This was our first cruise, so we have nothing to compare it to. Embarkation was a fairly easy process; much easier than we had imagined it would be. We got off our Mears bus at around 11 am, went through all of the lines, and were actually inside the ship with a drink in our hands, sitting down to eat in the Red Sail Room before 1 pm.
Our ship had over 3300 passengers, with over 1300 of them under the age of 21. (Carnival announced this like they were pleased about it!) It was spring break, and many families were onboard, thus, many unsupervised teens taking over the public areas at times. Although many people left dirty dishes all over the ship, including right on the stairs, the crew were pretty quick about removing them. It was usually not possible to sit at the bars and have a drink because of all of the kids sitting there drinking pop. (Note to Carnival: Set up one or two areas where kids can buy pop so they do not take over the bars. Not only does it set a bad example to have under-age kids sitting at a bar, but people who would like to sit at a bar and have a drink or two, can get a seat.) Most of the public areas were clean and well kept. Crew in these areas always had a smile and a greeting when they saw us.
Our cabin was a port-side balcony room with a king-size bed. There was a lot of closet and drawer space to put everything, because that is exactly what we packed! The room was kept clean, ice was in our room nightly, and the two anniversary gifts that family had ordered prior to our trip, were waiting for us in our room before we arrived. It was nice to have a balcony and get a breath of fresh air whenever we wanted to, instead of having to go out on deck. We will never cruise without a balcony. We will stay on a higher level from now on so that we don't have cigarette butts and spit sailing past our heads from the balconies above us! It was great to have a TV channel dedicated to information about the ship: location, temperatures, speed, wind speed, etc.
It took us a few days to find the gym. Not only is Glory very large, but the gym is well-hidden through the Spa. The equipment was very good; better than the great gym we pay dues to attend at home! The pool in the gym area was much less crowded than the deck pools, and we went there often. We tried to do our daily 5K walk on the walking track, and gave up. Although the track is clearly labelled with arrows as to the direction of the flow of traffic, only the fitness walkers and joggers paid any attention to this. Sightseers and people checking out the ship, wandered aimlessly at any speed, in any direction. The other big design flaw with this area is the fact that kids have to cross the track to get to the basketball courts. Many kids stop in the middle of the track when they leave the court area to get their bearings, and collisions occurred. I was even told by one smart alec kid to watch where I was walking when he stepped in front of me and suddenly stopped.
We did not use room service. We ate breakfast everyday at the Red Sail buffet. It was nothing special, but it was fine. We ate lunch in many different places. The Red Sail buffets were once again, nothing special, but good. The hamburgers at the grill were very tasty, as were the hot dogs. The pizza was good, but not as good as the pizza we can get at home. We did not try the deli, the Chinese food, or the fish and chips. It was nice to have an ice cream/frozen yogurt bar to refresh oneself after a few hours of laying on the deck. We had an 8:30 seating in the Lower Golden Restaurant. Our wait staff were superb. The food was good, but certainly not outstanding. We liked the fact that the portions were smaller than one would get in a restaurant.; there is nothing worse than feeling too full every night.
We attended the welcome show in the Ebony Lounge the first night. We also went to the shows in the Amber Lounge every night after supper. They were entertaining, but we wouldn't compare them to Las Vegas shows, like Carnival does. It would be nice if the volume of the music playing between shows was lower so that conversations could be comfortably carried out.
We never met our room steward, so we have no idea if he was the guy we would see in the hall saying "Hi" all the time. We have no complaints about our room, and the towel animals were cute. Our wait staff were wonderful. We looked forward to dinner every night so that we could see them! We loved their performances every night. We will always think about them every time we hear "Living La Vida Loca!" We had good service all over the ship. The young Canadian girl in the gift shop was a real sweetie.
We enjoyed attending the talks about each port of call. These contain some very good information and we highly recommend going, or at the very least, catching it on the cruise channel. We got off at every port.
We did not book an excursion for Key West because we didn't find one that really interested us. We decided to wander around town on our own. The tender into Belize City was better than we had expected. We did the bus tour of Belize City because we wanted to do quite a bit of shopping there.
We loved Belize!
We did the sub-ocean view tour in Cozumel. It was incredible! The color of the water is magnificent in Cozumel! We did not have the desire to go downtown after hearing about the cabs! We stayed in the shopping area, but most of the stuff there can be bought at the mall at home in Canada! We do not like to barter, and did not like this aspect of Cozumel. We do not like being called into stores either. This was our least favorite stop. The highlight of our cruise was to be our excursion to Chichen Itza. Due to a few circumstances beyond anyone's control, we got into Progreso too late to do the longer trips. Both Uxmal and Chichen Itza were cancelled. We were offered Dzibilchaltun instead. We took it, and Carnival adjusted our Sail and Sign account automatically. We were disappointed that we couldn't go to Chichen Itza, but were willing to keep an open mind about the alternate tour. We enjoyed it very much, but will have to return to see Chichen Itza! We were going to be staying in Orlando for three days after our cruise and booked a shore excursion to Kennedy Space Center once we got off the ship. This tour was quick, but adequate.
Debarkation! What a mess!!!! We were to meet in the Amber Palace at 7:30 for our shore excursion to Kennedy. We had been told to keep our luggage with us, as we would be first off the ship to leave for the tour, and there was no guarantee our luggage would be ready.
The night before, Carnival told people they were trying a new debarkation process called Self-Assist. If they wanted to get off the ship early, they needed to be in the Amber Palace with all of their luggage at 7:30. Do you already see a problem? We arrived in the Amber Palace at 7:20 and sat down to wait for further instruction. People began streaming in, but did not sit down, thus began to block the aisle, and eventually the lobby and stairs. We could hear Carnival crew yelling for people to move into the Amber Palace. What they needed to do was come inside the Amber Palace and direct people to move to the front by the stage and sit down. Needless to say, many tempers were flaring, and many negative comments about Carnival, the crew, and the way they were running their ship could be heard. We think they lost many future cruisers in this room at this time. Bottom line: Self-Assist doesn't work, so Carnival needs to stop this immediately!
Our biggest piece of advice to anyone taking a cruise; book your outgoing flight for later in the day or even the next. Don't put yourself in a position to NEED to get off the ship quickly. We ended up getting off the ship behind all of the Self-Assist people, and our bus to Kennedy left an hour and half later than it was supposed to. We had three hours at Kennedy instead of the five we were supposed to have.
Will we take another cruise, YES! Will we go Carnival? Probably not. We are a couple in our forties, travelling without children. If Carnival wants to cater to families to make more money, then we will be finding a cruise line that wants to cater to us. Once home, our travel agent thinks we may be Princess or Royal Caribbean people.