My Hubby and I just returned from the Western Caribbean. We went with another couple and enjoyed our stay on the Glory. Thanks to all for such great posts, it really helped me pack and know what to expect! This itinerary was very similar to the Carnival Valor. We choose this boat was because it was cheaper to fly into Orlando than Miami. We underestimated the cost of the shuttle from Orlando to Cape Canaveral ($60pp).
Ship Activities: We had perfect sunny 90 degree weather the entire trip. We mostly hung out at the pool on at sea days. Just like everyone said, the 3 pools were small, crowded, and chairs near the pool were hard to find. Since we went in with that expectation, we looked for chairs on deck 10 and found some with no problem. The guys went to the casino and said they had a great time playing cards. We attended the Carnival Legends show and the Magic show and found ourselves highly entertained. (Note: see opportunities for improvement below) My friend and I went shopping on the boat and found some delicious rum cakes (for Caribbean souvenirs) and cheap liquor. The duty-free shopping on the boat actually had fair prices, but don't let the sales clerk tell you that you can carry-on liquor on the plane. It must all be packed in your checked luggage and you were only allowed to declare about 1 liter per person. However, we saw many people pushing it to 2.5 liters per person without incident, too.
State Rooms: Our steward did a fabulous job making us feel comfortable. It was plenty large enough for all of our stuff. We let carnival choose the room and got upgraded for free!
Dinner: The waiters were so nice, but looked over worked. They always were running through the dining room. The food was good, can't stop thinking about the warm chocolate melting cake (think warm chocolate fudgy cake batter with vanilla ice cream) and prime rib.
A Note about Alcohol: Prices per drink on board are ridiculous. Don't waste your money!! Carnival allows you to bring on board one wine/champagne bottle per person. We also purchased rum at port and had no problem carrying it back on board the boat. We actually saw one lady empty a water bottle and refill it with rum in the Bahamas to carry it on board!
Cozumel: Getting off the ship was easy. We were surprised how early people lined up to get off the boat. We didn't want to wait in the gigantic line snaking up two flights of stairs. When Butch, our cruise director, gave us the all clear to debark, the lines moved smoothly and quickly and then we waltzed off the boat. You debark into a little touristy shopping village. We felt like a lot of the shops just had mass-produced crap. The vendors beg you to come and take a look. We did not take any Carnival Excursions ,again...way too expensive. On our own, we went to Chankanaab Park (cab ride for 4 people $10 total each way & $16 pp entrance fee & $10 fins and mask rental). The water was turquoise clear blue and the fish we saw were impressive (sting ray, barracuda, schools of hundreds of fish.) With your entrance to the park, you receive a free drink at Senior Frog's at the shopping village on the dock.....if you like loud crazy bars with balloon hats (and we did).....don't miss your free frozen Pina Colada!!!
Roatan: By far, our favorite!! We paid $20 pp for transportation and entrance to the private Fins 'n Flippers resort. (renting fins and a mask was $8) Oh my....it was gorgeous. I feel guilty about writing this because I want to go back one day and have it still be as quaint.:) They had a beautiful pool, delicious food (mmm, fundidos!!), friendly staff (run by Cynthia from the US), and THE BEST SNORKELING we had ever seen. As you snorkel, you can see the mountains of mainland Honduras in the background. The coral was so alive and the fish went about their daily business, it all looked like an underwater city! It was definitely more primitive stepping off the boat in Roatan. The islanders mobbed you as you stepped out of the confines of the dock, we didn't trust them at first, trying to ignore them. It turned out that they really wanted to help us find the Fins and Flippers dock for no tips. First impressions were narrow minded on our part, but Carnival scares you into thinking you are not safe unless you do their excursions. We are entering 3rd world countries and sure you can't trust everyone, but remember that these people are trying to feed their families and would love to show you around their beautiful island.
Belize: We took the jungle hike and cave tubing through Cave-tubing.com. These guys were awesome! You meet them at the back of the cruise shopping village and they transport you to a jaguar nature preserve to hike and cave tube. Highly recommended! We actually saw a tarantula on our path!!! The guides knew how to handle the situation and kept us all safe. They were great with the kids of our group and picked them up when we trudged through some water. For each of us, it was $45 including transportation. We also spent $2 on a tamale at the end of the day at their snack bar.....the BEST!! Right outside the guarded dock shopping plaza, was this little market. It was no frills, but the souvenirs (mayan tribal masks and calendars) were the best we had seen anywhere. Definitely shop for your souvenirs HERE!
Bahamas: Since this was the end of our trip, we didn't plan anything but relaxing. We took a cab ($5 pp) to Lucaya beach. This was a perfect crystal clear white soft sand swimming beach. There was convenient shopping right across the street. Again, lots of mass produced crap.
Ok, so here are the opportunities for improvement: 1.Bring earplugs to the shows....the sound is terrible and they are seriously and dangerously loud! 2.Just to reiterate, everyone chair saves by the pools. Just relax and don't be disappointed, there are plenty of chairs. My friend got her carnival beach towel stolen (which costs $22 to replace) on her chair, but she told her room steward and he waived the fee. 3.There is no reason to do the prepaid tipping at the time of booking. EVERYONE has this charge added to their onboard account at the end anyway. It comes to $10 per day per person. You can give more. 4.Food is not labeled! We traveled with a friend who is dangerously allergic to nuts. With food allergies on the rise, I was surprised with the lack of attention paid to labeling foods or ingredients.
Well, thanks for getting to the bottom of this post. I am slightly wordy, I know. We had so much fun!!! Have fun on the Glory!