Carnival Glory Cruise Review by aussieinva: Great way to sample the East Coast of Canada!
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Great way to sample the East Coast of Canada!
This is my wife and my second cruise (the first being with RCCL on the Monarch of the seas back in 2007). We chose this cruise as it was closer and more affordable than Alaska.
Arrival - Transfers
This went pretty well overall. After getting off the van I handed our bags to one of the porters. We then went inside where it was set up like a terminal. There were several lines based on your stateroom category. Check in was quick and easy. We arrived early so the ship wasn't ready for passengers yet so we were invited to take a seat and enjoy some light snacks and beverages while we waited. It was nice to have the water, tea and lemonade available especially after the flight. A little after 11am they started boarding and we got on fairly quickly even though we were in boarding group 7. They had two lines which made getting on a little quicker. As with most cruise ships you were able to wander around onboard but not able to access your rooms until around More 1:30pm.
We had an interior stateroom on the Empress deck (Deck 7). The stateroom was well layed out and was big enough for our needs. The closet was spacious and we were able to unpack completely and still have room left over. They had tea and coffee supplies, bathrobes, toiletries and all of the other amentities you would expect on a modern cruise ship. The TV had several channels including a live view from the Bridge and a GPS map showing you where the ship was, speed etc. You could also view your account through the TV which saved you from going to guest services. The bed was comfortable and we got a good night's sleep each night. The room was quiet and didn't hear any noise except for the occasional person who talking really loudly but you would probably hear them regardless.
If you go hungry on a cruise that is your own fault as there is something for everyone. I certainly didn't go hungry as shown by the numbers on the bathroom scales when I got back home. The ship has a variety of dining choices ranging from casual to fine dining. The choices are almost endless and the operating hours for each do vary somewhat but some of my favorites were the 24 hours pizza, the self serve soft serve icecream, the main buffet, the deli, the fish and chips stand and the main dining room. They had a burrito bar as well but I always seemed to miss its hours as it was only open a few hours a day. The lines for most of these options were not too bad except for the deli which got long at times. The buffet lines were somewhat long during peak times but this is to be expected and they moved fairly quickly. Getting a table wasn't too bad most days but sometimes we would need to go to the upstairs portion of the buffet to snag a table. I figured climbing the stairs would do me good anyway. The main dining room was a pleasant experience. We only ate there a few times but the food was tasty, hot and served fairly quickly. Overall the food was really good. I prefered the buffet choices on RCCL but my wife liked the Carnival offerings better so it really depends on your preferences. Rest assured you will find plenty to eat.
There was plenty to do which was a huge positive for us since we came on the cruise alone and not as part of a big group and was looking for onboard activities to keep us entertained. We really enjoy playing trivia game and they had plenty scheduled throughout the cruise. We played scattergories, battle of the sexes (which I was able to help out the men's team a lot) movie trivia, Motown trivia and some other I missed. They had some poolside activities but it wasn't as much as our previous cruise. The evening shows were pretty good and I especially enjoyed the illusionist. The seating for the main shows do fill up quickly so I would recommend getting there 20-30 minutes early to get a good seat. We used this time to plan out the next day's activities so it wasn't wasted time. They also had dance lessons, bingo, a wedding game show and towel folding lessons which we thoroughly enjoyed. There are many more activities on board that I have missed so please don't take this as an all inclusive list. For us they had enough going on to keep us entertained but not too much that we couldnt have done time with missing anything.
The service on the ship was great. Everyone was really friendly and helpful. They all seemed to work really hard to keep you happy and nothing was too much trouble. The waiters remembered our drinks and the room steward kept everything in great shape. As expected we had no complaints here
The ship has all the bars, clubs, pools, gambling, shopping, spa services and sports activities you need throughout your cruise. The ship has a theme with colors and many of the clubs and bars are decorated and named after certain colors. The shopping promenade is mostly clothing, jewelery and other duty free products. They do have sales on certain items and free liquor tastings at times so this might be something to look into. The casino has an Eygptian theme and has all of the regular games, slot machines and video poker that you would expect. There are several pools and hot tubs on board though the hot tubs seemed to be occupied more so than the pools. There is also a water slide which was popular during the cruise. The line often went down the stairs but it went fairly quickly. The ship has a decent fitness center, a half court for basketball and mini golf. The mini golf course looked like it could use some TLC as there were patches of the fake grass missing where it had worn out. This was a very popular area and it was not uncommon to have to wait for balls and putters. The ship also had an adults only area which was quiet and peaceful but this also proved to be a popular area and filled up rather quickly. All in all the ship has something to please everyone and never seemed over crowded despite having almost 3000 people on board.
Getting off the ship was fairly simple. We chose to carry our own bags which I would highly recommend unless you physically can not do it. Getting through customs was quick and easy as well. The hardest part was trying to find the bus for the transfers to the airport. The ship had staff that could point you in the right direction but there were no signs to point you in the right direction. Some signage would have gone a long way to helping passengers out. This would be the only negative but this was a minor thing.
We both loved the cruise. Everything went extremely well and have no real complaints. We would certainly cruise with Carnival again to the same area but I would like to do a longer cruise with more ports next time. If you haven't been on a New England and Canada cruise yet then this one is one worth looking at. Less
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Cabin review: Carnival Glory Interior Empress 7291
The cabin was quiet for the most part with the exception of some loud neighbours who needed to talk across the hall to their mates one evening. For an interior room it had a good amount of space. Could use some more power outlets but this is probably a issue with most ships.
