Ship: Carnival Glory 3/19/05-3/26/05
Dest: Nassau, Bahamas; St. Thomas, USVI; St. Maarten, NA.
I have been a past traveler on Carnival before and the drastic difference between the Holiday and Conquest class ships is remarkable both in personnel and facilities. What a huge ship! (plusses and minuses as you will see..)
Start from the top:
Embarkation--Port Canaveral has always been the most convenient and efficient way to get on any cruise ship. The facilities were nice as was the staff. On board in less than 1 hour, baggage to room by 5:00 pm. TIPS: 1. Consider staying the night before at the Radisson nearby--shuttle to the port defrays the $70 parking cost. 2. Arrive early; friends who arrived at 3:30 didn't get bags until 10:00pm.
Dining--The Glory's two story dining rooms are definitely a plus for claustrophobic cruisers. Service is superb but the food is average.
Emerald room supper club definitely worth the extra $25 at least once to experience a two-hour feast hard to match. Red Sail buffet is strictly average; the deli gets two thumbs up, though. TIPS: 1. Bring your own wine; Carnival allows (and expects) this. We saved mucho by carrying-on. 2. Listen to the waiters; they know the good food choices.
Public Rooms--Overall, a beautiful vessel. New, well maintained and immaculate, the crew seems to take pride in their 'home.' Smaller bars and clubs make the 3,000 people aboard seem less than that. Deck space is very limited in the turquoise lido, near the stage. Plus, people were 'saving' deck chairs at 6:30am on at-sea days. TIPS: 1. Get out to the deck early if you want a lido chair; however, the music was generally so loud that we left, anyway. 2. Spacious lobby bar occasionally has drink specials.
Entertainment--The only reason why Carnival Glory gets a 4/6 is due to the Jazz combo that really made the entire trip. The early-cruise comedian was excellent but the shows were average and the guest-talent show and bingo is strictly skippable. TIPS: 1. Jazz combo
in the Ivory Room is excellent. 2. Don't feel bad for missing the Amber Palace shows.
Cabin--WOW! Nice, large, well kept. Our balcony was DEFINITELY worth the extra money. Plus, by calling the cruise line directly, we saved~$350 pp. TIPS: 1. Balcony. 2. Inside stateroom across the hall for the kids (but keep them in check and not running all over the ship for crying out loud).
Shore Excursion--We went on our own to St. John's and saved lots. When in St. Thomas, take the taxis to the ferry station, the $3 ferry to St. John's is a visual wonder. Trunk bay is a absolute must-see. Bypass the Carnival-sponsored activities and go on your own. TIPS: 1. It's cool to leave the carnival crowds behind and save money. 2. Trunk bay. 'nuff said.
Value--High for price and cabin upgrades. Just avoid the on-ship money traps where you can spend $100 a night in the night-clubs especially. TIPS: 1. Call 2 weeks ahead to see if you can upgrade (for cheap!).
Overall--Nice ship, definitely go on the newer ships across the board. Just watch out for the out-of-control kids during spring break time. Avoid the shore excursions to get a real sense of the foreign ports. Would recommend other cruise lines to people without kids or 'romantic-type' couples.