Decor - 2006 Carnival Valor Wine Cruise

Decor on the Valor is a very hard thing for me to judge "unbiasedly" - because last year we took our wine cruise on the Liberty, the sister ship. So the layout is *exactly* the same. And, unfortunately for the Valor, I *adored* the Liberty's decor scheme. The tables and decorations in the buffet area were simply gorgeous, I raved about the table inlays daily. The medallions in the back bar were great. The chandelier in the main lobby was great. The murals on the stairwells were beautiful! I was so happy, every day, just walking around the ship. I was just so enamored with the look.

It's not that the Valor is NOT nice in its own way. It is just an entirely different type of theme. It is old style americana. Rosie's is a diner look, with mosaics and formica-looking tops along with metalwork. The Eagle lounge is all American Eagle theme. There are liberty bells everywhere, and plaster casts of American Presidents which look almost spooky. The main chandelier isn't quite as lovely.

I think part of what bothers me is that it is very over the top "American". I actually wonder, being an American, how all the non-Americans who ride on this ship feel about it. The whole ship screams "USA" from the flags on the floors to the red-white-blue color themes. They're riding on a US promotion. Most of the people they promote as "heroes" on the ship are American heroes, not international heroes. I suppose there is a Robin Hood picture, and a Zorro pictures :) That's about it, though.

The cabins are certainly nice. We have a balcony (it was a free upgrade) with a long sofa and nice woodwork. The recessed lighting in the pink channels around the room is a nice touch. Speaking of pink, the pink-orange in the two main dining rooms seems a bit odd - but then again we found the gold - silver "spoon" decor in the Liberty to be VERY bizarre. It was the only area of the Liberty we didn't really like. So in comparison, the pink dining rooms were are a step up :)

The strange chairs in One Small Step really aren't that comfortable to sit in, and I imagine for the half of the passengers who are not "average weight" they literally wouldn't fit into the chairs. That design seemed an odd one for them to use on a cruise. On the other hand, one day I wandered around looking for a "corner seat" to sit in to read, i.e. one with a side armrest I could lean against, but put my feet up along the couch. I couldn't find one anywhere. All the couches were "lacking an end". So it's a strange mix.

What if I had to choose an area of the ship I *loved*? I think after pondering it a while I'd really have to say the cabin. When you pull open the curtains, and have that gorgeous sea out there, and your iPod is playing your favorite music, and you're snuggled in bed with your loved one, a glass of port and your Black Forest Cake, the world seems really nice. Plus my friend Debi made some gorgeous "sand artworks" with me before I left - images of fish, mermaids, stingrays etc - and some are on our cabin door while others are hanging around the room. So it feels like a personalized vacation home :)

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