Background: I'm 30, DH is 31. This was my 4th cruise (2nd on Carnival), and DH's second. However, this was both of our first cruise on our own, without parents, as the other trips were family cruises when we were younger.
Embarkation: We had no problems with embarkation. We used Carnival transfers from the airport. We had to wait for about half an hour for shuttle, as we were the first ones after the cut off for the previous bus. Once we arrived at port, everything went very smoothly. We waited in line outside the terminal for about 10 minutes, and then upstairs for another 10 or so. DH was disappointed after the staff downstairs told us to give one of our forms to the "pom-pom girls" upstairs, and he discovered that the "pom-pom girls" were 50+ year old women! LOL!
Ship: The Glory is a clean, well-maintained ship. I have to say that I liked the dEcor better on the Fascination, when I was on it 10 ½ years ago. I didn't see many signs of aging or wear and tear on the Glory. I noticed that the carpets were a bit faded, and this was only noticeable when compared to areas that don't get walked on as frequently, as the colors were much bolder.
DH and I were able to navigate our way around the ship with little difficulty. Having to go up or down and around in order to get across the 3rd and 4th floors was a bit annoying, with the dining rooms breaking up the levels. However, it wasn't that big of a deal. We used the stairs a lot to counteract all of the eating. When we did take the elevator, we never had to wait long.
Room: We were on Deck 6 - Upper, Room 6427. This was a balcony room. I was a little concerned about being above the Promenade, but we selected a room in an area where there was little noise. We were basically above the couches in the hallway of the promenade, kind of across from Sushi Salmon. It was a great location. Slightly aft, but pretty much central to everything. We met our room steward, Gusti, on the 2nd or 3rd day, when we had a problem with one of the light bulbs. Until then, we hadn't seen him. After that, he was always pleasant when we saw him in the hallway. Our room was well-cleaned and maintained daily. The bed was very comfortable. I was amazed at how much storage space they were able to create in such a small space! We had more than enough room for all of our clothing, toiletries, etc.
Dining: This is the one area in which we were slightly disappointed. We ate 2 breakfasts at the buffet on the Lido Deck, had room service once, and ate in the dining room the rest of the time. Dinners were always in the dining room, except for one night at the Emerald Room, Glory's steakhouse. Lunch was either onshore or up on Lido.
In regards to breakfast, we found the portions in the dining room a little small, but overall, the food quality was good. Not outstanding, not bad, but fine. We didn't like the long, slow lines for breakfast at the buffet, but again, the food was good. The omelettes were very good at the Red Sail Restaurant on Lido. I also enjoyed the French toast in both places.
For lunch, I wasn't thrilled with the buffet, but that may be because I prefer quality, not quantity. I enjoyed the salad bar, as well as the grill and the fish and chips. DH and I both LOVED the fried fish filets. We don't eat shellfish, so I can't comment on most of the rest. The tuna on watermelon was just okay. We never tried the deli, and the one time I tried the Oriental station, I found most of the food too spicy for my taste. The lo mein was made from angel hair pasta noodles, which I found a little strange. I enjoyed my hamburger from the grill, especially b/c there were sautEed mushrooms and onions as toppings.
Dinner in the dining room was inconsistent. Overall, the food was okay. I compare it to eating at a chain restaurant like Fridays or Applebees. Decent for a meal, but nothing to write home about. There were a couple of exceptions on both ends of the scale. On the night that I had the prime rib, it looked like it had been reheated from the earlier seating, and was very fatty. I was not at all impressed. On the other hand, the lamb chops that I had a few nights later were absolutely delicious! The salads were typically good, as were the other appetizers. I loved the marinated Portobello mushrooms that I had on the last night. The Caesar salad was very fishy tasting on some nights, but not others.
I had been really excited to try the warm chocolate melting cake. My tablemate got it the first night, and it was liquid, almost no solid cake. It was as if they barely put it in the oven. I got it on the second night, and it was similar. I tried it again a couple of nights later, and it was delicious - cooked and cakey on the top and sides, and liquid in the middle. The next night, it was almost all liquid again! To me, this exemplified the inconsistency of the dining room.
We were seating with two other couples, who were in their early-mid twenties. They were more into drinking and partying than we were, but we all ended up getting along well, going to shows together, and enjoying each other's company.
I was not that impressed with service in the dining room. On my past cruises, the wait staff has been very sociable and we had gotten to know each other a bit. Our head waiter was Jose, and I don't even remember the team waiter's name, b/c he never introduced himself. Jose was pleasant enough, but I always felt like he was rushing us. I know that they are on a tight schedule, but it was annoying when I was still eating my entrEe, and he put a dessert menu in my hand and wanted me to order right away. I am a fast eater in general, so I can only imagine how those who eat slower felt!
