We have cruised on RCI and Princess and had some reservations about Carnival in the area of being a party cruise line for teens, somewhat dated ship design, overcrowding and cheap. We booked a suite to make the best of the choice however, managed to stay within budget. Do not pass up a suite as they are gorgeous and the decor and quality of materials are perfect. VIP means very little except you can go to the the VIP lounge to check in. We were late so there was no line up anyhow and while the VIP area was nice it added little real value for us. I assumed we would have VIP on our sea pass but Perks are reserved for Gold and Platinum Cruisers, mainly Floridians who can hop on a cruise for a pittance. Here we go:
Ship: excellent the decor is quite different with a lot of optical enhancements but we really liked it compared to the more subdued decor of other cruise lines.Layout is good and since we were on deck 7 Empress it was 2 decks up or 2 down for most activities. Elevators are fantastic as we don't remember ever getting an elevator on the Crown Princess.
Food:Not as much variety in the Red Sail. But really how much do you need. Oriental was terrific and Deli options looked great but we did not try it. Fish and Chips Aft upper level of Red Sail is a hidden Gem for this old staple an a few variations. Golden Dining room is really nice we were right by the Stairs on Lover level so were close to all the waiters show times. If you are lucky enough to get Anthony a terrific guy from India you will enjoy the dining experience. Food was just warm and I give it a pass due to the number of plates they have to serve otherwise it would be unacceptable and would go back. For the most part I found the food quite bland and meats always seemed very rare.
Cabin: Suite is large and twin sinks are cool but have less value than you think in a small bathroom. Whirlpool tub was fantastic and fittings were in like new condition(I have to assume these are not the originals but cannot see any mention of internal refurbishment)? Lighting options are a great for different moods. Balcony is wider but I thought quite short but enough room for 2 chairs and small table and a lounger.
Entertainment:Great shows and singers were fantastic. Pool activities seemed a little lacking and the team did not have as much enthusiasm as were are used to. Ryan the director does not get as involved in the activities and seems to focus on asking guests to reinforce they are having a good time!
Ports: Little to add other than they can be whatever you want but Roatan was a big disappointment with the new facility offering little of interest so we booked a beach trip that was terrific. Would recommend it but be careful going to other than Carnival as place is quite scary
So in summary Glory was better than we expected but food needs to be upgraded. Staff are fantastic and there was always someone to clear tables that to us after Princess seemed a real treat. Waiters, Cabin Steward (Max) are friendly and unobtrusive as are the dining room Staff.
Subjectively: Carnival 8/10, RCI 7.5/10 and Princess 6/10