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++++++++.
EMBARKATION: My mother and I had spent three days in Orlando before the cruise. We arrived at the Orlando International Airport, returned our rental car and took the 10:30 AM bus to Port Canaveral. The ride was comfortable and our bus driver was friendly and informative. The sight of the port as you approach is a pulse quickening thing. We had filled in our pre-boarding information on the internet and were through the check-in and waiting in line in about 30 minutes. We boarded at about 12:00 PM. Since we could not go to our stateroom until 1:00 PM, we decided to have lunch in the Red Sail Buffet. We then went topside and walked the upper decks. At 1:30 PM we went to our stateroom and awaited the lifeboat muster drill.
NASSUA, BAHAMAS OCT. 31 Our first stop and we decided to sleep in a little. We had already docked when we awoke. We took a shore excursion to the Blue Lagoon. It was very enjoyable and the free glass of rum punch was enjoyed as well. My mother spent a good majority of our time swimming and looking forseashells (some of which will be turned into jewelry). I just soaked in the cool blue water and enjoyed watching my mom have fun. After all, this was a trip bought for her for her birthday. Upon our return, we went back to the ship. As a forwarning for first time cruiser, ALWAYS take your photo id and Sail and Sign card with you when you go on an excursion. To get back to your ship in Nassau, you need to show both to the dock officials.
HALLOWEEN EVENING Costumes everywhere. The promenade was decorated and there was also a parade of all the costumed people down the promenade that evening.
NOVEMBER 1 AT SEA
NOVEMBER 2 ST. THOMAS We decided to take the Magen's Bay and Paradise point excursion. When we got off shipp it was a little difficult finding our transportation. One person told us to go one way another told us to go another way. But we eventually did find our ride. (NOTE: try to get off the ship a little early in case you run into the same problem). Megan's Bay is an awesome beach, although tere were a lot of peolpe there do to 5 cruise ships being in port that day. Paradise point has by far the best view of the port and the ships below. I took some impressive pictures of our ship.
NOVEMBER 3 ST.MAARTEN Wow, the vibrant colors in the port really grab your eye. We went on a tour of the island which took us to Marigolt where we did a bit of shopping.
NOVEMBER 4 & 5 AT SEA
NOVEMBER 6 DISEMBARKATION We chose to carry our own luggage off the ship. If you have an early flight I wholeheartedly recommend that you use this option. We were off the ship and getting onto our bus back to the airport in 30 minutes.
ENTERTAINMENT All that really needs to be said is one name, JOHN HEALD. Now I know why it is said that he is the best cruise director that Carnival has. He alone could keep you laughing the whole cruise. But better yet is the added Broadway type shows, the comedians, illusionist, passenger talent show, bingo, and the list goes on and on.
FOOD The food was good to excellent depending upon your tastes. I was especially impressed with the Emerald Room. It was worth the $25 per person extra. I had a T-bone steak that just melted in my mouth. I can say without reservation that it was the best steak I have EVER had. The meats are dry-aged for 30 days and are succulent.
OVERALL OPINION This was my second cruise with Carnival, the first being on Carnival Victory 3/9/2003, and I will be cruising with Carnival again. My mother is also a Carnival convert. This was her first cruise and ahe is already planning on a cruise with my step-father and my aunt and uncle.
I purchased the weeks Travel Log video andd the Passenger Talent Show video and also shot some of my own video. When I returned home and showed it to my friends. I recieved one reply. WHEN ARE WE GOING? I will shortly be reserving the December 3, 2005 cruise aboard the Carnival Glory with one of my friends. I also have plans to go on a cruise with this friend and another in 2006.
Having never in my life so much as considered a cruise vacation, I found September's ride on the Glory in that most familiar of locations-between a rock and a hard place. My wife and son discovered cruising about a year ago, and quickly adopted it as a virtual lifestyle. They were going; I could come along. Or not. I did.
The adventure started before the ship left port. Hurricane Frances. My mother was named Frances. (May she rest in peace.) She had a way of complicating things. She still does. Despite her, we left Port Canaveral as scheduled, on time. The trip had a Western Carribean itinerary. Hurricane Ivan. (No family connection.) We headed southeast, on the Eastern Carribean itinerary. Tropical Storm Jeanne. (My sister's name. She and Frances used to conspired to complicate things. They still do.) St. Thomas was cancelled. If you sail the Atlantic and Carribean during the height of hurricane season, you take your chances. Even Frances, Ivan, and Jeanne could not spoil the fact that I was away from my office, away from the phone, away from clients.
I do not enjoy silly games, bingo, group activities, comedy shows,etc. You know-the things people do on cruises. I like solitude, mountain biking, golf, etc.-- the things people don't do on cruises. My friends told me I was not a good candidate for a cruise. I agreed. Then I went. Here's what I remember:
WAITING: You wait to get on the ship, and wait to get off. We waited a good two hours to get on. It's a big ship. A lot of rooms have to be cleaned and a lot of people have to be cleared to board. We waited nearly that long to get off the ship. If you are impatient and have to have everything right now, don't go. The long waits are bookends to your vacation; it is what is between that counts. Enjoy the people around you-you are all in it together..
ACCOMMODATIONS: Ours were in the form of a balcony stateroom, in which three of us (two adults and an adult-sized thirteen-year old) would live for the next seven days. We could not pass one another going from one side of the room to the other; once we were in place we were comfortable. The balcony was the highlight of the trip. Private enough that one could use it at any level of modesty, the balcony became a refuge from the constant activity found in the interior of the ship. I spent a lot of time there-reading, reflecting, watching the waves, not being at my office. I don't think I would have enjoyed an interior room. But if you like the goings on, rather than the quiet of your own stateroom, a lesser stateroom assignment would probably be just fine. The bathroom was one person only, and don't plan on too many showers with your significant other-the shower is one small person at a time. Love the suction toilet, but the paper roll was for right-handers. The natural motion a left handed person (like myself) uses to tear the paper causes the roll to slide off onto the floor. The room is so small it doesn't have far to travel. The ship itself was awkward to maneuver about, and I never felt completely at home in the lounges. The Atrium was uninviting- like a waiting room. When I sat there I felt as though I was waiting for the doctor or the personnel director. Something about the interior architecture just didn't "click."
