Hi everyone - just a little background on myself. I am single, from New York City and am 43 years old.
Friday 9/9 - Arrival Day: Flight in was great and no trouble getting a rental car from Budget. Checked into the Sheraton Safari Hotel in Lake Buena Vista. Very nice hotel that I got from a Priceline bid (only $44 + fees). Sheraton's beds are always great so I had a nice night's sleep. Met up with alot of great Cruisemates for dinner at Romano's Macaroni Grill - the food was fabulous and we all had a blast!
Saturday - Embarkation Day: I have to say this was the best embarkation day experience I have ever had! I arrived at the port just shy of 12 noon (Budget shuttle took me there after I dropped off my rental car). I think the whole thing - dropping off my luggage with the Porter, standing in line to check in, getting the sign and sail card and taking the infamous embarkation photo - took all of 30 minutes at the most! I certainly would love to sail from Port Canaveral again inthe future! After a nice lunch on the Lido Deck, I checked into my room: 9275 on the Lido Deck. Fabulous location and I loved my first balcony! I am definitely addicted!
Sunday - Key West: A nice relaxing day. I took an excursion to the Butterfly Farm and Aquarium. The Butterfly Farm was fabulous, definitely well worth the money! I took so many pictures there and will definitely return to visit in the future! While waiting for our shuttle to take us to the aquarium, I walked over to take pictures at the Southernmost Point. You should definitely do this if you have some time to spare. The aquarium I could have done without. Nothing special to report there. For the show that evening, there was a comedian (Thomas Brown - very funny) and a juggler - Manual Zuniga Jr. Both were very good and I enjoyed their performance.
Monday - Sea Day: Didn't do anything special today. Just enjoyed the chance to relax. Tonight was our first formal night and the Captain's Cocktail Party. The show tonight was called "Living in America". It sounded very similar to one I had been to on the Valor, so I skipped this show.
Tuesday - Belize: I elected not to get off the ship at this port. It was brutally hot that day, and I don't handle heat very well. Since most of the better shore excursions were a tad on the long side, I thought it wise to stay put. I actually enjoyed the ship at her least busy time. The show tonight was a magic show called Justin Illusion. He was pretty good, but I liked the juggler and comedian from Sunday better.
Wednesday - Cozumel: I've been to Cozumel before, so once again I elected to stay on board and enjoy the empty ship. There was open seating this night at dinner, so RayB, Helen, Tweety, Harry and I all opted to go to the Emerald Supper Club. I think everyone should try the supper clubs at least once each cruise. It is a totally enjoyable experience and the food was well worth the additional $30 charge. There was just a guest talent show tonight so I skipped that and enjoyed the midnight deck party instead. Never been to one of those before, but I definitely will again - I had a great time!
Thursday - Sea Day: Tonight was the second formal night, and the past guest cocktail party too. I received my first Carnival ship pin. Can't wait to collect more of them. Tonight's show was called "Rock Down Broadway" and it was very good. I would recommend this one highly. Just be aware that they do one song from The Full Monty (nothing too over the top, but still...) so if you have kids you should keep this in mind.
Friday - Sea Day: Tonight was our last night on board, and of course depression set in just a bit ;-) Knowing you have to pack up and leave the ship in the morning really puts a damper on things. The only thing to do for this is have another cruise booked for the near future of course ;-) There were two shows tonight that I attended (in between packing of course!): The first was a comedian / magician named Tony Albano and he was very good. But they saved the best for last: the second show at 10:30pm was a comedian named Percy Crews. This guy was soooo funny I almost fell off the couch on more than one occasion! It's a miracle they didn't have to carry me out of the lounge - I laughed so much my sides hurt! If you ever get the chance to see this guy, please do - you won't regret it!
Saturday - Debarkation: Although I was sad to leave the Glory, I must say here was another pleasant experience. Debarkation was totally organized and went very smoothly. I was off the ship and on the Mears bus by around 9:00am and I actually could have gotten off even sooner but I took some time to have one last breakfast at the buffet. Waited a little while for the Mears bus to fill up and still was at Orlando airport by 10:30am! This is one port that Carnival should use as an example of how things (both embarkation and debarkation) should be done.
I had an ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS time on the Glory, and I look forward to sailing on her again in the future. I highly recommend this ship!
This was our first time sailing Carnival Cruise Lines. The Glory is a huge ship. My husband (40), daughter (13) and myself (41) all said "Wow" we were dropped off at the Port Canaveral cruise ship terminal.
Embarkation Day: We were dropped off at the cruise terminal around 11:00 AM. It took about 20 minutes from the time we were dropped off until we picked up our Sail and Sign cards. The process went very quickly compared to what I have read. We had to wait about 20 more minutes before they started to let us board. We had the welcome aboard picture taken and we were off! We went to find our cabin. Met our cabin steward, Junior. He was probably the best cabin steward I have ever had. He took great care of us all week long. We had an outside cabin - 6A. More than enough room for the 3 of us. Plenty of bathroom, closet and drawer space.
We proceeded to the Red Sail for something to eat. Not bad for buffet food. We wandered around the ship to "explore". We found the ship to be alittle confusing to navigate. We even found the "secret" front decks on 6, 7, 9 and 10. Go all the way forward on either of these decks and take the exits to the port or starboard sides. There is a set of stairs that connects 6 and 7, and a set of that connects 9 and 10.
Mandatory lifeboat drill and then sail away! Hint: buy the drink of the day with the glass (plastic, $6.95) on your first day. Refills are $4.50 all week long as long as you order the drink of the day. We had 6:15 dinner seating in the Golden dining room. Juanito was our waiter and Weerapool was his assistant. Excellent service all week from both. It is at your first dinner that you learn of the friendly competition that will take place all week between the Red, White and Blue teams. Each dining table has a tent card with your team color on it. William, the maitre d', explains the competition (each team gets points for competitions/games won throughout the week).
We were off again to go enjoy the sunset. I have to say this was the first cruise I have been on that the sunsets weren't great. It was mostly due to dust storms that had come off the coast of Africa. These dust clouds would cause a haze-like look to the air most of the week. We went to the casino, wandered the ship some more. Our daughter went to the teen (12-14) meet and greet. She said there weren't many girls there, mostly boys. She did managed to meet another girl there who would become her "buddy" for the week.
Day 2 - Nassau, Bahamas: Got up early and watched the ship pull into port. We docked by 8:15. We didn't rush off, as we had no excursions booked. We took the water taxi over to Atlantis (scary). The walk from the water taxi to the entrance to Atlantis took about 10 minutes. We wandered around Atlantis and decided to go to the beach. Walk out of Atlantis, take a left and head towards the Riu Hotel. There is a public beach right there. The beach wasn't too crowded when we got there. Nice soft sand. We stayed about an hour and then took a taxi back to the cruise ship. We shopped around town a little bit and then got back on the ship for 1:00. The ship left Nassau at 2:00. Spent time on Deck 10 relaxing and then got ready for our first formal night. You have many background choices for pictures all week long. Pictures are taken on deck 3, 4 and 5. Went to the after dinner show, then the casino, off to see the comedian, then off to enjoy a late night stroll around the deck.
Day Three - Sea Day: Got up, got coffee and headed out to get a chair on deck around 9:30. There were plenty of chairs to be found, even in front of the main pool area. We chose to get chairs up on deck 10 on the port side. Nice location between main and Azure pools. Spent the day relaxing. They do not push drinks on Carnival they way they do on NCL. Watched some of the competitions held by the main pool. If you miss something, don't worry, you'll see it again on the ship TV. Once again, off to dinner, sunset stroll, after dinner show, casino. Did check out Cinn-A-Bar tonight. The place gets packed. Get there early if you want a seat. Traveled back to the Ebony Lounge. Quiet with not many people in there.
