Camp Carnival: When building the Glory, Carnival added the largest Camp Carnival center we have seen yet.. truly expansive and beautiful. On the first night aboard one of the counselors remembered us from having sailed on the Carnival Miracle last year and welcomed us back--a surprising and warm touch. The kids' programming, as usual, was well organized, extremely secure, and fun. We are sure of the fun part because son ate with us the first night in the dining room (when camp is not open for kids' dinner) and did not join us again for the entire week. Every night he looked forward to 6 pm when he could be dropped off in the Lido to have dinner with his friends, supervised by camp staff, and spend the evening on his own at Camp.
Ship itself: Huge. The noticeable aspect for us was the "double wide" sense of the vessel. The extra tonnage meant extra wide, so the addition of 800 passengers from the next ship size down in the Carnival fleet didn't feel crowded because of the ability to walk without being compressed in narrow hallways. The ship was spotlessly clean and well maintained.
Food: The food, across the ship, was good to excellent. I have no bad experiences to report. We ate breakfast and lunch in the Lido (a/k/a Red Sail Restaurant) and dinner in the dining room each night. The Chinese station, deli, fish-n-chips, and pizza were all up to the yummy standard. Our favorite routine was cocktails and sushi from the dedicated sushi bar before our late dinner seating at 8:15. Our waitress from Thailand, Nantha was charming, friendly and did what I would expect a professional to do--steer us away from ordering the entrees on the menu that were the least successful in her opinion. Our waiter Sukaya, was also a pro and has been well trained in elegant service. When he inadvertently spilled a few drops of coffee onto the saucer, while pouring it, he replaced the sauce before I put the cup to my mouth. Of course, who cares about drops of coffee on the sauce--the point is to highlight the attentiveness of the servers.
Cabin: Deck 1 outside. We've done balcony before, and we may be in the minority who enjoy it but don't have to have it, so basic outside suited us fine. Cabin Steward Roi, and his crew always kept us clean and in animal towels without being intrusive.
Entertainment: Saw one show, the hypnotist and my partner volunteered to be on stage. The hypnosis didn't work for him, but several others were under and the show was fun. Didn't attend the other shows all week, so can't give a full entertainment review.
Ports/Excursions: After being on 5 Carnival Cruises in the Caribbean, we made the decision to not book many excursions and enjoy life on board while other guests were off ship--what a pleasure having the ship to ourselves on two of the port days. The one excursion we did, Roatan's "Pirates, Monkeys and Parrots" was one of the best trips we had ever. A note about excursions: we are aware of the high markup of the excursions sold by the ships. However, we always pay it and gladly. In lesser developed areas it's comforting to know that the cruise ship has vetted the provider for safety, etc. In this case, we were picked up, literally at the side of the ship, by a clean air-conditioned van and taken to Gumbalimba park for an enjoyable explanation of Roatan history, interactive experience with parrots and monkeys and free time at the beach and sparkling clean pool. When we were ready, we hopped another air conditioned van back to the ship. This trip was great for families and we really got a taste of Roatan.
Embarkation/Disembarkation: Is "debark" a word? Anyway, special mention must go to Port Canaveral the easiest port, far and away, we have ever dealt with. Arrived at 12:30 on sailing day, dropped off by relatives curbside in front of terminal and on board in 20 minutes. Did self-assist exit and customs and immigration was so well-staffed that we were out of the port in about 10 minutes. This was the first and only time we were on a cruise that cleared passengers for exit starting at 7:30 am. We are not lingerers, so we appreciated being able to get up and be on our way.
For those of you interested in an economical way to return to MCO, we booked a Budget rental car for $45 one way from the Port to MCO. The Budget shuttle bus is right outside the exit to the ship terminal and whisks you to the rental car office in about 5 minutes. Even with the add on of gas as we approached MCO, this was a convenient and much less expensive alternative than booking the bus transfer per person offered by the ship.
At the end of the trip, our son informed us that he is looking forward to next year where he will have graduated to the 9-11 group at Camp Carnival and can sign himself in and out. To him, vacation=Carnival cruise.