CARNIVAL EMPLOYEES: They were efficient and pleasant, if not always terribly friendly or outgoing. Our attendants in the main dining room deserve the highest compliments for their performance and their demeanor. They were outstanding attendants and wonderful people. It is a shame that they occupy such a small part of our lives. Generally, the bar attendants and buffet staff were less energetic. A notable exception was a young woman named Katrina, who worked the Amber Lounge and treated our son as though he were part of her own family. Very sweet.
An aside: The staff was a fascinating study. Many are from the Third World, former Communist dictatorships, or from war-torn Balkan nations. I saw, just beneath the surface a certain sadness in many, that escaped through their eyes. One could easily see that they missed their families, their homes, their former lives. I don't think they dislike what they are doing, but I think many long for something missing. Engaging them in conversation about their lives brings out the personalities of sincere, caring people. Their stories are rich. These people want to talk about home. Talk to them.
The musicians and dancers on the Glory were tops. I did not like all of the shows; but even the ones I did not personally care for were performed spectacularly. There was a jazz trio that I followed around all week; the last night, some of the stage band sat in for an improv session that was as good and lively as any I have heard in a long time. The music director has put together a staff of accomplished professionals who enjoy their work. The show producers and choreographers are as good as any in the business. Add to that a young, energetic group of singers and dancers, and the entertainment alone was worth the price of the trip.
I don't know where to begin when describing the cruise director/raconteur, John Heald. His lavish servings of ham on wry, along with his masterful displays of experience and poise, added up to seven days of side splitting entertainment. John's natural, spontaneous sense of humor, coupled with his well-polished repertoire made of 16 years' worth of stories and jokes kept the spirits high throughout the week.. A fond tip of the sailor cap to the [sadly] retiring Mr. Heald.
THE PORTS: (The ones we visited. Thank you Frances, Ivan, Jeanne.) . The approach to St. Maarten was stunning. Viewing the island at a distance was like living the opening scene of South Pacific. The madhouse world, for just an instant, dissolved. After a brief visit to Phillipsburg (on the Dutch side of the island) for the required shopping, then lunch back on board the ship, my wife and I [our son wanted to stay back at the ship] took off in a cab for Orient Beach, on the French side. Not our day. By the time our [early] cab ride back to the pier reached its end, it was raining UP. One day we will go to St. Martin (the French side) for a week or so. Maybe not during hurricane season. St. Thomas never had a chance. (Tropical Storm Jeanne.) I don't really care. St. Thomas is a tropical shopping mall.
An extra day at sea, before Nassau. We signed on for four ports in the Western Carribean, we were getting two ports on the Eastern Carribean route. We were also getting rocked by the storm. Little white bags (you know what they are for) were taped to the walls in the elevator lobbies. What a ride. I loved the adventure. Others were not so pleased.
THE FOOD: It was good, but not remarkable. The breakfast buffet was strictly college dining hall cuisine, right down to the mealy pancakes every other day. I liked the 24-hour pizza bar, the free frozen yogurt, and the fish & chips. (Unfortunately the f & c counter was understaffed, so the line was, at times more than I wanted to deal with.) The formal dining room was good; the soups were outstanding. Our table attendants, Bernard and Ana, were a genuine pleasure. I just don't like having to run on a schedule during vacation. (I'm hard to please.) The deli sandwiches were pretty good-worth the short wait in line. B plus to A minus on the food. All you can eat... included in the price of the trip... someone cleans up after you... It's getting better all the time.
THE DOWN SIDE: I hate smoke. It was everywhere. My clothes smelled bad, and my nose got stuffy. Bring back the Paradise. The Internet Café was behind the cigar bar-you had to wade through cigar smoke to get to it. Bad idea.
The Internet Café was poorly managed. The [expensive] time kept running while people were trying to log onto computers that were down for one reason or another; and not very much was done to restore the lost time. The manager was rarely where he was supposed to be when he was supposed to be there, and he was the recipient of a fair number of hastily scribbled notes from unhappy passengers, left on his [vacant] chair. This service needs a lot of work.
I did a lot of research as to what kind of exercise bikes [clearly shown in some of Carnival's promotional photographs] are in the health club. I took my cycling shoes and shorts so that I could maintain my fitness while on the ship. The spinning cycles may only be used during spinning classes, which cost $10.00 and are held either early in the morning or when they conflict with dinner. The health club staff was unaccommodating; the best they could come up with was, "if we let you use the cycles, then everyone will want to use the cycles." Give me a break.
WHERE I COULD BE FOUND: My room. Reading, sleeping, sitting on the balcony.* The "adults only" sun deck. No kids, no pandemonium-relaxed, out of the way. A great place to escape for an hour or so. * The frozen yogurt machine. * The pizza bar. * Anywhere the jazz was being played * The Amber Lounge for occasional shows or Big Band sessions.
MY INSIDE ADVICE: Note where the staff and crew hang out during their "off" time. They know the best places on the ship. If the staff hangs out in a certain lounge or on a certain deck, chances are it's the best place to be.
OVER ALL: Carnival had its hands full dealing with disgruntled passengers. (Again, thanks to Ivan and Jeanne.) The circumstance was handled well-some people will never be happy with anything. Everyone got a $50.00 on board credit, which was entirely appropriate, and entirely unnecessary. A case could have been made for "let the [hurricane season] buyer beware." Too many people want something for nothing. We had a good rate for the trip, an upgrade to a balcony, the full seven scheduled days... I could have been at work. I was sitting on a balcony in the middle of the ocean reading a book. I should get more? I spent seven days with my wife and son, I was away from my office, I ate and slept when I wanted, and I came home completely relaxed. A Glory cruise involves over 2000 passengers, and over 1000 staff living for a week in a self-contained floating city. Carnival makes it routine. This is a company that knows its business. I will go again-on Carnival-- during hurricane season. I can deal with the disappointment if the trip is affected by a storm. The element of unpredictability just adds to the experience. The end result is that a hard-to-please person got everything he needed from a vacation. How many people can say that? If Carnival can keep me happy, it can keep anyone happy.
Eastern (was supposed to be Western!) Caribbean
I sailed with my son and reluctant husband on this cruise - my husband's first and the second for my son and I. Our previous cruise was on Carnival's Fantasy in January.
Our cruise started out with a bit of uncertainty because of approaching Hurricanes Ivan and Jeanne. A few days before we left Atlanta for Florida, we were glued to the weather channel and the Carnival website as we tried to figure out where and when we would be going. At last, Carnival told us we were leaving from Port Canaveral after all, but would be doing an Eastern Caribbean itinerary - St. Maarten, St. Thomas and Nassau instead of Belize, Cozumel, Costa Maya and Progreso. Were a little disappointed about missing the Western, but a quick family conference revealed we all wanted to go anyway! Our senses of adventure were high and we couldn't wait to meet the Glory.
