Glory Western Caribbean leaving on November 13 from Miami.
This was my "wife's trip". I told her we would do whatever she wanted. If she wanted to go to the dining room, fine, we did. If she wanted to sleep in then she slept in. It also meant our days didn't start until past 9. If she wanted to shop, we did. Go to a show, not go to a show, her choice. She supported me in my training for a recent Ironman so it was the least I could do. She likes to relax so, there aren't a lot of comments about activities
We were in a standard balcony cabin 7367. It ended up being in a great location as it's just a couple of decks from the Lido and from Deck 5 which is the main area on the ship. Made it easy to run up and grab a drink or snack. Note, the starboard side doesn't get a lot of action. We were facing away from every port except when we docked back in Miami. I would pick a port side cabin next time as I like to see what is going on.
I am used to Celebrity, and lately the Solstice class ships of Celebrity. It is hard not to compare but there really isn't a comparison in the 2 ships. To be fair, there isn't a comparison in the price either. That's why we chose Carnival this time, strictly a price decision. We had a great time and really enjoyed the cruise. It's just a different cruise that's all. I am used to taking Carnival for the weekend cruises as we live in South Florida. As many know, it is a different atmosphere on those ships. I was hoping this would be different.
We drove over on a Saturday and stayed the night at LaQuinta East. They have a free shuttle to the pier and parking for the week. Since I booked late we ended up paying $93. The hotel is fine. Nothing fancy but the rooms are clean, free internet and a little something for breakfast. So, with a $30 cab ride back to the hotel it costs us right about $130 for the night in a hotel, breakfast and round trip transportation. Not a lot better than parking at the terminal but at least I got something out of it and didn't have to carry my bags around
We arrived at the port right around 11:40 and pretty much didn't stop walking through until we got on the ship. There were a few lines but they just kept moving. When we picked up our keys and started to find a seat they called for general boarding so we just kept on walking. We made it on the deck of the ship then got stuck in a line so it took about 25 minutes to get on board.
As does most everyone, we immediately hopped up to the Lido deck for lunch. It was a bit crowded so we went up to the Fish and Chips deck and there was barely anyone there. Since we were there, we had fish and chips. Very good but it ended up being the only time we had them the entire cruise. Just hung out until around 1:30 then took off to cabin.
We had a standard balcony. We like to have a balcony for a 7 night cruise because if we are hanging out in the cabin, I am out on the balcony. Bed was great, cabin service was OK. On the second day I had to ask for the fridge to be opened so I could put some stuff in here. By the way, the fridge did a great job of keeping our stuff cold. Not just cool but cold. The cabin attendant was not the friendliest person around but that's OK. The TV isn't interactive. You can pretty much see your account but that's it. Room service menu is a printed sheet of paper that is included in the first day Fun Times. Strangely enough we only used room service on the last sea day. This is partly because you could not get a hot breakfast and that is pretty much the only time we use rom service. Now I did order a BLT and my wife ordered the roast beef sandwich on the last day - very good for room service. Overall the cabin was great. No complaints. Bed was comfortable, flat screen TV, bathroom acceptable with great water pressure. Unfortunately the drain wasn't that good so you ended up standing in soapy water.
For the most part the service was great. The cabin steward was really never seen but he did a fine job. The wait team for dinner was fabulous. We had anytime dining and asked for them every night. The people in the buffet were just as friendly. Pretty much everyone I saw said hi, asked how we were doing and actually seemed to be in a good mood. The activity staff was the only disappointment. When they were not on TV it sure didn't seem like they enjoyed their job. Other than these folks the service was great!
The ship seemed to be in pretty good shape. They were always cleaning, polishing, etc. I didn't notice much wear and tear at all. Gym was sufficient. Only once did I see a large crowd and that was on a sea day in the middle of the day. But most people don't last long so you can always find open equipment. Most days I just ran on the top deck. Nine laps to a mile. Boy was is windy when we were sailing. Going one way I had my head down pushing into the wind but once I turned a corner, zoom, I took off with the wind at my back.
First sea day seems like so long ago. We didn't do much, just hung out and ate. We do not sit out by the pool for a couple of reasons. We live in Florida and get as much sun as we want; it is a bit too crowded and noisy and heck, I have a balcony why would I want to sit amongst 1000 other people :) It was a good day. Always love that first day on the ship. This was also the first elegant night and we both ordered the lobster and shrimp (2). Very good. Best meal of the cruise. A few people really dressed but not too many. Most were just dressed nicely. I had a sport coat but no tie.
Next day in Cozumel my wife just wanted to shop so we took a taxi into town and shopped. Had an enjoyable afternoon but I have to admit the water looked fabulous. Not much more that day.
