Posted by: sdallnct | November 9, 2009

Vacation, Day 2 (11/1), 1st day aboard

We are doing a seven day cruise aboard the Carnival Valor. This is a big ship at 110,000 gross ton’s. We boarded the ship early to eat lunch and explore. What a beautiful ship. And big! This is by far the largest ship we have been on.

We had read a lot about the Fish and Chips place up stairs Cath Fish & Chipfrom Rosie’s, so we immediately went there.  My wife got the fish and chips which was very good.  I was trying to stay with the healthy stuff for as long as possible. so  I got the seared Ahi tuna on water melon and octopus Ahi Tuna & Octopus saladsalad. It was yummy. I also walked downstairs and got some fruit and veggies to go with it.

We had picked up some cheap travel mugs while in South Beach and they immediately were put to good use. I like them because of the lids. Lemonade was very good. I couldn’t wait to unpack and dig out the Vodka and Rum I brought.

We took a quick look around. While a big ship it is easy to get around and never felt overwhelming. Took a look at the gym (free of charge to use) and it is very nice. It appears to be set up by the same folks that set up the gyms at the nice Hyatt and nice Marriott hotel. Plenty for everyone including treadmills, elliptical and bikes. Also machine weights as well as free weights. Took a peak in the spinning room and that looked nice though all classes are an extra charge. They had posted a few free seminars such has how to maintain a flat belly and places to sign up for the per charge classes. One minor disappointment was that the gym did not provide water bottles. Usually at hotels I’ll grab a bottle or two out of the gym. My goal is to work out at five times during our eight day vacation (seven day cruise). Will see how that works out for me!

Bungy cord at workOur luggage arrived no problem and the bungee cord that others have recommended worked perfectly to keep the balcony door open.

Oddly we are three hours past departure time. They announced technical difficulties. Muster was uneventful. You do NOT need to bring your life vest with you. This was clearly announced several times. In our area one couple did bring their life vest. Looking slightly embarrassed, the man went and stood by the crew as they demonstrated the life vest and acted very dramatic as if it was just part of his job to assist. It was funny and the crew were happy to play along.

First night dinner was good. Wife and another tablemate (we were at a table of six) had a perfectly cooked flat iron steak. The other two guys got the BBQ Ribs, which looked like a lot of food! The third women got the grilled chicken which she noted was a little dry. I ordered from the SPA selection and got the Tilapia. It was cooked well and covered in a salsa. But not what I consider a typical Mexican Salsa. It could have have more taste, but was not bad at all.

Wife and I split the melted chocolate cake and talked one Melting cakeof the other other couples into into it who also loved it.  Though truth be told I ate most of the one wife and I got. This is not a “fancy” desert. Lots of chocolate and good ice cream. But it is a signature desert of sorts for Carnival and recommend everyone getting at least once.

Dress for the night was “cruise casual”. And while it specifically said no jeans, many did wear them and no one was turned away. I only saw a couple of people (not that I was counting or looking) that I thought were inappropriate. I’d say a good 50% had on Docker type pants and polo’s and the women wore equivalent. And most who where jeans wore trendy or nice jeans and nice tops. Some were in shorts and polo type shirts.

Only real disappointment was one of our tablemates. He was from New Jersey and was abrasive. He used language I’m not use to anywhere let alone a formal dinner. He also asked for a manager and used similar language with him. I never did get what he was upset about. Something about butter. Of course we had a table full of butter. Hopefully things will be better tomorrow night during elegant night and it was just a long travel day for him. (Note, a couple of nights later he mentioned they he had a little to much to drink that first day/night).

To end the evening we watched the show. Only one show tonight and I’d give it a C+. The main portion was a comedian (Percy Crews) who had a lot of energy, worked the room well and had some funny stuff. But the last part of his act was based only on toilet humor. Almost literally. He seemed to good to have to resort to that. In fact I saw several people walk out. I didn’t think it it was that bad, but it did make me curious as to his “adult” show.

We headed back to the room. We sat out on the balcony and called it an evening.

A note about our room. We had 8225 and was a perfect location. I thought the room was ok in size and plenty of storage. We brought extra hangers and glad we did. We brought the wire hangers from the dry cleaners and just left them at the end of the trip (others have reported that you can ask for all the hangers you need. So might not need to bring extras). Balcony was nice if small. In addition to the glass door, there is also a large  window. With the drapes open a lot of light is available to the room.

We couldn’t get our balcony light to come on, but this was never an issue for us, so we never said anything. We later found out (from our NJ tablemate) that the crew had disabled several of the balcony lights on purpose. This had to do with visibility from the the bridge and glare. So evidently there are several cabins where balcony lights do not work. I don’t know how to confirm this or if you are booking how you can confirm this. Like I say I never found it an issue, but it really bothered our tablemate because they didn’t tell him the reason why the light didn’t work till the end of the trip.

It is my understanding that there are no non-smoking cabins. We forgot to take Fabriz, but our cabin did not smell at all and was clean. We did not see or meet our cabin steward for a day or two, but always had everything we needed.

Speaking of smoke there were really only a couple of places we noticed it; the casino and the cigar bar. We are non-smokers but I’m not overly sensitive to it. Wife does not like it and she preferred not sitting on the smoking side on deck, but I went for some walks on that side and really didn’t notice.

The hair dryer was evidently the worse every made! Per complaints from my wife every day!  So much so, on our anniversary dinner in the Super Club, my wife had her hair done in the salon.  If you use a hair dryer, I suggest you bring your own!

Tip of the day: While the airline restricts how and/or charges for how many bags you check in, you can check as many as you want at curb side at the port. So I’d recommend checking everything you can (and giving an appropriate tip) so that you can walk the ship freely. I saw several people struggling with luggage as you are not allowed to your cabin before 1:30 pm. We boarded at 11:00 only hanging on to a back pack. First we explored the entire ship making sure to “find” every place we wanted to see, than having lunch out by the pool. Keep in mind it may take a couple of hours after departure before you get your luggage.

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