Some background. We are a married couple for Wisconsin. She is a retail manage for a major national company and I work in the hospitality division for a big golf resort. This is my 4th cruise and my wife’s 3rd, all with Carnival. ... Read More
Some background. We are a married couple for Wisconsin. She is a retail manage for a major national company and I work in the hospitality division for a big golf resort. This is my 4th cruise and my wife’s 3rd, all with Carnival. This was our second cruise on Glory. We flew down to Fort Lauderdale, the day before our cruise and stayed at the Cambia Hotel & Suites Fort Lauderdale, Airport South & Cruise Port (review at TripAdvisor).
We used QLS Transportation to get from the hotel to the port and back to the airport at the end of the cruise. We used them before and will use them again. They picked us up around 10 am and we were at the dock by 11. We had Faster to the Fun (FTTF) and the dock porter notice this and put on the FTTF sticker, we tipped him and entered the terminal. After we entered, a staff member stationed at a podium, looked at our passports/boarding passes and then we went through security. After security we were told to go up the escalator and follow the signs to the FTTF sitting area. We did not have to go to the check in desk. Don’t know why. We did online check-in, but we also did this on our previous cruise and at that time, we still had to check in at the priority desk. Maybe this was something new, if so, it is a nice improvement. At 11:45, we were called to board the ship. As soon as we boarded, went to the excursion desk and reserved our cabana at Half Moon Cay and then lobby bar for our first drink. You use your boarding pass to get your drink, since your sail and sign cards are in your mailbox, outside your cabin. Since we had FTTF, our cabin was ready, so up to Deck 7 (Empress) to drop off our carryon luggage and grab our sail & sign cards. If you are not Diamond, Platinum, Priority, or have FTTF, don’t go to your cabin until they are ready, which is around 1:30. We did see a lot of guests going into their cabins and the room stewards were still cleaning them. And your sail & sign card will not be in the mailbox until after 1:30, so don’t use that as an excuse. We always book a balcony cabin, and this was the first time that we stayed in this type of cabin. The other two times, we received a call for an upgrade to a grand suite, and took that option. Our luggage hadn’t arrived yet, so we went up to Lido deck, for some lunch and refreshments. The lines to Guy’s burgers and The BlueIguana Cantina were over an hour wait, so off to the Deli and Red Sail Restaurant buffet lines. We sat at the aft pool area, got another drink at that bar, and ate our lunch. After lunch, went back to the main pool area, waited over a half an hour at both the RedFrog Rum Bar and BlueIguana Tequila Bar for our drinks. Only two bartenders working at both of these places. When the muster drill was announced, around 3:30, went to our muster station, and stood for about 30 minutes. After the drill, back to the cabin to see if our luggage had arrived, 2 pieces did, and back up to Lido for the sail away party. Went back to the cabin around 6 to get ready for dinner and the final 2 pieces of luggage were there. FTTF states “While we process thousands of bags, FTTF luggage will receive priority delivery”. That was not the case this time. We saw luggage, outside other cabins that did not have the FTTF sticker, that were delivered well before ours. And no, our luggage was not locked and did not have any contraband. Not a big deal, but thought I would share this.
I am not going to bore you with our ports of call, just some of the highlights. With FTTF, you get to be on the first tender to Half Moon Cay. We had Cabana No. 9, which is located by one of the bathrooms and was a short walk to both the Captain Morgan Pirate bar and lunch area. By the way, the Captain Morgan Pirate bar does not serve Captain Morgan. Go figure. The cabana came with floating mats, snorkel gear, a couple of loungers, a refrigerator, an air conditioner, a misting fan, a fruit plate, chips and salsa, 4 cans of soda, and 2 big bottles of water. This was for two people, so I think if you have more people in your cabana, you might get more snacks, soda, and water. We went swimming, ate some of our snacks, got our lunch and brought it back to the cabana. We did end up bringing the large water bottles back to the ship. In St. Thomas, we booked the Turtle Cove Sail & Snorkel with open bar, which is located at Buck Island. We were on the Castaway Cat (see review at TripAdvisor and Carnival’s webpage) and had a fantastic time. Will go with them again. San Juan, we stayed on the ship and made it another “sea day”. Grand Turk, we did some shopping and had lunch at the Beached Whale Bar & Grill.
