We (Deb and Jack from Massachusetts) cruised with seven other family members from Boston to St. John, New Brunswick on June 30, 2013. This was a 4 night cruise. Our past cruise experience has been with Royal Caribbean (7), Celebrity (2), Norwegian (3), and Carnival (3). We always get a balcony cabin when we cruise.
Embarking (getting on the ship): Extremely smooth. We got to the Black Falcon Pier at around 11:00 a.m. and there were no lines. It was quick! We were allowed on the ship at this time even though sail time was scheduled for 5:00 p.m.
We had planned ahead to get together with a few of our new Cruise Critic friends at sail-away. It was nice to meet the people who we got to know online.
Cabins: Our cabin (#7405) was very nice and very close to the aft elevators. We liked this location a lot because the buffet is on deck 9 aft, as well as the specialty coffees.
Two twin beds were made into a king-size bed and it was not very comfortable. One side of the bed was worn more than the other side. They need to either flip the mattresses over once in awhile or get new ones. The cabin was attractive and very clean. The balcony on this ship was of average size. The air conditioner was on high in the cabin and it was okay, but not extremely cold. The a/c on the ship as a whole was very good, however.
Alcohol on Board: Carnival does allow you each to bring one bottle of wine or Champaign on board. One member of our party brought a large bottle of wine and was not detained. We also brought a large bottle for the two of us and there was no problem with it. This time, we opted to get the all-you-can-drink package for $49 (+15% gratuity). Each person in your cabin over age 21 must get it. In the end, we did not think it was worth it. If you buy a drink over $10, they will not even discount it. You need to pay full price. That happened to me one time. The limit on this drink package is 15 drinks per day. We will not do it again.
Buffet Food: While the food quality was good, the variety was not good at all. On past Carnival cruises, I would say the food quality was great, but not this time. Dessert choices were good and better than the choices for the lunch and dinners. Tables were cleared off in a timely manner and tables and chairs appeared to be newer than I remember from last year. In this area, Carnival made an improvement.
The buffet was always crowded. The hamburgers are Guy’s were a bit too greasy for our linking. We’ve had them on another cruise and they were great. Do give them a try.
The only things to eat in between meals are pizza or ice cream. They used to have hot dogs and hamburgers too, but none this time.
Ship Layout: Confusing. Very confusing. By the end of the week, we still couldn’t find things. The elevators had a ship directory in front that had such small print, we couldn’t even read it. Also, to reach the front of decks 3 and 4, you had to go to deck 5. Yes… decks 3 and 4 only go half way.
Gratuities: Carnival added $46 per person to our account mid-cruise. If you go to Guest Services, they will remove the charges upon request and you can tip on your own.
Swimming Pools: smaller than average pools, but larger than average hot tubs. Be sure to check out the 11th deck, adult serenity area. There are a couple of great hot tubs up there, lots of comfy seats, and a bar. The adults’ only pool at the back of the ship on deck 9 was a nice place to swim and use the hot tubs too. All water was warm.
Ship Cleanliness: Good, except there was absolutely no effort to encourage people to use sanitizer on their hands. The hand sanitizers were located in a conspicuous place, but we rarely saw people using any before they entered the food areas. On Royal Caribbean, I think they have the best method. They actually squirt the sanitizer on the passengers’ hands for them, so people have no choice but to use it. I wish Carnival would at least put a notice in big letters in their daily newsletter.
Children: Carnival has a kid program from midnight to 3 a.m. for young children, for a small fee. Two children in our party (ages 5 and 7) when to Camp Carnival and loved it. Introduce your kids to it at the beginning of the cruise and if they like it, send them daily.
Cruise Activities: There was not much variety. The majority of things to do include guess the song or trivia. Try your luck at the casino. Unfortunately, we did not win this time but one member of our party did win enough to pay his cruise tab.
We did go to one show which was was so unmemorable, I cannot remember the name of it. Whatever it was, it was not as good as some high school musicals I recall.
Port of Call – St. John, New Brunswick, Canada. Boring! Stay on the ship. We took the trolley sightseeing excursion through the cruise line last year.
Disembarking (leaving the ship): Everybody has a color code and that determines when you will leave the ship. They don’t rush you out of your cabin like they used to do years ago, but they do want you out of your cabin no later than 8:30 a.m. We were being picked up by a local shuttle service at 10:00 a.m. and were off the ship in plenty of time. Next year, I think we will schedule a 9:30 a.m. pick up. If you were taking a flight, I would think it safe to book an 11:30 a.m. flight out of Logan Airport. I wouldn’t try earlier than that.
Overall Cruise Comments: The Carnival Glory met our expectations and we plan to do this same trip again next year because you cannot beat the price and we do not need to fly to get to the port. Overall, the cruise experience itself was great. This was the first time we cruised with family members and we enjoyed it a lot! I must admit that I have never been on a cruise that I didn’t think was great though! In my opinion, there is no such thing as a bad cruise!
If you have any questions about my experience, please feel free to email me at d w 3 3 3 3 (at) yahoo (dot) com. No spaces between any letters or numbers in the email address.