Carnival Glory - Western Caribbean: Carnival Glory Cruise Review by Cruise-a-holic!

Carnival Glory 4
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Carnival Glory - Western Caribbean

Sail Date: June 2006
Destination: Western Caribbean
Embarkation: Port Canaveral (Orlando)
Carnival Glory  Western Caribbean Cruise Review (June 3-10, 2006)

First let me start out by saying this review is based on my personal observations only. Of course, your own experiences may vary. I apologize in advance for the length of this review...but hopefully some may find it helpful. Where applicable, experiences have been rated on a scale of 1 to 10 (1 being the worst and 10 being the best).

Background: My fiancE and I are experienced cruisers with nearly 20 cruises between us. Our main loyalty resides with RCCL (I am a Platinum level and my fiancE is a Gold level). We are also frequent cruisers on Princess and NCL. Up until this cruise on the Glory we have always avoided Carnival for a variety of reasons...some through hearsay and some through direct experience (suffice it to say we have often seen some pretty "interesting" characters from Carnival ships at various ports while cruising with other lines). Ill never forget the oh-so-lovely view of Carnival More Customers butt cracks as they mooned the Grand Princess while departing Cozumel two years ago. Several of us on the Grand just shrugged and said "Its Carnival...what do you expect?" However, due to my FiancEs vacation schedule (as a newly hired school teacher) we were stuck traveling during peak season for the first time. After searching weeks for a bargain, Carnival was clearly the best price for a seven-day cruise in a balcony cabin. Rather than NOT go on a cruise I had my travel agent book the Glory. I took some comfort in the fact that fellow cruisers had mentioned seven-day cruises on Carnivals larger (Conquest and Spirit Class) ships were much less of a booze fest than their shorter itineraries on the older/smaller (Fantasy Class) ships.

Pre-Cruise: This cruise was originally supposed to have 3 ports of call (Key West, Belize, and Costa Maya) with the remaining days at sea. Less than a month before sailing I got notice from my travel agency that Carnival had revised the itinerary. The new itinerary eliminated Key West and added Cozumel and Nassau in its place. Normally this would not have been a big deal, but we had just finished planning a lunch at Sloppy Joes (one of our favorite Key West establishments) with some of my fiancEs family. Ill spare you all of the details, but needless to say Carnival was pretty rude when I called to inquire as to the reason for the switch and asked if it was possible to switch ships to one that was going to stop in Key West (my fiancE was pretty upset she wasnt going to get to see her family). I spoke with several "customer no-service" folks at Carnival who refused to do ANYTHING for us except to say "we reserve the right to change itineraries at our discretion." Finally, my awesome travel agent was able to get them to offer a ship-switch to a Fantasy class vessel, but only if we paid a 50% penalty...NOT! Rather than let this ruin our vacation before it even started, the future in-laws agreed to meet us at Port Canaveral for dinner the night before we sailed. Thankfully, all was well again. "Thanks again" to Carnival for all of the help (can't you just feel the sarcasm?)...before we even set foot on the boat it becomes obvious to us that, once you have our money, you could care less about providing good customer service when a situation occurs.

June 2nd: We drove all day from Atlanta to Port Canaveral and stayed at the Radisson. The Radisson has an awesome deal for cruisers! For about $150.00 at the Radisson you get a very nice room, buffet breakfast (may as well get started on a buffet before you even get on the ship!), cruise parking for all 7 days, and a free shuttle from the hotel to/from the ship. I strongly recommend this deal to anyone cruising from this port...not only are you able to start your vacation a day early...but you are not completely wiped out on cruise day from waking up pre-dawn and traveling for hours. If you stay at the Radisson, just make sure you make your shuttle reservations to/from the port BEFORE you arrive (in fact, do this while you are confirming the hotel reservations). There were many angry people in the hotel lobby who had to wait 1-3 hours for an empty space on the shuttle because they didnt know they were able to make shuttle reservations in advance of their arrival. Luckily, we had made an advance reservation for the 11:30 AM shuttle and were on our way to the ship by 11:45 AM. On a scale of 1 to 10, I give the Radisson Hotel and their "Cruise & Park" deal a solid 10.

