The food was not great, in fact as a foodie, I would describe it as mediocre. Dinner was best, but still not stellar, desserts were the best part of every meal. Even the kids thought it was gross. One of a small list of reasons we chose a ... Read More
The food was not great, in fact as a foodie, I would describe it as mediocre. Dinner was best, but still not stellar, desserts were the best part of every meal. Even the kids thought it was gross. One of a small list of reasons we chose a cruise over a resort vacation was for the food. I've been on 5 cruises (my 2nd Carnival) and this was by far the worst food I'd ever had on a cruise, unless you went to the steakhouse and paid (approx $50 per person with the required gratuity). Which was frustrating because it proved that Carnival had the ability to make delicious food, but chose not to. This made me believe that they did this intentionally to get patrons to pay for the steakhouse. The steakhouse was amazing, the best steak I have ever had in my life. I was so full from all the yummy food that I couldn’t even think about dessert.
If you had large groups for dinner, you usually had to wait more than an hour for a table and there weren’t any snacks nearby to hold people over. You couldn’t make a reservation for the regular dining, so we had to wait every night or break up our group to eat dinner. It would have been great if Carnival would have allowed all groups over 6 or 9 to make reservations. I learned to get a small snack prior to dinner to keep from feeling sick from hunger.
The only 24 hour food is pizza (mediocre at best) and usually had long lines after bars let out...which makes sense. My husband has a gluten sensitivity and so for a late night snack he had to order pizza and only eat the toppings (not a lot of food and a waste). They did pretty good at getting pizza out quickly, but you couldn't really special order because of this. Usually there was pepperoni available and if you wanted anything else, you'd have to wait a while. It would have been great if Carnival offered other 24 hour options, but considering how poor the food was to begin with, I suppose this would not have made a big difference.
Breakfast buffet lines were long (we did not try it during lunch, but I would assume the same). We waited 20+ minutes for breakfast because they had to serve us our bacon, yet we were able to serve ourselves everything else. The layout of the buffet didn't make any sense. They had cereal, small milk, yogurt and fruit at the very beginning (this should have all been placed in the "continental breakfast " area). Then there was the exact same items every single day (eggs Benedict that was not very good at all, scrambled eggs that seems like some kind of egg substitute, sausage, grits, oatmeal, baked beans, some kind of potato and bacon that had to be served to you, and pancakes and french toast. The compote was placed before the grits and pancakes, so you had to have it running all over your plate). Then there was a rope which made it difficult to leave the line, and caused congestion. Directly past the rope was an omelette station, which added to the congestion and the line. Previous cruises I have been on have had a theme for their meals, so that you weren’t stuck eating the same thing daily. They may have done this for the sit down breakfast, but we only had the buffet for breakfast, so I am not sure. The taco place had Huevos Rancheros which were decent.
There was limited lounging in shade near the pool and other areas on the ship and workers did not remove peoples towels from seats that were "saved" even though this is supposed to be against ship guidelines. I enjoy the heat, but am not a fan on being in direct sunlight, so I did find this disappointing. It would be helpful if Carnival invested in umbrellas for the patio for guests whom would just like to lounge.
If you are a drinker, buy the drink package. If not, bring soda and water for your room or you'll regret it. We were not allowed to purchase the drink package for just a single day like we had wanted to do for our way home, which was disappointing. We didn’t have the extra $900 for a drink package for 2 people (which is absurdly priced, if you ask me). I would have liked to have just been able to have a beer and wine package, since my husband is a beer drinker and I am a wine drinker but this was not an option without paying the $900 for the full drink package. We did purchase 2 bottles of booze for our room prior to the cruise, only 1 showed up the first night and we had to run around the ship trying to track down the other….they weren’t not planning on bringing it. 2 bottles was the max allowed for the whole trip (which we thought was silly since the drink package is 15 drinks per person per day), but we didn’t end up using it all because it was such a pain to walk back to the room every time we wanted a drink. I wouldn’t recommend doing this. The drinks that we purchased from the bar were always super weak and expensive (at least $10 each, plus gratuity). Please keep in mind that I have cruised with other cruise lines and this was never the case with them. Other cruise lines also offer a beer and wine package too.