Debarkation day went smooth. Since we had FTTF, we had zone number 2, but on Friday, I changed that to zone number 18. You can do this at 10am, across from the coffee bar, on Deck 5. That way, you can still kind of sleep in and go up and have breakfast before getting off of the ship. We arrived back in Miami around 5:30am and the ship cleared customs by 7am. They called self-assist at 7:15 and started calling zone numbers around 8. Zone 18 was called around 8:40. We were off the ship and had our luggage by 9 and through customs by 9:10. Called QLS, and they picked us up at 9:30 and we were at Fort Lauderdale airport at 10:30.
We had outstanding service from both our cabin stewards and our servers in the dining room, and a couple of bartenders at the aft pool and lobby bar. The day before debarkation, we handed each of these extraordinary staff members an extra cash tip and we also tipped the bartenders during the week. We had the Cheers package, and for us, it was worth it. We never did get to the 15 drink limit, but on some days, we did have 10-11 drinks. We usually started around 9am, starting off with a couple of bloody marys and finishing with one or two amarettos around 11pm. That comes out to less than one drink per hour. When we ordered a drink, we made sure to order it with premium liquor and when we drank wine, we made sure it was one of their higher priced wines. If you like vodka/lemonade, the “lemonade” they use is a sour mix mixed with a splash of Sprite. What I did was order a shot of Grey Goose, walk to the buffet area and pour the lemonade offered in there, and then go back to the bar for another shot. At the end of the cruise, I tallied the cost of our “drink purchases”, and it would have been over $1200. Since we paid $804 for the cheers package, we saved almost $400. This cost also included the coffees/lattes from the coffee bars and the bottles of water we would get every time we ordered a drink. We used guest services a couple of time, and had no wait since we had FTTF and sometimes the other line was a long wait. The food in the main dining room and Steakhouse were much better than the last time we sailed, especially in the Steakhouse. Guy’s was ok, same goes for the deli and seafood shack. Since they started charging for late night room service on this cruise, we would get a sandwich from the deli and store it in the refrigerator in our cabin. They don’t have any plastic wrap or bags to store these, so bring something from home. The pizza was some of the best slices we have had in a long time, so it was well worth the wait. There was staff walking around the aft pool area and when they saw food in the pool area they politely ask that person to either take it to a table or one of the lounge chairs. If they saw kids in the hot tubs/pool, they had them leave, since this was an adult only area, on this cruise. Yes, there were chair hogs, especially on sea days, and they were kind of keeping tabs on them.
The next items are what we saw and I just wanted to share them with you. By no means did these ruin our cruise vacation. Even though embarkation day went smooth, would be nice if Carnival could look into adding more staff at the RedFrog and BlueIguana Tequila Bars. Two bartenders cannot keep up with the demand, on this day. A half hour wait is not good service. We understand that everyone wants a Guy’s burger, but wait until after the muster drill or go the next day. The lines were a lot shorter. In the dining room, we had late seating and almost all of the women and kids were dressed to what was suggested on Carnival’s website. It was some of the men, that were showing up in t-shirts, flip flops, baseball caps (none of which were military), and gym shorts. On elegant nights, about 98% were dressed accordingly, which was awesome. The time for late seating was at 8:15pm, but there were people showing up 30 minutes late, even one couple that would show up over an hour late, every night. Maybe Carnival should start closing and locking the doors at 8:30pm. A table next to ours had a couple that the maître d and the wait staff would grovel over. They must have been really big vip’s. It didn’t affect our service, but they sure were busting their a@#$ over them. As for the ship, the common areas were clean and kept, but we did notice that most of the outside windows have not been cleaned for a while. On our balcony, we noticed some rust spots and cracks. When we got off the ship at the ports of call, we also saw rust areas on the side of the ship. A lot of you are complaining about the new tv channels offered in the cabins. They do have TNT, TBS, CNN, TCM, but all of these are the Spanish version of satellite tv. Although, all of the movies are in English, the commercials are in Spanish. And it is not the same programming as you would see on your cable/satellite system at home. CNN is a joke, period. We didn’t go on vacation to watch tv in our cabin, we just used it late at night to fall asleep too. This is just information that I thought some people would want. Read Less