Embarkation & debarkation were smooth and efficient in Miami, and perhaps as quick as we’ve seen it. The cabin (Grand Suite 7315) was clean, and the stewards attentive without being intrusive. Our evening waiter staff ... Read More
Embarkation & debarkation were smooth and efficient in Miami, and perhaps as quick as we’ve seen it. The cabin (Grand Suite 7315) was clean, and the stewards attentive without being intrusive. Our evening waiter staff were friendly and prompt most nights (the first night dragged a bit), even while having to deal with some difficult guests (see The Awful below). We had many nice conversations with a variety of Carnival employees from buffet waiters and other service staff to performers, fun ambassadors, and an HR manager. Very good experiences at the ports, with San Juan, St Thomas, and Amber Cove in excellent shape despite last year’s hurricanes (Grand Turk is still in rough condition across much of the island). Especially in St Thomas and St John, locals we encountered were grateful for the cruise ships bringing guests, given that the resort hotels will be offline for another year or more. Food was better than expected at both the evening dinner and at the Lido buffet, and not at all unpleasant. Overall, the Carnival staff seemed to be on their game the whole trip with some minor exceptions you might honestly experience anywhere. Camp Ocean kept the children very entertained, though it is a bit smaller on Glory than the larger or more recently renovated ships. Two very serious medical emergencies, one requiring the ship to backtrack 3 hours to Amber Cover, were handled professionally and with enough information given to guests as it related to our debarkation day instructions, which were updated the last morning efficiently as we came into port 3 hours late.
Glory is definitely showing her age, which is well-worn, but not broken-down. Many exterior steps leading off the Lido deck are starting to delaminate due to rust, and there are many dings, scratches, and dents on wall surfaces in hallways, restaurants, and other public spaces. Even our suite had some superficial damage indicative of a life well-lived. Some areas seemed to be in better shape than others, as if the Glory is receiving periodic interior repairs here and there, but the ship does feel a bit dated in some places and in need of a serious refresh in the near future. From an entertainment standpoint, the cruise director, Brittney, was a bit two-dimensional, almost as if she were reading from a script (not a lot of spontaneity and off-the-cuff humor that other directors can have), but she was pleasant. Evening shows in the Amber Lounge were also fine, but they were stock Carnival productions seen across the fleet for the past couple of years and in need of a little refresh. For the first several days, a variety of up-sell service providers were really pushing their sales packages aggressively, but that seems to be the nature of cruising these days anywhere you go. And for whatever reason, there was a consistent discrepancy on the printed Fun Times for movies and a few other events.
If you look at the key cards of guests, you’ll see blue ones for first time cruisers, red for those with several trips under their belts, and then going on up into the gold, platinum and diamond realms. This cruise had a large contingent of first time cruisers with blue cards, often in large family clans (one over 60 people strong) that behaved in a rude, impatient, and at times ugly manner that dominated the atmosphere of the ship most nights. Typical behavior included yelling and screaming down hallways well into the night, discourteous interactions with some of the Carnival staff (who went over and beyond with their own patience), and vocal dissatisfaction expressed when an unrealistic request couldn’t be accommodated (yes, one family made quite a scene when waiters couldn’t put tables together for all 40 members of the group in the Platinum restaurant). Other incidents observed during the trips include several fights amongst large groups of tween-aged children in the hot tubs, food thrown on the hallway floors (including someone eating chicken wings and discarding the bones on the carpet as they walked Hansel & Gretel style), the central staircase coated with popcorn and other foods between two decks one evening, and discarding of trash on floors rather than being left on tables to be collected. Drunkenness on the Lido was in full force the first day, where one first time cruiser vomited in the pool profusely, causing it to be drained and cleaned over the first 24 hours of the trip. At times, it was difficult to walk between decks as large cadres of tweens and young teenagers squatted on main staircases. Large families also brought their grudges from home onboard, and there were numerous yelling matches between members who probably don't normally get along in the first place. As one Carnival staffer carefully articulated to us towards the end the cruise, “I’ve never seen the ship quite this loud before.” However, these terrible cruisers were also not likely to be up prior to 11am, so during at-sea days the ship was fairly quiet in the mornings, and by and large they did not disembark at ports of call. We experienced a similar situation on the Carnival Sunshine in March, and several other cruisers we spoke to who had previously cruised exclusively with Carnival for many, many previous trips observed that behavior has steadily gotten worse over the past two years, particularly on the older, smaller ships. Anecdotally, the fun, party atmosphere Carnival promotes seems to be sliding towards something uglier and more classless.
Overall, the Glory and her staff can offer an enjoyable experience for cruisers, but there is nothing they can do with a ship dominated by rude, impatient, and obnoxious guests. We found the ship to be serviceable, if you don’t mind a little wear and tear, and the Carnival staff overall did a fine job. If you can schedule a cruise when these out of control families and their children are back in school, the Glory may be less obnoxious and have more of the fun, party atmosphere Carnival advertises and that many cruisers want to experience. Read Less