We're (now) platinum Carnival cruisers. Here's our breakdown.
Embarkation: used the automated kiosk for getting our room keys/boarding passes. Still had a lenghty wait (~45 min) as we somehow passed the person handing our boarding tickets. When you get to cruise port they hand out boarding tickets as you process thru the termianl and when your ticket number is called you go up the gangplank. No biggie as we got on about 12 pm. Went straight to the rooms to drop off carry ons although rooms are not techinally available till 1 or 1:30. We ordered BonVoyage booze and it was in room by 2:30. Our cruise mates didn't get theirs till 5:00.
We decorated our room with a door poster, window and wall posters, and a deck palm tees (blowup.) It really made the room festive.
Our cabin, our first aft balcony, was great (6456) although we really didn't spend much time at all there. Of special note is you CAN hear the lounge below (all aft balconies could I'm sure) during certain a few times but never after 12:00. Also, there is a good amount of vibration from the propellers. Not so much that it kept me awake. There was a day of "larger" seas and the aft does move more than say a middle room. I like the motion but others could be distracted. I said to my other, "now it feels like we're sailing!"
Of note about Glory is there was a noticable "smell" in the hallway around cabins 6430. Not on the starboard but only that port hallway area. We were glad we didn't have a room righ near 6430.
We also noticed a "kitchen" smell in our cabin and it was on our embark and disembark days in Maimi. Other times it was no problem. Weird.
Half Moon was a very nice island and we rented a cabana for the day. I flew a kite much of the day on the beach and after that several people said, "that's how we got our bearings." "We're over by the kite." Was nice to have fresh fruit, drinks (sodas) and an attendant waiting on us. Would we rent it again, probably. There was about a 40 min wait for a tender at the end of the day. Day at sea was tranquil and we noticed fewer than normal kids. Maybe because it was Apr 11 - 18 and most of the spring breakers were gone. The hairy man contest was a joke and I could have won it just by sleeping on my deck chair. Some cruises have more energy than others.
We did the "anytime" dining and it was great. We usually had a 10 - 15 minute wait for a table (with pager) and we spent that time at the bar. We always got seated before "late" seating anyway so we were happy with it. San Jaun was interesting and we opted to walk old SanJaun and see the forts. Easy walk from the ship, and price, about $10 to see both forts. Interesting to visit something older than the United States and it makes clear why most of Central Americas and Caribbean speak Spanish. My BFF high school buddy grew up in PR and we sought out some local food and a good cup of PR coffee. We wern't disappointed.
We tried the Steakhouse Supper Club and it was par above the normal dining experience. A definite must-do but try to do it on a night when you're not exhausted. It's a good 2.5 hour dinner, done right. If you're tired it won't be as good.
Our day in St. Thomas VI was spent riding motor scooters. Total price for 2 scooters was $150 with insurance. (No problems with "before/after" damage if you get the $10 ins.) Our rental service told us where to go and we had a blast. We went to a shop to get sunscreen and a local told us about "secret beach" so we went there. Very tranquil, beautiful waters, good beach bar. Probably less expensive than most "ship board" excursions and made for a great day. BTW, there is actually a sign on board telling people NOT to rent scooters. Gawd.
Gran Turk is a very small island and except for the cruise ship dock it's unspoiled.
It was amazing how close the boat was to the shore at dock. The most incredible thing was how much the area was built up at the dock. You HAVE to go through a liquor store to get ashore. UNBELIEVEABLE! And there was a large assortment of chain stores as well as Margaritiville. Just make your way past all the money traps to get to the taxi's.
We went to Bahio beach ($14 for 2) and spent the day. Good snorkling, beach bar, body surfing and clear waters. I spent the day trying to fly a 4 meter kite. It wasn't easy and nearly lifted me off the ground as it's very windy there. Our cabby picked us up exactly when we asked. Try the local Turks Head beer. It's great!
We tipped our room steward $30. Our table waiter $40. (excellent)
Disembarkation was easy as they call through the decks. We "self assisted" as we didn't want to search for luggage at baggage claim. There was about a 20 min customs line and we declared a $5 straw hat. Might want to declare "something" as nothing might raise a flag and you get sent to the examination room. A tip is to use a porter. We've used porters before and you fly through customs.
Of special note was; we had a fairly early flight (12:30) and disembarked around 10:30. We got flagged down outside the curise terminal to get on a van (with trailer) to go the airport. We spent the next 35 minutes circling the port terminal while the driver tried to fill the remaining 2 seats. We passangers almost mutinied until finally the driver headed to the airport. Good thing our flight turned out to be delayed or we might have missed our flight.
From now on I'll ALLWAYS take a yellow cab. It's nearly as cheap and minimal hassels.
GREAT cruise, very relaxing. 2 cruises already booked.