In 2006, my parents took us on our first cruise - to Alaska on Celebrity. Ever since then, we have been hooked on cruising, but switched to Carnival since it was more affordable for us. In 2009, we did our first cruise on the Glory before she was refurbished. Last year, we were on the Miracle. Since we enjoy cruising so much, we wanted to take our 2 adult children on a cruise. We chose this itinerary due to dates and ports of call. I figured the kids would like port days over sea days - which they did. Port reviews later.
We arrived in Miami Friday night. We stayed at the Miami Hilton Downtown on Biscayne. It overlooked Biscayne Bay and you could see the port from some of the rooms, which was cool. Saturday morning we drove to Wal-Mart for those extras (my dad had rented a car, which was good since I really didn't see anything within walking distance from the Hilton). That afternoon, some of us walked to Bayside Market Place and did a little shopping and ate lunch. We ate at the Tradewinds (a recommendation from one of the workers at the market) and had a great lunch - the seafood chowder was good and their Rum Punch's were quite good!
Sunday am, we took a cab to the port - reasonable - we had signed up for the shuttle, but with 6 of us it would have fun $36.00; cab was only around $12.00. The embarkation in Miami seemed different then when we went out of Port Canaveral and Ft. Lauderdale. Seemed like you had to go to more stations, one being a self-kiosk and it was more difficult than just going to a representative to get your sail-n-sign card. But it went quickly and we were on board.
The last time on Glory, my husband REALLY enjoyed the fish-n-chips station, so up to Deck 10 we went. However, he thought the breaded was much thicker and he didn't enjoy it as much, so we only ate there once. We usually walk around the ship to see it all, but by this time, the stress of getting 9 people on board had taken it's toll on me, plus I was trying to locate some members from Roll Call so we went to Lido deck and had a couple of the Funship specials. Around 3 we headed to our cabin and soon was called to the muster drill. That went quickly enough, but apparently they started too late since the horn sounded and we started to sail away just as we were walking back in to the ship from muster. That was a HUGE disappointment since the most fun part of sail away is actually being up on deck when you SAIL AWAY! So, we headed back down and did find 2 couples from roll call and visited with them briefly.
Off to dinner - had read so much about the ribs, that I ordered them. They were good, but my mom had also ordered them, so I kind of wished that I had tried the sweet/sour shrimp. From then on, we all tried to order different things - except on Lobster night - we all pretty much ordered that! Didn't go to the show that night, was feeling tired so we ended up outside and watched the movie playing on the big screen TV. That was fun, but I noticed the same movie playing later in the week.
Day 1 - Relaxing day at Sea. Yes it was. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the new Serenity deck area for adults only. Alas, chair hogs there too, but my Mom and I finally found some. Try to get the ones with the blue coverings - nicely padded. Also enjoyed the hammock. Had some quiet time one night just looking up at the moon - lovely. It was cruise elegant that night and yes, the kids do clean up nicely. Had a very nice dinner and even ended up buying a picture - don't usually like the ones taken during dining.
Day 2 - Cozumel - see port review later. By the time we got back to the ship, lunch was over, but we were able to get a wrap from the deli - VERY GOOD.
Day 3 - Belize - PLEASE check out port review. Had a BLAST cave tubing. We had made reservations for the steakhouse for this night. Figured after spending the whole day with the kids, we would get away with my parents for a nice quiet dinner. My husband REALLY wanted to eat here and after seeing the HUGE lobster tail served on the Miracle last year, he was looking forward to that. However, in the Emerald steakhouse, the lobster tail it just 1 1/2 of the regular tails, so he ended up ordering the NY steak as he felt the Porterhouse would be too much. He was VERY disappointed in his choice - it was grisly - and when he said something about it, our waitress just said "sorry". She must have said something to the maitre' d, and the chef even come out to explain why the fat is kept on, but after all the raving reviews and our anticipation, it was a let-down. My Surf-n-Turf was wonderful, so IF you do go, I don't think you can go wrong with the filet mignon. Ordered the chocolate thing, but not really impressed with it - would have much rather have had the Bitter and Blanc which was served in the MDR that eventing. Bless our waiter, he ordered us some for the last night.
Day 4 - Roatan - see port review. This was a short port day as we were back on the ship by 3. That night was the Lido deck party and unless you really hate crowds, you should participate in the Conga (?) line at least once. My husband was tired, so my dear 24-year old son did it with me. FUN!
Day 5 - Grand Cayman - see port review. That night was the 2nd Elegant dining night and we were VERY rushed getting ready as our excursion didn't even get us back to the pier until 4:30 and YES, THE TENDER LINE IS RIDICULOUS. Back on ship with about 45 minutes to shower and get dressed for early dining. I think they should switch this night with Roatan night as you have much more time on Thursday. We were going to get pictures taken, but with being so rushed to get ready, and everyone getting a little too much sun, we didn't.
Day 6 - Sea day. By today, everyone is getting tired and has had too much sun. We all kind of did our own thing. Some napped, my mom won over $300.00 in the casino and I finally made a spa appointment. My splurge item. But is was just for a haircut. Finally went down the waterslide - 2x. FUN, but remember to close your mouth and eyes - it's salt water. Dinner the last night almost brings tears to your eyes when the waiters sing the farewell song.
Day 7 - Debarkation. We had signed up for the luggage express since we had a 12:08 flight, but in hindsight, probably could have saved the $. We went from zone 15 to zone 4, but like an excursion, we had to wait for some people who were late getting to the meeting place. Then we also had to wait in the Lobby area for our bags to clear customs. As the Carnival rep explained, it's not "express" service, meaning getting off the ship faster, it's luggage express. But when we finally arrived at Miami airport, there were no lines and we could have check in ourselves and had plenty of time to catch our flight. Lesson learned.
Just a few more pluses and minuses about the ship/cruise. We don't go to many of the bars at night. But we REALLY enjoyed the card magician who came to our MDR table and performed. He had a later show in the Burgundy Bar which was amazing. If you like adult comedy, make sure to see Allyn Ball - VERY, VERY funny. Since we had been on the Glory before, we had seen Justin Illusion previously. It was loud, but good last time. It seemed louder, but not as good this time.
The Guest Services people were always helpful and courteous. But whoever planned G/S to be next to the Lobby Bar didn't anticipate the difficulty of trying to speak about money issues with music blasting nearby.
About dining - we enjoyed the Main Dining Room - probably would not do the Steakhouse again, at least not on the Glory. If you've never tried the chilled bisque soups, you should. They are very good. I also love the Caesar salad. Most of the meals we found delicious. My husband had the Chateaubriand one night, but it seemed tough. Luckily, he had also ordered the Shrimp in Marinara sauce which was very good.
Overall, not our best cruise, but that was due to family issues. Am I going to cruise Carnival again - ABSOLUTELY. Even bought the Future Cruise Certificate. I will however, look at different ships. That is the fun thing about cruising, different sights, different ships, different adventures. It's not for everyone, but it's for us!