This was my 103rd cruise and my third with Carnival. Former Carnival sailings were on two older ships: Fantasy in 1991 and Inspiration in 1997. I was a group leader on this sailing and responsible for 193 members of a professional organization for the week. We had meetings and social events scheduled daily and lots of preparation had gone into this cruise.
Let me start by saying that I was very pleasantly surprised overall by the Glory and the improvements Carnival has made over the past few years.
Embarkation: I arrived at the port at 11:15. When I finally boarded the ship it was 1:05 pm. We waited in line in the car to drop off luggage (20 minutes), security was not a long line but I did notice when I was getting on the ship that the line stretched out of the doors and down in front of the terminal. Unlike other lines I have sailed where there is a single check in process, we had to go through several lines with Carnival. We checked in on one line, then we had to go and get out SeaPass in another line (inefficient in my opinion). Then we waited in another line to have the photo taken for the SeaPass card. The final line was really annoying as it was a photo line, We were told it was "mandatory" to have an embarkation photo taken which I found ridiculous. The only way past the photographers was blocked with a large trash can. So we waited yet again and, when it was my turn, I said "no, thanks" and continued on through, despite being told it was "required" yet again. I was done waiting in line by this time and had no interest in a photo. I think Carnival needs to lighten up and provide a way through this process that does not require people to wait to have a photo taken if they are not interested.
Ship: The ship is 110 GRT and she was sailing completely full. The large, bold lobby area was designed with dramatic use of color and little natural light. I find Carnival ships to be generally quite dark with extensive use of neon and this held true with the Glory. It was however, more restrained in dEcor than the other two Carnival ships I sailed. I knew that only two decks went all the way through and I find this to be a very inconvenient design. The ship felt very cut up, adding to the feeling of overall congestion that I experienced all week. It would have made a lot more sense to give passengers options for getting around the ship but Decks 9 and 5 were it.
The pools were VERY small for a ship this size and got very crowded early. I did not care for the stadium seating at the main pool and, when I did use a pool, chose the Azur. There were seldom any chairs available at the pools so I found myself only using the pool on the days when we were in port and I chose to stay on the ship. Unfortunately, there were a ton of kids and teens aboard and swim diapers were in fashion. These really gross me out so I tended not to use the pool very often when there were kids around. Glory would benefit from an adult pool, IMHO, and this is something I missed all week long. There was really no place to get away from kids and noise. Funnel deck got full early and I never was able to find a free lounge chair there either.
My stateroom was cabin 8461 on Verandah Deck. It was an aft cabin smack in the middle. The cabin was spacious and well appointed, with plenty of storage and a decent sized bathroom. My verandah was smaller than expected, but they did manage to fit two lounge chairs and two regular chairs out there. I liked the location except for two things: (1) there was a good bit of vibration while we were sailing and (2) three mornings around 3:00 they would start re-organizing the deck chairs at the Azur pool, directly above my stateroom. If you are a light sleeper as I am, it will be a problem. My neighbors down the hall were also a problem, as they were loud and inconsiderate of others when staggering down the hallways drunk and loud at all hours but that is the luck of the draw.
Food: I am not going to be very helpful here to most readers, I imagine. I am a healthy eater and did not eat at the pizzeria, the deli, the ice cream station or the fish and chips. I did not try any desserts during the week. Also, I dislike buffets in general and prefer to be served. For breakfast when I cruise, I eat half a grapefruit and some smoked salmon. This was not available at Red Sail so I ordered thru room service a few days and on the others went to the dining room. I checked out the Lido buffet for breakfast but found it heavy on sugary and fatty foods. I did go to the omelette station one day and ask for egg whites. They cooked some up for me but had a really heavy hand with the grease so I did not eat them and did not go back there again.
