Background: My parents have done at least 30 cruises. My sister and her husband are on their fifth, and my family has done nine. As a group, we've done four Carnival cruises.
Arrival/embarkation: We all flew into Ft. Lauderdale [Southwest from Las Vegas (me), Tampa (parents) and Philadelphia (sister)]. Stayed overnight at Holiday inn Doral ($70 priceline). Decent hotel---no breakfast, though. Shuttle from Ft. Lauderdale was $80. We rented a minivan for one day for $60 total. Sunday, we returned the minivan, and Dollar shuttled us to the Port of Miami. My sister took a taxi for $65. Embarkation was quick and painless. At the terminal at 11:30, eating on the Lido at 12:15.
Staterooms: Balcony cabins 8266/68/70. Steward opened the locks on the balcony doors, so we had a triple balcony with access to all our rooms. Very convenient. Cabins were fabulous. The most storage space we've ever had in a cabin---including other CCL, RCCL, NCL and Disney ships. My parents bathroom lock didn't work---fixed immediately. Sister had no hot water---fixed immediately.
Travel conditions: Seas were rough the first few days. Captain and CD made many announcements reminding guests to be careful. Seas were so rough the Living in America show was postponed for safety of performers. Worst seas we've ever had----didn't negatively affect our experience at all! Sun was shining every day, wind was what we usually expect at sea. It was Spring Break but we encountered NO drunk and disorderly people, or over-the-top partiers at all. If anything, nightclubs were less busy than we've seen in the past. Bars were hopping, as was the casino. A few groups of running kids in the hallways---but they were generally on scavenger hunts with the kids clubs.
Dining experiences: We are NOT foodies, although we've dined at some extremely fine restaurants over the years (we live in Vegas, not a small town). Hands down: The BEST food we've ever experienced on Carnival. There was not one night when MULTIPLE starters and entrees weren't being delivered to our table. We even discussed it on the way to the airport yesterday---couldn't pick one favorite dish over another. Lido was fine---long lines for Mongolian grill and Burrito stations. Fish and chips---fabulous and never a wait. Always waiting for pizza to be ready, but the calzones made the wait worth it. Chocolate buffet for lunch on the last day was brilliant! Everyone got to experience it, and the choices were fabulous. Much better idea than midnight.
Ship activities: Things didn't run on time, which is a pet peeve in my family. Stop waiting for the latecomers---it only encourages them to come even later!!! Bingo was fun---no winners this year, though. Kids loved the deck parties (line dancing) and enjoyed the movies on the big screen. Don't miss tea---we enjoyed it so much we did it both sea days. Neice (21) loved her spa treatments---no high-pressure selling. Enjoyed martini tasting (4 for $15), and we won the $50 off your booze purchase raffle in the store.
Comedy club/Karaoke: LOVED having four different comedians doing both family and adult sets. We saw all the comedians with and without our kids, and enjoyed it immensely. Unfortunately, I think they moved Karaoke to a much smaller venue to make room for the comedy, which definitely made Karaoke less desirable to the one member of our family who does it every night. My kids, however, LOVED the family karaoke times---they hadn't experienced it since Disney, and it was great for them.
Ports: What can I say??? Picked this itinerary specifically to return to our favorite ports in the Eastern Carib; can't go wrong with St. Thomas, San Juan and Grand Turk. There is so much to do, great things to see and beaches to explore. Nassau was a throwaway for us, but we did the Frommer's walking tour and it was a great way to see the city on our own. Here is how we spent each port day:
NASSAU: Walking tour. Took two hours. Great way to see the city at NO cost.
ST. THOMAS: Godfrey tour (second time)$30 per person. Loved the new lookout point since Mountaintop burned down. Didn't have enough time to do Secret Harbor, so we returned to Megan's Bay---sooo glad we did! Love that beach. SAN JUAN: Sister did Bacardi tour---enjoyed it very much. Good samples! We did both forts---LOVED it. Used the free shuttle system. GRAND TURK: Long and lazy beach day. It was wonderful! Be mindful of kids at Margaritaville---their version of "Quest" that day was definitely R-rated!!!
Disembarkation: Waited until 9:45, when the last group was called, and walked calmly and quietly off the beautiful Glory. It was a BREEZE!!! We were out the door meeting SAS transportation by 10:10 (great service to FLL for $13 per person).
Final comments: The Glory was in fabulous shape, the crew was attentive and pleasant, and it was overall a fabulous week. I'd do it again in a heartbeat. This was one of our best cruise experiences from embarkation to reviewing the pictures we purchased last night when we unpacked. If you are reading this in preparation for your Glory cruise---I envy you.