We sailed the Eastern Caribbean itinerary. My husband and I were booked as special needs guests. Not only did we speak with a special needs agent prior to our cruise, but Carnival made our embarkation and debarkation very smooth. We both have mobility scooters. After we showed our fun passes at the doorway of the terminal we were greeted by a friendly gentlemen who walked us through the entire embarkation process and then right on to the ship. He was a real gem. We did not have to navigate lines and there was no waiting.
Our balcony cabin was number 6208 and was modified for the disabled. It was roomy and nicely accommodated our mobility scooters. The doorway was extra wide to allow for wheelchairs and riding our scooters into the room. The only drawback to the room was a doorway next to our cabin door which leads to a small outside deck at the bow of the ship. It also has stairway access to the decks above. Everytime someone went in or out of that door it More
slammed very loudly. However, it did not disturb us while sleeping. The annoying aspect of the door was when a number of the teenage passengers kept running in and out and yelling and screaming during the entire cruise. When we were traveling on the windward side, the wind whistled terribly through the balcony door. However, on our return trip when we were on the leeward side it was very quiet. Our cabin steward named Som was the best ever. He could not do enough for us.
The shows were very good, the music was wonderful, and the food was delicious. We were assigned to the Platinum dining room and Boris the maitre 'd was the first maitre 'd I have ever seen among 6 cruises to give personal attention to each and every table on most nights. Our assigned table for dinner was right near the door with ample space to park our scooters right outside the door. When we arrived for the open seating for breakfast and lunch we were accommodated near the door with ample scooter parking as well. The only drawback was that our cabin was in the bow of the ship and our assigned dining room was in the stern which made for a long ride on our scooters. The food was excellent. We found only one entree to be sub-par and that was the rack of lambe which was very tough. I enjoyed the prime rib which melted in my mouth and I can't say enough about the chocolate melting cake, the date and fig cake, and the Grand Mariner souffle which were served. Mel our waiter was a lot of fun and always had a smile on his face. His wait assistant Elena is a real sweetheart.
We did not book any of the ship's shore excursions because we have found that many times one can hire a car and driver for an entire day and customize a tour for the same or less money as the tours the ship offers. When we disembarked for shore excursions there was always a crew member to help us down the gangway with our scooters.
Since we have been in Nassau a number of times we opted for shopping downtown for 2 hours and then returned to the ship to enjoy the amenities on board.
When we arrived in St. Thomas we rode our scooters to the taxi dispatch area and requested a driver and van to take us on an island tour. We had a wonderful tour with stops at Mountain Top and enjoyed a banana daiquiri and a beautiful view of Magens Bay. There are a few stairs to navigate to get to the deck. We also took advantage of the skyride. The ride itself was shorter than I expected and the cars were very hot. At the bottom of the ride is a steep set of stairs so our driver dropped us off at an upper level. However, when we proceeded to the skyride we had to do down a flight of stairs. This proved to be very difficult for my husband. We also wanted to use the restrooms which entailed going down a second flight of stairs. Then to get back on the skyway we had to go up a flight of stairs. When we exited the ride we had to climb yet another set of stairs to reach the pick up area. I do not recommend this activity for the disabled. The ride is so short and the view is not nearly as good as one can see on an island tour by car. Our driver had warned us about this. We found the shopping at the Havensight area to be just as good as downtown and easier to navigate. One will find most of the same stores at Havensight as can be found downtown. A,H. Riise Stores offers the best prices on liquor. We took advantage of the 4 litre limit when buying on St. Thomas and we were able to bring a fifth bottle back by buying a litre of liquor which was produced on St. Thomas.
When we arrived at St. Maarten, we hired a private driver also. The cost of an island tour was cheaper than on St. Thomas, but we found St. Thomas to be more picturesque. The taxi dispatch on St. Maarten was more organized than on St. Thomas and the prices for tours and transportation to various areas were posted. We toured the island for approximately 2-1/2 hours and spent 1-1/2 hours shopping downtown. Again we found the same shops as on St. Thomas and Nassau. I had orginally wanted to shop in the French capital of Marigot. When we drove through the town, I noticed prices posted in euros in the shop windows. This would have made purchases more costly. Our driver told us that he lived on the French side, but did all his shopping on the Dutch side since the prices were so much cheaper. He told us that he had just re-wired his home and if he had purchased circuit breakers on the French side they would have cost him $100.00 a piece, so he purchased the same item on the Dutch side for $15.00 a piece. Our final stop was to do some shopping downtown. Downtown St. Philipsburg is charming. There is a concrete walkway along the beach area which they call the boardwalk. It is a wonderful place to sit and have a cold drink and a bite to eat. The beach there was very nice and within close proximity to the ship. Our last two days of the cruise were at sea. We enjoyed the amenities of the ship. I must say that jewelry shopping aboard ship is as cheap if not cheaper than on the islands. The girls in the jewelry store and I were on a first name basis. The jewelry comes with a certificate of authenticity and there is a one year money-back guarantee. One only needs to contact Carnival in Miami, FL. Last year we sailed the Mediterranean on the Freedom and I purchased an exquisite tanzanite pendant at a very good price. On the Glory, I purchased an emerald pendant and earrings; also a very good buy. I comparison shopped prices on the islands to verify this.
The only disappointments on the ship were too few 1 cent slot machines in the casino and very slow wait service when ordering a drink in the casino or the main showroom.
I do recommend that Carnival designate one elevator in each area of the ship for the disabled only. My husband and I as well as others with mobility scooters and wheelchairs at most times were pushed aside by others scrambling for an elevator. There were many times when my husband and I would be the only people waiting for an elevator. During the wait other people would arrive. When an elevator finally opened on our deck the others would rush past us and fill the elevators. Some of the wait times I experienced were as long as 20 minutes or better. I did not even attend the grand buffet because when I arrived on the deck of the dining room no one would move and there was no room for me to exit the elevator without running into some one. I was totally disgusted with the rude and discourteous attitudes and behaviors of many of the other passengers. If a little person were to cruise on a ship such as this they would surely be trampled. I am not an elderly person, I am middle-aged so I am not looking for a senior citizen cruise. I simply feel as in all aspects of society today that there is a lack of common courtesy. My husband and I paid the same fares for our cruise as all the non-disabled passengers and we should be entitled to enjoy the same amenities (which are handicap accessible) as the other passengers. However, the individualistic "me first" American attitude prevails.
Regardless, I was determined to have a good time. When we were to disembark, those who were special needs guests were to meet in the main showroom. My husband and I proceeded to do so. When the elevator doors opened on the deck of the showroom, people were jamming the stairwells and hallways to diembark. I did not know how we were going to navigate our way to the showroom. Then suddenly making his way through the crowd was the kindly gentleman who had helped us embark. He and some other Carnival employees actually boarded the ship in search of special needs passengers. He spotted us and immediately cleared a path for us to ride our scooter through. Again he made the process of disembarking very smooth. Unfortunately, I did not get his name, but he is a true asset to the Carnival family. Hats off to the Carnival crew for a top-notch performance on the Glory and at Port Canaveral. Less