Day One - Monday 9/6/10 - Labor Day
I arrived at the NYC Pier at approximately 10:30am. The weather was beautiful, warm and sunny. In order to enter the terminal, I had to show my boarding pass and passport right away. I was then directed to have a seat in the waiting room. There were coolers with drinking water/lemonade, and small paper cups. This is SO MUCH improved from a few years ago when there were no seats. I was in boarding group 5 and on the ship by 11:45am.
My first stop was in the Atrium lobby. I planted myself in front of the excursions desk. I wanted to sign up for the Behind the Fun Tour. Participation is VERY limited. I was first on the line. I got in!!!!
My next stop was to the Spa. I needed a haircut and postponed getting it anticipating a really nice haircut on the ship. I got an appointment for 8:00 that evening, after dinner. Why just a hair cut? Yeah, I got the scalp massage, Head, Neck, Shoulder Massage, Foot Massage, Facial, and Haircut, it took one and one half hours.
Next stop was the Red Sails Buffet. I ordered my obligatory Reuben sandwich. I wasn't in the mood for the Reuben, and wasn't hungry, and didn't really want one, but it's required that I start every cruise this way. It was delicious. I loved how they offered fixin's right there where you take the sandwich. Mmmmm.
To quench my after lunch thirst, I went to the Turquoise pool bar by the big screen television and ordered my favorite drink, the Goombay Smash. No, it wasn't the drink of the day, but the waitress, Elizabeth, made me a delicious one! It's funny how the first person you get to know pretty much stays with you throughout the vacation. She remembered me from Day One and became a friend.
I walked down to the Promenade Deck 5 and walked through to the elevators. By the time I got there, the rooms were ready and perfect. I was in room 2216, a 1A cabin on the Main Deck 2, forward. The room was equipped with one bed, two portholes, 3 closets, plenty of desk and drawer space, and an ample bathroom. The room was quite spacious. There was a flat screen television, a refrigerator for in-room bar products, yes, a Bible in the drawer (to answer a previous post), and a hair drier. The sofa was said to be convertible, but I don't know how they would convert it. Removing the cushions revealed no mattress underneath. And the sofa had drawers built into it. The only way it might "convert" would be to remove the cushions, bring a mattress from the storeroom and place that on top of the stripped sofa.
The room was immaculately clean. It was very comfortable and quiet. The thermostat worked well. I kept it more than half way to the warmest setting and I was comfortable.
The cabin stewards paid attention to details. In addition to preparing the room properly, they also learned my schedule quickly. We were never in each other's way. They were friendly and helpful. Just perfect! I waited in my room until the pretty quick and easy, no-life-preserver muster drill.
Time to watch the sail-away from the Turquoise Pool area. Live music entertained us as we sailed under the bridge and out to sea.
I chose Early Seating dinner at 6:00 pm. I don't quite get the logic, but I was in the Upper Platinum Dining Room deck 4 which was all the way aft, the furthest away from my room. But the arrangement was perfect. I was at a table for 11 people, Table 537. Nine of us were solo cruisers, and there was one really cool married couple. On a previous cruise my seating was not so lucky, but the people at my table were exactly the perfect people to share dinner with. This was a big solo trip. In addition to my eight solo table mates I met at least five other people sailing by themselves on this trip. This is in addition to the two single girls I met who were traveling together.
The food? Ah, the food! I don't remember menus or what I ate, but I do remember that I absolutely LOVED every meal. At one meal, my onion soup was by far the best I've ever eaten. There were two fish dinners again, the best I have ever tasted. Dessert every night is the same, a dish of orange sherbert and a cup of espresso. The other items I tried on various nights, were familiar from my previous cruises and they were fantastic.
Into the Ivory Bar after dinner directly outside the dining room on deck 4. Here is a safe place to smoke a cigarette, not too many places to smoke. It is a really nice lounge with music, a Phillipine band that excelled at rock, the Eagles, the Beatles, and so much more. They were amazing.
Up stairs to the Spa for my haircut, etc.. Such a perfect relaxing treatment for the end of a full and busy day. The haircut came nice. The woman was very friendly. The massage... what can I say, is there such a thing as a massage that is not wonderful?
By 9:30 - 10:00 relaxed from the massage, I was exhausted. I felt guilty about going to bed so early, but so be it. I explored a bit of the ship, and went to bed by 10:30 and slept soundly in a great comfortable bed.
