We've been home more than a month from our Carnival Glory Western Caribbean cruise so it's about time I get a review written. This was our 6th cruise, 2nd on Carnival as we did a 4-night Fantasy a few years ago. We have also been on both Disney ships, and Royal Caribbean's Mariner of the Seas. We cruised with my husband's sister and her husband. They are both in their late 40's and my husband and myself are 50.
Embarkation: A very simple process. We had stayed at the Radisson the night before, as our travel companions were leaving their car there. They rode with us to return our car to Budget, then Budget took the four of us to the port in their shuttle. We returned the car at 10:15, and by 10:30 we were on the shuttle heading for the port. After the shuttle dropped us off we handed off our luggage to the porters and went inside the terminal. There was no line at all. We went through security and then upstairs to check in. We had done all our paperwork on line but did have More
to fill out a portion of the Bahamas form. By 11:15 we were on the ship, and headed to the Lido deck for the "welcome aboard" lunch. We enjoyed it, there was lots to choose from. We sat at a table outside, near the pool, and after lunch we enjoyed a bucket of beer and some "drinks of the day" while we waited for the staterooms to be ready. At 1:30 we were allowed into our rooms.
Stateroom: We were in #6356 and our companions were two doors down, in #6348. These were balcony rooms on the starboard side. The room was good sized and we had plenty of storage, we didn't even use it all. When you walk into the room there is a large double closet plus shelves on the left. The bathroom is on the right. The sink area has a lot of counter space, plus there are several shelves on the wall. The shower was ample sized and included dispensers for shampoo and body wash. The sitting area contained a sofa with storage drawers underneath, a straight chair, and coffee table. On the opposite wall was the vanity area/chair, TV, safe, lots of drawers (hair dryer is located in the top drawer), mini bar and more shelf space. The bed was super comfortable, with nightstands/reading lights on each side. The wall by the balcony is all glass, with thick drapes, and a door leading out to the balcony where there were two comfortable chairs and a small table. The mini bar was locked when we arrived, but at evening turn-down the room steward unlocked it. Inside were cans of beer and soda and bottled water, and small bottles of liquor as well. We thought the prices were fairly reasonable, and I did drink a couple Diet Cokes ($1.50 each) and one of the large bottles of water ($3). They were never replaced though.
Room Steward: We never met him on the first, or even the second day. I think it was the third day that I just happened to meet him when I came back to the room and he was still cleaning and then he did introduce himself (Gabriel). On all our other cruises the room steward has made it a point to introduce him or herself on the very first day. He and his assistant did a great job keeping our room clean though, and we enjoyed the towel animals they provided at night. The ice bucket was filled twice daily and it was very much appreciated that we never had to ask for ice. I did request another robe, as there was only one in our stateroom when we arrived and that request was quickly granted. On our Mariner of the Seas cruise a card was provided in the stateroom with the name/picture of the room steward and assistant. I think it would be nice if Carnival provided those too.
Muster Drill: I was disappointed they had it right when we were leaving port. We had to carry our lifejackets to our muster station, then put them on and stand and wait, and wait, and wait. We were under a roof so at least we were in the shade but I wonder why they can't just check off your names as you arrive and then let you leave. It's really too bad they make everyone wait for late comers. As we were standing there waiting we could see we were moving. That's when most people want to be up on deck, or on their balcony, watching the ship leave.
Dining Room: We had booked our cruise more than a year in advance and I had requested 8:00 seating, but we were given 8:30 seating in the Golden Dining Room. We were at table #134 and I was disappointed in the location as it was the second table to the right when walking in the main doors. There was a large partition behind us and we could not even see into the main part of the room, so we could never see the "nightly entertainment" unless some of waiters walked right in front of our table. I would love to know how they determine where people will sit. I thought that since we had cruised with Carnival before we would have a better table. But maybe that's not how they decide.
Our servers were Petre from Romania and Inyoman from Indonesia. They were very polite and nice, and knew our drink preferences after the first night. They knew we liked iced tea, and always brought a small plate of lemons as I had requested them on the first night. They were very efficient and attentive, always smiling. The assistant server even played a little joke on us, as he brought my sister-in-law's coffee cup and pretended to trip and almost dropped the cup in her lap and it surprised her. The cup was empty though. It was just a little trick, and made us all laugh. Inyoman spent several minutes one evening, chatting with us about his country and we enjoyed learning more about him and where he lives.
