Day 1: Embarkation- We drove to Florida from Wisconsin. Any questions about this let me know but I don't want to bore you with the details, although we did some fun things along the way. We arrived in Port Canaveral on Friday night and stayed at the Radisson. This is an excellent hotel! Very clean, friendly staff and they have a great pool. On Saturday morning, we swam for a while and then got read to head to the ship. We had called ahead to arrange a ride on the Radisson shuttle. Our scheduled time was 12:30. We went down to the lobby at 12:15 to find plenty of others waiting too. We waited about 20-25 minute and then boarded the shuttle. I would recommend doing this because we didn't have to pay to park our car and left it at the hotel. Once we reached the ship, the shuttle dropped us of very close. Our checked luggage was taken care of and we took our carry-on bags and headed inside. The embarkation process went very smooth- have ALL paperwork filled out ahead of time. This will save you time and stress!!!!! This includes the Bahamas Immigration form. It seemed like a lot of people had not received this ahead of time and were filling it out in line. We left the hotel around 12:40 and were on ship at 1:40. Our room was ready, so we dropped off our carry-on bags and went to lunch at the red sail. Lunch was crazy! Everyone had to eat there if they wanted to eat since nothing else is open. It went fine but get ready to experience PEOPLE! Lunch was good, nothing special. But this is how I felt about the buffet all week. It's a buffet.....
After lunch, we walked the ship for a while to check things out and get some of our first pictures. Around 3:00 we went back to our room to unpack. Some of our luggage had already arrived. We had 4 checked pieces and they all came at separate times. I got my final piece after the muster drill at 4:30. Make sure you bring extra coat hangers if you plan to hang your clothes. They are some hangers in the closets but not enough and there is plenty of space to hang things. The muster drill call came at 4:00, so we put on our life jackets and headed up to deck 4. Watch the TV program about the drill ahead of time as you unpack, it made things a lot more clear. Just follow directions and everything will go smooth!
After the drill (at 4:30) we headed outside to watch the ship leave port. It was really exciting!!!!!! I had a "fun ship" drink in hand and my camera in the other. We found a spot on deck 11, it was windy but who cares when you are beginning a great cruise vacation.
After leaving port and watching the land disappear we head back to our room to finish unpacking and read the Capers (the daily newsletter and schedule for Glory). Then we got ready for dinner in the dining room. We had an 8:00 seating time in the Platinum dining room. It was around 7:00 when we left the cabin and proceeded first to the liquor tasting on deck 5. This was a fun event and a nice way to sample some of the liquor on sale for the week. Do not feel pressure to buy any liquor right there at the tasting. It's in the gift shop all week, same price. Really good prices! Don't pass up some of the deals. We continued on deck 5 to the sushi bar. We got a variety of sushi and sat on some comfy couches and watched the ship sail through the ocean. We loved hanging out in this area of deck 5 and did so often before dinner. It's open enough to have space to ourselves, yet fun to watch the people and the ocean going by.
We were cruising with my husband's parents and met up with them before dinner. We then headed to the Platinum Dining room for our 8:00 seating. Do not get to the dining room before your time. The doors will be closed and you will have to waiting in the crowded hallway. 5 or 10 minutes after is just fine. We were surprised to see our table was just for the four of us but were fine with that. It was fun to meet our dining staff, Jude and Igusti. Dinner was okay. I ordered a fish entrEe off the spa menu. It was fine but lacked taste (for the rest of the cruise I stayed away from the spa menu except for the desserts at the buffet, even though they were diet they were sometimes the best choice and really good!). Dessert was fabulous! Crème Brule. After dinner, my husband and I went to the aft hot tubs to relax and reflect on our first day on ship. Then it was off to bed! Oh, having a night light is important if you have in interior cabin like we did. When the lights are off its pitch dark. We did not use the night light every night but it was nice to have the first night while we were getting used to our surroundings!