Day 2 to follow tomorrow, nap time now!
Day Two - Tuesday 9/7/10
At sea. Awake at 7:00 this morning. Beautiful warm sunny day. Open breakfast in the Platinum dining room. Out on deck where I saw a dolphin! It jumped perpendicular to the ship very close to the ship in the foam wake about mid-ship. I was looking for flying fish at the time. I didn't see any, but the dolphin viewing was quite the prize!
I could not decide among all of the activities offered on this cruise. A game? Live music? The pool? Casino? Library? More food? Watch big screen movies and concerts? Walk around the decks? I chose to wander and explore the ship. It was amazing. So big. There were lounges everywhere. There was a coffee/pastry shop, internet lounge, video arcade, stores, swimming pools and hot tubs, a gigantic gym with a hot tub, saunas, etc. The Carnival Glory was the most beautiful ship I have sailed on.
In addition to the Welcome Aboard Show on the first night, there were two production shows, a hypnotist show, and the Legends guest show. I went to the two production shows because they are my favorites. The shows were so well done. The female lead singer will be a star. She is so good. The dancers were beautiful and I fell in love with two of them... at least until the show was over....
Just Rock: This was the first production show on night two. The dancing, the pyrotechnics, the live orchestra, the main singers, the huge showroom... It was quite the spectacle.
Living In America: This was the second and last production show on night five. How do you top these shows? Where, off a ship, can you see productions like these?
The live music was awesome. There was a latin trio. This group could entertain! They were such a high energy group. The lead singer got everyone dancing. Do not miss any of their performances. One thing I like about how the Glory arranges things is that the musicians play in different venues throughout the cruise. You have opportunities to hear your favorite music in the Atrium Lobby Lounge, the Casino, and different lounges on a rotation system. On the last night before we went home, this latin trio took over the casino. There was a group of at least fifty people dancing, conga line, singing, you name it, all being entertained by this group. The performers were so full of joy and it was contagious.
There was a Philippine Band, Music Connection. This band was exceptional. The electric guitarist was particularly talented. Plan to see this band when ever you get a chance. You will be quite pleased.
There was some guy with a guitar and back-up accessories. When I first saw him, I expected the worst. Turns out, he is really good. He plays by himself, but you'd think he had an entire band backing him up.
The pianist was really good. He had many songs in his repertoire. You could listen to him for hours. Very good.
The reggae/calypso/island type band was also excellent. They played during the sail away from New York, and played every day. The best part is that they played familiar music that we all like. They were very friendly and played very well. They made the trip feel like we were on a cruise.
I did not go into the piano bar, don't ask me why not, I usually love going there. So I can not comment on his music. The day we came home I sat with a woman who practically lived in the piano bar. She loved the guy and spent all her time there when he was playing.
There were at least two other live music performers. There was an asian piano player, I think, He had long hair, parted in the middle. I never had an opportunity to listen to him. Also there was a woman who played guitar. Again, I did not have the opportunity to listen to her.
All of the live music was exceptional. For my taste, live music is the hallmark of good entertainment. And the Glory had so much live music! This is one of the qualities that I am using to consider the Glory to be the best of among the best cruise I have taken. Live music, performed well by high energy musicians who are first and foremost entertainers. The entertainment level was great. The energy, the joy, the personalities of the performers truly had a positive impact on their audiences.
All of the staff were great. Without exception, every staff person greeted or acknowledged me every time they passed me. So many of them knew my name, and I have no idea how they knew me. Every request was handled with a smile. I expected them to all do their jobs, so mixing a good drink, cleaning the room well, serving meals properly doesn't earn points. But they all did this. But the following people went above and beyond.
Imade was the bartender in the Azure Pool Bar on the Lido Deck aft from 3:30 pm until 3:30 am. He was such a good man. He made me feel like I was his best friend. Remember, he is just a bartender so he didn't take any special requests. It was his attitude and personality. What a gentleman. He had such knowledge of the ship. He cared about his job and the passengers. He gave crystal clear directions to people who were lost or wanted to know how to get someplace on the ship. He had memorized the Funtimes schedule of the day; he knew what activities were going on and where they would happen. He knew the dinner menus. And his drinks were really good! I only went there for a drink perhaps once a day, but still he was so welcoming and friendly. I wish they still provided comment cards because I would give him the highest rating for service.