Embarkation: After a 7 minute shuttle ride with some nice folks who were leaving on the Disney Wonder (beautiful ship, but much too expensive for such a limited itinerary), we arrived in front of the massive Glory. After tipping the driver we grabbed our bags before the salivating porters had a chance to get them (we NEVER check bags unless required), and headed to check-in. Port Canaveral is a very modern, comfortable, and spacious cruise port. After a short line at the X-Ray and metal detector we were soon showing our passports and getting our "Sail & Sign" cards AKA the Glory VISA! As is the case with most cruise lines these days, check-in was a breeze thanks to the ability to provide pre-cruise documentation/info in advance via the web. After the obligatory Welcome Aboard photo we stepped on the Glory about 12:30 PM...not too bad considering we were still at the hotel at 11:45 AM. My hats off to Carnival for having the check-in process so well organized. On a scale of 1 to 10, the embarkation process was a 10.

First Impression: At first glance the main lobby/atrium of the ship is a bit overpowering with all of the bright colors and chrome which reflects the ever-changing light show four decks above you. However, it only takes a few minutes to appreciate how it all works together and I was pleasantly impressed with how clean everything was (the Glory is still relatively new after being built in 2003). Even though we had requested and thought we had "confirmed" early seating at a table for two, the Sign & Sail card shows late seating at a large table of 8. Within two minutes of walking on board we ask a smiling female crew member when the dining room would be available to request a change. She directs us immediately to the left and straight into the Golden Dining Room. After correcting us that no dining reservations are "guaranteed" but rather "requested" the Maitre d' quickly and happily switches us to the 6:15PM seating at a table for two.

Unlike other lines we have experienced, Carnival actually locks out most of the elevators and actually closes off the hallway passages (by closing the fire doors) to keep early arrivals from making their way to potentially yet-to-be-ready cabins. Regardless, we decided to see if our cabin (1050) was ready since we didnt want to lug our bags to lunch. Once on deck 10 we noticed the starboard (right) side passage door was cracked open and quietly made our way around to the port side of the ship where, sure enough, most of the cabins were still open and being cleaned. We found 1050 and, since the door was closed, asked a nearby Cabin Attendant (who happened to be assigned to our room) if 1050 was available to drop off our bags. The Cabin Attendant advises us the room is ready and welcomes us aboard. We decide to unpack right away so we can enjoy the rest of the afternoon without having that particular chore to look forward to.

The Cabin: Room 1050, balcony cabin on deck 10 (Panorama). This is the highest balcony deck (floor to ceiling window cabins above) and is comparable to other balcony cabins we have sailed in. There is more than enough storage for two people on a seven day cruise and complimentary bath robes and pool/beach towels are provided for use during the cruise. Also standard in this cabin is a mini-bar/fridge and safe. An interesting point about the does not operate via a numeric code chosen by you, but rather you must use a card with a magnetic strip (such as a credit card) to open/close the safe. I think "No big deal, Ill just use my Sail & Sign"...but wait...the instructions say NOT to use your Sail & Sign card to operate the safe or the card will be deactivated! Obviously the only thing with a magnetic strip the vast majority of folks will carry around with them for seven days is their Sail & Sign card! Who wants to take a chance carrying around a credit card with them when the only SAFE place you should keep it is in the SAFE!?!? Carnival wins the prize for the most illogical stateroom amenity in history with this one! Luckily we found a VISA gift card (recently depleted of funds) in my wallet and, sure enough, it worked. All we had to do is figure out where to hide the card in the room so we could both access the safe if necessary (middle of the Bible in the vanity drawer worked for us).

Believe what you have read and/or heard about the new beds on Carnival...they are arguably the most comfortable of any ship we have ever been on. The linens are of high quality and very soft...unlike the burlap-like linen still found on most other lines! The pillows and duvet are filled with down and VERY comfortable without being too heavy or hot. The cabin also had a sofa, table, vanity stool and chair...plenty of furniture but the result is a malnourished hamster would have trouble squeezing between any of the furniture and/or the bed and cabin wall.

A nice touch was the ability to use your television to book shore excursions and review your daily bill (folio). You could even use the television to check out the evening dinner menus for the main dining rooms and supper club (additional-charge dining). The overall TV programming was good with a variety of paid and free choices to satisfy most everyone. As expected there were a TON of Carnival commercials throughout the week.

