We came from South Carolina, and the drive down 95 to Miami was horrendous. Unless you're within much closer driving distance, you might think about flying in to MIA. We passed eight pretty serious accidents and a lot of ... Read More
We came from South Carolina, and the drive down 95 to Miami was horrendous. Unless you're within much closer driving distance, you might think about flying in to MIA. We passed eight pretty serious accidents and a lot of construction along the way that really slowed things down.
Embarkation: This was pretty smooth for us. We are Platinum, so we were ushered into a little lounge and started boarding just after 10:30am. We were through the boarding process and walking onto the ship right around 11:00am. Our staterooms were also ready immediately, which was very nice.
The Ship: I cruised on the Glory in 2009, and I was pleasantly surprised at the condition of the Glory in March 2018, almost ten years later. There are signs of wear and age around the ship, but not in any areas that would detract from the quality of our trip. You could tell that exterior areas had been painted many times throughout the years, there were some places with rust and weather-related deterioration, there were areas on the interior of the ship with dings or scratches that you could tell were just signs of age, but not the kind of thing you'd really care about or that would affect your vacation.
The layout of the ship is pretty standard for Carnival, and if you've sailed on a couple of Carnival cruises you're probably used to it now. I just sailed on the Magic in December 2017, and I must say that while I liked some features of the Magic better, the Glory seemed to be less crowded and felt like a much more comfortable number of people. It did seem to be a little more challenging to find nicely-located deck chairs than on the Magic, but aside from this, the layout and size of the ship (to us) was much preferable to the Dream class of ships.
The Activities: Activities on the ship were good, nothing to really write home about. The Lip Sync Battle and Love and Marriage shows seem to be the most well attended. To us, the production shows weren't much to write home about, but some of that is just our subjective viewpoint that the singing/dancing at sea aren't super entertaining to us. There were lots of trivia games and live singers in the lounges, which were fun and enjoyable. The singers in the casino area each night were pretty darn good.
The Trip: Our itinerary was Half Moon Cay, St. Thomas, San Juan, and Grand Turk.
Half Moon Cay: This was georgous, really nice to be right off the ship, had plenty of space on the beach, and (in our opinion) was an ideal cruise port to really soak up the beach. There were some issues with tendering, leaving some guests not able to get over to the island until about Noon, but we had priority tendering and were on the first tender over, so we didn't really even notice until we heard reports from other folks later in the day. Advice here: Get up early and get on the first tenders out so you have best pick of the chairs/beach locations.
St. Thomas: We went to Trunk Bay. If you're reasonably confident in your time-keeping abilities, skip the Carnival-sponsored Trunk Bay excursion and take the public ferries. We took a cab to Red Hook (20 minutes) and took the ferry over to St. John (15 minutes) and then a cab to Trunk Bay (5 minutes). This cost us about $32/person, as opposed to the Carnival-sponsored trip which was significantly more expensive. Trunk Bay was mostly up and running - no bar or food, but there were equipment rentals and fairly nice restrooms/showers. The snorkeling here is amazing and the beach was awesome. We had a really great time.
San Juan: We just walked around the city and did some shopping. Nothing major to report here. Aside from some minor remaining property damage, you can't tell much of the effect the storms had, as most everything is back up and running in San Juan. They had some great deals on knockoff bags and purses, but as you would expect, pretty cheap quality knock offs. Otherwise, we just walked around and shopped and took pictures.
Grand Turk: Although there is a nice beach right off the pier, we took a cab to Pillory beach. It was billed as the "nicest" beach on the island. It was indeed very beautiful. Contrary to what we saw in San Juan, during our cab ride, we noticed that damage from the storms was very evident in Grand Turk and it appeared that a lot of areas were still recovering/rebuilding. The cab driver took us to Bohio Dive Resort and we walked right onto the beach there. The resort has a nice bar and food available right next to the beach. The resort also had chairs just for guests, but it seemed like a slow day and we used a couple chairs without issue. The Rum Punch drink at the Bohio resort is delicious, but it will get you -- be careful!
