Carnival Glory Cruise Review by ownercarry: 2nd go-round on the glory
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2nd go-round on the glory
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 More 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.... Less
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Cabin review: Carnival Glory Interior Empress 7441
unfortunately nearly all the newer ships have smaller inside cabins than outside. since we pretty much just sleep there, we continue to get insides. 7441 was nice because it had cabins above and below and no service stuff nearby. no problems with noise or neighbor's noise. basically room for walking around the bed and that's it. between the desk drawers and closet it was enough for our clothes and the 4 suitcases fit under the bed. new flat screen tv was nice and you can check your account from it. we emptied the minibar and used the fridge for our own soda and we had ice at least 2x a day after asking just once. bathroom is tight but a lot of shelves and the hair drier will get your hair dry. it seemed typical small size for any modern ship in a standard room. mattress seemed firm (I'm a side sleeper) but never had a back problem. linens and towels always clean and fresh.
Port and Shore Excursions
This is an odd one. The island is long and skinny and the smallest of the Turks and Caicos chain (that’s civilized and populated). You dock on the far south and it’s really just a carnival spot. A margaritaville with a big pool, a dozen or so shops and then lots and lots of beach chairs. We took a taxi for $5pp into “downtown” but this was the smallest downtown we’d ever been to. We kept asking where is the real downtown, but that was it. About 8-10 nearly shacks and a tiny flea market was it. We managed a Turk’s head beer for $2.75 and a meat patty for $3 before we caught another cab back into town. We could have stayed in the taxi (it was a 16 passenger van) for an island tour for $20 each but didn’t seem worth it considering the size of the island. That side trip was kind of a waste of $20.
After that we went to Jack’s shack on the beach, just out of the carnival area. You go out and to the beach on the left and then walk to almost the next pier. Nice bar, inside free WiFi, full toilets and lots of beach chairs with sun shades. They have a full kitchen as well, but we waited too long to order and ours kept getting back-burnered in favor of all the locals. After 20 minutes, we just gave up on it. But otherwise it was a great place to be and their $4 beers were certainly better than the margaritaville $8 beers.
Unfortunately this was something like an afterthought. We were the first ship to leave port at 4pm and Nassau’s not that far away, why are we here at 7am? Better yet, do we really need to leave at 2pm? Next stop is St. Thomas and it’s our furthest destination, but how about going to grand Turk first if a whole day of sailing won’t get you there. After the excitement of just getting on the ship and finding your groove, it’s a bit tough to be ready to go at 7-8am to see Nassau.
If you’ve never been, there are things worth doing/seeing. Atlantis is great for a first timer, though we’d been there and they won’t let you see the aquarium anymore for free which is a downer. But the downtown has really cleaned up and there plenty of people picking and removing trash. A quick walk to the queen’s steps and the fort next to it was a start along with a few other sites as we made our way back towards the British Hilton. A quick trip inside to see the huge entryway then out to their beautiful beach. Since it was before 10a and we were doing this, we didn’t get any kind of hassle, but I’d imagine later in the day you might not be able to walk through the Hilton and be on their beach.
From there we walked just a short distance to junkanoo beach. This was a nice public beach with full facilities from toilets/showers to lots of food and chairs to rent. Either because of our early arrival or the locals have abandoned it, the beach was all cruisers. Calm water and plenty of beach. Only downside is the sand is full of lots of coral so were constantly stepping bits of coral. Nothing sharp, but if your feet aren’t used it, best to keep some sort of shoe on all the time. Good to know – the McDonalds is just 100 yards from the beach and has free WiFi. So you can stop on your way in and/or out, to catch up.
Other options here are the shopping on the main road to junkanoo beach, which is 100% typical Caribbean stuff, or keep going past junkanoo beach to another even larger beach. This one is a bit further from the road so it’s not constant noise of cars, but there are no facilities. If you want isolation and a nice beach, this is a good place.
Go even further and you’ll find the semi-famous fish fry. Evidently the seafood doesn’t get any fresher than this and same for the variety. Judging by the looks of it, bottles and cups and other “party” litter, it must be a fun place. But at 1030 Monday morning, it was still asleep. If we had more time in port, we would defiantly come back and have some food.
Our second time in Nassau was fun, but a bit too short. There were three ships in port that day so things got a bit crowded. we made it back to the cruise-only shops and its free WiFi to check in one last time. Only other thing worth mentioning, the three cruisers who kept us 45 minutes late because all the drinks at senor frogs made them completely forget the time. Don’t let that be you!
We’d not been here for nearly 10 years so we were excited about seeing it again. Unfortunately it was raining and had been for nearly 3 days. Original plan was to walk to the forts and then the shops on the way back to the ship. The rain put us into a tour van outside the port. That ended up pretty good. Only $10pp and nearly 1.5 hours with a tour to part of the beaches, both forts, the government house and some info on the shopping. We got off in the middle of old town instead of the ship. We used the facilities at the convent hotel because they let us and it’s a beautiful place. Worth stopping just to look. That street will also take you straight to the walk that goes along the bottom of the city’s wall.
This is a great walk and it’s recently been totally redone to fix a broken sidewalk and erosion of the wall. It’s now super wide, lit for night walks and littered with cats. I’m not talking the Roman coliseum 10 years ago, but if someone doesn’t step in and start sterilizing them, it will be. There were a lot of cats and they were getting shelter, food and water as well. We saw a sign for adapt-a-gato, but I don’t think that’s going to do it. They really should do something though as most of the cats are very nice and will gladly come up to you for some scratching. These are certainly domestic cats, not feral cats.
Other than the concern for the cats, this is an incredible walk. It’s not all that long (though not many seem to know it’s a dead end). We were lucky and by noon the rain decided to stop. That made for great views and had all the iguanas out on the wall sunning. And there were a lot of those as well, some nearly two feet long.
After the walk it was time to visit the convent’s facilities again and look for lunch. I really wanted some authentic Puerto Rican food, but we weren’t having a lot of luck and ended up at a place that had a nice lunch special featuring Mexican food. It hit the spot but wasn’t super. A slow walk back the ship and that was the end of our first visit to san Juan nearly 10 years. Nothing exciting but we enjoyed it.
This was either our 5th or 6th time here so really didn’t have anything planned. But at the last minute I thought maybe we could catch a catamaran snorkel trip. That’s a big no. two things made it impossible. The first is that it’s a US territory so either the cruise lines own the catamaran companies or the contracts they have them are truly “binding” because not a one would do anything with you if you said you were with a ship. Add to that, three ships in port and it wasn’t happening. They’re is one ship, just one, the Fury, that does trips for non-ship people but even he was overbooked because there were three ships in port. Hard to believe there is this much demand and so little supply.
We ended up going to emerald beach. Nice enough, plenty of chairs they didn’t charge us for and calm water but no fish. It was fun to watch the jets take off right in front of you though. For some reason the water was fairly cold (on all the islands) so we didn’t do much in the water. We stocked up on some sodas and energy drinks at the pueblo grocery store plus a couple of beers and wandered the shops for 30 minutes.