The bathroom: Your typical cruise bathroom...small. There were, however, plenty of shelves for your toiletries...Six shelves in all, one for me and five for my fiancE! Here you will also find the standard Suck-Master 5000 commode with enough suction to pull your internal organs out if inadvertently flushed while still sitting! Finally you have a tiny shower with a curtain that (as usual) you will become intimately familiar with throughout your cruise. Considering how new this ship is, I am disappointed Carnival has yet to embrace the solid shower door designs which are so popular on other newer ships in the RCCL and NCL fleet. Solid doors alleviate "backside curtain stick" and keep the bathroom floor from becoming a lake as you shower.

The balcony: Small, with just enough room for 2 chairs and the mini-table (which also comes in handy as a foot stool). Even though the balcony is small, it is cleaner than most of the other balconies we have experienced. The chairs and deck are clean. However, what most impressed me was the glass and railing were not caked with salt and you could lean against them without getting your clothes dirty. Even though there are lights on each balcony with a switch located inside the cabin, these lights were obviously deactivated on the entire ship as nobody was able to turn them on. This did not bother us since having a neighbor who keeps their light on all the time can really detract from enjoying the view and relaxation of your own balcony...not to mention attracting bugs when at or near port. We brought a bungee cord to anchor the door open in the evenings, but the door managed to stay open on its own in all but the windiest conditions. Be aware that these particular balconies carry sound exceptionally well. What this means is you can have a normal (or even slightly "hushed") conversation while sitting on your balcony and anyone sitting 1-3 balconies to your left or right can hear you as though you were standing right next to them. On a scale of 1 to 10, the overall cabin ranks an 8 (it would be a 9 except for the moronic SAFE and el-sticky shower curtain).

The next several sections are a culmination of comments/experiences for the week with specifics noted as appropriate.

Food/Beverage (Red Sail Buffet/Restaurant): The Glory certainly has its share of places to eat outside of the main dining room. The main location for meals other than dinner (unless you prefer to eat EVERY meal in the dining rooms) is the Red Sail Restaurant. The Red Sail is comprised of 4 buffet lines which, despite small signs on the wall advising of different cuisine, serve identical food. In addition to the 4 buffet lines, on opposite sides of the Red Sail's main floor you have two specialty food stations: Heading aft on the right side is the Deli, on the opposite side is the Oriental/Asian station. Note: The 2nd buffet line (when entering the Red Sail from the middle of the ship) is usually the shortest line. Just up the stairs near the 2nd set of buffet lines is the Fish & Chips station. Beverage stations with various complimentary juices, coffee, and tea are located throughout the Red Sail.

We found breakfast in the Red Sail to be average. Other than the fact that the scrambled eggs were nasty, the remaining buffet selections were acceptable although never quite hot enough. In fact, the only thing really HOT on the buffet is the trays and plates you grab when you first get in line! Unless you like nursing blisters all week long, be careful when you reach for these items as they feel like they have just been removed from an oven. The Omelet Stations seemed to be the most popular. We were impressed with the breakfast sausage as it was not your typical skinned grease bombs found on most other ships, but actual skinless links which were pretty tasty. Warmed syrup was available at the end of the lines for French toast or pancakes. My fiancE loved the little hash brown circles and had to have some of those every morning! Breakfast at the Red Sail rates a 6 out of 10.

We had lunch within the Red Sail 5 out of 7 days. However, food from any of the 4 standard buffet lines was sub-par. The main lines served warmed over dinner items from the previous evening and accompanied the leftovers with your standard lunch meats, salads, and bread. In fact, lunch from the buffet lines on day one was so bad we avoided the main lines during lunch for the rest of our cruise and stuck with one of the alternative food stations within the Red Sail.

Red Sail (Deli Line): One of the most popular food stations on the ship and for good reason. The food from here is made to order and is delicious! The "Deli" has a selection of 6-8 different sandwiches which can be prepared on the bread of your choice and, if desired, even pressed on a grill (just like your favorite sub shop). My favorite was the Reuben...I am not exaggerating when I tell you it was one of the best I have had (on or off a ship)! The "Deli" rates a full 10 on my scale.

Red Sail (Oriental Line): We noted this line was often empty or shorter than the other lines and after eating there we understood why. First, the food is pre-cooked and kept warm. From what we heard and saw, the few items available on the menu didnt exactly compare to your favorite Chinese take out. I did try the vegetable fried rice and egg roll. The rice was so over-seasoned with garlic it would keep vampires away for days! The egg roll was not too bad (the only thing I would recommend from this place). Based on my limited experience at this spot, I give it a 4 out of 10.