Day Four - St. Thomas: Got up in time to watch our approach to the island. Decks are called off in a random order, determined by a lottery drawing at the port talk the previous day. All passengers with tours are allowed off first before the decks are even called. We had booked a tour with Godfrey. Hint - bring a copy of your email confirming your tour and time, this will enable you to get off the ship before your deck is called. We were escorted past the line of people and passed through immigration in about 10 minutes. Godfrey met us outside of the debarkation area and took us downtown for some shopping. We went to the straw market, bought a few things. We had a great group of people in our tour group. We laughed the entire trip. Godfrey then took us up to Point Pleasant. It was a beautiful view and the banana daiquiris were good! Godfrey was disappointed because the view wasn't 100% due to the dust storms. We then were dropped off at Coki Beach. If you do snorkel here, go all the way over to the right. There is where we found the best variety of fish. We also say a huge barracuda. After the beach stop, Godfrey drove us back to the ship. The tour took approximately 5½ hours. We dropped off our snorkel gear, changed clothes and then went shopping at Havensight mall. Things here were much more expensive than in town. Made it back to the ship and went up to deck 10 for sail away at 8:00 PM. It was beautiful sailing away at night from St. Thomas. Tonight we dined at the buffet as we wanted to spend as much time as possible on St. Thomas.
Day Five - St. Maarten: We awoke to find we were already docking at 7:15. We got off the ship by 8:15. Went over to the car rental area and rented a Rav4 from Budget for $65 for the day. I have been to St. Maarten previously so I wasn't nervous about driving around the island. We were able to tour the entire island with time to spare for shopping in the afternoon. We went over to watch the planes land from the beach near Maho Bay. Our daughter thought it was cool. From there we toured over to the French side of St. Maarten. Marigot was very crowded so we didn't stop for long. We went to where the ferry leaves for Pinel Island. Rested for a while and got a cold drink. We then headed over to Orient Beach. We stayed for about 2 hours. Orient Beach was nice. There was lots going on. (Parasailing, jet skis, few topless women). After Orient we tried to make our way over to Dawn Beach for some snorkeling but there was construction going on and it was getting late so we didn't bother stopping.
Dropped hubby off at the ship. My daughter and I headed downtown for some shopping. Parking is very hard to find downtown. We bought some more gifts, hit the liquor store and then went to drop the car off. Hubby met us at the car rental drop off and went back to the cruise terminal with us. We had guavaberry coladas (mmmmm) before we got back on the ship. Hubby surprised me by taking me shopping for jewelry (anniversary gift). I picked out a pair of tanzanite and diamond earrings. Back to the ship to shower and change for sail away. I walked on the ship with the box of liquor that we bought on the island. No one ever asked me to check the box in when I returned to the ship. Missed dinner again because we wanted to watch the sail away at 6:00 PM. Tonight I got a Bailey's and coffee from Creams - very good!
Day Six - Sea Day: Spent the day up on deck 10 again relaxing, napping and reading. Went to watch more of the activities by the main pool. The Carnival ship building competition was pretty good. It's amazing what people can build with what they bring with them. Finally tried the Fish and Chips - do not miss them! I also participated in the kids' program treasure hunt with my daughter. I missed the Not-So-Newlywed game as the treasure hunt was at the same time. We had a lot of fun doing the hunt. We came in third (hint: bring a red sock on the cruise and get a Glory dancer's autograph early in the week). Tonight was our second formal night. Went to the after dinner show, casino, ship wandering, another Bailey's and coffee from Creams and off to tonight's comedian (adult only show) - very funny. He did border on the brink of x-rated.
Day Seven - Sea Day: It was a little cloudy out when we got up this morning. I guess lots of people stayed up too late as there was barely anyone outside on deck 9 and 10. Got my chair and then it started to thunder and rain. It continued on and off for about an hour before the sun came out to stay. It was a beautiful day at sea. Did the same routine, relax, read, nap, watch the poolside shows. Today was Synchronized Swimming Competition then Fear Factor meets Survivor - funny to watch. Went back to the room around 3:30 and started to do what we all dread doing - packing our luggage for pickup that evening. Got that done then went to watch our daughter perform in the Camp Carnival talent show with her cruise friends. After that, we went to our final dinner with Juanito and Weerapool. Tonight we went to Bar Blue and the Burgundy Bar after dinner. Went back and put our luggage out (all luggage must be put out between 8 and 12; they will leave it there if you put it out after 12 as this happened to a few cabins on our floor) We were smart, tonight we cashed in the last $100 of our casino tokens to take home with us. No more donations from us. Off to see the comedian again for the family show this time. We then went to get a late night snack at Creams, I had my usually Bailey's and coffee and daughter wanted a piece of chocolate cake (there is an additional charge for desserts ordered here, cake was $2 but the piece was huge!). She then went back to the cabin and I went to meet hubby. We watched a thunderstorm approach us. Went up to the deck 10 "secret" deck to watch the storm as it got closer. Finally had to go inside as we were getting too close and it was starting to rain.
Disembarkation Day: My only major complaint. They really need to get their disembarkation more organized. We were up and out of our cabin by 9:00. Ate breakfast at the Red Sail Buffet. Disembarkation started with self-assist passengers first. They start at deck 11 and work their way down. Mid-way through self-assist, they start to call passengers with early flights. Then they start to call passengers who will be picking up their luggage in the cruise terminal (before they even finish calling self-disembarkation passengers). Decks are called in random order by deck number and luggage tag color. Each deck also has 3-4 different luggage tag colors so even though they call deck 6 aft, you have to match the color tag called. We were not called off until after 11:00. This process took way too much time. Once we were off, we were told the port authority was short of immigration officers and things were running behind.
Our overall opinion of Carnival and the Glory is that we really enjoyed the Carnival experience. The food was very good. There was over 3,500 people on the Glory the week we sailed yet it never felt crowded. There was always plenty of deck chair space, slot machines were easy to get on, only a few bars would get packed, buffet lines would get long but not too long. The staff was very friendly. The ship is kept very clean. The layout of the ship is difficult to navigate at times, just carry your little map with you. I'm sure I've missed some things we did or noticed because there was so much we did all week. We will definitely sail Carnival again.
This was my 103rd cruise, and my third with Carnival. My previous Carnival sailings were on two older ships: Fantasy in 1991 and Inspiration in 1997. I was a group leader on this sailing, responsible for 193 members of a professional organization for the week. We had meetings and social events scheduled daily, and lots of preparation had gone into this cruise.
I was very pleasantly surprised overall by the Glory, and by the improvements Carnival has made over the past few years.
I arrived at the port at 11:15 a.m. and finally boarded the ship at 1:05 pm. We waited in line in the car for 20 minutes to drop off luggage. The security line wasn't long when I went through, but I did notice when I was getting on the ship that the line stretched out the doors and down in front of the terminal.
Unlike other lines that have a single check-in process, we had to go through several lines with Carnival. We checked in on one line, then had to get our SeaPass in another line (inefficient in my opinion). We waited in a third line tohave the photo taken for the SeaPass card. The final line was really annoying: the embarkation photo line. We were told it was "mandatory" to have an embarkation photo, taken which I found ridiculous. The only way past the photographers was blocked with a large trash can, so we waited yet again in a line. When it was my turn, I said "no, thanks" and continued on through, despite being told it was "required" yet again. Carnival needs to lighten up and provide a way through this process that does not require people to wait to have a photo taken.
The ship is 110,000 tons and she was sailing completely full. The large, bold lobby area was designed with dramatic use of color and little natural light. I find Carnival ships to be generally quite dark, with extensive use of neon, and this held true with the Glory -- although it was more restrained in décor than the other two Carnival ships I sailed. I knew that only two decks went all the way through and I found this to be a very inconvenient design, especially since I had to crisscross the ship with boxes and things all day long. The ship felt very cut up, adding to a feeling of overall congestion.
