We recently returned from the 7-day New England/Canada cruise on the Carnival Glory (June 3-June 10). I thought I'd do a review. FYI, we are a couple in our early 50's now living in Kentucky. This was our 3rd Carnival cruise (2nd on the Glory), and our 8th overall.
Arrival/Embarkation: We always arrive at least one day early to our port city of embarkation. This time we arrived via Amtrak from Chicago (where we had visited family) the night prior and stayed at the Westin Bayfront. We booked through Priceline and paid ~$150. We highly recommend this hotel. It is within walking distance to the port (although I wouldn't do it with baggage), and across the street from the Silver Line.
As far as embarkation goes, we only waited 2 hours to board. (Let me back up by saying we booked our cruise in January and received the email regarding the first time change in April. Check-in was to be 6:30-8:30, so I immediately contacted the manager at the Westin and confirmed that we could store our bags.) I booked us a 2-hour free walking tour of Boston at 11:00. We were able to get a late check-out of 2:00 PM, enabling us to leave our bags in the room. Our tour was great and we were back at the hotel by in plenty of time to get our bags and check out. Since we had a lot of baggage we opted to take a taxi to the pier. We immediately dropped off our bags and boarded the shuttle to Quincy Market. At that time we were given the letter regarding the even later delay. It stated that we would not be departing Boston until 11:00 the next day, and that they "hoped" to begin embarkation by 10:00 PM. We did not stay at Quincy Market but instead walked to a Starbucks where we could use our Netbook and decide what to do that afternoon. We found a large movie theater a couple blocks away and decided that would be a good place sit down and take a nap! LOL We both ended up staying awake through the entire movie, however. ? After leaving the theater we stopped to get a bite to eat and then a convenience store to pick up some soda to take on board. We did not want to deal with the shuttle and opted to pay $4.00 to take the subway to the pier as we knew the Silver Line stopped directly in front of the terminal. There was only one other couple on the subway with us -- much better than taking a crowded shuttle! The terminal was not opened when we arrived and we waited 15-20 minutes before they opened the doors. We were in the first group allowed inside at that time (~9:45) but the line was stopped before we got up to security. That was our longest wait. We stood in that spot for 90 minutes. I won't go into detail about all the different areas of groups waiting, etc., but just say that once the line was moving again we did not stop, other than to get our sign & sail cards, until we were on board and in our room. Our baggage had not arrived yet, but we were exhausted and we asleep before midnight. I cannot comment on food or entertainment availability as we had no desire to find either.
As a side note, I do not understand why people would sit and wait for the ship for so long when the announcement was made that boarding would not begin until late and the ship would not depart until the following day. Buses and subways were readily available and there is plenty to do in Boston, not to mention a huge movie theater downtown. Carnival did a great job considering all that was not going in their favor. They compensated us for missing the first night's dinner and notified as the best they could of the late departures. IMHO, one can only blame themselves if they spent 8 hours sitting in a hotel ballroom.
Day 1 -- Departure/Sea Day: For the first time in 4-5 cruise we booked an inside cabin. I got up to use the bathroom and looked at my watch since I did not have my alarm clock yet. I thought it said 4:10. I checked outside and pulled in our bags, then returned to bed. A few minutes later the CD came on to announce that the Muster Drill would be in 20 minutes! I had looked at my watch upside down and we had slept nearly 10 hours! We jumped up and cleaned up a little before the drill. The drill was delayed, as was our departure, but eventually we finally left Boston. We had lunch in the MDR and spent our day attending various events. We did attend the Meet & Greet but felt it should have been renamed Meet & Gripe as most of the attendees were disgruntled before they ever arrived at the terminal. I understand there was a 2nd meeting, but we did not know about it (and probably would not have attended anyway).