Port and Shore Excursions
The Public Gardens are beautiful and are a must see while in Halifax. The variety of flower beds, lakes, bushes and lanscaping are some of the finest I have seen. We spent a good hour here before heading back towards the ship to find lunch and go on our tour.
On the way back from the public gardens we came upon a bagpipe band who we listened to for a while and then we headed towards some of the local restuarants for lunch. We stumbled across a Scottish pub called the "Loose Cannon". We found the menu and prices to our liking and we were not dissapointed. It had traditional Scottish meals. I had the Bangers and Mash which was very tasty. We then headed back to port so we could board the bus for the shore excurision.
After we all got on the bus we were taken on a 60 minute drive to Peggy's Cove. We were treated to the history and the commentary of the city of Halifax along the way. Once we got to Peggy's Cove we could either take a walking tour with the guide or stay on the bus and go up to the lighthouse. We elected to take the tour which showed us the granite carvings, the lobsters pots and the picturesque harbor before climbing the hill to the gift shop and the lighthouse. Peggys Cove is often listed as a must see and I wholeheartly agree with this statement. We had enough time to wander around a bit and look through the gift shop before boarding the bus for the next stop.
The next part of the trip was to Fairlawn cemetery which is where over 120 of the Titanic victims are buried. Just a few miles from Peggy's Cove is the memorial for Swiss Air Flight 111 which went down in the bay killing all on board. We went by the memorial but did not stop. On the way to the Cemetery there was plenty to look at including bays, sailboats and plenty of flora.
We arrived at the cemetery where it was a short walk to the area where the Titanic victims are buried. They are all buried in one area and the guide did a thourgh job pointing out different people that were buried there and other various stories. For the educational aspect alone I would recommend visiting this cemetery with a guide rather than doing it on your own.
After visiting the cemetery we went back to the ship. Along the way we were shown where the great explosion in the harbor happened back a few decades ago. Once we got back to the port we had enough time to look for some souveneirs in the cruise terminal before getting back on the ship.
We had booked the "Saint Martin and the Bay of Fundy" shore excursion through the cruise-line. The bus for this tour was just outside the terminal building so it was quite accessible for all passengers. After boarding we departed and were taken a short distance to the City Market and were given about 20 minutes to wander through the different vendors. They had a variety of crafts and food for sale and it was nice to wander through. Just outside the market where the bus dropped us off was a park which was picturesque with its flower beds, pagoda, statue and fountains. I enjoyed sitting in the park for a few minutes while waiting for the other guests on the tour to finish their shopping.
After getting on the bus we were taken through town and then to the reversing falls which is on the edge of town. The tide was going out when we arrived so we not able to see the river flow in reverse but it was still interesting to see. (This will be different depending on the tides on the day you tour) The current on the river was quite fast and there was a kayaker who was paddling around in the rapids of the river. I was told this guy comes out most days to do this which is why he made it look easy. We spent about 10 minutes at this location before moving on. This was sufficent time to see the reversing falls as there was no visitor center or anything else to prolong your visit.
After the reversing falls we took the 55 minute trip to St Martins. Part of the trip was on a coastal road which allowed for scenic views of the water. There were enough old churches, barns and other buildings along the route to keep you interested. The tour guide Sandra did a good job at keeping us entertained with stories, answering questions from the passengers and she also gave us all a sample of a local delicay called "Dulce" which is an dried edible seaweed. Very few of us enjoyed it but I didn't mind it. It has a strong salty taste so this may be part of why people dont like it. I would recommend you at least try it as it is all part of the vacation experience.
St Martin is a small town but had plenty of charm. The main part is where the covered bridges is and where we spent the next 90 minutes. We first stopped at a local restaurant which is where we had lunch. We were given some chowder, chips and a drink and this was included in the price of the shore excursion. After lunch we were encouraged to explore the sea caves which were about a 10 minute walk from the restaurant. We were there during low tide which allowed us to walk into the sea caves. During high tide the caves are mostly submurged and you are unable to access them. The journey to the sea caves is very rocky so it will be a concern to those with limited mobility. There is plenty to explore and photograph here during low tide so your time will go quickly and you shouldn't have to worry about running out of things to explore. After exploring the sea caves we got back on the bus.
Our next stop was the covered bridges just a few hundred yards down the road. This is apparantely the only place in the world where you can have two covered bridges in one photo. It was an interesting site and very photogenic. There is also a couple of fishing boats and crab/lobster traps stacked nearby so you have plenty to photograph here. There is also a couple of gift shops which had some decent stuff in them. We found some pretty neat t shirts here which we picked up for the family back home.
This was our final stop on the tour and we then headed back to the ship. We took a different route back which did not have the scenic coastline but was still ok. After getting back to the ship we had about 2 hours before the ship left port so we wandered around the town a little bit, looked inside a shopping centre and grabbed a local brew at one of the bars. Before heading back on board we went to the craft tent that was set up right outside the cruise terminal building. This had dozens of craft vendors who had a wild variety of crafts and food products for sale. If you are looking for something to take back to your family and friends this is worth a look. After a little shopping here it was time to get back on board.