5th carnival cruise, 2nd on glory. First time was 06, this time is was great to have the 2.0 improvements. A bit about those while I’ve brought it up. The burger joint, the 2 bars and the Mexican place, they just took up extra space on the sides of the main pool putting those in. Bars are bars but the food at both is great. at blue iguana you can even get a breakfast burrito if you want. Another quick tip, the line for Guy’s is on both sides. Everyone lines up on one side – we routinely went to the other and got a burger immediately, typically bypassing 10-12 people.
Ship is clean, pretty, modern, great updates. The pools have color changing lights in them, ice cream machines everywhere, big buffet with too many people just like last time. another terrific edition is the adults only serenity section. Two stories worth. Only down side was the cushions held heat like freakin crazy. Has its own bar though, check it out.
The gym is nice. Big locker room and showers if you want plus a dedicated indoor whirlpool that they DON’T charge you extra to use. Dumbbells up to 70 pounds and lots of machines. It would get crowded in the am and the afternoon, but otherwise very good for a cruise ship.
Pool area is pretty fun. It’s tiered at the back so lots of loungers and there’s typically something on the big screen. For the most part, it’s just a dj and music but at least it wasn’t stupid loud and the speakers weren’t the constantly thumping bass type. But because they had put the new food places in the shaded area by the pool, there was no hiding from the sun at the big pool.
Pizza. Why is this so difficult??!! Everyone eats pizza, in particular when you’ve had a few beers. So why do they seem to cook them at the rate of one every five minutes? And then the servers act like you’re the jerk because you’re pissed it’s taking so long to get a slice of average pizza. The entire cruise this was the case. They’re small, like medium size and they serve people half a pizza at a time, two slices. Of all the food places, this one truly sucked and it’s too bad because at times, it’s literally the only place open.
Main dining. This is carnival right, so this is going to be casual even on formal night right? Yes, pretty much. Formal night had lots of jeans and soft collar shirts, but the service and friendly servers were top notch. Our first night they put us at a table for two. Our servers made note of our names and from then on called us by name. The next night we switched to a big table so we could socialize and we got the same treatment. Plus, along with our names, they asked if there was anything we’d like every night like coffee. THAT is what makes dinner every night a great experience.
One other thing I’d like to note about dinner. Unlike our last NCL cruise, a shrimp cocktail could be had every night, no problem. With NCL, it wasn’t an option at all, not even on request. We were told if you want one, you need to go to the fee-extra steakhouse. And some people say carnival is at the cheap end of cruising – now way, not when you’re getting Cunard level service and attention to detail plus a frickin’ shrimp cocktail whenever you want!
Our room. We nearly always do inside even on a ship like this where it’s about 10 square feet smaller than an outside because we’re just not in there much and the cost difference is like getting the tips covered. Carnival’s ships do have smaller insides than outsides but it’s not a huge deal for two people. Like always our cabin guy found us first day, made sure he knew our names and asked if there was anything we needed. I bring my own soda so I asked for ice by lunch and again before dinner. As well, I stock the mini fridge myself and he was good enough to take away all their stuff to free up counter space. “Tony” was terrific the whole cruise.
entertainment - we never did the theater but the comedy club stuff was awesome. 4 nights of 7, they had 2 guys with family and adult shows. totally worth waiting in line for. the new restaurants are probably the best 2.0 improvement, but this is a close 2nd.
cleanliness - everywhere. never an issue with this, even in the buffet. plates and tables were quickly bused and cleaned. by the pool, not as much, but that's mostly drink cups. of course, same for our room. 2x a day totally clean.
service - carnival is really working this. they know there's been some bumps, but everyone was super friendly and i have to tell you, of 14 cruises on 5 different lines, we've never had more fun at dinner than on carnival. 1000% forget freestyle and it's even on par with the QM2 (they're just more formal). even the guest services desk was friendly when i was all huffy about a charge i thought was bogus (but wasn't!).
embark and debark - getting on was difficult. i think they were either late getting into port or getting people off, because even at noon we were in lockdown before the xray with no one going anywhere and tons of people from the previous cruise still standing outside waiting for transport. after about 45m we got moving and it was fairly smooth, but by noon i expect they're full into the swing of things and while you need to wait in line, you don't stand there for 45m. getting off was cake because no one was getting on. the ship was moving north with no passengers to reposition for nor-easter cruising. got to tell you the crew was so excited about a night with no passengers - good for them.
at the end of the cruise, we were super happy. getting bashed in the press made this a $349pp cruise for us. at that rate they could have done a lot of wrong and i would have lived with it. but this was a 9/10 cruise. dining was 10+, room 9, ship 8, service 9, fun 9 and value, well....