We had booked the early seating for dinner and had a table for four in the dining room. We had great tablemates from Rhode Island. Our waiter and the remainder of our wait staff were always friendly and dinner always ran smooth. We were finished each night between 7:15-7:30. There were a couple of nights when we left before the show in order to make it to the Amber Palace on time for trivia, but that was not a problem. I do think that dinner naturally last longer when seated with larger parties, which may be the reason some complained of "poor service." The food in the MDR was okay. It didn't seem to be as good as in the past, but we always found something to eat (too much, actually), and like everything we ordered (with the exception of a fish entree DH chose one night for some reason -- he's not a fish eater).
Day Two -- Portland, Maine: We decided to spend our time in Portland simply walking around the old port/downtown. We took our netbook with us in each port and found a coffee shop with WIFI connections to check our mail and plan our next day, if needed.
Day Three -- Saint John: We prefer to plan our own excursions than to pay the outrageous prices the ships offer and be herded around like cattle. Today we walked through Saint John and took the local bus to the Reversing Falls. The gentleman at the info desk was very informative about the reversing falls, as well as other areas close by. After returning to downtown we spent our time walking through the market, etc.
Day Four -- Halifax: Having been to Halifax last fall when we walked along the waterfront and visited the Maritime Museum, we opted to rent a car and drive to Peggy's Cove. (Several rental car agencies are available across the street from the pier. You can cut through the train station rather than walk around). We highly recommend doing that on your own as it is an easy, 45-minute drive. After spending time at the Cove we drove down the road to see the Swissair Memorial. Driving back through Halifax we drove up to the Citadel, but time did not warrant paying the entrance fees to tour the fort.
Day Five -- Sydney: Once again we decided to rent a car as there did not seem to be much going on in town. Since I had never received a reply from Budget regarding a shuttle, we paid $10 for a taxi. We've found this is faster, anyway, since there tends to be a line for the shuttle and we end up having to wait. After picking up our car we drove to the Fortress of Louisbourg, which did not appear to be officially opened. We were glad we did not pay for this excursion as when we arrived there was no entrance fee! There were only a few people wandering around in period costume, but no demonstrations going on. Some of the buildings were open, but not all. We were glad we went and enjoyed wandering the ruins, but again glad we did not pay the high ship excursion price. On our way back we took the scenic route and drove through several small fishing villages. Be warned -- there are no restaurants in these quaint villages!
Day Six -- Sea Day. Between trivia, Liar's club, etc., it was time to pack.
Day Seven -- Disembarkation. This is always easy for us as we either book late flights out or, in this case fly out the following afternoon. We like to stay on board as long as possible. We had breakfast in the MDR, then returned to our cabins to retrieve our bags and spent the rest of the morning on Deck 5 reading, drinking coffee, and people watching. We were in Zone 22, but did not disembark until the announcement was made that everybody had to get off the ship. Three of our bags were in the same area, and the other alone in another zone. We waiting ~10 minutes in the taxi line before catching a ride to the Comfort Inn & Suites Logan Airport, located in Revere, where we were able to get an early check-in. The hotel shuttle took us to the train station where we caught a quick subway ride back into town. We spent the afternoon walking along the Freedom Trail, visiting Old Ironsides and the Old North Church. The following day we were able to store our bags at the hotel before taking the subway to Fenway for a tour and lunch. The hotel shuttle delivered us to the airport in plenty of time to catch our flight.
Overall we had a nice, relaxing cruise. The weather was cool, overcast and drizzly at times, but coming from hot, muggy Kentucky, we enjoyed it. The food on board was just okay this time, as mentioned earlier. The staff was always friendly and accommodating. Having cruised the Glory just nine months prior, we had seen the shows and therefore did not attend them. We did attend lots of trivia, four comedy shows (the Cuban was our favorite), karaoke, Liar's Club, Newlywed Game, etc., as well as lose a little money in the casino. With all the deals we found and on board credit received we walked off with a Sign & Sail total due of $19.97! No, we did not adjust our gratuities. We did drink lots of coffees and smoothies, though! We also purchased a certificate for our next Carnival cruise, which we hope will be to Alaska next summer.