The pools were very small for a ship this size and got crowded early. I did not care for the stadium seating at the main pool; when I did use a pool, I chose the Azur. There were seldom any chairs available at the pools, so I found myself only using them when we were in port and I chose to stay on the ship. Unfortunately, there were a lot of kids and teens aboard and swim diapers were in fashion. These really gross me out, so I tended not to use the pool very often when kids were around. Glory would benefit from an adults-only pool, IMHO. There was no place to get away from kids and noise. The funnel deck got full early and I never was able to find a free lounge chair there either.
My stateroom was cabin 8461 on Verandah Deck. It was an aft cabin smack in the middle. The cabin was spacious and well appointed, with plenty of storage space and a good-sized bathroom. My verandah was smaller than expected, but they did manage to fit two lounge chairs and two regular chairs out there. I liked the location except for two things: (1) There was a good bit of vibration while we were sailing; and (2) On three mornings around 3:00 a.m., they started re-organizing the deck chairs at the Azur pool, directly above my stateroom. If you are a light sleeper as I am, it will be a problem.
I am not going to be very helpful to most readers, I imagine. I am a healthy eater and did not eat at the pizzeria, the deli, the ice cream stations or the fish and chips. I did not try any desserts during the week, nor did I go to the chocolate buffet. I dislike buffets in general and prefer to be served. For breakfast when I cruise, I eat half a grapefruit and some smoked salmon. This was not available at Red Sail, so I ordered through room service a few days and on the others went to the dining room. I checked out the Lido buffet for breakfast, but found it heavy on sugary and fatty foods. I did go to the omelet station one day and asked for egg whites. They cooked some up, but had a really heavy hand with the grease so I did not eat them and did not go back.
Lunch needed to be fast for me, so I would make a salad from the buffet and enjoy it on my balcony. There were several choices available and the fish offerings were good in general. However, the lines were very long on sea days and I would just give up and forget about lunch altogether. The waits were REALLY long on sea days but not too bad on others.
We had the entire Golden Dining Room, Deck 4, reserved for our exclusive use. Food at dinner was good to very good most nights, with two exceptions. I had fish every evening, minus the sauces, and they were well cooked and moist. There seemed to be a problem with having foods, especially soups, served hot. They were often lukewarm. Twice I sent back my entrée because it was cold. Otherwise, food was a pleasant surprise. The dining room staff was very friendly, although service was not attentive. Water glasses were not refilled, and refills on coffee were not offered unless requested. We had wine with dinner every evening and poured our own from the bottle. We also had to ask for second servings of bread, sometimes more than once.
The wait-staffers were simply not very attentive. This was also the case in the dining room in the morning, when several times I observed passengers getting up to pour their own coffee. I did not care for the booths in the dining room and felt that you were on top of other people -- like they were trying to jam as many people as possible into the space available.
Also, even though the daily newsletter stated that "shorts, baseball caps and tank tops are not permitted in the dining room," it was a common mode of dress. Carnival should either forget the dress code or enforce it. Jeans were everywhere.
The Emerald Room was a different story. I dined there twice and it was wonderful! The service was attentive and professional, the food delicious and perfectly prepared. The sommelier was knowledgeable and well trained. The piano player was very talented. It was worth the supplement of $30 per person, and was a highlight of the trip. Only a few things detracted from the elegance of the experience. One, the nearest ladies room was one deck down, outside by the pool. Two, it's a shame they didn't take advantage of the views available at sea when deciding where to place this restaurant. Three, tables were arranged so that, when dining at a table for four near the window, I constantly had to move aside so the server could serve from my right, as is proper. The tables needed to be farther apart.
The Glory's staff was friendly and cordial. I had excellent service for my group, and the entire staff was personable and always had a smile. My room stewardess left a bit to be desired; on two occasions dirty towels were simply left on the bathroom floor and not replaced when the room was made up. My pool towels were not changed unless I asked. And once she actually took a towel off the bathroom floor and re-hung it for me to use (I know this because I had dropped the towel into the toilet and soaked one end in the morning when I was getting ready. I left it on the floor so it would be replaced. When I reached for a towel that afternoon after my shower, the one I grabbed off the rack was soaked on one end.) It made me wonder how many times she had simply hung dirty towels back on the rack.
I had drinks one evening with the Captain and senior staff and totally enjoyed myself.
The bartenders were very nice but need better training with wines. On four occasions I was served wine that had been opened a few days before and had turned. As I paid between $9 and $15 a glass for these wines, there was no excuse for this. They were always replaced with a glass from a fresh bottle, but this should not have occurred.
I did not attend any shows so cannot report on these. I also did not go out at night. I found the bars to be quite smoky overall, and was not impressed with the live entertainment. I had looked forward to the jazz club but it was acid jazz, not smooth jazz, and it was also the cigar bar so it was just too stinky. On the couple of nights I popped into the disco, it was filled with a younger crowd (20s). I do not gamble, but the casino was hopping whenever I walked through. I missed going out at night, as I am usually a night-owl, but there were no spots on the ship that appealed to me. Instead, I relaxed on my balcony and read.
The passenger mix was generally a casual group, certainly the most casually dressed I have ever experienced on a cruise. There were a lot of families and lots of kids and teens. Everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves.
The gym was well equipped and seldom crowded, at least at 6 in the morning when I was there. There were very few free classes. Three classes a day were $10 each and one was no charge. I am spoiled by RCI and their sports program and really missed the fun classes offered. The sauna and steam room were very nice, and I used these most afternoons. There was never anyone else in either.
I did the western itinerary. I stayed on the ship in Key West (don't care for it) and Progresso (working), went to Paradise Beach in Cozumel, and went to the shops at Belize for about 15 minutes. The lines to get back on the ship in Cozumel were long and it was very hot. I have never been on a ship where I had to wait in line to get back on in port, and I am not sure why it took so much time. Some of my clients told me it took them over an hour in line to re-board.
My overall experience with the Glory was generally positive. The big plus was the staff, which was quite good. The ship was clean overall and well maintained. The minuses, for me, were that the ship constantly felt overcrowded and I felt like a sardine in a can. I stayed in my stateroom on this cruise more than on any other, as I simply got tired of the crowds and the noise. Lines were long, pools were packed, there were unsupervised kids running around everywhere.
There were no adults-only areas, and I missed that. Also, I prefer cruising on a line that is more upscale and elegant overall and disliked the jeans-and-shorts environment I found on the Glory.
I think the Glory offers good value, especially for new cruisers or those looking for a more casual, less service-oriented experience. It is not, however, a ship for those used to high levels of personal service (i.e., Celebrity or Radiance class) and a more refined atmosphere.
Who we are: We are a group of moms and kids ranging in age from 20 months - 65 years, staying in cabins from insides to suites. There were 17 in our group. We have all cruised many times before, for me personally, this was a first cruise with Carnival and I was apprehensive about trying them. The week we sailed was a busy school vacation week with many children were on board, which we like.
Embarkation: What can I say, the worst I've ever experienced. Chaotic, crowded, and extremely LONG! We arrived to the terminal at 11:20 am, and didn't get to our cabin until 12:50, so it took an hour and a half. Needless to say I was not in a mood to put on a happy face for the photographers who were further holding up the endless line by taking embarkation photos before people boarded. I would hope that Carnival would rethink this in an effort to speed things up, but I doubt it as it is one of many revenue generating ploys we would encounter onboard.