Food: Food was pretty good, but lacked in some areas here. We ate at the steakhouse the first night and were pleased with some of the meal, but not really with the entrees. I got the filet, and it was very mediocre. I work in hospitality with a large catering company and many chefs. I don't consider myself to be a chef, but I can make a pretty delicious filet in my cast iron pan at home. Unfortunately, what I got in the steak house was not nearly as good as I can make at home and when I go out to a steakhouse, I want something better than what I can make at home. I was surprised. Past experiences at the Carnival steak houses have been very good. The other folks in my group got the filet/lobster entrees, and were similarly underwhelmed. The steaks were bland, and lobster tails were pretty small. No major complaint about the quality of the lobster, just nothing special about it. Appetizers and soups were great, but the entrees really left something to be desired.
The Lido food was pretty good, but we did have a couple of frustrating experiences with long lines. We didn't arrive in Grand Turk until 11:15 and by 10:30 or so they were shutting the one remaining "late" breakfast line, despite a long line of people waiting for food. I went through the line just before closing and after waiting 25 minutes to make it to the real food (past the cereal and yogurt) it was extremely disappointing -- the eggs benedict were welded to the pan, eggs hard as a rock, the sausages were petrified, and the omelet stations were reduced to one person, making it impossible to get. It was okay, becuase I waited five minutes or so and then just got some lunch foods, but on those late port days, they should either commit to the late breakfast line or don't have it at all and move to lunch after 10:30 as usual. Other than these couple of frustrating experiences, Lido buffet food was pretty decent quality and waiting times were reasonable. We were, for the most part, pretty pleased with this. Again, I felt like I spent more time in lines on the Lido when I sailed on the Magic, versus this cruise on the Glory.
Guy's Burgers, Deli, Seafood Shack, and Sushi were awesome. Despite sometimes longer lines, the Guy's burgers moved fast, and again, I never waited on the Glory as long as I did some days on the Magic. The deli sandwiches were really good and the Seafood Shack was great -- we only tried the lobster rolls, but got them twice because they were great!
MDR food was pretty good most nights, with the exception of one night where we felt like the quality was not as good. Filet in the MDR was as good or better than the one in the steakhouse and sea-day brunches were really good in the MDR. Regular dining food was nothing super special to write about, but we didn't have any major complaints either.
Room Service: This has really changed since the old days. The included (free) room service is pretty basic quality, often times with a 45-minute to 1-hour wait, even at off times. It's obvious that the days of room service being included are soon to be over, as the experience is one you'll try once and brush off after the long wait and very mediocre results. The a la carte room service was decent quality, but again, we often waited 45 minutes or more to receive anything. Some cruises we never order room service, and others (like this one) we ordered several times. Sort of like the Lido buffets, I wish they would just commit to what they can do well, charge for it if they have to, and be done with it.
Casino: The casino was a great time, and like other areas of the cruise experience, seemed less crowded and was more appealing than our experience on the Magic. There were plenty of table games (lots of blackjack) and ample machines. We never felt like it got really crowded, even on the bigger nights. Maybe this was because of the demographic (more kids on spring break cruises this time versus an early December cruise we took on the Magic), but nonetheless, we had a great time in the Casino and were pleased with the service, pit bosses, dealers, and other staff.
Shoutouts: Our room steward Yosefina and her staff were great. They were very attentive to our needs, brought us an abundance of ice, robes, and towels, and whatever we needed. She was there when we needed her, and not when we didn't We really appreciated her. We also met Kuda (bartender from Zimbabwe) on our first day heading to the muster drill. We continued to see Kuda throughout the cruise in the casino and at the Platinum party. He was always smiling, quick with the drinks, and was extremely pleasant. Thanks for your hospitality Kuda!
OVERALL: Overall, while there were not-so-positive aspects of our experience, we really enjoyed our cruise on the Glory and would return in a heartbeat. I take into account, when evaluating the negative aspects, the price I'm paying for what I'm getting and despite those criticisms, I still feel like we got a very good value for our money. In fact, we're already looking at options for the next cruise. I think the biggest takeaway that we had is that bigger is not always better. We had a blast on the Magic, but I don't think I'd sail on the Dream class again. I hope Carnival will consider building a new ship that's of a similar size and layout to those of the Conquest class. Read Less