This is a review of Carnival Glory's January 27, 2018 trip to the Western Caribbean. The itinerary was Miami, Grand Cayman, Roatan, Belize City, Cozumel, Miami over a period of seven days. This seems to be a regular itinerary for ... Read More
This is a review of Carnival Glory's January 27, 2018 trip to the Western Caribbean. The itinerary was Miami, Grand Cayman, Roatan, Belize City, Cozumel, Miami over a period of seven days. This seems to be a regular itinerary for this ship, which sometimes visits the same ports in reverse order.
I am going to write about only things I have not seen covered in other reviews.
From the outset, I need to say that our trip was a very good one. In fact, from the standpoint of value received for money paid, it was very, very good--hundreds of dollars less than the prices of other cruise lines for similar trips to many of the same ports.
So, while certain points discussed below are negative, they do not reflect my overall impression of the trip. Instead, they are meant to alert the reader to things that may help him or her to avoid problems. Other points are positive and may lead the reader to increased enjoyment of the trip.
The first point concerns the main entertainment area at the midship pool on deck 9. Chaise lounges encircle the pool. From that central point, three or four staggered levels of additional lounge seating rise all the way up to deck 10. The whole configuration forms something like an amphitheater, or in this case, since an amphitheater is meant for hearing and not hearing loss, a pit. Huge metal speakers installed on deck 10 point down toward the pool. Live entertainment on level 10 aft above the pool performs for the pit just below a jumbo theater screen.
The result of this setup is an extremely concentrated sound level focused on the pit with no place for the sound to dissipate. Our entertainer, a steel drummer who played along with recorded island music, apparently likes music at a decibel level approximating that of a jackhammer. You may value your hearing more than he does We saw numerous children, some below the age of five, held in their parents' arms without any muffs or earplugs, sitting in the pit hour after hour.
Sustained exposure to these sound levels just might produce significant hearing loss. The ship needs to turn down these speakers. Meanwhile, consider lounging on deck 10 out of direct focus of the speakers. Alternatively, you can go to the stern pool, which has no similar set-up. But if the pit is your thing, do your ears a favor and bring silicone ear plugs.
The second point is the water temperature of the showers in the staterooms. We had several friends cruising with us on this trip and they all noted that even at the coolest setting, the shower water was near scalding. I tried turning down the temperature control as far as possible and probably came close to breaking the selector valve.
I don't know if this is a problem with some kind of master thermostat, or need for really hot water for some other ship function, or something else. If this problem persists, one way to beat it is to soap and rinse off as soon as possible, before the water in the pipes can heat up, although they heat up quickly . One time I had to take cooler water from the sink and use it to rinse off (I don't know why the sink water was cooler, but it was).
Carnival must know about this problem, since there is a sign posted in the shower warning guests about scalding water. You will probably notice the sign just as the shower water begins to pour over you. Be ready to jump.
Aside from the shower problem, by the way, our stateroom was spacious and the bed was comfortable. There is only one electric plug, though, so bring a multi-outlet plug along if you have lots of electronics.
The third point concerns the ship's layout. Just be aware that there is no bow- to- stern passage for decks three, four, and five. This point isn't good or bad. It's just the design of the ship.
The fourth point is the ship's food. It is very, very good. We ate tender lobster and excellent steak in the dining room. The menu was varied and we never once found a dish we did not like. Service was beyond reproach. The food on this ship easily rivals the food we have found on pricier cruise lines.
In the buffet, I highly recommend the sandwich line. Just forward of the buffet, Guy's hamburgers, a feature of Carnival ships, runs all day and never disappointed when we came on board hungry after a shore excursion. Be advised that the buffet lunch lines stop serving around 2:30 and that the only hot food available really late at night is pizza.
The fifth point is our balcony. Since this ship was built about 15 years ago, the balcony is roomy. Some newer ships cite marketing research showing that guests are not interested in balconies, so they make balconies as big as bathtubs. We find balconies to be great getaways both day and night. It is mesmerizing to watch the ship's constant bow wave breach the water, or to marvel at the maneuvering as the ship docks.
Once you have a cabin with a balcony, it is doubtful that you will ever go back to an inside stateroom. And in the unlikely event that a norovirus spreads through the ship, at least you will have a source of fresh air.
The sixth point is Mahogany Beach at Roatan. We think that Carnival purchased 30 acres and is developing the port and facilities around it in the same way that cruise lines buy islands and use them as a stop. At least we did not see any ships other than Carnival ships at the docks.
We opted for a day the beach rather than a trip outside this compound. There is a chairlift from the shops directly past the docks that goes over to the beach. The ride is only about 5 minutes long, but it is delightful to get to the beach this way, and you can ride the chairlift all day for just five dollars. Our friends, who did take an excursion out of the compound, said that much of Roatan is indeed third world. I wish it were otherwise.
On a side note re destinations, please be aware of the following at Cozumel.
We grabbed a taxi to Ocean Resort at Cozumel on the recommendation of the taxi dispatcher. We were driven to a beach jammed with lounge chairs to within two feet of the water. Beyond the waterline, the water was full of rocks. People walked in, slipped on slimy rock pockets like prairie dog holes, and promptly fell over. One of the best things you can bring along for your feet anywhere on coral-laden Caribbean beaches is water sneakers--serious ones with a sole as thick as running shoes. They are pricey but worth every penny. You can wear them as sneakers at home.
Also, be careful of shop owners off the beaten path. On a side street in the town we agreed on a price for several bottles of vanilla extract and the owner tried to charge an additional fee at the last second, even though he had already written the agreed-on lower price on the receipt and initialed it.
We objected, he backed down, and we thought everything was OK, but we got an email when we returned to the ship; our credit card company had flagged the transaction as suspicious. It was. Despite the receipt, the shop owner had again charged the extra amount on our card. The credit card company quickly removed the additional charge. Incidents like this aren't going to reverse the view that Mexico is currently a watch-your-back venue.
The last point is entertainment. Carnival has a song-and-dance troupe that sings and dances to well-known songs grouped in themes. It's not Broadway but it's okay. There is also an inside stage at the bottom of the midship elevator well, and there the entertainment consisted of music trivia and singalongs as the trivia answers are given. People gathered here every night to watch the cruise director, his band, and other crew members egg the the crowd into participating. All the performers aboard have high energy levels.
Carnival also has comedians, bingo, a piano bar, musicians at various points around the ship, and a casino. Take your pick. What you think of the entertainment depends on your taste, but you cannot claim there is nothing to do.
That's it. Cruising is just about the best bang for your buck you can find. It's nice to look up in the middle of an ocean and see lots of radar and GPS antennas above the pilot house and know that experienced people in that pilot house are using that technology to take care of you, day and night, so that you can enjoy your adventure in complete safety. So enjoy. Read Less