurant on the Lido deck offered an abundant supply of food at every hour I visited. There are 6 hot-tubs and 2 wading pools that I was able to discover. While they were generally crowed, I was always able to find a niche and some meaningful conversation with potential friends. The best hot tub is hidden in the spa . The super slide is a must . Wow..what fun it is !

The production shows had plenty of sizzle and energy. One was cabaret/music venue theme, paying tribute to everything from the Cotton Club, Grand Ole Opry, to Copacabana. The second show was an 80's recollection . Except for the female dancers showing a bit too much derriere, I'm a big fan of Carnival's shows. Also there were about 3 comedians, a ventriloquist, a hypnotist, and the passenger show. No time for boredom!

They don't call them the "fun ships" for nothing.
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Old May 30th, 2007, 09:38 PM
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Sounds good to me. Glad you had fun
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Old May 31st, 2007, 04:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thoth
hose who wishto see, hers my ship review...
Carnival Valor attempts to be everything to everybody and seems to have succeeded in that endeavor. I saw 20-something "party animals" and seniors who enjoy classical piano co-existing. It's a big ship in which everyone can vacation in their own way. This was my 7'th cruise overall, third on Carnival, and first on a post Panamax ship over 100,000 gross tons. The Valor carries around 3000 passengers and over 1000 crew , which means a solo traveler such as myself can get lost in a crowd from time to time, so perhaps a single's group cruise should be a consideration for someone who is prone to the lonely in a crowd feeling. I found the d�cor to be both tasteful and dazzling at the same time.


The massive size does have its advantages in that motion sickness didn't seem to effect anyone that I spoke with. The Valor was without a doubt the smoothest ride of my 7 cruises. The only serious issue I had was choppy passenger flow. I dined in the aft Washington Dining room which is on decks 3 and 4, but cannot be accessed from deck 3 at all due to the galley obstacle. Deck 4 isn't much easier to navigate.. The upper forward dining room is actually used as a egress way . Embarkation and debarkation was orderly, efficient, and with a minimum of queuing. Tendering at certain ports required a timely queue.

The food was standard cruise fare in that it delivers what we expect. We expect lobster, escargot, baked Alaska, and fillet minion on a cruise and they present it on schedule. To a non-connoisseur such as myself, the food was wonderful . The seafood and warm chocolate melted cake were my favorites. Rosie's Restaurant on the Lido deck offered an abundant supply of food at every hour I visited. There are 6 hot-tubs and 2 wading pools that I was able to discover. While they were generally crowed, I was always able to find a niche and some meaningful conversation with potential friends. The best hot tub is hidden in the spa . The super slide is a must . Wow..what fun it is !

The production shows had plenty of sizzle and energy. One was cabaret/music venue theme, paying tribute to everything from the Cotton Club, Grand Ole Opry, to Copacabana. The second show was an 80's recollection . Except for the female dancers showing a bit too much derriere, I'm a big fan of Carnival's shows. Also there were about 3 comedians, a ventriloquist, a hypnotist, and the passenger show. No time for boredom!

They don't call them the "fun ships" for nothing.

Thanks for the review!
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