Sunday, April 5, 2015

Carnival Valor Cruise Ship Tour

Our first cruise with Carnival Cruise Line was a 7 day, Southern Caribbean cruise that started at San Juan Puerto Rico on July 7, 2014. This was our 30th anniversary gift to ourselves and it ended up being a truly once in a lifetime experience. We were booked on the conquest class cruise ship the Carnival Valor (call sign H3VR) which gracefully sailed us to the tropical islands of St Thomas, Barbados, St Lucia, St Kitts and St Maarten. We also had one sea day which provided a wonderful opportunity to explore the ship. 

The Carnival Valor
We arrived in San Juan the night before our embarkation but, both our flights were delayed and we almost missed our connection. We had one hour between connecting flights and it was just too close. Definitely fly in the day before and have a contingency plan in case your flight is delayed or canceled. We stayed at the Marriott Courtyard East Laverde and arrived at our hotel with time for a late dinner on the beach. The next morning we checked onto the ship at 11:00 am. After dropping off our things in our cabin, we left the ship to have lunch in Old San Juan. Our ship wasn’t leaving port till 10:00 pm so we had all afternoon to explore Old San Juan and I highly recommend you take advantage of this time to see this historic Area.

This was our first time on the Carnival Valor and we weren't disappointed. The ship takes its name from Historic American heroes and the decorating in the ship reflects this. When we booked the cruise we opted to not reserve a specific cabin to save money. When we we're assigned our cabin we were surprised to find we had been upgraded to a Spa Balcony room on deck 11. This is as high as the cabins go and we had a fantastic view of every port we stopped at.

The dinning staff accommodated my wife's gluten free diet requirements and she was very happy with the selection of gluten free entrees. Each evening during dinner the maĆ®tre d would bring her a separate menu so she could pre order her meals for the next day. This worked out very well. One thing that would have been helpful for our active life style would have been a few gluten free options in the diner style restaurant, Rosie’s, which is on the pool deck.
Carnival Valor Lido Deck
Every morning we would sit on our balcony and watch the ship slide into port as we sipped our morning coffee. After the ship docked we would go down to the Washington dining room for a full bacon and eggs breakfast with pancakes. Then, we would walk off the ship and head into town or meet whatever excursion group we were scheduled with that day. This was our first cruise where we set up excursions without the assistance of the cruise line. This worked out very well and saved us money. We either did an internet search or got suggestions off of the cruise boards on Cruise Critic. One thing I need to mention here is that we did the cruise during the off season and our ship was the only cruise ship in every port we stopped at. There were no crowds anywhere and every outing was with a handful of other passengers. The one exception was St. Kitts. At Saint Kitts we had set up an all day tour with hiking, Snorkeling and lunch. Our guide, Javin met us on the dock and we were his only two clients that day. This was a fantastic very personalized tour. He drove us all over the island. He took us to blow holes in the lava rocks, an abandoned cotton gin, pulled off to cut sugar cane, hiked up a rainforest river, set up a pick nick lunch, snorkeling and free diving on an old wreck, drinks on the beach, and at the end of the day he waved over a fishing boat from which he bought a beautiful assortment of fish for his family dinner that night. This tour was not available through Carnival so that worked out great.

There was no shortage of things to do on the ship. We spent most of the sea day on the lido deck. There were contest, music and dance parties. It was just a very fun atmosphere. In the evenings we would go to a show or to a comedy club. Just lots of fun.

Here a few facts about the Valor. She carries 2,980 passengers and a crew of 1,180. Her maximum cruise speed is 22.5 knots. Six Wartsila diesel engines power two propellers, three bow thrusters, three stern thrusters and one pair of stabilizers.

The public areas of the Carnival valor shown in this video are the Atrium, Lincoln Dining Room, Ivanhoe theater, The Eagle Lounge (Punchliner Comedy club), Shops, The Lindy Hop Piano Bar, Paris Hot, the Washington dining room where we had our evening meal, Winston's Cigar Lounge and dance floor, The Java Bar (good coffee spot), the Shogun Casino where I won $20, Rosie's diner style restaurant on the pool deck, this was a very popular place to eat. The Arcade Lido Deck and the one small ste

Monday, June 24, 2013

Nassau Bahamas Shore Excursion, Atlantis Aquaventure Water park

Mayan Temple Water Slides
Cruise excursion in Nassau, Bahamas. The Atlantis Aquaventure Water Park on Paradise Island is the best water park I’ve ever seen. It has 18 water slides, multiple pools and a mile of Float River to float on. The leap of faith at the Mayan Temple is the most extreme water slide with its slide ending in a pool of sharks. One scene in the video shows the feeding of the sharks at the bottom of the slide. This water park is wrapped around an incredible series of lagoons and aquarium that highlight the aquatic wildlife of the Bahamas. This is worth doing just to walk through the marine habitats where sharks and rays abound in this aquatic wonderland. The water rides are The Current, Lazy River Ride, Mayan Temple water slide, Leap of Faith water slide, Serpent water Slide, Challenger Slides, Jungle Slides, Power Tower, The Drop, The Falls, The Surge, The Abyss water slide.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Carnival Liberty leaving Port of Miami and Specs

