|Above: Carnival Cruise
Lines Valor Cruise Ship.
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Began service: December, 2004
Guest capacity: 2,974
Total staff: 1,180
Length: 925 feet
Passenger decks: 13
inspection score: 95
The Valor cruise ship departs from the Port of Miami,
FL . Throughout the year, she offers ocean cruises to the Eastern
Caribbean and Western Caribbean.
After further exploration, the ship's hero and heroism theme began
to transcend that of the United States -- the Ivanhoe Show
Lounge celebrates the classic tale by Scotland's Sir Walter
Scott, and Winston's Cigar Bar is named after British
Prime Minister Winston Churchill. Still, the emphasis on American
heroes and history is pretty obvious.
Carnival Valor is the largest Fun Ship to
be based in Miami. It will sail alternating seven-night Western and
Eastern Caribbean itineraries year-round.
Check Dates & Prices
for cruises to Eastern Caribbean , Western Caribbean.
Carnival Valor, Carnival's
third Conquest-class ship, represents a continuing evolution
for the cruise line.
For starters, this vessel definitely fits in with the
city-at-sea concept. It has 22 bars and lounges, 7 whirlpools,
a 13,300-square-ft. spa and fitness area, and a swanky
alternative restaurant. But where Carnival Valor
really stands out is not in the quality and quantity of
its public rooms and facilities, but in its theme, heroes
and heroism, both real and fictional.
We loved the clever design of the One Small Step
Dance Club, Valor's disco celebrating
Neil Armstrong. It truly transports cruisers far from
Earth with twinkling lights adorning the ceiling. Dance-lesson-style
footprints across the floor and bar tie the "first
walk on the moon" theme to the room's true calling
as a dance club. The Bronx Bar sports bar
is themed entirely after baseball -- and more specifically,
Yankee Stadium. Bar stool seats are soft white leather
with red baseball stitching steadied on baseball bats,
all atop a green "grass" carpet, and each table
holds a piece of Lou Gehrig's famous "#4" uniform.
When we stepped onboard, the first word that came to mind
was "patriotic." The nine-deck-high centrum
through which passengers enter the ship features touches
of Americana. Faces of past presidents and heroic icons
like George Washington grace the perimeter, and the dome
above features panels depicting 10 U.S. destinations,
such as Miami Beach, San Francisco, New Orleans and the
Carnival Valor has the usual range of staterooms.
Over 60 percent (910 to be exact) of the cabins onboard Carnival
Valor have an ocean view; 555 of these have balconies. The inside
of the cabins- though verandah-category cabins are average to above
average in size (insides measure 185 sq ft.; verandah cabins begin
at 220) are outfitted with shower-only bathrooms, twin-to-queen beds,
decent closet space (two cabinets with hanging bars and one with wide
shelves), a vanity, a TV with remote and a mini-fridge.
There are 42 suites and 10 penthouse suites.
Penthouse suites are 430 sq ft. (the verandah alone measures 85 sq
ft.), and feature a dressing area with vanity sink, whirlpool tub,
twin-to-king bed, VCR and wet bar.
Note: Showers have a wraparound curtain as opposed to tight-closing
doors, and we'll tell you this: Be sure it's pulled closed all the
way. I nearly flooded the whole bathroom during my pre-dinner shower
my first night onboard.
The two main dining rooms, Lincoln and Washington,
were probably the gaudiest areas on the ship, with Pepto-Bismol pink
accents along the walls and ceilings. Even staff service stations
were constructed with materials in this solid shade of blinding pink.
The ship's two main dining rooms both serve dinner on a set-time,
set-tablemates basis with four different seating options. Lunch and
breakfast are open seating. While meal options were varied and tasty,
service was a bit of a low point.
I also ran into a snafu with room service: My breakfast was not delivered
in the time frame I was quoted, and I ended up canceling the order
entirely so as not to be late for a shore excursion. Room service
is available 24 hours a day; the menu is limited. Full stateroom bar
service is available 9am - 3am.
The lido buffet, Rosie's Restaurant, was a super
standby option. Rosie's is a two-level eatery done
up like a classic diner with fabulous, flashy colors and shiny metal.
Buffet offerings include salads and pastas, cold cuts and breads,
a variety of hot dishes and a carving station. Rosie's
also features an Asian stir-fry station, and an on-deck grill serving
burgers and fries and such. For late-night diners there are themed
buffets -- one evening during our sailing we stumbled upon a Mexican
fiesta complete with taco fixings, cool guacamole and crunchy chips.
Hot and cold breakfast items are available in the morning, and during
dinner-time, Rosie's is converted into the casual
For round-the-clock snackers, there's a 24-hour ice-cream/frozen yogurt
station and a 24-hour pizzeria.
The sushi bar (open from 5 - 8:30pm) always had a line, and the seats
lining the windows were generally taken
If you prefer a more upscale dining experience, splurge on the $20-per-person
cover charge at Scarlett's, the reservations-only
supper club high atop the ship. This spot is perfect for couples and
small groups. The menu is fabulous, and wait staff explain the meat
and fish selections while presenting a tray of raw cuts of meat and
fish. The surf and turf option, featuring lobster tail and filet mignon,
was the best meal I ate onboard.
Carnival Valor offers an
excellent variety of entertainment options, including a brand-new,
high-energy 80's music medley called "Far From Over,"
complete with big hair and legwarmers. Another mainstay is the expansive
Camp Carnival program and facility with a computer
center, video viewing area, games and toys and a kids-only water slide.
Carnival has stepped up the concept of dinnertime entertainment
on its newest ship -- in addition to seeing your favorite waiter or
waitress congaing around the restaurant or line dancing with passengers,
you may see a bit of magic! There are five magicians onboard who float
from table to table each night in the dining rooms and restaurants
-- a particularly nice touch at tables with young children.
Fitness & Recreation
Stay in shape while at sea with
the help of Spa Carnival. The state-of-the-art exercise
equipment, jogging track and aerobics classes are complimented by
a staff of knowledgeable fitness experts.
Carnival Valor is the first cruise ship to offer 100 percent
bow-to-stern wireless Internet access, a welcome innovation
for tech-savvy travelers.
Kids will love the spiral waterslide
and Camp Carnival's supervised games and activities,
while teens hang out in a club designed just for them. After a day
in port, relax in one of 22 lounges, catch a Vegas-style show, or
try your luck in one of the largest casinos at sea.
Expert Valor reviews are edited by Michelle, and provided by Ian and Cruise Critic.com,
an award-winning cruise community. This objective information can
help you choose just the right ship for your next cruise vacation.
Check Dates & Prices
for cruises to Eastern Caribbean , Western
Valor cruise reviews
Ship Inspection Report
All passenger cruise ships arriving at US ports are subject to unannounced
CDC inspection. Valor Score:
The Cruise Critic gives Carnival's Valor a 4-ribbon rating.
Request a brochure, or find a travel agent who represents Carnival
Cruises at the company's official Web site.