Red Sail (Fish & Chips): This line was never very long, however, I attribute that to the fact that it is on the 2nd floor and not in direct line-of-site of the masses during feeding. If you like fish & chips you really should give this spot a try. The food is cooked to order and, no kidding, rivals that of a local fish & chip shop in jolly old England thanks to real fish filets with a light and flavorful batter and authentic fried "chips" (not steak fries). Traditional Malt Vinegar is also available on the tables which surround this spot. I am confident giving the Fish & Chips station a solid 10 out of 10!

Grille: Outside of the Red Sail there are a few grille/food spots near the pool areas. The two most popular are at the very back of the ship. The one on the starboard side serves hot-off-the-grill hot dogs and hamburgers as a good snack or meal in between scheduled feedings. To go with your burgers or dogs you can get hot French fries as well. You also have a good choice of sides such as sauerkraut, grilled onions, chili, and sautEed mushrooms. WORD OF CAUTION: When partaking of burgers from anywhere on the ship, including the main dining room, be aware the meat may contain some very small but HARD pieces of bone/gristle which can potentially crack a tooth in half or ruin any dental work! Originally I assumed the bonus nugget in my burger was an isolated issue, however, I can tell you that both burgers I ate during the week had the "nuggets-O-steel" tucked away in the meat (1 in the first burger and 2 in the second). My fiancE also found one in the single burger she ordered during the week. Taking the burgers out of the equation and giving credit for the hot dogs, fries, and fresh side items...I give this particular grille a respectable 8 out of 10.

Pizzeria: The second food spot at the back on the ship located on the port side is one of the most popular and busiest after 10 PM...the 24 hour pizzeria! Anytime of the day or night you can walk up to the counter and get a slice or two of freshly baked pizza. I do believe, if memory serves, you have a choice of 6 differently topped pizzas from which to get your slice(s) and you may add your own Parmesan Cheese, red pepper flakes, and oregano. To accompany your pizza you may also get a freshly tossed Caesar salad complete with fresh croutons and a small piece of bread. Originally being from Chicago and a lover of good pizza, I cannot really say this pizza was awesome, but I will admit it is the best pizza I have ever had on a cruise ship. Subtracting my own pizza bias and taking into account the freshness of both the pizza and salad, I give this food spot a solid 9 out of 10.

Main Dining Room (Golden): As any cruiser knows, experienced or not, the dinner experience in the main dining room is supposed to be the highlight of your day where both the staff and food really have a chance to leave a lasting impression. I am sorry to say the Glory did not meet our expectations in this regard. This is not to say the dinners were bad, just below what I would consider average. First and foremost, to say the portion sizes were small would be an understatement. Before you even go down the path of thinking to yourself: "this guy and his fiancE must really be gluttons if they say food portions on a cruise are small!"...let me explain. The appetizer course is much smaller than average (3 shrimps on the shrimp cocktail for example). Granted, an appetizer is really not supposed to be a lot of food...but the portions were noticeably smaller than on other lines. I have no complaints regarding the soups or salads as they were right in line with what we are used to. However, the main entrEe and dessert is where the portion size and quality were definitely below what I consider to be industry standard. For example, one evening I ordered the filet mignon accompanied with mashed potatoes and vegetables. First, the steak was over cooked and tough. Second, the mashed potatoes were served in a tiny "side" cup normally used to hold cocktail sauce (in fact the side of mayo my fiancE ordered with a sandwich earlier that day was larger than the serving of potatoes in the dining room). Finally, the "vegetables" consisted of 4 strips of shredded carrot about the thickness of a swizzle stick and 12 peas...yes...I said TWELVE peas! Rather than describe every meal I will summarize by saying the red meat (steak, beef Wellington, and prime rib) were tough, chewy, and not as good as I had hoped. However, I will give the seafood high marks and the jumbo shrimp entrEe on the 5th or 6th evening was excellent. All in all the dinners in the main dining room rate a 6 out of 10.

The desserts on this ship (especially in the dining room) were tiny, dry, and were more focused on the artwork surrounding the morsel of food than the food itself. It appeared that the "premium" size and quality desserts could only be found in Crèmes (the additional charge coffee & dessert shop). Based on what we saw, the desserts you had to pay for in Crèmes were the standard complimentary level offered on other lines. I may be wrong in this observation, but it seemed to me Carnival purposely lowered the quality and portion size of their desserts to get you to buy something from Crèmes. The FREE desserts on this ship earn a 4 out of 10. I cannot comment on Crèmes since we refused to pay the high prices they were asking for something we feel should have been complimentary in the first place.

