We returned from Glory on Saturday the 28th of August
PRE-STAY: My wife and I flew down on an early flight Friday the 20th, on JetBlue, great airline. We rented a car from Avis right at the airport and drove to the Radisson for our overnight stay. After check-in we went to our room and found it to be as nice and clean as our room was two years ago. We went to Grills for dinner, the food was very good and worth the wait. The next morning we met and at the breakfast buffet at the Radisson, which was good. We checked out after breakfast and drove to Avis to return the car and take their shuttle to the port, we had to wait about 20 minutes for the shuttle to return to the office.
EMBARKATION: It went very smooth, smoother then the last time with the Pride which actually surprised me. We did the 'funpass' pre-registration and got into the "funpass" line, which seemed like the only line there, which moved pretty quickly. We got to the port around 11:00 AM and were through check-in, had our sail and sign card and had to wait awhile to board. They did not start boarding until around 11:30 AM. We went through the security and then the embarkation photos and was onboard in about 40 minutes.
THE SHIP: Glory is a beautiful ship and not gaudy as you would of thought reading about all of the color that was being used. You enter the ship on the lobby deck into the atrium. The atrium is impressive but not as open and airy as on the Pride. We met our friends in the atrium area and immediately signed up for the Emerald room for Tuesday night at 7:30 PM and then headed up to the cabins to drop off the carry-ons, there were no problems doing so. The cabins were pretty much the same as on the Pride, no surprises there. The public rooms were laid out nicely except for getting to the Internet Cafe you had to go through the Ivory Bar. The other thing is to remember how to get around the galley and the Golden Restaurant. As usual you have to go through Camel Club Casino to get to the either other side of the Promenade Deck, a good way to get you to gamble. Most of the dealers were very friendly and if you didn't know a particular game they would help until you got the hang of it. I didn't do as well as I did on the Pride. I liked how they stepped the decking area around the main pool (midship). The aft pool was not as crowded. There is saltwater for slide and all of the pools, but the showers around the pools were all fresh water.
THE CABIN: We were in cabin 7340, Empress Deck aft on the port side (left facing the front of the ship). Remember that Odd numbers are on the starboard side and even are on the port side. We love veranda rooms, waking-up in the morning, put on a robe and sit outside and watch the sun come-up; or sit out there and read a good book. Stand out there and watch the ship enter or depart from each port. I had found one of our stewards, Fredrick, and had him to open our fridge. He said I could take stuff out so that I can put my bottles of water in there that I brought onboard. Both Fredrick and Anna Marie kept our cabin neat and orderly and the little critters that they made at night were great. There were more than enough closet and drawer space for us to unpack, and the space under the beds was perfect for putting our suitcases. The TV was a great feature to check your onboard portfolio to see how much you had spent everyday. Our friends were thrilled that the cabin was larger than the their Royal Caribbean Cruise last year, in which they had felt claustrophobic.
THE RESTAURANTS: We had the late seating (8:00 PM) in the Golden Restaurant. Our waiter was Vladimir and Inga was his assistant, They were OK, nothing out of the ordinary, he was good and she I would rate as fair. In my opinion the service was significantly better on the Pride. The food was pretty much the same as on the cruise two years ago. We noticed that they had changed and added a few new dishes from our last cruise. Cappuccino that was free on our last cruise cost $2.50, we were really annoyed about that. There is also something new that Carnival is trying out called "Carnival Colors", it is like color war at camp. The dinning room is broken up into 3 teams using the Carnival colors, red, white and blue. The winners of the activities onboard are awarded points for their team, every night toward the end of dinner they would update the points won. We all went to the dinning room for breakfast, like the idea of being served food that is made to order and you do not have to stand on line to get it. Only did breakfast in the Red Sail restaurant a three times, on the days at sea.
The lines at the buffet were long but not that bad. At lunch the lines were longer. When at the buffet I ordered egg white omelets, they were very good. For lunch we mostly did the buffet, we ate pretty much all of the different types of international foods except for the Indian section of the buffet. We always hit the deli, they will make you a half of a sandwich if you ask for it. The quality of the meat was very, very good. The pizza was good but not as flavorful as here in NYC. I tried the fish and chips along with the calamari, the fish was good but the calamari was different than what you would get in any Italian restaurant. It was a clump of squid fried in like a ball shape without the usual tomato sauce on the side, but I enjoyed it anyway. We did the dinning room for lunch on the last day at sea and enjoyed it very much. After eating breakfast and lunch in the dinning room, that there were better waiters and assistants than who we had for dinner. A big plus was the Sushi Bar, everyone really enjoyed it and you can find it at the Japanese part of the buffet for lunch also. The grill is always a popular spot with excellent burgers, the line are usually a bit long but worth the wait.
THE EMERALD ROOM on Tuesday evening was excellent. It was the dinning highlight of the cruise and was well worth the $25 charge. The service, impeccable and the presentation like any excellent restaurant. My wife and I had the Chilean Seabass, it was unbelievable. My friend Dennis had the 24 oz. Porterhouse Steak which he could not finish. His wife had I think the Prime Rib. The meal lasts close to 2 1/2 hours, they do not rush you from course to course so you can really enjoy the experience. My only disappointment with the restaurant was that I brought up a bottle of champagne that someone had given to us as a gift THROUGH CARNIVAL and they charged me a $10 corkage fee, It was the amount but the principle. If it was purchased through Carnival there should be NO fee. I had a little bit of a disagreement with them about this and did not get anywhere with them other than it is Carnival policy to charge the corkage fee. When I got back to my cabin I received a phone call from the head of the Emerald Room and they took off the fee from my bill. I am glad but I am still going to complain to Carnival about it.
