This was my 10th cruise with Carnival. Cruising were myself and my wife (mid-40's) my daughter (13) and my in-laws. We cruise together at least once a year, usually corresponding with spring break for our daughter. Sometimes we will pick up a second, shorter cruise late in the year just to get our "fix".
On with the review. Embarkation:
This was our first time cruising from Miami. We've used Galveston, Mobile, New Orleans, Port Canaveral, Port Everglades and Tampa for past cruises. Once we actually got to the terminal everything was perfect....getting there....not nearly as easy as the other ports we have cruised from.
We arrived early, because there was a big music festival going on that weekend, plus several other events. We were only moments from checking in at security to being all checked in and waiting in the VFIP lounge. Boarding started later than we were used to, but the lounge was comfortable and we passed the time getting acquainted with some other cruisers that we'd met on the Roll-Call.
We were among the first on board at ~11:45. Our rooms were ready, so we unloaded our carry on bags and headed to the Lido for lunch. Our luggage arrived VERY quickly, by 2:00pm we had all our bags and were unpacked and ready to start our vacation!The ship:
Spotless!! It's obvious that the Glory is not long out of drydock. Everything was shiny and clean. Our suite was beautiful and our room steward Hernando took great care of us the entire time.
The 2.0 upgrades were wonderful, the new layout of the Lido pool area looks great! This is our 3rd Conquest-class ship, so finding our way around wasn't difficult at all.
Food: We had great food all week. We had ATD and I didn't notice any problems with long waits for service or cold food all cruise. MDR fare was as expected, and honestly a little better than I remembered. I particularly enjoyed the Jerk Pork. It was excellent! A little too spicy for my father-in-law, but even he admitted that the taste was great. Our waiter Navi and his team were awesome!!
It's become a tradition for my daughter and I to go to the steakhouse together on every cruise where it's available. What can I say about the food there that hasn't already been said? My Fillet was as close to perfection as I have had either at land or at sea, and my daughter loved the surf and turf.
Breakfast was good both in the MDR and on the lido. The new Punchliner brunch menu is good....not great, but a nice change of pace. The lido buffet selections for lunch seemed to be a little limited compared with recent cruises. But this could just be my imagination.
The "Guys Burger Joint" was outstanding. A huge leap past the old Lido burger. Didn't try the Blue Iguana Burritos..but they looked great! Ports:
We missed our scheduled stop in Grand Turk due to some problems with the islands water supply. It had been causing GI problems for several ships from different lines, so Carnival elected to play it safe and skip that port. Disappointing, but I actually thing that 4 ports on a 7 day cruise is one too many, so I wasn't really upset about it.
San Juan: Walking tour of Old San Juan. Getting there so early (8:00am) and leaving so late (10:00pm) really made it a stress-free experience.
St. Thomas: Booked a tour with Sunny Liston, open-air tour of the island (breathtaking!!) and a couple of hours at Sapphire beach, plus shopping. My FIL and I could have skipped the shopping, but the girls enjoyed it. I highly recommend Sunny Liston tours!
Nassau: We booked "The Blue Lagoon" online (not through Carnival) as a beach day. It's a very nice place, beautiful water, inflatable water toys and so on. The place is very well run, lifeguards everywhere and provided a relaxing experience. It was a last-min booking to replace the cancelled Grand Turk beach day. I'd recommend it, particularly to those with smaller children. It's completely self-contained and seemed very safe.
A few other notes. Loved the Cruise Director. Josh, AKA "Big Sexy"!! He's a great guy, outgoing and full of fun and energy. He's put together a great staff and they provide a lot of fun. MY DW and I were picked as the middle couple in the "Love and Marriage" show. What fun that was! I think we may have scarred my Daughter for life however.
We were on Deck 7 with passenger cabins above and below, so we had no noise issues at all.
Overall an excellent cruise experience, just as we have come to expect from Carnival.