Let me also say that if you don't want to read a review that isn't 100% glowing, you should stop now because we (and many others on the ship) were unhappy with several aspects of the cruise. No sour grapes here, just being honest. As others have said, you get what you pay for.
First problem: embarkation. Things were seemingly smooth. We had a full ship but we were able to get on the boat by 11:30 a.m. or something like that. I did feel like I was being herded like cattle a bit, but most frustrating was as soon as we got in the terminal we got a little photocopy of a paper saying "sorry, we changed your itinerary" and they switched the days we would be in Belize and Honduras. Not a big deal to someone who books excursions through Carnival, but I had already paypaled Major Tom's people $100 for my husband and I to cave tube on May 20. Surprise, surprise.... I wasn't going to be there until May 21.
Carnival said it was a "last minute" change and it would allow us more time in the ports somehow. As soon as I got onboard, I checked with the excursion people and they told me I was out of luck and that I should've booked through them and very quite snotty about it. Not helpful. Oh, but I could pay to get email minutes and could check with the tour people. I did have a friend email them about it although by the time she heard back we had already turned off our cell phones. In the end it was fine.... but... stressful for those couple of days not knowing if I was going to be out a hundred bucks and not knowing if I was going to have an excursion in that port. Especially one that I thought would be a highlight of the trip!
(Note to future western Glory people -- confirm your itinerary before you sail if you have booked non Carnival excursions! I think this might be a permanent change.)
Anyway, so after that, we confirmed the Supper Club reservations for Sunday night (the link DOES work that has been floating around!) and headed up to the lido deck for lunch. More cattle herding feeling. Lots of general rudeness, line cutters, etc.
One thing I want to mention that was odd that I thought was great on Disney..... there were no hand sanitizer stations on this boat. There were no paper towels in the bathrooms to help you turn off faucets. There were some little "single" toilet paper sort of dispensers at each door to grab on to the handles with, but they were only stocked a portion of the time. No one asked up to get new cups or glasses or plates at the buffet. Generally felt like things were unsanitary -- like when there was some sort of OJ or lemonade residue in my "clean" plastic drink cup at the buffet.
I also want to mention that the buffet people and generally all ship staff minus the waiters, supper club staff, and the creepy cruise director guy seemed overworked and unhappy. A main problem, as well, was that there were a lot of language barriers/miscommunications with the staff. On Disney, staff that did not understand what you said would try to understand.... on Carnival, it was like they were just guessing or assuming what you meant and most of the time it was far off base. Sort of like, if you ask for a lemon in your water... and you get a whole lemon dropped off at your table.I'll touch on a few aspects of the boat here.
1. The Food.
Generally sub par. I kept thinking that if they cooked things right the first time or prepared it more carefully that they'd waste much less food and could afford better quality stuff. Scrambled eggs were undercooked, fish and chips were doughy and undercooked, my husband's eggs benedict had sort of a "ganache" of hollandaise sauce on it. Our (wonderful) waiter in the lower golden dining room would ask us what our 2nd choice was sometimes at dinner because he knew we'd probably be sending certain things back. (Everyone at our table that ordered the filet mignon sent it back one night. It was really hard to cut and was sort of.... fishy?)
The supper club, though.... I can't say enough good stuff about it. Make sure you get the lobster bisque. We went 2 times and I can say that the filet mignon that came with my surf and turf was the best one I've had in my entire life. The dessert (I had the apple tart thing) was divine. My husband loved the chocolate one. All of it.... the experience, the staff, the attention..... divine.
Room service and the deli were pretty decent, too. Breakfast stuff was sort of bland and limited, but it was fine. It was also very prompt.
Sushi was not good, the buffet in general was quite disappointing. The hamburgers and fries were great, the pizza was only tried once and we didn't like it. The chocolate chip cookies (and the melting cake!) were great, too.
2. The room
Again with the language barrier. The steward would knock lightly and barge in when we had a "don't disturb" sign on the door. Like he thought we forgot to remove it, maybe? We had to keep the bathroom door open so when he would barge in and if one of us was naked or sleeping or something that he couldn't see us. This happened at least 4 times.
The room was right above the jazz club. My Carnival guy that helped with the reservation said I shouldn't worry about sound. Bull crap. We could sing along with these songs they were so clear. Calling guest services, all I'd get was a "sorry" and "they'll be done soon." The last night of the cruise (last night!) I called at 12:15 am and they were snotty about it... of course, people were getting all liquored up in there bar and would rather get money out of them, I suppose. Thank you, Ambien.
The room was pretty small. The same grade cabin was much bigger on Disney. The carnival blue towels you can use for the pool were never replaced when they were dirty... just folded back up. The body wash was really watered down. The samples in the cabin were razors, citrucel chews, and toothpaste. The TV was pretty lame -- lots of Carnival infomercials.
The bed was fine. No weird back pain upon waking, which was good. On our last sea day, we didn't get to sleep til after the jazz bar was closed and then were woken by a woman vacuuming at 7:30 am. She stopped once I popped my sleepy head out and asked her to let us sleep but seriously.... can't they wait til after 9? It's a vacation!
I think that's it for food and lodging.Activities
One thing that was weird was that the pools were full of salt water and not chlorinated water. Quite a shock if you just shaved that morning! I didn't care for it -- I love pools, but I felt dirty after coming out. It was probably better for the environment or something, but I don't know if it was.... clean.
Karaoke was pretty fun. I did a Madonna contest and came in first runner up. If you win, though, you have to perform in front of 1600 people on the last night of the cruise. No thanks!
Oh, by Thursday the gift shop was out of Crown Royal, so order that one early. Sorry, I just had to throw that one in.
Sports bar bartender... again with the language barrier. He wasn't even friendly. This does not bode well for his profession. They don't have the "versus" (VS) channel, so forget about hockey playoffs.
The casino. Eh. Don't do the $20 slot tourney. Huge ripoff.
Putt putt.... it was too windy when we did it. I can't remember what else we did. Saw a redneck comedy guy one night and he was funny enough I guess.
There was a "past guest" drink reception (husband sailed carnival about 10 years ago) that was ok I guess. It felt like they were trying to kiss our butts, but just for like 45 minutes. It all seemed so contrived and cheesy.
Do you guys want to know about shore excursions in the Glory review?
I'm not sure what else I'm missing.
We will probably not sail Carnival again. I don't want to discourage anyone from taking a cruise with them -- it was wasn't our bag. We're foodies and I have a low tolerance for crowds.
Oh and self disembarkation was muuuch quicker.