This was my eight cruise and my DH's seventh. This cruise was our two oldest, both boys, ages 14 and 9, second cruise and our girls, ages 8 and 5, made the Glory their first cruising experience.
We drove down Friday and stayed at the Radisson, which was wonderful. The shuttle is very efficient and the rooms are nice for a one night stay. The pool area is just as great as the pictures on line! The kids LOVED it. We paid $139.00, which included free parking all week and breakfast for my DH and me. Since the parking at the pier is now $105.00, I consider the Radisson to be a GREAT deal.
Embarkation was a breeze. Port Canaveral is one of the easiest ports, in my opinion. We have never experienced any problems there. Make sure your online paperwork is in order, and you'll be on the ship within 20 minutes or so after arriving at the pier. We've never waited more than that, even when there's been a long line.
Now, on to the good stuff!!
FOOD: With so many cruises under our belts, we've become somewhat resigned to fair to average food on any cruise line. We were VERY surprised by the Glory. This was, without a doubt, the best food we've ever had on ANY cruise!!! The Emerald Club is worth EVERY penny, the lido food was well prepared and the dining room was very good! The star for us was the chocolate melting cake, though. We all loved it. And the biggest surprise was that the Glory actually has REAL cheesecake! We have always found the cheesecake to be horrendous. Not so with the Glory. So...kudos to the Glory chef! By the way, we're NOT foodies. Food just isn't that big of an issue for us, but now that we've had really good food on a cruise, I'll have to admit, it does make the journey much more pleasant. We looked forward to EVERY meal!!
EXCURSIONS: Our ports were Cozumel, Belize, Roatan, and Freeport.
Cozumel: We swam with the dolphins in Chankanaab Park. What an incredible experience! The park is lovely and only a 15 dollar taxi ride away. I was afraid with so many people (remember there's six of us) that the taxi would be very high. Not so, at all!! We paid our 15 dollars and off we went. The park is about 10 minutes away and it is beautiful! Even our five year old commented on the way into the park how pretty all the flowers were. The DVD is AWESOME! They film you while you swim and then put the film to music. They get close-ups of each family member and really make sure you get a memorable DVD. For 35.00, it's something we'll have forever. It'll be great when the kids are older, too.
We ate at one of the restaurants in the park and the food was delicious. The authentic salsa was the best I've ever eaten. My kids couldn't get enough. It was a little expensive, but worth the experience. They even had live musicians which just added to the moment.
Next, came Belize. We had originally planned to visit Bannister Island, but it was very overcast and rained the first few hours after we got up, so we decided to stay onboard. The sun came out later, but that's OK. We ended up on the covered deck on deck 5. The kids played in Camp Carnival, and DH and I read books and just relaxed. It was wonderful. We picked the kids up around 2 and played in the pool as the sun reappeared and got great tans!! Almost no one was on board, so we felt like we had a huge yacht all to ourselves.
Roatan: I almost hesitate to give out this little secret, but here goes: Fins and Flippers is the most wonderful, beautiful, incredible place on Roatan!!! You MUST check it out. It is a small private island that costs....wait for it....20.00 dollars per person for the WHOLE day!!! Snorkel equipment is rented for 8-12 dollars per person, for the WHOLE day and there is a PRIVATE guide that takes you to the world's second largest reef FOR FREE!!!! Simply incredible.
We've never seen anything like it. It actually looks like the Corona commercials on TV. I sincerely hope that the secret doesn't get out because we WILL be back and there were only 25 people on the entire island while we were there! OH! And drinks are 3 bucks a piece, food is about 5 dollars a plate and it is wonderful!
Freeport: We no longer get off in Freeport as we've been there and it's just not for us. Lots of people like it though and if you've never been, I'd suggest seeing it just for the experience. The water is lovely there and if you enjoy diving, I've heard it's a good stop.
This was also our first experience with adjoining rooms. EVERY ship should have more of these. They worked wonderfully for our family! Plenty of space, lots of privacy (when we needed it), and we still felt like a family that were vacationing together.
Camp Carnival is truly wonderful. Our three youngest loved it. To Jo-Jo: Our kids miss you and still talk about you!!! You were wonderful with them. Thanks!
Now, the ONLY complaint I have about the entire trip: There is no room for the 12-14 year olds on the whole ship. They simply roam from bar to bar during the day. That's right, during the day, they stipulate a bar for the tweens to meet in. Then, they leave from there and go to activities. Usually, there were only 3-5 planned per day. The reason for this is that they have only ONE counselor! She is the sole person assigned to the 12-14 year old group. I know that many people allow their tweens to wonder the ship. I'm NOT one of those people. I wouldn't allow my 14 year old to wonder around a football stadium alone, and the ship is much the same to me. They should have a designated room that is specifically for them if they are not doing an activity at the time.
On Royal Caribbean, when the younger teens don't have an assigned activity, they have a room with a dance floor, video games, and a large seating area and drink fountains. When my older child didn't have a planned activity, I knew just where to find him at all times. He didn't have to have anyone sign him in, and I don't think that age should, but I DID have the opportunity to explain to him that if there were no activities that I expected to find him in his designated room. On Carnival, I simply had to tell him to stay on the sports deck if there were no activities. It's just not the same! He had fun, but he really missed that area that was specifically for his age group.
Debarkation: We always choose self assist and this was great as, usual. We were off the ship in 45 minutes and the Radisson shuttle was out front waiting for us.
We had a lovely experience and can't wait to go again!! We're already planning our next trip!