We ate in the supper club on the 4th night of the cruise. I have nothing but good things to say about it. It was worth every penny of the $30 per person fee. DH is kosher, and eats essentially as a vegetarian while on vacation, and he loved his fish. I had the filet mignon, and it was delicious. It practically melted in my mouth. The French onion soup was wonderful, and very rich. For dessert, I had these four glasses, each with a different chocolate-based dessert in it. It was fantastic!
In terms of between-meal munching, we had soft-serve every day, and I was happy that they had frozen yogurt as an option. We tried the pizza, but weren't impressed, except for when I was drunk after Costa Maya. Then, it tasted delicious! We are from NY, and are very picky about our pizza. For us, it was the equivalent to Dominos, which is only good at 2 am when drunk.
We tried the sushi from Sushi Salmon twice as a pre-dinner snack, and thought that it was pretty good, even though there was no raw fish.
Overall, the food was fairly average, with room for improvement in certain areas. We certainly were never hungry though!
Entertainment I was fairly impressed with the production shows during the cruise. The dancers were very talented, as were the main vocalists, Nick and Janae. We also thought that the band was excellent. I'm a big fan of Broadway musicals, so I enjoy all of the singing and dancing. DH and I really liked the first production show, Living in America. The second one, Just Rock, was okay, but they had a fairly loose interpretation of "rock". Since when is ABBA considered rock?! I would have liked some more real 70s-00s rock music, as after they did the 60s, it became more disco/pop. All of the sets were great, and more than I expected from cruise entertainment
Justin Illusion is an illusion show that is choreographed to music, and features the dancers. We really enjoyed this show, and were very impressed with the magic. On the last night, Carnival Legends, in which guests do impersonations of various famous singers (e.g., Elvis, Madonna, Garth Brooks), was amusing.
The majority of performers in smaller venues that we saw were good as well. The only glaring exception was a blonde woman who played in the lobby on several evenings. She was absolutely awful! DH has a singing background, and he thought she was terrible. Her vocals were completely off-key, and she butchered popular songs. The music by the pool was okay, although DH wishes that there were real steel drums instead of a synthesizer.
There was a breakdance team from NYC called Fun Force. We really enjoyed watching them. They interacted really well with the audience and truly seemed to be having a great time.
DH and I spent time in the piano bar. During my last Carnival cruise, this was one of my favorite activities. It was crowded and everyone was singing with great energy. This time, it was much quieter, and I didn't think that the flow was as good. The piano player/singer was Russell Villarin. He was a personable guy, but I found that his repertoire of songs was a bit limited, and there was never a high energy level in the room. One treat in the piano bar was that two of the guests (njoycruise and her husband), are very talented, and often did sets at the piano bar. He played the piano, and she sang beautifully! I even watched them perform in the lobby one night! Overall, we enjoyed the piano bar, but not as much as I did last time. I think part of it had to do with location. If I remember correctly, on the Fascination, the piano bar is near the dining room and very visible to all. The cinn-a-bar piano bar is located at the aft end of the promenade, and you really had to be looking for it.
As I mentioned in another post, we loved the comedy club. There were four comedians total throughout the week. The first two performed Sunday and Monday nights, and the second two performed Wednesday and Thursday nights. We saw each of the comedians R-rated shows. They were crude at times, but we enjoy that kind of humor. They also have PG-rated family shows earlier in the evening for families to enjoy together. The Ebony Cabaret got more and more crowded as the week went on, and by the time we got to the last show on Thursday night, we were standing!
Activities Let me start by saying that we thought that the entertainment staff, led by cruise director James Charlton, was excellent! They were enthusiastic and humorous, and really seemed to love their jobs.
One of the many things I love about cruising is that there is always something to do, and you can participate in as much or as little as you want. I love music, so we participated in Name That Tune on both sea days, as well as TV Theme song trivia. I won the first Name That Tune, and am now the proud owner of a ship on a stick!
We also participated in the wine tasting in the Emerald Room during the first sea day. It was $10 per person. They gave each person a plate of food samples to pair with the wine. DH and I have been to many wine tastings. This one was good, but not the best we have been to. We enjoyed the wines, but felt that more information about each one could have been provided. However, it is difficult to meet everyone's level of knowledge in such a large group.
We did the Galley tour on the second sea day. This was just okay. The information provided by Paul, the maitre d', was interesting. The tour wasn't terribly exciting. For example, we walked by the closed wine cellar, but didn't get to see it.
We attended the Marriage Show, which was pretty funny, and played Bingo only once. I've played more in the past, but the timing didn't work out well with other things that we wanted to do.
I guess I'll include the pool area in this section. There are three small pools on the Lido deck. We usually went to the pool in the late afternoon, as we are fair and burn easily and shouldn't be out there in the heat of the sun. We easily found chairs in the main pool area every time. The pools are small, but were more than sufficient for us to dip in and hang out in while cooling off.
