EASTERN CARIBBEAN: 11/24/2007 Nassau St Thomas St Marten
We flew into Orlando a day early and picked up a rental car and made our way to Cape Canaveral. Carnival charges $70.00 PP for transfers from the airport to the ship. Our Budget rental car was $24.00 per day plus gas and we had the ability to go where we wanted for the day. We also reserved a car for the day we returned from the cruise for our trip back to Orlando at the same price. This is definitely the way to go.
We got to Port Canaveral and we stayed at the Radisson the night before, and yes you could hear noises (as some reported here), but they were not a problem.
After a good nights sleep we went to breakfast and then dropped off the rental car. Budget had a free shuttle to the port and we were putting our luggage into the bin for the ship by 10:30 AM.
The ship looked good from the outside except for the funnel needing a good cleaning. We went into the terminal, through security, and then made our way to the upper level for processing. At the top of the escalator you first come into contact with the kiosk holding travel documentation you may have forgotten, or filled out incorrectly. In any case there is enough extra to take care of all passengers.
Make sure that you have all your paperwork completed online before you get to the terminal. Everyone that did this before hand got processed, checked in, and a sail & sign card in hand in minutes. For those that didn't process the information online before hand, they stood at the counter for up to 10 minutes or more. Also a big note, make sure you fill out your Bahamas immigration paperwork.
All this said, we were directed to a seating area to wait to board the ship. The Carnival staff was going through the passengers waiting to get on the ship asking if anyone had questions. They even played some trivia games to pass the time. We waited for them to clear the ship, and when it was cleared they escorted groups of 50, to the main hallway where your picture is taken and we got onto the ship by 11:15 AM.
We couldn't go to the cabin until 1:30 so we went to the Red Sail to have brunch. Since we ate breakfast earlier we just got some fruit and then went up to the deck. We had our swimsuits on under our shorts so it was just a matter of seconds to get ourselves positioned under the blue Florida sky, a drink in hand and we started getting our tan.
The Disney Magic was in port at the same time and we had some of the people staying in our hotel. I was ready for the kids acting like kids, however it was something else to watch the parents run around and crawl on the floor along with them. They got the kids so worked up that they were completely out of control. Oh well, I was glad they were on Disney and not the Glory.
The ship was very clean, even having just allowed 2800 passengers off not more than 1 hour before. The Glory is in great shape and nothing was worn to a point that one could notice. I guess if you wanted to be a complainer you could pick on some of the burned out blue lights on the tiered levels the deck chairs were on, but really, who cares.
We made our way to our cabin on the 10th deck, cabin 1034. The cabin was clean and everything was ready for our arrival. We went out onto the balcony and watched the others getting on the Disney Magic. We then went back up on deck to continue to get a tan.
Time went quickly and we got the news that the lifeboat drill was going to start in 5 mins. We grabbed our life jackets and went to our muster station. The drill lasted about 15 minutes and we were back on our way to our stateroom to stow the life jackets. When we got there our luggage was also there and we put our clothes away and went onto the balcony to watch the ship leave the dock.
People, please go to the lifeboat drill. The ships personnel check the ship and anyone who tries to hide just makes the process take that much longer while they wait for you to get to the drill. You will not hide, they will find you.
We were escorted by the Coast Guard and 2 of their boats with 50 cal machine guns on the bow. When they saw us safely to sea, they turned around and went back to escort the Disney Magic out. We watched as the shoreline slipped quietly off into the distance. My wife and I went down to the casino and gambled a little before going to a few of the nightclubs on board.
We did notice that the ship was moving quite a bit and were surprised as the sea was not rough at all. Anyway it was a great way to go to sleep and get ready for the next day, rocked like a baby.
The first stop was in the Bahamas and Nassau. I am not sure why Carnival does not go to St Thomas first and then St Martin before stopping at Nassau on the way back. You have to clear customs in St Thomas because you stop in the Bahamas first. It is no big deal as Carnival has this process down pat.
The biggest problem is that passengers don't know how to listen. They ask that you stay off the 3rd level, as this is where the passengers are processed. However, being repeat cruisers you know that there are those that have no clue as how to act. It's amazing!
They call you by deck and you make your way to Club O2 where you clear customs. It is only a matter of showing your passport, or birth cert and photo ID. They just check to see if you have your paperwork, look at the picture to make sure it's you and you're done. It is a continually moving line that only takes 15 to 20 minutes if people do as they are instructed.
We went back up to our room to put our passports into the safe. We grabbed our sail & sign cards and drivers licenses (photo ID) and made our way off the ship. We chose not to do any ship tours on this cruise, as we just wanted to relax. We got a taxi and went to the Atlantis. The Atlantis is absolutely beautiful. We went into the casino and gambled for and hour and then snapped pictures as we made our way to the beach.
