Carnival Glory - Western Caribbean: Carnival Glory Cruise Review by Clayfu1
Overall Member Rating
Carnival Glory - Western Caribbean
Destination: Western Caribbean
Embarkation: Port Canaveral (Orlando)
My Family + girlfriend went to sail on the 7 night cruise to the Western Caribbean via the Glory. Im 22 years old so this is from the perspective of someone slightly younger in the cruise crowd. As I go thru the locations on the ship, I will do reviews on each stop. BEWARE THIS IS VERY VERY LONG.
We took a tiring red-eye to Orlando with some delays and cancellations but we still successfully found a way to Orlando at a respectable time. From Orlando to the airport we took Arts shuttle, it was 20$ a person not including tip. I cannot tell you how much I liked their service. Our first flight was cancelled and we were moved to a flight 2 hours later, when we got off the plane the driver was still waiting at the baggage claim with a sign from us! We had called them when we first knew about our delay and they said they were on top of things already! It was a very smooth trip to the Port, the driver had some interesting facts that he gave to us More on our drive up the B Line, which is much better than a silent 45 minute drive =).
When we arrived at port, I assume Arts shuttle had some sort of agreement with the people at the baggage receiving, because we didnt have to wait in the long line of cars to get our stuff dropped off. We went into the carnival building and stood in line to get Xrayd. SUGGESTION for everyone that will actually be EXTREMELY beneficial for the rest of the trip, there is NEVER just one line, for the buffet, for excursions, etc etc, there is always a MUCH shorter line somewhere you dont see. We arrived and stood in the long line, when we got in we saw how quick the other line was moving at the far side of the building. The whole process to finally getting into the ship took a little less than a hour, it wasnt really that bad.
The ship itself is quite large, when you enter the ship from the 3rd floor you see the Golden restaurant on your left and the glass elevator and Theater room (Amber Palace) on your right. If youre in the Platinum restaurant like us its on the far side of the cruise ship on the aft. The Amber Palace takes up 3rd/4th/5th floors, the restaurants are on the 3rd and 4th. The 4th floor has everything involving the photos you take, I suggest when you have an opportunity take every photo you can, you have no obligation to buy so it doesnt hurt to get that one special photo out of a million. The 5th floor has a multitude of entertainment. Ill go over each one in some detail later.
Before we got to our rooms we were so hungry that we went directly to the Lido Deck (deck 9) to get food. When we walked onto the deck it was booming with music and a bunch of waiters with drinks waiting for you to buy them! Unless you drink in massive quantities or you REALLY like one drink they have on special Id suggest to not get the drink in the special cups, just order it in the normal size, they are all under 4$ when ordered like that. The Lido deck has two pools separated by the Red Sail restaurant, One pool at the front of the boat has the waterslide and is near the MINI half court basketball court (very surprised when I saw a large group of people playing there, if it wasnt for the fact that the court was so stunted I would have joined in, I was one of the last 7 out of 40+ for the free throw competition haha). I didnt go into the pool or the hot tubs cause um&. They were disgusting. The pool was like a hot tub, there were so many people that everyone just stood inside of it , I cant imagine all the peeing that the people did inside. I left my water adventures to the stops. My mom and gf went to the spa, and they used the sauna (empty) and some of the massage/facial services, high marks for it as well.
We heard good things about the fish and chips so we went there first. Sadly to say Id rather have Long John Silvers. It wasnt bad, but it wasnt great. The buffet itself had pretty decent sized lines when you went during peak hours, a lot of the time the dinner buffet had some of the food that was served in the main menu (bread pudding!) Since we had an early eating for dinner we always wandered up to the buffet afterwards to check it out. There is also an oriental buffet which since Im Chinese I didnt find appealing at all, I gave it a few attempts but was sadly disappointed each time (I dont think I know any Chinese that puts that much ginger in their food, YUCK, their soups are HORRIBLE). There is also a Deli which wasnt half bad, they grill your sandwiches which is nice. Outside on the actual deck is a grill that has burgers, fries, hot dogs and all kinds of topping, grilled onions/mushrooms/chili/sauerkraut etc., etc., etc.! I liked it quite a lot =) The pizza& was all right. I think I might have been a lil too hyped up from what everyone on the board said. I still like pizza hut and all the mom and pop places around me significantly more. Maybe its cause Im from California (LA), we are bombarded by pretty high quality food due to all the competition around here especially for pizza. My girlfriend who is a huge pizza lover had nothing special to say about the pizza. There were always long lines around 10pm, but every time else its pretty easy to get what you want (goat cheese is overrated). My brother liked the ice cream station, and I will definitely say it was not bad at all.