Cabin: I shared an outside cabin on deck one with my2 sons. The cabin was the most spacious standard outside I've ever seen, very roomy, nicely decorated with very comfortable beds. They also had a nice little basket of amenities waiting in the bathroom. Our cabin stewards were excellent, they were very unobtrusive and quickly took care of anything we needed. I spent a lot of time on my friend's balcony, she had a suite, and it was nice to get away from the crowds on the upper decks. We ordered snacks from room service several times in lieu of lunch and had them with the wine we brought from home. I also packed a corkscrew.
My sister had the crib for my nephew waiting in her cabin, and they had already emptied and opened her refrigerator so she could store milk and juice. They do this whenever an infant occupies a room, it's very thoughtful to have this done without asking.
I think the cabins and cabin service where one of the nicest I've experienced, with the exception of the Disney Magic's which are outstanding.
Public Areas: This needs improvement, although I don't know how on this densely populated of a ship. The décor was a little too Las Vegas tacky for my taste, but the real problem was the lack of quiet seating areas. There was no place to go to escape the crowds and noise, unless you had a large private balcony. This isn't a ship for anyone looking to relax, it's a fun ship, particularly if your idea of fun is loud music, crowds and lots of drinking..live and learn.
We did manage to find deck space on the Sun deck where we weren't packed like sardines and that had some shade, that was our saving grace. Also, the blaring music was more subdued there. I actually saw people come out of the Spa area to the Lido pool area and cover their ears, that's how loud it was. You literally couldn't carry on a conversation without shouting. Carnival really needs to lower the volume. I called the pursor's desk to ask why it was so loud and was told "because people like it". I told them no one asked me if I liked it, nor did they ask any of the 17 members of our group, none of whom appreciated it. Did they ask you?
Dining: The food was better than I expected. The Red Sail had great Deli sandwiches, excellent fresh fruit, and some really tasty fish-n-chips. One of the better buffets I've had, probably because of all the choices. I never ate the actually buffet food, because the options I mentioned were so good. Also, the deli is always open.
Breakfast in the buffet was good, I had an omelet made every day. The coffee was lousy though, and I didn't have any the whole week. Juice was available all day, which is nice.
Breakfast in the dining room was disappointing and not worth the wait. On other cruises we like to eat breakfast in the dining room because they typically had things like banana pancakes, strawberry French toast, Belgian waffles, etc. that you couldn't find in the buffet. On Carnival there wasn't anything in the dining room you couldn't get in the buffet, not even decent strawberry jam (they only serve strawberry jelly). It takes forever, so in my opinion, it's not worth the wait. They even serve the same "fake eggs" that the buffet does. Don't waste your time.
We had dinner in the Platinum room at a great corner table. Our waiter, Michael, was wonderful, it's too bad they paired him with an inept assistant. I can't even recall her name as we saw so little of her. We tipped him extra.
I found many things I liked, the prime rib, lobster, filet mignon and penne with eggplant (which could be ordered as an appetizer), rolls and all the fish were great. I can't complain about the food, it was good, and I consider myself to be pretty picky.
Entertainment: This is another area that could use improvement. There were only two production shows the entire week. I can't think of any other cruise that I've been on with so few. They were good, but there wasn't much in the way of entertainment the rest of the week. One night we had a good singer, and I heard the late-night comedian was great, but not everyone can stay awake until midnight. Ironically, my kids could stay up for the R-rated show, but we adults could not.
Carnival, why not have an earlier comedy show? Four nights of the cruise there was absolutely NO entertainment before midnight in the Amber Palace, unless you count Butch teaching passengers how to dance as entertainment. I call it a cheap way to fill time. You can do better, beef up the entertainment and hold it earlier for the early diners who don't want to gamble and drink until midnight. Even the disco didn't open until 11:00 or 12:00 am. Again, everyone in our group had the same complaint. We can't be the only non-night owls out there.
Kids: The older children had a ball, and never used the kids programs. My 12 year-old had his 2 best friends with him on this cruise, they played cards, swam, used the slide, saw the shows, watched movies, played ping-pong, etc. My 15 year old ran into a bunkmate from his camp and I barely saw him the rest of the week, except for dinners.
This trip was most disappointing for my little nephews. The kiddie pool was closed the entire week so they were unable to swim, something that would have happily occupied them for hours. We kept asking when it would be open, and got responses ranging from "Oh, it's closed?", to "Maybe there aren't enough kids onboard for them to open it". Huh, it's spring break, the place was crawling with kids. Turns out it was closed for maintenance yet we never once saw anyone so much as look at it. We were parked near it on deck 12 all week and no one cared enough to look into it. We found out it had been closed the previous week, so I can't understand why, if a part was needed, the part was unable to be brought onboard in Port Canaveral. I get the impression it just wasn't a priority, meanwhile, the small kids (who pay full fare) were unable to swim the entire week. This is a cruise with 4 sea days mind you, and really impacted their trip.
My 4 year old nephew went to the kids club several times, but didn't love it. I can't really say how it compared to other lines, maybe he was too young or maybe it wasn't as good, but when my children were younger, I couldn't get them away from the kids clubs on Disney and RCCL.
Disembarkation: Again, the worst I've ever encountered. In fairness, this was also the largest cruise ship I've been on, but it was very disorganized. We self-disembarked, but the minute we got near the disembarkation deck, there was a bottleneck and a very, very long line. I recommend you either self-disembark and be the first ones off (we apparently waited too long), or sit it out and be one of the last ones off. Otherwise, you will stand in line and wait. And wait. And wait...
Conclusion: I've learned that Carnival probably isn't my first choice of a cruiseline. It's a little too loud (both visually and auditory), too crowded, not enough light, open spaces and attracted a different crowd than what I'm used to.the food was good, the service was good, but I think I'm more of a Celebrity/HAL/Princess style of cruiser. Would I cruise them again? Possibly, if it was a price I couldn't refuse on a Spirit class ship, but I have to say I give the edge to other lines.
Overall I would have to rate the whole Cruising experience this time around on The Glory as a 4 out of 5. We sailed as a Family of 4 with our two teenage sons.
Embarkation went smooth considering how many people need to board the ship. It took 45 minutes from the Bus stopping at the Port Canaveral to being in our cabin. Very smooth operation.
The Balcony cabin set-up for a family of four was very roomy with lots of closet and drawer space for all of our stuff. I recommend the Balcony cabin for the view but not Deck 6. You need to be careful as to what you are located over top of. We were over top of the Amber Lounge and being early to Bed (11:30 p.m.) were kept up most every night.
Open spaces on a ship this size can still be found. Very few people seemed to use the very back of the Lido deck for eating Breakfast in the morning. Very nice view and not many people around. The Hot Tubs at the back of the Lido Deck will be empty in the eveningand are Adults only. These hot tubs are not that hot so it makes for a pleasant evening at the back of the ship. If you go forward all the way on either deck 6 or 7 to the left or right there are doors leading to the outer decks. These are small forward decks but no one is out there. Great view at night out the front of the ship in the dark.
The dining and food that we had in the Platinum Restaurant was all well done with very good service. The Serving Team led by Daniel provided top notch service with a smile every evening. We did not think there was any point in going to the pay restaurant.
The Staff on the Glory were all generally cheery with few exceptions. Our Room Steward was a very bubbly kind of guy and attentive to his duties. The room was kept clean and we had the Towel figures done very night. Anything we asked for he took care of.
Shore tours we only took at Key West and Belize. Key West we did the Bike Tour. That was interesting and a nice way to get around. The company had old bicycles that experienced a few break downs holding up the tour. They could use some new bikes.