Alexander. I am spelling his name incorrectly. I believe he had the letter "j" somewhere in his name. He was a dealer in the casino. Even though the casino was not so good to me, Alexander was very good. I still lost, but he made me feel like I was having so much fun. His jokes, his personality, his enthusiasm, his way of explaining the games made him a superstar. If anyone see him, he will know me as his "Number One Fan." I was playing a three card poker game one night. One of the passengers disputed his call. The way he handled this was perfect, could not be better. The passenger was, of course, upset. Alexander stopped the play and left everything in its place. He called over the supervisor. The passenger was complaining. Alexander defused the situation, was apologetic, explained that the supervisor would provide the answer. He waited, did not feed into the negativity, and maintained a very professional attitude. He did not want to make a final decision that could cause upset without having a supervisor present. While the supervisor, too, was professional, it might never have gotten this far except for the manner in which Alexander handled the situation. He knows people, he treats people individually. I saw him chat with men, women, old people, young people, the ugly, the beautiful... Each person he treated the right way. I met friends. When we went together to Alexander's table, he knew my friends as well as me! He knows everybody and we all loved him. He is a good guy.
Hasin was the assistant dinner waiter. Dinner stations have grown, In times past there was one waiter and one assistant. Now, with the larger stations, there is one waiter with two assistants. As I said, I was at a table for eleven people. I do not give credit to the waiter who takes orders and delivers them. That is the job of a waiter. Hasin was unique. First of all, he was as friendly as they come. He greeted me throughout the ship where ever he was; I wasn't just some guy from dinner. I know they have a system, some method of recording names and preferences. In this case it worked for all eleven of us. Now I know some people [forty something percent according to a recent poll here], don't think the waiters enjoy the shows at dessert time. Hasin does enjoy it. He really got into it. He had fun, and it was fun for me. The other two waiters on the team were probably just as good, but Hasin was the waiter assigned to my table so my comments are about him more than the other two who did not work as closely with us as he did. The food was hot. The sherbert was frozen. It was perfect all around.
Elizabeth was a bartender from the Turquoise Pool Bar. I already mentioned her. She, too, went out of her way to treat me like her personal guest, a friend.
I met a great group of people. It seemed to me that they all wanted to have fun. I was by myself, but that didn't stop people from asking me to dance, inviting me for a drink, or just seeking me out to join them or just chat. People were very nice. I met the Roll Call group on the first morning at sea. I'm still in awe of this one couple from the roll call who couldn't wait to do the Zip Line tour. They were a great group of people.
Parts of the Ship:
Adult Serenity Area: This is the best invention yet. It is on two levels all the way forward. They have a hot tub, hammocks, lounge chairs, sofas, a bar, a bar-type table to use your laptop, it is very peaceful, let's say, serene! I did not see children here. The chairs were cushioned and comfortable. You could spend a lot of time here and not watch the clock. Perfect place to relax.
Azure Pool Area: Next to the Serenity area, this was the best place to be. It is the aft pool area. It has a dome that is used to cover the area in inclement weather. There is ice cream, coffee, pizza, a bar, the grill, hot tubs, swimming pool and it is adjacent to the Red Sails buffet. It is a quiet area, very relaxing, very beautiful. The seats are cushioned, the service is wonderful. It was my paradise.
Day Three - Tuesday 9/8/10 - Halifax, N.S.
The weather was not on your side this day. It was cool, very foggy and a bit drizzly. Luckily I was here before or I would never know how nice a city this was. I was on the Duck Tour. This is a tour I watch on the web cam every day. [ http://www.novascotiawebcams.com/#?C...=harbourhopper ] I could not wait for this ride. Unfortunately because of the fog, our visibility was almost zero. They extended the land portion of the tour. We did go into the water, but it wasn't as great as it should have been. The reason was the fog. The guides were apologetic, but they have no control over the fog. The guide explained that it is foggy perhaps 150 days out of the year. I guess I'll have to take this tour again on my next cruise.
We were docked at Pier 22. There are plenty of shops here. On board I purchased a ring. It is titanium, relatively plain. Just a nice ring to wear. I'm not a jewelry person at all, but I liked this and thought it looked good. At the pier, one of the shops sold rings as well. They were stainless steel, not titanium. These rings were only $10. They were of a similar style to the ring I already purchased on the ship. Since I am not a jewelry person, I would have been just as happy with one of these rings. Live and learn.
