Conquest-class; 22 bars & lounges, Farcus theme of "Heroes & Heroism" features chrome and mirrors. Large health club, sports deck.
Best For People Who Want
Exciting and ritzy nightlife; more than the average number of singles on board, better than average cuisine for a bargain to mid-priced vessel; a large casino; spacious cabins, some for three and four passengers, many with balconies; excellent fitness and spa facilities; and an abundant children's programs.
Should Be Avoided By People Who Prefer
An elegant, quiet and relaxing cruise; private areas away from the public, especially children.
Carnival Valor is Carnival Cruises third ship within the Conquest-class of vessels which also include Carnival Glory, Carnival Liberty, and Carnival Conquest. They are all big sisters to Carnival's Destiny class. Valor weighs in at over 110,000 tons. The extra footage added to this vessel (compared to the 101-ton Destiny class) is given over to expanded children's facilities, comprising a separate children's pool, a mini-movie theatre, and an indoor playground. Additional alternative dining spots include Scarlett's, serving gourmet cuisine, and the best U.S.D.A. prime beef. There are 22 bars and lounges throughout the 13 passenger decks.
Other amenities include an Internet café, four swimming pools, and a 15,000-square-foot health club. The ship has no lack of entertainment of all varieties, featuring the Lindy Hop sing-along piano bar and One Small Step disco, along with gorgeous production shows and side-splitting comics.
Carnival's ship designer, the renowned Joe Farcus, in keeping with the name chose "Heroes and Heroism," as the theme for Valor. Along those lines, Joe chooses to play to his audience by using the American flag as inspiration for the main atrium. There are stark marble stars & stripes embedded in the floor and gilded eagle sculpturettes throughout the ship. Rather than brass and glass, most of the ship is molded with chrome & mirrors, which tends to send you confusing visual signals as you navigate the ship.
Valor's layout includes a skeleton which is ideal to her sisters, starting with the imposing nine-deck American Atrium rising above the American Lobby. In the center is a small stage for non-imposing background music; behind the musicians glass elevators rise to the top deck. The "Promenade" on Deck 5 includes the Jeanne's Wine Bar, the kid's area called The Caboose, The Shogun Club Casino, The Lindy Hop sing-along piano bar, The Paris Hot for combo music and the One Small Step adult disco. The ship's secondary showroom at the stern, is the Eagle's Lounge, where entertainment varies between a live 4-piece band playing Beatles tunes and late-night "blue" comedy.
On the opposite end of Valor is the three-deck high Ivanhoe Theater; aim for the lower balcony seats, a little off-center, for the best view. Hidden on Deck 4 is Winston's Cigar Bar, a cigar bar which features jazz music and dancing before dinner. For sports fanatics, there is a Sports Bar with satellite ESPN on seven large-screen televisions, in addition to video poker machines built into the bar.
Other diversions include the small Iliad Library open for several hours each day and various boutiques selling a wide range of duty-free jewelry, perfume, and alcohol along with the usual cruise items.
Valor offers attractive breakfast and lunch buffets ,including an excellent salad bar and made-to-order dishes. For those with a sophisticated palate, the new menus feature chateaubriand, rack of lamb, and lobster, along with chocolate desserts. On the other end of the scale, delicious pizza and Caesar salad are available 24 hours a day. Delightful specialties can be found near the Prometheus Lido including the Sur Mer seafood station and an Asian food station that regularly rotates its dishes. There's a complimentary sushi bar on the Promenade Deck in the evenings, and vegetarian and low-salt items on every menu and at all stations.
Carnival's Total Choice Dining provides for four seating times for a table in the main dining rooms at 5:45 or 6:15 p.m. and 8 or 8:30 p.m.. Of the two main dining rooms, the Washington, located aft, is framed by three walls of windows so it boasts better views. The Lincoln is located mid-ships with windows only on two sides. The best tables are on the balcony, the middle lower section being a bit noisy. The friendly atmosphere is encouraged by the tables seating between four and six people, although there are quite a few tables for only two diners.
The sunny and spacious Rosie's restaurant, which features amazing views of the sea, offers breakfast and lunch buffets. Alternatively, you can enjoy a meal served alfresco poolside in the Prometheus Lido area just behind Rosie's. For those who prefer to dine when the mood strikes them, this poolside Lido restaurants offer buffet dinner between 6:00 and 9:00 p.m. without reservations. Breakfast is also available in the Washington dining room. For those looking for a quick snack, the hamburger and hot dog stand, located in the Prometheus Lido near the stern pool, serves food throughout the afternoon. There are self-serve frozen yogurt and ice cream machines, and multiple lemonade, coffee, and iced tea stations. The Valor's pizzeria has a great variety of pizza types on offer in addition to Caesar salad, both served 24 hours a day. There is also a deli for lighter lunch choices. The room service menu features sandwiches, desserts and breakfast fare.
The Java Café on the Promenade Deck serves delectable sweets and a range of coffees. The Togo Sushi Bar, adjacent to the Java Café is open evenings only and serves sushi. Note that the name is Togo (one word), not Sushi to go.
For a cover charge of $30, guests can sample fine wines and dine on the excellent menu choices at Scarlett's. There is a small combo playing behind a tiny dance floor, which proves to be ample for those couples obviously celebrating a special date together.
The staff on Valor is prompt, well-organized, and prone to showing off, as when balancing trays on their heads while serving dessert. The maitre'd makes a point of learning the names of all couples celebrating an anniversary.
All Carnival cruises have a $10.00 per person per day (excluding children under two years of age) gratuity comprising $5.50 for the Dining Room service, $3.60 for the stateroom steward, and $.90 for the alternative dining rooms. This charge can be either automatically added to the Sail & Sign card or it can be prepaid (prepayment is mandatory on the Cruises-to-Nowhere). The purser's desk can decrease or increase this amount throughout the cruise. Tip room service, the maitre d', casino, spa, or other staff as you deem fit. The bar and beverage tabs all include a 15 percent gratuity to the bill.
The main theater, the Ivanhoe Theater, presents outstanding production shows featuring beautiful costumes and Vegas-quality light shows, but even the smaller venues have great acts and music, particularly the sing-along Lindy Hop piano bar. There is a Caribbean band on the pool deck. More interactive activities include numerous bingo games, ballroom dancing, karaoke, and "game show mania".
While the décor in the cabins is somewhat reserved, they are some of the largest available on any cruise ship, and many are fitted with lovely private balconies. The suites and ocean view staterooms come with complimentary bathrobes and a mini bar. The cabins located on the outside are 220 sq. feet and include a coffee table and plush leather sofa. The inside cabins are 195 sq. feet in area and are great for families or large groups of singles due to their pull-down berths that provide extra sleeping space. Families might prefer the 230 sq. feet cabins located next to the children's center. All the large bathrooms include a shower (the suites are the only cabins with tubs), basket of toiletries, and hair dryer. The cabins come standard with a color TV that includes ESPN, CNN, and movies. There is plentiful storage space, with three closets and a several drawers. for those of special needs are available.
The gym's 15,000 sq. feet is full of treadmills, stationary bikes, stairmasters, rowing and hydraulic weight machines, and of course free weights. The strategically placed equipment allows you to enjoy the lovely panoramic views offered by the floor-to-ceiling windows. For runners, a lap on the jogging deck, which surrounds the smokestack, is equivalent to 1/11 of a mile.
Casual wear is standard during the day. For the two formal nights, men can rent a tuxedo, though most men opt for dark suits. The ship has men's and women's accessories available to rent for these formal nights. No jeans in the dining room ever, no shorts after dark.