Day 2: Nassau, Bahamas
We arrived in the Bahamas a half hour late, 8:30. Not a big deal since we didn't have anything scheduled. We put on our suits in hopes to find a beach. I also brought my beach bag with sunscreen, camera, id, sign and sail, a hat and a change of shoes. We planned to do a walking tour that we found on the boards and then hang out at the beach so I wore tennis shoes but also had sandals. I found that I carried this beach bag every where. It was the perfect size and great for day trips or just walking around the ship. Nassau was HOT! We did the walking tour with Erik's parents for a while but then decided to find the beach! After swimming for a bit we shopped and then went back to the ship. We were on board around 11:00. I hung out in the main pool for a while, since nearly no one was in it and then laid out in a sun for a few (not too long though...it's pretty intense!). Lunch places opened at noon, so we tried the fish and chips and also had some things from the buffet. The fish and chips food is really good, different but good! After lunch my husband decided it was nap time. I decided to hang out on deck 10 and 11 and watch the ship leave port.
Time for formal night- After our morning in the Bahamas and some relaxation on the ship we were ready for a fun night! Oh, before I forgot...bring an insulated mug for beverages. Even if it's just for water, punch, ice tea, etc from the buffet. The cups they have are small and sometime you can not find one! Bring your own. We got ours at Wal-mart for $1.50 and then just threw them at the end of the trip (no room in luggage).
Okay, so formal night....First we went and worked out around 4:00. The workout area is nice but pretty busy. Great view from the treadmills! After working out it was time to get ready. We were ready about 6:00 and headed to the Captain's party. Get there on time (depending on your seating). We found a nice seat for the 4 of us, had some great *free* drinks and enjoy the singer. After the Captain's party we went to the show Livin' in America. It was a Vegas style show with singing and dancing. The ladies wore thong type costumes at times (which my husband loved) so beware if you bring children. Although, I didn't really think it was that bad. The show was finished just in time for us to make our way back to the aft of the ship for dinner in the Platinum Dining room. I had lobster this evening and it was really good, although not as good as the lobster my husband had in the Emerald Room (I will write more on that experience later). The dining experience is great and I encourage everyone to at least try it. We ate there most nights. Can't beat the great variety and taste of the food! Next we were off to the "R" rated comedy show with Michael Macy. We really enjoyed it and the humor was great. Someone in the audience was being a smart a** back to Mike and that got a little old.
Day 3: Sea Day-We ate breakfast at the Red Sail/Buffet today which we did on most day. However on our last two days we tried breakfast in the dining room. I highly recommend eating there. Better selection and portion sizes are perfect! I got really sick of the same thing every day at the buffet for breakfast. Some mornings it was fine because I just had a yogurt and fruit.
After eating we read inside for a while in the Atrium. Then we went to the Amber Palace for bingo and then Game Show Mania. Both were fun! There are a ton of things like this to do on Sea Days. Just check the capers for what catches your eye. I highlighted the things that I thought would be fun do go to. We had lunch at the Fish and Chips and Deli. I LOVED the deli. Best Rueben's and tuna sandwiches!!! I would also go to the grill and get a plate of fries to enjoy with my sandwich. During the afternoon we read in the shade for a bit and then hung out by the water slide.
After being in the sun it was nap time! Naps on the ship are great! It is super dark and you get gently rocked right to sleep. Once we woke up we got dressed up again, not for a formal night but for our dining experience in the Emerald Room. The Emerald Room is $30/person extra. We knew we wanted to take Erik's parents here for dinner one night and book it as soon as we got on the ship after embarkation. They suggest 2 hours for dinner here, we spent almost 3! It is so much fun and so good!!!
The Emerald Room dining experience is not one that should be missed! We really enjoyed every minute. The food is FABULOUS!!!! We ate way to much though and couldn't do much more that night except sleep.
