Let me say first of all, how very thankful we are to be able to have the financial ability and time to take a cruise each year for the past several years. I think many of us on these review sites do take the ability to cruise for granted -- and I know we rarely consider the sacrifices that the crew members must be endure to allow us our vacations -- being away from their families for 6-8 months at a time, not seeing their children and spouses -- and living in very difficult circumstances, working 10-12 hours a day for seven days a week.
For the sacrifices that these people make I am sincerely grateful.
We sailed on the Carnival Glory from Miami on Dec 9th-16th, 2012.
Embarkation was super easy, there were short lines, but hey, they are trying to get 3000 people on the ship within a couple of hours. It is no easy matter.
The crew on this ship were all extremely nice, polite and helpful -- every single one of them. Our cabin steward, Rodwick, was always in good spirits and took excellent care of us and our cabin.
The Ship --
The Carnival Glory has recently gone through a dry docking and renovation. Many things on this ship were upgraded -- such as the outdoor movie theater, and the addition of the new Guy Fieri's Burger Bar and the new Blue Iguana Mexican food stand by the Lido deck pool.
The burger at Guy's Burger Bar was truly one of the best I have eaten, and the Blue Iguana serves really delicious breakfast style burrito's for breakfast and taco's and burrito's for lunch (think Chipotle Mexican Grill.)
The food in the buffet area for breakfast is really poor. I know they are trying to feed 1000's of people, I get that, but it is just not good. They would do better with serving only breakfast burrito's -- which are quite good.
We dined in the steakhouse one evening, and the food was really terrific. The service was beyond excellent and I would rate this 5 stars. The dinner service in the main dining room restaurant is very good, as is the food -- with a few exceptions -- the desserts they offer are near tasteless. It's a shame to end the evening on such a short note.
The one thing I will say about the entire ship, with the exception of the newly renovated areas the entire decor is pretty gaudy. I have sailed on three ships with Carnival, and this seems to be the way their entire decoration process is handled. The steakhouse looks like an old Vegas style buffet area -- with neon lighting.
The other bad thing about the steakhouse is where it is located -- or really what is just above the restaurant -- which is the jogging track. So, imagine enjoying a five star dining experience and every few minutes you hear the loud thumping of the joggers above you on the jogging deck. This is not the problem of the restaurant, it's just a bad design idea -- as is the decor in the steak house. For me, I always think of a steakhouse with the massive wood panels and furniture -- as I said, this would remind you more of an old Vegas style buffet.
Entertainment -- Shows
Carnival has rebooted the entertainment on this ship as far as the production shows go. The shows are shorter and they use beautifully done graphics set behind the dancers to make the shows wonderful -- and they are. The production shows are not to be missed.
Comedy Club --
We did not do any of the comedy clubs this cruise, although the club itself looks great and I understand they do have many new shows -- and the comedians have been chosen by George Lopez.
Shore Excursions --
Most of these were great, but as with all Shore Excursions on ships -- overpriced. One of the excursions in Grand Cayman was a City Tour for about $50. When we stepped off the ship the tour was offered for $40 -- and as we stepped out into the new 'ship company owned area' we grabbed the same tour for $10.
In Cozumel we did the Mayan Ruins tour to Tulum -- and I would highly recommend it. In Belize we did another Mayan Ruins tour and boat ride -- both were good.
In Roatan we never left the port area. You'll see the chairlift in Roatan and for $12 you can ride the chairlift back and forth from the port to the beach. It's about a 3 block walk to the beach so this chairlift is really a waste of your money. For my $24 I'd rather have a cocktail.
One of the things I think needs improving upon by the cruise line is the shore excursion disembarking procedures when tenders are involved. I have never seen I take so long as it did on this ship to get to a tender and get across the water to the port. On our last stop, Grand Cayman, we did not have a shore excursion purchased through Carnival so we had to wait until those who had a shore excursion got transported from the ship to the port.
We waited about two hours before we could get off the ship. Luckily, there is next to nothing to see in Grand Cayman (it was a HUGE snore) so we were only off the ship about 3 hours total -- including our self-purchased 'Island Tour.'
Disappointing things about this cruise --
Again, I want to point out that we have been and we are very fortunate to have had the ability to take a cruise nearly every year for the past six years, and I realize there are many who have never had or taken the opportunity. That said, I do want to point out that Carnival offers the lowest cruise fares on the seas and this is the type of traveler it attracts -- those looking for the bargains.
Before booking this cruise I had a cruise booked on Princess (our preferred ship line) but cancelled that cruise because we could get a room with a balcony on this ship (Carnival) for only $200 more than our interior room would have been on Princess. It was a mistake. I should have and will from this point forward sail with Princess.
Every day we were on the ship we kept asking each other "Is this Halloween?" or "I thought Halloween was in October, not December." I have never seen so many .99 cent store type of people in my life. I have never seen so many bad hair do's, or bad clothes -- ever. I have never had so many people (teenagers) running down the hall being loud at all hours of the night -- or people coming in late and letting their doors slam shut -- waking half the people up on the floor. This happened every night.
People on the ship were walking around like zombie's. I always greet people when I get off/on the elevator and rarely did anyone speak when I said hello to them -- they just stared at the number of the floor we were on shown on the display. A lot of people were also angry at the world -- in general, and it showed all over their faces.
Just be aware of the type of crowd you are most likely to experience.
Disappointing for Cigar Smokers --
I enjoy fine cigars and Carnival does have a bar they allow you to use to smoke cigars in, but it is not a real cigar lounge like they have on the Princess ships. The Princess ships have a real mans-man type of cigar lounge with beautiful wood paneled walls, leather chairs -- a real cigar lounge. This Carnival ship did not have that -- disappointingly, so I just smoked my cigars on our balcony. But, cigar smoking is really about smoking a nice cigar
with like-minded friends -- a social event.
In Conclusion --
This was a nice time, even with all of the experiences. We do believe it was our last cruise on Carnival, and will most likely sail again with Princess and we may try out the new Royal Caribbean ships.