I hope this review helps and answers many questions people have concerning sailing on the Glory and/or other Carnival ships and the ports we visited.
First off, at embarkation they hand you a form to fill out stating whether or not you have been exposed to H1N1, flu, or suffer from any flu like symptoms. We answered yes because our son had an allergy cough. Coughing was one of the listed symptoms. To our surprise, they were unprepared for someone to be honest and quarantined us to a room awaiting a ships nurse. When she finally arrived she checked temperature and then signed us off. This ordeal leaves you feeling that if Carnival expects people to be dishonest, why the forms? And if people are dishonest, just how safe is the cruise?
Next we boarded the ship with no problems and all went well, no life jackets required for the drill. Since it was Halloween, the kids had their party and later the adults had their party.
The days at sea had plenty to do for varied tastes of cruisers. The ports days did not. We went to Cozumel first, and since we had been there too many times, we stayed on ship to find nothing going on. No trivia, no games, no dancing, nothing. This was the same on all other port days as well. It seemed that the Cruise Director was fairly new. We spoke with him, Ryan, and explained our concerns and his response left us thinking that he couldn't care less and that what we were asking would not be a benefit to anyone else but us. Maybe we are the only cruisers who like to have activities on port days. I don't think so.
Belize was wet and rainy but cleared up and our tour, Raiders of the Lost Mayan Cave went well. You will not need a long sleeve shirt, but long pants are a must. If you have a bandana, bring it to put on your head between your hair and the nasty helmet they give you to wear. The gloves are nasty too. There is a very bumpy ride into the cave area. The cave guides and very nice and fun. There is one repel drop that is just a slide down the rope repel and one zip line run. There are 2 rope bridges to cross and a lot of crawling and wading though a little water. We went during the rainy season but the water was only 8 or so inches deep. We did not need to change clothes. We did toss our pants, shoes and socks in the garbage as we planned on doing so before hand. Gave us more room in the luggage to bring back souvenirs. Final word is that the tour was NOT worth Carnivals $125 fee. The tour independently is $78. But since this is a tender port, we couldn't risk missing the boat.
Costa Maya was also rainy but cleared up by the time we reached the Chacchoben Mayan Ruins. We booked this tour independently for $50 instead of Carnivals $85 per person. We had a smaller group and more one on one time with our guide. We booked through thenativechoice.com website. Our guide was David and his relatives worked the Mayan site years ago. His guide partner grew up at the site. They were very knowledgeable about the ruins. Bring water, as the water they gave us was not cold. Be prepared to do a lot of walking and climbing. The views are spectacular.
As for the dining room, nothing has changed, they still do the silly "Showtimes". You do not need to get dressed up except for elegant night. Warm Chocolate Melting cake is the most popular dessert. There is also still the same Red vs Blue vs White Color competition, mainly for the newbies as most people I spoke with didn't care for it. They had several competitions like best decorated door; find the flag, mixology, hairy chest, best cheer, etc. Initially some of these offered prizes for the winners, but the Cruise Director in his infinite wisdom thought that it would better to give points to the team color instead of a medal, champagne or ship on a stick. I found that to be disheartening since my kids look forward to getting trophies and medals to take home. But as I said before, it was all in the hands of the new Cruise Director.
The shows were good, not great, but good. They did offer something new which I thought was great. Comedy shows at the same time as the other shows. You could choose to do either or in some cases both. They had 4 comediennes on board and most were hilarious. The casinos no longer dispense money, you use your room key and deposit it to your card and withdraw as needed. At least if you forget your money, you can have a casino tech punch up the history and find out who cashed out your money and go get it from them. I found $240 on a machine with nobody around it. So, I took it, then 30 minutes later they asked me if I had found it and would like me to give it back as the rightful owner forgot to cash out and was missing it. I did give the money back as it is the right thing to do, but only to the rightful owner and not the casino. The casino should not be allowed to keep it.
Drink cards on this ship were not blue and white. Instead they put a small coke sticker on your room key. I thought this was a great idea. I didn't have to carry 2 cards all the time. This is a trial thing they will be doing. I did meet a couple who brought their drinks cards from a previous cruise and changed the date to work on this on. They were able to use it the first day until I told them that they are using stickers. I don't think they chanced it after that.
One last note, we flew into Melbourne, Fl instead of Orlando. We saved a lot of money in transportation costs to the port. Orlando costs up to $80 per person and we had 7 people go from Melbourne to the port for $75 total using Melbourne Airport Shuttle (Highly recommend them). The airfare costs to Orlando vs Melbourne were the same, so it was a win win. No to mention, that Melbourne airport has only 7 gates and no traffic. We had to lines to wait in. The funny thing is that the ticket agent was also our boarding agent and the gift shop employee was also airport security personnel. Kind of reminded me of Wings.