I am 27 and my mother is in her late 50's. This was our fifth cruise, the second with Carnival. We had such a great time last summer on the Legend, I was worried it could only go down hill from there but this cruise was even better. I'm starting to feel pretty devoted to Carnival for my cruising vacations. We live near Tampa, FL so we didn't need to make use of the area hotels or airport. Getting to Port Canaveral meant only a two hour drive in the car. The short commute is even nicer at the end of the cruise when you are suffering from debarkation depression and all you want to do is get home.
We picked the Glory for many reasons, most important probably being the fact that I'm not a fan of flying and prefer to cruise out of a Florida port. The second reason we picked the ship was because we hadn't been to St. Thomas or St. Maarten since the hurricane in 1995 and we were curious to see how things had changed. The Glory was beautiful, clean, and well maintained. We do have to agree with some previous reviews that commented on the difficulty getting around the ship. It is a little frustrating not to be able to go from one end of the ship to the other on all the decks but we figured it out and this wouldn't stop me from cruising on a Conquest class ship in the future.
We have become huge fans of the balcony cabins and made sure to book one of those for this cruise. The cabin was clean and spacious as far as cruise ship cabins go. Our cabin steward, Nandy, was like Spiderman sneaking in and out to tidy up while we were out. He also went out of his way to ask how our day was every time we saw him in the hallway. We had no maintenance issues but I would send out a caution to anyone booking a cabin on deck six. It is right above the promenade deck which houses all the night clubs and unfortunately, this ship does not seem to be well insulated. We were subjected to the shouting (can't really call it singing) from the piano bar below until well after midnight. The Purser's desk was awesome and provided us with ear plugs which took care of the problem with the exception of one night where the bass beat got out of hand. This cabin would be best for people who stay out late at night. Regardless, this was a minor annoyance and definitely did not ruin my cruise.
In the Platinum Dining Room we sat at a large table with several other groups of people during the main seating. They were all nice with the exception of one old prune but we didn't pay any attention to her. We actually ended up hanging out with two of the ladies on several occasions. You can tell Carnival tries to seat you with people of similar background and interest at dinner which makes eating with complete strangers a little less awkward. Our waiter Hudi and assistant waiter Suta were awesome. The food was great, especially the filet mignon and of course, the chocolate melting cake.
Before I describe the ports of call and shore excursions, I have to wax poetic about the cruise director, Butch Begovich, and his entertainment staff. They made this cruise for me. I have experienced plenty of cruise directors and thought they were great but nothing quite compares to Butch. The guy is "on" and at level ten every time you see him. He never seems to run out of energy. He is extremely funny, intelligent, and friendly to everyone (which makes it kind of hard to meet the guy when he's always surrounded). If you get the opportunity to cruise with Butch, make sure you see at least one of the shows he hosts, attend his legendary dance class, and participate in the Carnival Colors challenge. I had the best time dancing like a fool on the Carnival Glory and hope I get to cruise with Butch again someday. The rest of the entertainment was good as well. The two main shows were pretty good (very good compared to other cruise ship shows I've seen) and the comedian on the first night whose name I cannot remember as well as Motown singer Marcus Anthony were phenomenal and not to be missed should they show up in your caper. As for the other activities offered, there were plenty and a wide variety. I never felt bored, even on the two sea days in a row. This cruise definitely became less about the ports of call and more about my experiences on the ship.
The first port of call was Nassau which we wanted to see just because we never had. We booked the island tour through Carnival and it was interesting. We toured around in air conditioned vans to the highlights of the island. Now that I can say I've been to Nassau, I don't know that I need to go back. This port of call was not much compared to the others. The second stop was St. Thomas. We booked another island tour through Carnival and enjoyed it. This time we got to tour in open air busses which made for an interesting experience. We stopped at various highlights along the way but the most spectacular thing about this island is the views from the tops of the various mountains. We spent several hours shopping in Charlotte Amalie and have to say that this was the best shopping of the trip. The final stop was St. Maarten where we took a tour of both the Dutch and French sides of the island. We did some shopping in down town Philipsburg but there was not as much to see as in St. Thomas.
Debarkation was excruciating but only because I truly did not want to leave this ship. Three days later, I'm still depressed and wishing we had booked the Western itinerary as well so we could have had two weeks on the Glory. Depression aside, debarkation went very smoothly, one of the best I've participated in actually. We had no issues with our luggage or getting out of the port area.
Overall, this cruise was spectacular. The staff were the friendliest I've ever experienced and the other guests on board were some of the happiest I've sailed with (honestly never saw anyone having an argument or dragging their kids anywhere). I cannot wait to do it all again and soon. Perhaps it's time to consider working for Carnival and cruising all the time.