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Long before the movie Girls Trip gained in popularity, my big sister, Niah and myself packed our bags and set sail on a much needed cruise for 4 nights, 5 days upon the Carnival Valor. We left from the Galveston, TX cruise port.
I’m not going to lie to you. Don’t expect to breeze on and off the ship. There is a process and my advice to you is to pack your patience.
The Galveston cruise port is pretty easy to find from Houston. We were dropped off and picked up curb side. However, there is police on site directing traffic to insure a smooth flow.
Onboarding, you have the option of turning over your luggage curbside allowing it to be delivered to your room at a later time or you may choose to tote your luggage with you through the long lines, security, check-in process and through the crowd once on the boat as you await your room to get ready.
The lines did move at a decent pace. They have designated lines for those with passports and for those choosing a different form of identification.
Your picture is took during check-in and you’re given a badge that you must keep with you at all times. This grants you access on and off the boat at the designated ports, acts as a room key for your cabin, and allows you to make purchases on the ship that’s billed to your account.
The accommodations are pretty cramped. The bathroom is tiny, the stand up shower is tiny and depending on the size of your party you may be sleeping in a twin beds. For our party of three, there were two twin beds on the floor and one bunk bed that extended from the ceiling.
The room contained one small television, a refrigerator, a space that can be used as a desk or vanity, and three separate closet spaces with one containing a full length mirror.
Also, keep in mind that there are many different cabin types to choose from. There are ocean views cabins and even cabins with balconies that may be more spacious!
The food options are plentiful! You will find something to suit anyone’s diet.
You have the option of eating in a formal dining room where you are served at your table. For a more casual experience you can eat on the Lido deck that is more of a buffet style of dining with a huge variety of cuisine.
My favorite part of the food experience is the 24 hour, self-serve ice cream machine. Talk about ice cream wasted! There was also a pizza place that stayed open 24 hours for the night owls.
Alcoholic beverages, bottled water and soda are not apart of your all inclusive dining experience. However, juices are inclusive.
You also have the option to secure a case of water by purchasing it from the cruise before hand to be brought to your room. You can not bring bottled water aboard! We made this mistake and had them confiscated at security. You can however bring cases of soda aboard if you choose and bottle of wine per person.
There are also java shops, a candy store and a gift shop that boast other edible items that you can purchase.
If you’re a Go Getter your schedule can be jam packed with fun! Everyday they provide you with a schedule of the next days activities.
The most popular activity they offer is Bingo! People of all ages and cultures fill the rooms to capacity to get their stake at the winnings.
They do offer a free kids program where you can drop your child off for fun kid friendly activities. However, they do charge for late night drop offs and some other services they offer like Build A Bear at sea.There are casinos for people who like to gamble.
There are several pools available. There are no kid only pools but there is one adult only pool. I do feel that the pools are pretty small for such a massive ship carrying a large number of people. It’s impossible to actually swim. Therefore, you are basically wading water because it’s packed at all times.
There are free life jackets that can be checked out for your child on the Lido deck.
Please note, the pool is not 24 hours!
Other activities included game nights, live shows, bars and lounges, comedy shows, and an arcade for the kids. They also have a small mini golf course and a combined basket ball court and volley ball area. My favorite activity was the outdoor movies on the Lido deck. A majority of the movies were for kids. However, it was so relaxing to lay out, be engulfed with the smell of salt water and inhaling the whiff of fresh air.
If you love to dance you will get your opportunity! Carnival held true to their reputation of being the party ship as the ships Cruise Director Orlando along with the awesome DJ got the crowd up and out their seats to party during the day.
If you love being in front of the camera you need not to worry! Every chance they get a photographer is snapping your photo. You can get your pose on every night in the formal dining room at dinner, as you onboard/offboard the ship, for different cruise activities, and at random back drops stationed throughout the ship. Please keep in mind that there is an extra charge for these!
The staff upon the Carvinal Valor were very attentive! Our cabin keeper Tate was amazing. They were good about answering questions and pointing you in the right direction.
Our Favorite Part
Our favorite part of the cruise was the Dr. Seuss themed brunch, parade and story time. The parade and story time was free of charge. However, there was a small additional fee for the brunch. It was so cute and Niah loved it!
From a kids perspective they will have a blast! Per Niah, “I had so much fun!”
Shared opinion from my big sister and myself, we enjoyed our girls trip! However, we did experience periods of boredom as the cruise started to wind down. Compared to other cruise lines its less amenities.
Don’t feel like bringing your children will hinder your good time. Its enough activities offered to keep everyone preoccupied and happy.
Have you ever been aboard the Carnival Valor? If so, I would love to hear about your experience.