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Copyright © 1995-2004 
Linda Coffman

 

Carnival Valor
December 15-17, 2004
Inaugural Cruise

by Linda Coffman

New Carnival 'Fun Ship' Honors VALOR

A dazzling addition to Carnival's "Fun Ship" fleet in the 110,000 ton Conquest-class, Carnival Valor salutes valiant acts, heroic people, and unabashedly waves the U.S. flag. 

In something of a departure from tradition, Carnival Valor set sail on her inaugural voyage on December 15, 2004, and, after returning to her homeport in Miami, was officially named by godmother, Katie Couric during a gala evening ceremony. Ms. Couric is not only the co-host of NBC's "Today" show, she is also a hero to those battling colon cancer. In appreciation of her humanitarian service, Carnival Cruise Lines made a donation to the National Colorectal Cancer Research Alliance, which Ms. Couric helped launch in March 2000 along with Lily Tartikoff and the Entertainment Industry Foundation. 

Approachable and gracious, Carnival Valor has the ideal valiant godmother in the person of Ms. Couric. 

Step on board with CruiseDiva.com and prepare to be wowed! Designer Joe Farcus honors past and present heroes in public areas that are both bold and daring, yet always respectful. Colorful, yet subtle, the flow of design and function work well and are not overwhelming. It was impossible to notice every detail in just two days, however, we tried and were very impressed.

Dining
Carnival Valor's array of traditional and alternative dining choices should tempt even finicky eaters.

For a variety of casual dining choices, head to Lido Deck and Rosie's Restaurant. In addition to the usual buffet items, there are Oriental dishes, a Pizza bar, outdoor Grille areas serving up fresh burgers and grilled favorites, the Deli for just-made sandwiches, and a second level offering Fish & Chips (including Bouillabaisse to die for and calamari with Maui onion fritters). Satisfy your sweet tooth with ice cream from several serving stations near one of the swimming pools. Try Togo Sushi on Promenade Deck for, what else?... Sushi before dinner. Also on Promenade Deck, Java Café serves specialty coffees and sinful pastry treats for a nominal charge.

Restaurant

Start with appetizers, soups, and salads in the formal Washington or Lincoln Restaurant —all very tasty—but save room for your choice of entree and dessert. Don't be in a rush to leave or you'll miss the inventive and talented wait staff performing musical numbers just as energetically as they served dinner.

Scarlett's is Carnival Valor's New York-style supper club with a southern twist—Gone With the Wind décor and a live combo and dance floor for between course dancing. For the $25 per person cover charge, it's one of the best restaurants—and dining bargains—at sea. Not only is the food outstanding (escargot, Russian caviar, lobster bisque, Alaskan king crab claws, grilled lamp chops, lobster, and several cuts of beef from 9 to 24 ounces), but the presentation is sophisticated and the atmosphere sublime. Don't miss this dining experience—I wanted to try everything on the menu.

Carnival Valor offers the flexibility of dining whenever you are hungry—around the clock. For parents who want to share a romantic dinner for two, Camp Carnival program and group evening babysitting solves the problem of child care. Room service never closes and, while the choices are somewhat limited, dining on one's private balcony is always a treat.

Staterooms

Oceanview Stateroom with Balcony

With so many categories, how do you choose? In reality, there are only five cabin configurations, but every passenger is assured of standard accommodations that are, on average, 50% larger than those on most cruise ships. On  Carnival Valor, they range from standard Interior and Oceanview staterooms to Oceanview staterooms with private balconies and Suites and Penthouse Suites with large private balconies. More than 60% of all staterooms are outside and, of those, 60% have balconies.

Staterooms feature light wood cabinetry, pastel decor, mirrored accents, small refrigerator, personal safe for valuables, a sitting area with sofa, chair and table, and a hairdryer in a vanity/desk drawer. Beds are dressed with soft and comfy duvets and upgraded pillows and linens. Bathroom amenities include shampoo and bath gel in shower mounted dispensers and an array of sample toiletries. The shower itself is roomy and has a pull-out clothesline for drying bathing suits or hand laundry. A real convenience is the two-sided (regular and magnifying) bathroom shaving/make up mirror. Closet and drawer/shelf storage, as well as bathroom shelves, are more than adequate for even an aggressive over-packer. My one 'problem' observation—the closets aren't quite long enough for long evening dresses to hang freely. Shelves below the hanging areas, while ideal for storing shoes, cause dresses to 'pool' at the bottom.

For families, the sitting area sofa converts to an additional sleeping area at night and passengers with physical challenges haven't been overlooked—staterooms have been designed with their special needs in consideration.

Continued --> Carnival Valor (Part 2)

More --> Carnival Valor Photo Tour

Images courtesy of Andy Newman/CCL & © Cruise.Diva.com 


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