Arrival/Embarkation We arrived early, around 9:30 and finally attracted the attention of a porter. We were 2nd to arrive inside and when the line finally moved, we were done in under 30 minutes. Another 1½-2 hours before actually boarding the ship, not getting on until almost 12:30, by which time we were all starved!!
Cabin Finally on board, we proceeded to cabin #6244 on the upper deck. We booked a guarantee 6A oceanview and were upgraded to an 8A balcony. There was an A/C control, so we were able to keep our room the polar palace my dh desires. Plenty of storage (5 drawers, 1 small cabinet with 3 long shelves inside, 2 nightstands with shelves and a closing door, 3 floor to ceiling closets - one with 3 deep shelves, 1 with closet rod and shelves, and 1 floor to ceiling for hanging long dresses, etc.), small table and chair. Safe locks with a magnetic strip card of your choice (don't use your sail and sail card). Two warm, fluffy bathrobes from Carnival completed the closets (ordered another for my son from our steward). My dh was a bit disappointed in the TV selection throughout the week (1st pro football game of the season wasn't on). We are spoiled now with the balcony and I don't want to cruise without one! Two chairs (one reclined) and a small table was an oasis for us. My husband spent lots of time reading on the balcony. I knew ahead of time that sunrises (we saw every one) and sunsets would be spectacular, but I hadn't counted on how nice it was to see the ship pulling into and out of the ports.
Bed was a king (2 twins pushed together) and quite comfortable. None of those new wonderful duvets like on the Fantasy, but pillows galore. My son chose to sleep on the sofa (twin bed size) the first night, and had our steward pull down the bunk from the ceiling the rest of the nights. I was happy to find out that we didn't feel cramped. Our room was plenty big enough for 3.
Room Steward Our room steward was Bernadus from Indonesia and was delightful. After literally never seeing our room steward on the Fantasy, it was nice to meet Bernadus. Every request we made was immediately answered. My dh's suit returned exactly when promised, robe for my son, extra beach towel, and when the bathroom sink backed up, Bernardus had the plumber there immediately. People that don't tip their room stewards are doing a grave disservice to them.
Food Our waiter Bernard (from India) and his asst. Anna (from Honduras) in the Platinum dining room were a great team. My son and Bernard arranged a cake brought to the table for our 25th wedding anniversary - it was chocolate and to die for. I would recommend the pumpkin soup or ANY of the soups for that matter. Prime rib is to be avoided - tough and flavorless. Lobster just okay, salmon tasty. Crème brulee is a dessert to not be missed, as is the chocolate soufflé with hot choc. sauce.
Breakfast buffets in the Red Sail Restaurant (lido) were a bit disappointing. Omelet station every day (delicious - you custom design your own), along with bagels, pastries, scrambled eggs. The first day French toast was offered and it was quite good. The 2nd day pancakes and they were DREADFUL -mushy and cold. They switched between French toast and (inedible) pancakes. The coffee machines were frequently out of order (!!!) causing quite a lot of grumbling. We ate in the dining room once for breakfast and after telling my dh about the wonderful "Eggs Carnival" he was unfortunately served waaay overdone eggs and with nothing (there are supposed to be served on toast).
Lunch was much better. Main buffet was good some days, not so good others. The deli is wonderful, pizza is as good as I remember it and the Fish and Chips restaurant was every bit as good as I'd heard. The line was always long (go early) because they make it hot and fresh for you on the spot. My son loved the Oriental Bar and ate there every day for lunch. He said the Lo Mein was good, as was the fried rice.
We were disappointed to see the Sushi Bar now has a charge.
Entertainment I can't say enough about the entertainment. John Heald, the cruise director, lived up to his reputation of the best cruise director at sea. No need for comedians with him around - he's hilarious! All the comedians were funny (Happy Cole, Percy Crews, Michael Macey and someone we can't remember his name). My son bought the CD's from both Percy Crews and Happy Cole and listened to them all the way home to Atlanta. The magician (Justin Illusion..) was that Vegas type I don't really appreciate, I'm afraid. The Welcome Aboard Show, Rock Down Broadway, Talent Show (passengers), Living in America Show and Variety Showcase were all good. The singers and dancers were marvelously talented. It was fun to get a chance to talk with the dancers since they also helped with Bingo and taught some of the dance classes on board. DO NOT miss the chance to take these dance classes. They are soooo much fun!
The musicians in almost all venues were top notch, especially the Jazz Trio. They played mostly in the Ivory Club and my dh discovered that's where the crew hung out. Piano player in Cinn-a-bar (piano bar) wasn't near as good as on the Fantasy.
My son and I are big fans of all the games (trivia, game shows, etc.) and weren't disappointed. The social directors were good, but several of them were new and "in training", which showed. You are put on a team at the beginning of the cruise - either red, white or blue and get points throughout the week anytime someone on your team wins at Bingo, trivia, etc. It all culminated in a big "colors" deck party on the Lido deck, which was a blast. Food Fear Factor was disgusting, but my son loved it and our team (red) won! Our "champion" (the guy who also wore a bikini to the Colors Deck party) drank a nasty combination of tuna water and some other gross stuff to win several hundred points for our team.
Casino and Arcade Both places you can spend a lot of money with nothing to show for it! I actually won $35 at the roulette table and a little in the slot machines. My son spent a total of $75 at the arcade (kids can get up to $20 per day on the sail and sign - so beware) for the 7 days.
Camp Carnival This time we actually signed him up for the teen program; only because you get a schedule with the different teen events if you sign up (they are NOT printed in the Capers). He went to several events where no one showed up, but still managed to hook up with some other teens and have fun. There were only about 30 teens total on board.
The Ship Itself The Glory is a beautiful ship, living up to her theme of "colors". The floor plan was, as I had heard, a bit confusing. It took a day or two to figure it out. The 2 story dining rooms are lovely, as is the Amber Palace (if you keep in mind it's SUPPOSED to look a little overdone - it mimics a Russian Palace). The promenade had the usual comfy furniture next to the huge windows - great for lazing around and looking at the sea. Duty-free shops were plentiful and had good prices. The casino was huge and the smoke wasn't too much of a problem. All public areas were kept scrupulously clean at all times. All the staff were friendly and helpful, except the bartenders. Both my dh and I noticed they were somewhat sullen.
