We did a back to back on Carnival Glory covering Christmas & New Year. Carnival came highly recommended to us. Our only previous experience was with Royal Caribbean this is my only comparison points. I have to say firstly, I love cruises and visiting different ports. We visited many posrts on this cruise and we were delighted with the places we visited. I will sepearte my review on different areas.
Embarkation: This was relatively quick. They have a lot of people to get on board so you should expect to wait. We did back to back crusies, so on our date of changeover, we went to Miami and returned via VIP check in. That was a great experience. We waited a long time on the deck to actually get onto the ship. This was a sign of things to come.
Stateroom: We had an ocean view on the 8th floor. The room was fine. There was plent of space for us to unpack for 3 people for 2 weeks. The room was alway clean and tidy. Our stateroom Steward, Constantine was amazing. He did a wonderful job and I cannot prsise him enough.
Ship Layout: It took me a while to get used to how the ship was laid out. There are so many bars and rooms around the ship, we constantly had to refer to maps for help.
Food: This is where the complaints start. One word to sum up the food, Awful. This let down the whole experience of the cruise. Nothing was hot. At breakfast, everything was barely warm. The toast was a joke. It was done on one side and cold. If you could be bothered to wait for an omelette, that was hot as it was cooked to order. Lunch was worse. The food at the buffet was cold and disappointing. They have a small grill area where they do burgers, hot dogs, fries etc. I would guess a lot of people would rather have this option for lunch. The lines were so long you didn't want to wait. The times I used the grill option, fries were stone cold. The pizzeria was ok. They really don't want to give you more than one slice of pizza. The saving grace for the ship was the Mongolian Wok. If you want it, you will have to stand in line for a long time. This was a great. The guys who work there are amazing and they never stop. We ate in the platinum dining room for dinner. The food again was always just better than cold. It seems to be down to the system they use getting the food from the kitchen to the tables. We got a better view of this on our 2nd week. As an example, I timed how long it took from the dishes being placed on the waiters station to it being served to guests. The food sta there for an incredible 12 minutes 20 seconds. I repeated this each evening and the quickest it reached guests was 5 minutes 24 second. Remember, this food is already plated and ready to be served. Even if it was piping hot when it left the kitchen, it wouldn't be by the time you got it. I have no upsides of our evening dinner experience. We used the steakhouse for 2 nights. It was well worth the $30 charge to get good hot food. We found ourselves buying fast food on our port stops just so we didn't have to face the poor food on Carnival Glory.
Emabrkation at Ports: They must do this so ofeten that it should be seamless. Every time you wanted to come back to the ship you had to line up. In Cozumel we waited in line for 35 minutes. If you don't want to wait in line, you have to return at least 2 hours before the due time. This means you have less time at the islands.
OnBoard: It states clearly in the "Fun Times" each day that guests are not permitted to reserve deck chairs. Staff will remove items if they have not been used for 30 minutes. This is not the case. On Sea days, if you do not have chairs by 7:30am, forget it. On our last sea day. 16 chairs wer reserved from 7am 3 people used them until about 11am when some more people showed up. At no point were all beds used. My idea of a relaxing holiday is having to fight for for chairs. Carnival should enforce the policy they say they have.
Also, you cannot avoid the photographers. When you walk from the promenade to the dining room, you are accosted by at least 5 photographers trying to get you to stand in front of a tacky backdrop.
Entertainment: It was ok. The only one I really enjoyed was Justin Illusion. The others were very samey and nothing spectactular. The crusie director, Josh has 3 things he says all the time: "Folks", "Give you a quick heads up" & "As it pertains to". He was ok, but constant messages on great deals that we shouldn't miss were boring. I am not on a cruise to buy some overpriced art that wouldn't sell anywhere else.
Overall: The food is the big let down. Have low expectations and and you won't be disappointed. The ship looks and feels dated. Carnival focus on "fun". If they focussed on some other areas highlighted, maybe people would have a better experience. The beast part of being on the Glory was the staff in the Atrium Bar, Evie and Gladys. They were wonderful and always polite and happy. I will never cruise with Carnival again due to this experience. I didn't get value for money. I do understand that others cruise with Carnival a lot. I would say, try other cruises, you'd be surprised how poor carnival actually is.