We went on a Western Caribbean Cruise with the Carnival Glory from December 12th - 18th 2010. This was our first cruise. We sailed with our two daughters (3 and 1 ½ years old).
We flew in from Trinidad into Miami on Saturday 11th and stayed overnight at the Regency Hotel. We chose this hotel for several reasons firstly they provided complimentary transportation from the airport to the hotel and from the hotel to the Port. They also had a complementary shuttle service to several nearby shopping areas. The service was good and the staff was friendly. We paid 80 US$ for our room.
Sunday morning we took the complementary shuttle to the Port of Miami and left hotel at 11 a.m. and arrived at the port within half hour. (Tip - Remember to tag your luggage with the pre-printed luggage tags provided by Carnival before leaving the hotel.
Day 1 - Embarkation
Check in at the Port of Miami was a "breeze". We had previously completed all our check-in forms online and when we arrived at the check-in counter we presented our pre-printed boarding passes and were issued our Sail and Sign cards.
There were many lines but the waiting time was shorter than we anticipated. We proceeded to the gangway where we were directed to have lunch while our rooms were being prepared and our luggage delivered to our room.
Our room was on located the Riviera Deck and we had an Oceanview room. The first thing that struck us was the sheer size of the room. The room was very clean and the furniture seemed new and well-kept. The bathroom was the same very clean, compact and had ample storage space. We had four suitcases which fit comfortably under the large bed. We also had a fold out bed. We had a large bay window and we were able to sit in it and take in the view. In general, we had more than enough storage in our room.
The room had a television (with limited number of channels), safe, mini-refrigerator and other storage compartments. Our very kind and efficient room steward introduced himself and was accommodating to out requests throughout our trip and they cleaned the room twice daily.
Dinner the first night was casual dining and we were assigned the Platinum Dining Room Upper Deck. We selected early dining but we advise if you have small children to choose the anytime dining option. We had three very helpful servers. They were one of the highlights of our trip. They were very kind and extremely accommodating. We will be sailing on the Glory again and look forward to meeting them again.
Day 2 - Sea Day
On the morning of Day 2, we had rough seas. Husband and kids were great I was flat in bed all day until the evening. The infirmary had medication which greatly eased my discomfort (I did not feel like I was going to die just faint). By late evening the seas calmed and we had our first formal dinner. The food choices were great and dessert equally wonderful. The Chocolate melting cake was divine and we highly recommend it. We had it almost every night.
We sent our daughter to Camp Carnival and were disappointed with because she was not interested in the activities and we decided not to send her to Camp Carnival for the remainder of the trip.
We attended several talks on shopping in the various ports and were given a certificate to receive a free charm bracelet at the local Diamonds International store in the port of Mexico. Further to that every port we docked in, we were able to collect charms from various stores as indicated on a map provided by Carnival. This proved to be a fun activity and provided a great memento of the trip.
This was the first formal dinner night. Most people we dressed elegantly casual, most men wore shirts and ties, very few wore a full suit, while the women wore cocktail dresses.
Day 3 - Mexico
This port was unusually cold however it must be said the shopping was the best of all the ports (note to travellers to who are looking forward to a warm trip in December to the Western Caribbean, it was very cold by our standards). The prices were so good in the port we bemoaned the fact we did not do more shopping. We went to Nachi Cocum, which was a nice clean facility but it was too cold for sea bathing and actually our children were so uncomfortable we left within two hours. The lunch which was served was a very hearty meal and tasted great. The staff members of this facility were very nice and understanding. We went back to the port of call and did a bit of shopping. I'm sorry we did not take note of the shops with good deals but you will observe they are not the most "nice" looking (they look somewhat shabby). They had a pharmacy at this port of call too and this was convenient to us since we were able to pick up some pharmaceutical items that were not available on the ship. We purchased a poncho, shack-shacks, picture frames, wind chimes and of course collected our charm at Diamonds Internationals.
Back on board the ship we had a late lunch at the Grille, which had long lines but the food was worth the wait.
Day 4 - Belieze
Tender to port was approximately a 15 minute boat ride (we purposely left our room late). We did not plan any tours of this Island. There are very long lines and a long wait for tender ports. Persons who booked tours with Carnival are given preference to leave first. However, we left the ship to go to port approximately 11 a.m. and there was no waiting time, we immediately boarded the tender. We usually had breakfast in our rooms, especially on days where we were in port. The logistics of going to breakfast with two small children made it very difficult to have breakfast out of our room and still leave the ship in a timely manner was too great. Every evening the stewards left breakfast menu cards in our room, which we had to complete before 11 p.m. and hung outside on the door knob. The selections are standard and if you can swing it have breakfast out of your room. The port was small and not very developed and the shopping was expensive to me but I guess it depends on what you're looking for. Mementos were standard in this port key chains, and "Aztec" looking charms. One thing we bought in this port was a photo album, which was made of natural materials like banana leaves, twigs etc. Lunch at the Red Sail Restaurant - the menu seemed the same everyday at this restaurant. The food was ok. We also had the option of using the deli but the sandwiches were not compatible with our style of eating. We had dinner at the Platinum Dining Room again. We requested mashed potatoes for our daughter from the waiters and our request was gladly accommodated. Again I must say the gentlemen who waited on us were the most friendly wait staff we have encountered. If we ever sail with the Carnival Glory I would want them as our waiters.