St. Maarten As we came into port, we saw beautiful rolling mountains, with villas stuck into the hillsides shrouded by mist and looking as though a volcano could burst forth any moment! Unfortunately, the weather would play a part in cutting our day a bit short. We left the ship early and went by cab ($3 per person) to Philipsburg. The island is divided in half - the Dutch side (Philipsburg) and the French side. You are closest to the Dutch side when you leave the ship. We shopped a little and then decided to just wander around. We found the courthouse (my dh is a lawyer and likes to see the local courthouses) and my dh and son saw a cockfight taking place in an alley - we hurried away! After walking around a few hours, we decided to return to the ship on the water taxi ($3 per person). My son opted to stay on the ship, so my dh and I took a taxi to the French side of the island ($9 per person) to visit Orient Beach. Up mountainsides and thru some beautiful countryside (cows and goats, even). Orient and Bikini Beaches were beautiful, with lots of bars and little restaurants right on the beach. Unfortunately, the outer bands of Hurricane Jeanne were catching up with us and the waves were dangerously high - no one was in the water. When the wind really began to howl and the rain started to fall, we decided to make a quick retreat back to the ship. Warning: the beaches on the French side are clothing optional.
As we were leaving the port, the captain told us the pier at our next port, St. Thomas, was underwater and the winds were clocked at 70 mph. Needing to outrun Jeanne, we spent the next 2 days at sea (again) before arriving on Friday in Nassau.
Nassau My son and I had just visited in Nassau in January, so weren't too anxious to see it again, but decided it might be fun to show my husband around. We walked into town for shopping (free bracelet from Diamonds International and $5 diamond earrings) and the straw market. We then went to Fort Fincastle and the Queen's Staircase. The fort sits at the highest point on the island where you get a great view of the harbor and all the ships docked. The Queen's Staircase was carved by slaves from the limestone cliff (the steps themselves have been replaced) and there is one step (sixty something) for every year of Queen Victoria's reign. Back to the ship for lunch. My son again decided to stay on board. Hubby and I found ourselves at Senor Frogs (wild place) and after drinking one of their huge Frog Margaritas (which is a color of green not even found in nature) I wobbled back to the ship.
Debarkation We waited until almost 11 when they called our deck, but stayed in the cabin sitting on the balcony until about 9:45 or 10:00.
We waved goodbye to the Glory and I asked the question I had wanted to ask my reluctant cruiser husband all week: "Will you do it again?" His quick reply was "Of course!" Already planning the next cruise - in September again because we have a sense of adventure - next time on the Miracle out of Tampa, and hopefully THIS time we'll see the Western Caribbean!
My son and I are still Carnival fans after our second cruise and my husband, who is a quiet, laid-back kind of guy, liked them as well. We would not hesitate to cruise Carnival again, although a RCCL or Princess cruise might be in our future.
Another year and another fantastic cruise!! This year my friend John and I set sail aboard the Carnival Glory. Let's start at the beginning:
EMBARKATION: This went very smoothly. Not a long wait at all at the terminal in Port Canaveral. I think we were in line about 5, maybe 10 minutes tops. After receiving our Sail and Sign cards, we were ready to enter the ship......and what a beautiful vessel it was!!
DINING: We were seated at a small table for 4, although my friend and I were the opnly ones to have shown up all week. LOL Fortunately, we met some wonderful people around us who we had a chacne to meet and talk to. This made it a very pleasureable dining experience. Our waitstaff was great.....Rey, our waiter was funny, and very attentive. His assistant, Joan, made sure our water glasses never went empty. She was great! The food was extraordinary......yes the portions are small, but thats the great thing about cruising....order 2 or more if you want!!
ENTERTAINMENT: Our cruise Director, Stuart Dunn.....G'Day, y'all......was very entertaining and informative. He kept us up on all of the activities! Unfortunately i can'tsay that I saw any shows. My entertainment came in the form of the Piano Bar! Ron did an excellent job keeping the tunes flowing! I met some great people there as well who i now consider friends!
PORTS OF CALL: NASSAU, BAHAMAS: It was ok. We went to a beach near the Atlantis resort. Very nice and clean beach....the swimming was awesome! ST. THOMAS: Absolutely beautiful! We took the excursion on board the Kon Tiki Party Raft. What a great time. We got dropped off at a place called Honeymoon Beach where we had the whole beach to ourselves. Very Nice! On the way back to the pier, the party started......the rum punch was flowing nicely! Met some more great people on this excursion. We met a couple from Arizona, New York and San Francisco.
ST. MARTAAN: Even more beautiful!!! For the first time in my life i went snorkling! We went to Shipwreck Cove. It was a blast. The undersea world is gorgeous. I would definately do this one again! Oh yeah, and more complimentary rum punch!! Sara did a great job keeping our glasses full!!
DEBARKATION: A mess. That pretty much summed it up. The day before we docked at Port Canaveral, Hurricane Charley made a visit to that area. Needless to say, the terminal at the Port, had no power....I'm assuming they had back up generators because a few lights were on, but it was very warm in there. Collecting your bags was another story, it seemed very chaotic. Fortunately I found my bag pretty quickly.
ORLANDO AIRPORT: A bigger mess!! To make a long story short....all flights out of the airport were cancelled....so, it was either wait for a stand-by flight OR get a flight as early as Tuesday, which would be 3 extra days. My friend and I looked at each other, and the next thing you know, we were in a rental car driving from Orlando back to Delaware! 18 and a half hours later, we arrived home!!
OVERALL: All in all, the cruise was awesome!! The ship was immaculate. This was my 3rd cruise with Carnival and I am already looking forward to planning next summer's cruise!!
I returned Saturday from Carnival Glory. We had a great time. I will give you the high as well as low points. Just keep in mind that none of the negative things were bad enough to change our opinion that the Glory cruise was fantastic!
Embarkation was quick and very easy. They are very organized. We went right to our room and then to the buffet lunch on the lido deck. After the muster drill(evacuation procedures) the ship began to sail.
Our first day was at sea. There were plenty of deck chairs available, live music by the main pool, and lots of activities if you chose to participate.