The Golden dining room wait staff was about average (perhaps even a bit above average) and went out of their way to please. Our Head Waiter (Ida from Bali) started the week off great but seemed to be distracted and robotic after the 3rd night...he kept telling us how tired he was from having to work so many shifts (okay...but it got old after the 4th night). The assistant waiter took up the slack and recovered the service nicely. The bar staff (Natalya) assigned to our area for dinner was always friendly and brought our beverages quickly and with a smile. Service was always prompt and the staff seemed to be having fun (with the exception of Ida) and enjoyed entertaining the guests each evening after dinner. The overall dinner experience in the Golden dining room for the week gets a 7 out of 10. Ports: This will be short and sweet since we have been to most of these ports before.

Cozumel: Cozumel is still undergoing repairs inflicted by Hurricane Wilma last year. The piers were literally torn apart and we were the only ship able to dock that day on the single semi-repaired pier (other ships had to tender). Seeing the damage really gives you a good perspective of just how devastating the wind and seas can get in a strong hurricane. Cozumels two separate piers were huge structures of metal and concrete and, prior to Wilma, you could dock several ships in port at the same time. When we docked we noticed several construction workers still building and/or repairing the destroyed piers and other areas around port. Cozumel has lots of different shops all carrying basically the same merchandise. Outside most every shop is a local trying to get you into their shop with the ever-popular "Come in here my friend...the best prices...almost free." CAUTION: Use cash in Mexico whenever possible. When using a credit card in Mexico, know that local merchants rarely do correct conversion rates, which will often result in a higher than expected charge on your card (realized only after you get home). Also note most major credit cards charge an international conversion/transaction fee of $5.00 or more on each charge.

Belize: Looooooong tender ride (about 5 miles) to a small secure shop/tourist area. I wouldnt recommend wandering beyond the secure tourist areas as there are some very scary areas beyond the guards. In fact, even the locals will tell tourists "you dont want go that way...very dangerous." After reading several reviews on the web about a local tour guide in Belize, My fiancee and I booked their cave tubing tour (separate from the ship) and had an absolute blast! This tour was well worth the money! We were treated like VIPs and got to see and do more than the ship tours did! If you Google: "Belize with Nacho and Cynthia" you will find the info you need for their tours. We cant say much about prices or merchandise at the pier shops since the cave tubing took most of the day. Once we arrived back at the pier we headed back to the ship to shower and fiancee didnt want anyone to see her "cave hair!"

Costa Maya: Very Hot! The sun was super-intense so be sure to slather on the sunscreen before you go walking or swimming! Basically, Costa Maya is just another Cozumel without the hurricane damage. However, we did notice the prices on much of the same merchandise were slightly (I emphasize SLIGHTLY) better than Cozumel...just remember what I mentioned about using cash!

Nassau: Best place to visit in Nassau is the Atlantis Hotel/Casino. If you are looking for cheap souvenirs you are not going to find them within walking distance of the ships unless you want to get some paper-thin t-shirts. The Straw Market was so packed with people (thanks to 5 large ships in town at the same time) you couldnt even look at the merchandise because people were packed together like cattle. Combine the crowd along with the hot temperatures in the Straw Market (no A/C) and youll soon be searching for an exit. We ended up eating at a corner Greek Restaurant situated above a jewelry store. The food was a tad overpriced but very good ($12.00 for a Gyro sandwich with fries) but we expected that being so close to the piers. After the Greek food we shared a cab with some other cruisers to the Atlantis and played slots for about an hour on $20.00! The slots in the Atlantis are typically are much looser than any ship casino.

Miscellaneous things we didnt like about the Glory...

Muster Drill: The required Muster Drill was much longer than other ships of similar size, especially considering you are stacked up like sardines outside in the Florida heat/humidity with a bulky life jacket on. I would say we were all baking in the sauna for well over 30 minutes. Some of the elderly folks actually had to sit down on the deck as they couldnt take standing in the heat for so long. We much prefer the Princess method of having the drill indoors and you only put on your life jacket when the safety officer(s) are demonstrating how to do it.

