The second ship in Carnival's Conquest Class, 2,980-passenger, 110,000-ton Carnival Glory is a colorful ship in more ways than one. With each public room celebrating a different shade of color, this ship takes the "rainbow connection" to a whole new level.
Onboard Carnival Glory, passengers will find a lively "let's do it all" atmosphere. The ship offers a variety of bars and lounges, plenty of entertainment options and a head-spinning array of activities, from Bingo to karaoke and hairy chest competitions. Laugh at comedians chosen by George Lopez, dance to music played by D.J. Irie-trained mixmasters, or be wowed by short, high-energy Playlist Productions song-and-dance shows with dizzying special effects. Themed bars, like the sing-along piano bar and the cocktail-focused Alchemy Bar, are great places to linger over drinks. The constant announcements remind passengers of most of the daily activities, or you can pore over the overly complicated daily newsletters.
Carnival Glory won't always wow you with its food, but it won't disappoint either. The options are solid, and -- unlike many of the ships in its competitors' fleets -- most are included in the cruise fares, like the burger joint by celebrity chef Guy Fieri and the poolside burrito and taco bar.
Families flock to Glory's easy Caribbean itineraries, and the ship's kids club has options for babies, kids and teens. The separate teen and tween hangouts are along heavily trafficked thoroughfares, and we always saw a crowd inside.
The ship's layout is pretty easy to master, with most entertainment and dining zones on decks 3 through 5 and then on decks 9 and up. Just be careful when navigating decks 3 and 4; the midship restaurants and galley make it impossible to cross from the forward theater to the aft dining room without going up to Deck 5. As for crowding, congestion occurs at the buffet during peak hours, particularly on sea days; on formal nights, lines form for photos along Kaleidoscope Boulevard (the main Deck 5 entertainment strip). And yet there are offbeat, out-of-the-way spots -- like the Ivory Club -- that offer chances to escape from crowds.
Overall, Carnival Glory's biggest strength is its appeal to a wide variety of travelers, from families and groups to couples, and to travelers on any budget.
Expect to find most Carnival Glory passengers ranging in ages from 25 to 55, with all ages certainly represented. You will find more families with kids in the summer and during school breaks; travel groups -- from family reunions to church groups and quinceanera parties -- are especially prevalent. Passengers are a diverse mix, and they often hail from southern states near the Florida homeport. Regardless of age, Glory's passengers are ready to participate and have a good time.
During the day, casual attire is the norm. Carnival's evening dress code is typically "cruise casual," but on two nights during a seven-night voyage, "cruise elegant" eveningwear is suggested. On cruise casual nights, the line recommends sport slacks, khakis, jeans (no cutoffs), long dress shorts and collared sport shirts for men, and casual dresses, casual skirts or pants and blouses, summer dresses, capri pants, dress shorts and jeans (no cutoffs) for women. Cruise elegant dress means dress slacks, dress shirts and sport coats (suggested not required) for men, and cocktail dresses, pantsuits, elegant skirts and blouses for women. On elegant nights, passengers may choose to dress more formally in suits and ties, tuxedos or evening gowns.
In reality, we found passengers on our cruise decidedly more casual than other cruise lines, and there was a wide interpretation of the dress code. On formal night, we saw men wearing jeans and T-shirts and women in sundresses in the dining room -- as well as people in bejeweled gowns and white tuxedos. On casual nights, we saw many people wearing shorts and T-shirts they could have been wearing all day.
Carnival recommends $12 per person, per day, for gratuities. The guidelines allocate $6.10 to dining room services, $3.90 to cabin services and $2 per day for alternative services, which include kitchen, entertainment, guest services and other hotel staff members. The amount is automatically added to your shipboard account, but it can be adjusted in either direction at the guest services desk. A 15 percent gratuity is automatically added to bar bills and spa treatments. Tipping a couple dollars for room service at delivery is expected (and appreciated) by the service staff. The onboard currency is the U.S. dollar. Note: On sailings departing September 1, 2016, or later, gratuities will increase to $12.95 per person, per day ($13.95 for those in suites).