This was our sixth cruise on the Glory, 17th on Carnival, and we enjoyed everything about this seven-day itinerary. We are mid-fifties, traveling with friends slightly older, and in our little group we have to seek activities where the walking and climbing is limited.
First, we were delighted to see that the separate line for Platinum begins before the security scan. Well done, New York! Other ports could take a lesson from this. Our line was mixed with special needs cruisers using walking aids or wheelchairs. Each person was kind to the next as the lines merged. Embarkation was brief and pleasant.
We had an inside cabin on Deck 6 near the forward elevators, an excellent location. We stretched our legs to go to the Platinum (back) dining room in the morning when we were frisky and we stayed in the front for dinner in the Golden dining room, shows in the Amber Palace, and the casino for the evening. Before anyone else starts complaining about not being able to walk through all the floors: for heaven's sake, only two floors are blocked by the galleys in the middle. On 3 and 4, you cannot walk from bow to stern. Go up or go down one, walk through the cabins on 2 or the Promenade on 5, and take the other elevator up or down to your destination.
We found Serenity decks with no problems and had an easy time grouping seats for four. The view from the high decks is terrific. You can take one of the main forward elevators to 11. Then, if you need to, you can take another nearby elevator to 12 for the second Serenity area if you cannot climb stairs.
Similarly, and this is not publicized, you can take the midship elevator to the Steakhouse, go out the door next to its entrance and around the corner, and poof! You're at the fish and chips place without climbing stairs from Red Sail on 9 (Lido).
We ate most meals in the Main Dining Room (MDR), which is Platinum for breakfast and lunch, open seating. And you will be assigned Golden or Platinum for dinner, or Golden Deck 3 for Your Time dining. At one lunch we had big pieces of a fish called tile, with Mediterranean vegetables; rainbow trout; sesame-crusted steak slices next to a salad; and the popular baguette with shrimp and crab salad. It was good, but Carnival really shines on its soups. They are not heavy cream-based soups: German lentil, gazpacho, corn chowder but not a thick cream, and the chilled soups such as cherry and peach.
We thought the food was very good, with a combination of meals available each night and several starters, salads, entrees, and desserts that changed each night. Thank you to Alexander and his team, and the maitre'd "Chubby," for a wonderful experience every day.
Midmorning and mid-evening, Marlo would visit our room, tidy up, fill the ice bucket, and leave us a towel animal for the night. We appreciated his service. He and the dining room team greeted us by name from Day 1. I wonder if the people who are reviewing poor service take any interest in greeting the individuals who are working hard representing Carnival? Just a thought.
We watched two very good production shows and, on this port-intensive itinerary, Love and Marriage was an evening show. Cruise Director Matt Mitcham was excellent; this was our first time meeting him. Great sense of humor and a genuine interest in the cruisers. He hosted more activities in the casino lounge area than we had ever seen a CD host before.
The captain briefed us on location and weather at noon both days we were on board at that time. His English was excellent and we were honored to meet him and chat at cruise-elegant evening. He actually gave more information than we have heard before regarding weather conditions.
We booked three shore excursions through Carnival for the sheer convenience of the nearby pickup/dropoff point, given some of our walking restrictions. In Boston, we booked the Hop On/Hop Off Trolley with Old Time Trolleys, through the ship. It's $10 more than going on their website and booking their regular trolley that stops about mile away at the port. For $10 we had front-door availability and a set of trolleys on the limited route for the Carnival Glory. It was all that was needed for the one day: stops at U.S.S. Constitution, original Cheers/Boston Gardens, the Prudential building, and Faneiul Hall/Quincy Market, with return to the door of the port. We walked part of the Freedom Trail and hopped back on to the Constitution, then back on to just ride around, and it worked out perfectly.
In Portland, we walked about a block to the right and rode the Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad. It chugs down along Casco Bay and you know you are in New England. The seats face out (to the bay and to the city on the other side). It is courteous to switch with the city-facing folks when the train stops at the bridge for a few minutes of relaxation, so they can watch the bay on the way back. Inexpensive, less than an hour, but picturesque and so very Maine.
We then walked to downtown, about mile back past the cruise terminal. There were pedicabs everywhere -- no set fee, pay as you please. We went downtown with our eye on the 1PM trolley from Long Wharf. It goes all around Portland then out to a beautiful park and recreation area and the Portland Head Light. We stopped for 15 minutes and of course bought a Whoopie Pie, Maine's signature dessert of chocolate cake-wafers with marshmallow inside.
We ate at the Portland Lobster Company, informal and absolutely wonderful lobster rolls and whole fried clams, before our trolley. They had seats on an earlier one and offered them, so we jumped on. What a fabulous day.
Saint John was foggy so we walked around a little and had an early lunch at Steamers, just a block from the terminal. Excellent seafood. It rained and we scampered back to the terminal early to wait for the trolley. This we booked through the ship: again, for the convenience of having it pull right up to the door and minimize walking.
The guides are in period English clothing and our guide was extremely knowledgeable and entertaining. We went to the Reversing Falls for 15 minutes, enough time to admire this fascinating meeting of the bay and the river. We heard about the growth of the town, saw actor Donald Sutherland's childhood home street, and learned of their very enterprising mayor's strategy to encourage cruise ships to begin coming.
Some ship was running from a storm and asked for harbor, and the mayor agreed. She organized a phone tree to residents, asking them to greet the ship, and 1500 turned out to wave and greet and give directions and information. She got a florist to donate roses for each lady who visited from the ship, and still today they have 100 roses ready for the first 100 ladies who debark. All around the city they were friendly and informative and welcoming, and it was clean and safe and interesting. A great day, even with rain.
Halifax is bigger, more sophisticated, and just as interesting. Within a few yards of exiting the terminal, we booked the Hop On/Hop Off double-decker pink bus. I read reviews criticizing it and I can't imagine what they were talking about. This is a GrayLine tour booked to your ship's card. They run three different routes or loops. They had us lined up in a garage, out of the weather, according to route and the buses were frequent. The view from the upper deck was magnificent. One guide wore his Logan plaid kilt and explained all about it.
We took the downtown loop along the riverwalk, and saw other cruisers had just walked it. The whole riverwalk is 1.5 miles. After about a mile is the Maritime Museum, with a Titanic anniversary exhibit as well as tugboats, cable ships, and other vessels on display with information. The Titanic Dive movie is extra, so we didn't go in. There is an elevator to the second floor; just ask.
We ate at Murphy's on the Water with a beautiful harbor view and it was out of the ordinary. Wonderful salad with blueberry vinaigrette; lobster roll with fennel in the touch of mayo; lobster quesadillas; smoked salmon linguine. It was too cold and rainy to sail on the Tall Ship Silva, which we were looking at doing. And since we paid for the HOHO, we didn't go on the Duck around the city and into the water. But they are on my list for next time.
And yes, I hope there will be a next time! Great itinerary, great ship. Our two days in NYC before cruising were just right for easing us into the relaxation mode. We stayed at Hampton Inn Seaport, way to the south, but Manhattan is so small it was only four miles to the cruise ship dock in midtown.