On to the rooms!! We stayed in rooms 7367 and 7371. Our steward was someone from Thailand (now I will butcher his name!) Prawech. We had balcony rooms but I dont think Id get it again. I really didnt take advantage of the balcony, I did step out every now and then to take a look , it does have an added convenience of stepping out and seeing everything, but since I completely forgot to peel back the window shades till the last day it was a slight waste for me (very embarrassing). The rooms were of Ok size, My mom had considered the penthouse suite before, but I was able to take a look at it.. and&. Lets just say it leaves a lot to be deserved after staying in suites in Vegas. (aka dont get book it? Unless you like 1ft more of couch and 5 ft more of room space for 1k more!) Like I said, the room was all right, I didnt expect to much but we did receive very good service. After a day of seeing how hard the stewards worked my mom tipped him and his assistant extra over the course of the cruise. They do your beds, change your towels, refill the ice, FOLD YOUR CLOTHES THAT ARE SITTING OUT, arrange your shoes (my brother and I probably had about 7 pairs of shoes between us) TWO TIMES A DAY, not just ONCE but TWICE. I didnt even get that kind of service at the Westin or the La Jolla Hilton. I cannot begin to speak of how pleased I was about the service.
Our next stop was the Platinum dining room, we had the early 5:45 seating at the upper deck. Our main waiter was Lucas and his assistant was Mehkin (something along that line), I personally do not have too much of an opinion of the assistant (she was sick for two days and didnt work) but I cannot say enough about Lucas. In the very beginning I thought he gave us some attitude, but I think it was just the accent. The guy looks JUST LIKE Emeril from the food network, I swear if you put them side by side youd think its his skinnier (not by much) brother. My brother and I eat a fair amount (my mom and gf would laugh and say fair is a gross underestimate for me) and Lucas was very accommodating. On our 3rd night of eating, he had already realized how my brother and I always order 2 entrees and appetizers each, so he started bringing out extra food for us when we were done with it before we even ordered! On the 1st formal night I had 3 lobster tails and a prime rib =x, yes I am 511 180lbs of fatness haha. I ate so much in the formal dining room, I must have gained another 10 pounds. For the first night, I highly suggest getting the espresso dessert, it was A+++++++++++++++. Dont be afraid to order what you want! If you see two things you like order them both! My mom as well tipped Lucas generously through out the cruise for his great service. We had a bar waiter named Caitilin, he was a nice guy but we really only had a couple of drinks throughout the dinner (mojito with lime Bacardi is golden!) My only negative about the dining experience was that the upper platinum dining seemed to rock a very large amount.
And back to the rest of the ship!
The first thing you see coming up from the Lobby are the shops. They have their duty free shops for alcohol and cigs and jewelry (the prices arent too bad, about the same as off the ship in the ports), and then they have their own souvenir shop. My brother bought a very cute polar bear that sings a song, my girlfriend was quite jealous. As you walk toward the Aft of the boat you encounter the very very large casino. (for a ship that is). There are probably 8+ blackjack tables (4 open all the time) , 2 let it ride tables (1 open all the time), 1 craps table (I have no idea when they open in the afternoons, very sporadic but always open after 6pm), 2 roulette (one always open), 2 3 card poker (1 always open), and one Caribbean stud. For you casino junkies, the Blackjack plays very very favorable odds/house edges for the players, 3:2 blackjack, stand on soft 17, 4 splits the etc. If you like fun blackjack games there is the Wheel Bonus (1$ if you get a blackjack you get to spin for bonus) and fun 21. The craps is kinda crappy (sadly I still lost much money to it) cause its 2x odds. Easy for them to take your money and its low risk for them to lose in case shooters get on a streak. The dealers are fine, some are really quiet and some are very interactive, beware tho if you are a serious blackjack player you will run into some extremely foolish play (double down on 15 with dealer showing 5?). Most of the people you meet are pretty friendly, I carried on conversations with a few guys that I ran into that I met playing blackjack and craps.
