To begin this is our 5th cruise with Carnival. What started off as a anniversary cruise for my wife and I (31st) ended up being not only our celebration but our son's also. He decided that he wanted to start his journey by being married on the Glory. So as we continue our journey, my wife and I witnessed our son start his.
Embarkation: We decided to stay at the Country Inn & Suites the night before the wedding. The room rate included leaving our car at the hotel and free shuttle service to the port (and pick up after cruise). This was a tremendous savings (as it cost $12.00/day to park). Upon arrival to the port at 10 A.M. we were greeted by Mary the wedding coordinator. After the ship was cleared from the previous cruise we were taken aboard. I would say that this port to me is the best to board. We have boarded in Ft. Lauderdale and Tampa also. But Port Canaveral is to me the best. The process is smooth, and the time to board is very quick. In watching others prepare I have to say that the flow was very quick. We then went to the Lido deck to eat (the wedding was at 1 P.M.). The food was great.
Food - We had the main seating in the Platinum Dining room Table 504. The only complaint I have on this table is that the window was closed since the view is of a lifeboat. I was not happy with this since the occasion was special but as I proceed you will get to see the rest. Our table consisted of us, our son, his new wife, his friend and his wife, the parents of his friend, and another person that came with them. So we knew our dinner guests. Our server was Maryrna (Ukraine) and Nolan (South Africa). I would like to start by saying that on 6 cruises this was the best service yet. After the first meal, there was never a single item missed, and our preferences were met consistently and well above any of our expectations. I am one that likes lime in my tea. Maryrna made sure that I had it every meal. She even sent Nolan to the bar on the first night to get it. Each night (we ate all our dinner meals in the dining room) we were more and more pleased with the service. I even told the Maitre D that I thought she should have his job. She was that great. Our anniversary was on Wednesday but she thought it was Sunday. So she had the celebration on Sunday and then on Wednesday she covered this by saying that Sunday was just practice but that today was the real thing. We had wine twice during the cruise and our drink stewart (Mary) was sure that all those that drank soda had their preferences each night. Again way above my expectation for Carnival. Now as for the food, I have read many complaints but I have to say that our experience was that everything we ordered and ate was awesome except one lamb dish I received. It was a little tough and overcooked. I was hesitant to complain but Maryrna noticed it and immediately asked what was wrong. Within minutes she had it replaced and this time it was perfect. We have sailed on Princess, Royal Caribbean, and Holland and the food and service did not compare to the Glory. This explains why they have been #1 for the past year within the Carnival fleet. I was so impressed with both that I left extra in tip for them especially. To me the service reminded me of Emerils.
Entertainment - The shows were great, we saw two comedy shows, an illusionist, and two broadway shows in the Amber Palace, which is the main show room. We also saw several peripheral entertainment shows throughout the ship. All of them were great. There was one show missed since the person missed the ship and the replacement was mediocre. Otherwise the entertainment was great. We played the casino each night for a little period (I like Blackjack and my wife likes slots). I won a little and my wife did pretty good also. Those who say that the slots are tight are pretty right. But they loosen up after a day or two. My wife won $100.00 on a penny slot ($20.00 in), $250.00 on a dollar slot ($10.00 in), and she found the quarter slots the tightest. I won $300.00 playing FUN 21. The staff in the casino were awesome and they too learned our names quickly and greeted us each night we were there. The only thing I think that needs improvement is the Television. It seemed to be that every other channel was a infomercial for Carnival. I would also like to see the Movie under the Star theme like Princess. They say that it will be available by Fall.
Shopping - The on board shopping is good, with a decent selection. Now in port this is another story. So I will placed shopping with port review.
