THE SHIP: Theme and staff: The Glory is a fantastic ship! It has a color theme that is carried throughout the ship. All the dining rooms, bars, lounges, and meeting rooms are named and decorated after a color. It's quite neat. The boat is elegantly (to my mind) appointed, but not stuffy. It was always spotless. The staff really worked well together as a team. Everyone had a positive attitude and genuinely seemed to care that we were having a great time. They were helpful and informative. They seemed to anticipate every need. Our cruise director, Wee Jimmy, was the highlight of the cruise. We loved him. He was a chubby little Scottish guy and he was superb!
I had heard reports that this boat rocks more than typical, but I did not find this to be true. All boats rock and there was some, but only one night was it bad. I found it to be quite amusing...walking up hill on second and running down hill the next. Some of our fellow cruisers had a different (and less jovial) perspective.
Food: The food was excellent. There was a 25 hour pizzeria, deli, and ice cream. There are a couple of breakfast options. There is a sit down breakfast in one of the dining rooms and a buffet. the buffet was great and a had a good variety. Everything from fruit and cereal, to bacon eggs and toast, to an omelete station. There are several lunch options. Again a sit down lunch, the buffet, hamburgers hot dogs and French fries on the deck, the pizzeria, or the deli. The hamburgers were fantastic!
Dinner was probably our favorite experience of the cruise. The food was outstanding and the service was the best I've ever seen. I was genuinely sad when we had to leave our wait staff! You can also hit the buffet or the grill on the deck. There is a supper club which costs extra. We didn't opt for that so I can't comment on that.
Activities: There are a lot of activities offered. you can stay as busy as you want. Everyone is assigned a team and pretty much every activity scores points for your team. There is Bingo, Karaoke, various contests, etc. There is also a pretty large casino if that's your thing, a dance club (which was largely inactive), art auctions, live music, magic shows, vegas style dance shows, movies on the big screen, comedy acts, etc. There is a large (though pricey) spa, a world class weight room, a running track, basketball court, volleyball court, ping pong, shuffle board, and golf lessons. There are three pools, six jacuzzis, and a huge water slide. There was also live music all over the boat, which is an increasing rarity these days.
THE PORTS: Nassau: We had not signed up for an excursion in Nassau and I was pretty glad. A cold front moved in and the temp dropped into the mid 70's. Too cold to be in the water! Also, it was a Sunday and many of the shops were closed. We disembarked, walked around for a while and headed back to the ship. We spent a leisurely day on the nearly deserted boat. It was nice. The people who did excursions seemed to have a good time despite the cold. I would recommend an excursion at this port. There isn't much to see or do otherwise.
St. Thomas: This island is beautiful. We booked a shopping and beach combo excursion for $30 per person. Our group was picked up at the dock then dropped off downtown for 2 hours of shopping to be followed by a ride back to the boat to drop of purchases, then 2 hours at a beach. Our driver, however, never showed up and we were forced to hire our own ride back to the boat. Carnival refunded our money with no problem, but it was still frustrating. We (the stranded group) decided to take hire a ride on our own to take to Magen's Bay and bring us back to the ship. That turned out to be a great decision. Our driver went out of his way to take to the best places for photos, and deals on souvenirs. He paid for our beach access so that we would only have to pay once. If you want to do shopping and a beach, do it on your own. Taxi fees will run about $5 per person for a round trip to downtown, and about $5 per person for a round trip to Magen's Bay. There is a $3 per person entrance fee to Magen's, but it is so worth it! Taxis are everywhere and you can catch one whenever you want. Also, the taxis are converted pickup trucks. Open air, bench seats, pretty fun. There is plenty of shopping within walking distance of the dock. Most of the people on my left-behind excursion said they would have preferred the dockside shopping to the downtown shopping if they had known that was an option. There are the same store with the same products, but it's closer, nicer, and less crowded. Magen's has a restaurant, some lockers, some bars, but not much else. It's pretty secluded and quiet. I would highly recommend a trip to Magen's Bay.
St. Maarten: We headed out on our own. The port is fantastic. There is shopping, live music, photo ops, and plenty of taxis. When you exit the port area, there are taxis (vans) waiting and you just get in a line based on where you want to go. There are lines for several beaches, island tours, shopping opportunities, etc. It's very easy. We went to Orient Beach. It's on the French side of the island (the port is on the Dutch side) so you get to see a good bit of the island. It is French, so there will be toplessness. The beach is probably the best I've ever been to. And that says a lot. There are plenty of restaurants. Most have deals where you can get a beach chair, umbrella, and a drink for $7. Pretty much every beach activity is offered here. You can go snorkeling, parasailing, sailboating, jet skiing, etc. There is also a small area where you can shop for crafts and such. The water is the clearest I have ever seen! There is a taxi stand where you wait for a taxi id you haven't made arrangements to be picked up. Most taxis that drop you off are willing to come back at a specified time to pick you up. Round trip in a full taxi is about $12 per person. There is also shopping within walking distance from the docks (about 10-12 minutes). From the downtown shopping area you can take a taxi to the dock, a water taxi, or walk. I suggest walking. It's not too far and it'll save you a few bucks.
I would highly recommend Carnival and this boat in particular! Please feel free to email with any questions email@example.com