This was the 3rd cruise I have ever taken, which all began two years ago (all with Carnival), and I was really looking forward to it after 16 months since my last cruise. I'll describe the experiences we had before, during and after the cruise on the Glory.
TRAVEL TO THE PORT- Once we stepped outside the airport's baggage claim area, an airport employee asked where we were heading to, and pointed us to the taxi line, where we were able to immediately enter a cab. We knew beforehand that the flat rate cost of the ride to the Port of Miami would be $24, but we wanted to stop at a nearby store to quickly pick up some bottled water, as well as sodas, to take aboard the ship (of course it added a little bit more to the fare, which wasn't too much more).
EMBARKATION- Once we arrived at the port, just after 11am, we exited the taxi, had a port employee tag our luggage for check-in, and we headed inside the terminal to check-in for the cruise. We were pointed to a kiosk, which required us to swipe our passports and I think the credit card used to make the cruise purchase. A few seconds later, we walked up to a counter, where a representative took our documents, then provided us with our 'Sign & Sail' cards; after that, we sat in the terminal for approximately 15-20 minutes, before getting the okay to head upstairs to enter the ship. We took the usual 'Welcome' photos, then stood in a short line to take the picture for the 'Sign & Sail' card. Upon entering the ship, we looked around and the Glory is nicely furnished, decorated as well as very clean. Since our cabin wouldn't be available until after 1pm, we headed up to the Lido Deck for a bite to eat, and to have our first 'Drink of the Day'.
CABIN- We always book a balcony stateroom, and it pretty much looks the same as the staterooms on our other cruises. The 'bed' was actually two beds pushed together to form one, and was very comfortable; so were the pillows. The cabin looked clean to the eyes, and we never had any issues with it our entire stay. Our room steward was named Joanna, who always addressed us by name, with a smile, and would also leave a bucket of ice in the room for our sodas & water we brought onboard; we really appreciated that after being on shore for so many hours. The cabin doesn't have all that many channels to choose from, but they show the news from Denver, Colorado, which I don't understand.
FOOD- This is something that seems to change with every cruise. I'm not a picky person when it comes to eating on cruises, but truthfully, the majority of the food on the Lido Deck was mediocre at best. The only food on that deck that I enjoyed eating, were the chicken strips, nachos, deli sandwiches and pizza. I once tried their burrito bar, and the burrito was cold; should have been at least warm. The ship also has a fish & chips stand, which has good-tasting fish, but the crust itself was a little too greasy, which makes me assume it was sitting in oil for too long before it was served to passengers. An area that I always wonder why Carnival does not make better, is their beverages on the Lido Deck. For this ship, they only offered lemonade, sweetened tea, unsweetened tea and water. I brought Coke on board just in case there was nothing else being offered, and surprisingly, no fruit punch was available, as had been available on only one of our other cruises (seems that Carnival is doing everything to limit beverage variety; this is not good since many people may not like what's available, for whatever reason). As for the dishes, our first 'Day at Sea', I did end up with a coffee cup which had lipstick smudged on the rim, and I also noticed a few times that some of the dishes were not as clean as they should have been; obviously not scrubbed. The food in the 'Golden Dining Room' was okay, but the mahi mahi fish and a chicken breast I had on different evenings, was both dry and bland. We had very nice waiters by the names of Thomson and Armand. On the positive side regarding food, we did make reservations for the 'Emerald Steakhouse', which was worth the additional $30 per person fee. We were shown the multiple available steaks, and I chose the 9-oz filet mignon, which was not only delicious, but it melts in the mouth. The garlic spinach, mashed potatoes and the smaller-portioned appetizers were superb, and I recommend everyone try the restaurant at least once during their cruise.
BARS- The bars serve all types of drinks at a fair price. The only thing that was a surpise to me, was later in the week it seemed as if they ran out of the right mai tai syrup, and began using fruit punch instead, passing it off as a mai tai; I know the difference, but I was told it was the same all week. We got to talk to a very nice waitress by the name of Pariyakorn, who was more than happy to tell us about her native country; very pleasant talking to her almost daily in the lobby bar.
ENTERTAINMENT- The cruise always had plenty of things to do, which included the usual dance shows inside of the Amber Palace (the main theater), as well as bingo games and other contests to win money or prizes. The Ebony Cabaret is the comedy room used for comedians. We did see two shows there early in the week, and it was a lot of fun. The room is beautifully decorated and of course they have waiters selling beverages, if you'd like to have one. There are a few dance clubs onboard as well as a library. Of course there are many bars throughout the ship, with varying hours; we liked the main bar in the lobby on the 3rd deck, which stayed open until midnight. It was nice to have dinner, see a show, then kick back in that lobby listening to the music from the piano player, before heading up to the cabin for the night.