At Belize we did the Goff's Caye Snorkel Tour and that was great. Well worth the money. They pick you up right from the ship and take you to Goff's Caye a small island right on the Coral Reef about 12 miles form the Ship. The Boat ride is on about a 35 foot boat with 600 HP outboards, so it moves right along. They take you to the Island and you have the choice of snorkelling from the Beach or off the boat. The boat will take you off shore over top of the reef for about an hour of snorkelling. The snorkelling was great with lots of fish and coral structure. The water is warm and clear. The you go back to the island for about an hour and half. It is a beautiful island, right out of a Gilligan's Island show, complete with drinks, snacks, barbecue and souvenirs for purchase. If you have someone in your party that odes not snorkel the trip to the island is worth the price.
In Cozumel we walked off and took a cab into town in the morning. The afternoon we went to Mr. Sanchos by cab. This is a beautiful free beach with nice sand and OK snorkelling. They have different vendors for Beer, snorkelling and water toys etc. The snorkelling is better further out form the middle of the complex. This is our second cruise and both times we have ended up at Mr. Sanchos in Cozumel without being disappointed. Recommend this Beach for a nice afternoon.
In Progresso we just took the Bus into town for shopping. Take the $2.00 per. Person 20 minute tour around town in the funny looking double Decker Bus. It was fun and informative. The stop was kind of interesting due to Progresso being more of an old Mexico town. If you buy a Beer in town, get a Beer strap to hold it around your neck as you walk. It was real hot the day we were there and you needed the Beer. On the way back if there is a line up for the Bus just take one of the Vans for $$, it is way more comfortable. There is shopping back right by the ship and a .99c store with lots of little Mexican souvenirs. Progresso was short stop but and interesting one.
If you overnight in Orlando, before or after, be careful about water damage to Hotels. The Crowne Plaza Orlando Airport still has damage, the rooms smell musty, pool is closed and numerous rooms closed. None of this was forthcoming at time of booking.
Our previous experience with Carnival was on the Paradise when it was the Non Smoking ship. On the Glory, the smokers did not hesitate to throw Butts over the side to either end up on the ocean or on a lower deck ??? Also having Smokers on both side of your Balcony is unpleasant. Carnival could do a better job of splitting up the Non-smokers Cabins from the smoking crowd. I found the Second hand smoke along with the obvious danger of allowing smoking on a ship with 3,000 passengers enough to lower the Glory's overall rating. Still a good value (4 star) for your dollar.
My husband and I arrived in Orlando five days prior to our sail date which was extremely relaxing. We considered it the vacation before the vacation.
Embarkation: We arrived at Port Canaveral at noon and went through the embarkation process quickly and efficiently. There seemed to be a lot of grumpy people in line waiting for their turn but hey - you are on vacation - relax and don't sweat the small stuff. After having our identification checked and our credit card swiped we moved to the next line and received our sign and sail cards. That card makes the trip 'real'. With card in hand and smiles on our faces we eagerly headed off to lobby doors. But, not before stopping to get the first of many photos taken. By 1:30 we were staring up at the beautiful atrium elevators and glad to be inside since it was a bit breezy and cold. We headed straight over to reserve a dinner at the Emerald Supper Club and then off to the dining room to ensure we received the table for two that we'd requested. We were celebrating our 25th anniversaryso we didn't want to share our dinner time with other cruisers. Upon arriving at the dining room, we were told we were seated at a table for eight. The Maitre' D graciously changed our table assignment to a table for two on the upper platinum dining room overlooking the lower dining room. It was just perfect.
Cabin: Once those two chores were done we were ready to drop off our carry on luggage in to our cabin. We had a balcony which is the only way to go. I had arranged for our cabin to be decorated for our anniversary along with two bottles of champagne, a fruit basket and six delicious chocolate covered strawberries. Once we were done scoping out the cabin we began the fun of 'finding our way around'. I will say it is confusing but we think it adds to the adventure and love the fact that we never knew which way we were headed and always seemed to be on the wrong deck. Great fun! The ship is extremely colorful. It has all the usual lounges, gift shops, dance clubs, casino, show theatre, etc. etc.
Seas: The first night the seas were awful rough. There were more people sick than not. The dining room was pretty much empty and some of the people tried to eat but ended up leaving half way through their meal. I'll admit we too left before dessert and really just ended up moving our food around the plate rather than eating it. By the second night, the seas were somewhat calmer but by the third day they were perfect. Welcome to the Caribbean.
Dining Room: The food in the dining room is wonderful. It is great that you can view the night's menu on your t.v. screen in your room. It helped us decide which night to check out the buffet rather than dress up for dinner. This is something we had never done before in previous cruises. We were not that impressed with our waiter Anthony. He seemed to be in his own little world and whenever he was talking to you his eyes were always on other people instead of on you. His assistant (can't remember her name) was very quiet but extremely efficient. On past cruises we have enjoyed the dining room staff a lot more, but hey - you are on vacation - don't sweat the small stuff. And the new color game that is played throughout the trip is great fun. Yippee Red Team. And do NOT forget to go to the Emerald Supper Club. The $25 pp extra is well worth it. The best food EVER!
Entertainment: The shows are wonderful. The least favorite was the illusionist. Seems like they all do the same old tricks but it was still entertaining. We loved the 'male revue'. It was funny and loved by the entire audience.
Cruise Director: We had Stuart Dunn. Neither of us liked him much. He never seemed to be around and gave us extremely WRONG information regarding duty and customs which ended up making us go in to the 'special' room upon debarkation with customs officials. Very embarrassing but all was well in the end, not a real big deal. They were gentle. Ha-Ha. We were just bringing back more jewelry than was allowed - but hey - gotta have those diamonds from St. Thomas.
Ports Nassau, St. Thomas, St. Maarten: Great-Great-Great. That should sum it up. Beautiful islands. We got great pictures.
Debarkation: Smooth as silk. We docked at 7am and were off by 10:30. Enough time for a nice farewell breakfast omelet. Yummy. We then jumped in to our 12-passenger stretch limo to take us to the airport in style.
All in all I would highly recommend the Glory. She is a fantastic ship and the crew should be commended. It is still amazing that they keep those ships as clean and new looking as they do. The crew were always smiling and would go out of their way to give you a warm hello each and every time they saw you. We'll be cruising again aboard the Legend in May 2006. Hopefully, time will fly by. We gave this trip an A++++++++.
Just got back from a cruise on the Carnival Glory. We sailed from Port Canaveral on September 17. We stopped in Nassau, St. Thomas and St. Martin. I sailed with my husband (both in our mid 30's) and my parents (early 50's). Overall we had a fantastic time! I was looking forward to writing about my experiences, so I was careful to pay attention and make mental notes.
Embarkation: Was pretty typical. We got to Port Canaveral around 1:30 pm, and made it onboard by about 2:30 or so. Long lines, but they move surprisingly quickly. One note.when we got to the registration counter, we were told that our room had been changed. Needless to say we were scared at first. We had booked a balcony stateroom on the Verandah deck, and just a few doors down from my parents. When we questioned the ticket agent, he said he didn't have any further information on what the room was changed to, and that we'd have to speak to a supervisor. In the end, it all turned out fine.in fact we were upgraded to a balcony suite, and so were my parents.I only wish the counter agent could have been more helpful at first, since we were pretty mad, until we found out the change was to our benefit.
The Ship: The Glory was very big! Our newly upgraded suite was absolutely beautiful! There was a full sized bathroom, with a Jacuzzi tub, and separate vanity area. There was an abundance of drawer and closet space. The king sized bed was one of the most comfortable and luxurious beds I have ever slept in. The new down duvets are lovely, and make you feel like royalty. The balcony was spacious and clean, and our steward opened the divider between our balcony and my parents so that we could enjoy each others company while out there.