1st Port was Costa Maya. Our excursion was terrible. Do not take the Beach/Snorkel one. We had to swim about 1/4 mile in high waves just to get to the snorkel sight. My husband couldn't get the hang of it and missed out on everything. I got out about 1/2 way and was so out of breath that I had to turn back. I got very scraped up on the coral reefs in the shallow water. My son swallowed a huge gulp ofsalt water and began having problems too. If you snorkel, go on one of the excursions where they take you out to the sight on a boat, and all you have to do is jump off to see fish.
2nd Port was Belize. We went cave tubing and loved it. This is an excursion for everyone. No bugs like some people say. It was wonderful!
3rd Port was Cozumel. We went to Playa Mia beach and had a great time. The water is like bath water and very clear. Make sure you get to a beach in Cozumel.
4th Port was Progresso. We went to Dzbiltoon (spelled wrong) Mayan ruins. It was a great tour but it was about 100 degrees and that took away from the enjoyment.
Food was not bad. I expected more gourmet type food, but everything was definitely OK. Pizza and ice cream are available 24 hours. The grill (hamburgers, hot dogs, fries, etc.) was open quite a bit. They also had a deli and oriental area. The food in the dining room was very good. We had lobster one night. Other items were salmon, steak, shrimp, pasta,pork chops, etc. Lots of variety. Service in the dining room was out of this world. They tend to every need and are right there with your food when you are ready. We tipped all of our dining room staff extra. We mostly had breakfast and lunch at the buffet. Lots of variety and choices.
Entertainment was good. We only went to 2 of the Las Vegas type shows and the guest talent show. We enjoyed all three. If you attend the Rock on Broadway show and have kids, please be aware there is a very R rated portion during this show. We didn't catch the magic show or comedians, but heard they were very good.
Our cruise director was Stuart Dunn. Others have written negative posts about him, but I thought he was just fine.
There is so much to do on the ship...you will never get bored.
Our cabin was on the lowest deck with an oceanview. There was plenty of room. Lots of shelves in bathroom to put toiletries. No need for one of those over the door shoe caddies to hold items.
We used sunscreen and got very burned. Reapply it often. We did not reapply, and I think this was our mistake.
Disembarkation took about 2 hours. This was only because we did not carry off our own bags and were on the lowest deck. They call the higher decks first. It was very organized, it just took awhile.
The boat is clean, the staff is fantastic everywhere, and we would definitely recommend this ship to others.
Went on Glory Nov 20th. Was not that impressed, except for the entertainment (Ron the piano man and comedians were great).
My teenage sons called this our tacky cruise, as service was not very good, most of the staff look grumpy, lido deck was crowded they allow too many chairs in one place. Food was ok, this cruise was not worth the great deal of moola we paid for it.
Embarkation: The best ever. We were on the ship within 45 minutes of arrival at port.
Due to hurricaine problems our ports were all changed, but that could not be helped.Many of the ports were damaged and the beaches were not so nice, once again could not be helped. The shopping was unaffected though! And we had a great time bargain hunting.
The ship was very colorful and the staff was very friendly and helpful. We dined in the Platinum dining room. The food was very good, and the service was very good as well. My only disappointment there was "attire protocols" were not enforced and many dined in very casual attire which I felt was inappropriate. Slacks and a collared shirt are acceptable, but not baseball caps and shorts! That was a bit of a turn off.
We also dined in the supper club which was exceptional! The food was well prepared and presented in a very elegant manner.
The entertainment was top notch! The comedians were hilarious! The music was great as were the entertainers. Our cruise director John Heald was very good, he kept us rolling in the aisles.
Thecaptain did a wonderful job keeping us in the sunshine and away from hurricaine Jeanne! Even while in some very rough seas we felt very little movement!
Debarkation was smooth despite having to find an alternate port r/t hurricaine damage in our home port. The cruise line could have been more accomodating to those that booked their own air, by perhaps providing communication (telephones in port) but considering the situation it went fairly well.
Overall it was a nice cruise on a beautiful ship and the staff was exceptional despite some horrible circumstances.
First let me start by saying that I have spent a considerable amount of time prior to this cruise researching this itinerary, and I picked up lots of tips, so I hope you find this review informative and helpful.
We went out of Port Canaveral, stayed at the Raddison at the Port 2 nights prior to the cruise. If you rent a car, it is cheaper than purchasing the Carnival shuttle from Orlando and if you rent with Budget, you can walk to it from the Raddison Hotel. Drop it off the morning of the cruise and walk back to the hotel. They have a complimentary shuttle to the cruise ship.
We had a balcony guarantee and did not get an upgrade, but did get a good room on the Upper Deck, room 6232. Room had plenty of room. We travelled with our 16 year old son and our 19 year old daughter.
The ships itinerary went to Belize, Cozumel, Costa Maya and Progresso. Here is the port information.
I never book any tours through the cruise ship, way too expensive and if you do some research, you can save a bundle.The cave tubing was the main tour in Belize. We booked before we left with Action Belize. I had gone to a travel show in Toronto and picked up the Belize tourism book. Action Belize was in the book, so I went to their web site. They had the exact same cruise that Carnival was offering but it was $49 per person, not $89. The good thing about this was, that we were in a group of 8, not 100 so we had a personal tour. It took so long for the Carnival tour to get their shoes, tubes, wait for everyone, we were finished before they got started and we had a great tour guide named Roberto. After the tour we went for a nice Mexican lunch, cost $5 and $1 per beer. We had enough time to do some shopping and then back on the ship. Not a lot to buy in Belize, they have some nice wood carvings, but that's about it. Here is the contact name for Action Belize [email protected]
There are a lot of nice shops right at the pier in Costa Maya. Just outside the main entrance you can rent a golf cart and drive into the town. We did this and had a blast. The rental was only $12 per hour, and we took it for 3 hours. We went through the main town and pulled in on the beach where we were served and we able to use their chairs and umbrellas, as long as we purchased food/beverages from them. The same beach was used by Carnival for $89 all inclusive. Imagine if 4 of you booked the all inclusive beach break tour , which would be almost $400 U.S. for 4 of you. We paid $36 for the golf cart and the beers were only $1 each. We didn't even spend $70 for the 4 of us for the entire day. Do these tours yourself.
We visited Cozumel twice, because Hurricaine Francis was hitting the U.S. and we were suppose to be back in Port Canaveral on the Saturday but we didn't get back until the Tuesday, so we ended up going to Cozumel twice.
The first time, you can rent a car right at the port $40 per day and you can drive the entire island, stopping where you want. Beaches all over the place, ruins, restaurants etc. Take a few hours and enjoy the entire island. Four of you can fit in one car for $40. Again, Carnival had tours of the island for $149 each.