Back onto the ship for lunch. During port days, the main dining room is closed. Lunch is buffet on Lido Deck 9. I haven't described the buffet yet. My jaw dropped when I saw what was available. Yes, I know that the buffets are all great. This was like my 11th cruise. But I was still impressed. The Mongolian Wok, the Deli, the grill, the Fish and Chips, the main buffet, the desserts.... The main buffet had at least 4 or 5 main course options. There were salads, cold cuts, the desserts were out of this world. Yes, Carnival knows how to set up a buffet and they went all out on this ship.
Our ship was an hour late leaving port this day. One of the ship sponsored excursions was delayed in returning to the ship this night. We left an hour later than scheduled. It was a prime example of the benefit to using a Carnival excursion instead of a privately arranged one. It was a bus tour that went far away from the ship. For a local city tour, you might probably be fine on your own, but for a big tour or one that goes a distance away, this is definitely one important bonus that you get; they won't leave you stranded.
Day Four - Tuesday 9/9/10 - Saint John, N.B.
Another warm sunny day. We arrived an hour late this morning because we left Halifax and hour late the night before. But our stay was extended in Saint John so we had even a longer stay than we had planned. Saint John is a nice city. Again, similar to Halifax, there are vendors when you get off the ship here. One difference is that in Saint John the ship docks right there in the middle of the city. Just walk off the ship and everything is right there. I took the Carnival Trolley Tour. It was nice. It was about an hour and a half long. They stopped at the Reversing Falls. This was a sight to see. Plus, there were seals jumping in and out of the water. The tour showed off the whole city. It was interesting and plenty of places to take pictures. One person I met told me to get lunch here. I didn't, but he told me the mussels and lobster were perfect. The restaurant is diagonally right across the street from the ship. Get off the ship, go right and across the street is an outdoor cafe. That's the spot according to this guy. He was there at 11:30 am, and he went back that evening.
Day Five - Tuesday 9/10/10 - At Sea
This was a full fun day for me, one of my best yet. Again, another warm and sunny day.
It started early. I woke up at 6:30 am and enjoyed time in my room. I had coffee, watched television, read my eBook. I had the Behind the Fun Tour scheduled for this morning. In my mind I was certain the tour started at 9:15. But at 9:07 I received a phone call; the tour was for 9:00 and they were getting ready to leave. I ran up as fast as I could, but I missed the continental breakfast and the introductory tour. I do not want to spoil this tour for anyone who is going to take it, but I will go over some details. The price is $95.00. It was money WELL spent. The tour was amazing. There was only one tour and only fifteen people were allowed to participate. This is why I was first on line to buy the ticket.
You get cleared by security before you go. The security stays with you during the entire tour. While they are not unfriendly, they do not participate at all in the tour. And they do not answer any security questions. They are visible and right there in sensitive areas, and they stay back in common areas. The tour takes you places you never thought you might see. We went all the way down to the lower most deck. The guide joked, don't open any windows because we'll be below the water line. You would never know they had a deck this far down.
You get to see the crew areas on the crew deck. They tell you a lot about the life style of the crew. Again, I do not want to spoil this tour for anyone who wants to take it. But we saw everything! We toured the laundry room. It was amazing. Ever wonder how they press and fold the thousands of bed sheets? It's something to see.
We went to the engine room. We spent a great deal of time with two people who loved talking about their jobs and the mechanics of the ship. The Chief Engineer was one of them. This guy knows his stuff. And he was thrilled to answer questions and show us things. He was well prepared. If someone asked a question, he had laminated photos of what he was describing.
Up on the Bridge was the second person who loved talking about his job and the ship. Yes, Captain Aita. When I say we were on the Bridge, I don't mean "near the Bridge" or "in clear view of the Bridge," we were ON the Bridge. So was Security...... But the Captain was very happy to show us everything. We met the officers on the bridge. They work four hours on, eight hours off, then four hours on again. They steer the ship with a little stick like a video game controller. Even though everything is electronic, he still uses the sextant to find his position, and he'll tell you that it used to be an octant and give you the entire history. This captain has much pride in his job. And it is deserves. His knowledge of the sea, different currents, navigation, you have to let him tell you the story. Take this tour.
