By Erica Silverstein
Cruise Critic Senior Editor
4.0 / 5.0
Cruise Critic Editor Rating: Entertainment

Carnival Glory Entertainment & Activities

Theater

The 1,400-seat multilevel theater, Amber Palace, on decks 3 to 5 forward, was inspired by Russia's legendary Amber Room. Design elements include rococo moldings, gold leaf columns, candelabras, cornices and paintings of famous Russian czars and czarinas. It hosts a variety of evening shows, including Vegas-style revues, adult interactive games and "Hasbro, the Game Show."

Glory's singers and dancers perform four song-and-dance shows on a weeklong cruise, with two different shows playing on the same night. Each Playlist Production, as they're called, consists of elaborate sets and costumes and some of the most dazzling -- and dizzying -- special effects at sea, utilizing a huge video screen backdrop and laser lights. We found the best seats to be on Deck 4, where you have the best views of the special effects and won't be called on during the interactive pre-shows. (Sit up front if you like to participate.)

"Hasbro, the Game Show" is an interactive event inspired by the TV show "Family Game Night." Think classic board games transformed into novelty-sized interactive versions. For instance, Connect 4 morphs into a sharp-shooting basketball contest pitting two teams against each other. Operation takes on the form of Skee-Ball.

Daily Fun

During the day, Carnival features numerous rounds of trivia, bingo, spa seminars, art auctions, sales and raffles in its onboard shops, cooking demos and pool games, such as the infamous Hairy Chest contest. On one sea day, the Groove for St. Jude fundraiser takes place by the pool to support St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. An arcade, open day and night, is located on Deck 5 next to Club O2.

At Night

The Punchliner Comedy Club takes over the Ebony Cabaret on Deck 5 aft for family-oriented (early) and R-rated (late) shows from a rotating lineup of comedians. Only the brave sit up front by the stage. The comedians love to talk to (or, shall we say, pick on) passengers they can see.

The Camel Club Casino on the Deck 5 promenade features an Egyptian motif. Among the rows of slot machines, table games include blackjack, three-card poker, Texas Hold'em, Let it Ride and Craps. Smoking is allowed there, and it does waft out to the Casino Stage, where a cover band performs most evenings and trivia quizzes take place day and night.

Live music is presented in multiple venues around the ship -- especially the Lobby Bar and Casino Stage. The White Heat Nightclub doesn't draw a crowd until midnight; Latin dancing takes place in the Ivory Club on Deck 4.

The pool deck turns into a late-night entertainment venue at night, with the pools still open. The Seaside Theater, the giant movie screen above the midship pool, shows one or two movies every evening -- often to a theme like "date night" or "action/adventure." Grab free popcorn from the right side of the BlueIguana Tequila Bar. The deck is also the venue for themed parties like Caribbean Night.

Carnival Glory Bars and Lounges

Carnival Glory is a ship that was built for entertainment -- plentiful lounges and bars all play on the "colors" theme with dramatic interiors. It's worth seeing all of them in action, and this ship gets hopping around 10 p.m. each night. Glory is easy to navigate, as many popular spots -- the casino, comedy club, nightclub and piano bar, among others -- are situated on Deck 5.

Colors Lobby Bar (Deck 3): If you like bright lights and watching the glass elevators go up and down a multicolored wall, this is your bar. This main atrium bar hosts live music on the opposite dance floor -- usually a lone acoustic singer or musical duo.

Ivory Club (Deck 4): The Ivory Club features elephant tusk replicas, Indian-inspired murals and a Taj Mahal painted over the bar. Therefore, it's the obvious choice for Latin music every night until late. During the day, the Ivory Club is used for seminars and meetings.

Sports Bar (Deck 5): Another fun hangout spot is the sports bar, which features a wall of flat-screens, video games and an LED ticker that posts current game scores. This is the place to watch the big games of the day.

Kaleidoscope Bar (Deck 5): The casino bar is really just outside the casino, along the main promenade. Grab a seat there for trivia or live music at the stage opposite.

The White Heat Dance Club (Deck 5): Glory's nightclub, decorated with gigantic white candles lining the walls, doesn't heat up until at least midnight, and the dancing can carry on until or 4 a.m.

Cinn-A-Bar Piano Bar (Deck 5): The sing-alongs there get raunchier and rowdier as the hour gets later and the patrons get drunker. Groupies have been known to occupy the prime bar stools around the piano every night of the cruise. Jot your song requests down on the provided slips of paper. Delivering them with a buck or two gets your selection played promptly -- as does buying the pianist a drink.

Bar Blue (Deck 5): The ship's main cigar bar is decorated with giant peacock feathers that extend from the floor almost to the ceiling. It's the only indoor venue for smoking pipes or cigars (which can be purchased there), and despite the stage, it hosts no entertainment.