When we went back, we went to Playa Mia and paid the all inclusive rate. It was $35 and you could eat and drink free all day. The beaches are all public. This beach has horse back riding and done buggies available for $20 each. Carnival wanted $89 to horse back ride. Our kids went riding and had a blast. You can also go to Mr. Sanches or Sanfranciso Beach. You can use their facilities, as long as you purchase food/beverages from them.
On each stop, we purchased beer and brought it back on the ship and put it in our fridge in the room. They will ask you to check your liquor when you come back on ship, but just go straight to the elevator and bypass the lady who checks the liquor in, we were not stopped once. This will save a lot on your liquor bill.
This is a very poor village and not much to do. They have the longest pier and you are bussed from the cruise ship. The best shopping is here, great prices and nice items. There is a market right outside where you are dropped off. You can catch the town double decker bus here for $2 and see the town of Progress. Then you can walk to Corona Beach where you can use the facilities. There is a 711 that sells coolers, beer and pop very cheap. I brought back litre bottles of pop for the kids to save on the $3 per glass pop charge on the ship. We spent the day on the beach.
One thing you should do at every port, bring some fruit from the morning buffet and some packets of cereal. You always run into children, dogs or cats that are hungry. I have some boxed cereal to an old lady on the beach, an apple and a bottle of pepsi, and she cried and blessed me for 10 minutes. They are very poor. The dogs are so skinny. We ended up buying 4 packets of hot dogs and fed the dogs on the beach. It makes you feel so good to hand over an apple or a pastry from the ship. They are so thankful for anything they get.
Our cruise director, John from England was amazing. He made our cruise. He did a wonderful job keeping us informed of the hurricaine. It was nice to get an extra 4 days for nothing. When we were going back to Port Canaveral, we were told that the port was damaged and that we had to go to Miami. Carnival looked after everyone arranging buses back to Orlando airport and Port Canaveral at their cost. They didn't have to do this, as it was not their fault a hurricaine came through.
The entertainment was good. The two broadway shows were excellent and the late night comedians were hilarious.
The casino didn't pay out much at all. I put in $20 and didn't even get a cherry most nights, but others were winning, just the luck of the draw I guess.
The food was amazing. You can order 2 entrees if you want. When you see lobster and steak and you can't decide, order both. The portions are small enough that you won't look like pig.
We never had to wait for chairs outside, always plenty available. Take the time to eat your breakfast and lunch in the dining room as the food is so much nicer than the buffet. At night near the pizza station, they do steak and onion buns and they are good. There is a deli that does great deli sandwiches also. Room service is free, menu listed in the room, so it's nice to order a pot of tea or coffee and some sweets to your room.
We had the late sitting at 8:30 and liked that. The early seating at 6:00 p.m. was too early. When you are in port, you would have to rush back to change in time for dinner. Plus, eating later will make you not want the buffet at 12:00, and that's a good thing.
There is laundry on the ship, take quarters with you, no change machines in the laundry room. Also, bring some laundry soap and fabric sheets with you, save you buying them on the ship.
We brought 2 large bottles of wine with us to dinner, and they did not charge us a corkage fee. It was on our table chilled every night for dinner and it lasted in 5 nights.
The cruise lines makes their money from you on tours and drinks. If you go on the internet and search your port and things to do, you can save a lot of money. Of course you shouldn't go off in the jungles along with a tour company you don't know, but if you read reviews that are safe and well known, you'll be fine. We've travelled all over Mexico and it is very safe and the people are very friendly.
You can offer a driver $50 for the day and he'll be your private taxi driver and wait for you. That's a lot cheaper than booking tours.
This is our 6th cruise, all with Carnival. I would book Carnival again., they really know how to look after you. I felt that the service was lacking a bit on this ship, but maybe they were getting fed up with the extended stay of everyone. In other cruises, the wait staff have made an effort to talk to the kids, but they didn't do this on this trip.
If you have any questions I'd be happy to answer them. My e-mail address is [email protected]
I returned from Glory on Saturday the 31st and was hoping to get a review out sooner then this, but as predicted, when I got back to work Monday everything was a mess so this was the quickest I could write one. It's rather long, but I wanted to include as much as possible.
Just so you know from what point of view this is coming from, we are a couple in our early 20s, both from Detroit. This was her first cruise and my fourth, all with Carnival. I'm a real estate agent with Remerica and she is a hotel clerk. We sailed Carnival Glory from Port Canaveral on July 24th.
PRE-STAY We flew down on Friday the 23rd, her on Southwest (she was coming from St. Louis visiting family) and myself from Detroit on Northwest. I used some miles to get myself into first class, and I highly recommend it, I got a lot of food and free drinks. Upon arrival she lamented on the 'cattle call' of Southwest and complete lack of service save for the singing flight attendants. Avoid them unless you like feeling like your travelingon a really, really big bus with all the other types of people that generally ride a bus.
I used to live in Orlando so after picking up the car from National (extra $25 a day for 'underage renter fee') we drove around a bit, as she had never been there. Picked up some water bottles (to put booze in) and wine to take onboard, neither of which we ever actually drank. I grossly overestimated the amount of beverages we would consume and thus had more money for other useless things like Roulette. We stayed at the Best Western Lake Buena Vista resort at Downtown Disney; very convenient location. Had dinner at House of Blues and, after meeting a friend of mine, we went to Citywalk, which was for some reason rather dead for a Friday night. The next morning we drove to Port Canaveral to drop off the car, then got a cab back to the port, arrived at about 11:15 or so.
EMBARKATION: Very smooth, smoother then Miami which actually surprised me, I figured with Port Canaveral being new as a cruise homeport it would be less organized but it wasn't at all. We did the 'funpass' pre-registration and got into what I was told was the special 'funpass' line but if it was special. I have no idea where the other line was; all I ever saw was the one line for everybody, which moved pretty quickly. We were through check-in, had our sail and sign, went through the security and then the embarkation photos and was onboard in about 35 minutes. Get to the port as close to 11:00AM as you can; despite what Carnival tells you (they will actually lie to you if you ask) they begin embarkation at 11:00AM NOT 1:30PM.