Belize: We visited the ruins the last time which was great but decided not to get off the ship this time. If the port is so dangerous that they encourage you to NOT walk around then maybe it isn't the right place to stop. The good part of this port is the ship was empty. I got to do the waterslide multiple times with no wait. It was a lot of fun and pretty darn fast too. There was no one at the gym, at lunch, etc. It was a nice day on the ship.
In Roatan we just walked off and went to Mahogany bay. Nice little place. We went snorkeling, got some swimming in and shopped a little. I like this port as you walk off and are right at a beach. We have been here before and that combined with such a short time in port we decided not to take a tour. Last time we docked at the other dock, Coxen Hole or something like that. But it was nice getting off the ship and being so close to shops and the beach. Now all they need to do is add the free food like the other private islands. Like I really needed anymore food.
Grand Cayman: This is the port we were waiting for. The only port I had anything planned (wife's wishes). We had booked a snorkeling tour and some time with the stingrays. Unfortunately we never made it thanks to Carnival and their tendering procedures. First let me say we have been there many times with another cruise line and have never had an issue getting off the boat. Also, if we had tried to get off in Belize we would have known how to beat the system. They said we could start getting tender tickets at 8:30 so I went down at that time. They said I had to be ready to get off the ship and had to stay in the theater. Now the first tender will not be until 10:00 am. So basically they are saying I had to sit there for 1 ½ hours to wait. I even asked if I could leave and go get breakfast since we had at least 90 minutes. No, I was told I had to stay there. I wasn't prepared to waste 1 ½ hours waiting in the theater so they said come back when you were ready to get off. Fair enough. If only it was that easy. We went and had breakfast, went back to the cabin for a bit then went to get off. It was close to 11 am at this point and we really thought that they would be general tendering by now. Surprise! They were only up to number 8 and they were giving out tender tickets #28. They said it would be at least 90 minutes before our number was called. What they should have said earlier was to come back when you are ready to wait 90 minutes. I have never seen a ship get cleared as slow as this one. In hindsight, I know not to follow their rules. We should have got our tender number early in the morning then took off for 90 minutes. If there is a next time I know to not listen to them.
We ended up just walking around shopping. It really isn't that great of a shopping port so that was a disappointment. Grand Cayman is definitely a water stop. Otherwise there isn't much to do especially when you don't get of the ship until after 12:00 pm.
We ate in the dining room every night but 1. We had a nice booth for 2. Overall the food was good. Nothing special but I don't think any mainstream cruise line has great food. Some of the items were very good, some OK and some not so good. My wife had the cold soup every night. She loves it and it is really the only time she gets to eat it. All the fish we had was good and the shrimp was excellent. I did not like the Bitter and Blanc. I'm not a huge fan of the melting cake either although I did have it one night. It's just too rich for me. Overall the deserts were a big disappointment. I did have the banana split 3 of the nights though. Not bad. I loved the bread! Don't eat a lot normally but it was great. Looked forward to it actually.
We had breakfast and lunch in the buffet most days. I liked it because I rarely eat anything other than a bowl of cereal for breakfast. Had a made to order omelet and bacon 5 out of the 7 mornings. The deli was pretty good too and I had a Ruben for the first time. I liked it. Only ate there once as the line was pretty long on other days. Never tried the Burrito bar, wish I had.
The comedians were pretty good. That place gets packed though, standing room only. It's nice to be able to attend a comedy club 4 out of the 7 nights. I did see a couple of the shows. Saw the production show on the first sea day then saw the Justin illusion show. Loved it. I like the high energy, in your face type show. I know some people walked out because it was too over the top. Some great tricks thrown in with some loud rock music.
The casino was a bit of a disappointment. My wife loves the slots and for a ship that size here wasn't that much of a selection. That didn't stop her from spending time in there mind you. Never made it to the Serenity deck or the hot tubs. It was too hot to go into the tubs.
I want to address some of the complaints I heard about Carnival before I went. The announcements are not as bad as they used to be. Only in the public areas and not that often. Didn't bother us at all. The clientele was different, let's leave it at that. Probably every walk of life was on that ship. Didn't see a bunch of drunks but did see my share of shirtless guys at the buffet - yuck. The food was pretty good. Not great but decent. Again, not a lot different than other cruise lines.
What a nightmare getting off the ship. Getting off was fine but they herded us into an area that was wall to wall people. You were shoulder to shoulder trying to get your bags then to get in line for Customs. It wrapped all the way down the building then back again. The worst part was they just kept sending more people into the area. Finally they stopped and it eventually cleared out to be a normal line. I know they cannot control Customs but they can control how many people they squish into an area. The folks in front of us received a call from their friends on the Valor and they were already at the airport. We still had about 15 minutes left in line. Not sure why but this ship had issues getting people off.
Overall it was a good cruise. I wasn't working and someone cooked all my meals. What's not to love. I will continue to book the weekend Carnival cruises each year but will probably go back, if money permits, to Celebrity.