The Introduction: I am a 24 year old male in the public service field. This was my sixth cruise with Carnival, and my first on the Carnival Glory. All of my previous cruises have been on "Fantasy Class" ships, so this was my first on a newer ship. The cruise left from Port Canaveral on 9-1-07 and went to Nassau, St. Thomas and St. Maarten. We booked very early, almost a year in advance, and paid $475 per person for interior rooms. I highly recommend booking early or watching the "specials" sections on a cruise line's web site, you can save a lot of money that way. Our group was 9 couples, all between the ages of 21 and 40.
Since school was in, there were very few children on board. I will probably never take another cruise that isn't during the school year, since the ship is overrun with kids in the summer months. Cruises are also cheaper from September through April, so that works out great for us being that we don't have kids.
The Embarkation: We arrived at the cruise terminal around 12:30 PM, unloaded the luggage and parked. Having been on the Sensation in May, I was surprised at the congestion at the Glory's pier. It was confusing and very crowded. The line of cars waiting to unload at the luggage drop off area was about an hour long. We pulled out of line and just went to the garage and carried our luggage to the porters. That saved us a lot of time. Once we got into the terminal, the process went very fast. We got onto the ship and were able to put our luggage in the room.
The Ship: Being used to "Fantasy Class" ships, it wasn't hard to get around the Glory. The layouts are fairly similar. I liked that the piano bar is near all the other night clubs, unlike the older ships. The ship was very clean, and they were in the process of replacing most of the carpet in the common areas and hallways. Our cabin was adequately large, and we were comfortable throughout the week. It can be plainly seen that Carnival, or more specifically Joe Farcus, is trying to be more modern in the interior design of the ships. I almost forgot I was on a Carnival ship, with less of the Vegas style glitz. Then I went into the White Heat Disco, saw the giant plastic candles, and it all came back. The sliding dome over the back pool is a good idea for when it rains. I was also pleased that the Spa has a very large hot tub that does double duty as a swim spa. There is also a smaller hot tub next to the swim spa. One of my primary complaints with the Fantasy ships is that they are taking the hot tubs out of the spas; as part of the recent renovations. Due to some unexplained reason, the men's steam bath was broken 4 of the 7 days we were aboard. Even after numerous complaints to the spa staff, nothing was done. I always look forward to using the steam bath when I go on a cruise, so I was pretty disappointed.
The Food: As with any cruise, there is never a shortage of food. I found the meals in the dining room during dinner to be top notch. We had the 8:00 dinner in the Platinum Dining Room upstairs next to a window. The servers were very attentive, and the beverage server always brought me a Coke at the beginning of the meal without my having to ask after the first night. We also ate in the Emerald Room Supper Club one night. It was excellent. I highly recommend doing it at least once. It costs $30 per person, but the food and service was some of the best that I have ever had. The steak was awesome, and we both left very full. I also proposed to my fiancE afterwards, on the observation deck on the front of the ship. She said yes, so it was a pretty good night. The food in the Red Sail Buffet on the lido deck was fine. I liked that they added the Asian cookery and Fish and Chips counter, features not found on the older ships. The Red Sail became very crowded during lunch time, but we were always able to find a table in the upstairs area. The pizza was always really good, but I didn't like that the pizzeria was located outside by the rear pool. I also didn't like the nearest bar being out by the pool. That causes guests to walk outside to get beverages or pizza when they are eating lunch. On the older ships the bars and pizzerias are inside the lido restaurant, which is much more convenient.
The Entertainment: We went to several shows and comedians. Both of the comedians were very funny. They also had a magic/dance show with Justin Illusion that was good. The player in the piano bar was awesome and there were bigger crowds in there than I have seen on any other ship. This could also be due to the aforementioned improved placement. Wee Jimmy the cruise director did a good job with the newly wed game and other shows. The Ports: Nassau: Originally we weren't even going to get off the ship. I have not been at all impressed with Nassau in the past. We did end up going ashore, but only to go to the Atlantis resort to look around. It was a very cool thing to see. They have a huge aquarium and casino. You have to pay to see the whole thing, but certain parts are open to the public. The shopping village that surrounds the resort is very new and clean. It had a Johnny Rockets, Haagen-Dazs, and several other shops. This was a pleasant departure from the dirt, congestion and heckling found in Nassau. We paid $6 per person round trip for the water taxi that goes there. I highly recommend going there if you aren't going to do an excursion in Nassau.
St. Thomas: We had a lot of fun in St. Thomas. There were three Carnival ships in port that day, so the shopping area around the pier was very crowded. We took the sky ride up to Paradise Point ($18 round trip per person). The restaurant at the top has some of the best Pina Coladas that I have ever had. The view of the harbor, ships, and town could not be beat. We got lots of great pictures and then went back down to go into Charlotte Amalie. We did some shopping in town then headed back to the ship. As we got back, we got to watch an unfortunate group of folks that missed the Carnival Triumph as it left the pier. They briefly yelled "wait!", but then resigned themselves to waving to their friends on deck as the ship sailed away. This provides a valuable cruising lesson: DON'T BE LATE GETTING BACK, THE SHIP WILL LEAVE YOU! However, it should be noted that they will wait if you are on one of their excursions. An excursion you book by yourself through a private person or company doesn't count though.
St. Maarten: After getting off the ship we purchased the all day water taxi pass ($8 per person). We then took it to the shopping area. We found the best prices for liquor in St. Maarten. After shopping we went to the beach and swam for the rest of the day.
The Debarkation: We checked our luggage on the last night, and went to the Red Sail for breakfast on the last morning. We weren't in any hurry to get off, so we took our time and had a nice last meal on board. When we went to get off, it only took about a half hour. The process was a lot better than we experienced on the Sensation. The Bottom Line: This was another great cruise that I recommend for almost anyone. There were some things that I missed from the older ships, but there were many more things that I liked. We all came away happy and full. We had great weather the entire week. I can't say much for Nassau, but it's nothing that Carnival can control. The other two stops were awesome, and everybody had a really good time. I liked the ship, and would definitely recommend this cruise. There are some people who judge Carnival harshly for being the "Wal-Mart" of cruises. I prefer an analogy that I read in another cruiser's review; that going on a Carnival cruise is like going to your friend's house. The ships are nice, but not super fancy, so your kids can run around without you worrying that they will break something. The crew treats you very well, but not like royalty. The food is great, but tailored to the masses. I like that! I'm a blue collar kind of guy, and I don't want to have to wear a suit on vacation, or worry about using the right fork at dinner. If you are looking for an ultra premium cruise, then Holland America or Celebrity Cruises can give you that. If you want a high value, reasonably priced, fun and relaxing vacation then Carnival is for you. I am a confirmed Carnival fan, and I plan on taking many more cruises with them. We are booked on the Paradise in February 2008 and the Carnival Freedom in December 2008, so I'm sure to have more positive reviews then.