The youngest in the Conquest class, Carnival Valor typically sails with just under 3000 passengers, ranging from first-time cruisers to moms with small kids to spring break parties of 15. Everyone’s looking for the same thing: a sun-soaked, escapist island jaunt at a reasonable price. And they get it. Worth noting: it’s quite do-able to get a balcony stateroom at a bargain on this ship.
Valor’s odd patriotic and sometimes peculiar Heroes theme is polarizing; some people dig it and some hate it, but it certainly doesn’t fade into the background.
This was one of the last ships to get Fun Ship 2.0 updates because she could get away with it; customers were happy regardless. What’s been added is all the popular new restaurants and bars—an upgrade to quality and variety. Limited deck space prevents the ship from getting some of the latest activity venue upgrades like a full WaterWorks park, but she still has all the Fun, just with different venue names and styles.
Several fan-favorite Fun Ship 2.0 dining concepts were just added to Valor: BlueIguana Cantina serves up tacos and burritos poolside and Guy’s Burger Joint is proving to be one of the Food Network star’s more successful ventures. It’s a hit on every ship. Sweet shop Cherry on Top has also been added—nothing there is included in the cruise fare.
The two main dining rooms are Washington and Lincoln. Washington is the larger two-level restaurant on the aft; Lincoln is forward. Washington only does assigned seating times, while Lincoln accommodates “Your Time Dining” between 5:45-9:30.
Please note that if you do formal dinner service, you’ll still need to spruce up and make nice with your table neighbors. This ship may be super-casual, but she’s got standards.
Rosie’s Buffet was, pre-revamp, pretty much the daytime dining go-to, and the space did get overwhelmed during peak hours. However, with the addition of new lunch venues, that might change. Like all Carnival buffets, this one has many lines and stations including Mongolian Wok stir-fry to order, New York Deli sandwiches, and a fish & chips window tucked away.
The only alternative restaurant is a steakhouse, which carries the same $35 per person/$10 per child surcharge as all Carnival steakhouses.
Bars and Lounges
At last, Valor has not only a RedFrog Pub, pouring Carnival’s private label brews, but a RedFrog Rum Bar, specializing in harder stuff. These are cut from similar Caribbean/Key West-styled cloth, and are enormously popular with Carnival crowds. The South-of-the-Border themed counterpart is BlueIguana Tequila Bar.
Alchemy Bar appeals to cocktail crowds, while SkyBox Sports Bar is the place to catch a game. If you’re okay with cigar smoke, Winston’s can be a good spot for a nightcap—it often has a bit of live entertainment.
Valor’s current high point of entertainment is Punchliner Comedy Club in the Eagles show lounge. Cruisers also enjoy the Lindy Hop piano bar and movies under the stars at Seaside Theatre on the Lido deck.
If you’re in the mood, it can be a lot of fun to participate in the audience-participation activities, like the talent show or adults-only scavenger hunt, Quest. Late-night, the two most popular gathering places are the nightclub One Small Step or the Shogun Casino.
The two main pools on Valor are located on Deck 9. There’s one corkscrew waterslide that launches on the deck above and lands in a separate small pool. Kids don’t have a splash zone, but they do have a wading pool in the kids-only Camp Carnival area.
Carnival has its children’s (2-11) program split into three separate age groups. It also has a separate a space for tweens/young teens and another for older teens (15-17). Seuss at Sea is Carnival’s branded partnership that includes a costumed character parade through the ship, crowd-participation readings of Cat in the Hat, and more.
City Sports Park features ping-pong, nine holes of miniature golf, and a volleyball court. This area is all-ages. For adults, there’s a two-level Serenity retreat. There’s also a spa (surcharge) and a fitness center (complimentary) on Deck 11.
- Production shows, which can be a highlight of cruise entertainment, are often entirely absent from the schedule.
- The layout of this ship is confusing in the sense that all paths seem to lead to the dining room—which in turn creates traffic jams.
- Healthy dining hasn’t really come aboard Valor so far.