Day 4: St. Thomas- We pulled into port and it was over cast and raining. In St. Thomas you have to go through US immigrations on ship. It is a bit of a process but runs pretty smoothly if everyone follows the directions! We proceeded through immigrations, went back to our room (on deck 1 which is perfect for days in port since you get off the ship on deck 0) to get our stuff and then we were off. We had booked a day sail on the Winifred through the web site www.sailwinifred.com . We caught a taxi at port and they drove us to Red Hook which is where we met our Captain of the Winifred, Sharon. She got us into rain jackets and we got into the dingy to get out to the sail boat. There was another person, Amy, who came along too. Just the five of us on board, Captain Sharon and her first mate, Jacquie. It was a very personal experience and one I would recommend. We sailed for about an hour and then arrived in Christmas Cove where we snorkeled for about an hour and a half. While snorkeling with Jacquie, Sharon made lunch and had things ready for when we got back on board. While snorkeling we saw squid, manta rays, puffer fish, urchins and many fish. It was awesome! The rain had stopped and the sun even came out for a while.
After snorkeling and lunch we headed back to the island. We shopped a bit in Red Hook and then caught a taxi back to port. We shopped there a bit too and then watched the ship leave port at night. It was a beautiful site. We did not eat in the dining room this night because we didn't get back on ship until 7:30 and then watched it leave port. We had the buffet and it was fine. My husband wasn't feeling the best (head cold) so we kept this night pretty mellow and headed to bed after walking around the ship for a while. We had St. Maarten to get ready for!!!!
Day 5: St. Maarten- We docked the next morning in St. Maarten and disembarked no problem. We had schedule a day island tour with Island Marketing (http://www.stmaartencruiseexcursions.com/) and met our guide Lloyd at the end of the pier. He drove us around the island in a very nice van with A/C. We started the tour on the Dutch side where we docked. Lloyd told us lots of interesting history of the island and was fun at the same time. We crossed over into the French part of the island (smoother pavement!) and drove to an over look of Orient Beach. It was beautiful.
Lloyd drove us along the beautiful roads to the Loterie Farm Adventure Center. I am sorry but I do not know the cost of this because my mother-in-law was in charge of the excursions. This is one that should not be missed! We arrived and stowed our bags in a cabinet. I gave my husband my wallet to keep in his pocket (money, id, sign and sail) just in case. We were all given a climbing harness to put on and then told how to work the carabineers and pulley system. My husband and I rock climb so we were very comfortable with the equipment and with being independent on the course. A guide came along with at the beginning to help clip in if you need help and also watched you set up the first pulley system for the zip line and then you are on your own. The guide walked along below us giving directions and taking pictures with my camera. I entire course took about a 1 hour and was so amazing. It is kind of scary at first but what a sense of accomplishment when you are finished. This is not a relaxing adventure! Be ready to sweat
After our adventure at Loterie Farm Adventure Center, Lloyd continued our tour of the island. We first stopped at Fort Louis a French fort. After climbing about 99 steps (not too bad) we had a wonderful view of the island.
Next, we stopped in Marigot for shopping (about 45 minutes). There were a lot of fancy and expensive shops but also a street market. This was a fun area and very beautiful. Then it was time for lunch. Lloyd brought us to a beach side restaurant at Baie Rouge. The ocean was beautiful. We put our things down at a table, ordered and then hit the waves. It was a lot of fun. We were hot from the day's activities and ready to cool off! Lunch was very good also. My cheese sandwich took forever because the cook thought the waiter said cheese salad. Of course, they are on "island" time so I didn't get it for literally an hour if not more but who really cares when you are in paradise. Plus I had a guava colada, so I was set!
We spent about 2 hours at the beach and lunch. Lloyd came back to get us and had lunch with us too. Then we were back to the island tour. We stopped a few times to get pictures and I got this great one of the Glory in port.
We ended the day by stopping in Phillipsburg to shop for a while. We bought some Guava berry rum and a few fun souvenirs. Then it was back to the ship. The tour was wonderful and Lloyd couldn't have been more nice. This was the best excursion ever!!!!
