Hello and Happy Holidays.
Because of the holidays I am just now sitting down to write my review of our cruise on Carnival Glory; December 4-11, 2004 to the Western Caribbean. We chose this cruise because of the stops...it included Key West, Belize, Cozumel and Progresso.
First, let me say that this is our (party of 15...ages 35-82) third cruise within 13 months....so, cruising is a part of life for us! The only difference was this cruise we didn't have any of our teenage girls; all adults this time of the year!
This was our first and probably last experience on Carnival. Our line of choice is Royal Caribbean. We have always said we would not cruise on Carnival because of what we had read and been told by others but our group as a whole decided we needed to try and compare for ourselves. We did. Our thoughts are still "we will not cruise Carnival again."
The first large difference we noted was the staff; other than our cabin steward, they just were not friendly at all. When passing you the staff never spoke; they would just walk by you like you didn't exist. That is something we were very surprised by. To make it short; they did not seem happy at all. Another example was in the dining room; our wait staff never introduced themselves to us; the last night WE asked their names and where they were from. A second example, we had to get change to go into port one day. We went to the purser's desk where we were finally helped. When getting ready to take our change and leave we had to ask an officer (crew dressed in white) to please excuse us as he was standing talking to someone behind the desk and didn't bother to move until we asked him to move. Again, he didn't acknowledge us but moved....in our opinion that was a bit rude.
The second difference and you may think this is picky, but the cups that were used in the buffet dining area were plastic; not glass. Also, there were no fresh flowers on the tables except at night in the main dining room. This also was something that we were used to seeing; live flowers.
The largest difference that our group as a whole noticed was that NO coffee was available before 8:00 a.m. on the ship except in the buffet dining area. Most ships have coffee available everywhere in the mornings when folks are walking. But we couldn't even BUY a cup before 8:00 a.m.!
The library was very limited and every time I went down it was locked! I didn't need it in the middle of the day when I was in the sun or on an excursion; I wanted it earlier in the day. And normally a library is a "quiet" place to go and read...not this one! Normally it was full of folks playing cards; I don't think that there was a game or card room aboard the ship so they chose to go to the library to be loud!
Another noticeable difference, the food items that were free on Royal Caribbean (such as chocolate chip cookies and croissant sandwiches) were NOT free on the Carnival Glory. With the price being very much the same we would have assumed that would have been included.
Dining room: We never had a salad fork! If you had a salad, when they came to remove your salad plate they would take your dirty fork and place it on the tablecloth! What about a salad fork? Attention to detail was MISSING! Also, at dinner; we were never asked what we would like to drink...we had to ask for tea or coffee or water...BUT...the BAR folks were ALWAYS asking! DETAIL, DETAIL, DETAIL...was missing!
Clock....where was the clock in the solarium? When you go to a hot tub you normally take off your watch; well, there was no clock. If you needed to be some place at a certain time (like dinner) there was no way to know the time! Even though we were on vacation there were some times we really needed to be aware of the time. EXCURSIONS and DINNER are very important things NOT to miss! We didn't use this area but heard it complained about A LOT by fellow passengers as they were LATE.
Another difference I noticed and this was the one that really bothered me. The first day....there was a tomato slice that had been dropped and had dried completely and looked to be stuck to a ship step. On the 5th day of the cruise that tomato was still stuck to a ship step....never was it cleaned off or removed.
Photo Gallery: it was a disaster!!! We normally spend about $75 per cruise in pictures! You know all those pictures they take of you that you say you aren't going to buy??? Well, we normally buy them! Well, not on Carnival; they didn't have room to display them and looking through boxes and boxes of pictures that had no organization to them was not worth our time! Displayed? NO...in boxes that you could look through was how they had them. It was AWFUL and so we saved money there by not spending a cent on them!
SMOKE...it was AWFUL and everywhere! If you don't smoke find another cruise! Every bar was full of smoke and the casino was awful!
We did find excursions and tux rentals to be a bit cheaper in price. That was nice if you didn't own your tux.
Now, the things that were better...we felt like the adult comedy shows were much better (if you can stay awake until midnight)! If you like Bingo and like to spend a lot on Bingo cards..this was the cruise to be on! (We aren't Bingo players but it was fun to watch folks spend lots on cards!)....it seemed like a way to make an extra dollar to me! TACKY!
Carnival is just not as concerned about the fine details as most ships. They seem to cater to a group that is not concerned with the details and that is something that we enjoy on vacation; details. Also, we felt that Carnival was constantly trying to make money on you; Bingo cards, massage chairs that you put money into and very little going on during the days at sea. They pushed things that they could make money on; little was available without an additional cost. To me, Carnival is just missing the fine details that we used to expect to be part of the up front cost of sailing. My aunt that was with us; this was her 80th cruise and (she is YOUNG!) her comment was "this is fine if this is all you know." So, first time cruisers would be fine on this ship/line as they don't know better. BUT, if you have cruised on Celebrity, Royal Caribbean, Holland America or Costa...DON'T WASTE YOUR TIME OR MONEY ON THIS LINE.