To get to the beach from the Atlantis you have to walk through the mall area and make your way to the Riu resort just next door. You walk out of the Riu front entrance and just to the side is where you find the beach access. The beach is wonderful. The sea was getting rough and not many were in the water, however it was very warm and you had to cool off. So you would see most people just walk into the surf a little way and just splash themselves.
A guy was going up and down the beach selling drinks in a coconut for $10.00. He is from the Riu beach bar and the drinks were very good. The best part was that for $10.00 you could drink as long as you were on the beach. He came back very often and with in 2 hrs we had 7 drinks each, great deal.
When leaving the beach you walk back up the beach access were you will find the taxi's all lined up to take the passengers back to the ship. They are very pushy and almost get into fights to get your fare. We waited for a taxi to fill up, and after being asked over and over again if we wanted to go back by ourselves for $14.00 each we said we would wait for a full taxi so we only had to pay $4.00 each. We waited for 20 mins and the taxi drivers would continually ask you to go so they could make more money for just 2 people. We got tired of the pressure so we went back into the Riu and made our way to the Atlantis where we got a taxi as soon as we walked out the door for $4.00 each.
The driver was great as he gave everyone in the taxi a narrated tour of the island on the way back to the dock. When we got back to the ship we tipped him extra for providing great service.
We got back onto the ship and went up to our room to clean up. We left at 4:00 PM and we got some great pictures of Nassau and the Atlantis as we sailed away. We went to the Red Sail for dinner and then back to the Camel Club Casino. The slots were tightened up and not many were winning anything from the machines. We always play the tables so this was not a big problem. The dealers and the pit team were great and treated everyone good. They would joke with you and had fun doing so. The casino was always a lot of fun even though you didn't win. Hey you're on vacation. We did end up winning back all we lost during the week on the last day. 3 card poker, Let-It-Ride, Craps, and 21.
That night we went to see the show in the Amber Palace. I know that people have said the show was just OK, however you need to keep in mind that the ship rocks and every step may not be in sync. And believe me, that night the wind picked up and the sea's went from calm to rough 12 to 14 foot waves and you better believe you could feel the ship rocking. But even with the rough conditions the show was very good. This was the last time this show was being done on the Glory and the group was getting off at the next port to go to another Carnival ship. We already had the new group on the ship when we left Nassau and they put on another show later in the week. My hats off to the Carnival dancers and the conditions they have to perform in. Great show!!!!
We went down to the lower floor and got ready to watch the R rated comedian. As it was we had seen this guy on another ship 2 yrs earlier and the jokes hadn't change. Oh well!
The following day was a sea day as we made our way to St Thomas. The sea conditions got worse later that day, and by nighttime the seas went up to 16 to 18 feet. In the morning there were very few people in the dining room for breakfast, and not many in the Red Sail either. We sat in the Platinum Dining room and watched the horizon move up past the top of the windows, and then watched it as it went down below the bottom of the window. This ship was really rocking and rolling and my wife and I had a great time holding on to things as we walked. We walked up to the Kaleidoscope Boulevard, which is the main passage from the front of the ship to the back. It was funny to watch people walked and move from one side to the other. Some of the people had to sit down as they were having such a hard time, and some of the people fell. No one got hurt, just embarrassed.
Back up to the cabin to change and up on deck to enjoy yet another perfect sun filled day. The drink stewards did a great job of making sure all who made it up on deck had all the drinks they wanted. We watched some of the pool games, and then went down to the pizzeria and burger grill areas at the back of the ship by the Azure pool. The pizza was great as were the burgers. I asked for a steak sandwich, and was surprised that a lot of people in line were not aware you could get a steak sandwich at the burger grill.
We didn't go to the dinning room until the 1st formal night. This was the captain's dinner where they had lobster and steak. We got dressed and did the formal pictures and went to the Colors bar for a drink while we waited for the Golden dining room to open.
The lobster was very good, not great, but very good. The steak was cooked to order and was also juicy. The appetizer had escargot and they were very tender and tasty and I ordered another that was just as good. For desert my wife and I had the Chocolate Melting Cake. WOW!!! I read the reviews on this board that talked about this desert and they were all wrong, it was better than they said.
We got out of our formal attire and made our way to the Ebony Cabaret to watch the karaoke. We didn't stay long as one can only take so much. And on our cruise there was not very much talent. We moved into the Blue Bar and listed to a band of Chinese musicians play top 40's music, and they were very good. Everyone was having a good time, and it appeared that the older crowd preferred this bar as they filled it every night.
We stayed at the Blue Bar for an hour or so and made our way to the White Heat dance club. When we first got in there, there were very few people. But within 30 minutes the place was packed and rocking and rolling just like the ship. The DJ had smoke going and the lights were moving all over the dance floor. This was where the younger crowd hung out. We saw some of the casino crew in there and they came over and started talking. Within 15 minutes we had the place going. What a bunch of partiers the casino crews are. We got out of there at 2:00 AM and went back to the cabin.