Shipboard announcements/pages: Dont get me wrong, every single cruise has shipboard announcements...usually to remind people about the events of the day or to update folks about the weather, etc. This type of announcement is expected and not an annoyance by any means. What really got on our nerves were numerous daily announcements (often starting as early as 8:30 AM and some as late as 10:00PM) for passengers to contact the Pursers desk! By the end of day two you will have the following script memorized: "May I have your attention please, this announcement is for Mr. & Mrs. John Smith of cabin XXXX...will Mr. & Mrs. John Smith please contact the Pursers Desk located in the main lobby on Deck 3 or by dialing extension 7777 on your phone." I am not exaggerating when I tell you these announcements will begin within an hour of boarding the ship on day one and will continue until you depart the ship for home on the morning of day seven! I suppose what makes this a necessity is because the cabin phones do not have a message light of any sort and the Pursers desk figures this is the best way to reach people. Carnival, PLEASE FIND A NEW SYSTEM OR LEAVE THE PEOPLE AN ENVELOPE FOR GODS SAKE!

BINGO up the Behind! OK, once again, most cruise lines utilize BINGO to extract yet more money from your wallets. However, Carnival takes this to a new level. Dont get me wrong, we dont mind hearing about BINGO or even sitting in on a session or two when it is a dedicated BINGO-only session and not forced down our throats. The problem with Carnival, as least on the Glory, is that you must endure 2-4 games of BINGO in the main showroom just about every single evening before enjoying one of the shows! What this means is that, to get any good seats in the main theater (not behind a pole or up in the rafters), you have to arrive an average of 25-30 minutes before scheduled show time because the BINGO players have already staked out any seat within a mile of the stage! Despite this annoyance, I will admit people seemed to be enjoying the BINGO games much more than on other lines and, UNLIKE other lines, people win a fair amount of cash and prizes during each session.

So few pools, so little room! Unlike cruises enjoyed during the off-peak season, our ship was overrun with kids who jammed every single pool and hot tub on the ship. It would be nice if the crew would actually enforce the "adults only" signs posted on the hot tubs so one could enjoy a soak without a bunch of 5-8 year olds splashing and kicking water all over everyone. The only time adults were able to enjoy the hot tubs without a pack of kids taking it over was while at port or after 10:00 PM in the evening. Of course, a big part of the problem is that most parents, once they set foot on board a cruise ship, set their kids loose like pack of rabid dogs in a butcher shop. For some reason during this particular cruise, the trademark Carnival water slide was not operational until day three while docked in Cozumel.

Sanitation...I think not! Considering all of the emphasis on norovirus these days, I was VERY surprised Carnival did not have a single hand washing/sanitizing station anywhere on this ship (less the public restrooms). Granted, anyone who has done any research on norovirus knows that alcohol-based hand sanitizers (like Purell) are not effective against preventing the spread of norovirus (Carnival makes this point quite often on their informational television programming). However, what about preventing things other than norovirus like the flu, colds, and other miscellaneous germs?? Other lines often require you sanitize your hands before jumping on the buffet lines or after coming back on board after visiting a port. Carnival says they stress washing hands thoroughly instead of "ineffective" hand sanitizers. This is fine, but by the time you make it from your cabin to the food lines you have touched how many different surfaces such as door knobs, elevator buttons, railings, etc? Having a hand sanitizing station at the buffets and/or strategically placed throughout the ship just makes good sense from a hygiene perspective and adds to the overall prevention and spreading of illnesses. I strongly recommend you bring your own travel-size bottles of hand sanitizer with you.

Too much cig...cough...cig...cough...cigarette smoke! Once you hit the casino entrance you are overwhelmed by smoke. In fact, on the promenade deck any public area from the casino aft reeks of cigarette smoke including Crèmes, the Sushi bar, and several other lounges/clubs. The only area which is not affected by this (thankfully) is the Platinum dining room. However, just walking to the Platinum dining room is enough cigarette exposure to inundate your clothing for the rest of the day/evening.

You wont be needing these anymore! Although I understand the reason behind this practice, I was disappointed and somewhat offended that the Cabin Steward removed our bath robes and beach/pool towels as the beds were turned down on the last evening of the cruise. This was the first time we had experienced this and felt as though Carnival expected us to steal the robes or towels while we were packing. Carnival makes it well known that the robes are complimentary for use during the cruise only and, if desired, could be purchased (or charged to your account if it was noticed they somehow found their way into your luggage).

