Carnival Glory - Sail date 9/24 from NYC. First, the positives. Incredible recognition and attention given to my aunt for her 100th birthday. Way above and beyond anything we could have hoped for. This once in a lifetime (if you're lucky) event was beautifully and graciously orchestrated by head cruise director John Heald and carried out by Glory cruise director Josh, officers, crew and staff - right down to housekeeping dept. Thank you Carnival!
Other positives: Floor shows better than most other cruises we've been on in that they were sexier and more modern with an edge. Not so cookie cutter, sweet and bland. "Vegas" style shocked one of our group's older gentlemen but that didn't mean he looked away! Could have turned volume down for first show as this tends to be an older crowd and their hearing aids were screaming. Food was overall good. Desserts were better than on past cruises where they have resorted to a lot of inexpensive fluffy, mousse-type items with little taste. As the economy goes down we have noticed cream sauces, etc, getting more and more thin. But on this trip they ended on a good note with large portions and variety in desserts. Bread pudding was great. Lamb chops and prime rib were excellent. New menu started a week before our trip, with comfort food selections. Several people tried the meatloaf and all said it was not just bad but terrible. Maitr 'd said they had had other complaints about it so maybe it is off the menu or recipe has changed now.
Our waiter, Edwin, was great - always smiling even when his assistant got sick after second night and he spent the rest of the week with "help" that didn't quite click. So some of the niceties such as pulling and removing lobster tail from shell, or serving dressing or parmesian cheese to order or offering cracked pepper were missing. You could get it if you asked but new cruisers might not have known that. He also had a very large station so he had to work extra hard to fill in where his substitute help dropped the ball. A lot of "plunk and run" plates but he always got the right food to the right person and usually came back to see if everything was okay.
Cabin size was fine and there were lots of nice areas around ship to sit and relax. Some quiet bars that were almost always quiet during the day. I liked the openness of the casino layout with lots of seating and music around the outside edges and more space between the machines. So if you were with someone who wanted to stop and play you could still be nearby with something to do. Negatives: embarkation and debarkation in NYC was horrible. Took forever to turn off of highway to offloading area. Need better traffic control or overpass since this is off a major highway. Many cabs, etc., blocked the entire highway so when they had an opportunity to finally move they did the same and blocked traffic in the other direction.
Muster drill very disorganized. Would make a new cruiser nervous as everyone just seemed to be bunched together and no one there to be sure everyone accounted for. They did look for my aunt because she was on a list as needing special assistance. Heard they even checked her cabin to be sure she was accounted for. Apparently confusion occurred because the computer only goes to age 99 and she is 100 so they had a "ghost" aboard for a bit.
Decor aboard was a little less neon than Carnival in the past but still so busy thay when I got home my plain white walls looked glaringly bare. Still can't see the thinking behind the patterns and motif of the Amber Palace Theater. Seems like the decorator made a bad choice (chair fabric?) and then just kept adding patterns trying to make it work rather than starting fresh and going in different direction. Have never seen such layering of pattern, motif and color. Layout of Lido Buffet means a lot of cross traffic through food lines. At times a lot of dirty plates stacked up on tables awaiting clearing. A lot of the fried items were very greasy. Fish and chips were good one day and very greasy another day. Burritos were excellent and overall variety was good.
Night time movies on deck in the fog with popcorn under a blanket was fun and different. Bingo was more of a side item and not a featured event. Seemed to be a time filler for people getting in to shows early. Father-in-law hated one game when they used same card for 5 games. Couldn't tell what he had after about third game. One big negative that really was apparent this trip was the handicap facilities. My mother broke her foot the week before the trip and she is 92. My 100 year old aunt had a wheelchair also as this was a little too much activity for her. Although the doors of the handicap restrooms were wide enough for a wheelchair, there was no door open button that would allow the door to open by itself. Therefore, anyone in a wheelchair has to have someone hold open the door until they get in and then open the door from the inside to let them out. This is a big deal to elderly people that still want some independence and privacy.
For disembarkation special needs people were gathered in Golden Dining Room which meant going through lines of disembarking passengers to get them to a restroom. Also, since maneauvering around the ship was particularly difficult this day it would have been nice if there were beverages available for them in this location. We brought drinks down on a tray from the Lido which was a precarious trip with passengers in elevators with suitcases. RCCL had drink station in waiting areas. We felt trapped by crowd and had to stay put for quite awhile due to limited amount of ship wheelchairs.
The chair we had rented from another company for use on board had to remain in cabin so we were reliant on the ship. Overall, good value for the price, with the added points going for how wonderful everyone was to my aunt. Many of our group had never cruised before and now they are completely spoiled. Thank you, Carnival!