The food: Oh my goodness!! Almost everything was wonderful. We enjoyed our dinners (we ate every night in the dining room, never opted for the buffet or the supper club) and rarely was there anything we didn't like. Just a few of the things we had at dinner, and enjoyed, were: tilapia, lamb, crème brule, warm chocolate melting cake (it's on the alternative menu so you can have it every night if you want!), strawberry soup, lobster tail, cherries jubilee, sirloin steak, filet mignon, prime rib, chocolate raspberry vanilla cake, Chateaubriand with BEarnaise sauce, amaretto cake, smoked duck, Mahi Mahi, tiramisu, and so much more!! We waddled out of the dining room every night! And I was so impressed with the steaks. I've ordered steaks on our other cruises, and they were never cooked the way I wanted. On our Glory cruise when I ordered my steak medium rare that's exactly the way it came. One night I ordered steak, my husband did, and his sister did and all three were exactly as requested. Amazing, when they are cooking for so many people all at one time.
Breakfast: Carnival provides cards in your stateroom that you can fill out and hang on your door before going to sleep, and your breakfast will be delivered at the specified time. We did this several mornings. The only bad thing is you can only order cold items, nothing hot like bacon and eggs. That was one thing we liked more about our Royal Caribbean cruise. They allowed everyone to order hot breakfast items from room service. But what we got on Carnival we did enjoy. We usually ordered croissants with butter and guava jelly, sometimes muffins and/or pastries, fruit plate, citrus sections, bagels with cream cheese and I always ordered smoked salmon with cream cheese and capers. Delicious! We would have a pot of coffee, and sometimes orange, tomato or grapefruit juice as well. We enjoyed putting on our Carnival robes and having our early morning breakfast out on our balcony. That's one of my favorite things to do on a cruise.
Buffet: Since we usually had our room service breakfast so early, we would be hungry again around 9:00 or 10:00 so we'd go up to the buffet for our second breakfast. They had a very good selection but I don't think they made many changes from day to day. I usually had a croissant, a few strips of bacon, a scoop of corned beef hash, and fresh fruit. The fruit usually consisted of just cantaloupe and honeydew, rarely any watermelon. We never found fresh mango or papaya at any of the breakfast or lunch buffets either. Occasionally there was fresh pineapple. Other breakfast items that were offered were: a variety of cold cereals, milk, scrambled eggs, potatoes, toast, etc. plus a fresh made-to-order omelet station (my husband even got easy over eggs a few times at the omelet station when they weren't busy).
The lunch buffets varied daily and we thought they were very nice. They had a lot to offer, with four separate lines and a separate dessert area so the lines were never long, even at peak eating times. It was nice that they provided trays. And there were 24-hour drink stations that offered water, iced tea, hot chocolate, and coffee. There was also lemonade and fruit punch at some of the drink stations. We did feel the room service coffee was better than at the buffet. We liked the coffee at dinner in the dining room too, had it every night with dessert.
The 24-hour pizza and grille were wonderful! We only had pizza once but it was very good. We had burgers and hot dogs from the grille several times. The fries were awesome!! Always hot and fresh. Sometimes I just got a plate full of fries and skipped the burger! It was really nice to have those dining options for when you just wanted to grab something quick and especially when the buffet was closed. Also near the grille was a self serve ice cream (soft serve) and frozen yogurt machine with vanilla, chocolate and twist. Delicious!!
Fish & Chips: This is on the second level of the buffet area so if you never go upstairs you could easily miss it. We thought the fish was really good, we enjoyed it a couple of times.
Sushi: There is a sushi bar on deck #5, and my husband enjoyed that one time. Next to it is the Creams coffee bar. We never bought coffee there, but I did buy a bottle of Perrier one afternoon ($2.75 for a very small bottle) and we drooled over their pastry/dessert offerings one day so we bought fruit cups with the shells made of chocolate ($2 each) and they were delicious.
They had a Mexican buffet late one night, we were too full to enjoy it. And they had a chocolate buffet on the last day at lunch, that was fantastic!! The Grand Gala Buffet was Thursday at midnight, and we just went in to take pictures. It all looked wonderful, but we were too full. It was a much smaller buffet than Royal Caribbean's Gala Buffet, only about a third as large I think.
Galley: They had a galley tour on one of the sea days. We met in the Amber Palace and there were a lot of people interested in the tour. At first the two Maitre d's spoke about the dining rooms, how much food people consumed each week, etc. then we were quickly led through the galley. It was just a walk-through. No stopping to have anyone explain what was going on, etc. It was interesting to see, and I did snap a few pictures as we quickly walked through, but it would have been nice if they could have taken smaller groups and taken more time to go through.
