Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Ship a B+; people made it worth the trip

Bas relief of 'heroes' on the Carnival ValorOkay so this is the last post on the trip. I told you that the Valor was the flagship of the Carnival fleet. So I thought I would post a few images from around the ship to let you know what it's like.
This is one of them. They are bas relief sculptures of American heroes and heroines. Now a few of these things would be okay, and maybe that was the idea, but they seemed to be everywhere! Teddy Roosevelt, George Washington, Martha Washington, Sojourner Truth, on and on. And they were illuminated with - you guessed it - red, white, and blue lights. And there were eagles all over the place too. Golden eagles, rampant eagles, the Eagle's Lounge even had some that looked quite lifelike.

Allow me some personal bias here. I work in Washington, and there's sculpture everywhere there. Good stuff, heroic stuff, stuff that means something. In comparison, these things looked cheesy and cheap, perhaps because I was expecting something else when I read about the ship.

Anyway, the bars and lounges were also named for heroes (or heroines) including the room where they have karaoke, the Paris Hot lounge, which is filled with statues of Josephine Baker, the actress who went to Paris to find work because of segregation laws in Hollywood.Paris Hot Lounge There was also the Lindy Hop bar, named for Charles Lindberg, which featured a rotating piano bar with several scale models of the Spirit of Saint Louis hanging from the ceiling. It was okay. Cornelia and I went there one night, and the guy playing the piano was talented, but after a while, it was like "why are we here?" so we left.

Another room was Winston's Cigar Bar, which was amidships and was the place that you went if you wanted to smoke without being in the casino or outside. This place was laid out in "faux" red leather couches and wood paneling and featured a happening jazz trio. Winston's Cigar BarThese guys were laying down a def groove, with upright bass, piano and drums. I would have liked to catch their act more, but the room was so smoky all the time that I could only stand to be in there a few minutes. Cornelia is real allergic to smoke too, so we kind of caught the trio's act on our way to dinner.

We ate dinner each night at the Washington Dining Room. We had late seating because we did not want to be rushed while enjoying the warm weather. The people at our table were the best part of the trip. One couple was from Idaho, and partied the night away. Long after we had gone to bed, they would be up doing stuff. Another couple was from Minnesota, and the wife was also a cosmetologist. Another couple was from Rhode Island and another couple was two singles -- one guy from Louisiana and his girlfriend from Texas. The conversation around the table each night and the good times we had after dinner at the shows and in the disco made this trip.

By the way, this ship had a PHAT disco. It is called "One Small Step" after Neil Armstrong's phrase when he landed on the moon. The guys spinning in this joint were smokin' and they kept the groove going until the wee hours of the morning.

Some people go on cruises to enjoy the shipboard life. I tend to like where the ship is going. If the ship were going somewhere cold in February, I'm not likely to be on it. This one was going somewhere warm and that was what made all the difference.Sunset over the CaribbeanIn the end I would give the Valor a B+. It was a good trip, the food was good, the entertainment was top notch, although some of it did not fit my taste. The musicians were as good as I have heard anywhere. But the booming of the waves was irritating, and it took three days to readjust to being on land because our cabin was tossed around a lot. Was it worth what we paid for it.? Yeah I guess so. Would I go on the Valor again? Maybe. It is a younger crowd, and we did have a good time. And that is why we went on vacation. Later, y'all. The Rave will turn to other stuff next time.

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