It's my husband and I one year anniversary and we decided to take a cruise on Carnival Glory departing out of Boston on July 14th.
Getting there: In celebration of our anniversary we headed up to Boston on the 12th. My dad was so gracious enough to drive us into NYC from Long Island to catch Amtrak at Penn Station. Being from NY traffic is a normal way of life but boy did we cut it close to our departure time of 11am, only to find out that the train had been delayed by 45minutes. The train ride to Boston was pleasant and uneventful. I love the fact that Amtrak offers free wifi on that particular train. (Train #172)
Hotel: We decided to try our luck and figure out the subway system or shall I say bus/tram. We took the silver line to the airport where we hopped on the free Hyatt shuttle to the Hyatt Boston Harbor hotel. We booked this hotel via Priceline name your own price. This option is a must do of traveling to Boston during the summer it can save you a few bucks. We won a bid of $125night normal prices start at $189 a night. Quick and easy check-in. We had a king suite 3rd floor city view. Hotel room is pleasantly appointed and they offer a bunch of free extras available on request. The hotel offers one free hour of internet service or $12.95 for 24hours. Mom always said "you won't know till you ask" so we asked for complimentary 24 hours of service and the front desk agent (Elaine) gave us the password.
We were starving and tired from our travels we decided to eat at the hotel restaurant. In my opinion next time ill muster up the energy to find better food and at a pocket friendly price elsewhere. A coffee, 2 tiny cups of chowder, burger, and wings appetizer cost a staggering $60. We ate outside on the patio. We enjoyed the view of the city and boats in the harbor. Being an airport hotel (literally across the street) the patio area and room was really quite. If it wasn't for the other guest talking on patio it would have been a very serene atmosphere.
Day2: Got an early start took the hotel shuttle to the blue line. Walk around the city found a little hole in the wall for breakfast Pauline's. It was delicious. I asked the girl at the counter for their wifi password and she gave it to me. Next we walked over to Quincy market. There we took in a few street performances and did some souvineer shopping. From there we walked over to a dunkin donuts to rehydrate over selves. We asked a few satiation workers how to get to Boston common. After a 5minute walk we found the park and to our excitement a festival was going on. We spent hours in the park gazing at the sights, walking and holding hands. We hopped on the red line and took that to the JFK museum and library. In my opinion having been to Reagan's and Roosevelt library JFK didn't seem to have an extensive collection nor did the grounds if the property impress me like the others.
For dinner we went to the Chart House. I highly recommend this restaurant. Be prepared to climb stairs as the restaurant is spread out over 3 floors. We had a lovely little table for two next to the window overlooking the ferry dock. The food was pricey but excellent.
Day3: Sunday the 14 we boarded the water taxi right outside our hotel which took us to the cruise terminal, or shall I say it dropped us off a good NYC block away. They need to fix up the taxi dock its rickadee and rusty and the the ramp up to the street is super steep. I hard a hard time pulling my luggage up I felt like one miss step my luggage and I would go tumbling backwards. After the hike on a lonely road and then through a parking lot we finally made it to the cruise terminal at 10:45am. We dropped off our luggage, flew through security, checked in at the counter and was on board the ship by 11am. I must say I was impressed....that was the fastest boarding time EVER!
First impressions: I don't know how many cruises you've been on or what type of ships, however, in the past when I first walk on my usual feeling is one of WOW. Not this time....I thought the atrium is dark and cramped. Felt like an after thought.
Next we headed up to the buffet. The buffet food left a lot to be desired. I was wondering where the rest of the food was. So we skipped the buffet and went straight to Guys Burger and the Burrito Bar. Hands down delicious. My husband loved his burger and I enjoyed my chicken and shrimp burrito.
At noon we decided to relieve ourselves of our carry-on luggage so we went straight to our room. We had a porthole on deck 1 forward stateroom 1217. It was very spacious had two little portholes to let in light. Being that it was our anniversary I had the stateroom decorated with the anniversary package $42 included garlands, streamers happy anniversary poster and a 6inch cake. The room had ample closet space, a pullout sofa and coffee table, chair and a little stool under the vanity. The room is lacking on drawer space to store all those clothing items that don't require a hanger. We all know the bathrooms are small so I'm not going to even address it, however there was enough shelving to fit both my husbands and I toiletries. My only gripe with the room is that there is only one 120 volt outlet in the entire stateroom. In today's technological advance society having only one outlet is absurd. I found myself waking up in the middle of the night to switch electronics, so that our cameras, phones, iPads, shavers can all have power for the next day. I have to look into to see if power strips are allowed to be brought on board.
Being at the front of the ship and away from the elevators the stateroom is mostly quite depending on your neighbors. However, in anything but fair seas you will hear and feel the waves crashing into the hull of the ship. One night it vibrated the entire room and the pounding of the waves was relentless. Also when the ship is pulled into or out of port you will feel vibration in the room. I used it to my advantage as an alarm clock on port days as 8am exact the vibration will begin which signal to me it was time to wake up.
