Carnival Glory Cruise Review by Heartfruit: It was OK
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It was OK
Who we are: We are a family of three. My husband and I are in our early 40s and our daughter is 9. We've been on two previous cruises one doing the Eastern Caribbean on the Glory and one doing the Canadian Maritimes and New England on HAL. We are mostly port cruisers, in that we pick itineraries primarily by where they are going not so much by ship etc.
We originally booked an interior room but just hours before we left for Florida I got a call from Carnival offering us an inexpensive upgrade to a balcony room so we took the upgrade. I'm sure Carnival was hoping to convince us that we should never cruise again without a balcony but to be honest we didn't use it much. I would however get an ocean view room so we could get the same room lay out. I'm not sure we would have enjoyed the smaller cabin much.
Over all I enjoyed our experience in the MDR. There are, however, glitches that need to be worked out with the new menu. It would More be nice if all the available dishes were printed on the menu. Some coasters would be a good edition to the table seating on casual nights. And there are definitely some issues with service on the more formal nights. I didn't like that they didn't take our dessert orders. These were frequently the nights I would have liked something lighter (given it was 3 courses instead of 2) and I missed my hot tea and DH his decaf. We enjoyed the pasta but they didn't ask if we wanted it either. If someone didn't care for pasta, it would have still arrived. And I would really like to see some indication of calories or which meals are lighter on the menu.
The portion sizes varied wildly from dish to dish. This made it hard to judge what to order. For example: When I ordered tilapia I got one medium sized fillet. There was nothing else on the plate and I had to order side dishes to go with it. The same night my daughter ordered veal Parmesan. It was two large pieces of veal with a hearty helping of spaghetti. Easily three to four times the amount of food then was on my plate. We saw the same thing several other nights both with apps and main courses. I know that on a cruise ship you can always order another (although we might have missed evening entertainment if we had) and no one is going to chide you for not cleaning your plate but this still seemed out of whack.
Another thing I found took away from the dinning experience was the interruptions to our meal by photographers and waiters trying to sell shots. I really wasn't interested (in fact I never saw anyone indulging in the shots at dinner) and I resented the interruptions.
My daughter didn't like the kids club as much as she had on other cruise lines. There were lots of kids around but few in her age group seemed to be going up to the camp in the evenings. At 9 she is at the bottom on the 9-11 age group but she often felt like the activities planned were to young for her. Things were better on the at sea days. I think part of the problem was the vary scarce program that was distributed. Often activities were described in a single word that didn't really describe much. They also pushed the Night Owls program, saving some of the coolest sounding activities for then.
Dr E was a very different personality from the more sedate Cruise Director we had on other cruises but we found we really enjoyed his presence on the ship. Our whole family start to jokingly use his turns of phrase like "chow chow double chow" and I enjoyed hearing him sing out good mornings. I'd been warned before I left that Carnival had too many announcements but I didn't find that.
Many evenings I was hard pressed to find much to do. Most of the entertainment venues didn't seem to have any activity before 10 or 11 but we were often winding up our evening then. Most of the shows in the main theater were of little to no interest. I might have seen one of the comedians but I didn't feel like lining up for 20 min to get in. Perhaps Carnival should consider putting some of the comedians on in the main show room and move say the Love and Marriage show to a smaller venue. We watched the movies on Lido several times but it was windy, the pool was cold, there were technical glitches with the screen and the movie quality varied widely. Less
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Port and Shore Excursions
We'd booked a tour of the Altun Ha Mayan Ruins though belizecruiseexcursions.com. The roads in Belize are really really really terrible. Apparently they've always been bad but there was some flooding last fall that made them even worse. This caused my motion sick prone husband some discomfort to and from Altun Ha. Our tour guide Richard lives not far from Altun Ha and worked on the excavation as a teen. He was very knowledgeable about the site and gave us lots of information about it. After our formal tour we were given 30 min or so to climb the largest pyramid, take extra photos etc and then we met Richard at a small local restaurant on the far side of the parking lot. There we were given our lunch of chicken, rice and beans, potato salad and fried plantains. It was really yummy.
We headed to Chankanaab Park by taxi for the day. My daughter and I had a mid-afternoon booking to swim with the Manatee. Although there were several ships at Cozumel that day, the beach was pretty empty, there was no problem getting beach chairs and there was a waiter tromping back and forth bring food and drinks to anyone who wanted to order them. We got to spend about 30 minutes in the water with the Manatee. We feed them a pile of lettuce and got to hug, kiss and shake hands with the largest of the three Manatees. All the animals looked healthy and well cared for. They tried to sell us a photo package before we got into the water. I'm glad we didn't get it as none of the photos were very good. There were one or two individual shots that I might have bought if they were cheaper but not for $40 each.
We'd booked spots on the Rays, Reef and Rum Point tour with Native Way Watersports. (http://www.nativewaywatersports.com/) Grand Cayman is a tender port but the tender is a short one and the tender boats are really large. We had a great tour and enjoyed trying to snorkel, seeing the stingrays and lunch on a lovely colourful beach
We'd booked a private driver with Boden Tours (http://boddentours.com/). This was surprisingly economical. Our driver was Kenny. I didn't have a firm plan for where we wanted to go. So we basically just asked him to drive us around the island and give us a tour. He did a fantastic job. He was very friendly and answered all our questions. The flexibility of having a driver was a really nice luxury, we stayed precisely as long as we wanted at each stop. No waiting or feeling rushed.