Arrival / embarkation:
We flew into Orlando the day before departure and took a rental car to and from the cruise port. Much cheaper than transfers through Carnival. Port Canaveral has been pleasant both times we've left from there. Only a short wait to pass through security. Lines were very quick once through the metal detectors and x-rays. I still hate that paper luggage tags that you are suppose to staple on. Carnival, please bring back the old luggage tags. They don't rip and fall off!
The ship was immaculate. Rarely did I see anything that looked worn or unclean. Very impressive for a ship that is 7 years old. Our room was also clean and beds comfortable. The only freebies in the bathroom were a man's and woman's razor sample and a toothpaste sample. Pump soap and shampoo were in the shower and worked fine. Our room was 8431. I would avoid this room. The aft pool was directly above us and in any rough water, the water in the pool would slosh around, pounding the sides of the pool making very loud thump sounds above us. It did keep us up for the better part of a night. Cabin steward (Junior) was attentive and friendly.
The dining room was usually the highlight of our evening. Only one meal that any of us had the entire 7 day cruise was not good (a steak, I'm not sure which kind). Highlights included: vegetarian Indian meal, veal Parmesan, baby-back ribs, CHOCOLATE MELTING CAKE, cappuccino pie. Our server, Rene, was first class. Very efficient and friendly. He really made our week. He would even see us in the Lido restaurant and would genuinely greet and acknowledge us by name. The pool grill (hamburgers and fries) was always very tasty. Fish and chips, Asian window, deli window were all great as well. Apparently, Carnival discontinued it's grand gala buffet which does not disappoint me since the food from that was almost disgusting (made for show, not taste). The one midnight buffet we had was Mexican. Very good, with several tasty salsas to choose from.
Staff / Activities:
I cannot say enough good things about the staff on this ship. Everyone from the Cruise Director and his assistants to the Pursers desk staff to the bartenders make me want to praise Carnival over and over. The four of us really got involved with all the games and activities and the staff even got to know us by name. More recognition goes to the officers on the bridge. They spotted a raft in the middle of the ocean and onboard were 9 Cuban refugees. The Captain turned the ship around and the crew waited with the sinking, homemade raft until the U.S. Coast Guard arrived. The Glory crew truly save those men's lives. They had already been in the middle of the ocean for 10 days before we found them. Kudos to the Captain and his crew!
The shows and entertainment was lacking on this cruise compared to other Carnival cruises. The Vegas style shows are so cheesy and outdated. The stage band was good, but the dancing and singing were amateurish. The illusionist was good. The comedians were average at best. The hypnotist was certainly not the best I've seen. The R rated shows were rarely worth going to. The piano bar was non functional all week because the pianist supposedly had laryngitis. The karaoke bar was never happening as opposed to on the Liberty which was packed every night. We usually watched the live band during the evenings that played rock n roll and they were good.
Cozumel: We did the Twister boat to Isla de Pasion booked through Carnival. Highly recommended. The boat ride was a blast and the beach, drinks, food (including fabulous guacamole) were outstanding. Very worth the money. You will not be disappointed.
Belize: We did the zipline / cave tubing not booked through Carnival. Also, excellent
Costa Maya: Did not do a booked excursion. Only did a little shopping and went back on the ship for a pool day.
Nassau: Took the water taxi to Paradise Island / Atlantis. Do yourself a favor and get a cab even though it is slightly more costly than the water taxi. They wait until every seat is filled until you take the 15 minute ride. We wasted over an hour before even leaving (after repeatedly being told "just 10 more minutes")
We did self assist debarkation for the 1st time and were off the ship within an hour. I liked this method since my luggage was temporarily lost on our last cruise. You must be able to carry your own bags off if you are interested in doing this.
We were all very satisfied with this cruise and had an absolute blast. We are hoping to book another Carnival cruise for next year with the rest of my family.