THE SHIP: Glory is fabulous, absolutely fabulous. I agree that in photos the Colors theme and many of the public rooms seem gaudy, but once you see them in real life they work very well. The lobby is impressive but surprisingly cramped, especially at embarkation with everybody boarding with their carry-ons. I put down cash for my sail and sign account because I wanted to try something new, all in all it wasn't as convenient as using a credit card but at the same time once I got off the ship I knew the trip was all paid for; no more bills coming in the mail. We signed up for the Emerald room for Tuesday night at 8 (I think we were the first ones to sign up) then headed to the cabin to drop off the carry-ons, despite not being told not to go to the rooms until 1, it wasn't a problem. Cabin details a little later. Most of the public rooms along with the lobby were laid out well and nicely decorated, my favorite room I would have to say was Bar Blue, the karaoke bar at the aft end of the Promenade; Gregg, the karaoke guy was very personable and even did 'Oh What A Night' with me accapella when I discovered I had selected the wrong 'Oh What A Night'. Another neat room was the Camel Club Casino; it was very heavily themed but not overwhelmingly so; the giant camels and sarcophagi are great photo spots. The dealers were all friendly and if you didn't know a particular game they would help until you got the hang of it. I single out Miraco, as he taught us both how to play Fun 21 and Caribbean Stud poker. Overall the odds in the casino seemed better then in a 'real' casino and after the week was over we ended up ahead $50 or so. The outer decks was the only area that was a challenge to navigate, especially midship by the basketball court. To get to the topless deck you had to go up two flights from deck 10 and one of those flights was hidden quite well on the back of the basketball court. Be careful not to get beaned on the head by an errant volleyball while carrying a drink up the stairs. At the risk of being flamed I have to mention this; if you're guy, don't come up to the topless deck unescorted by a lady friend or if you do, please be mature about it. It makes the ladies that go up there to get sun very uncomfortable with guys standing there staring at them. Susie and I almost left one day because of that. Glory overall seemed very well maintained and the crew did a great job picking up all the cups and plates that people leave around. You must try the slide; after 3 previous cruises I told myself that I would get on the thing this time and it was a lot of fun. Remember to hold your nose and cover your eyes at the bottom or you'll be sputtering for a few minutes afterwards. The slide and all of the pools are saltwater but the rinsing showers scattered around outside were fresh.
THE CABIN: I have sailed on both Triumph and Victory (smaller ship class, but still very similar in size) so the cabin size was no surprise; nice and big with plenty of storage space. We were in cabin 6425, Upper deck aft on the starboard side. One trick to remember: Odd numbers are on the starboard side and even are on the port side. This goes for the tables in the dining rooms as well. I love balcony rooms and had no issues slightly splurging for one this time. They are a great place to watch entry or exit from port or to have a drink and watch the ocean before dinner. We had door-slammers on either side of us; I just can't grasp how people don't understand how irritating the doors slamming are. The cabin also had a mini-bar, something not offered on the Destiny and Fantasy class ships. We had to call our steward, Chimpanlee, to open it for us the first afternoon. I think the only things we took out was a can of pretzels and coke, but there was a rather decent selection and, after some rearranging, it was a perfect place to keep our never-used smuggled booze cold. Chimpanlee kept the room neat and orderly, even to the point of picking up and folding some of my clothes that I had dumped on the floor (I'm a neat freak at home but a complete slob on vacation). There was plenty of closet and drawer space for us to unpack, and the space under the beds was perfect for stowing the empty luggage during the week. The TV had a few movies that ran daily and several other channels that never seemed to stay the same. Purchasing shore tours through the TV was a great feature as was the ability to check your onboard portfolio to see how much you had spent. The bathroom was smaller then what I was used to from Triumph and Victory which I thought was a bit odd. The colors are also different; blue and white instead of the orange and yellow/gold/brown I was expecting. It reminded me of a hospital bathroom, almost clinical in appearance. It was, however, well stocked with amenities, including soap and shampoo dispensers, a nice telescoping mirror on the wall, and a basket of sample sized toiletries. The hair dryer was, oddly enough, in a drawer in the cabin.
FOOD: Very good overall, we only had a few dishes throughout the entire week that were less then stellar. Breakfasts in the Red Sail restaurant being the meal that consistently under preformed. I chalk it up to breakfast being the meal that people visit the buffet most often for, as for other meals there are more choices. Most items were lukewarm to start with and by the time you got them to a table, they were all but cold. The omelets, however, were very good. We tried almost all of the various different food stations with the exception of the Asian station. All were good, but I liked the deli the best. The Fish 'n' Chips was decent but hard to eat as they put your fries and your fish (and the side of calamari) all into one small salad bowl. Pizza was excellent; we spent many 3:00AM meals there. Try the goat cheese, it's wonderful. We also called room service frequently; they were usually prompt and the food was good. We had dinner in the Platinum dining room at 8:00 PM, table 305. I had requested early seating but I ended up liking 8:00PM; it gave us some time in the evening to nap or shop or gamble before dinner. Our waiter, Chandra, was excellent, one of the best I have ever had. I can't remember his assistants name, but he was friendly and attentive as well. We ate there every night of the week except for Tuesday when we ate in the Emerald room. If you have the time to try the Emerald room, it is well worth the added $25.00pp charge. Service was just as attentive in the main dining room, but the food was better. Presentation was about the same, but the portions were massive. I had the Filet Mignon with a wonderful mushroom sauce, Susie had the duck. Both dishes were excellent. Be sure to go hungry; they keep bringing out food, even after you think the meal is over. The entire meal also lasts quite a while; we ate at a leisurely pace and we were there a good two and a half hours. The wine list is also superior to the one on the main dining room. The drinks onboard were, overall, on the weak side. The average cocktail was about $4.00 (I am partial to Grey Goose tonics, and those ran me $6.35 a piece) and the frozen drinks were about $5.50. Beers were between $3.00 and $4.50 depending on what you ordered. If you are a beer drinker, your liable to be disappointed; the on-tap choices consisted of Budweiser and Heineken, and most everything else was canned. there were very few bottled drinks.