If you like Bingo, they have bingo every day in the Amber Palace, the guy that does the bingo is horrible, all he does is straight line , especially when it was for a 1k prize, very disappointed. The girl that calls the bingo actually knows how to play and she did rather inventive line Bingos. My girlfriend won one of the 100$ bingos. Sadly it did not go toward paying my sign and sail from the casino haha.
The next things on the 5th floor is the Cremes coffee shop, Ultraviolet room for the teens, and the White heat room for the club. Crèmes had these giant giant cakes that looked amazing, if you don't have the patience to wait until the Midnight Gala Buffet, they serve the same amazing cakes. The ultraviolet room has some old arcades , very average, since Im not a teen I didnt really take any use of the facilities other than playing my brother air hockey. The white heat I really dont have much to say about, I went to it all one time when they opened up, its kinda tacky looking, nothing like the clubs most people are used to.
Farthest back in the aft are the Blue room, ivory room, cinn-abar room. The blue room is where the Karaoke is, the Karaoke has a VERY impressive list of songs if you are into it (which I very much am). Linka is the host of the room, a nice girl with a& interesting accent from the Czech republic. One night they had it in the ivory room, which is easily 2-3x the size of the blue room. Every night is packed.
The ivory room is where they do the art auction, my mom enjoyed her time there, she said there were many good pieces and the art curator was very well educated. I sat in with her once and saw one lady win every single piece of art raffled off (lucky!?). I have no opinion on the cinn-abar since I did not once step in there.
all right! Enough about the ship!
Our first stop was Cozumel, Mexico. The weather was bright and sunny with not a cloud in sight. Cozumel is apparently not on any map because it was a cruise/tourist creation. This is the only stop where we did a Carnival excursion (I did not adequately prepare for this stop). When you first get off the boat (you port) you see tons and tons of shops, the prices are very average nothing special. If you want to buy water buy it at the pharmacy you see, oddly enough its pretty cheap at 1$ for a pretty big bottle. My brother and I did power snorkeling at Cozumel, which was okay, the power machine kept breaking down on us, so we had to get new ones. You know that this place is really all man-made due to the lack of coral and large arrays of fish. I found it very average as well, I dont know if Id suggest it to anyone cause it wasnt really worth the 55$. The bar they used as their stop location was nice, they had beds for people to lay out on, very nice. There is a girl that makes these glass necklace/earrings that my gf and mom bought at the bar.
From the bar we went to downtown Cozumel which had tons and tons of shops. COZUMEL IS VERY VERY SAFE. The cab driver said the most violence this island has is car accidents. We walked thru alley ways and I didnt fear for my safety. To find the cheaper stores and restaurants, you need to go toward the middle of the downtown, the sides are where all the jewelry stores are and etc, that really charge you a good buck. Remember if a beer isnt 1$ or less, its not worth buying!. (this applies to all stop). We ate at this sit down restaurant in the middle of the downtown, it was pretty good, 4 tacos for 6 dollars, not an amazing deal but it wasnt bad. One piece of advice for shopping, when you bargain please dont start anywhere near their price. Being a Chinese man I live for bargaining, you can get good deals from them (everywhere but Nassau which I will explain later), start from 25-35% of their asking price and go up from there, you will probably get it around 40-50% of you work the right magic, if you buy 2 of anything your chances are even higher. After shopping in downtown we went back to the ship. Our next stop was Belize. This was probably one of my favorite days on the cruise. When we woke up there was light rain but not cold at all (duh its a rainforest). We had to tender off the boat, a lot of people on the CC boards were talking about how horrible it was, but its really not that bad at all. We barely waited in line and we got off on one of the first tenders without too much hustle and bustle. This is where looking around for a shorter line comes in handy. One side of the line had 60+ people, the other side had none. Why? NO IDEA WHAT SO EVER. People had tender stickers, some people didnt everyone was mixed and matched. We took the shorter line =p. A note to everyone, Belize is nothing like Cozumel, it is a very run down city walking around outside of the port fences you are constantly being asked to buy stuff, but the good thing about it is the local food. We bought banana chips (very yummy). We did cave tubing for our excursion with Cave-tubing.com. We didnt go with yhonny, he took the later group, we went with Keith, Lionel , Jimmy, Sunny (the bus driver), one little kid, and some other guy that I forget his name. They met us right outside of the terminal in a VERY VERY AC filled bus (a lil too cold for me). Keith was the main tour guide (apparently they take turns), he looks amazingly like Ja rule haha. He was a funny guy and he had a lot of funny stories about cave tubing experience and customers. They served us cashew wine to try out and were selling them for 10$ a bottle, outside at the port it was 7$ and outside OF the port it was 6$, so if you like it just wait before you buy it. I also highly suggest getting water shoes, you can rent them for 3$ which I did, and I found it to be a very very good choice, you gotta walk thru 30 minutes of muddy walkway and then go into a river, so please do it!.
