Port Canaveral (Orlando)
We are experienced cruisers having traveled with Carnival before. We booked our cruise online. We got a terrific deal on a deck 8 balcony room and an interior across the hall for the kids. We arrived in Port Canaveral the night before the cruise and stayed at the Country Inns and Suites about a block from the port entrance. The room price included parking for our car for the duration of the cruise and also free shuttle service to and from the port. Add in the nice continental breakfast, and we made out like bandits on this one. I recommend this as well. By comparison, the whole embarkation process at Port Canaveral went the smoothest by far than any Port we have gone out of before (New Orleans, Tampa, Miami x2). We were able to board the ship in a timely manner with everything going fine up to this point. Having cruised with Carnival before, we were not surprised by the annoying drink servers, but was surprised at how pushy they have become on this ship. Most settled for a simple More
"no, thank you" but others would continue to push. This was far worse than I remember on any other ship. Our cabin was nice. We especially loved the balcony. Worth every penny. During the cruise we would trot up to the Lido deck and get our morning coffee and sit out on the balcony and watch the sunrise everyday. Pure bliss. The food service in the main dining room was pretty good. The selections were adequate and there were alternate selections if you were not interested in the main courses. Our wait staff were timely with the service and did a good job getting everything right. Food service outside of the main dining rooms were another story. The selections in the Red Sail were for the most part fresh and hot. It was the usual fare we have come to know on other Carnival cruises. The 24-hour pizza was great as usual. The main problem we had with the food service on deck was the staff. Once, the staff was closing the line and snatching trays away from passengers to keep them from getting food off of the line. I understand that they need to close lines sometimes and change menus from breakfast to lunch to dinner,etc. But this was by far the rudest behavior and treatment on the part of the staff that I have ever seen. Rude Rude Rude. There was a general attitude that they did not care at all. The last morning of the cruise, there were no coffee cups at all on the Lido deck at any of the drink stations. None. Nada. When asked, a server said that nobody had bothered to wash them last night. They made no effort or attempt to wash them or bring any out. They just didn't care. The food service was just one of the problems on the cruise with the staff. Our cabin steward had a real problem with English as a second language. He was nice, but didn't understand much when you asked about anything. Also, those cute little Towel animals we have come to love on other Carnival cruises...forget about them. We got one towel dog the first day. Not another the rest of the cruise. The TV channel that shows ships time and progress never worked the entire time we were gone. It finally came back online the last night of our cruise but the arrival date was stated as being months away. The digital clocks on the wall of the stairways between floors were all off plus or minus ten to fifteen minutes. It is a wonder that anyone made it back to the ship on time as nobody could really be sure what the actual ships time was. The overhead paging did not work in our cabin or in the hallway near our cabin. We missed several announcements because of it. All these things seem sort of silly, but it was the accumulation of so many "little things" that it began to tarnish the rest of it. On this ship, we could have lived with the little things, but coupled with staff apathy was really the biggest disappointment of all with Carnival and the Glory. Shore excursions: We booked a jeep excursion in Cozumel. We we issued a red jeep with the radio and most of the dashboard stripped out. We were told not to stop for anything, not to let anyone get between the jeeps. And we went tearing off through the streets violating about a dozen traffic laws, running red lights, stop signs. Once in front of local authorities, so I guess it is not only accepted but expected. Anyway we ended up abandoning one of the jeeps when it would no longer run during the excursion. The so called mayan ruins turned out to be a small stone hut in a town square. I guess the trip counts as an excursion, but we would have been better off staying in port and shopped. The next port was Belize. Here we booked our cave tubing excursion with yohnie at CAVE-TUBING.COM. This is one independent operator that I would highly recommend. We got to tube through two caves instead of one that the Carnival group got, plus we got to go 4-wheeling through the rainforest on Honda ATV's and also got to eat at a great place with local cuisine. These guys are the best. They kept the groups organized and we never had to get out of the tube and walk through the shallow spots. These guys know the river and did a great job. I very highly recommend cave-tubing.com for the excursion in Belize. In Costa Maya, we went to Majauahal beach for the day. The beach was nice but, take a taxi on your own. There is no reason to have to book an excursion like we did. That was a rip-off. There was an open bar and we did try and get back some of our investment. We also enjoyed a really nice couples massage on the beach for cheap. I don't think the masseuses were professionally trained therapists, but the massage was excellent and the ocean sounds and the cool breezes were worth every penny. In Nassau, we went to the Dolphin Cay at the Atlantis Resort on Paradise Island. We got a nice tour by the excellent veterinarian who cares for the dolphins and was able to learn alot about these amazing mammals. By far this was the best excursion on the entire cruise. We booked this one ourselves also. The Debarkation process in Port Canaveral went not nearly as smooth as it could have. We elected to wait and pick up our luggage at the terminal based upon past experiences with self-debarkation in Miami and the fiasco that ensued. This was worse. We exited the ship at the appointed time and went through customs. It was a slow and tedious process but with the Homeland Security thing, I accepted that. Once past the customs check point it all went to hell. We went to the luggage belts and found that there were only two small belts for all the passengers on the ship. They were full of luggage and none were being added as there was no room for more on the small belts. It took over an hour and a half to finally get our bags placed on the belt. Once we finally got our bags, we were given wrong directions to the shuttles TWICE by Port staff that were clueless. We finally found our own way. We realized later that no matter how big a fiasco Miami self-debarkation was, this was worse. My advice, do the self-debarkation. All hassles aside, it is less of a headache than regular debarkation. My final thoughts, I enjoyed the Eastern Caribbean itinerary moreso than the Western Caribbean. If you choose the Glory, hopefully Carnival will correct some of the problems we encountered, or at least maybe they will correct themselves with time. Had we not cruised before, and had we not had a frame of reference, it would have been a great experience. It was not up to par with past experiences, and it shadowed the whole experience this time, but a cruise is still the best value in vacationing in my book. I hope this helps. Happy Cruising! Less
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