This was my fourth cruise, third with Carnival, second for this route (New York to Halifax and St. John). I traveled with my daughter, age 21, and a family friend from France, age 19. I chose this cruise because I wanted our visitor to have a chance to see Canada, and not just the United States, on her first trip to North America.
I felt this cruise was not quite as good as past Carnival cruises for me. There were not as many activities, and the food was not quite as good. It may also be that the newness has just worn off for me. Also, the ship was extremely crowded this time (3,600 guests -- I didn't know the ship could even hold this many). There were lots of family groups and lots of good energy among guests, but lines for everything were always present and long. This got old.
Carnival cruises are always a GREAT value, in any case -- one of my main motivations for traveling with them.
I also want to put in a good word for Tina Noble, the cruise director. She was phenomenal and kept great energy all over the ship.
Carnival Glory looks just like the other Carnival ships I have sailed on, Triumph and Inspiration. It was clean and well cared for but unremarkable. I found the Amber Palace (the large show lounge) a bit garish, but decorating on the ship was otherwise unremarkable. I did not use the casino this trip but the "Camel Club" has a fun Egyptian decorating scheme.
Embarkation: We were classified Carnival VIP for this trip (a repeat customer reward, I guess). As a result, we entered through a special line -- actually, there was NO line! -- and through a special VIP lounge. We zipped right onto the ship. This was a treat. In the regular line it can take hours to embark.
Stateroom: We had an "ocean suite" on Deck 7, Starboard. As a returning Carnival customer I was able to upgrade to this category for a good price -- otherwise I might not have done it. It did not look like the suites in the website pictures, which look like two rooms or areas side by side. It was instead one large room, but with a lot of storage and a luxurious bathroom for a cruise cabin. There is also a private dressing room between the bedroom and the bathroom, with a good sized vanity and mirror and large closet. This provided privacy for changing clothes, which was appreciated. We had three single beds in our stateroom, which were very comfortable, each with a side table.
Laundry: I have spent time on past cruises attempting to do laundry in the ship "launderette." If you have ever tried this you know that the machines are small and ineffective and it takes hours to get anything dry. What a waste of vacation time. So this trip I was thrilled to learn that the ship would was and fold a bag of laundry for $15.00 per bag. This was a great service, one I'm not sure Carnival has offered in the past, and was well worth the price. We just left the laundry on the bed in the morning and it was returned clean in the evening.
Food: Overall, food on this cruise was not as good as what I remember from past Carnival cruises. Food in the big dining room was generally good. Food at the large buffet restaurants (lunch, breakfast, snacks) was not dependable. We liked the Mongolian grill option but the lines got really long; the sushi option was a great idea but hardly the quality of sushi we get at home.
We signed up for "anytime dining" for this cruise. There are two large dining rooms on this ship and "anytime" was the small upstairs area of one of them. This location was pretty disappointing -- the downstairs main dining area was far more attractive and had windows looking out. That said, the service upstairs was generally good. I had read reviews of Glory that complained about slow table service; this was not an issue for us. The one exception was the final night, when we had a half hour wait for a table (waiting for a table even in "anytime" dining??) This delay forced us to change our evening plans and attend the 10:30 floor show rather than then 8:30 pm one we would have preferred.
The two young ladies in my party attended the chocolate buffet on the last day and enjoyed that.
Activities and Entertainment: We saw three evening shows (I think there were four possible on this cruise). The first was a rock and roll theme and it was not too good, so we weren't sure we wanted to go to any others. The second show was an illusionist show with a male lead magician and lots of dancing and draping by the dance team. This is not "my" kinda show -- this one was rather dark in tone and very testosterone driven, with Parkour style moves -- but I actually really liked it and it showcased the dancers well. The final show we saw, "Living in America," turned out to be very good and we were glad that we decided to give the entertainers another chance. I do want to say that the live band (five guys -- winds, keyboards, drums, guitar, bass) was excellent for all shows and I would have loved to listen to them all week. The rising and falling orchestra pit in the show lounge is awesome. I don't remember other cruises having this architectural feature.
Other activities on the cruise were typical Carnival stuff, and on the mild side. We attending Bingo, a cooking demonstration, towel folding demonstration (animals made out of towels, the kind placed on your bed each evening at turndown), and a few other things.
Spa and Fitness: We used the sauna, steamroom and whirlpool at the spa twice and enjoyed these. The spa has extremely nice locker room facilities with showers, etc. I walked on the fitness track on the top deck of the ship, which was a great experience and provided the challenge of wind resistance on the windward side of the ship! The fitness center was well set up and equipped, but frankly so crowded I couldn't get near a treadmill or bike. Pretty manic atmosphere there. A disappointment.
Ports and Excursions: This cruise stops in Halifax and St. John. My daughter and I did this cruise once before so we knew what to expect. In Halifax we did not book an excursion; we did what we had done on our last trip. We walked up the hill to the Citadel (large fort overlooking the city), took in the fantastic views of this attractive city, looked around the museum and took the tour (tour is included with $10 entry fee). Then we walked back down to the waterfront and ate a fresh lobster lunch at Murphy's. This restaurant, apparently a Halifax institution, has an outdoor section that juts out into the water. We bought a few souvenirs before getting back on the boat.
We were disappointed with our excursion in St. John. It was to St. Martins and the Bay of Fundy. These tickets were 80+ dollars apiece and I feel we could have done better on our own or at least on a different type of excursion. We expected to spend most of our time outdoors and in nature. Instead we spent most of it on the bus, and stopped in places designed to encourage us to spend money on souvenirs. There was a lunch provided, but choices were extremely limited and portions were tiny. As we had wanted this excursion to be an opportunity for our European guest to really see a bit of New Brunswick, I was disappointed and even embarrassed that she might think this is all that Americans expect to do on a vacation day.
Service: Since with anytime dining we did not have a "dining team," our cabin steward was our only ongoing personal contact on the ship. Wi Rat was great. He took excellent care of the room, and of us for the occasional special request. I left an extra gratuity for him, and it was well earned.
Debarkation: Due to VIP status, we were called in the first group to debark. This was helpful.