Lunch: I would eat in port when possible and if not I would make a salad from the buffet and enjoy it on my balcony. There were a good number of choices available and the fish offerings were good in general. However, the lines were very long on sea days and I would just give up and forget amount lunch altogether. I have never e
We had the entire Golden Dining Room, Deck 4, reserved for our exclusive use. Food at dinner was good to very good most nights, with two . There seemed to be a problem with having foods, especially soups, served hot. They were often lukewarm. Twice I sent back my entrEe because it was cold. Otherwise, food was a pleasant surprise. The dining room staff was very friendly, however, service was not terrific. Water glasses were not kept full, refills on coffee were not offered and had to be requested. We had wine with dinner every evening and poured our own. Second servings of bread had to be requested, sometimes more than once. Waitstaff were simply not very attentive. This was also the case in the dining room in the morning when I several times observed passengers getting up to pour their own coffee. I did not care for the booths in the dining room and felt that you were on top of other people in the dining room. It felt like they were trying to jam as many people as possible into the space available. I thought this detracted from the experience.
Also, despite the fact that Caper stated that "shorts, baseball caps and tank tops are not permitted in the dining room", it was a common mode of dress. Carnival should either forget the dress code or enforce it. Jeans were everywhere.
The Emerald Room was a different story. I dined there twice and it was simply wonderful! The service was attentive and professional, the food delicious and perfectly prepared. The sommelier was knowledgeable and well trained. It was worth the supplement of $30 per person and was a highlight of the trip. There were only a few things that detracted from the elegance of the experience. One, the nearest ladies room was one deck down, outside by the pool. Not convenient and, by the nature of its location, not a great choice when one was dressed up. Two, it is a shame that advantage for the views available at sea was not utilized. Three, tables were arranged so that, when dining at a four top near the window, I constantly had to move aside so the server could serve from my right, as is proper. The tables needed to be farther apart.
Staff: The staff on the Glory were friendly and cordial. I had excellent service for my group and the entire staff was personable and always had a smile. My room stewardess left a bit to be desired as on two occasions dirty towels were simply left on the bathroom floor and not replaced when the room was made up. My pool towels were not changed unless I asked. And once she actually took a towel off of the bathroom floor and rehung it for me to use; I know this because I had dropped the towel into the toilet and soaked one end. When I reached for a towel that afternoon after my shower, the one I grabbed off the rack was soaked on one end. It made me wonder.
I had drinks one evening with the Captain and senior staff and totally enjoyed myself.
The bartenders were very nice but need better training with wines. On four different occasions I was served wine that had been opened and allowed to sour. As I paid between 9 and 15 a glass for these wines, there was no excuse for this. They were always replaced with a glass from a fresh bottle but this should not have occurred.
Nightlife: I did not attend any shows so cannot report on these. I also did not go out at night. I found the bars to be very smoky overall and also was not impressed with the live entertainment offered. On the couple of nights I popped into the disco, it was filled with a younger crowd. I do not gamble either. I missed going out at night as I am usually a nightowl but there were no spots on the ship that appealed to me. Instead, I relaxed on my balcony and read.
Passengers: The passenger mix was generally a casual group, the most casual I have ever experienced on a cruise. . Gym: The gym was well equipped and seldom crowded. There were very few options for classes that were free. Three classes a day were ten dollars each and one was free. I am spoiled by RCI and their sports program and really missed the fun classes offered. The sauna and steam room were very nice.
Ports: I did the Western itinerary. I stayed on the ship in Key West and Progresso, went to Paradise Beach in Cozumel, and went to the shops at Belize for about 15 minutes. The lines to get back on the ship in Cozumel were long and it was very hot. I have never been on a ship that had this problem before. Some of my clients told me it took them over an hour in line to embark the ship. Carnival needs to work on this.
My overall experience with the Glory was generally positive. The big plus was the staff, which was really quite good. The ship was clean overall and well maintained. The big minuses, for me, were that the ship constantly felt overcrowded and I felt like a sardine in a can. I stayed in my stateroom on this cruise more than on any other as I simply got tired of the crowds and the noise. It seemed like there was no escaping a crush of people! Lines were long, pools were packed, there were unsupervised kids running around everywhere.
There were NO adults only areas and I missed that. The whole ship was full of noise and people. Also, I prefer cruising on a line that is more upscale and elegant overall and disliked the jeans and shorts environment I found on the Glory. It is just not my style.
I think the Glory offers good value, especially for new cruisers or those looking for a more casual, less service oriented experience. I would not choose Carnival for my personal vacation.