We (Deb and Jack from Massachusetts) cruised from Boston to St. John, New Brunswick on June 28, 2012. This was a 4 night cruise. Our cruise experience has been with Royal Caribbean (7), Celebrity (2), Norwegian (2), and Carnival (2). We always get a balcony cabin when we cruise.
Embarking (getting on the ship): Extremely smooth. We got to the Black Falcon Pier at around 11:30 a.m. and there were no lines. It was quick! We were allowed on the ship at this time even though sail time was scheduled for 4:30 p.m. The ship actually did not depart until around 5:30 p.m. Some people had been notified in advance to arrive later at the pier. Although we were not notified, it would not have made a difference to us anyway. We have never had a problem when we arrive at 11:30 a.m. no matter what time the ship is scheduled to depart.
We had planned ahead to get together with a few of our new Cruise Critic friends at sail-away. It was disappointing that only a few of us showed up. This rarely happens, but it does, I find that when there are not a lot of people speaking up on the CC boards to begin with, this will likely be the result. Something new was that on the Carnival daily schedule, there was a "cruise critic meet and greet" scheduled daily. We went one time to see what it was all about and nobody was there. If you are interested in getting together with your fellow cruise critics, I would say that's how it can be done regularly. It's already on the schedule, at least on Carnival.
Cabins: Our cabin (#7414) was very nice and very close to the aft elevators. We usually try to get a mid-ship balcony, but tried an aft cabin this time. We like it a lot because the buffet is on deck 9 aft.
Two twin beds were made into a king-size bed and it was adequately comfortable. The cabin was attractive and very clean. The balcony on this ship was of average size. The air conditioner was on high in the cabin and it was okay, but not extremely cold. The a/c on the ship as a whole was very good, however.
On this cruise, the hallway outside our cabin seemed extra noisy at all hours of day and night. I wish people would be more considerate of others.
Alcohol on Board: Carnival does allow you each to bring one bottle of wine or champaign on board.
Buffet Food: While the food quality was good, the variety was not good at all. Dessert choices were good and better than the choices for the lunch and dinners. One complaint I had on the last Carnival cruise was the same complaint I have on this one. The Red Sail Buffet is a very unsanitary place to eat! Tables are wiped down with the same cloth as the vinyl seats are wiped down with. Tables are not cleared off in a timely manner and tables and chairs are noticeably worn. There is not enough wait staff in the room, as well as no wait staff to wipe up spills from messy passengers when they take food.
Pet peeves: Children who are not taller than the buffet shield should not be allowed in line on their own. When a young child needs to sneeze... they do! Next, are parents who allow their young kids to get what they want from the buffet on their own. Kids mean well, but do not know that once you pick up a few different utensils or plates and put them back, sanitation is out the window. I can only imagine what when on when I wasn't looking. Yuck! One last pet peeve is one that has always bewildered me. Why can't people wait until they sit down to start eating what's on their plate?
This might explain why the buffet was never crowded. It is also the one reason that I do not intend to cruise with Carnival again in the future (after the one other Carnival cruise I already booked and paid for).
Outdoor Grille: Dry, dry, dry. Mess, mess mess.
I do not like that the only thing to eat in between meals is pizza, dried out hot dogs and hamburgers or ice cream. Breakfast runs until 11:30 a.m. and lunch starts at Noon and goes until 3 p.m. Dinner does not begin until 6 p.m.
Ship Decor: Colors. That's what it was supposed to be. We were not impressed. It wasn't the bright, flashy colors you would expect from Carnival. It was the complete opposite.
Ship Layout: Confusing. Very confusing. By the end of the week, we still couldn't find things. The elevators had a ship directory in front that had such small print, we couldn't even read it. Also, to reach the front of decks 3 and 4, you had to go to deck 5. Yes... decks 3 and 4 only go half way.
Gratuities: Carnival added $46 per person to our account mid-cruise, without warning. We just happened to notice it when reviewing our bill. If you go to Guest Services, they will remove the charges upon request. They will give you envelopes to put your own tips in.
Salon: I decided to get a hair cut and style. I liked the outcome a lot, but the cost was $75 plus tip. Without asking me, the stylist, added hair products to a bag and then proceeded to tell me what I must have them. I would definitely recommend the stylist, Rebecca, who cut my hair. I would not recommend buying the additional products, even though I did buy them because I hadn't had time to think about it in advance.
Swimming Pools: smaller than average pools, but larger than average hot tubs. Be sure to check out the 11th deck, adult serenity area. There are a couple of great hot tubs up there, lots of comfy seats, and a bar.
Ship Cleanliness: Good, except there was absolutely no effort to encourage people to use sanitizer on their hands. The hand sanitizers were located in a conspicuous place, but we rarely saw people using any before they entered the food areas. On Royal Caribbean, I think they have the best method. They actually squirt the sanitizer on the passengers hands for them, so people have no choice but to use it.
Singles and Children: Lots of singles and way too many children for our liking. If you are a single person who likes to party into the wee hours of the morning, this is definitely the cruise for you. I was amazed to see Carnival has a kid program from midnight to 3 a.m. for young children. Equally amazing and another problem is that there is no curfew for kids and teens.
Average Age Range: I would guess there was an equal split among families with children, singles, and couples. The average age range would be 30's and 40's.
Wheelchair Access: I saw some of scooters, but not many.
Cruise Activities: Josh was the cruise director and I think there were a lot fewer activities than I've seen on other ships. Seems heavy on the late night happenings. Try your luck at the casino! It's the first time we ever won money on cruise ship slots. Paid for our bar tab and more!
Port of Call -- St. John, New Brunswick, Canada. Boring! Stay on the ship. We took the trolley sightseeing excursion through the cruise line. It's just a boring city, in my opinion (sorry to people who live there).
Disembarking (leaving the ship): Everybody has a color code and that determines when you will leave the ship. They don't rush you out of your cabin like they used to do years ago, but they do want you out of your cabin no later than 8:30 a.m. We were being picked up by a local shuttle service at 9:30 a.m. and were off the ship in plenty of time. We carried our own luggage off in order to manage that early departure. If you were taking a flight, I would think it safe to book an 11:30 a.m. flight out of Logan Airport. I wouldn't try earlier than that.
Overall Cruise Comments: The Carnival Glory did not exceed our expectations; however we will definitely cruise again in the future. Overall, the cruise experience itself was great, but I have never been on a cruise that I didn't think was great! In my opinion, there is no such thing as a bad cruise!
If you have any questions about my experience, please feel free to email me at d w 3 3 3 3 (at) yahoo (dot) com. No spaces between any letters or numbers in the email address.