The next morning we watched the ship pull into St Thomas from our balcony. We went out on our own after clearing customs as stated earlier. We got a taxi and we were off to Megan's Bay. The beach was very crowded as there were 6 ships calling at St Thomas that day. We found a little patch of sand we could call our own and put our towels down. Some clouds came in and we had a quick burst of rain. It only lasted for 5 minutes tops, but the beach crowd ran for the taxis and left. The sun came back out and that was the only rain we saw the whole week. The rest of the week was wall-to-wall sun. We moved down to the beach to the bar area so we could get drinks easier. We could put our towel any place we wanted as there was now very few people left. The beach did get busy again, but not like it was when we first got there. We finished lying in the sun and made our way back to the ship. The taxi's charged $8.00 PP each way.
We went back to the ship and got cleaned up. We then got back off and went to Paradise Point. Because the ship was leaving at 8:00 PM we got to see the city of Charlotte Amalie all lit up at night along with the ships. At the top they have a bar and restaurant where you can get a drink or something to eat. They have drinks called bushwhackers that's there signature drink and it's great. We made our way down at 7:15 and walked back to the ship with time to spare.
The next stop was St Martin and as we had done on the other islands we got a taxi and went to the beach. The taxi driver took us to Orient Beach on the French side. The roads are just the way we remembered them from before, pothole city. The island is still very poor as is very evident when you make you way from place to place. Philipsburg was built up from the last time we were there, as was the pier the ship was docked to. This pier was not even there the last time we saw St Martin.
Orient Beach is clothing optional, and even though you are told that only a part of the beach is nude, be ready to see someone nude walking by at anytime anywhere on the beach. Also keep in mind that most beaches on St Martin are clothing optional be it the French side or the Dutch side. Orient Beach has all the necessary shops and bars anyone could want. This is a great beach for those that want to have a good time. The first time we went to St Martin some years back we went to Maho Beach and watched the planes take of and land, this is also a must see beach. St Martin has so many beaches to choose from you can go back time and time again and always find a beach that takes your breath away. The taxi's charged $4.00 pp each way and there was always a taxi you could find if you needed to go back to the ship at anytime.
There were some marines at the beach from the Caribbean Princess that went by with their bathing suits on and came walking back with nothing on. The women on the beach got a great show, as all were very impressed with the hard bodied marines, including my wife. As my wife said to the ladies who were also gawking while lying on the chairs next to us, "I was just checking out their tattoos." Everyone started laughing and the ladies were on the lookout to see if they were going to walk by again. It was funny watching the ladies as they took turns standing lookout for the marines return.
We walked up and down the beach and went into some of the stores. The prices were not that bad and they did have some very nice items. The bar at the end of Club Orient by the rocks, had happy hour at 12:30 to 1:30 and you got 2 for one (this is a totally nude resort). You just stood in line with all the nude people and waited. This place was a blast, and everyone should go down and walk the beach.
Back on the ship we went to the cabin and crashed until the next day. St Martin was a great stop. The next 2 days were sea days and we would hit the deck, the casino and the dining room, and then onto the bars and casino again if we were not tired.
The ship is very nice and the crew work hard to please. Our cabin steward (Benni) was not exceptional, but took care of the cabin and we had no complaints. The waiter was very good and even though we didn't eat in the dining room each night. His service was so good we tipped him extra. There wasn't anything he wouldn't do or try to get for you. You never had to ask for anything twice, and he remembered your dining preference and would suggest items that wet your palette. Even during breakfast in the Platinum dining room he would see us sitting at a table and he would come over to greet us and say good morning.
The ship is sparkling clean and it was decorated for Christmas. The decorations were not over done and complimented the ship. The staff in the casino were over the top as well as the bar staff. We didn't find anyone pushing drinks as some have said. If you didn't want a drink you simply said "no thank you" and they moved on. They didn't come back and hit up again and again. As a matter of fact, we only had to wave to get a drink when you were ready and that was that. Embarkation was a breeze and debarkation was just as well oiled. You just have to sit back and wait your turn; it's not a big deal.
Some people believe that they are above the rest and deserve to be first or they are better than anyone else. You're on a cruise, relax and get off the high horse. It doesn't make you better than anyone else; it just makes you look worse. One only has to watch the Royal Caribbean bunch to learn that.
But then those RCCL people do like to pay more for their cruises, and tours. Even though they are going on the same tours as the Carnival guests that paid less and had a better time. Oh well, I'd rather pay less to go to the same places, same tours, and put that money into my pocket.
The Carnival Glory is a great ship with a great crew. Go and enjoy, just leave your worries behind. You're on a cruise for God sake, why look for problems.