Cave tubing with an outside excursion and doing it with Carnival are COMPLETELY different. First is the 45$ price rag with Cave-tubing.com opposed to the 99$ that is with carnival. 2nd is what I will go into detail now. You all start at the same place no matter who you book the tour with, the difference branches off near the entrance of the 1st cave. Instead of turning to the right and going to the 1st cave you continue on for another 10-15 minute walk and land yourself right into a rather deep river, you actually need a rope to lay yourself in because its not that easily accessible. Our tour guides jumped off a 20ft cliff to get ready for us =). Right away you arrive in these caves that are just amazing. I never imagined cave tubing would be as interesting as this. We had 14 people in the group, each tour guide took a group of people, our party of 4 was with Lionel, we locked into a strip of four and he led us in the front. He really took very good care of us, my mom was worried because she couldnt swim and the water gets over 20 ft deep at certain points! But he made sure constantly that she was okay, she was extremely hesitant to go in the beginning, she said she was gonna not get off the bus but afterwards she admitted she thought the experience was amazing, especially how well they took care of us. Lionel showed us all the formations in the cave and literally pulled us thru some stretches (hard work since you have to have one hand pulling and one hand swimming). After going thru the caves we saw the VERY large carnival group. And GASP, the tour guide was just sending each person one by one down the river by themselves. Periodically you could see people standing in shallow water making sure the people dont steer off course but you see the carnival users just bump off rocks, and have to push themselves thru everything. The guys from cave-tubing.com put so much effort into making sure our experience was a great one, they pulled us thru the slower current, steered us thru the fast currents, and just made the experience amazing.
After the cave tubing they took us to a restaurant called Cheers, it was about 15 minutes away from the tubing, and it was delicious!! They serve a classic Caribbean style food (not Belize! Because we got it at other places too!) rice with beans (stewed in coconut milk), stewed chicken, and coleslaw. I wish they served more because it tastes so gooooooooood. I think the portions in Belize itself maybe small, cause I was walking on the streets and saw a lady with a cart full of pots and pans and I ordered the same style food from her for also 5$, one of the guys on the street suggested to me to get the pork which was marinated and cooked with a nice layer of fat on it (very much like a Chinese dish I love). It was also very tasty! They had this lil diced onion on the side which was amazing! This was right next to the flea market if you are looking for it.
After the food we went to the flea market and shopped around, beware! They tried to sell you marijuana here, do not be tempted to buy it, you dont want to go to jail in central America haha.
Our 3rd stop was Costa Maya, the weather here was also very nice like Cozumel. We took a tour with Dave and Ivan Mayan Ruins (you can do a search for the website). It was 43$ opposed to the 45$ from the cruise, its a lil more expensive cause you have to take a taxi to meet them, so its really up to you. The good thing about it is you arent crowded in a big bus or in a large group, it is a one hour drive so you want to be as comfortable as possible. I warn you, DO NOT take this tour if you dont like to stand around in the heat learning about history, my brother and girlfriend had very little interest in this tour and I feel as though they would have liked something else. My mother enjoyed it greatly and I liked it as well since were super tourists and are tacky like that. David (pronounced Tavit) was very knowledgeable and knew everything there was needed to know. Please remember to bring bug spray, you have been warned! After the tour they give you two choices, to head back to port or head to the town of Majahual where we met for the tour. We took the former tour, but I regret not doing the later. The port was filled with expensive food/drinks/stores, they had a giant pool with a bar in it but I didnt really find it worthwhile. If you stayed in Majahaul which is the fishing village of Costa Maya, there is snorkeling for 20$, jet skiing, tons of shopping and authentic Mexican food.