The Cruise Ship Carnival Liberty, Call sign HPYE, is operated by Carnival Cruise Lines (CCL). This is video of the Liberty passing South Pointe Beach Park as it sails from Port of Miami for its first stop Saint Martin. South beach is a great place to spend a few hours watching the cruise ships entering and the leaving port of Miami. The Libertys maiden voyage was July 20, 2005. It is powered by a diesel electric propulsion system consisting of Six 12 cylinder Warstila 12V46c diesel engines that produce 12,600 KW of power each to produce a total of 75.6 MW. Each of the two screws are turned by an electrical propulsion Alston 20 MW 149 RPM motor. Unfortunately it’s difficult to get good detailed information on cruise ships.  The Carnival Liberty performance and specs are.
18 decks (13 passenger, 5 Crew)
Gross tonnage 110,000
Length 952 feet
Beam 116 feet
Draft 27 feet
Service speed 21 knots
Max speed 23 knots
Guest 2,978 Crew 1,160
3 bow thrusters
3 stern thrusters
Twin rudders
2 Screws 

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Norwegian Epic NCL Cruise Ship Leaving Miami and Specs

The cruise ship Norwegian Epic sets sail from Port of Miami, Florida. The NCL Norwegian epic was built in Saint-Nazaire France and had its maiden voyage on June 21, 2010. She is a F3 Class cruise ship and the largest ship operated by Norwegian Cruise Lines. The Epics Specifications are 153,000 gross tonnage, 1,081 feet long, 133 feet wide, draft of 28.5 feet, it carries 4,100 passengers and has a crew of 1,750. Her average cruising speed is 18 to 20 kts and during sea trials her max demonstrated speed was 23.6 Knots. The epic has 19 decks on which are located 18 bars and lounges, 14 restaurants, two bowling alleys and 3 multi-story water slides in the aqua park. Six Caterpillar Motoren long Stroke MaK diesel electric plants provide 79.8 MW of electrical power for the ship and the high torque density induction motors which turn the twin screws. This video off the Epic leaving Miami was taken at South Pointe Beach Park. The park is a great place to visit and the views of the cruise ships entering and leaving the Port of Miami are fantastic.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

19 Cruise Tips

royal carribean cruise ship
Royal Caribbean Monarch of the Seas
My 19 cruise tips for packing and saving money on the cruise ship. Hopefully some of this advice will make your cruise trip a more enjoyable experience. Have fun, take lots of pictures and don't forget your sunscreen. 
  1. Once the ship departs, don't even think about turning that phone back on. Roaming and data fees can run in the thousands of dollars. In S.t Martin I made four calls, got an answering machine then hung up, $200. My friend’s daughter was trying to reach her boyfriend; she never got hold of him. But he got a $600+ bill. 
  2. Buy a pair of cheap 2-way radios (walkie talkies). Once you leave port your cell phones won't work.   We spent $20 and bought a pair of Cobra CX150's and they worked very well for us. 
  3. The IPX8 waterproof bag for iPhones is inexpensive and works well for protecting your phone, cash, or   documents.
  4. An inexpensive shoe hanging bag that hangs from a door works great for extra storage. Cruise cabins are tight.
  5. If available buy a soda package for kids or any big soda drinkers in your group to save money
  6. Many cruise lines allow you to bring on a case of bottled water as checked baggage (much cheaper)
  7. Take a camera and ask people to take pictures for you. The pictures sold on board are incredibly    expensive
  8. Take an electrical plug that converts to 2 or 3 plugs or a power strip. Today we have all sorts of things that need recharging. You only have one plug in the bathroom and one in the cabin.
  9. Always travel in pairs.
  10. Know where your life vest is, how to use it, and where your muster station is.
  11. Green apples help with motion sickness.
  12. Avoid buying toiletries or everyday items on the ship. They’re much less expensive on shore.
  13. Pack post it notes and a felt marker to leave notes in the cabin for your cruise mates and the cabin stewards.
  14. If you're in an interior cabin pack a small led flashlight. It' s handy if you need to get up in the middle of the night and don't want to wake anyone.
  15. When you board the cruise ship bring a small carry on bag with essentials and a bathing suit. It may be hours before your bags catch up with you
  16. Make copies of your important documents
  17. Research shore excursions. Cruise excursions are expensive, consider booking your own. 
  18. Pack a small back pack for shore excursions. Add a few waterproof ziplock bags to put small items in.
  19. The number one money saver is to book your cruise early. If you plan to take a cruise don't wait, prices rise the closer you are to your departure date.
carnival cruise line carnival imagination cruise ship
Cruise Ship Carnival Imagination

Traveling by cruise Ship is fun, relaxing, and an enjoyable experience for all ages. Hopefully some of these tips will be of benefit to you and your cruise companions. If you have any tips of your own please leave a comment. Our first cruise was on the NCL Norwegian Sky for our 25th anniversary. it was a great experience but, one which we should have done much earlier. Don’t just say you’ll take a cruise one day and put it off till you retire. A cruise is a fantastic experience at any age.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Last Morning on the Norwegian Sky Port of Miami

We end our Norwegian Sky Bahamas cruise in Port of Miami Florida. A nice way to bring it to an end is to have a hearty Breakfast while enjoying the Miami Skyline. Mmiami sky line from the norvegian sky.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

The Norwegian Sky Leaving Port of Miami

Boarding the cruise ship Norwegian Sky at Port of Miami for a five day four night Bahamas cruise. Everyone we encountered on the NCL  cruise was friendly and helpful. The first day it was a thrill just boarding the boat and experiencing the excitement of the cruise ship leaving port.