Erik took a nap in the cabin while I watched the ship leave port. It began to rain so then I took a nap too. We were very tired from the day's adventures! We ate in the dining room and I had wonderful fried cheese a.k.a. mozzarella sticks (can you tell I love cheese) and mahi mahi for dinner. After dinner we went to a magician/comedian and then another comedian after that. I thought they were both only okay. Not the best. My husband really enjoyed the second comedian. There was a Mexican buffet at 11:30 and then a deck party. We watched the deck party for a while which was basically dancing on the lido deck. Lots of group line dancing type songs. Fun to watch but not something I felt like doing on the Lido deck. The Mexican buffet was good, nothing to special though.
Day 6: Sea Day- We were looking forward to our two sea days in a row. We loved being in port but we also loved being on the ship and exploring. Definitely go and "sneak" around. We found some great access doors that are not so obvious and got to some great viewing/deck areas. We did the usual sea day things for us; read, lay out, swim, and walk the ship. We also watched the Newly Wed game which was very fun!!!! We also attended the afternoon tea in the Ivory room. This is a must. So neat and great little treats. My husband was a little disappointed that the actually tea wasn't more fancy (it was just Lipton tea bags) but it was fine with me. We also gambled in the casino a bit. This was the second formal night so we took a while getting ready. There was a martini special on deck 5, so we headed there around 7:00 for some tasty drinks. After martinis and sushi it was off to formal night in the dining room. People seemed a lot more dressed up than the first formal night. I saw a lot more tuxes and some prom type dresses. Many people looked very nice. I didn't see any jeans and t-shirts in the dining room. Maybe people are getting wise???? We had a wonderful dinner and then sat to enjoy some music by Teri Jo on deck 5. My husband and I ordered drinks from the casino bar. I had a "Riviera Delight" It was VERY good! There was another "R" rated comedian. He was okay but I am not that in to comedians. My husband loved it though! The grand buffet was this evening. Okay....here is one of my only complaints. This was so LAME! We left the comedian early to take pictures (which was fine with me). The picture line was crazy even though we came a half hour after it opened. We walked around the line and took some pictures on the side of the desserts and 1 big ice sculpture. Couldn't see much else. Then we waited in line to eat at the buffet. It was hardly moving (mind you it is midnight at this point) and so my husband went to see what the food looked like. He came back and said it wasn't worth it. So we left the line and went to the pizzeria (which is AWESOME-best pizza ever!). Many other people were doing the same thing. The grand buffet is on the lido deck where the regular buffet is. No such a big deal to me and definitely something to skip. I guess I really don't have a complaint here I just thought it was going to be really neat, and it wasn't!
Day 7: Sea Day- We ate breakfast in the dining room this morning. It was very good! When you eat breakfast or lunch in the dining room you are seated with usually 4 to 6 other people depending on the size of your group. I really didn't like this. The first time we had breakfast in the dining room no one at the table talked, including us. We were tired and just wanted to eat. It was kind of weird. The second time, this morning, was better. People were a bit more talkative around the table but still tended to talk with just their group. The food and portion sizes were worth is though!
Next we went to the Amber Palace for Trivia and my father-in-law won a ship on a stick. Then we stayed for the debarkation talk. This talk was informative and good to go to especially since this was our first cruise. We decided to self assist since we were driving back to Wisconsin and wanted to get going as soon as possible. After the talk we did our usual (reading, pool, sitting the sun) and we had lunch at the buffet. Each day the buffet had a special at the "Taste of the Nations" station. Today's theme was Chocolate Extravaganza. We at lunch from the deli and regular buffet and then went through the Chocolate Extravaganza. They had a lot of yummy cakes, desserts and a chocolate fountain. We ate too much chocolate and decided it was time to go back to the room to pack and take a nap. I wanted to get packing out of the way during the day so I could really enjoy our last evening.