Our final stop was Nassau, Bahamas. This place is the most Americanized stop so far due to the fact that every boat seems to dock at the same place. It has a Starbucks, Burger King, McDonalds, and more! We asked the taxi driver where he would eat thats good native food and he said sbarros, we didnt let it click that its the fast-food mall pizza joint until we saw it -_-. Anyway! We didnt book an excursion for this one, we just went off on our own. We took a taxi to Paradise Beach public, it costs 4$ a person, they pack you in so tight a pack of sardines were laughing at us. At the beach it costs 20$ to rent an umbrella and 5$ for a lounge chair. I highly suggest the umbrella cause it gets INCREDIBLY sunny, especially when you had some of the all you can drink for 10$ deals haha. Now the ocean is rather interesting. When we first got into the water these three people were screaming that they saw a squid or an octopus they didnt know either one. Not until I got STUNG by one, I realized it was neither it was a jelly fish. I thank their idiocy but Anyway. I then realized that the whole ocean was dotted with jellyfish going as far to shore as 1ft deep. I tried to avoid the jelly fish when I went into the water. I was standing next to a father and his very young son when suddenly I felt a very deep stinging sensation on my left calf, I um.. yelled some obscenities and then promptly say sorry to the father and son, he says you stepped on a rock right so his son wouldnt be scared, and I followed along. The jellyfish and his friends wanted revenge for my lying so then they stung me on my chest and my right thigh as I started walking back to shore. Scar count! 3-4 inches on my left calf, 1-2 inches on my thigh, no lasting marks on my chest and one CM mark on my right hand!
After drinking enough to dull the shocks (I warn you, it may not hurt at the moment but once you try and sleep its like lil invisible stingers stinging you!!! I tried to take a nap back on the ship, worst experience ever) I took a walk to the Atlantis resort via the beach. Its a 5 minute walk into the back entrance of Atlantis. I went past the lazy river, I went on the Goomba slide, walked into part of the underwater aquarium, then I walked all the way past the hotel, past the burning bridge (please wear sandals I got owned), to the mayan slides where I snuck in and got to ride it as well. It was an extremely large resort if you have the opportunity its quite nice =). They even have their own little beach built inside where you can snorkel and see all kinds of interesting aquatic life.
After the beach we went to the straw market. Think of a GIANT flea market and its that. They sell fake brand name goods, a lot of straw made items like calendars, purses, hats and etc etc. and um.. weed heh. The only problem here is that you just cant bargain with them. In mexico the same thing was half the price. As well in mexico if they say 10$ you can buy it for 4-5 at the very least. In Nassau? 7$ if youre lucky. I am a very very active negotiator, but these people will not budge. The best deal I got was about 55-60% of their asking price, the problem is that so many tourists come thru the straw market they dont need to sell it to you at the price you want because there will be a sucker that will buy it near full price.
Example! One little Caucasian boy goes up to his father and says Dad dad I saw this necklace for 15$ the guy said its 20$ at Wal-Mart can I buy it!? His dad goes Now son its not worth 15$ but if we can get it at 13$ Ill buy it for you. THIS is the reason why you cant get a good bargain, because some people dont understand they overinflate the price just so you can buy it. I was talking to one of the market ladies and I said come on 15$ is too much, I want it for 6$, Im Chinese, all I do is bargain you should know that She tells me I know you will bargain with me till we die, but if I dont sell it to you for 6$ I can sell it later to another for 13$. We end up with a slight agreement at 8$ each if we buy 2, and only cause my girlfriend really wanted the purse. (By the way this is by no means racist, I dont think white people are suckers, the sellers just treat them differently from the Chinese)
So if you want to get your shopping done get it done somewhere else, unless you really want a straw made item, my brother and my gf bought these straw hats that were very nice, with a big grasshopper and a rose on their separate ones, the best we got was 5$ off each =(.
The two days at sea are not really worth mentioning, there were random activities going on throughout the ship that were interesting: Ice carving, eating contest, hairy chest contest, free throw contest, bingo and some other light stuff. Make sure you carry your caper with you and check up on everything.
I overall had a very good time on the cruise. The cruise ship was very clean, not TOO many kids running rampant (of course, the age for kids in my mind is 0-14, everyone else I dont find so young that its annoying, there was one group of kids that were extremely rowdy, to the point that I wanted to have the privilege as did many others around them, to slap some sense in them. (rowdy as in humping the polls, rude comments to people passing by, yelling at the people working there, bad language, starting arguments with other eight year olds and etc)) The lines werent too long, and I just had a splendid time on the cruise.
I would highly suggest to everyone to take the Carnival Glory and have an absolutely wonderful time.
Also if you read thru this all I congratulate you, and if you have any questions please leave a message and Ill reply back =) Less