The ship: Because of one of the dining rooms being in the middle of the ship you could not walk from one end to the other on all floors. You have to go up/down and across to get to each end so it can be a little confusing. But once you get used to it, it's fine. We enjoyed spending time each evening, before dinner, in the atrium and there was almost always a threesome playing music in the center.
Pool area: There were tons of loungers available and we never had a problem finding some to use any time we went out to enjoy the sun. We are not ones to want to be right by the pool so maybe that's why we didn't have a problem. It was nice that they had tables and chairs along the sides under covering, so people could bring food from the buffet to enjoy eating near the pool. They had the usual pool games but we never participated in, or even hung around to watch those. The main pool area had a slide for everyone to use. And the pool area in back, near the grille and pizza area, was somewhat quieter. There were several hot tubs as well.
The Amber Palace is where they have the shows and my only complaint about this room is they almost always had bingo in there before the show started so it was the same people taking up the front rows each and every night. On other cruise lines they have bingo in one of the bars. It would have been nice if on the Glory they had bingo in one of the bigger bars (Ebony maybe?), so that everyone would have the same opportunity to sit in the front rows for the shows.
There are several bars on the ship, all with different types of music and entertainment, and we enjoyed a few of them almost nightly. We loved listening to "Music Connection" in Bar Blue, and my husband especially enjoyed Jordan, the piano player, in Cinn-a-Bar.
There are lots of seating areas on deck #5, near the casino and all along the side. I tried reading there one day, but music is piped in so I couldn't concentrate. But it was a great area to sit, enjoy a drink, and people watch.
There is a casino, but we only walked through a few times so I can't comment much on that area as we are not into gambling.
Entertainment: We enjoyed most of the entertainment, except for the Glory Dancers and Singers. Just not our cup of tea. We attended the first show they put on, "Living in America" but we opted to do something else the next time. There were several other entertainers that put on shows including Lewis Nixon (comedian, started out slow but ended good), Manuel Zunigo (a juggler, he was really good), Al Ernst (comedian, great!), Tony Albano (comedian/magician, very good), Will Marfori (comedian, just okay), Justin Illusion (magician, very good), and "Legends" was very good too. We feel that Carnival's entertainment, overall, is wonderful. There is "something for everyone" and we especially enjoy the fact that the comedians also put on a midnight "adult" show.
Pictures: They have many, many backdrops to choose from to have your formal (and not-so-formal) pictures taken. And some have special props as well so there are lots of opportunities to have your picture taken. Unfortunately they are rather expensive at $21.95. I think the "welcome aboard" photos, and casual ones are cheaper as they are a smaller size. We ended up buying several that we liked, but it was a bit sad to see so many go to waste and be thrown away. It's too bad they can't put your pictures on the TV in your room, so you could see them that way, and pick and choose which ones you want to order to be printed, and be able to choose your sizes too. I would have bought more pictures had I been able to buy smaller sizes.
Tips: We left the automatic tips on our Sign & Sail card, but we gave extra to our room steward, waiter and assistant waiter as we were very pleased with the service they extended to us. For the first time ever we did not tip the Maitre d though. He only came around once the entire time, and on our other cruises he or she would come around nightly to see if everything was all right. We always tipped room service a couple of dollars every time they brought food to our room.
Cruise Director: I had heard Wee Jimmy is a great cruise director, and I agree. He was very funny and we enjoyed him at every show. Someone else took over for him the last couple of days of our cruise though, as he was going on vacation.
Excursions: Cozumel: We chose to do the Dolphin Encounter at Chankanaab Park. We met our tour guide at 11:30 at the end of the pier (we were docked) and we went by taxi (pre-paid, the tour guide paired us up with others to fill cars and vans) to the park which was only 4 miles away. We were divided into two groups, we had 13 people in our group. We were able to put our things in lockers (we wore our swimsuits under our clothes) then we went out to the dock to wait for the trainer. Once he arrived we went down steps into the water, and onto a platform that was 3-4' wide. The platform was a littler slippery and the water was a bit higher than my waist (I'm barely 5' tall) and with the life jacket on I had a hard time keeping my feet under me. There was a net and wire behind us that we were able to hold onto so that helped. Before the excursion began (before we were in the water) they gave us instructions on hand signals, how to touch (and not to touch) the dolphins. At first the trainer had our dolphin swim by us so we could pet him, then swim by again on his back so we could pet his tummy. Then one by one we did the hand signal for the dolphin to kiss us on the lips, then on our cheek, then another signal so we could touch his fins in a "hand shake." Then there was more touching and petting (we were even allowed to touch his tongue and teeth), then the dolphin did some jumps and tail swimming. We were in the water with the dolphin approximately half an hour. Someone was taking pictures and video the entire time as well. After the excursion was over they led us into a small room to watch the 8-minute video, then into another room to show us our pictures and if we wanted to buy them they would have them ready after we changed our clothes. For 6 pictures (3 each of us, 6x8 in size) and the video it was $70. We took quick outdoor showers to wash the salt off, dried off and changed. After buying our pictures we took another pre-paid taxi back to the pier. We had time for a quick late lunch at Senior Frogg's by the pier before getting back onto the ship.