After the nap we went to the kid's talent show which was really cute but really crowded. This should be done in a larger room! The kids are so cute and proud and of course their families are there but other people wanted to see too. We did some shopping and bough our liquor which they let us take back to the room since it was the last day. Our Guava Berry Rum was also waiting in the room for us to pack (we bought this in St. Maarten but they made us store it for the week). We got ready for dinner and then went to the casino bar for a beer and then some sushi.
After eating our sushi we still had some time before dinner. We checked the capers and saw that the piano bar (Cinn-A-Bar) had a margarita piano party special. We had not been into the piano bar all week and I am sorry we waited until the last day. It was so much fun! We each got a margarita and sat down to enjoy some tunes and even sing a few notes! We were late to dinner because we were having so much fun.
We finally made it to dinner and had a great time in the dining room. Dinner was wonderful, as usual, and we bid farewell to our wonderful servers: Igusti and Jude. Then it was back to the piano bar for more fun! Erik's parents went to the final show: Carnival Legends, which they enjoyed very much. Erik and I enjoyed the piano bar for a while more, and then went to check out the dance club White Heat. Not many were dancing and most of the music was unfamiliar to us. We are only in our late 20's but do not go to the clubs much any more. I think I would have liked the 80's theme night but missed it for some reason. We walked the ship one last time and then it was off to bed!
Day 8: Debarkation- Time to leave the ship....very sad. We went to the Red Sail for breakfast and then finished packing our bags. We had chosen to do the self assist debarkation and carry out our own bags. Everyone was given blue luggage tags with a number (1-34) on it. We had #30 and knew we would be one of the last groups called off the ship. Since we were driving home and wanted to get an early start we chose self assist. If you can carry all your luggage, I would recommend doing this! You need to be our of your cabin around 9:00. We were ready around 8:00 and went to wait, with our luggage, in the Amber Palace. The ship began calling number around 7:30. #1-5 were called first, those with early flights. Then they began calling self assist groups by deck. Since we were on the Riviera deck we figured we would still be called towards the end of self assist. While waiting the Amber Palace we noticed that the line was moving very quickly and was very short. So we got all of our luggage, went in line and checked out. Why wait for our deck to be called when the line was empty? We didn't mess anything up by doing this and were then off the ship and out of everyone way! Worked out really well! We made it outside and found the Radisson shuttle waiting across the lot. We loaded everything up, waited for about 5 minutes and then were off to the Radisson. The shuttle dropped us off at the parking lot where our car was and that was it. We had to go back to the Radisson lobby since I left our Nintendo DS plugged into the charger in the room before leaving. I was sweating bullets that it wasn't going to be there but they had it set aside! Thank goodness!
We started on our way back to Milwaukee and left the Glory behind in port. It was a GREAT trip and one I would do again in a heart beat. This was the first cruise for my husband and myself and I loved every minute. Nothing really to complain about and everything exceeded our expectations. I really enjoyed the Glory and Carnival experience!
Here are the things that were highlights: • Emerald Supper Club • Desserts in the dining room....all very good! Chocolate Warming Cake is a must a least once • Ability to bring wine from home. We had 4 bottles total and brought them to dinner • Sushi every night! • Hanging out on deck 5 • Cinn-A-Bar Piano Bar • Deli- Reuben's and Tuna Fish sandwich • 24hr. Pizza.....soooooo good! • Interior Stateroom- I know it sounds crazy but we loved it. So cozy! • Our room steward, Don • Waterslide • Afternoon tea • Captain's party- free alcohol • Laying out and cooling off in the pools • The views! • Embarkation- very smooth, staying at the Radisson the night before made it so easy • Debarkation- even better then embarkation, go waiting in the Amber Palace if doing self assist and leave when the line is small.
Well, that's all for my review. No cruises on our horizon again....not because we don't want to, time and money and a new home are holding us back. Hopefully we can go again in a few years!