First, let me say that if you have read other reviews like I did before we left, do not fear. The Glory is a terrific ship. It is clean, the staff is so friendly and attentive and the food is wonderful. This was my 8th cruise and it was one of the best I have ever taken on any cruise line. I'm a former travel agent and I have seen a lot over the years. I was a little worried after reading some of the reviews, but I realized that it really all depends on the individual. A trip is what you make it. Some people will find something to complain about no matter what, while others will always see the best. The Glory staff went out of their way to make this a great vacation from start to finish and I would not hesitate to recommend the ship. We were a party of 7-me, my husband, my 83 year old father in law, our 3 daughters, ages 21, 17 and 12 and my daughter's 21 year old friend.
Our embarkation at Port Canaveral was a breeze. Tom, the agent that handled our multi-cabin, multi-sign and sail issues, was an enthusiastic pro that got us on our way in no time. We were on the ship by 11:30 and having lunch in the Red Sail Restaurant. The only thing I will say is that it is probably a better idea to get on the ship a little closer to 1:30 because cabins are not ready until then so you have to lug your carry ons around with you, which can be a bit of a hassle. Promptly at 1:30 you can go down to your cabins and drop off your stuff. Our luggage was delivered within a couple of hours-MUCH earlier than any other cruise I had been on before.
We were on Riviera Deck, the bottom of the ship, as it was the least expensive. I did not regret it for a minute. The cabins were very spacious and had plenty of room for storage. There was a hair dryer in the room, and a basket in the bathroom filled with amenities such as razors, Advil, and Pepcid AC. There was a liquid soap/shampoo dispenser in the shower as well. Everything was extremely clean. We had originally booked 2 inside cabins and 1 outside cabin, but Carnival called us 4 days before departure and offered to upgrade the inside cabins to outside for $100 per cabin more so we took it and were very glad we did. My father in law had never been on a cruise before and the ability to have a window(and these were windows-not portholes) made him really happy!
We were in the Golden dining room and had table 101, right by the window. The view was spectacular. Our waiter and assistant, Kelbert and Chad, took great care of us. The Maitre'd Paul came by each night to check on us and make sure all was okay for us. The food was great. The only thing we had a bit of an issue with was that the beef tended to be very done. Order it much less done than you might prefer. If you normally like your meat medium, order it rare. Other than that, it was great to try different foods. The wait staff sang to us on several nights and it was so much fun.
The food on the Glory is AWESOME. If you can't find something good to eat, it's a personal issue-seriously. The selection and availability is great. There is the 24 hour pizza, the deli sandwiches, the Asian bar, the sushi bar, the grill, and of course free room service 24 hours a day and I could go on and on. You will NOT go hungry.
There is always something to do on this ship. My last cruise on NCL felt like a 24 hour sales push. Not so on this cruise. This was more like I remember from cruising days gone by-fun things like trivia, the hairy chest contest by the pool,etc. The shows at night were great fun and there was always live music playing somewhere on the ship. It felt like the cruise staff were really there to make sure you were their guest and just had a great time.
The ports were terrific and we enjoyed them all. We only booked 1 shore excursion through the cruise line and it was the least favorite of anything we did. My husband and father in law booked the Atlantis submarine in Cozumel and were very disappointed in it. They really didn't see anything other than "moonscape" as they put it. Us girls, meanwhile, booked a private snorkeling charter through Cozumel Charters and had the time of our lives! We got a private 4 hour, 3 reef tour in the marine preserve for less per person than the ship charged. It included a cooler full of cold drinks, snacks and even the taxi fare to the marina.
In Belize we went cave tubing and it was the highlight of our trip. All 7 of us went and even my 83 year old father in law agreed it was AMAZING. We booked it through Coral Breeze Tours. They taught us so much about Belize, kept us laughing and then took us for the most delicious lunch on the way back to the ship. We even had about 45 minutes left to do a little shopping. Belize is a tender port for all cruise ships, so just keep that in mind. Do NOT miss this beautiful country. I felt sorry for the people that didn't venture past the gated area that the cruise ship had set up. They missed out on a lot.
Costa Maya was our next stop. I booked a tour of the ruins for my husband and father in through Natice Choice and they had a great time. Us girls took the very convenient local bus, they leave every few minutes, to Mahahual for $3 per person. Then you catch a cab back for $2 per person. The beach was gorgeous and the shopping the BEST. This area was very hard hit by Hurrican Dean in 2007 and is still recovering. In addition, ships were not stopping there for the last 2 months due to the swine flu outbreaks so the local economy is really suffering. They rely completely on cruise passengers and it was clear they were anxious to "make a deal", from food and drinks to the wares they were selling. Massages on the beach are $15-20 for an hour. We all got one and it was HEAVENLY. We all agreed that Costa Maya was one of our favorite stops and we wished we could have spent more time there.
Nassau was our last port and I must say it is not my favorite stop, but then I've been there many times before. We just got off the ship and went to the straw market and walked around Nassau. The shopping was...okay. Not great, but okay. My girls loaded up on fake Coach and Dolce and Gabbana bags so they thought it was terrific!
A few notes: I never saw any lounge chair hogging at the pool, even by 10-11am. There were always chairs available somewhere. Make SURE you have watches-the ports are on different times and most people are not using their cell phones due to the outrageous fees charged when in international calling zones. A travel alam clock is really helpful as there are no clocks in the rooms. Bring more tip money than you think you will need. The staff works so hard and we tipped extra-they really earned it. The drinks onboard are expensive-be prepared. You can bring some bottled water and soft drinks and 1 bottle of wine or champagne per person on board with -I highly recommend doing that. Bring an insulated water bottled with you for each person. The drinking cups are small and you will want to have more water than what a cup holds when you are on deck or going ashore.You don't need to bring beach towels-they are provided each day. Yes, the pools are a little small for the number of people on board, but there is so much else to do I don't think you will miss it.
We had a great time on the Glory and I would not hesitate to recommend it. Go and enjoy!