Ports - Cozumel - Shopping port of the Caribbean. We found that this is to us a great shopping day. My wife purchased me a Breitling watch and got a 27% discount from the states. We bought several other items in silver and tanzanite. But our shopping guides (Rebecca and Darren) were the best. They went with us as they knew that these would be big purchases. We could not have been happier. Otherwise Cozumel is okay. We ate in town and then went back to the ship. Roatan - When someone says that this port is a diamond in the rough you need to take that literally. The port itself is being built and when done it will be awesome. Now the town outside the fence we found to be the rough. I mean rough. It is extremely depressed and poor. My wife and I chose to walk to town (2 miles) and let me tell you I thought I was in the slums. The people were nice (we acquired a local guide without asking) and he was all too happy to tell us more than we wanted to know about each building we passed. We saw a young girl with a monkey and I took a picture of it with my wife. I felt so bad for the child I gave her $5.00. She tried to give it back but I insisted. Later we shopped and bought the most beautiful mahogany boxes for $10.00 a piece. They were hand carved and normally sold for $40.00 each. I bought 14 of them and the woman in the shop nearly cried. Like I said a diamond in the rough. My children went snorkeling and to the beach on the west end of the island. They told me that where they were it was like Beverly Hills or South Beach. What a contrast. I learned later that the port construction is the best job and that they let each person work on it so that they can make a living in the summer (their slow time). I think that they could do a lot to improve the cleanliness of this part of town for the future. I would love to come back but would be hesitant to leave the ship if they have not improved this part of town. Belize - Belize what can I say? it is a long tender ride to port. Since the port is shallow it required us to anchor about 4-5 miles out. I thought here we go. But the catamarans used were smooth and quick. In Belize again the port of shopping. I bought a nice ring for my wife there and also inquired for my son about loose diamonds. I have to say that Lisa the Manager of DI (Diamonds International) was awesome. She had every stone there when my son and the rest came back from their excursions. But sadly they were in no shape to look or decide. Let's just say that Jack Sparrow and my son want to know "Where's the Rum?" To say the least they had a wonderful time and were trashed on Rum Punch. Lisa knew this and she went out of the way to help us. She sent the three stones that she thought were what they wanted to the ship with Rebecca. The next day the kids were able to look at them and decide. They loved them and although they did not purchase them, they decided that it would be Lisa that they purchased their stone from. So I guess we will be going back to Belize. Freeport - I would rather have gone to Nassau than Freeport. The port itself is in the edge of the ship yard where they send cruise ships for refurbishing. We saw the Pride of Aloha (NCL) there being refitted. The town itself is 11 miles away and a taxi ride. The port and shops were okay. The taxi ride is $5.00 per person and they use mini vans. Gas is $5.60/gallon. We went to town and I hate to say were very disappointed. Prices were outrageous. We looked at a replica Dooney purse and could get a real one for the same price in the states. So we walked around, found out that the prices were way too high and went back to the ship. We purchased some nice conch shells that were reasonable and then we also ate in town. The kids and I went snorkeling but although nice we thought that the snorkeling in Roatan was better.
This process went smooth. We were given numbered tags for our luggage. We were #27 and were off the ship and in our cars by 0930. Customs was smooth. Our only complaint with this was that we had purchased some drinks onboard called "Monkey Heads" and they were inside carved coconut heads. We paid for the heads but were afraid to bring them through customs. So we tossed them.
Overall - I have to say that this was the best cruise yet on Carnival. This ship was immaculate, the service was extraordinary, and the experience was awesome. But this did not compare to the wedding and that portion. We could not have done a better job, had a more personal and perfect service, reception, and the pictures. Well those that say they are not good missed out on Raymond. I gave him $50.00 tip and we purchased a $1499.00 package. It had more than enough and he even made us 10 extra DVD's of the photos for those who could not be there.
I am not above saying when something is wrong that it is wrong. But this trip, the wedding, the ship, and most of all the people aboard the Glory made our anniversary, and my son's wedding the best and most Glorious experience of all. I have to say that I am afraid that the next time we cruise that Carnival will be our choice but there is no way they will top this trip. Except with Roatan and Freeport. Thanks Carnival