Overall, we enjoyed the activities on board. There were things we never got around to doing, like mini golf, ping pong, shuffle board etc. We could have used a third sea day!
Ports of Call Cozumel: We did not book an excursion for Cozumel, and did our own thing. First we took a cab to Paradise beach. You can go to the beach for free, or you can pay $10 per person in order to use all of the water activities (trampoline, kayak, etc.). We just wanted to sun and swim, so we did that for a little while. The weather was overcast and it started to rain, so we just spent a couple of hours there. The water was not as warm as we expected, and there were a lot of rocks, shells and seaweed. Next, we took a cab downtown, because DH collects Hard Rock shot glasses. We did some shopping downtown, then went back to the port and did some shopping there. Honestly, overall, I'm not a huge fan of island shopping. However, we needed to buy souvenirs for family, so we spent some time in the stores. Found a few cute things. We weren't that impressed with Cozumel overall, although I know the people who like getting drunk had a terrific time at the bars by the pier!
Belize: We did the River Wallace and Altun Ha excursion through Carnival. We really enjoyed this experience! We got to get on one of the early tenders, a definite benefit of booking the excursion through Carnival. Our tour guide, Joyce, was very enthusiastic and informative. The river ride was our favorite part. At the beginning, before we even entered the river, a pod of 3 dolphins swam around our boat! I love dolphins, so I was super excited! While on the river, we saw alligators, monkeys, iguanas, and bats! We then went to the Black Orchid Inn, where we purchased a native lunch of chicken, rice, beans, and plantains. Delicious! We then headed to Altun Ha to see the ruins. It was very, very hot, but interesting. We climbed up a long flight of stairs to the top of one of the structures. On the way out, I bought a coconut full of coconut water and some fresh mango. Delicious again! After the bus dropped us back at the port, we got on the very long tender line, and returned to the ship. There really wasn't any great shopping in the port.
Costa Maya: Our favorite day of the cruise! Honestly, this port could have been anywhere, and it would have been good. Costa Maya itself was nothing exciting. We took a cab to Mahahual, and walked around briefly. The water was beautiful, and when I dipped my feet, there were small fish swimming around me. As we walked down the street, the shop owners kept trying to get us to look in their stores. They all really had the same things. We quickly returned to port, and spent the rest of the day at the huge pool with the swim up bar! It was paradise. I was floating on my back with a yard of margarita in my hand, surrounded by stores. We ended up meeting up with our tablemates, and had a great time with them. As I mentioned earlier, they are all a bit more party-oriented that we are, and with a little peer pressure (& two yard of margarita in me), I joined them dancing on the bar! I'd never done that before, and probably never will again, but it was a blast! I was a little disturbed by the approximately 2-11 year old girls who were dancing on the bar though, as well as the little baby who was being told, "look at mommy dancing!" while she was on the bar. I can tell you now that my children will never see me dancing on a bar, nor will they ever be permitted to do so in my presence! Overall, it was a absolutely fun, carefree vacation day. It's nice to let loose once in awhile!
Nassau: We booked the Discover Atlantis excursion. I stayed at the Atlantis when I was 16, and I was excited to visit it again. However, the excursion was not worth it. The aquarium was not as exciting as I remembered it, and the Dig, which is meant to be a recreation of the lost city of Atlantis, was pretty lame. We walked around the grounds for a little while, found the small part of the resort that I remember from 14 years ago, and went back to the port area to shop briefly. We then enjoyed the rest of the afternoon on the ship.
Debarkation Our flight back to NY wasn't until 8:15 pm, so we booked the Kennedy Space Center with Airport Transfer excursion. We had to meet in the Copper Room at 7:15, and debarked very early as a group. It was painless. DH and I took our luggage down ourselves so that we didn't have to have it ready the night before, and didn't have to find it at the baggage plan. We got stuck waiting for awhile on the bus for a family whose luggage got lost.
DH is a huge fan of the space program, and really, really enjoyed the visit to Kennedy Space Center and NASA. We really could have spent a lot more time there, as we only got to see a few exhibits.
Final Thoughts We had an absolutely wonderful time on our cruise, and would book a Carnival cruise again in a heartbeat. There was a wide range of people on the ship, young, old, and everything in between. I realize that a lot of schools had started their fall semester at this point, but we really didn't find that the ship was overrun with children. There were a lot of families, but we were never disturbed by loud or disrespectful children. I don't think I can easily compare this cruise to other ones I have taken, as during the other cruises, I was with family, and wasn't doing the planning on my own. My last cruise was with DH's family on RCI to Bermuda. I really don't remember much about it, but
We enjoyed having a balcony, but spent limited time in the room. I would love to have one again, but if I can afford to cruise more frequently without one, I will easily forego it. I truly think that cruising is the most relaxing and enjoyable vacation option out there, and I can't wait until we're able to do it again. It will probably be a couple of years, but I can dream until then.