Our stateroom attendant, Harry, is simply wonderful.
The Ship: Usually by day 7 you get the hang of the ship and can figure out forward from aft, and find the shortest ways to a particular place. However, Carnival Glory gets the award for being the HARDEST SHIP EVER TO NAVIGATE! Like seriously, someone must have been drunk when they designed this ship. There are way to many dead ends. So many levels that you have to go up 3 floors and the down 4 just to get to your destination. The outdoor promenade is well...plain disappointing. Most ships you can walk all the way around the ship. Not on Glory. There should be signs warning you that's its a dead end so that you wouldn't take the pointless walk only to find no outlet.
Muster drill: Beware if you are assigned muster station A. You are cramped into this narrow outdoor crew only deck. Where we stood around for what seemed like forever waiting for the drill. There was gail forced winds coming from the vent on the boat constantly blowing and just beating down on you. Ladies you can forget that pretty hairdo. If you are height challenged forget about seeing the drill as you are cramped into a small space if you are stuck in the middle or back you will not see anything. Hopefully you remember what to do from past muster drills.
On the outer upper decks there is a lot of empty space that in my opinion could be filled with more whirlpools, another water slide and a kiddie water play area.
Are you a fan of ping pong? Well you can forget about playing it on the Glory. Hard to play a solid game because of the wind.
Also if you are planning on playing shuffle board. Forget about it. For starters there's only one that I could find. And it wasn't suitable for playing. It was the wrong surface and the lines were raised which can hinder the puck from sliding freely. We gave up and decided to go to the theater early to get seats for the super late (10:15pm) Welcome Aboard show. The theater is small and for them to only have one show the first night is ridiculous. However, the seating is lounge style which I liked with ample leg room and mini tables to hold your drinks. Let me tell you every man in that audience (mine included) enjoyed that first portion of that show with the ladies singing "Lady Marmalade". As the singers wore skin tight leotards and needless to say there butt cheeks were alllllllll out. I looked over at my husband and he had the biggest smile on his face.
Punchliner Comedy: After the welcome show we headed to the adult only comedy show featuring Darren Sanders. He was hilarious that night. Only one show that Sunday night at it was a late one at 11:30pm. On Monday night we saw the 9:30pm show featuring Sheila Kay, it was alright a few chuckles here and there. Tuesday No Show Scheduled. Wednesday saw the 9:30pm show featuring Darren Sanders which he called the "dirty dirty show" it was ok just because you can get on stage and say a bunch of cuss words in one sentence doesn't make it funny..more like annoying. Thursday: missed the show. Friday: Saw Just June at 9:30pm and oh my god was she terrible....no seriously terrible she didn't even perform her whole set of 30 minutes it was about 15 to 20minutes max and the entire time she complained she was sick and that she had to get off stage because she had another show after this....ummm cricket cricket....then she busted out a Tina Turner wig and started singing "Proud Mary" it was terrible and people started to leave. Saturday saw Happy Cole at 9:30pm he was pretty funny...then again anyone would have been funny after seeing Just June the night before.
The show Motor City was the best production out of the 3. Latin nights was ok....the best part was seeing the people in the front rows get wet. And the Divas show plain out right SUCKED. In fact I saw a bunch if people walk out. On some nights there was No Show scheduled...instead they had Hasbro the Game Show which is NOT for adults unless you have little kids...which was a bummer...which left my husband and I itching for activities. Copy of show itinerary below:
Sunday: 10:15pm Welcome Aboard Show
Monday: 8:15pm &10:25pm Motor City
Tuesday: 7pm Hasbro, The Game Show 10:15pm The Game of Love
Wednesday: 8:15pm $ 10:15pm Divas
Thursday: 7:30pm Hasbro, The Game Show
Friday: 8:15pm $ 10:15pm Latin Nights
Saturday: 4:15pm Hasbro, The Game Show. 10:00pm Variety Shos
Portland: A quaint little town filled with restaurants, bars and gift shops. It's a very walkable city. Great for if you don't have a pre planned shore excursion. It was a very hot day the sun was burning and there was not much shade on the main street outside of the terminal. Upon re-entry to the ship you usually only need your "sign and sail card" however, you need to have a valid picture ID and your card. They (Portland police)verify that the names match up. I always carry my passport because...hey you never know...but Carnival needs to make announcement to bring both....I wonder how many people had issues with re-entry?
On past cruises I enjoyed going to get some pizza for a late night snack. The pizza has changed. For starters I thought the pizzeria was closed there was not a sole in sight and no pizza to be seen. Finally someone came out from the back and asked me what type of pizza I wanted and he began to make it. I do like the idea of fresh pizza but at the same time I didn't want to wait the 8 minutes that it took. The crust is super thin and the pizza was extremely oily. I wish they would go back to the old way of making the pizza with the thicker crust and you pick ya slice and they plop it down on a plate for you.
