Embarkation/Debarkation: This ship sailed out of Norfolk. You can expect about an hour or so of multiple lines getting on the ship. Once you get through the first line, it gets moving pretty quickly though, so I don't think it's too bad considering they have to get over 3,000 people checked in. Getting off the ship is a little tougher because you do have to get out of your cabin by 8:30 a.m. and I'm not much of a morning person. It's slightly annoying because you have to hurry up to get out of your cabin and then wait, often for a long period of time, before you're allowed to disembark. But, I understand it. The stewards and other staff members have to get ready for all the new guests coming on board and I must admit, Carnival has this process down to a science. They have over 3,000 people off the ship in time to have the next 3,000+ people board beginning at 1:00 p.m.. Pretty impressive overall, but a little bit of a pain for the passengers.
Staff: Service good. Waiters and waitresses in the dining halls use your name whenever possible when they speak with you. It's plain to see that the staff work their butts off as is typical of most ships. It was also nice to see that they did a better job of keeping the tables clear this time around, most especially up on the Lido deck.
Entertainment: This is where the word "disappointment" comes in within my title. I've been on the Glory several times now, the last of which was back in Oct 2010. On this cruise (May 2012) a year and half later, the big show entertainment on the ship was still the same. When I say "big shows," I'm referring to those in the main theater. After a year and a half, you'd think they'd have new material. I'm sure I'm not the only one who might cruise once a year or once every couple of years, so I'm sure I'm not the only one that would want some different shows. They did change the entertainment in the atrium and the piano bar, however. Unfortunately though, neither was as good as the entertainers that were in the atrium and piano bar the last time we were on the ship. Hence, some added disappointment.
Ship Condition: The Glory is still a nice ship. It's large and still impressive, although starting to show some signs of wear here and there.
Cabin: We were in an interior cabin, which is what I usually choose on ships since I don't spend much time in the room anyway. Most Carnival cabins are small and this was no different, but they meet my needs. I was happy the drain in my shower was working better this trip than the last. The stewards were great and who doesn't love the towel animals they leave for you?
Overall Mood: As with all Carnival ships, they cram a lot of people on board giving the cruise a more crowded feel and resulting in some time waiting in lines here and there. It's also loud A LOT with blaring music almost all over the ship. It's difficult to get away from the noise and find a tranquil place to relax outside of your cabin. This, for me, is one of the biggest cons to the Carnival ships. That said, they are the "FUN" ships and are known for being more party oriented, so this is to be expected to an extent. I just think that my husband (49) and I (38) are starting to outgrow the Carnival line a little bit as some peace and quiet now and again are becoming more of a desire for us. Hearing the news blaring on the big screen TV up on the Lido deck during morning breakfast is not something I desire either. Getting away from all, to include not having to listen to all of the woes in the world, is part of the reason I vacation, but that might be something others would enjoy.
Dining: Best in the main dining halls, of course. Carnival's selection is good and the food is very good as well. Try the Chocolate Melting Cake for dessert in the main dining hall. The Red Sail Restaurant offers buffets for all meals and there's quite a lot to choose from. The lines, especially while in port when they close down at least 2 of the buffets, are annoying though. I've often thought they could split up the buffets a little bit more so that you don't have to wait in a long, slow moving line for one or two items. Having to specifically ask for something like bacon is a little irritating and holds up the lines as well. They offer pizza any time at one of the other locations on the ship, which is a definite plus. Not the best pizza in the universe, but it hits the spot. They also have several ice cream (or frozen yogurt, I'm not sure which it is) machines on the Lido deck, which is a nice plus and something I enjoy quite a bit, especially when out on deck. On this trip, the machines were more functional and more well stocked than on my last trip as well, so they took care of those issues. We got room service only once this trip, but it was much more speedy than on our last trip, arriving in around 15 minutes or so vs last time where it took closer to 45 minutes. It does seem like their room service menu is more limited than it was years ago though. They have a deli and a Mongolian stand as well, so you do have variety.
Bottom line comments: Carnival is known as the Walmart of cruises for a reason. They are inexpensive compared to other lines. However, you do get what you pay for and the fact that they are the most inexpensive line shows in other areas; watered down, highly priced drinks, a constant effort to make more money off of the passengers with everything from bingo to the spa to portraits to shops and casino gambling being pushed regularly. If you want a richer, more mature, higher class clientele and atmosphere, Carnival isn't the cruise line for you. But, if you want less expensive cruising, a party down crowd with lots of high energy entertainment, definitely choose this line.
Would I sail Carnival and the Glory again? Yes. As long as the price is low and most particularly if they continue to sail out of Norfolk because that saves me on airfare too. Basically, the cost of the trip is well worth it for me. It's not, however, a ship or line that I'd pay a lot of money for.