Prior to the cruise, we checked into Comfort Inn and Suites. We stayed there for two days. Hotel was slightly dirty, but the breakfast was pretty good and people were friendly. Then, we went on a tour of Gatorland. We were anxious to go on an airboat tour. What a bust! We rode about 5 min. at low speeds, the guy told us he couldn't go faster than 30 or he'd get a ticket. We've ridden in boats before and probably were not going faster than 15 mph. The ride was supposed to be 30 minutes, but was really about 15 with most of it very slow. Would never do it again with them. The Gator show was good, though. We then drove down the causeway to Marathon, past "seven mile bridge", which was beautiful. We went to a place for fresh crab claws...some fish house.
We arrived at the port around 11:15, checked in with VIP services and walked right onto the ship. They had allowed embarkation about 30 minutes earlier. The Glory is a pretty ship and people always cleaning. We started eating and got into our room about 1:00 p.m. Our room 9205 which was a Junior Suite, was huge. The biggest room we'd ever been in. My hubbie and I usually share w/ my brother. The room has so much space, it is really amazing. I love the separate dressing/vanity area and the jacuzzi bathtub, as well as the extra drawers and closets. Our steward, Johnson, was very good.
The negatives: the balcony was no larger than any other regular balcony room. Two other things were big drawbacks. #1 to the left of our balcony is a balcony open to any others who felt like accessing it. Our side window actually faced an open balcony that anyone could access. People were there and looking into our room, window or our balcony all the time. Poor and kind of stupid design flaw since it appeared that there was no reason to not have included part of that accessible balcony in the Junior Suite balcony. I walked out in my nightgown once to find people looking at me. Also, tons of people felt this was an extra place they could smoke cigars or cigarettes. I stepped out once to find men smoking their cigars right next to my balcony #2 the people on the other side of us smoked on their balcony constantly making the use of our balcony almost impossible. If we just opened our door there was tons of smoke coming from their balcony. We had to close our door or risk the smoke coming into our room. I have no problem with people smoking, but they have no right to impede on my right to breathe fresh air, either. Having asthma, it made our balcony pretty worthless, especially with it coming from both sides. Carnival really needs to reconsider its smoking policies. Maybe they could only allow smoking on the starboard balconies, then we others could be assured of being able to breathe on our balconies and would book on the port side.
I booked four shore tour excursions for our four ports of call. Three with people off the ship and one ship tour. The first was a tour of the Tulum ruins. A beautiful and informative tour with Mosiah Tours. What a beautiful place Tulum is. The second was at Costa Maya. This was a change as we were originally going to Belize and they changed to Costa Maya just a week or two before. I read about Steve at Tropicante resort. We took a $2 cab ride to his place and had the most wonderful time. They reserved us lounge chairs, tables, etc. Steve (an American) let us use his cell phone to call family back home to the US (no cost). My husband and I both had an hour massage at the beach for $25 pp. We got several sodas, guacamole and chips and a huge plate of delicious chicken enchiladas...so much we couldn't eat it all. We paid $70 for all of that. My neices and nephews were impressed with the bucket of beers for $10, when it cost them $21 on the ship for one less beer. They were friendly, effecient, helpful, and constantly there to assist us. We had a marvelous time. I contacted Steve before and he reserved us a place.
The next day, I planned a tour with Island Marketing...a zipline and snorkel adventure. What an awesome time. They drove us to the top of a mountain and we ziplined down...it was amazing! Then, they drove us down to a small city and we got on a boat. We met an awesome woman who locked our stuff in her office, so we didn't worry about it while we snorkeled. It was beautiful and we had such a wonderful time. Quincy and Dave Bryce and their mom were too incredible and so friendly. Then they took us to a small town where there was a little store with all kinds of hand carved mahogany items. So beautiful.
The last day in Port, we were going to Grand Cayman. I'd been there before and had gone with Moby Dick tours, who did a wonderful job. But this time, we had several people with sprained ankles, knee problems, elderly, etc. So I saw a ship tour "Deluxe Stingray Tour" that had a new boat with stairs instead of a ladder. The platform went right into the water making it very easy to get down into and out of the water. That part was great, but there were many problems. First, the tour ticket said to meet at 10:15 a.m. in the Ebony Cabaret Lounge. Before when I have been on a ship tour, we met in a place and they took the entire group off the ship together and to the tour. We had a group of 13, who were going to meet at my room, but we decided to meet up at the Ebony lounge as stated on the ticket. WEll, the tour operators from Carnival decided last minute that they would not meet there, but did not tell anyone on the tour until we were going to the lounge. There were employees saying, just go on shore and find them. So our group got totally separated by different elevators, different tenders, etc. Many of our group had no idea where to go. We arrived first, but were told by the tour operators (Marineland) that they were leaving at 11:00 and it was too bad if our entire group wasn't there, they would get left if they were late. As it turned out, some were as much as ten minutes late because of the tendering problems. But "Marineland" tours was not very helpful or accommodating. And the cruise ship shore excursion would just say, "sorry" without any other explanation. Most of the problem was because of the Shore Excursion desk and their last minute change of plans. But when we asked (the tour guides) how much time we would have in the water with the stingrays, they said, "45 minutes". As it turned out, we had 35 minutes (we timed them). So the tour group wasn't very helpful and rushed us there and back to make time for another group to be rushed there and back to make more money. After the rushed, but wonderful tour with the stingrays, we went to a place called "Casanova's" Italian Restaurant. It is right on the water, there at Grand Cayman, with a beautiful ambiance and incredible food. Prices were reasonable with large servings (hubby and I shared lasagna) great bread and salad.
All in all, it was a good trip. Some of our party got sick and one was quarantined for a few days. Several got sick the day they got off the ship.