SHIPS DECOR- The ship was pretty from forward to aft, and always kept clean. Whenever someone left used dishes or glasses somewhere on the deck, there was always an employee around to gather them up and clean up the spot where it was found.
SHORE EXCURSIONS- For Cozumel, we booked the excursion via Carnival, which was the visit to the Mayan ruins in Tulum. This trip took most of the day, and was well worth it. A ferry took us to the mainland of Mexico into Playa Del Carmen, and we were escorted to a charter bus which drove us south down a highway to the ruins. Before getting to the ruins, our tour guide made a stop at a shopping plaza, where gifts could be purchased, as well as beverages and use of the restroom facility. Once we arrived at the parking lot where the ruins were located, we only had 2-½ hours before having to return to the bus to leave. Our guide walked us to the ruins, which was close to ½ a mile one-way, and he gave us the history of the ruins for about 15 minutes, then allowed us to go on our own, before needing to be back at the bus by 1:30pm. Other than taking pics of the ruins, we walked down some stairs to a beautiful beach, which was very crowded. If taking this tour, make sure to bring water along, wear a hat and comfortable shoes; the sun is very intense there. After returning to the bus, we were given a clean, wet, cold towel to wipe our faces with; a bottle of cold water and a small snack. Overall, this is a nice place to visit.
For Belize City, we also booked through Carnival, choosing the Altan Ha ruins tour and Belize City tour. Once groups were organized, after a 10-15 minute wait after getting off the tender boat, we boarded a charter bus. This tour had two guides, one giving the history of Belize City and pointing out places we passed by, while the 2nd guide spoke to us about Mayan history, and both guides remained with the group for our entire stay there. This was a great tour as well, and of course it's very humid and hot in Central America.
For Roatan, we chose to book with Victor Bodden tours, since that company seemed to get great reviews by many on Cruise Critic. We emailed him, giving our date of arrival, and what we wanted to see and do, and he emailed us the next day with all of the needed information. When we arrived at the Mahogany Bay cruise port, we had a good 5-minute walk to reach the gates up a short hill, where the tour company was waiting. Our guide is named Wordy, who drove us to the east side of the island, giving us history of the island and its people, then we headed to the west side of the island where stayed at the Bananarama Beach for a couple of hours, before heading back to the ship. We were able to be dropped off directly in front of the port shops, where we purchased souvenir shirts, then spent an hour at 'Fat Tuesday', drinking daiquiris before heading to the ship. I'd recommend Victor Bodden tours; the more in your group, the less it will cost for the tour.
Our last port of call was to Grand Cayman. Since we didn't have much beach time at the other ports, we decided to make it a beach day on this island. This island is tendered, but only takes a couple of minutes to reach the shoreline. We booked the 'Seven Mile Beach Break', which took us to Sea Grape Beach. The driver gave us info about living on the island and how it's hard to become a citizen there. After arriving at the beach, we were given info on where the changing rooms were located, our designated lounge chairs and given a ticket to redeem for a cold drink. This is a nice beach, but gets crowded with many tourists by noon time, but wasn't overly crowded. We were able to rent an umbrella for $8, but you were given $4 back if you returned the umbrella to the stand where you received it. The beach also has a bar called 'Calico Jacks'. The food at the bar cost around $10 for a burger and fries (there's plenty of other food options), which were very good. We were there for just over 2 hours, before heading back to the ship.
DEBARKATION- The last day of the cruise, was a 'Day at Sea', and we went to the debarkation talk in the Amber Palace. Same as usual, we'd receive luggage tags for luggage being taken off the ship by cruise personnel late that evening. After returning to Miami, we waited downstairs in the Amber Palace, waiting for our zone number to be called. We got off the ship quickly, and it took a few minutes to receive our luggage. We got the help of a port employee, who was able to get us to the front of the line and of course, we tipped.
Overall, the cruise was great and the ports of call were awesome. My only negative would be the quality of the food and lack of variety of 'free' drinks on the Lido deck, but that's to be expected. Word of advice, it would be a good idea to carry small denominations of U.S. dollars, since some of the ports may not always have change for larger bills, if you make purchases. All ports accept the U.S. dollar.