Our cruise consultant had told us prior to the cruise that if we precorked our own wine that we brought to dinner that we wouldn't be charged the $15 corkage fee, but we were. Just something else for Carnival to nickel and dime us on.
The adult area was good, but had limited shaded seating and VERY few cabanas. There was also no food options in the adult area. They could easily provide hotdogs or pretzels or other things.
My 13 and 14 year old said the club area was awful, but that the next club up had tons more amenities. Which is disappointing because one of the main reasons we chose the Glory was based off of reviews for kids. She and her friend never went to the club and while they enjoyed our vacation, they were super disappointed in the Glory.
The $5 messaging app is pretty cool to keep in touch with your group. I would highly recommend you get this. You connect to the ships wifi (not the one that you pay for) and keep your phone in airplane mode. We had a group of 18 people, so it made it very handy to meet up. One of our friends purchased the wifi and said it was super slow. I would not recommend purchasing it.
I loved the piano bar. It was super fun. It did close at 1am and the service was pretty slow usually. I know how hard the employees are worked, so I wouldn't complain about that too much. Comedy was also pretty good, but only lasted about half an hour, so wasn't really worth our time to do.
Our stewardess and all the employees were amazing and super friendly. I would recommend bringing a lot of $1 bills to tip employees with. I know there is a required gratuity, but I do not know how much of that actually makes it into the lower employees pockets. If you’ve ever read reviews from cruise line employees, you’ll see why I say this.
The sports bar was poorly designed. The tables behind the bar were lower than the seats at the bar. Therefore, patrons sitting at the tables couldn't see a single full screen due to the patrons sitting at the bar. It made it very difficult to enjoy the game.
Be aware of Ship time versus the time on your phone. They are not always the same and the ship goes off of ship time. The Carnival Hub app, always displayed ship time, so that was helpful.
The Check in process was super quick and easy. If you check in early, which was easy, your room will not be ready. So, you will have to hang by the pool until it’s your designated time to arrive. And you will not have your room key yet, so if you want a beverage, it will be out of your own pocket. I would recommend you not take your own bags upon check out. The elevators are always super slow and I am fairly certain they were not working at all on the day of check out. I had to carry a 50 pound bag down flights of stairs (I weigh 105 pounds)....this was not easy for me. The only downfall to having them move your bags is that they have to be left out the night before. So, you have to know what you plan on wearing and have everything packed up the night prior.
I did receive a birthday gift card from Carnival, which was nice, but it was only good on certain services and I couldn’t use it the first day at sea. So, I did not use mine.
Our port at St Thomas seemed way too early. I know that there are plenty of early birds out there, but we were staying up late most nights and to arrive at port at 8am was difficult, especially when going on an excursion. Luckily the weather was very nice, but snorkeling at 8am is generally not my idea of fun.
Do your research ahead of time when booking excursions and also regarding the ports. We got off at Grand Turk and were hustled into paying for lounge chairs that apparently were free and provided by Carnival. While I do take responsibility for this, Carnival could have made an announcement to let their guests know that the chairs were free and not to pay the locals for them. There were also drug deals in plain sight and a fight among the locals in Grand Turk. It's not a place I need to go to again, even though the water was wonderful. One of our friends also had issues in Dominican Republic with a cab driver taking them to places they said they didn't want to go and other friends had issues with the excursion people trying to guilt them into tipping. This has nothing to do with Carnival (other then the Grand Turk port), but felt it was important to note for others traveling in those places. Usually you can get the same excursions or better for way less if you don't book through Carnival. Booking through Carnival is convenient though. We LOVED the excursion that we did in DR and given how dirty and not safe DR is, we were very glad we chose this. It was an excursion to a big home with shuttle and beach with open bar and a super yummy lunch. There were 2 offered but based off of reviews (1 mentions dirty water with a condom floating), we went with the other and it was amazing. Mama was our host and if I went to DR again via a cruise, this would be the only excursion I would want to do.
All in all, I have to say that the cruise was ok, but I'm going with a different cruise line next time. If the food had been better and if they offered a lower price beer/wine package I'd give Carnival another try, but it wasn't worth the money in the long run. Read Less