This was our 10th cruise with Carnival, making us "Platinum Members". The treatment we received was remarkable! My wife and I were the very first to board the ship, and was among the first 15 to disembark at the end of the cruise. Holding that Platinum "Sail & Sign" card definitely has its advantages!
Embarkation: We arrived at the terminal, via Carnival's shuttle, from the airport in Orlando. The longest wait that we encountered was waiting for a spot to open up for the bus to park. Once inside the terminal, we proceeded to the check-in counter. The clerk noticed that this was our 10th cruise with Carnival and let the entire terminal know it by hollering "we have Platinum here! We have Platinum here!". She closed up her counter and took us directly to the VIP check-in area. The clerk here also announced to everyone about our Platinum status. Kind of embarrassing at first, but well worth it! After sitting in the VIP area for about 15-min, about 30 of us proceeded to the ship. First to board, we proceeded to our cabin, which was still being prepped, so we dropped off our carry-ons and went to check on our dining room assignment.
Having requested a table for two, the Maitre D' informed us that we were at a table for 6. That is...until he saw the Platinum cards we had and therefore changed us to a table for two! Nice perk!
The Ship: The Glory is a wonderful ship! Clean, easy to navigate and full of wonderful activities. We thoroughly enjoyed this ship and it easily became one of our favorites yet!! The crew is outstanding, willing to go out of their way to assist in any way possible to make our cruise the best yet. "Wee Jimmy" is one of the best Social Hosts we've EVER had to opportunity to share a cruise with. Absolutely fantastic!! He will make a wonderful CD some day. We love the way he calls bingo ("N-farty nine").
The Food: What can one say? The food aboard ANY Carnival ship is outstanding! The Glory is no exception!! One fantastic surprise we encountered was the fish and chips. It was so good that we ate lunch there 5 times during our 7-day cruise! And my wife will hardly ever eat fish! We also tried the supper club for the first time. The food here was worth every penny. The best 24-oz steak I've ever sunk my teeth into. There was nothing to complain about, at all, about the food.
Our Cabin: For some unknown reason, we were given a Handicap cabin and it was great. We tried, however, to get another cabin so that someone who actually needed it could have it. But the Purser told us not to worry, that no one else required this cabin. The cabin had the largest bathroom we've ever seen on the high seas. It was large enough to put a wheelchair in the shower! The bedding is just as everyone describes...like sleeping on a cloud. We got the best sleep aboard this ship. And this cabin was directly across from the elevators on the Empress Deck, which made it very convenient for us to get around the ship.
Ports of Call: Our stop in Nassau found us staying onboard for the entire day, as we had just been there on our Elation cruise in July. We enjoyed having the pool and whirlpool to ourselves. There was a US Navy destroyer that docked alongside of our ship, so I spent a lot of time watching our sailors in action...hauling off the garbage from their ship! Quite fascinating what happens aboard a warship when it comes into port.
In St. Thomas, we had arranged to take an shopping/island tour with Godfrey's Tour. We booked this tour on his website (Godfreytours.com)for $25 per person. We had planned to spend 2-hours shopping, 2-hours touring the island and 2-hours swimming at one of three beaches. However, by the time we went through US Customs, we had lost one of the hours of shopping. And because there were 4 other cruise ships in port, the highway traffic made Godfrey an hour late. We ended up shopping for about 45-minutes, which was OK with us. The island tour was fantastic and the swimming was great! We got back to the ship around 4:30pm, well before we set sail at 7:00pm.
Our final port of call was at our favorite one of all...St. Maarten! We have been here three times before this cruise and love it here. My wife and I keep saying that "once they build a Wal-Mart here, we're staying!". We took a taxi ($7 pp) to Orient Beach. We stayed here from 8:00am until 3:30pm. We picked up two beach chairs, an umbrella and two drinks from "Brice's Paradise" for $14. Best Pina Coladas we've ever had! We rented a jet ski ($45 for 30-min) and had a ball. Parasail rides are $60 for one, $90 for tandem. This beach is the best we have been to, including Waikiki in Hawaii. Once you get use to seeing the nudists from the other end of the beach walking past, you'll realize that the natural scenery makes this beach something NOT to miss.
Debarkation: As Platinum Members, we were told to assemble in the library by 6:45am. We arrived there to find about 30 other fellow cruisers already there. At 7:15am, the ship was cleared by Customs and we were led off the ship. An hour and 15-minutes later, we were at the Orlando airport! This was the quickest we've ever gotten off a cruise ship. Our luggage was all together in one spot in the warehouse, so we didn't have to spend any time at all looking for each piece. Another great perk!
Overall Opinion: This was, by far, the best cruise we've been on yet! There was absolutely nothing to complain about. The only thing that we wish we would have done was to attend the Chocolate Buffet. Not sure how we missed it, but we won't next time. That's for sure! Although we have yet to sail on any Carnival ship twice, we would not hesitate doing this ship and cruise again. Being a Platinum Member has convinced us into NOT trying another cruise line. With service like this, we'd be nuts to go elsewhere. Thanks, Carnival!