My husband and I sailed with CCL's Glory 7/31 - 8/5. Since it was our first time sailing with any cruise line, we were told by our travel agent to try Carnival first because they pretty much cater to everyone.
When you consider that parking directly next to the cruise ship is $30 per day multiplied by 5 days, that's $150 just for parking. If you add to that tolls and gas AND the aggravation of traffic, it just isn't worth it. We decided to leave from Union Station in Hartford. It cost us $88 round trip directly to the Port Authority, where we got a taxi right outside the station. We only paid $10 (including tip) to get to the cruise terminal. And, our cab driver helped us with our luggage and gave it directly to the porter.
Embarkation: Pretty much a breeze. We arrived to the terminal at about 1230pm. The lines were long but they move rapidly. Carnival really has their check-in process down to a science. The employees working at the counters were all very nice and knowledgeable. Because rooms weren't available until 130pm, they had everyone eat at Red Sail Restaurant. What a giant fiasco! If I had known the dining room would have been like this, I would have eaten before I got on the ship! Nowhere to sit, people shoving and yelling at each other.
Stateroom: I am really surprised reading some of the other reviews on Cruise Critic about Glory's staterooms. We let Carnival select our stateroom (you pay about $300 more if you choose yourself) and we absolutely loved where we stayed. We were on the Riviera Deck which is the bottom floor, but were directly in the middle. It was VERY quiet and actually quite peaceful at night listening to the water lap againt the side of the ship. Housekeeping was amazing, our steward Lawrence, was excellent. We had a drainage problem in our shower but they kept coming back until it was fixed - never pushing our issue aside. They were always very polite, always gently knocked instead of the incessant pounding you get at a hotel and we never wanted!
Food: My husband and I had an issue with the Platinum Dining Room. We were all the way to the back by the windows and lucked out with a table for just the two of us. The first night was excellent service, food and we had no problems. The second night of the cruise was Cruise Elegant, so we spent a significant amount of time getting ready. We headed to the lobby, had our pictures taken (again, people constantly shoving and screaming to one another or at someone else) - we decided to head to dinner however, in order to do that on this ship, is a NIGHTMARE. There are absolutely no signs posted where to go/how to get there except for a ship map they give you and one that they post by the elevators. Even by the end of the trip, we still were getting lost. Needless to say, we were so aggravated with other people and the ship at this point, we decided to go back to our stateroom, change and eat at Red Sail. We alternated between the dining room and Red Sail throughout the trip. My husband is more patient than I am but even he grew disgusted with wait service in the Platinum Dining Room. You have to wait for your entire section to be done with their appetizer/salad before you start on dinner. After spending almost 2 hours having dinner one night, we were done with the dining room. We wanted to experience the ship and all it had to offer and felt ourselves sitting there waiting for a salad for almost 2 hours!
The Creams Cafe was one of our favorites to hit up! They had delicious desserts and milkshakes, and different coffee drinks that were great in the afternoons. Red Sail was pretty good, my husband enjoyed the late night Mexican Buffet - if you aren't a refried beans person, steer clear! It seems like everything had it! Do yourself a favor and don't order water from any waiter that is walking around taking drink orders. Because they make no money on water (unless it's bottled) you'll get a huge attitude. Several times we placed an order and never even got anything.
Entertainment: Megan who does karoake across from the Casino is hysterical! She'll sing until someone signs up - we never did but we did enjoy watching her trying to get people to sign up. Stand up comedian Hal Spear was hysterical. My husband and I also saw Scott Harris who was probably the worst comedian I've ever seen - we didn't even chuckle once. How in the world other people were laughing is beyond me. If you don't want to get picked on, do not sit anywhere near the front at a comedy show or at a show Jorge (the cruise director) is hosting. It's all in good fun, but some people are really touchy and can't take a joke. So, don't sit in the front if you want to avoid this! We found the shows in the Amber Palace pretty amazing. We loved the magic show with Justin Illusion. It was sort of corny at first but by the end we were pretty impressed. Jorge is hysterical - he really made our cruise welcoming.
OffShore Excursions - We loved both ports! Beware the weather changes significantly one day to the next! Unless you really enjoy swimming and can't go a day without your bathing suit, it WILL be too cold to swim - so sweaters and jeans are a must on this ship. I really enjoyed Saint John and my husband loved Halifax, so both ports of call have a variety of things that will appeal to every person on board the ship.
One of our only complaints: There were about 1,000 kids on board. We had ZERO issues with any children misbehaving, running around, screaming...we were pleasantly surprised that all children were very polite and kept to themselves however, we were SHOCKED at some of the "adult" behavior on the ship. Because there are crowds it is expected that you get the occasional "Where do I go" idiot standing around blocking 400 other people from passing. It seemed like EVERY time we went somewhere we dealt with some incredibly rude "guest" on the ship. The last straw - my husband and I were standing in a line at the Deli waiting for sandwiches. The women in front of us were being helped and the other employee on the far side of the counter called us over. She turned to me and said with a snotty attitude "You know, there's a line here." This pretty much sums up the experience we had with the majority of other passengers on this ship. We met some pretty amazing and friendly people, but others were so concerned with being the first to be taken care of/getting the last piece of bread/racing you to that table across the dining room/getting off the elevator before you that my husband and I were pretty much ready to come home.
We saw the good, the bad and the ugly on our cruise with Carnival. We probably won't be sailing with them again, but we would do a cruise with another line in the future. We had a pretty good time however, regardless of what happened that was negative.