A friend and I took our first cruise 09/06/08. We chose the Glory mostly because of the itinerary. As the date got closer and the threat of Hanna, Ike and Tropical Storm Josephine became a reality we were concerned that we may have to miss some of our ports of call. Thankfully, this was not the case.
We purchased our airfare through Carnival. This required us to leave a day early from our Canadian city via United Airlines to Orlando. I am still a little shocked that United charges $15 to check your first bag and $125 if you go over the weight limit of 50 lbs - even by 0.5 lbs. We spent the night at the Crowne Plaza Orlando Airport and caught the Shuttle to the airport the next day (Carnival's dime). There was an inordinate amount of traffic at the terminal on the 6th as the Glory was 90 minutes late getting in from it's Eastern Caribbean trip the previous week. The line-ups for embarkation were long and tedious due to the ship's late arrival but in the right frame of mind, this should not spoil a trip!
Our stateroom on the 10th floor was nicely furnished and our room Steward (sorry all I know is we called him "I" because we couldn't remember his name) was very personable and did an exceptional job of keeping things in order. One thing of mention is that of ALL the traveling I have done, the little single beds were probably the MOST comfortable beds away from home I have ever slept in. I believe our bags arrived at our room before we sailed at 4:00pm and we were ready to go.
We were so thrilled that first night to meet our table-mates. I expect that most people don't click as well as we all did. What a riot we had every night and during the days we spent together. I feel truly blessed to have met a group of people that I will call my friends for the rest of my life! Our head-waiter, Zoran and his right-hand man Louie make a great team. They each have a fantastic sense of humor and treated us all like gold. Joseph, the "supercharged" maitre d' could work on his "act" a little but he proved to be a decent guy.
We enjoyed all of our ports of call. I plan on seeing Honduras and Belize again for a longer vacation. The only excursion I will go into detail on is the Mexican Cooking and Tasting class in Cozumel. This is a fantastic excursion! The pick-up and drop-off were smooth and organized and the class was more fun than I can write about here. The Chef, 25 year-old Luis may be young but he knows his stuff, has a great personality and is adorable too. In hindsight, I should have got his contact info to keep in touch. One item of mention is the damn photographs! If I decline a photograph I mean it and I don't want to get strong-armed into having on done. The photographers need to lay off a little bit!
The pool area was fun. We did have some trouble finding lounge chairs on sea day Sunday. However, I will admit that because of the time difference (we're on MST) of 2 hours we got out of bed much later than most guests. The CD that played during the periods when the live music wasn't certainly got old. I know that the Entertainment Crew (even if we didn't participate) tried to keep passengers occupied on the two sea days and I think they did a good job of it. The Captain and Cruise Director Butch kept everyone well informed and organized.
On Sunday my friend and I had spa treatments. The acupuncturist was excellent and very interesting. Definitely a must try if you are even remotely considering it.
The weather was picture perfect on this vacation with the exception of Thursday on the tail of Ike. Due to the storm, Wednesday night and Thursday were pretty rough days at sea - so rough that our drawers were sliding open and the waves were spraying up to the 6th floor. Thursday was spent eating delightful coffee shop desserts and people watching with our new friends.
Disembarkation went well. The only suggestion I have for Carnival is to give their guests a little more information regarding estimated timing of things. The coach to the airport, again on Carnival's dime was painless. And, after a tedious day spent at Orlando International due to weather related delays and flight changes we arrived home with nothing but fond things to say about this trip.
I look forward to planning my next cruise, hopefully with our new group of friends. If you can leave on your trip in the right frame of mind you will be nothing short of totally satisfied with your vacation.