Monday, October 12, 2015

Carnival Valor October 2015

Last week we cruised on the Carnival Valor and the ports of call were Cozumel (Mexico), Belize, Roatan (Honduras), and Costa Maya (Mexico). Our Captain was Vittorio Marche, Chief Engineer was Ferdinando Ruocco, Hotel Director was Donato Becce, and Cruise Director was Craig Johnson. Internet cost $99 for the premium package of unlimited minutes for the length of the cruise. 

10/3/15: Embarkation
Embarkation at Port Canaveral was a nightmare. We have never seen it this disorganized before. There was no lounge for platinum or diamond guests. There was an area roped off for these groups but there was really no easy way to get a seat without having to climb over people and their carry on bags. Announcements were made without a microphone so no one had a clue what was being said. We finally got on the ship around noon.

At 2pm we met the Facebook group at the Aft bar and met lots of fun people. After the muster drill we went back to that area and watched the ship leave the port. Then we walked around the ship until it was time to go to dinner. We sat at a table for 11 but there were just 4 of us for dinner. Aaron and San from Memphis, TN were fun and we celebrated her birthday.

10/4/15: At Sea
After brunch in the dining room where I get my steak and eggs and cheesecake, we went to an arts and craft group. I got supplies to make a couple of survivor bracelets with parachute cord and a beaded coaster. Then we walked on the track until crafts with our Facebook group where Karen brought directions and paper for origami. She was also thoughtful enough to bring snacks for everyone. At noon we went to the Food Demonstration and had samples. After that we went to a Future cruise talk that was somewhat informative. In the afternoon we went to a slot pull organized by someone in our Facebook group. Then I did some ironing and had an hour to rest before having to get dressed for formal night and meet the Captain. Before dinner we went to the comedy show featuring Happy Cole and after dinner we went to the musical show, Nightclub Express. We had 2 more couples show up for dinner. There was Tyrone and Athena from NY and Maximilian and Jean from Pensacola.

10/5/15: Cozumel
In the morning I finished a pair of socks and cast on for a ribbed hat. Then we had a lovely day in Cozumel. We arrived in Cozumel around 10am and walked 3 miles into downtown and went to the grocery store. In the afternoon we took a cab back to the port ($8 total) and went to our favorite bar – The Golden Sugar where most of the crew goes. We ended up with 3 buckets of beer (Bucket includes 7 Coronitas for $10) and lots of chips and salsa. We went back to the ship for a hamburgers and fries before taking a nap before dinner. Dinner was very nice and another new couple joined us – Jason and Claire from Newcastle, England. They were delightful and had our whole group laughing.

10/6/15: Belize
We went to breakfast in the dining room and had a nice visit with 4 people from TN. On the way out we saw Morris and Nancy whom we met last month on the Fascination out of Jacksonville.  We also met another couple, AB and Willo,  that remembered us from the Carnival Sunshine last year. She even remembered where I sat and where I worked! Then we walked on the track for an hour before finding some lounge chairs in the shade where we relaxed until lunchtime. After lunchtime, we walked around some more before watching a movie in our cabin until it was time to go to the show. We saw the featured singer Consuela Ivy whom we had seen before. Dinner was fabulous and we are glad we have such a great group of dinner mates!

10/7/15: Roatan, Honduras
We had a lovely day in Roatan. We got off the ship as soon as we got there and went to the beach near the ship. It is free and a really nice beach with lounge chairs. Once we got there we did a lot of snorkeling. About 1pm we returned to the ship for lunch and sometime after that it started to rain. In the afternoon we watched movies and relaxed in our cabin until dinner.

10/8/15: Costa Maya, Mexico
We arrived at 7am and got off the ship around 9am. We got a ride to Mahahual on an open-air tram for $3 per person. We won’t ever do that again and will only take a taxi ride because it was a really rough ride. When we got there we walked from the lighthouse to the other end of town and along the way, Don got a massage for $20/hour in front of Big Mama’s Restaurant. He said it was an awesome massage.

On the way back we went to The Crazy Lobster where we got a bucket of beer (5 Coronitas for $5) and it was wonderful. We have been here before and really liked the prices and the service.  After that we walked some more and it was so hot, we stopped back at The Crazy Lobster for another bucket of been. When we come back, we will definitely stop here again.
After walking through the town one more time, we headed back to the port and the cab ride was $2 per person.  We went back to the ship for lunch around 1pm. After lunch we took a nap before meeting the Captain for cocktails before dinner. There were about 19 Diamond members at the cocktail party and we took a group photo.

After that we went to the show that featured 1980s music and I enjoyed it more than Don did. We went to dinner and I had Chateaubriand, which was delicious! Don had southern fried chicken.

10/9/15: At Sea
Our brunch took 2 hours and the service wasn’t that great. Then I went to the piano bar for arts and crafts where I got a couple more survivor bracelets to make. At 11, our FB group met for a dice game called LRC and there were 5 of us playing. It was really a lot of fun!! Don went to walk on the track while I played the game. Then we sat our on deck 3 and relaxed for a while. I felt like I was coming down with a head cold though. At 3pm, we went to the afternoon tea and then packed our suitcases. At 5pm we had the VIFP cocktail party in the Eagle Lounge (instead of the huge Ivanhoe theater), which was one of the best ones we ever attended. After the party we sat in the lobby and listened to the music until it was time for the Comedy Club featuring Al Romero (a Cuban comedian). We didn’t really care for him. Dinner was nice and we said goodbye to everyone. We wanted to buy 6 bottles of Grey Goose for $120 but they wouldn’t let us pack the bottles the night before and insisted that we pick them up on the morning we get off the ship. Since we were scheduled to meet at 7:15 and get off the ship first, there wasn’t time to get in line for the liquor and repack our suitcases so we didn’t buy anything.

Things I Learned:
1.     Get to the port early to beat the traffic.
2.     Parking at the port was easy.
3.     Slot pulls are fun! 29 of us each chipped in $20. $5 went into a side pot. $15 went into the machine. Then each of us took 5 turns and the one with the highest single win won the side pot. Then the final credits were split among 29 of us so each of us walked away with $15.25. Don isn’t sure that Carnival allows this but I had fun anyway!
4.     I should bring water shoes to wear at the beach in Roatan.
5.     I needed to bring snacks and 2 bottles of water to the beach in Roatan.
6.     Beach floats are $9 per day and snorkel equipment is $20 per day at Mahogany Bay.
7.     If the liquid in a coconut is clear, it is a good coconut. If the liquid is cloudy, the coconut is going bad.
8.     LRC is a fun dice game to plan and I’m glad I learned how to play. I could play this with students using chips or candy.
9.     England doesn’t sound like a great place to live.

Original photo by Pat Hensley

No comments: