My review of the Carnival Glory March 31st to April 7th 2013. Myself, my wife Nicole and son (13).
GETTING THERE: First, we flew into Ft. Lauderdale Saturday afternoon instead of Miami because the flight was significantly less expensive. We took the SAS Transportation shuttle to our hotel in Miami. We booked the shuttle online and once we had our luggage called them they told us where to be and we were picked up in less than 10 minutes and off to our hotel. We were the only 3 people in the van and the driver was very good. Next, was the hotel. We stayed at the Hampton Inn in Brickell based on trip advisor reviews. The hotel was very nice had free Wi-Fi, a rooftop pool/ spa on the 6th floor, we were also given 2 free drink tickets for the bar and there was also free breakfast, and there was a lot of shopping and restaurants within easy walking distance from the hotel. We had dinner at Kokoriko, which is a Columbian Rotisserie Chicken place and it is right across the street from the hotel and very good. The hotel has an arrangement with a shuttle company to take people to the ports of Miami and also Ft. Lauderdale. The charge is $8.00 per person and they go every hour starting at 10am. We, of course, signed up for 10am because we couldn't wait to get onboard the Glory in the morning. The shuttle arrived as scheduled and there were the 3 of us and another couple in the shuttle they dropped us off first before taking the others to the port in Ft. Lauderdale.
Embarkation: the shuttle dropped us off around 10:15am and we gave our checked luggage to one of the porters along with a tip and were among the first to arrive. We went straight through security and then because we had a suite we went to the Priority Lounge to check in and get our Sail and Sign cards and have our security pictures taken. Then we proceeded to the Priority Lounge where there was ample comfortable seating and lemonade available and we relaxed until it was time to board. Periodically someone would come in and update us on the status of getting everyone off from the previous cruise and an estimated time that we would be getting on board. They had some activities for the kids upstairs in the general boarding area because it was Easter Sunday. When it was time to go the Carnival person a came in with maraca's and we formed a line and followed her up the escalator and to the photographers where we took our early bird checking onboard photos and then our card was scanned and we were onboard. We got in the glass elevator and headed straight to the Lido and were the first to Guy's Burgers for a good lunch before exploring the ship.
THE SHIP: The ship is beautiful and has a colors theme that makes it seem very bright and vibrant. Everything seemed very clean and well taken care of. The ship is big but did not ever seem too big. There always seems to be plenty of room despite there being over 3,000 passengers on board and it being spring break there were 1200 under 18 on board but that never seemed to be an issue. If anything the adult areas and activities were probably less busy.
STATEROOM: We had an Ocean Suite (Room 7325) and it was of course larger than any we had on previous cruises. The Balcony was also a little larger than a regular balcony stateroom. The bathroom was the biggest difference of all with a double sink and granite countertops and a Jacuzzi tub with glass doors for the shower. Our cabin steward, Hernando was very good and always kept our room clean with plenty of ice and fresh towels, along with the towel animals each night that we enjoyed seeing after returning to our cabin at night. No complaints about the room or service it was all again very good.
DINING: We ate in the Platinum Main dining room for dinner every night. The 3 of us were cruising with another couple and their 2 kids and along with them we were sat at a table with another family of 5 (a couple with their son the same age as ours and grandparents). We enjoyed talking to them each night at dinner and the food was always outstanding. They were Louisville fans from Kentucky and we were from Michigan so the college basketball tournament that was going on was a common topic, along with their adventures in port and ours as well. We never had a meal that wasn't extremely good and the service was outstanding as well. Our head waiter Istvan learned our names after the first night and was very good and provided recommendations as well. He also would actually cut up the steak for our friend's son every time he ordered it which was really above and beyond service. His assistant Tamas was also very good and took our dessert orders and always made dinner fun. He also made a point to come and talk to us whenever he saw us on the Lido during the day as well, he's truly a genuinely great person. The bar service guy (sorry I don't remember his name) was also really exceptional and would bring the kids what they wanted each night without them even having to ask for it. He remember what the adults liked to drink as well but would always ask "would you like some Blue Moon Beer tonight?, or a Pina Colada", or whatever people seemed to be drinking consistently. The waiters performed 5 of the nights while we were enjoying dessert (loved the cappuccino pie & of course the chocolate melting cake) singing and dancing. Also Elton who did magic shows at night was in the dining room and if you said "I want magic" he would come to your table to do tricks for the kids and he was really exceptional as well.
Besides dinner we ate had room service, Lido buffet, Comedy Brunch, and Blue Iguana Cantina breakfast burritos (my personal favorite) for breakfast over the course of our trip. All were very good, no complaints at all. For lunch we had Guy's Burgers (very good), Blue Iguana burritos and fish taco's (I probably ate fish tacos for lunch at least 3 times!), the Lido Buffet, and Fish & Chips upstairs. Again we enjoyed everything. I must say the Blue Iguana Cantina is the best thing they could have added with the 2.0 upgrades. The lines were never long anywhere we ate and again everything was very good.
ENTERTAINMENT: We attended most of the shows Motown, Divas, Latin Nights, Hasbro the Game show a couple times, several comedy shows, magic shows, karaoke, music from the band 'High Clefts' and enjoyed them all. We did find ourselves missing some of the variety of big shows that we had previously experienced on the Carnival Magic where there was an illusionist and a juggler instead of just singing and dancing shows but that was not a big deal for us just an observation. We also did the EA Sports trivia several times, watched the hairy chest competition, the kids attended circle c and camp carnival and seemed to really enjoy that as well. Finally I attended a question and answer session with Josh Waitzman (who is probably the best cruise director I've ever had with a total of 5 cruises). I learned so many things about what it's like for the crew and all sorts of information during the Q & A session. Overall the entertainment was plentiful and although we might have preferred more variety of big shows we were very happy with all there was to offer.
PORTS: We stopped in 3 ports Cozumel, Isla Roatan, and Grand Cayman. (we were unable to stop in Costa Maya due to high winds and swells making it too dangerous.) In Cozumel we did the Isla Pasion by Twister which is a really fun and exciting boat ride followed by a beautiful relaxing beach with lunch and open bar, followed by a really exciting boat ride back. We highly recommend this excursion, just understand you will get wet and you will have fun. After that we shopped in the port area for a little while before returning to the ship. I've been to Cozumel 5 times and it has always been an enjoyable stop. In Roatan we did the relax on the beach plus snorkel package where we rode the flying beach chairs over to another beautiful beach where we swam and snorkeled and laid on our loungers in the shade of the clamshell and had some drinks from Fat Tuesdays. The snorkeling here isn't the best but there are fish to see out toward the pier side of the beach. In Grand Cayman we did the Dolphin Swim, Turtle Farm, and Stingray interaction and the kids had the time of their lives with the dolphins. Everyone should experience this once. The turtle farm is also really neat and you can hold some of the smaller turtles as well. After that we ate lunch at Margaritaville and shopped for a while before returning to the ship. Overall great ports, great weather, and great excursions!
DEBARKATION: We chose the 'Luggage Express' option which we had never used before but we feel was well worth the $20.00 per person. With this program guest services charges you for the airlines baggage fee plus $20.00 and they print your airline baggage tags along with your boarding passes so you literally put your bag outside your stateroom the last night and don't see it again until your final destination! This makes going through customs easier and better than that when you get to the airport you go straight to security because you're already checked in and have your boarding passes. It's truly outstanding. On debarkation day the luggage express people meet in the dining room at a certain time and once everyone is accounted for a guest services person walks you down and off the ship and stood there and made sure everyone made it through customs before leaving. Again this was outstanding. We took the Carnival transfer shuttle to the airport and that again went without any issues. The minor suggestion I have is that in Miami there were no separate lines for U.S. Citizens at customs like they had in Galveston. This would make the process faster because it seemed to take much longer for the people from other countries to have their pictures taken, finger prints, etc. but otherwise again this couldn't have went much better.
OVERALL: We had an outstanding family vacation at a good price with memories that will last a lifetime. We met some new friends along the way along with many great crew members and staff. We will continue to cruise in the future and plan on this being exclusively with Carnival. We are addicted to the 'Funships'. Thank you Carnival Glory for a great week!