Given the opprotunity to embark from our home town, Norfolk Va., we were excited to test the process. Again this was our 2nd cruise, the 1st being a 10 day to the Bahamas & Bermuda in 2010. We knew that this 5 day would be too short to enjoy but, were pleasantly surprised. We didn't have to leave super early to drive to Bayonne NJ, as this was a 6 hour drive. Plus the cost of parking at $20 per day was nice to not have to worry about. We had a nieghbor drop us off at the Half Moon Terminal and our luggage was swiftly taken away by the eager and polite stevedores awaiting the passengers. I tipped the guy and feel that it wouldn't have mattered if I didn't.
Once in the terminal, after standing in a fairly quickly moving line for passport and boarding pass check, we were given a zone# and had to wait for that group to be called. This was a tad discouraging as everyone was eager to board. A little bit of discomfort waiting in this line but, we made it through it unscaved. It was about a total 2 hour process from stepping out of the car and purchasing our 1st "drink of the day".
We were able to head directly to our smoking room and balcony, which was on the highest deck 11 (Spa deck) Our first cruise was an interior room....never again, after experiencing the balcony. The room was spacious enough for my wife and I and was very clean. We met our steward, Richard, soon afterward and requested ashtrays and he had them within minutes. I was amazed that the Spa Deck was a smoking deck but, it was. We just booked another cruise and were told that this deck is Non Smoking...not sure what that's about. We dicided to get aft balconies for next years cruise.
The Dining Room we were assigned to was the Platinum Room. This was the only real dissapointment. I assume because it was aft and on deck 3, the ships engines or props...whatever...created a very noisy and rough riding experience. Our glasses seemed to move on the table from the massive vibrations. I refused to go back after the 3rd night which was Formal Night. I had to wear the suit at least once. Dinners were then done on the Lido deck assembly line, cafeteria style. The food was OK, not outstanding. Not like the 1st cruise on the bit higher priced line. Seating was limited at certain times of the day and that was expected. There was ample ashtrays for those smokers. If I was one that did not approve of the ample smoking areas, I would have been disappointed.
There seemed to always be ample lounge chairs on the split level decks overlooking the active Lido deck which had three whirl pools and two small 15'x15' swimming pools. The pools seemed awfully small but, were refreshing when needed to cool off from the sunbathing. The 3 deck level slide was exciting but, I only did it once. All the waiters were excellent and very friendly. All seemed to know your name. Much time each day was spent here enjoying the widescreen TV and the sun.
We did one excursion in Nassau, Catamaran/Snorkeling. Was not impressed and the sails only went up on the returned trip.....while we were under engine power. The sails were raised to fool the inexperienced sailor. The location for the snorkel was off an island and I didn't see much. The 45 minute snorkel was shortened as the crew took forever to hand out the equipment....we spent maybe 25 minutes in the water. Next time I'll do the power snorkel if it is offered. We did hear the Sunset Catamaran Cruise was outstanding.
While in Nassau we insisted on checking out Seynor Frogs bar and grill. That was exciting not to mention everyone was subject to a conga line that was fed FREE SHOTS. Many young people were there and totally wasted. We witnessed 60+ yearolds dancing on stools and bars. This will be great for the drinking gang that consists of my son's college friends, that will be with us next year. All which are of drinking age (21).
Our visit to Freeport was a chore. The port was filthy and busy with port activity. We decided that we would take the 20 minute ride to a local beach. This was a $5 each fare and the taxi drivers (driving 12 passenger delapidated vans)talked you into a reserved return fare of another $5 each. Our driver never showed back up. We were able to grab another taxi ride with another group which cost another $5 each. Thank goodness for that, as we were cutting it close to reboarding the ship before its planned departure of 2pm. Next time I'll just enjoy the Lido Deck activities. We did enjoy the public beach for the alotted 2 hrs we had after spending and 1.5 hour shopping the markets. The taxi's drop you off in front of the Casino and then you walk about 20 minutes to the public beach access. Once at the narrow beach line which was clean and bustling with vendors selling Conch shells and T shirts. There was a grill (the $9 burger was great). You were able to walk up the beach line a ways and find a semi-secluded area for those romantic ones. But, our time was limited so we stayed close to the walk path.
Overall we were pleased with the Carnival Cruise and as already mentioned, have booked the Graduation party for our son on the same Glory next May. The Glory does have a strange pool setup and maneuvering one end of the ship to the other was confusing and took at least three days to master.
Oh, the other down point of the cruise was Debarkation. It was a nightmare. We elected to Self Assist instead of having our luggage picked up the night before. We were told that our deck would be one of the 1st to debark but we were delayed, as was everyone else, in the process. So everyone wanted to leave at the same time. The bottleneck on deck 3 was crazy. People pushing and shoving to maintain their place in the crowd as all only had a 8' wide exit to cram through. Those large families with more that 2 people were getting separated and very upset. Throughout the cruise everyone was polite and gracious. But, everyone seemed to think they needed to be in front of the line. Politeness went out the window. It must be the stress to head back to the daily grind. I'm grateful we only live 20 minutes away. And a great neighbor that was our taxi.
Next time we will wait till they kick us out of our rooms and will be sure to order room service that morning before they shut down the kitchens. By the way there was no charge for room service.