We set sail end of June on the Glory for HMC, Grand Turk, St. Thomas and San Juan (this is not our first cruise with Carnival). We came in the day before we were to sail and stayed at the Doubletree Biscayne Bay (overlooking the port). Embarkation went very smooth; if you fly into Ft. Lauderdale, I recommend using SAS Transportation as it was only $15.00 per person from Ft. Lauderdale to the Port (Steve is very thorough and professional). We loved Guy's Burger joint--had lunch there just about every day. The Taco bar is also good. We found the food in the Lido to be your typical buffet variety; the pizza place and sandwiches were also good. Did not do the 'Fish & Chips" (it's hidden up on the 10th floor); but did do the Steakhouse one evening and it was worth the $$. We had two staterooms (7355, 7357) and our steward was very friendly and thorough. Our refrigerator had space to store items we had brought on board (bottle of wine, water, etc.). I guess they no longer put ice buckets in all the staterooms because we didn't have one. Also, I guess we no longer get the nice supply of toiletries that we received on the Legend, Dream and Destiny (only a bar of soap). We had the evening turndown service complete with an array of little towel animals and chocolates. Our staterooms were very close to the elevators and stairs so it was convenient for either going to activities on the 5th floor or heading to the Lido pool. We were also close to the laundry service (it's $3.00 to wash 1 load, $3.00 to dry 1 load and $1.00 for detergent)--there is an ironing board located in the laundry area, which I did use to press clothes for formal nights. We had 'early dining' in the Platinum Dining Room (upper level) sat at table 603--Allan was our headwaiter and he was excellent. Food was very prompt and we never left the table hungry!! I didn't personally have any issue with the American Table or American Feast selections--one person in our group had special dietary restrictions and she could still find plenty to eat. Was a little disappointed that the waiters no longer provide evening entertainment or singing--nor did we ever meet the Maitre 'd (whoever he was--I know we tipped him/her, but they don't appear to at least wave to you!). No more midnight buffets, or ice carvings (no demonstrations either). The Chocolate Extravaganza on our last sea day (lunch) was okay--no fountain or anything, just some desserts. First formal night was on Monday (sea day); second formal night was on Grand Turk day (Thursday)--which, with early dining of 6:00 p.m., (and we didn't leave Grand Turk until 5:30), we didn't attend the second formal night (simply not enough time).
Shore excursions--we enjoyed the beach day at Half Moon Cay--yes, the beach got crowded (you would expect that from a large ship); this was the only port where we had to tender to shore. The lunch the ship crew served was excellent; they had plenty of food lines so it didn't take long to get lunch. Beach was lovely. St. Thomas--we just enjoyed shopping; San Juan--toured the city; Grand Turk--2 in our group did the powered snorkeling. We wanted to do jet skis and parasailing, but Carnival no longer offers either of those excursions. Because we had so much on board credit (and Carnival wouldn't allow us to withdraw it!), we opted to use their excursions.
On board activities--We enjoyed the variety of movies offered at the Dive In Theatre (Lego movie, Ride Along, Les Miserables, Gravity, etc.) Never had difficulty finding a seat for the evening shows. Comedy shows were great--I personally would wish that adults traveling with small children would 'heed' the warning and NOT BRING toddlers to the adult comedy shows. Comedy shows are packed--almost wondering if they should reconsider and use a larger room for the "Punchliner" shows. The Production shows (Divas, Latin, Epic Rock, Motown) were very well done, but I miss the cruise ship orchestras--everything is computerized and prerecorded. None of us cared to attend the Hasbro Game Show (I or II) or the Game of Love Show (which was the only evening activity on Wednesday night). They had the Abracadabera Magician show at 10:30 p.m. in the Ebony Cabaret (why not make this the headlining show in the Amber Palace???). Other music--well, the guy playing the acoustic guitar by the Red Frog--he's okay, but I don't think passengers were really listening to him. We didn't see many patrons in the 'disco/nightclub'; walked by many evenings to seeing it empty (on one evening, there was just 1 guy dancing in there!). Meanwhile, they had a Latin band playing for several hours by the atrium bar, which was well attended, but they needed more space.
And about the music, this is a caribbean cruise--where did the steel bands go??? The "I put the Fun in Funky" DJ didn't get our ship rocking--on the Grand Turk day, our passengers were enjoying the DJ's music from the SUNSHINE (docked next to us!)!!! I passed through night clubs with beautiful grand pianos just wrapped up--I'm wondering if Carnival can't get some college music students to do an intern program on board and provide entertainment (live--not pre-recorded). The only time I saw a full band (not just a keyboard player, computer equipment and a vocalist), was at the Past Cruiser reception (45 minutes)--and then, they only played for 15 minutes. Latin music for hours--they gave 45 minutes to "Woodstock" era, and at 11 p.m., 45 minutes to "country music". I thought this was a Caribbean Cruise--where's Bob Marley, Jimmy Buffett?
We were on the ship for the 4th of July--the cruise director said there would be special activities for Independence day and the Lido would be decorated. Well, there were 5 streamers by the DJ, then the director brought out a box of noisemakers, hats etc., and passengers swarmed in and grabbed bags of party goods, leaving other passengers without (poor planning--suggestion, how about put one in every stateroom per guest??). Then, they had the hot dog eating contest and Miss Carnival contest, followed by--more LATIN music.
Chair hogs--they continue to be an issue on the ship. Finding a chair by the pool after 9 a.m. most 'Sea days" is impossible (unless you want to sit in an upright plastic chair in the sun). I sat next to one chair from 9-noon and it was never occupied (except for a towel and small football). Someone appeared at 12:30. My suggestion (which I'm sure others have voiced their opinion on this), if the waiters (who likely have 'sections' to cover) carry a piece of chaulk; mark that vacant chair after 30 minutes (especially if the towel is DRY!). After an hour--ship's staff remove the items; why leave it to the passengers to be the 'bad guy'.
Attended the 'shopping show for Grand Turk' on Thursday morning--which was scheduled for 9:30 in the "Fun Times" but Jay didn't show up until 9:45 (after one of the guests called!). He claimed it was a 'typo' in the Fun Times. The "Groove For St. Jude" was just selling t-shirts and teddy bears--nobody actually danced!!
I did utilize the gym; lots of equipment very well maintained.
Small 'diapered' children in the hot tubs with large floatation devices--seriously? Those are not kiddie pools. Yes, there is the Serenity side of the ship, but sometimes, some of us would like to see the activities on board and parents allowing their small children to jump and swim in the hot tubs is not right.
Final thoughts--the 'Papparazzi' on the ship--yes, we all love to have our photos taken, but a whole hallway of photographers every night badgering you for photos? As we disembarked on Saturday morning, we walked past boxes of unwanted photos--all that paper wasted. How about digital kiosks or something? That's a large expense--money that could go to other areas. I don't think I will cruise on the Glory again.