We also toured behind the main showroom stage. I had seen this on previous cruises, but this tour they spent extra time here and two people showed us the working of the stage.
We toured the kitchen. Yes, this tour was free on previous cruises where they walked you through and that was it. This was different and MUCH better. You actually saw everything. The chef shows you. The bakers show you. This tour took place during lunch and we saw the hustle of the kitchen. We walked behind the line where the waiters were picking up their plates. They joked with us. I saw my waiter. They showed us how they make the sauce for the meat. They gave us samples of chocolate dipped strawberries and fresh baked cookies. We saw everything.
We toured the storerooms for meat, dry goods, beverages.... And that answered why this tour is held on the final sea day. Because they stock so full during the cruise there would be no room for a tour to walk around.
EVERYTHING was spotlessly clean. The ship is about ten years old, but it looked brand new behind the scenes. OK, you believe me when I say it was clean. But you really don't understand how clean. To give an example, they toured us through the sanitation department. A really dirty place, right??? No! It was so clean, I would lay a sandwich down and then continue to eat it. Al the trash from the ship comes in here. All of it. But it was spotless as was the entire rest of the ship. It was ventilated such that there was a strong breeze blowing into the sanitation room from the hallway. No odor! I was greatly impressed with everything.
We got a group picture at the bow of the ship where Leonardo DiCaprio was king of the world. We got our group picture taken on the bridge and a separate individual picture on the bridge with the captain right by the steering wheel. [Do not ask, "Who is steering the ship." lol]
We were taken behind the scenes at the Steakhouse where were were given our choice of orange juice, champagne, or a mimosa. The chef there is also an expert. Ask him anything, he is proud of the job he holds.
Waiting for us back in our room was a surprise, several chocolate dipped strawberries, cookies, pastries, goodies from the bakery. It was heavenly. And we were given a back pack, a lanyard, a hat, and a carving of a swan.
I don't know if this is a tour you need to take a second time, but in my book it should be mandatory for everyone who has taken cruises before. Your first cruise, just enjoy the vacation. After that it is so interesting to see how everything is crafted together to give you such an amazing vacation.
The tour was about three hours long. Delayed just a bit because the captain and chief engineer were so thorough in talking to us and showing off their departments.
After lunch for which I had a new appreciation I donated some more money to the casino. I had finished the last of my drink coupons and used my card to buy a drink from the great bartender, Imade, at the Azure Pool Bar. I watched the "Living In America" show in the main showroom. Then danced till 1:00 am to the Latin Trio in the Casino. Did I mention that they were entertaining and great? I'm not latin and never really went for this type of music, but they put on such a great show I couldn't leave. And people were dragging me onto the dance floor. I had the time of my life.
Finally, to bed for the last night of the cruise.
Final Day - Tuesday 9/11/10 - Debarkation
Why does it have to end? Where can I hide to stay on for the next cruise? They served a full breakfast in the dining room. The buffet lasted all morning even until we got off the ship. It seemed like everything was still open. We had to leave our rooms no later then by 9:00 am. But I think they appreciated if we left earlier. Staff in red "Ask Me" t-shirts were out and about directing us where to go. It was well organized. We disembarked by the number system. I was number 18 and off the ship by 10:15 or so. This seems right because I initially boarded by around 11:30. I gained an appreciation of how much they need to do to prepare for the next cruise.
This may have been the best cruise I have ever taken. I used to credit the Carnival Miracle with being the best. I don't know. I am going on the Miracle again for Memorial Day 2011. I must compare cruises. And to make sure I was right, I am taking this Carnival Glory cruise again Labor Day 2011. If I am still not certain which was the best, I will have to take another Carnival cruise just to rate my cruises correctly. I was on the Carnival Pride, the Carnival Victory, twice on the Carnival Miracle, and so far once on the Carnival Glory. I have been on other ships and cruises, including the Carnival Corp Holland America Veendam. This particular cruise was the best.
Things I didn't do included the Punchliner Comedy Club. They warn you in advance that it fills quickly. And it does. I was way too busy to worry about it. I wanted to go, but I would have missed other fun things to do if I saw those shows. I also did not take ANY photos. I brought two cameras but didn't use them. There are so many pictures available right here on cruise critic that I didn't miss anything.
Yes, take this cruise!!!!!!!! Any questions? Please ask, I will answer.