Just got back from a 7-night Western Caribbean cruise on the Glory and had an AMAZING time. We're a married couple in our late 20s, no kids. This was our 7th cruise, 5th on Carnival. Last spring we actually cruised on the Glory on a 5-day to Canada before the ship went into dry dock. It was OK, but some of the facilities on the ship were a little tired and the itinerary wasn't great. We booked this cruise because we were eager to try the 2.0 upgrades and were not disappointed!
Embarkation was a breeze, we arrived at the port around noon and were on the ship within 20 minutes.
Our cabin was a 1st level ocean view, it was nice and felt roomy. We noticed an improvement with the level of noise from announcements. On previous Carnival cruises we were constantly barraged with in-room announcements for sales and bingo. We sailed with RCCL on our last cruise and this was not an issue at all. On the Glory, all announcements were in the hall which was great. Never saw our cabin steward which didn't bother us, he did a great job.
After a chilly sail away in Miami we experienced great weather. The sea says were spent lounging on deck however it was very difficult to find a place to sit. We typically sit apart because my husband prefers shade and I like the sun but it was often difficult to find even a single chair not occupied by a towel. We're not early risers, so I am not sure what time they fill up. We could usually find a seat by the ping pong tables, for obvious reasons this section seemed to be the least popular. We also miss the calypso band on lido deck. They have been replaced by DJ and if you are right in the main area, the music is obnoxiously loud. Later in the afternoons they had acoustic guitarists however which we liked.
While on the ship, we enjoyed spending time at the Red Frog and Blue Iguana bars on Lido. We cruised on the Magic and loved the addition of Red Frog so we were excited to be able to have some Thirsty Frog on this trip. Carnival has done a great job making the pool bars more of a destination. They have also extended the decor on both sides on the main pool area around Guys and the Cantina which made dining in these areas much more enjoyable. The food at both locations was also great. Every day we had a burger or a burrito/taco and found no reason to venture to the buffet. We had pizza on one late night occasion but it wasn't great. I prefer the old recipe. The line was also long as they seem to make the pizzas to order which isn't a great idea of the late night bar crowd. We found the service at the Lido bars to be good.
We were also impressed by the other 2.0 upgrades. We loved the Alchemy bar and enjoyed the service there. It was nice to be able to order custom cocktails that weren't from a pre-mixed jug. This are is great for pre-dinner cocktails and people watching. We also enjoyed the Taste Bar which took the place of the sushi station. I love sushi but found the offerings on my last trip disappointing so I wasn't sorry to see it go. The only down side is it was only offered 4 of the days! The live music around the ship was pretty good. We also attended a couple of adult comedy shows. On a scale of 1 to 10 they ranged between 6-8, we had a good time.
We visited the steakhouse which did not disappoint. Everything we had was delicious and the service was perfect. Unfortunately the food in MDR failed to impress. It was OK, but nothing great. Still, we never left hungry and had a great time.
I should also mention that we tried the Cheers program and thought it was a good deal. We like to drink and the bill at the end of each cruise is always unpleasant. We liked knowing up front how much we would be spending. It also made deciding on drinks painless as we did not have to factor in cost and felt more able to try new things. Most of Carnivals beverages are under $10 so we never had an issue not being able to order a drink that we wanted. The 15 drink maximum was not an issue. My better half did max out a few times but by then it was time to call it a night anyway.
The itinerary on this cruise was very enjoyable. Generally we do not book excursions through Carnival as we have found better and less expensive options through private vendors. We have not run into any issues yet.
Cozumel --We decided to keep it low-key since we have been to this port a view times and did a tour at the KaoKao chocolate factory. It was a very interesting and personal tour and it was fun to try their different chocolates. We then went back to the ship for lunch and then to the Money Bar to spend some time by the beach. No entry fee and reasonable a la carte pricing was nice, but there wasn't much of a beach. It is important to be aware that cabs in Cozumel are union and are pretty expensive. Although our excursions were very reasonable, the price of cab fare added up quick and we spent much more than we had planned.
Costa Maya -- we were originally supposed to go to Belize but Carnival changed ports due to a dispute over the number of ships to be tendered that day. We were pleased as we did not overly enjoy Belize and Costa Maya was once of our favorite stops on a past cruise. We booked a stand up paddle boarding lesson through UnderToe Mexico. We were beginners and had a great time. Afterwards, we spent the day at the beach in front of the Black Pearl bar which has great margaritas. The location is right on the beach in Mahahual which has a bunch of small hotels and bars, much more of a local feel than the port. We had a great time there and would definitely go back.
Isla Roatan Honduras -- Although the day appeared to be gorgeous, the Glory had trouble docking due to high winds and swells. Luckily we got in on the 3rd attempt but it resulted in being 2hrs last on a short port day (back on board by 3pm). We reserved a place at Little French Key which is a tiny island resort with plenty of lounging areas and a small zoo. Wow, this place was beautiful. Our photos make it look like we spent the day in Bora Bora. I would recommend it and wish we could have stayed longer. It was a little expensive however and the bar wasn't great, so in less than ideal weather this may not be the place to go. Also just to note, if you book a tour that is not through Carnival, they will not allow your company to pick you up in port. You must walk a short ways to the port gates. A little unnerving at first but it was not a big deal.
Grand Cayman -- We hate tender ports and the cattle call of trying to get off the boat so we decided to sleep in and book a later excursion. In the afternoon we took a horseback beach trek through Spirit of the West. What a great excursion! We rode on the beach with a small group (6) and 2 guides. We then unsaddled the horses and rode them into the water until they were swimming. It was an amazing experience.
So in closing -- we had a wonderful time on the Glory and can't wait to book another cruise! Carnival is still our favorite line and we had no issues. But now for one complaint... for anyone who has sailed the Glory before, you may have encountered Tom, the piano bar performer. He is the WORST and nothing has changed. He has no personality and plays the most depressing array of songs. The few people that visited the bar were falling asleep so it is no wonder he closed early every night. Such a shame, this is usually one of our favorite areas of the ship.