I knew what we were getting into. My wife and I wanted a short getaway out of Manhattan. Not too many choices.
We'd sailed on the Glory before which is a perfectly functional Carnival ship. I'm platinum, she's gold so there were no surprises on this ship. We sailed on her about 5 years ago. Two new additions are the Guy's Hamburger place and a burrito bar on 9. Didn't eat at either but passengers raised about the food there. Not sure what there is to be excited about when it comes to burgers and burritos, but people clearly enjoyed them.
Carnival is a great line on which to take your second or third cruise. The reason I say that is that Carnival does so many things well for a reasonable price. Try NCL or Royal Caribbean first and then come over to Carnival. You'll find the cabins are better, the service is excellent and the intineries are identical to everyone else. The price point is really reasonable, often well below the other guys, which may make some travelers suspicious.
We've always had a great time on Carnival although I can understand why others are attracted to pricier options like Celebrity and Royal Carib.
The Glory is one of those pain-in-the-butt ships where you "can't get here from there." You'll wind up on deck 3 or 4 and realize that you've got to take an elevator up and over to get to 5 or 9 and then take an elevator down. Why naval architects ever design a ship like that is beyond me, but clearly there's a good reason, but not sure what it is.
They have a nice looking martini bar on this ship with cool light-up menus. The shows were extremely glitzy, which is typical Carnival. And set designers everywhere should be running scared by Carnival's state-of-the-art digital sets in the showroom which provided high-energy shows, lots of special effects and bright lights. Very cool.
The ports of Halifax and St. John are pretty dull, although Halifax has a beautiful waterfront. Halifax has a hell of a history, and not just because it's where bodies from the Titanic came in. Take a moment to Google Halifax, Nova Scotia and you'll see it was the site of the world's biggest explosion (a horrible accident) up until Hiroshima. A wild piece of history.
No complaints about the ship or its itinerary, although we did spend a day or two with deserted decks and the foghorn blaring because it was so damn foggy and chilly.
I thought the food was pretty good, with plenty of choices in the main dining room. Foodies will probably quibble, but I was happy with every meal I had. People raved about the steakhouse. We tried to get a reservation, but couldn't.
Dining room entertainment was nice, although some staff seemed bored by having
through the ritual of the nightly dances, while others totally got into it.
The guy in the piano room was lots of fun. Other reviewers have suggested he was mean or something to that effect. But he does a great show, has a lot of fun, and that's what piano bars are all about. You don't go there for karaoke. He go there to sing along with the Piano Man, kick back a few drinks and have a couple of laughs. On my cruise (7/29) there were a lot of lively people and piano dude was a good time.
Only negative, which I heard from a lot of people, was the ridiculous line to board the ship, which several people said was an hour and 45 minutes. (As Platinum members we sailed right through in minutes.) But that kind of a wait is inexcusable and as a Carnival shareholder that makes me mad because first impressions are everything. If there's that long a wait, it has to be addressed. Don't tell you passengers by email to show up between 1 and 3pm and then not be able to accomodate them. Or adjust the itinerary to have the ship leave later. That kind of wait just isn't acceptable. I mention it hoping that it's not the norm, but advising people, especially families traveling with seniors or little kids, that checkin could totally suck. Not saying it will be the case on your cruise, but certainly heard that complaint on ours.
Benjamin or cabin attendant was wonderful. Hardworking and friendly. That said, your crewmembers DO work extremely hard and yes, gratuities are included, but you really should take the time to put a little something in an envelope to show your additional appreciation.
Both comedians we saw where hilarious and did a great job. But let that be a hint about the kind of entertainment you'll be getting on Carnival. If you're expecting big, elaborate glitzy shows, probably head to Disney, RCL or NCL.
All in all a good cruise given the price we paid. Not sure I'll ever do a Canadian itinerary again, but I'm already on the internet pricing out our Christmas vacation options on Carnival.