We were on the August 25, 2012 5 night sailing of the Glory to Saint John & Halifax. I think a little background is helpful when reading reviews so here goes. I have sailed 55 times on various cruise lines. This was my 7th cruise on Carnival. Also sailing with us was our son, daughter in law and our 6-year-old granddaughter. This was the first cruise for our daughter in law and granddaughter. Our son has previously sailed on Carnival 2 or 3 times. My husband and I are in our late 50's our son and his wife are mid 30's.
We drove to the pier and arrived at 11:30. My husband dropped us off with the luggage and went on his way to park. Apparently they have changed the parking situation since the last time we parked at the pier, which was quite a few years ago. In the good old days you could just drop off the passengers and luggage and continue up the ramp to the parking lot. Now you can't drive up the ramp. You must drive back out on to the street and follow the signs to get you back up to the parking lot. Who knew? The new way is to take everyone and your luggage with you directly to the parking lot. There are luggage guys and carts up there who will take your luggage.
Despite the long line at check-in it moved along quickly and we embarked by about 12:30. Cabins were to be ready by 1:30 so we made our way up to the Red Sail buffet for lunch. It was very difficult finding a table. The crowds of people were unbelievable. Tables were left dirty and didn't get cleaned for long periods of time, which seemed normal for the week. There does not seem to be enough cleaning staff in this area. At one point during the week I actually timed how long it took for someone to come and clean off a table which was left dirty near ours. It took 20 minutes. There also needs to be some sort of dress code in the buffet. On more than one occasion we saw men in line with their bathing suits and NO shirt. I found this disgusting and probably a health hazard as well. I understand that people are coming from the pool but at least put on a tee shirt! Again, Carnival needs more staff in this area.
After lunch we walked around the ship which I thought to be in great shape. I didn't see any noticeable signs of wear. We had 2 cabins in category 6B cabins 1315 & 1319. The cabins were large with plenty of storage and very clean. I thought they were in a great location almost midship. The problem with Riviera Deck is you can't see what is below you as we found out when we tried to go to sleep that night. There was a horrible noise coming below us which sounded like metal being dragged across the floor of our cabin. My husband is usually a sound sleeper and was awakened up by this noise. I had earplugs that muffled it a bit but I could still hear it. Our son and his family didn't sleep at all and made a call to complain. An engineer came to their cabin and told them there was a crew galley below us and they had complaints about it before. We received a call the next day by someone in Guest Relations who offered to change our cabins which we gratefully accepted. The new cabins up on deck 2 #2424 & 2426 were very aft and right by the elevators. I thought this was going to be a problem which it surprisingly was not. However, our son's problems were not over. They were awakened at about 2:30am with water coming through their ceiling outside of the bathroom. Apparently a water pipe in the dining room above his cabin had burst. The engineers and plumbers came and fixed it which took until 4:30am. They were able to dry the carpet and supposedly sanitize it, which according to my daughter in law consisted of someone wiping a rag on the carpet. Guest Relations again offered them to move to another room but they didn't feel like packing up again. This was only a 5-night cruise and already had to move once. So far not the "Fun Ship" experience we were expecting. The workers were able to dry their carpet and there was no odor. They were given a shipboard credit for their inconvenience. I did feel that Carnival did what they could to rectify the problems and handled it well.
We had early seating (6:00pm) dinner. Our wait staff for dinner were very attentive and did their job well. However, I think Carnival's food has taken a nosedive from my previous Carnival cruises. Except for the Chocolate Melting Cake, which is exceptional, I found very little that I actually enjoyed. I was very surprised because I always thought Carnival's food to be pretty good. My husband and son agreed. My daughter in law who is vegetarian found her meals to be mediocre at best. Our granddaughter found enough to keep her happy off of the children's menu. We ate in the dining room for breakfast most days because we just didn't want to deal with the crowds in the buffet. The service in the dining room for breakfast was horrendous. Most of the wait staff seemed very rushed and uncaring. Not too many smiley faces and not a great experience but at least we didn't have the crowds to contend with in the buffet. We ate lunch off of the ship when we were in port. Room service worked well with everything arriving in less time than expected and complete.
I had previously read about the photographers set up all across the Promenade but couldn't believe it until I saw it. You can't walk 15 feet without seeing another photographer and set up. It gets very crowded at times and you really have to be careful and watch where you are walking.
The deck space was usually crowded. Very difficult to find a deck chair around the pool but there seemed to be plenty on other decks. If you want to have a nice quiet place to sit and read there are chairs outside on deck 3 on both sides of the ship. My husband and I also spent a few hours on Serenity (Adults Only) Deck where we had no problem finding a deck chair. We saw no children trying to invade the area when we were there.
The entertainment was disappointing. Again, this was something that has also taken a nosedive. I always thought that Carnival did a good job in this department.
Our granddaughter opted not to take advantage of Camp Carnival. We did go to the meet & greet and we spent a little time in Camp Carnival on the first night to see what was offered but were unimpressed by both the facility and the counselors. We just enjoyed spending time together as a family.
Carnival did a good job in disembarking the passengers in Saint John and Halifax. No lines to speak of. These are nice ports to explore on foot with plenty of shopping and nice restaurants. We have been there a few times so we didn't take any shore excursions this trip. We had a damp and drizzly day in Halifax but as long as you had an umbrella you were fine. This was a good day for the Maritime Museum which my son and grand daughter enjoyed.
Disembarkation in New York was very easy. There didn't seem to be anyone rushing you to get out of your cabin. We found some seats on the Promenade and waited for our number to be called. We were off of the ship by about 9:30. After finding our luggage we went directly up the elevator to the parking lot.
Carnival is certainly not for everyone but I always thought it gave you a good value for your dollar. The problems we had with our cabins could happen on any ship. The other issues, I'm not so sure. I don't know if the complaints that I have written about and what I've read on CC are now fleet wide on Carnival or are they just on the Glory. I will have to read other reviews on the Carnival ships and decide if I ever want to take another chance.