Belize: We chose to do the Bacab Eco Park Rain Forest Nature Trail. At 9:00 we went to the Amber Palace and were given tender stickers and after a short wait we were led in a group down to get on the tender boat to go into Belize City. We found our excursion leader at the end of the pier and after a few minutes we boarded a bus for a 40-minute ride to the park. The bus was full as there were other excursions, besides ours, that started at the park. We enjoyed the bus ride and seeing the city, the countryside and the culture. When we got to the park we had time to use the restrooms, and then waited for our guides. We then boarded a double Decker bus and had a very bumpy ride on a dirt road to get back to the trail. Unfortunately they let the horse riding excursion go first and we had to stop several times to wait for them. I wondered why their guide just didn't have them all lead their horses to the edge, so we could get by, but they never did. We finally got to the trail and enjoyed the walk, but it had rained the night before so it was very muddy in spots, and slippery sometimes too. We saw leaf cutter ants, and our guide pointed out many different trees and plants and what they can be used for so that was very interesting. We only saw one Howler Monkey and he was very high up in the trees. We saw lots of termite nests and found out they are good for eating, in a survival situation. Several people in our group, including my husband, ate one. I politely declined. J After the walk they led us back to another area where there was a pool, and further back a bar and dining area. They provided a nice lunch for us which consisted of chicken, potato salad, rice and beans, and fresh fruit. You could use the pool if you wanted to (we didn't), and you could shop in the gift shop (I did). The bus brought us back to town and we hopped onto a tender to get back to the ship as we were running out of time. I was disappointed we didn't have time to shop in town, but it just took too long to get to the excursion site and back again. That was the only drawback of the excursion.
Nassau: We had originally booked the Clear Kayak excursion, but a couple days earlier we'd received a note in our stateroom saying the excursion had been cancelled "due to technical difficulties." My husband was especially disappointed as that was the excursion he was looking forward to the most. We did ask, at guest services, why it was cancelled and we were told the boat (must be they take people by boat to the kayak area) didn't pass inspection. Rather than trying to find another excursion, we just decided to stay on the ship and enjoy ourselves with less people on board. We spent part of the day in loungers on the deck above the pool, and this was the day they had the chocolate buffet at lunch so we enjoyed that as well, especially the chocolate fountain with fruit to dip. And there were so many other chocolate cookies, cakes, and desserts. Some very elaborately decorated.
Debarkation Day: We went to the buffet for breakfast and were pleased to see they had a full buffet, and not just continental offerings. At 7:30 we went down to the Amber Palace to wait for our number (we had 28, they had numbers 1 - 40) to be called. We had packed the day before and put our luggage out between the hours they specified, 9:00 - 11:00. When our number was called (I think we waited about an hour) we went through customs, then went to collect our luggage and a porter helped us (he even grabbed one of our bags off the conveyor belt when he saw what kind of ribbon we had tied to our bags) and took us right to the spot to wait for the Budget shuttle. Very simple.
Closing Thoughts: We were very pleased with our Carnival Glory cruise. We feel they offer a great vacation at a very reasonable price. The ship was clean and crew members were constantly cleaning and making repairs. The crew was very friendly and attentive. We had lovely weather (the only time it rained was when we got on the tender to go into Belize City but after the 20-minute tender ride the rain had stopped once we got to the dock), and a very, very smooth sailing. The smoothest we'd ever had, and even the crew said our sailing was the smoothest one they'd had in a long time. We rarely felt any motion, and when we did it was minimal. We didn't make it to the Past Guest Party, as they had it on a port day before the time everyone was supposed to be back on the ship. It was too bad they didn't have it on a sea day so everyone could attend. We were supposed to have gone to Costa Maya, but because the pier was ruined during the hurricane they gave everyone $25 on their Sign & Sail card. All-in-all it was a great cruise, and we wouldn't hesitate to take another Carnival cruise. Less