The rest of the ship was perfectly nice and clean. I found it less glitzy than the Destiny (our only other cruise) the shops, bars and casino were very similar though. I loved the coffee bar Creams. It sells all the fancy coffees, cappuccinos, frozen coffee drinks, as well as the most delicious desserts! I found myself down there every morning at 8:00 am to get a large cup of tea to bring back to my room.
Food: The food was ok. I found this to be my opinion on my last cruise as well. The buffets were disappointing, usually the lines were pretty long, the food was pretty bland and boring, and usually lukewarm at best. The Deli sandwiches are excellent (Country Turkey!) and the Grill has the typical burgers and fries which my burger snob husband found to be pretty good. The dinner in the restaurants (we were in the Platinum Dining Room) was again ok. The fish dishes were very good, but I found the potatoes and veggies that go with your meal pretty disappointing. My husband ate the beef dishes in the restaurant every night, and he was pretty satisfied. My only real complaint with the food was the desserts..BORING and tasteless. This was in the formal dining room and the buffets. I wonder if it's to entice you to spend money on truly wonderful desserts at the Creams coffee bar.
Staff: Overall most of the staff was very friendly, efficient and happy to be there. Our room steward wasn't anything spectacular, just did what we asked, and what was required, but never went above and beyond. Our dining room waiter Wayan was great! He knew our names by the second night, and by the third night knew that my husband eats his salad dry, my mother eats her steak medium rare, and to keep the bread basket coming! He was funny and warm and excellent at his job. His assistant, and the bar waitress were very good as well.
Entertainment: I noticed on this ship that only allowed smoking on the port side of the ship, and not at all in certain areas. Even as a smoker I really liked this policy. It was nice to sit on the deck and know that I wasn't going to offend someone with my smoking, because it was likely a fellow smoker sitting right next to me. The pool area was never too crowded to find a seat, and we had 3 days at sea. The entertainment on deck was a little lacking, and it was very loud. I would have enjoyed more of the steel drum calypso bands, and less of the same loud music playing over and over. We never went to any of the shows, they all start after 10pm and we just couldn't make it that late. We aren't big gamblers, and had the early seating dinner so by 9pm we were tired and bored. I will book the late seating for dinner for my next cruise.
Debarkation: We chose not to do the self assist, since our flight wasn't until 2:30pm. But it went fine anyway. We exited our rooms at 8:30 am, went to the Lido deck for breakfast, and just hung out, drinking coffee and reading until they called our deck at around 10am. Customs was a breeze. Again, long lines that seem daunting, but they move so fast. We had picked up our luggage and were waiting for our shuttle by 11am.
Final thoughts: Loved it! The ports were ok. I would highly recommend the Mini Boats and Hidden Beaches excursion in St. Thomas. That was a first class operation. They really care about your safety, and they want you to have a great time. My husband and I snorkeled for the first time, and we are totally hooked! I really would recommend this ship, and this cruisline to anyone. I has a fabulous time, as did my family. We are already talking about another cruise for the whole extended family!
We had opted to fly down the day of the cruise, and had booked an early AM flight for Sat the 10th of Sept. A few months before our cruise American Airlines had dropped that flight and the next earliest flight had us arriving at 12:58, which were were able to make and everything went on time. Once we picked up our luggage and found the Carnival reps in the baggage area, they said to just go outside and place luggage where the bus would be. After a short wait, a bus did arrive and with in half an hour we were on our way, arriving at the pier about 2:45 and onboard by 3:00. When driving over the bridge to get into the port, you could see both Carnival Glory and Disney Magic, what a sight, both large ships, but Glory being a bit larger. Since it was later in the day, we were able to get through embarkment fairly quickly and I did print out my "fun pass", they didn't even look at it, but I think by having that, it lets them know everything except showingthe elusive credit card, is in order. For some reason, after you finish at the first stop, you need to then go to another area to actually pick up your sign/sail cards, seemed to us, it would be easier and quicker to do that all at once and then go and board. Next stop was to have your picture taken for the sign/sail card, there was a small line for that, and next we were entering the ship.
This was our first cruise on any Carnival cruise and I was expecting to like it, but not as much as I actually did. We did a quick stop at our aft balcony cabin, deck 7, #7442, to drop our carry-on luggage off and then go to the buffet and get a quick snack, since we haven't eaten since we were in O'Hare before we took off. We were able to get a nice lunch, and meet some of my son's family that was just finishing their lunch. By this time it was almost sail away time and the 4:00 muster drill, so we rushed back to the cabin to pick up our life preservers and get to our station, all were on just one deck, deck 4. We did notice they never checked to see what passengers were from what cabin and if all were accounted for, but eventually we were able to return to our cabins and watch the sail away. We headed up for the pool deck to see the ship leave; there we met our cruisemate Robo and Darlene and her traveling companion. I know Darlene was on the ship, but I never saw her again, so I'm hoping she enjoyed the cruise as much as we did. I should also add, we were afraid of some nasty weather in the area, but as luck would have it, left and moved further north/east, so weather was not a problem for the entire week, now this week is looking different. The average temps all week were all in the 80's and even 90's by the time we hit Belize, almost too hot, but since you are always near water and have those lovely sea breezes, it was not too much of a big deal, and our A/C in our cabin was always at the coolest and felt wonderful.
The main buffet restaurant, Red Sail, was located on deck 9 and a smaller area for fish and chips on deck 10, so it was nicely located and easy to find. We did have a major problem with the flow or layout of the ship. Only deck 5 were you able to go from one end of the ship to the other, you always had to go around because of the 2 dining rooms placed at the ends, which made it impossible to get through, other than going a deck up or down. I was also a bit disappointed, that you couldn't walk all the way around (outside) the ship, just wasn't possible, although there was a large area where the joggers could do their daily miles and not be in the way of any passengers on one of the pool decks. Both dining rooms were 2 stories and at each end of the ship, so they had 4 different dinner times, 2 early and 2 later. The theater, Amber Palace was located in the front of the ship, so you needed to go through the casino to get there, but there was a wide walkway to get through without walking directly through the game tables or slots. There were some nice shops onboard, deck 4 and numerous bars throughout the ship. Very cool disco close to the kid's video arcade which was also very impressive
There were 3 pools and half a dozen hot tubs, 2 pools in the main pool area and a nice quieter aft pool on deck 9, which I enjoyed on some days as well as the main pool area. I must say, I never had a problem getting a lounge chair near any pool that just was not a problem. I did have a few problems with the actual lounge chairs, they have a plastic piece that holds the top of the chair in place and they were always falling out, just not a good lounge chair, but plenty of them.
This cruise we had breakfast a few mornings in the dining room, which we found to be the way to go, usually some long lines to get breakfast and lunch some days, depending on what time you are trying to eat, service in the morning for breakfast in the dining room was pleasantly quick and made to order. I was craving waffles, and couldn't find them in the dining room or the Red Sail, but was able to have eggs benedict in the dinning room, very good. It was also nice having eggs made the way I wanted and not just scrambled, which was available everyday in the Red Sail. We were very happy with the daily lunch buffet, always a different selection and tasty.
Since we were traveling with a group, we had 3 different tables in the dining room, so we were able to chat with the other tables, take pictures, etc. The waiter and asst. waiter we had were very good; our orders were always served in a short amount of time and to our liking. I especially enjoy all the desserts served, some evenings I had no room, but when I saw the menu, had to order and they were always excellent! We had no complaints of any of the dinner meals, all were good, some better than others.
We again enjoyed having an aft balcony cabin on deck 7, nice location and we used the stairs just about at every opportunity, so going up to the buffet or the pool deck was easy and the stairs and elevators were a short walk down the hall. The cabin itself was a bit smaller than the recent cabins we had on Royal Caribbean, but still nice size. We could have used more drawer space, but had plenty of closet space. Bathroom was nicely laid out, small shower, always nice warm water and decent water pressure. Both George and I had once made the mistake and not check to make sure the curtain was all the way inside the shower and had flooded the bathroom, but it has a little drainage area, so the damage was minimal and easy to clean up. In addition to bar soap, there were also dispensers with shampoo and liquid bath soap, so that was nice.