ENTERTAINMENT: All of the entertainment was done very well, especially the music. Our cruise director Stewart didn't seem too personable; he always seemed like he was reading from a script. I think I have just been spoiled with too many cruises with John Heald! His staff, however, seemed far more involved and upbeat. We loved the 'Carnival Colors' competition, even though we never actually contributed to our point total. We were on the blue team, and we trounced the white team at the last second by winning the ship building contest. For those who haven't experienced it yet, Carnival Colors is a new activity that progresses throughout the entire week. You are told what color you are the fist night in the dining room; colors are based on where you are seated in the dining room. All of the events during the week that have any kind of 'winner' earn points for their team. For instance, if the winner of the Men's hairy chest competition is from the white team, the white team earns points. It extends from the deck games all the way down to bingo; every time somebody won anything, their team earned points. The winners were announced on the last night but the best night for the colors competition was at the deck party on Wednesday night at Midnight. Each team did a conga line and the longest line won points. I don't think I have ever seen a deck party so crowded as the one that night on Glory. The musical entertainment was fantastic. There was a classical trio, a steel drum band, a casino singer, the orchestra, a jazz group and a duo that sang in the lobby before and after dinner. All were fantastic, especially the Piano player in the Cinn-a-bar, Scotee. You have to take time some night to listen to him. Not only is he an excellent singer and pianist but after 1:00AM he will perform the most hilarious songs that are not for those easily offended. We spent every night there and got to know him and the rest of the regular patrons quite well. If you really want a laugh, ask him to sing 'Barnacle Bill the Sailor'. We also spent some time across the hall in Bar Blue for Karaoke; a wonderful atmosphere if enough people are there. The White Heat Dance Club was also a popular spot, DJ 'DJ' played mostly house and dance, but there was a 50's & 60's Motown dance party on the same night Markus Anthony (a Motown singer) preformed in the Amber Palace Show lounge. If you get a chance to see him, don't miss it. There were three late night comics during the week, all of them hilarious. Most of these followed the headline shows for the evening. The two production shows were also very good, although I liked the first one, 'Livin' in America' better then the second, much more hyped show.
THE PORTS: We first visited Nassau in the Bahamas on Sunday, from 8:00AM to 2:00PM. We chose to do the 'Yellowbird Party Boat' (for $35pp or something close thereto) and it turned out to be a fantastic choice. I was expecting just a run of the mill party boat, but this one took us to a tiny little island (with a narrative of the history of the Bahamas along the way) that couldn't have been any bigger then a football field but was complete with a pool, lighthouse, shop, bar, restaurant, changing rooms etc. Peal Island was its name, and it made the whole day worth it; you really feel like your in paradise. The ride back was more of the traditional party boat atmosphere, with free rum punch, a live band and the obligatory limbo contest. I would love to have spent some more time in the Bahamas. perhaps the next cruise. After a day at sea on Monday we arrived in St. Thomas on Tuesday morning. We did the 'St. John Island Tour' for $56pp. This tour I thought was too much travel time and not enough time to spend doing much of anything. We took a ferry to St. John then boarded open air safari busses for a tour of the island. Once we got to Trunk Bay we could either stay and swim or continue for a more in-depth island tour and a visit to the Annaberg sugar mill ruins. We chose the latter. The ruins were quite interesting and so was the extended tour. We did have some time back at the beach before having to return to the ferry but we just relaxed instead of getting wet. After the tour we headed into town to do a little shopping but didn't stay long; my stomach was rebelling at all the alcohol I had been drinking the past three days and I needed to lay down so after getting photos of Caribbean Princess and Celebrity Century who were in port with us, we got back onboard and fell asleep until dinner. Wednesday found us in Phillipsburg St. Maarten. The cruise ship facilities there are gorgeous; only a few years old I was told. Nice pier with entertainment, shops, information and so on. We did the 'St. Maarten Island Tour' for I think $40 something a person. It was your standard get on a bus ride around tour, but neither one of us had been there so that was the best choice. After the tour we got some lunch onboard then headed to Orient beach. I had wanted to go to Maho Beach (to see the planes land) but apparently it is quite far from the port and $16.00pp one way. I didn't want to see the planes land quite that badly. The cab to Orient was $5pp because we had a full van of others heading for the same spot. We were looking to try the nude section but the family that we shared the van with didn't want to be dropped off there and the driver said he would only drop off at one spot, so pruder heads prevailed. We were left at the extreme other end of the beach from Club Orient and after walking for 15 minutes or so we just gave up and got some chairs and an umbrella and went to sleep. Orient beach is beautiful; wonderful sand, water and all along the back side of the beach there are shops restaurants, bars, and places to rent jet skis and parasailing and such. I would not hesitate to visit St. Maarten on a land based vacation, there is quite a bit to do there.
DEBARKATION: Word to the wise: even if you think you are young and fit (as we did) don't do self assist and take off your own stuff. We were trying to get an earlier flight home and thus wanted to be at the airport as soon as possible. I was told that with self assist you can debark anytime you wanted so I thought it might be a good idea. Wrong. All of the elevators are shut down and we had to haul three bags each down the hall to the forward stairs, down to deck three, down the outer part of deck three, down an escalator, through customs and down to the busses. All in all about 45 minutes lugging the bags on slightly sunburned shoulders. We did get the earlier flight, but it almost wasn't worth it. Apart from that, debarkation was smooth and efficient, much more like an airport with customs booths and luggage carousels. Far improved over the giant luggage Easter egg hunt that happens in Miami. After a short bus ride back to MCO we checked in and were on our way by 11:00AM, home in Detroit by 3:00PM.
THE NOT SO FUN STUFF: Yes, there were some negatives to the week, but very few and mostly frequent cruiser nitpicky things. First, the almost constant announcements for the Spa. Yes, I know its there. No, just because I heard Stewart remind me of its location isn't going to get me to go there. Second, it seemed to me that there have been some cutbacks in the dining room. One, they don't put the basket of bread on your table anymore, they ask you to pick a roll and they serve it to you and take the basket away. Two, they only give you one fork. One fork for the appetizer, the salad and the entrée. I don't mind licking ranch off my fork at Denny's but on a cruise I shouldn't have to do that. Not surprisingly, the extra $25pp dinner in the Emerald Room had forks aplenty. The ship also moved constantly. The newer ships have very shallow drafts to be able to enter the ports and are also built extremely high and thus, are very top heavy and teeter incessantly. I even felt movement when we were in port in St. Maarten. Nothing much to do about it really, as if the ships were designed with deep drafts (as old ocean liners were) we would all have to tender into port, and I'm sure I would complain about that much more :)
Overall, we had a wonderful time and would not hesitate to sail again with Carnival or on Glory. If anybody has any specific questions, feel free to email me, [email protected] Be sure to put something about Glory in the subject line or the filter will snag it before I even get to see it. I will also have some photos up soon on my yahoo album http://photos.yahoo.com/homefry1982