Sunday November 27, 2011
We arrived at the Port of Miami around 11am. We used off site parking that offered a free shuttle back to the port but that only allowed 2 passengers on the shuttle bus. My husband and father dropped my mom, myself and my two children (ages 7 and 5) at the port with our bags and went to park. They returned within 30 minutes and we got in line to go through security by 11:30 am. The security line was the longest wait we encountered today and it took us about 30 minutes to make it through the scanners. Upon riding the escalators upstairs to check in and get our sail and sign cards we waited about 15 additional minutes. Once we had our sail and sign cards we waited around 30 more minutes to actually get on to the ship. From the moment we arrived at the port to the moment we walked into the Colors Lobby was about 1 hour and 15 minutes. Not terrible if you ask me!
Our rooms were on the SPA deck 11 and even though it wasn't 1:30 our floor was released for us to start moving in. After unpacking we went to the Red Sail Restaurant on the Lido deck for lunch. It was here my daughter fell in love with the Cheeseburgers and Fries from the Grill, and my son fell in love with the Cheese Pizza. It would basically be all they ate for the rest of the cruise. The lines were not bad at the buffet at this time and we enjoyed a nice meal at the rear of the ship by the adult only pool before heading back up to watch our ship set sail from our balconies.
Dinner was Your Time Dining and we sat with Boyko, Robin and Putu in the Golden Dining room each evening. The first night there was much confusion and it took us over 2.5 hours to finish our meal. It was frustrating, but we didn't let it deter us from having a good time.
I had filled out all the Camp Carnival registration papers for the kids online prior to sailing so when we went to the orientation meeting for Camp Carnival all we had to do was turn in the paperwork and leave. We were there for approximately 5 minutes. The first night all of the Camp Carnival activities were for the whole family. We went to a dance contest/ice breaker party in the White Heat disco to get the kids acquainted with the staff and some of the other kids.
My son fell in love with the giant chess board on the Lido deck and he and my husband played several games before it became very windy and we called it a night.
Monday- Sea Day 1 (First Elegant Evening) November 28, 2011
Breakfast on the Lido deck was quick and pleasant. We went fairly early (around 7:30 am) and there was no line to speak of. We filled our plates and grabbed a table overlooking the incredibly angry ocean! The entire day would be filled with heavily rolling seas and quite a bit of rain. Due to the bad weather the kids spent the majority of the morning in Camp Carnival and the majority of the afternoon in bed watching cartoons! There were many people who looked seasick on board today!
As a side note, my daughter was supposed to be in the 2-5 year old group for Camp Carnival. The activities for that age group were entirely too juvenile for her (she is 2 weeks from being 6) and the staff was very helpful about moving her up to the 6-8 year old group for the remainder of the cruise. She fit in much better with the older group and was very happy for the rest of the cruise to go and play with her new friends! I did find the counselors at Camp Carnival to be distant and ineffective in gaining the children's attention. Most of the time they appeared to be playing on their own with little to no interaction from the counselors who always just seemed to be sitting in the corner of the room together.
It was an Elegant Evening and since we took the children we didn't want to deal with the whole dressing up thing so we ate at the buffet on Lido deck tonight. It was peaceful and quiet although lacking in the lobster tail and shrimp cocktail the rest of the cruisers were enjoying!
Tuesday- Cozumel, Mexico November 29, 2011
We woke up to a much quieter ocean and docked in Cozumel at 8am. My husband and father went to play golf at Cozumel Country Club while me, my mom and my kids went to Dolphinaris to swim with the dolphins. Our excursions were 129$ for adults and $99 for children 6 and over. 5 and younger were free. We waited at the pier for our taxi to take us to Dolphinaris for approximately 15 minutes. It was a cool (by Cozumel standards) overcast, and somewhat windy day. Upon our arrival we were given instructions and placed into groups of 6-8 people. Each group was sent to a different cove with a different dolphin and trainer. We were briefed quickly on the what hand signals to use and watch for and then got into the water. Our dolphins name was Olympia and she was a gem! We spent 40 minutes in the water with her. There were 8 people in our group and I felt that we all got to spent a quality amount of time with Olympia. Biggest issues? You can not take pictures with your own camera. They film and photograph everything. However, they do get quality shots. A lunch came with the tour and we picked out some pictures for them to process and then went to eat while we waited for them to develop. The worst part of this experience was waiting for the taxi back to the pier. There were over 40 people in line before they started calling taxi's to take us back and the most a taxi could seat was 6ish. It was a bit of a downer but we didn't let it ruin our day!
The guys enjoyed their day on the golf course and if you are considering booking it and have a SKY CADDIE, the course is available to download. The upgrade to international courses is $10 and my husband says it was DEFINITELY worth the $10! The course was a 15 minute taxi ride (which was included in the excursion price) and they had plenty of time to play. However, Carnival does not have a golf pro on board any of it's ships anymore and therefore they did have to haul their own clubs all the way up and down the pier and what not. It was hard to get through the duty-free shops carrying them.