Miscellaneous things we really liked about the Glory...

We all scream for ice cream! Carnival is the only line we have ever experienced which offers soft-serve ice cream and yogurt 24 hours a day! There are 3 or 4 of these self serve stations located on deck 9 and were always well stocked with plenty of bowls, spoons, and cones. Both the ice cream and yogurt dispensers offer chocolate, vanilla, or a swirl of both. It became a tradition for us to grab an ice cream cone late in the evening and enjoy it on our balcony before retiring. During hot afternoons these spots were, understandably, some of the most popular on the ship!

Cruise Director: Anyone who has cruised before knows that the Cruise Director can often make or break a cruise. I must compliment the Glorys Cruise Director (I think his name was Greg) on his humor, personality, and overall talent for this important job. Greg reminded us of American Idols Ryan Seacrest, both in appearance and stage presence. My fiancee and I were expecting the same routine of jokes, stories, and one-liners...but he truly exceeded our expectations every single time he got up on stage. Kudos to Carnival for having such a talented Cruise Director!

Booked Entertainment! My fiancee and I love comedy and this cruise did not disappoint! I can honestly say the booked entertainment on this ship was indeed top notch and ranks as one of the best in our cruising experiences. The Glorys production shows were average (perhaps a bit below average thanks to out-of-sync dancers and a female vocalist who needs voice lessons). One interesting thing to note here (especially for parents)...this cruise marks the first time we have ever seen, in all their glory (ha ha), women and men dancers in thongs and g-strings! During the first production show, the reaction to the female dancers (especially amongst the men in the audience) was best described by a couple who sat behind us. As the female dancers turned around for the first time he uttered a negligible "Oh my God" and was promptly smacked by his wife! I can guarantee you she got him back during the second production show when the male dancers did "The Full Monty" and I am not kidding when I tell you the dancers only, as the song says, "leave their hat on!"

The Spa on Deck 11: I promised my fiancee I would mention the ships Spa. The Glory was the only ship we have ever seen which offers a licensed Acupuncturist. After having lunch with two Registered Nurses (husband and wife) who raved about the Acupuncturists presentation and thorough treatment, my fiancee got a free consultation and subsequently booked a treatment later that day. After the treatment she slept like a baby and swears it helped her to eliminate an on-coming migraine. Cabin Maintenance: We have rarely experienced, on any cruise, a maintenance issue with our cabin (there is a first time for everything). The first formal night, as luck would have it, we noticed the hair dryer was about to explode. After switching it on it started smoking and smelled like it was burning before cutting off due to over heating. Since the intake/filter was clear I realized it was a problem I couldnt fix and advised both the Cabin Attendant and Pursers Desk of the situation. Although my fiancee was not happy she had to go to dinner that evening with her still-wet hair in a pony-tail...when we returned from dinner the hair dryer had been replaced with a new one. Even though Im sure the item was fixed so quickly due to the potential fire hazard, I was still impressed it was taken care of within a couple of hours.

Debarkation: This is usually the worst part of any cruise. Carnival exceeded our expectations during the debarkation process. It was smooth, efficient, and well coordinated. On the last morning we had a leisurely breakfast in the Red Sail about 8:30 AM. After completing the last of our packing we made our way to the lobby about 9:30AM and were off the ship within 5 minutes. Even though we, once again, carried our bags with us...the baggage claim area was not crowded and seemed very well organized. I wish all cruise ports could operate as efficient as Port Canaveral! The debarkation process gets a 10 out of 10!

In Conclusion (Finally)! Carnival, like all other cruise lines, has its good points and bad. I would say if you are looking for a true "fun ship" experience, are very outgoing and like to party...Carnival and the Glory are your cup of tea (or...umm...your "bottle of beer")! If you are looking for a more traditional "upscale" cruise with fewer children and quiet walks on the deck...I would say you may want to consider another line. All in all the good points outweighed the bad and I would have no problem booking another seven day cruise on Carnival (either on this class of ship or the slightly smaller Spirit class). I am still a bit hesitant to try one of the older ships on a shorter itinerary (well stick to RCCL for that). Our final overall rating for this cruise was a solid 7 out of 10. After all, I always say...even a bad day on a cruise is better than a good day at work! Happy Cruising! Less

Published 08/30/06

Cabin review: 8A1050 Balcony

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