First Time Cruisers.
Departure: Norfolk, VA
Embarkation: Easy. We arrived very early (9:45 am) and had to wait a bit to get on board. We were 3rd or 4th in line and once let in, the whole check in process was quick and easy. We were lucky and got an early zone number and were on the ship by 12:30 or so. Went up to Lido and ate lunch while the rest of the passengers came onboard. Finished up @ 1:00 pm and went to check to see if the room was ready, which it was. The room was very clean and orderly with plenty of closet space and was larger than we expected. We unpacked and just relaxed there until sail away.
Staff: While we only met the Room Steward once or twice in the hallway during the entire cruise, he was pleasant and our room was always impeccable.
Entertainment: The Assistant Cruise Directors (Annie, Tina, Julie & Simon) were great. We attended a lot of the freebie activities that they run. The Cruise Director (Gary) was funny in his talks and at the “Newlywed Game” but never had a chance to talk with him directly. The shows were a bit of hit or miss. We saw the “Living in America”, “Justin Illusion” and the previously mentioned “Newlywed Game” shows. The “Newlywed Game” was the best by far. “Justin Illusion” was ok, but could have used a bit of audience interaction. The “Living in America” was kind of cheesy. And really could use some refinement.
Food: Average at best. There are some highlights (Chocolate melting cake, Vanilla Crème Brule, Pizza, Hot Chocolate), however, we found the main dining room (Platinum) was less than great. We both ordered the steak medium rare. When it came it was cooked properly but very tough and practically tasteless. We never returned for the rest of the cruise. The Red Sail buffet was ok. Standard fare but of somewhat lower quality. Sad to see the buffet using powdered eggs.
Ports of call:
Nassau: 2 days at port. Nassau is very beautiful. But we were harassed from the second we got to the “Visitor Center” from vendors and such. The straw market was by far the most high-pressure environment we have ever been in. We may have actually purchased something from the vendors if they would have allowed us 3 seconds to look at something before shoving it down our throat. We did only one excursion on this trip and it was the “Half beach/half snorkel” tour. The crew of the “Sweetie Pie” was very friendly and professional and seemed to enjoy helping people enjoy their vacations. Kudos to them! Highly enjoyed this tour.
Freeport: 1 day at port. Freeport is a commercial port. As such, there is not much for vacationers to do at the port itself. You must either sign up for an excursion or travel by cab to the beaches and such. However, we knew this and took the opportunity to stay on the ship and take advantage of the lower occupancy. However, we did get off at Freeport early in the morning and looked in the shops there. The people seemed much more friendly and allowed you to shop. We found our spending money suited these vendors better.
Sea Days: 2 Days at sea. This is when most of our freebie activities took place. These days seemed the most relaxed and easiest pace of the whole cruise.
Debarkation: The most stressful part of the whole trip. This had nothing to do with Carnival or the Glory crew. It was US Customs. They required everyone’s luggage to be checked and cleared first, and then they would allow passengers to offload and clear through customs. Unfortunately, this pushed our departure back several hours.