We returned to the Golden Dining Room for YTD again tonight. We didn't have to wait to be seated but we DID have to wait a very long time for our food again. Once again it was over 2.5 hours we sat in the dining room and we got up before having dessert! The kids spent the evening in Camp Carnival and we didn't do much because we had to have them picked up by 10. So we spent a bit of time in the casino on the slots, before retiring and watching the in cabin movie with the kids.
Wednesday, Belize City, Belize November 30, 2011
Our children were basically too young to do any of the interesting excursions so we didn't book one and chose to stay on the boat. We spent the morning doing trivia games and scavenger hunts as a family. We went to the dining room again and Boyko was terribly apologetic for our wait the previous two evenings and promised that he'd gotten things under control. Our meal took around 1.25 to 1.5 hours. Much more reasonable! Tonight we laid on the Lido deck and watched a movie together as a family. I wish that the Glory had popcorn on the Lido deck for movie nights! It was a beautiful night and we had a great time but popcorn would have helped a lot!
Thursday, Mahogany Bay, Isla Roatan, Honduras, December 1, 2011
Once again we split up for our excursions. Dad and Hubby went to The Black Pearl golf course designed by Pete Dye and played. They both said it was an absolutely gorgeous course and definitely not to miss if you are a golfer. It has only been open for 1 year and it is not yet mapped and available on Sky Caddie.
The rest of us did the Maya Key Private Island excursion with lunch. We waited at the pier for a boat to take us to Maya Key. It was about a 10-15 minute boat ride and it was a beautiful and relaxing ride. Upon arrival we had a 5 minute explanation of what was where and then we were released to roam freely. We let the kids take the lead and we explored the mock ruins, walked along the beach and through the animal sanctuary. It took us around an hour or better to get through those things and we ended up at the beach.
*****If you book this excursion, and I am recommending that you DO******take bug spray!!!******
There are an insane amount of noseeums at the beach. If you are unfamiliar they don't hurt and are really more of a nuisance than anything but they are abundant! I would definitely do this excursion again because it is gorgeous, relaxing and quiet but not without bug spray! People who had it had a lovely time by the water, we did not and we were poolside within 20 minutes of arriving at the beach much to my children's dismay! My son had over 60 noseeum bites in that small amounts of time. There were people who had bug spray who didn't even see/feel/notice them, so please don't let this deter you from booking. Just make sure to pack your spray! The beach, the animals, the ruins, the boat ride, the food! (yes, a buffet lunch included in your price) all definitely worth the price! Just don't forget the spray!
At 1pm we returned to the pier and went to the room and showered. The kids spent the afternoon in CC and we played cards with my parents on the deck. Dinner in the dining room was once again quick and friendly. We spent the evening in the casino again. There is a fascinating game that everyone seems to flock to. It's a skill game, fitting a key into a hole to drop a money prize. Many tried, few one. Lots were captivated!
Friday-Grand Cayman-December 2, 2011
The winds were high and we couldn't tether to tender into Grand Cayman :( :( :( My children had been waiting all week to go on their Pirate Encounter Excursion! Instead we had an additional sea day. We laid by the pool and swam, my dad went down the water slide, we played trivia, scavenger hunts, watched movies, relaxed. It was a bummer, but we made the best of it and enjoyed our day together as a family! The best part was getting our excursion money and our taxes from Grand Cayman refunded! We ended up walking off the boat on Sunday with a $13 credit! That's right we didn't owe carnival for ANYTHING! BWEHAHAHAHHAHAHAH! It was an awesome feeling!
Friday night we went to the Love and Marriage show after eating dinner at the Lido Buffet (Second Elegant Night)
Saturday-Sea Day 2 (3)-December 3, 2011
We didn't do much today, relaxed mostly. Packed early, spent the day enjoying each others company. Dinner in the Golden Restaurant was delicious! I highly recommend trying the Bacon, Mac and Cheese from the comfort menu. It was tasty! We went to the Liar's Club game and Interactive Trivia in the Amber Palace before watching Thor and playing chess on the lido deck. (still missed that popcorn!)
Debarkation-Sunday-December 4, 2011
Debarkation out of Miami went incredibly smooth. The longest wait was onboard waiting for our zone number to be called, but it only took us about 45 minutes from the time they called our number to the time we were in our van and on the road! It wasn't congested and everything ran very well.
A few notes---
Of the cruises I've went on, I thought the Glory as a ship was "eh" she didn't wow me, but i understand she's not brand new. I liked the layout, but I felt like several areas of the ship (mainly the Ivory Club and the Ebony Cabaret) were under utilized. Many of the activities were held in the Casino area which was just entirely too small for what they were hoping to accomplish.
Also, I felt (except for JD) that the entertainment staff on the Glory just wasn't all that into their jobs! They weren't as friendly and upbeat as some of the ships we've sailed. They weren't as visible either. I hardly ever saw James, the cruise director, unless it was onstage for a show. I get that they can sometimes have an "off" week and that it is hard to be "on" all the time, I'm just saying in my opinion that this entertainment staff was lacking in the mojo to get the passengers involved!
Overall I'd give the Glory a 7 out of 10. She was fun, we had a great time but we are great at rolling with the punches! I would sail on her again but I wouldn't pick her over trying a different ship, or even over the Dream which we've already sailed.