ENTERTAINMENT: John was so funny, he would not be able to keep a straight face and laugh also. The different people that he picked for certain things on stage were great. You would think that he picked out these people before hand. The names of a couple of the people were funny in itself. The 2 guy band at the midship pool were fantastic. One was a keyboard player and the other played a steel drum. The classical musicians were very talented, there was also live music in the casino that played 70's and 80's music, they were also good, the Pride did not have an area for that. There was an Asian duo that sang in atrium which were great also. One of the highlights at the Amber Palace was Marcus Anthony, he is a R&B singer who is extremely talented and got the whole audience involved singing. We went to see three late night "R" rated comics during the cruise, Percy Crews, Michael Macy and Al Ernst. Can you say side splitting? They were hilarious. There were two shows that were also great, The first one is a Vegas style show called "Livin in America", The second was called "Rock Down Broadway" I believe, also very good but not as good as the first show. I am sorry that I missed the illusionist, I heard he was good. On our first cruise on the Pride I noticed Troy Linton was everywhere onboard involved in most of the activities, John Heald to me was not as involved. By the way his "Bedtime story" was GREAT!!! Not to be missed!!
SIDE NOTE: It was great meeting all of the Cruise Critic people at the Black and White Library on Monday morning, Pam, Liz and her husband, Chad, Rich (thanks for the TastyCake mugs), Barbara and Storm'n Norman. I apologize if I forgot someone. It was a pleasure! Thank G-d we were lucky that week weather wise!
THE PORTS: NASSAU, Bahamas: (Sunday) 8:00 AM to 2:00 PM (you are told to be back by 1:30 PM). We all took a taxi to the Atlantis and saw the "Dig" there. They charged us $29 per adult, I think the kids were $24, which included a tour guide for about an hour. After the tour you can go back on your own if you would like. That was really unbelievable how the whole thing is set-up. The Atlantis is remarkable. You are awed by the size of it. By the way you cannot use their pools or beach unless you are a guest there or at the Comfort Inn. After the Atlantis we walked to the public beach which is right next door to the old Sheraton We were there for about 15 minutes and the sky just opened up, we were soaked through including our backpacks. Ended up going back to the ship to change and go shopping in town. Really to short of a time in port. That evening is the first formal night.
DAY AT SEA: (Monday)
ST. THOMAS: (Tuesday) You get into port about 8:30 AM and then you get called to go through immigration about 9:00 AM (everyone has to go through immigration even if you are getting off the ship or not). The ship leaves at 8:00 PM (you are told to be back by 7:30 PM). We got off around 9:30 AM since we had a printed confirmation that we had an early private excursion. The six of us then took a cab (a truck set-up like an open bus) for about 15-20 minutes to our chartered sailboat called the Winifred for a daysail which was about 6 hours of a fantastic time. This was the main highlight of our vacation. Sharon is a Coast Guard Certified Captain and she meets you at the dock and takes you out by dingy to her boat. You snorkel off St. John for about an hour. She is very detail oriented and explains everything from making sure you put on your suntan lotion (which should be at least 30 SPF) at least a half hour before you get to her dock to how you have to wear your snorkel equipment. This trip is for both the beginner and the experienced snorkeler. She makes you put on even more lotion on the way out to St. John and makes you wear a T-shirt that she provides so you do not get burnt. From the get-go she and Tommy, her first mate make you feel very comfortable. The never ending rum punch was great. As you snorkel lunch is prepared, so when you get back to the boat you are rinsed off with fresh water and then you are ready for a great lunch. Oh, they even talked my NON-SWIMMING wife into getting into approx. 40 feet of water. She was dead set against going into the water from the start of our trip and they worked on her all the way out to St. John. They have these buckets with a clear bottom that you can see below the surface if you do not snorkel which is what she used. Tommy guided us (with my wife in tow) for about a mile snorkel adventure seeing sea turtles, rays, grouper, jacks, etc., it was absolutely phenomenal to say the least.
PHILIPSBURG, St. Maarten. (Wednesday) Your in port at 8:00 AM, the ship leaves at 6:00 PM (you are told to be back by 5:30 PM). The docks and the shops there look fairly new unlike Nassau which looks like it needs to be knocked down and rebuilt. All six of us decided to do the Divi Little Bay Beach Experience, it included 2 drinks and a barbecue lunch and the cab ride there. The lunch was good, it included ribs, chicken, salad, potato salad, etc. They have chaises set-up for the group, you can rent umbrellas there also. My friends wife and I took their kids jet-skiing, it was $45 for a half hour, what a blast. The kids had a great time. There is also a bar there that you can purchase drinks, such as Piña Coladas, etc. There is a banana boat ride, snorkeling, scuba, all pay as you go. They have a DJ that plays music and beach games. The beach there was great. We were talking saying how nice it would be to stay a week that resort. It was worth the money.
DAYS AT SEA: (Thursday - second formal night & Friday)
DEBARKATION: Since we had a 2:05 PM flight out and we were taking Mears transfer through Carnival, we were in no rush to get off the ship. We stayed in our cabin until around 9:15 AM and then made our way down through customs. There was a bit of a line but it went smooth. It took about a half hour for everything, I am sure that earlier was more crowded and it took longer. After customs we went to the carousel that had our color luggage tags. My wife and I agree that is went a lot smoother than when we were on the Pride two years ago, searching through a warehouse with luggage all over the place, it was so disorganized. We got a porter to take our bags to the bus and after 20 minutes we were on the way to the airport around 10:00 AM. Arrived at the airport around 11:00 AM and we went to Chili's to get some lunch and then we made a bunch of phone calls. Off to the gate area we went until they called our row. JetBlue left on-time and we hit a bit of turbulence in the beginning of the flight. Landed on-time and my daughter and her boyfriend picked us up at JFK Airport.