Background Information: We are a semi-retired couple who have cruised before. This was our fourth cruise in the past 20 months. Made this trip with two of our grown children - a vegan daughter and a mentally challenged son. My wife has had knee and hip replacements and has back problems that make stairs or long walks difficult. Hotel Info: Drove from Virginia & stayed at the Country Inn & Suites a mile from the port. The hotel has great rooms, low prices and allows parking in their lot while you cruise - a significant savings. A shuttle takes you to the port for $3 per person.
Ship Info: The Carnival Glory is a large, relatively new ship with interiors that seem far more garish than other ships we've sailed, but not intolerable. Getting around the ship is simple except for decks like 3 and 4 that do not actually connect forward to aft. You have to go up to deck 5 or deck 9 to be assured of getting through. The ship hands out little maps that show where major facilities are located by deck - a cross section of the ship - but are of limited value since they do not show actual deck plans don't warn you of non-thru decks or horizontal locations. Since good deck plans are located near each elevator, you can find your way - but it is surprising that Carnival doesn't simply provide deck maps. Activities: There were the usual array of onboard activities one finds on most cruises, and the usual passengers who actually take advantage of them. Most seem to simply sun on deck and eat.
Service: Service is generally polite - with some exceptions - but rarely do ship's personnel seem to take the initiative to help a passenger. And many seem bound by silly rules that prohibit any deviation from their assigned duties. We have never seen a ship where the personnel are so rule-bound. Shore Excursions: We took the Alton Ha Mayan ruins tour in Belize. The ship had not reported the number of customers to the shore vendor and we were bumped from the bus to a small van. As it turned out, we had a better tour of the city, but didn't get quite as much history thrown in. I heard others on other shore excursions say the excursions themselves were fine, but that coordination between the excursion operators and Carnival was poor.
The excursions usually seem to leave from the main theater, usually from the balcony. The problem is that the balcony is not easily navigated by someone with a cane or difficulty walking. Several disabled or physically challenged groups going on the same excursion were told they could wait in the main floor and just watch and leave when the main group left from the balcony. The problem was that the staff shuts out most elevators when people are leaving to force them to use stairs to the first deck and the tenders used at Belize. We waited for some time and finally grabbed an elevator being used by a staff person - the only one that appeared. We suggested to the staffer that the ship should have elevators available for disabled persons for excursions and the staffer became very rude. He said he was carrying disabled, but that we were on the wrong floor or had missed an elevator. When we said we were where and when we were told, he became angry. My wife asked for his name so we could report him and he demanded our name and room number so he could report us, etc. He was rude and threatening and some of the persons on the elevator were visibly afraid of him. We did report him to the Purser, but were told to just put our experience on the comment card at the end of the voyage. While waiting in line at the Purser's office I heard from at least four other passengers who were there to complain about rude or threatening staff, and were also told to put their comments on the comment card. This is very poor service and indicates that Carnival is not at all concerned with the behavior of their personnel.
Stateroom: Our stateroom was clean and comfortable, even one of our rooms that held three adults. Service was responsive. The facilities were a bit more worn than one would expect with a relatively new ship, but there were no big problems.
Dining: Our family included a vegan - someone who eats no animal products of any kind. We had informed Carnival in advance of her diet and were assured it would pose no problem. On board, we found she was listed for a special diet. HOWEVER, our head waiter did not know of her diet and was clearly reluctant to be bothered with it. He could not seem to understand what a vegan was. We spoke with the maitre d after the first abortive meal and were assured a special meal would be prepared for our daughter. She was not offered choices, but was assured a special meal would be brought to her. The second night of the cruise she was offered a strange mixture plate that was not great, but was fairly tasty and satisfying. The third night she was offered a similar dish that used some grits or polenta mixture but was totally unpalatable. My daughter asked that they take it back and, since a pasta dish was on the regular menu, that they just bring her a plate of pasta tossed with a bit of olive oil and garlic. The waiter said he was too busy but arranged for another staff member to bring her a plate of undercooked pasta, a decanter of olive oil from the salad bar, and a small bowl of diced garlic. That response was completely unacceptable and presented with some rudeness by the waiter. My daughter was justifiably upset at the poor food and not being given any options for a salad or appetizer, etc. and did not return to the dining room again. The rest of our table found food in the dining room (The Platinum Room upper level) to be palatable, but not up to the standard we've seen on other ships. The service for our table was abrupt, inattentive, slow and almost rude. We drink coffee with our meals - it was not brought despite repeated requests. Iced tea was not refilled.
The Carnival Glory advertising about the Red Sail Restaurants on deck 9 (Lido) is deceptive. There are indeed a deli, an oriental offering, a fish and chips place with good seafood of all kinds, and two big buffet lines. However, those facilities are open only from 11:30 am until 3:30 pm. One small and fairly weak buffet line is the only thing open at dinner. Staff admits the intent is to force as many as possible into the dining rooms. I have a feeling that the poor food and service in those rooms was driving people to the Lido deck for options - and they wanted to stop it. My vegan daughter was able to get some food from the buffet line, but hit problems with staff. For example, at lunch, when the Oriental "window" was open, they were offering a chicken with tofu and vegetable stir fry over rice. They cooked each order right in front of the guest. My daughter asked that they simply prepare it without the chicken, which would make a good meal for her. They abruptly refused because "rules" said they must put all ingredients in. I was infuriated and after making a lot of very loud noise, was able to get the chef for the Lido restaurants to come out and talk. He was the only bright spot among the dining staff. He profusely apologized for the behavior of his staff and went into the kitchen to personally cook up a tofu dish for my daughter that was the best meal she had on the ship.
Entertainment: The entertainment was lower in quality than we had come to expect on other lines, and sound was far louder. The main theater has many blind spots and is very difficult for anyone not physically fit to navigate.
Disembarkation: The cruise director loudly announced that the customs service controlled the order of disembarkation. However, the order seemed to be from the top down - higher priced rooms going first. It was also very slow compared to other ships, and seemed bottlenecked at the edge of the ship.
Summary: We enjoyed the ports on this cruise, but have little good to say about the attitude, the responsiveness and the customer-orientation of the Glory crew and staff. Asides by Carnival staff indicate that the line has cut back on some staff to increase profits, and service suffers. My vegan daughter's experience indicates that the line is not responsive to minorities with special diets or needs. Millions of people are vegans - including at least several we met in the crew - and Carnival could have easily offered a few full dinner options for such passengers. It would be very simple to have a half dozen menu options prepared using on-board supplies and offered to vegan passengers. Even the more common vegetarian passengers have only a single choice on the menus.
Generally we found the ship highly commercialized in ways designed very carefully to cut costs for the line, or to separate passengers from their cash. The photo crews were everywhere most nights and seriously blocked passageways, for example. I have never seen even half as many photographers on any cruise line, or seen as many so pushy.
Our last Carnival cruise was years ago on a smaller ship. It was a far more pleasant experience. We expect to cruise a fair amount in the years ahead, I doubt we will return to Carnival.