Embarking on the Carnival Glory for a 5 nite cruise from Manhattan to Canada we were first time Carnival cruisers, with 4 other cruises under our belts. There is definitely a difference. Can't knock vacations, but Glory seemed to be densely packed. Yes, a cruise ship fills up with 3000 people and 1000 crew, but everywhere you turned you were cheek to cheek with people. The only place there was a little room was on the Serenity deck - adults 21+ only. Food was a solid "B" with nothing standing out. I stuck to fish for dinner and was rewarded. Others in our party ordered meat and were disappointed.
Fairly aggressive alcohol peddling - easy to say "no" - but when you say yes - those drinks add up quickly!
In summary, Carnival is welcoming for all sorts of folks, but don't expect quiet contemplation places - even in the library. "Fun" seems to mean packed with people.
Staff tried really hard. Sherwin in the dining room was our waiter - fabulous! His support staff was just OK, didn't remember likes from meal to meal as did Sherwin. Cruise Director was Jacques - who gave timely, clear directions, but didn't overwhelm. Comedy club was a nice alternative to the dance shows. Comedians were A+ William Troxler and Cee-Jay Jones. DeeJay Big D was always upbeat and responsive to requests from guests, but thump-thump-thump music by the pool did get to be a bit much. Dotty was a got activities director, although she at times seemed jaded with half-hourly trivia contests.
Cons: Guest Services seemed to be fatigued by the number of guests and long lines they had to service. Could the captain struggle with the english language any more? How about you get the asst. captain to speak for the captain. Guests might get the impression that he could not understand radio directions from shore if he needed to. Comedian even made a joke that guests could take up a collection for the captain to purchase "Rosetta Stone" language course for the captain.
Ports of call: St. John, New Brunswick. I disagree with other poster who felt the town was in an economic downturn. SJ was a cozy, small town easily navigable by foot. Beautifully kept houses along streets that ran parallel to main port. Lots of interesting shops - we hiked over to their local pawn shop and found a Makita reciprocal saw for $10! Loyalist Book and Coin one could get lost in for days. Used the WiFi at the public Library and they could not have been friendlier.
Halifax, Nova Scotia. Feel of a larger city. Walked much of it but could have used a hop-on, hop-off bus. Steve-O-Reenos Coffee was packed with locals who were eager and happy to engage in conversation. Again, the public library was helpful and free WiFi a bonus. Ate lunch at The Locker Room (https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Locker-Room/295602633842620)
Dan and Vic were very helpful and if you like hockey at all - this is a must!
Other sports represented as well. Public Gardens - charming and Free - plenty of shopping and small, unusual shops. Could have spent more time there.