Carnival Glory - Western Caribbean: Carnival Glory Cruise Review by Zyzygy

Carnival Glory 5
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Carnival Glory - Western Caribbean

Sail Date: July 2006
Destination: Western Caribbean
Embarkation: Port Canaveral (Orlando)
DW, two DDs (ages 25 and 27) and I sailed the Glory Western Caribbean itinerary July 29-August 5, 2006. This was our sixth cruise (one Dolphin; two Costa; one Celebrity) and second on Carnival.

Booking: We booked through a private travel agency and paid in full for a balcony guarantee (8A) at the time of booking (approximately 90 days pre-cruise). Upon learning of a slight price reduction, we called the agent and asked for a rebooking. They contacted Carnival, and because of the difficulty of rebooking after payment in full, they negotiated a guaranteed 8E cabin (1065--one of only two quads on the Panorama deck), and an $80 shipboard credit. This was satisfactory to us, as we liked the idea of being guaranteed on Panorama.

Travel to ship: We drove to Orlando and picked up DD at Orlando airport late on the night before departure. We had a AAA discount at the LaQuinta Inn on the north frontage road just off Semoran Blvd (SR 436) just north of Orlando airport. Had a More very nice room. They have an airport shuttle which runs 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. Drove to Port Canaveral and parked in cruise terminal deck.

Embarkation: Arrived at cruise terminal at 11 a.m., which was a little too early. Debarking passengers were still crossing the road to the parking lot, and the policeman had not yet arrived to supervise the queue of embarking passengers trying to leave off luggage. As a result, the arriving vehicles were poorly supervised until 11:30 a.m. I would recommend arriving at 11:30 or later.

Even though lines began forming quickly in the terminal, they proceeded in an orderly and swift manner. The desk personnel who processed immigration documents and issued Sign and Sail cards were especially courteous and efficient. We had a poor experience two years ago with check-in for Celebrity at Port Everglades, as got in the line of a retiree who didnt know how to use the computer. At Port Canaveral passengers wait in a single line and go to the next available agent when they hold up a card indicating they are free.

Cabin: The Panorama deck balcony cabin had a beautiful view and the cabin steward (Noel) did an outstanding job, especially in helping to keep a quad cabin neat and tidy. Cabin 1065 is in a short section of hallway directly behind the forward elevator lobby. Because only a few cabins are served by this short hallway, it was extremely quiet.

Overall ambience: We liked the striking colors and visuals of the Glory. The brightly colored lobby and public rooms were a good counterweight to the subdued character of the cabin.

Service: We found the service to be excellent. We made a point of learning the names of our cabin steward and dining room wait staff (Ildiko and Iputu), as well as several bartenders, and they were all unfailingly courteous and helpful. We felt that Ildiko offered the sort of dining room professionalism one would find in a first-rate restaurant. She has worked for Carnival for six years.

Food: We were assigned what we had requested: a table for four at the first seating in the Platinum (aft) dining room. We found the food to be quite good and in some instances excellent. The only item we were unable to eat was a crab cake on Thursday night. Carnivals menu has definitely improved since our earlier cruise with them several years ago. We enjoyed the food on Celebrity two years ago and believe that Carnival has gained considerable ground on that foodie line.

I felt the dining room was a little off on the evening of the midnight buffet. If having a midnight buffet means paying less attention to the dining room on that day, I would prefer that they drop the buffet and emphasize the dining room.

We had excellent ceviche, ahi tuna, and smoked octopus at the Fish & Chips (Sur Mer). Also enjoyed Reubens and tuna sandwiches at the Grille. We usually avoided the crowds at the Red Sail buffet, but the food we did eat there was plentiful and appetizing.

Emerald Room: We ate dinner one night at the Emerald Room (supper club). The service and food were outstanding. We brought two very good bottles of wine with us and paid $14 per bottle corkage. To my surprise the room was only about half full the night we ate there (Wednesday), and they continued to tout reservations there all week long. To our minds this was one of the highlights of the cruise.

Excursions: At Belize DW and I booked cave tubing through the ship and DDs went on the zip line, also booked through the ship. Because this is the rainy season, and a tropical depression was hovering over Belize while we were there, the river water was quite high. We went in a group of 45 with two excellent tour guides (Patrick and Rosalie) who explained a great deal of Belizean history on the way there and back. Passengers take a comfortable tour bus to a restaurant just outside the park where the caves are located, then take a park shuttle bus to the park headquarters. There you pay a $3 fee to rent a locker and $3 to rent a pair of swimming shoes. There is then a 45-minute (approximately a mile and a half) walk over slippery ground and rough gravel to get to the departure point. DW and I are in our mid-fifties and we were the oldest ones in our group.

Because we are familiar with river tubing where we live, that aspect was not new to us. But tubing through a long cavern was a real adventure, especially when everyone turned their miners lights out. Because it was overcast and raining that day, all sections of the cave were dark.

With 45 people our group became a little scattered in the swift current. We still felt this was more fun and independent, however, than being linked together in a smaller group.

Even though the park provided about six spotters to fend people away from the sharpest rocks, I still had two superficial abrasions (red marks) from hitting rocks in the swift current.

The cave tubing is a great adventure, but not for the frail or whiney. Because the river was high on our trip, I would accept with graciousness any notice that the tour was canceled due to high water, because the river can reach sufficient speed and force to throw people on to sharp rocks.

DDs enjoyed the zip line, but said the flying was fairly short. One DD, who is an experienced rock climber, objected to the overly simplistic technique and rigging used. Because they make participants rappel with their hand in front, between their legs, DD says this offers no protection if the participant flips upside down.

A note about DEET: We took the advice of Cruise Critic posters and used Repel 100% DEET. This proved to be so strong that it made our skin red and dissolved grease from the park bus seat and the inner tubes. Our backs were black and red for several days. Although we had no bug bites (a little girl on the cave tubing with no repellent had many), we would go with 25% DEET next time.

Entertainment: Carnival provides big production numbers with lots of talented dancers. The comedians were funny, but we especially enjoyed the illusionist, with the corny stage name of Justin Illusion. His was a full production show with choreographed dancers, fog machines, special effects, etc., a la David Copperfield.

Debarkation: We left our luggage outside and waited until our deck was called (just before leaving our cabin at 8:30). As Panorama was called first for assisted luggage, we had to wait behind some of the self-assist passengers and those who tried to jump ahead earlier to claim theirs. Although there was some wait in line (about 15 minutes) the process went smoothly. Although passports are not yet required for the Caribbean, it was our impression that passengers with passports were able to get through immigration much quicker.

Because Customs inspects baggage before it is put on the carousels, one need only pick up ones bag at the carousel and leave. Those who tried to leave before their deck was called still had to wait at the carousel for their decks luggage to be placed on the carousel. The porter was very helpful and volunteered to carry our luggage all the way to the car in the parking deck instead of just leaving it at the drive-up area.

Overall impression: We were impressed by Carnivals improvement in food and service from our last cruise. We really liked the Glory in general and our cabin in particular, and would eagerly rebook. Less

Published 09/02/06

Cabin review: 8A1065 Balcony

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