Ice cream: We are huge soft served fans and this ship had a whopping 4 ice cream machines. That's more than any ship I've ever been on. Vanilla, chocolate, swirl, strawberry in either a cone or bowl. No toppings available.
Free beverages. A+ to Carnival on there included in the fare beverages. At breakfast a wide selection was offered, orange, apple, cranberry and passion fruit. All delicious not watered down, the orange juice even had some pulp. Lunch and dinner offered a delicious lemonade sweet enough with lemon pulp and unsweetened ice tea. Coffee, hot tea and hot chocolate also available at all times.
St. John: Bring your walking shoes. St. John is filled with hills, it's a mini version of San Francisco. We walked from the cruise terminal in search of free wifi. On the way we stopped at a few local vendors and picked up a magnet. Went into the police museum. If you work in law enforcement bring a patch they will hang it on their wall. We noticed a big sign for free wifi at the mall. Mall and free Internet what more can a girl ask for. However, to my dismay, I couldn't connect with my iPad and the mall workers weren't so helpful. So we walked backed to the ship and I noticed a bunch of teens all on there mobile devices and low and behold at the terminal there is free wifi. Oh how excited I was to be able to use my free phone app and check in on the family back at home.
Back on the ship we spent the rest of the day in the whirlpools. My problem with them is that it's not hot enough. Luke warm at best. Also all of the whirlpools are in full sun. Not one of them are covered. Not everyone wants to burn, fry and become extra crispy in the sun. So here I am looking like a complete fool sitting in the hot tube with a pool towel over my head and shoulders to block the sun. Hey at least my shoulders are burnt and peeling.
Fun day at sea was a complete bore. Not enough activities and if there was something going on it took place in the casino where all you can smell is cigarette smoke. The activities are very limited on the boat especially at night. One night it was so boring I had to ask one of the crew members if its always like this and he said yes. The night club would have music pumping but only 2 uncoordinated people on the dance floor dancing. One night my husband and I was so disappointed that there was nothing to do we thought we'll sit in the atrium to people watch only to find that there were no people out and about at 10:30pm we decided to call it a night and head to bed.
Halifax: in my opinion the best city visited on this cruise. It's a bustling mid size city. It has a nice harbor front with shops and restaurants. You can find free wifi right outside the terminal. We walked a long the entire boardwalk taking in the sights.
Sydney. Don't let carnival cruise lines fool you. They told us that Sydney was like "Scotland" that there was nothing around so to book a shore excursion in order to see the city. WHAT A LIE! Don't believe it Sydney yes it's small but it has a terminal with an exhibition center, restaurants museums and free wifi. We walked all of 2 blocks to there business district and there was tons if shops, restaurants, YMCA, library, pharmacy, etc. my husband stopped into Tim Hortons coffee and enjoy a cup while I used there free wifi. On the way back to the boat we stopped in the military museum (free), ton if stuff crammed into a small room but it was cool to see some of the Canadian military items and artifacts and not to mention the solders all of whom are very friendly.
Do your self a favor and don't buy carnival cruise cash online, it's nothing but a headache and serval trips to guest services. For starters the system don't recognize that as on board credit (OBC) and and any purchases made shows up as what you owe instead of it subtracting from the OBC. Make sure you bring your receipt from your cruise cash purchase because every time you go you'll going to have to show it to prove that you have it and for them to say they make a notation and they don't. It was annoying to have to keep a running balance in my head.
Also note the game room games double charge you. I say skip it alllllll together unless your up for a another trip to guest services.
Fun Times Brochure: who cares what time the sun rises or sets. Tell me what the weather is going to be like the next day. I inquired at guest services to see why they don't have the weather information in the Fun Times and she said because they have that information on the Carnival channel on TV. The Carnival weather channel was pretty useless as it gave me the weather in Singapore, Columbia and LA and not the ports in Canada.
The caption on this boat is disconnected from us cruisers. He only got over the loud speaker to speak only twice. All the other cruises I've been on we've heard from the caption daily giving us updates on location, weather, sea conditions and other general information. Some even try to crack a few jokes.
For past guest of carnival, carnival gives you a free drink coupon which can ONLY be used in the main dining room during breakfast, brunch or lunch. Umm thanks but no thanks Carnival if your going to say welcome back say it and let me choose when and where ill enjoy a glass of bubbly. Breakfast is just way way to early and lunch (until 1pm)is usually missed because your still at the port exploring the city.
Hands down the best part of the cruise was debarkation. No not because I was dying o get off the boat (that too) but because it was so quick and simple. We choose to take our own baggage off (self assist) I was all ready and geared up mentally to stand in line and be herded through Customs like cattle. But to my surprise as soon as they open up the gangway we walked down the ramp, was greeted by two agents who took our forms as we walked by....no questions....no stopping...no issues. Walked outside where there was a line of taxis waiting. $15 taxi ride to South Station.
Will I ever do another Carnival cruise? Probably not as my primary vacation or one to celebrate a special occasion. If its last minute very cheap and close to home...yes.