We attended every evening show, except for one night. The two Broadway type shows were outstanding, the dancers were just so good, not a set out of place and very fast paced shows. There were some times though, where the volume was just a tad too high. Lighting along with the shows was also very nicely times and perfect. Our Cruisemates group was able to get a back stage tour on the last day, very informative. I always pictured the back stage area to be much larger than it actually is, they have a very small area to get props in an out of and it has to be timed to the second. We did notice that every stage change was done very quickly. I think Carnival spends a lot of money and time on their shows and it does show. There were a few late night shows, but we were just too tired and in bed sleeping to see any of those.
Ports of Call
Our fist day was the "Key West" stop and we simply got off and explored the town, lots of the normal touristy shops, almost too many. Also lots of bars, almost one at every corner. We were traveling with some family members and my son and his wife walked all the way to the Butterfly farm and enjoyed that a lot. I did see some of the pictures and was totally amazed, sorry we didn't just head down that way. The day we were there, was very warm and humid, we just wanted to get back onboard the ship and cool off, have a bite of lunch and relax. This was the only stop we didn't have an excursion planned.
After a sea day, we were at Belize and had booked a snorkeling excursion at Goffs Caye. One of the best snorkeling days we've ever had. We had to take a boat trip, about half an hour away from the ship, but the boat picked us up at the ship, so we didn't have to take the long tender ride into town. Once at this tiny island, it was off to snorkel, this was a guided snorkel trip, 2 different groups, I ended up with a group of just 5 of us and George stayed on the boat and went with the larger group. I saw coral like I've never seen before and plenty of fish, an eel and some kind of sting ray, that was huge just swimming by, looked like it was just flying in the water, just so amazing. It was also nice having a guide pointing out things of interest, things I would have missed. He informed us, this Great Barrier Reef, is the largest living reef in the world, second to the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, I had no idea. I guess a lot of the coral in the Australian reef is not alive. I've never seen coral such as this, I was in awe. Once we arrived back on the ship 4 hours later, there was still time to go into town, which I opted to pass on, but George made the ride and enjoyed seeing the port area again. We had been there the previous year and he said they've added a lot more stores, etc.
The following day was our Cozumel day and we had pre-booked the dolphin swim at Chanakanaab Park. I have always wanted to visit this park and see that and also do a dolphin swim. It was so unbelievable, we all loved it. I was just amazed at the power these animals have, plus being so intelligent. We all got to hang on to their dorsal fin and get pulled through the water in addition to having them push our feet that literally brings us out of the water. At first I was a little afraid, but after just a few minutes with then, that feeling left and I was loving it. I just hope they enjoy this kind of playing as much as we did. You do pay a high price for just doing the excursion, but they hit you again, later with a DVD or a video, plus more pictures. You can easily spend the same amount of money if you bought all the pictures and video, just overkill. We did end up buying one nice picture; kids bought more pictures and the DVD. They do let you view the video before buying and I will say, it's nicely put together with title, music, etc.just not worth that price in my opinion.
Our last 2 days were sea days, we had originally had a stop planned for Progresso, but Carnival decided to spend a longer time in Cozumel and drop the Progresso stop all together. We were disappointed in that decision; we had never been there and were looking forward to visiting a new island.
I would say if, another Carnival cruise comes along that is of interest to me in ports, ship, etc. I would not hesitate to book it. Being that this was our first cruise with Carnival, I was pleasantly surprised at how enjoyable it was, from food to entertainment and service too. We also were cruising with a really nice bunch of Cruisemates, which included members of our family. That always makes cruising a lot of fun. Other than the flow problem, Carnival Glory is a wonderful ship and yes, fun too, after all, it is one of the "Fun" ships.
I also have some Glory pictures in the Photo Gallery here at Cruisemates:
Our group included Barry and Kathy Cooper; Melissa (26) and roommate Dana (27); Josh (23) and girlfriend Angela (21); Joe (18) and Barry's brother and sister-in-law.
We arrived in Orlando the night before our cruise and stayed at the AmeriSuites Northeast (about 1.5 miles from the airport). We chose this hotel since it was close to the airport, had a free shuttle and offered a good price for three rooms (my brother and his wife live north of Orlando, so we only needed three rooms). We took a limo (All-In-One Limos) to the port. We looked into getting Carnival shuttles to the port, but that would have been $50 per person, or $350 for the 7 of us. We then thought about renting a couple of cars and that would have cost about $100 total each way. We decided on the limo, which cost $240 roundtrip for the seven of us without the hassle of rental car pickups and drop-offs, gas-filling and tolls.
Embarkation in Port Canaveral was not bad. We arrived at the port around 11:15 a.m. and were on the ship around 12:30. The longest wait was to boardonce we had gone through the registration line and got our keys (Sign and Sail card, or is that Sail and Sign?). We met up with my brother and sister-in-law at the Red Sail restaurant. After lunch we went to see the maitre d' regarding a problem with dinner seating. Finally we went to the Information Desk to get our room keys switched around to the correct people; the changes were handled very easily. Muster drill was at 4 p.m. and was pretty short (life vests were the thin kind so it was not too hot, and we were on the shady side of the ship).
We had three rooms for the seven of us. My wife and I were on the Main Deck (Deck 2) in an outside cabin. We had done all three rooms on a guaranteed basis, but we were the only ones not upgraded. Everyone else was up on Empress Deck (Deck 7). The beds in our room were already pushed together. The beds and bedding were great!
This was the largest Carnival ship we have been on (previously, we've done four cruises on Ecstasy, three on Fantasy, and one each on Paradise, Pride, Inspiration and Celebration). It did not take us long to figure out how to get around. The jogging/walking track was pretty good and so was the gym. But the public rooms were all freezing! I had planned ahead and brought a sweatshirt and some long-sleeved shirts to wear in the casino on sea days, but next time, I will bring jeans! The dining room never felt too cold.
Food & Service
Carnival messed up our dinner seating. The nine of us were supposed to be at one table at the 8 p.m. seating, and we had all our bookings linked together. I even had my travel agent confirm that Carnival had our request. As it turned out, they had five of us at the 8 p.m. seating and the other four at the 8:30 p.m. seating (in the other dining room) at two different tables. We spoke to the maitre d' and he said that he would try to change us. We told him we would take any of the four seatings if he could get us all together. He said it was a 99 percent certainty that he would have us fixed by the second night's dinner. I did not believe him and was pretty grumpy the first day. He came by at dinner and told us we would all be at the 5:45 p.m. seating starting the next day. It was amazing how after that my grumpiness went away.
Dinners were good to excellent. Our waitress the first night was excellent. Every time she saw us at breakfast, she always came by to say hello and even remembered my wife's name. I made sure to tip her on the first night -- she was that good! Our second dining staff was also excellent. We ate all but two of our lunches in the Red Sail Restaurant (once in the dining room and the other in Key West). My daughter had the fish & chips twice and really liked it. We sat up there twice and it was nice and quiet. We ate dinner at Emeralds Supper Club once. Everyone seemed to enjoy it. I am not sure it was that much better than the food and service in the dining room, but am willing to try it again.
Once again, Carnival did a great job in making sure that my wife's lactose intolerance was taken care of. Both our waiter and the dining room hostess (Ramona) were fantastic.
We saw a few more people wearing shorts in the dining room after the first night. But I did not let it interfere with my dinner or my desserts.
