My wife and I and our two girls ages 4 and 2, I'm 42 and she's
33. This was our first cruise and we took it on the Carnival Glory
from Jan 3rd through the 10th. This was the Western Caribbean
We had read many reviews before our trip and to be quite honest
we were a bit apprehensive with what we might have to look forward
to. I will put this trip in chronological order. As this was our
first cruise it is difficult for us to compare it, but we look
forward to that opportunity as we plan our future vacations.
Embarkation went well. Our limo dropped us off at the port and
we queued up with our fellow passengers. This began with a quick
screening through a medal detector and then on to the Carnival
"Quick Pass" line. I'm not sure if this was quick or not. We stood
in line approximately 45 minutes waiting to speak to immigration
and security. Once we got to a person we were asked to present all
required documentation which took about 10 minutes and then we were
Once on board we headed to the lido deck as they were not
allowing passengers to go to their cabins until after 1 o'clock.
The lunch was buffet style and nicely laid out. We grabbed a table
by a window and enjoyed our lunch. The food was very well prepared.
I had read one review that compared the cooking to a High School
cafeteria. I'm not sure where they went to school, but I would have
died for food half as good as this. The deserts were especially
well done and we took ample advantage of those. My two daughters
loved the free Ice Cream.
We headed to our cabin around 1:30. It was small by hotel room
standards but large when compared to what we expected. The bed was
of queen size with a couch that made into a bed as well as a pull
down bunk. The cabin would easily sleep four adults. We had a 24
inch television, fridge, table and the balcony easily would fit
four adults. The bathroom was also roomy for a ship cabin with a
full shower, sink and toilet. I was especially surprised at the
amount of storage and shelving in the bathroom as well as the
amount of storage in the room. We put our five large suitcases
under the bed and hung up most of our clothes. There was storage
under the bunk as well.
I found out as we traveled that their were 3,400 people on
board. With this information we understood why all of our luggage
did not show up until sometime after 4 p.m. I had to call the cabin
steward a couple of times to inform her that they were placing
luggage outside my cabin that belonged on deck 9. Deck 9 used a
lime color and our was green. An honest mistake.
We prepared for dinner. We dinned each evening in the Upper
Platinum restaurant. We never had a problem getting to our table
and we were waited on within 2 minutes each time we arrived. The
service was impeccable by any restaurant standards. I've eaten in
may five star restaurants and the service here was every bit as
attentive. They may have not been as well heeled, but what they
lacked in knowledge, they made up for in enthusiasm. Our head
waiter was very interactive with our two children and kept them
entertained each evening.
We were in and out of the restaurant in under an hour every
evening we attended. If you have young children you can appreciate
how much that helps.
I tipped our cabin steward on the first night and I think that
may have helped, however, I will state that I never saw so many
people working so hard to keep so many people happy. One thing I
did notice was that I did not see a single American working on the
ship. There were people from Russia, Bosnia, Canada, England, South
Africa, Australia and many other eastern European countries. The
largest complaint I would have, was that many times it I had to
asked them to repeat their English, as I lost a lot in their
translation. Small price to pay for their warm smiles and helpful
Day 2. The next morning I awoke around 5 a.m. with severe pain
in my lower left back. I called down to the pursers desk and they
paged a nurse and sent me to the infirmary. I was diagnosed with
Kidney Stones and they gave me an IV and a pain killer. The doctor
prescribed Tylenol 3 and Naproxen and let me go. I was still in
quite a bit of pain but was determined to make the best of it. Our
first port was Key West.
I have to pause for a moment and applaud the medical crew who
were very professional, caring and responsive to my condition. They
could give my local physician and his office staff some lessons in
We had to take an open air shuttle into Key West. At first this
looked like it would take forever, but there were at least six
running constantly from the ship and our wait in line was less then
15 minutes and in another 10 we were in the city. Not much to see
in Key West. Good shopping, lots of pubs and lots of opportunities
for people watching.
We dropped our daughters off at Camp Carnival. This was probably
the most disappointing part of the trip. Our oldest daughter, she's
four, is quite independent and can amuse herself easily. Our
youngest had just turned two and she needs to interact with people
and requires more structure. The staff at the camp were friendly
enough, but they lack any formal training in child care. It seemed
they would have been equally qualified to run kennels as day care
centers. Children were casually observed, but interaction was rare
and for the most part non-existent. Our youngest was curled up in a
corner crying her eyes out when we returned. The staff said she had
been like that since we left. We have left Haylee with many times
with friends and she has never cried. We were given the impression
from the staff in no uncertain terms that they were not pleased
with having a child that required they actually had to interact
with versus just casually observe. They seem much more interested
in chatting it up with themselves and relaxing then interacting
with the children. What a shame, as this was our primary driver for
choosing Carnival over Disney, Royal and others.
That said, we attempted to leave Haylee only one more time, but
on arriving she screamed hysterically as if we were punishing her
and we simply could not bear leaving her again. Shaylen, our oldest
daughter, however loved Camp Carnival and we had no difficulty
leaving her, although the purpose was to leave them both so my wife
and I could enjoy some time alone.