Day 5 - Roatan, Honduras
Tender to port - approximately 5 minute boat ride. We were instructed to go to the Amber Palace to receive a chit which would indicate our order for boarding of the tender. The lines were so long they started from our room. We waited approximately one hour to board the tender. We booked through Island Marketing a tour to one of the local beaches. Tour operators not with Carnival were not allowed to enter the port facility and we had to exit the facility and walk five to ten minutes before reaching the pick-up area. However, on the return ride from the taxi was allowed to drop off at the port. Our tour operator was very friendly and knowledgeable and pointed notable features of the Island as we travelled to the beach La Playa ( can't remember the exact name).
The beach was beautiful, the water was clean and clear and we got complimentary drinks and lounge chairs. The beach was very busy especially as it got later in the day. The tour operator informed us that we could leave when we were ready was available at a moment's notice. The facilities at La Playa beach were very clean and accessible. We bought the skeletons of two sea horses from young boys who were selling them on the beach. On our way back to the port the tour operator graciously stopped at a local store where we purchased an interesting photo frame and other small items. In addition, she stopped at a famous look-out point where we bought hand-made wooden decorative pieces. We did not have to wait long for a tender to board the ship. Please note we were not allowed to take any food or drinks bought at the ports on to the ship. Lunch at the Grill was the best option and the selections were hot and yummy.
Day 6- Grand Cayman
Grand Cayman was yet another tender port. We decided to go to the Boatswains Beach/Cayman Turtle Farm. We were met by a very pleasant gentleman who also was a very good tour guide and also provided us with interesting facts about the island. We booked a tour directly with the Turtle Farm online through their website. The cost included transportation from and back to the port and the cost to tour the facility. The ride to the Farm was approximately 15 minutes long. We gave the driver an approximate time we wanted to leave the Turtle Farm and he was there waiting for us when we were ready to leave. When we arrived at the facility we joined a tour that was in progress and saw the different stages of growth in the Turtles and the respective sizes. We were allowed to touch and hold many turtles. Everything about the farm was unique and was interesting to each member of our family. The Farm has two ponds salt water and fresh water. In addition, there was a huge pool with three big sharks, an apiary, restaurant and a gift shop. The Restaurant served turtle meat prepared in various ways (the turtle soup was delicious), as well as typical American food. We were told that the Farm reared the turtles for human consumption and to release into the wild. The gift shop was filled with many unique souvenirs. We found it easier to shop there than at the port. We also got some free jewellery please pay attention to the flyers being distributed by Carnival Cruise line for the trip to Cayman Islands.
Day 7 - Sea Day
They had a Christmas show for kids with Santa on the last Sea Day. We also decided to take a couple of professional pictures by Carnival staff. I must add we were a bit shocked at the prices of the portraits which were taken by Carnival photographers. They were good quality pictures but very expensive. We found that Carnival should have offered packages of photos taken during the trip instead of throwing out unpurchased pictures. We also thought that we should have given us access to the digital copy of the photos. We bought a Carnival scrapbook and additional pages which turned out splendidly and allowed us to document in a comprehensive way all our memorabilia from our trip. We wanted to disembark early because we had an early flight. Therefore we had to change our luggage tags and we requested tags for earlier disembarkation. Carnival representatives were also very friendly and accommodating to our request. Very unfortunately my husband twisted his ankle as he was walking down a stairway after dinner that night.
Things to Note:
1. On the last day of the trip you can request a compilation of all the capers for the entire trip on the last day of the trip. You can also request a complimentary deck of playing cards which has the Carnival logo on it.
2. You can change your time of disembarkation.
3. We did not pay our gratuities upfront and therefore on the last day of the cruise we settled our bill which included gratuities and all purchases made with Sign and Sail cards.
4. The shopping on the ship is better coming to the end of the trip i.e. items go on sale.
1. Their entire staff was helpful, friendly and accommodating to our requests. They have the greatest customer service. We cannot think of one instance where we were treated unkindly by their staff.
2. We booked early at least six months in advance. For our family of four we paid $ 1500 US.
3. The food on the cruise liner was abundant and catered to many tastes. Room service was efficient and convenient especially on the days when we were going to Port.
4. Because we were traveling with our two young children we requested some special meals to which the hostess was most accommodating.
Small Areas for Improvement/Cons:
1. There were no indications of the weather conditions at each port of call and we were left guessing or hoping for the best. For example Mexico was cold and we regretted not walking with warmer clothes.
2. We did not meet the Captain or Fun ship Freddy and were looking forward to getting pictures with them.
3. One day we had to get assistance from the ship's nurse who was quite unkind and rude. In addition, to giving us very unhelpful advice she made a bad situation worse.
4. The photos were quite expensive and no packages were available.
5. The rooms had no clocks, when the blinds are closed you have no idea of the time of day.
FINALLY WE WILL GLADLY SAIL WITH CARNIVAL CRUISE LINES AGAIN.
WE HIGHLY RECOMMEND THE CARNIVAL GLORY TO FIRST TIME CRUISERS.!!!!!!!!!!!!!