Ports & Weather
We were lucky with the weather. I took my raincoat into Key West and that scared away the rain while we were there. We got some rain one morning while I was on the track so I just went to the gym to finish up.
Our ports were Key West, Belize City and Cozumel.
We did not do an organized excursion. The "kids" (three of them) did the Conch Train Tour (not through Carnival) and walked around. The other two just walked around and did some shopping. The adults were on a mission: Finding conch fritters, shopping for my wife at a handprint fabric store, and a Key West t-shirt for me.
The "kids" (all five) took the Land Rover excursion and really liked it. The last time we were in Belize, we did the cave tubing and the three kids who went on that one said it was the best they had ever done. The same three said the Land Rover excursion was even better than the Cave Tubing. My brother and his wife did the Canopy excursion and said it was great! My wife and I just took the tender to the port and bought some t-shirts and then went back to the ship (I had done the Cave Tubing last time and was happy just to take it easy).
The last time we were in Cozumel we did the Snorkel, Beach and Sail excursion and had awful weather (pouring rain). We did the same excursion again and this time had great weather. The snorkeling was fantastic. My son's girlfriend was scared to get started, but then was one of the last to get back into the boat as she wanted to snorkel more. Everyone seemed to enjoy the beach. I stayed on the boat and took a quick nap. On the way back to the ship, we saw a water spout in the distance. We did some more souvenir shopping at the port while most of the kids went to the beach and enjoyed it.
Getting off the ship was not bad. We did get new luggage tags for everyone so we would all have the same color. I think they called our color around 10 a.m. Our limo was scheduled to pick us up at 11 a.m. and that was just about right.
This was our 13th cruise on Carnival and we were definitely not disappointed. We all thought the crew was excellent. A couple of negatives: My wife was looking forward to the art auctions, but it seems the art work was all pretty large (fewer small pieces), which meant prices were higher. She feels that things were much better when Park West was running things. Also, it seems the dealers at the craps table were not as knowledgeable as in the past. They were friendly and cheerfully accepted all of my donations, but you had to watch to make sure they placed your bets correctly and paid you correctly (on those rare occasions when you won).
Just returned this afternoon from our very relaxing trip. My wife (44) and I (44) and two kids (15, 13) and energetic aunt (81) had a great time. Overall the vacation was all that we could ask for. Please understand that "complaints" are minor compared with all of the positives. I'll include both to be fair. Here goes:
Saturday - Set Sail Our flight into Orlando was late (no one's fault) and we had to do the check-in on the bus to the pier. Carnival employees were professional and efficient and got us there 15 minutes before scheduled departure (ended up being 75 minutes late so we were fine). Understand that the bus trip to the pier is about an hour. Entered the ship on Deck 3 Lobby but no one to greet and direct to cabin. Not a huge deal, but Carnival should have some one there. Muster drill was well-mannered and was an indication of the what the rest of the trip would be like-99.9% of the folks following directions and doing the right thing and a few not (college age girl on cell phone following the NCAAbasketball game during the lifeboat instruction). Sail away party is fun and dinner is casual as bags are still arriving outside of cabins. Overall impression of ship is a bit Vegas/tacky but my only other experience is the QE2. My kids liked it.
Sunday - Nassau, Bahamas Arrival in the Bahamas is picturesque. Breakfast buffet on the lido deck and in the Red Sail is great and at 7 AM was almost deserted. Leaving the ship was a mess. No strategy/plan so all passengers try to exit at 8:30 (Carnival helps clog things up by selling water/film in small Deck 0 Lobby as we file to gangway. Our Blue Lagoon snorkeling shore excursion (advertised as 8:30 to 2:00) leaves one hour after we leave the ship and after we walk 15 minutes to clear the pier. Then we have an hour boat ride. The time at the Blue Lagoon ends up being only 2.5 hours. Honestly it was enough time to enjoy the lagoon and the boat ride was nice, BUT the description tends to omit the travel time involved with the excursions. Dinner is formal. Most dress nicely. Sad to see preteens and teen boys in sneakers and no jackets. Come on! There are alternatives to the dining room if you don't choose to participate. The Red Sail Restaurant has the same food buffet style. Burgers on the lido deck aft are wonderful and quick. Prices for drinks seem reasonable to me. Las Vegas style show at 8:30 PM was well done and entertaining. Parents are warned that it has a PG rating due to "Las Vegas style costumes" (i.e. thongs), but it really is tame. Later that night was my wife and I had a latte (quality was OK and prices were very good - we own and operate an espresso bar), two teen boys entered the teen club (Ultraviolet) with life jackets on. They were told to return them to the cabin or the place would shut down. Family next to us at dinner orders wine and pours four glasses for four 15ish girls. Again, 99.9% of kids were great and parents were parents, but there were too many little ones (8, 10, 12) roaming the ship unsupervised. Kids are kids; I don't blame them for running, being loud. Adults and kids really should not walk around ship in bare feet other than pool areas. Classless.
Monday - Day at Sea Balmy, partly sunny. Chair saving is rampant. At 7 AM all chairs around pool (we are taking hundreds) are saved. Often only 20% of chairs in use, but all saved. No effort on part of crew to enforce the posted rules. Too bad. A little announcement and some small enforcement effort on the first day would go along way. We usually waited until afternoon anyway and found a chair or two on an upper deck. Even at Blue Lagoon the day before every hammock was saved yet 1 in 10 were being used. My son enters the putting contest in the lobby at 10 AM. Very relaxing day, sea is like glass. Aunt goes to Motown show and loves it. Exhausted-all asleep by 11 PM. Our room is on Deck 6 and is directly over the sports bar. Not a problem except for NCAA basketball nights when the noise was unbearable. We woke up early everyday (around 6 AM) and were in bed before midnight. Kudos to those who are night owls!
Tuesday - St. Thomas (85 degrees!) Arrive at 10 AM. Immigration takes 1.5 hours. Shore excursion doesn't depart until 11:30 and we are at Coki Beach for 2 hours. The sun is very strong and 2 hours is enough BUT would be nice if time of excursion matched "real time." Back to ship, clean up and son and I take the tram ($16 each) to overlook of harbor. Cool! Dinner is casual but most are dressing very nicely (pressed khakis, polo shirts for men). Staff is fun. Sang in Italian one night, danced to Living la Vida Loca last night and tonight the entire place gets up and conga dances. Ship is finally loosening up and we feel on "vacation."
Wednesday - St. Maarten Arrive at 7:30 AM. Take bus tour (Booked through Carnival) that lasts around 3 hours and takes us around the entire island. Great driver gives us a ton of neat info about a very interesting island. Back in time to return to ship, take water taxi to beach. Nice public beach, close to shops and ship. Casual dinner. Big Band show, Talent Show in Amber Palace. St. Maarten much cleaner and nicer than St. Thomas!
Thurday/Friday - Days at Sea First day is ideal with wonderful sun. Second day is cloudy and breezy. Ship easily accommodates the 3500 guests (we were FULL) and no place seemed crowded to us. We did not use the casino, but it seemed very nice. There really were passengers of all ages, and a real cross-section of America. It was a fun time!
Saturday - Disembarkation We did the self-assist as we had an early flight. Ship docked at 6:20 AM and we were off the ship by 7:40 (waited in Amber Palace with about 100 other self-assist cruisers). We had to be able to handle our luggage with no assistance. On a Mears bus and off to Orlando Int. Airport at 8:15.
CCL often gives contradictory directions in the nightly newsletter and the PA system-best to confirm some info with purser's desk
I WOULD go on another CCL trip. I would go expecting some folks to disregard the "rules" and it probably would bother me a lot less! My kids tell me chill a lot. No surprise, huh!
Carnival Glory 3/05 E. Caribbean QE2 5/03 Bermuda