The seas were quite rough, the ship was rocking quite noticeably
and this continued the remainder of our trip. My wife at a
prescription patch behind her ear for sea sickness that help her a
lot. It did however dilate her eyes and for the trip she could not
read anything under a 60 point font size.
This was our first full day at sea. We explored the ship. My
wife likes to gamble so she went down to the casino. By the end of
the trip she had lost $500 in a total of three hours. She also
participated in Bingo. The prizes ranged from $100 to $750 dollars.
Not bad for Carnival considering around 200 people purchased $20
per game cards. That's $4,000 with a pay-out of $750. Nice profit.
As a cancellation they would randomly pull the losers name and give
them a bottle of Champaign. How generous. You just made over $3,200
and you give a wholesale cost $10 bottle of Champaign. I thought
this was very low class. A follow up to that theme was that on a
ship of 3,400 passengers at the end they randomly pulled a cabin
number and awarded that cabin with a $500 prize. I'm not sure what
other paid for their cabin. Our's costs $3,500 and we spent another
$1,200 on the ship. If you put the average number at $800 per
person they made $2.7 million just on the cruise, not to mention a
percentage of the daily sales at each port. So a whopping $500 to a
single person at the end of the trip, well its just not very
classy, at least not in my book.
We did not attend the night shows with the exception of the last
night out. I saw the Rock on Broadway show. It was fairly well
performed. The dancers were out of sync a lot, but the effort was
there and the band was excellent. All the performers seemed to be
giving it there best and I was entertained.
They did hold a number of passenger events with the cruise
director, that I must say were less then entertaining and the adlib
was about as non-professional and amateurish as it gets. But it's
all about cost containment and maximizing profits, so I can forgive
and understand this. I did not see them scrip on food and the
service we received was always courteous, friendly and fast.
The amenities aboard ship are mediocre. I was amazed that the
golf station looked like it had been thrown together in about an
hour with some fishing net and a patch of artificial turf. I was
expecting a virtual hitting station that not only analyzed my swing
but allowed me to play a few virtual courses. The instructor
however was first rate and in the end you are paying for hands on
instruction, but still I think a bit more effort could go into this
The workout facilities were great. Every piece of equipment you
could want was available and the staff was ample to assist. The spa
looked very nice as well.
We arrived in Belize. I had decided to play golf at Caye Chapel.
This is an island that is edge to edge golf course. You are flown
in and play as many holes as time allows. The tender to shore was
quick about 10 minutes, another 15 to the airport and in another 20
we were on the course in a cart heading to the club house. I
managed to get in about 27 holes. I lost 12 balls, and loved every
minute of being there. It's not a Nicklas course, but it will test
your game. The greens were over grown and a bit shaggy, but if cut
shorter would wilt in the hot Caribbean sun.
My wife grabbed a tender and spent the day at the beach on
another island. She and the girls had a great time building sand
Cozumel. As others have said before us, this is the best port.
Why we are there only 7 hours is anyone's guess. We got up late
that morning around 8:00 and headed for breakfast around 8:30. At
nine we headed down to the gangplank and were informed it was
closed. This miffed me quite a bit. I was informed an announcement
had been made at 8:30 that the ability to leave the ship after 9:00
would not be possible. This was due to the fact that another
Carnival ship was docking and we had to wait for them to tie up to
dock before we could disembark. We finally got off the ship at
10:10 a.m. We lost an hour in a port that only allows 7 hours. We
immediately headed for the beach. We caught a cab $14 one way and
spent the next 2.5 hours on the beach. The water was great and the
staff there was friendly.
We got back on the ship at 2:45 p.m. and we were underway at
We were informed around 10 a.m. the next morning that we would
not be docking in Progresso due to bad weather and that the ship
would head for Freeport in the Bahamas. This upset a lot of people,
but not even Carnival can control the weather and you have to take
the good with the bad.
We spent that day at sea. We were asked to fill out
disembarkation paperwork for Freeport. At 10 a.m. the next morning
we were informed that we would not be docking at Freeport. This was
due to a medical emergency that forced the ship to go to port in
Key West. This lost us time that allowed us to go to Freeport and
still make it to Port Canaveral by day 7. A lot of people were
upset. Carnival posed a $25 credit per person to all passengers
accounts. This did little to appease many, but again, the life of a
single passenger was worth missing all of our ports and the correct
decision was made.
We arrived at Port Canaveral early around 7:00. We got off the
ship at 9:30 and waited about 30 minutes for our luggage.
Staff Food (especially the deserts), Golf in Belize,
Minuses: Camp Carnival, Cheesy events, Lousy giveaways, Casino
Constant announcements to go an spend money, auctions, bingo,
casino, shopping etc.
We will cruise again? Most definitely. Will it be Carnival?
Probably not! You get what you pay for, and it appears we may have
started at Target and we are most accustomed to shopping at
Nordstroms. Not to say that Target isn't nice, but there is just so
much you can do to disguise "Cheap". You get what you pay for in
this world. For the money, I think Carnival meets all they say they
have to offer. But if your used to staying at Holiday Inns and like
the service, Carnival is your kind of place. If on the other hand
your more accustomed to the Hyatt, you will do better to shop