Excellent Carnival Glory trip in early March, 2014.
Demographics: 50ish, have cruised about ten times on Carnival, Royal Caribbean, NCL and Dolphin (now defunct I hope!). Wife and I had had a wonderful cruise on the Carnival Glory out of Miami to Grand Cayman, Cozumel, Belize and Roatan. Ship and crew were excellent. Free style dining worked out very well with us eating alone the first night and then with different group tables thereafter. Meals were always hot and pretty good. Free style dining is slower (breakfast can be 1.5 hours long and dinner is 2-2.5 hours long if you are having a good time talking with other table guests. Not “five star” restaurant quality but no complaints. Severs never had a problem if you wanted to order two appetizers, two entrées and two deserts. Loved that! There is no longer a Midnight buffet but the thin crust pizza in various flavors met our tastes quite well. Soft serve ice cream is also available. Never dined at the specialty restaurants.
We were one week early from the Spring Break crowd and passengers were excellent. Few children seen on the ship and from what I was told but there are great play areas that probably keep them mostly out of sight and entertained. Did not use the spa so cannot comment on this area as well.
We had a lower level cabin (number 1300) with a window (“ocean view) on the Riviera level near the middle of the ship. Probably the best location we have had on any cruise as there was no noticeable ship movement (even though we were usually travelling at over 20 knots) or noise from engine, waves or other decks. Frankly, we do not spend time in our cabin but for sleeping or getting ready to go out. That said, the cabin was spacious for two people and we never had a problem with storage space. Cabin was spotlessly clean and thoughtfully well laid out. Cabin Steward was always pleasant and never interfered with unexpected cabin visits. Wife never complained about the mattress so guess it was "just right".
There are two main buffet areas with four entry points open during typical meal times and there are other eating establishments when the buffets are closed. You do have to plan a little as you have to hit the buffets and restaurants during meal time. We missed them on multiple visits due to other activities we were doing. The water, ice, tea, lemonade and coffee dispensing areas are always open. I got the unlimited pop card (I think $60 for the week) and used that for the trip. Most bartenders did not mind filling your pop container, some did. Guessing it may impact their tips.
The ship's layout is pretty good. If you did not want to take the elevator, there are two large staircases strategically located. If you are looking for a quiet spot you can find it. If you are looking for total silence, bring Bose ear plugs. Sometimes we forget that we are on a ship with 3,000 passengers plus crew, not a deserted island.
We did shore excursions to Sting Ray City in Grand Cayman and swam with dolphins in Roatan. The Carnival organized trips were well planned and executed. We rented a car in Cozumel and walked in Belize as we have visited before. Note that crime is up in Belize so stay sharp and be aware. The island stops are too short. We would have loved to spend more time at each island but know that the ship covered over 2,000 miles in the week we cruised!
Nightly entertainment for us was dinner and then the Comedy Shows. There are three one-half hour long shows and they were very good. We did not make it to any stage shows so cannot comment.
We found outstanding value in this Carnival cruise. While the ship was near capacity we had to wait for an elevator only once, and there were very few lines at the buffets or anywhere else for that matter. I do wish that folks who are not using their pool deck lounge chairs would remove their towels but that is a problem no matter where you go. Carnival has a posted policy of removing the towels if the lounge chair is not occupied for 40+ minutes but do not know if this is enforced. I would be interested to see other's comments in the Cruisecritic.com comments area.
In summary, we found the ship to be in excellent condition, the employees…every single one of them to be very professional, energetic, happy and hard working. We will definitely be going on many more Carnival cruises based upon our experience.