Our little group (husband, myself & 5 year old son) had a very nice time on this ship. We drove from Kingwood (by Houston), Texas to Port Canaveral. It is a long drive, 16 hours. We followed the suggestion of staying at the Radisson in Cape Canaveral and we had a rate of $99 (with the free parking). Although, I would venture to say that it is not monitored; so most folks would be able to park there at no charge. The hotel was more of a motel; but it was clean.
We took the shuttle to the Glory and gave our luggage to the curbside attendants. No problem at all. They were not shy regarding tips, either.... Just be prepared.
We waited in line for about 30 minutes and got on board with no trouble at all. We arrived around noon. We purchased a category 4A (guaranteed inside cabin) and were upgraded to a 6A (inside, upper deck). That was nice; would have liked a window or balcony better; but that's what we get for being cheap!
The cabin was nice and roomy. Our cabin steward was "okay". Didn't see her much; and neither did our room; but we were not there enough for it to make a difference.
We prefer the casual setting for our meals; so we did not have any meals in the formal dining rooms. We liked the selection in the Red Sail. However I will say that compared to the Royal Caribbean Windjammer Cafe, it paled in comparison. The food was good; but usually at room temp. We did not like the room service provided at Carnival. It took too long (over one hour for a fruit salad) and on RCCL lots of the desserts & ice cream were far superior in quality.
BAHAMAS: Immigration was a pain but we enjoyed going to the Atlantis Resort ($25/adults & $19/children) and enjoyed all the amenities (without staying at any hotel-pools & beaches included). I will say the cabs charge $4/pp each way-so be prepared. The island was poor but the beaches were incredible. The stay was too short!
ST. THOMAS: We took the island tour with Raymond (private tour/not sponsored by Carnival). He's awesome. For $20/pp (adults) and $0.00/children, it was a great deal. We found him by the Little Switzerland building. He showed us (along with 10 other folks) to all the highlights of the island and then dropped us off at Coki Beach. INCREDIBLE! WOW! He picked us up at 5:00 (I think) and took us directly to the ship's ramp to board. He didn't expect payment until the end of the day and we didn't have to pay for any entrance fees, etc. All in all a great value & we had a very, very nice time.
ST. MARTIN: We took off on our own, walked to Phillipsburg (not that long a walk, approx. 1 mile) and looked for scooter rentals. After we rented our scooters, we were informed by two officers that children (our 5 year old) was not allowed to ride on the scooter with us. Had we known that or for that matter that the island was not flat, we never would have rented them. It turns out that the guy that rented us the scooters had "never heard of such a law" and didn't want to give us our $$ back. We ended up making a deal with him and got 1/2 of our $$ back-for his inconvenience. In any case, we make our way to Orient Beach, via taxi and had a great time. The "clothing optional" didn't bother us and only about half of the women there (including some of the Carnival Dancers) were topless. It didn't faze my son, who was busy playing in the sand/water and my hubby was as happy as a clam... The drinks were very good.
AT SEA: Fun; but could have been better; had there been more options. Played a little bingo, which is always fun and visited the casino a few times. The pool area was very comfortable and my son ABSOLUTELY LOVED THE SLIDE!
THE BOAT: Very nice, not gaudy at all. I agree with most-that the atrium could have been nicer and more spacious. Also, deck 5 was a must know to get anywhere on the boat. Wish they had a similar deck on top (to walk around). Visited the spa and gym and liked it too. I didn't like the idea of having to pay extra for specialty coffee, ice cream or good desserts. We thought it should be included in the base fare (like RCCL).
GETTING OFF: The process seemed complicated but really wasn't. We got off pretty quickly and didn't have any trouble getting our luggage. We left it out the night before. They say you should have it outside your cabin between 10pm-12pm and they mean it...
Although we enjoyed this much need vacation and loved the boat-the staff was not as friendly as we had hoped and the food was just fair. The shows were very good and we enjoyed them a lot.
Our next cruise will likely be back on RCCL. We may try Carnival again; but it will be awhile. Hope you benefited from the review. If you need info; don't hesitate to contact me at email@example.com I would be happy to answer any questions, etc. Thanks for your time.