I just returned home from the Carnival Glory 5 night cruise from New York to Saint John and Halifax, September 5 - Sept 10, 2011.
I usually have an excellent cruise on Carnival. But this cruise was an exception. It was not a great cruise.... As a matter of fact, my cruise was the VERY BEST absolutely amazing fantasy jaw-dropping wonderful vacation I ever had. Carnival really topped themselves with this cruise. I am so happy I took this cruise.
First, the price. I traveled solo. I was a 5 night cruise, but I got a great price. Airfare would cost more than that, you can't get 5 nights in a hotel for that price, but I got a beautiful room, a gorgeous ship, 5 dinners, lunches and breakfasts, unlimited buffet, non-stop music, big shows, 2 ports, games, fun, and you spoiled me. I could not resist this cruise at this cost. And the value I received was many times more than what I paid.
Boarding the ship in New York was, dare I say it, easy. You walk directly to the check-in line. I had a short wait because I got to the ship early. Then right onto the ship. You sit in comfortable seats, and get free beverages, and a nice place to wait to get on the ship.
Debarking is another story. Some people crowd and rush and make it very difficult. But I was off the ship by about 10:00 a.m. when they called groups 10-28.
I was in a category 1A cabin, 2216. This is a spacious room with one bed, a sofa, and no bunk bed. It is perfect for a solo traveler. It has two port holes. The only apparent difference between my room and an outside cabin was I only had 1 bed and port holes instead of a window. There was no other difference that I could identify.
Most important was the high quality of staff... These are genuinely friendly people who sincerely try to make my vacation fun. They did not pretend. They really care about their passengers. I have no clue how they learned my name, but so many staff greeted me by name from the first day. The waiter and steward know from a list someplace, but how do bar tenders and people at random around the ship do it? It never ceases to impress me. Their smiles are real, and they could not have been friendlier or more helpful. I've mentioned this before. It is very important to me. And Carnival continues to deliver.
The casino was a lot of fun. The dealers are great. They are very helpful, they explain the games, just playing is fun because of them. This trip, for the first time in my life, I won a lot!!! Thank you casino.
In the main lobby by Guest Services the main bar was a nice place to sit, relax, have a drink, and listen to music. The bartender, Pat, from Thailand, was a sweetheart. She was interested in my vacation, she inquired about my waiter and stewards, she taught me a few phrases in Thai language. I will never forget her. She worked with a gentleman named Ananias who I believe is from the Philippines, but I am not positive. This guy smiles, sings, is very friendly, and, as hard working as I know he is, he made it look relaxed and comfortable. There is no such answer as "no." On the last night I approached the bar, but it was late at night. I asked if they were open, they asked what I wanted. I placed my order, and they seemed happy to serve me, but it turns out they were closing. They didn't have to do that. It was an extra that Pat and Ananias performed simply to make me, a passenger, happy. And it was the last night of the cruise which shows that they genuinely care. They didn't even tell me the bar was closed, they just served me. On the last night they did not have to go out of their way. They go the extra mile. They were excellent.
My waiters were so good. I was at table 532 in the Platinum restaurant early seating. The waitstaff was "Mr. Red," Kavin, and Jowie. They were all exceptional. Again, they work hard, they do so much, but they never stressed. They were relaxed, friendly, they took weird requests without batting an eye. One night I just ate a selection of Starters, no main dish, but they took the order as if it was an everyday occurrence. Jowie was particularly nice. He was very warm and cordial. I will never forget him.
I like the new menu. I must say, in my opinion, the food is even better now than in the past. The flavor and quality and variety are great. Even the little things. One night I had a side order of peas with my pork dinner. The peas were great. [So was the pork.] Now who cares about peas? But it is funny that people I spoke to all remarked about the peas and how good they were. One night the meal came with green beans. Again, big deal, right? Wrong. The beans were not simply scooped onto my plate. No, they were stacked in a bundle and tied together with chives. I have never seen anything like it. The attention to detail was evident and made the meal experience so much better. I have read complaints about the food, that the menu items are diner food. But I suggest, taste the food. It is delicious, well prepared, and nicely plated. The food is very good. You will not get foie gras, pheasant, and caviar, you can not special order menus in advance. But you will get a lot of delicious food almost 24 hours a day. And really, who wants foie gras, pheasant, and caviar? Not me.
The buffets went on and on. Fish and Chips, Burrito bar, Mongolian Wok, Deli Counter, Pizza, Sushi Bar, Ice cream, grills all over the Lido deck, and a main buffet with 3 or 4 main courses, carved beef, ham, salads like you've never seen, desserts that went on for ever, cakes, fruits, pastries, breads almost all day and all night long. It was a sight to see. The Mexican buffet, chocolate buffet, late night grill... Free Room service!!!
My room stewards were Joaqim and two assistants, Yuliando in the morning, and Julianata in the evening. My room was always perfect. They knew my schedule and when I would return to the room, they made it look like new. On the first morning I noticed that the shower drain was clogged. On my way to breakfast I briefly mentioned it to Yuliando in the hallway. I returned to the room about a half hour later. Not only was the drain repaired in that half hour, but the room was made up. In my apartment, if I had a drain clogged, it would take forever to get someone here, but they fixed it in a half hour. And then cleaned up!
But my most unforgettable staff person, someone I wish I could be friends with, is a gentleman who tends bar in Bar Blue. His name is Gerry. Carnival needs to know about this good man. He has so much pride in his job. So many people I spoke to told me about Bar Blue and Gerry. We all know him by name. We all love him. He can converse about any subject with any passenger. From floral arranging to the developmentally disabled to engineering to snow storms, to everything, all at the same bar with different people. This man is personable and a gem for the cruise line. And if you talk to him, you find out only that he loves his family and how much he misses them. And how much he loves Carnival. He speaks with pride about his many years with the company and how he would like his family to cruise with him on Carnival. I hope he does not retire by the time I take my next cruise, I hope he will remember me when I come back; I will certainly remember him.
Entertainment has IMPROVED over last year, and last year it was wonderful. A four piece band for the sail away party. The best band, Highlights, more about them later. Jay Pepper was our cruise director. He is young, friendly, happy, lively, and made sure we had a good time. It is hard work, but I am sure that there is a system. You have certain activities and do them from cruise to cruise. But this was unusual. We ran into a spell of very rough weather on this trip. The big show in the Amber Lounge was canceled. Jay made sure there was an alternate show, a singer, for the night. On another cruise I took, when the show was canceled, nothing else was offered. He made sure we were entertained, and, as a surprise, he put the big show on the next night so we didn't miss it.
There were a lot of bands. This year you had Highlights, a cover band that played songs that everyone knows, songs that everyone loves, and they were the BEST!!!! This might sound weird, but, they were "cute" together. It was this guy on lead guitar, a woman singer and two young guys one on bass and one on drums. I couldn't figure out what the magic, the "cute" was until he introduced his band: his wife and two sons! This guy can play guitar. Enough said. He can play. And the band was outstanding, perhaps the best of the bands in all of my cruises. Highlights tops them all. They are even better than the "Music ___" bands I have seen on the other ships. My one wish is that if they are on the Glory next year when I return, that they sell a cd of their program so I can enjoy them at home.
You are promised a Fun Ship, marketing is for Fun, and Carnival delivered 110%. I laughed with the comedian, sang along with the band, danced, a woman danced with me and kissed me, I won in the casino, people watched, learned some Thai phrases, had towel animals in my room every night, caught beaded necklaces from the cruise staff on the sail-away party, watched a hot dog eating contest, and it did not stop until I went to bed at night.
I can not wait until my next cruise on the Glory!