This cruise was heavily discounted, and was a great value for the money. Carnival is the line for the masses, and although criticized by some for the "low-end" experience, when measured against cost, I think they deliver beyond what you pay.
Let me say that every cruise line has a different "personality" and the key to having a good time is to quickly realize what the personality of the particular line is, go to its strengths and simply avoid the weaknesses. I have never had a bad cruise by following this rule. That is not to say that I have not had some negative experiences on a variety of different ships, but it is incumbent upon me to quickly identify the things that each ship does well (hopefully in the first day) and experience them to the fullest.
Having said that, I think the Carnival Glory's strengths were a friendly staff, the well-kept ship and the over abundance of daily activities. A few of its weaknesses were over-crowded common areas and the lack of More
adequate staff in the buffet and pool/deck areas, especially on sea days.
One thing that amazes me on every cruise is the cabin stewards, and Carnival did not disappoint in this area. Where do the cruise lines find these amazing people? My cabin was always well attended to, and rarely was something not done or missed. You don't have much personal space on a boat, so keeping it in order is very important to the success and enjoyment of a cruise, and I must give my two attendants an A+.
I had heard negative things about the food on Carnival, but I found it to be very good and well delivered. My only complaint was in the buffet, which is probably a little too short-staffed for a ship this size. I ate in the main dining room, the buffet, Guys Burger joint (really good and fast), Fish and Chips, and one night in the steakhouse, so I think I covered all the bases. The steakhouse was great, and while some will gripe about $35 up-charge, try to get a meal like that in a Mortons or Ruth's Criss for that price. The food was every bit as good as any of those, so I thought it was a good value. MDR food was good and well presented. There were only two of us, myself and my son, and we were seated with another twosome, a grandmother and her granddaughter, which worked out great. Kudos to Carnival for making a good decision about pairing up people that appear to be a match demographically. Little things like that are not easy to do, and somebody had to put some effort into it.
My son did Camp Carnival (10 years old), and had a blast. Way too overcrowded for the space they are put in, and check-in and check-out is sometimes more than cumbersome, but if he had fun, then I guess it works for me.
Embarkation and disembarkation were fairly smooth given the size of the boat and number of guests. Same thing with getting off the boat in the port of St. John. A curiosity I have never experienced on any boat was the constant moving of the gangway from deck to deck every hour or so, due to the tides in the Bay of Fundy, which probably changed over 25 feet in time we were there. I thought the cruise director handled that well, with constant announcements of where the gangway was located every time they had to move it. Bit of a wait in Boston for taxi at debarkation, not terrible, but allow 15-20 minutes once you hit the outside of the terminal.
We did not do a Carnival shore excursion, but rather took in the museum in St. John, and the city transit system-sponsored bus tour, which was a great little two hour tour for only $20 per person. I think they have some trouble filling up all of their Carnival-sponsored shore excursions, because I talked to several guests who had excursions that they had booked then canceled for lack of participation. I have also read about this happening before on the boards, so I don't think it's uncommon. Be warned.
We took in a family-friendly comedy show, and their Motown Broadway-type show, and both were pretty good.
I did a spa treatment (Swedish massage). I thought the front desk spa people were not very friendly, accommodating or informative, not giving me good direction, not giving me a key to a locker, etc. but I did think the massage itself was extremely good. Even the person who gave me that massage was not that friendly, so I think spa area needs a little tuneup in their manners. I still gave her a good tip, because although not very friendly, she certainly was competent and did a great job. This was the only time during the cruise I thought the staff was not up to snuff.
Although none of this added up to a "Cadillac cruise", everything was done at least adequately, if not very well, and when you factor in the cost, I thought this cruise was a home run. If you are considering Carnival, but are put off by the recent negative events and negative press, I would counter that and encourage you to go for it, you will enjoy it if you have reasonable expectations. Less