This was my eighth cruise, my sixth on Carnival, and my fourth on the Carnival Glory.
I must admit I had reservations about cruising after the recent accidents, and it is more difficult to promote cruising to friends. But when my spouse took another long trip out of town, I decided it was a good chance to take the kids and my mother on a five day trip to Canada. The kids are experienced cruisers, but my mother had never been on a cruise and was curious about it.
Overall, it worked out very well. We had perfect weather for the entire cruise, and no problems of any kind on the ship or in the ports. I am impressed with the Funship 2.0 improvements. Rather than adding more specialty (and pricey) restaurants, or adding gimmicks, Carnival has taken what they do best and made it better. I was particularly pleased with the changes to the lido deck. Without subtracting from the available space, Carnival changed the old burger bar and mongolian wok stations into a really fun set of casual dining options with significantly upgraded food and friendly and fast service. In the old days one could wait in line for ten minutes to get an ordinary burger from a grumpy worker, but with the new system they seemed more than twice as fast and as a result everyone was happier. The burrito bar was especially good and it was fun to be able to chat with the servers for a few seconds without feeling like you were delaying the line.
The cabins and main dining room were exactly the same as before, both had excellent service. The food in the main dining room is still down a notch from a few years ago with the newer more casual menu, but still perfectly adequate. The appies and soups are often the best part, and at two meals I ordered an appie as an entree and it was fine. Saves room for the chocolate melting cake!
The only thing that was really disappointing was the entertainment. They had three new shows on the boat. They eliminated the live band, and cut the number of performers down to eight. The production values were much lower, with almost no stage or set changes. Instead, they added a very large, bright and annoying video background that changed constantly and made it almost impossible to watch the dancers, which was okay since they weren't trying very hard. Sure, they went through the motions, but there was never a single "wow" moment. I found myself looking at my watch and being glad the shows ended quickly. The annoying video was joined by laser lights and flashing strobes in time with the canned music. Really a waste of the theater and the dancer's efforts. Worst of all, two of the three shows were prefaced by a lame audience participation routine. I see plenty of cruisers on the deck, I don't go to the theater to meet Jackie and her husband from Artichoke, North Dakota.
There was also noticeably less live music around the boat. Most of the music on deck was prerecorded while a bored employee stood by a computer designed to look like a DJ station. When there was live music it was almost always a single performer cranking out old Jimmy Buffett standards. I miss the days when you could actually hear a talented live band on deck.
On the other hand, the new Hasbro show, aimed mostly at the kids, was pretty well done and provided some fun afternoon entertainment.
I wouldn't let the lack of entertainment spoil the cruise. If that's what it takes to keep prices down, I'll live with it and enjoy the comfortable cabins, good food and the whole cruising experience at an affordable price. This was my sixth time in the Canadian ports and I still find new things to do.
The kids had a great time, Camp Carnival was excellent as always, and my mother wants to know when we can do it again!