The Ebony Cabaret (Deck 5): This secondary show lounge has an African atmosphere, with dark ebony walls and ceilings, and hand-carved and painted wooden African masks mounted in copper-like frames. It hosts Punchliner Club comedians, karaoke singers and parading Dr. Seuss characters.

Alchemy Bar (Deck): Alchemy Bar serves alcoholic beverages by "prescription." Choose a drink from one of the light-up menus, or create your own by writing down what you'd like on one of the bar's prescription pads. Prepare to be surrounded by apothecary jars and bartenders in white lab coats, while sipping fruity concoctions made from liquors you haven't drunk since college (peach schnapps, amaretto, etc.). If you want to hobknob with the ship's officers and entertainment staff, this is your bar.

BlueIguana Tequila Bar (Deck 9): The colorful BlueIguana bar offers plenty of stool seating by the pool and Mexican-inspired drinks, with Dos Equis and Modelo on tap and tequila-based drinks (think all sort of margarita varieties) in souvenir glasses.

RedFrog Rum Bar (Deck 9): Another beachy pool bar, RedFrog is known for Carnival's private-label ThirstyFrog Red beer (which can be ordered by the 101-ounce tube) and rum-based cocktails, also with plenty of souvenir glass options.

Azure Bar (Deck 9): Head to the aft Azure Pool for classic frozen and fruity tropical drinks. If you've hunkered down with friends, consider a pitcher of spiked lemonade or margaritas as a bucket-of-beer alternative.

Serenity Bar (Deck 12): Enhance your serenity with an adult drink ordered from this bar in the adults-only sun deck area.

Carnival Glory Outdoor Recreation

Pools

The pool deck is multi-tiered and large enough to accommodate swimmers, sunbathers, movie watchers and water slide racers. The Main Pool, on Deck 9 midship, is where the action is. You'll find a pool with a wading area, two hot tubs, bars, dining venues, pool games and stadium seating for the giant 270-square-foot movie screen that shows concerts and the cruise director's daily show by day and movies by night. A towel kiosk will trade your soggy towels for clean, dry ones. Showers are available for rinsing off.

One deck up, the small Cobalt pool is flanked by a hot tub. Aft on Deck 9 is the Azure Pool and two hot tubs, nominally adults only, under a retractable roof so the pool can be used in inclement weather. It's definitely the quieter pool.

Pools are generally open from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., with the aft pool open until midnight. Children who are not potty trained are not allowed in any onboard pool or whirlpool.

Recreation

Carnival Glory has a WaterWorks waterpark on Deck 12. 

On Deck 11, there's a jogging track (nine laps to a mile), a half-court for basketball, a volleyball net, shuffleboard and beanbag toss. A mini-golf course on Deck 12 is only accessible via the sports court. For some mind games, try the giant chess set by the Cobalt Pool on Deck 10.

Sun Decks

All the way forward -- just above the spa, gym and salon on decks 12 and 14 -- is Serenity, an adults-only sun deck that offers padded loungers, hammocks and couches for relaxation away from the masses. In addition to great views, you'll also have access to additional hot tubs, and waiters will come around to take your drink orders.

Sun deck space, with the blue plastic mesh and metal loungers, is available on decks 9, 10 and 11. Smokers can light up on the starboard side of Deck 10. A well-kept secret are the forward-facing deck areas on decks 6, 7 and 10. There's no seating, but you can get beautiful forward views away from the crowds -- a sailaway hideaway.

You can find lounge chairs and benches outside on Deck 3 port and starboard, but the two outer decks do not connect, so they're useless for walking laps. Smoking is permitted on the starboard side.

Carnival Glory Services

The Colors Lobby, Carnival Glory's nine-deck grand atrium, is highlighted by a giant digital kaleidoscope which projects slow-moving images on huge screens over the bar; it's best viewed from the glass elevators. On either side of the atrium on Deck 3 are the guest services desk and the shore excursions desk.

By the entrance to the Golden Dining Room on Deck 3, the Copper and Silver rooms are multipurpose spaces that often house art auctions or meetings.

The Black & White Library on Deck 4 features checkerboard wood squares in black and white patterns, wooden bookcases and framed images of famous newspaper headlines. The dedicated room belies the pitiful selection of books inside.

Also on Deck 4, on opposite sides of the atrium, is the photo gallery, where passengers can purchase souvenir photos, as well as frames, albums, cameras and accessories, as well as GoPro video gear.

On the opposite side of Deck 4, between the two dining rooms, the Green Room is another general meeting space. The Cyberspace Internet cafe is also there, accessible via the Ivory Club. It has eight computer stations and a printer. Charges start at 75 cents per minute, though purchasing a package can bring that rate down to 33 cents. Packages cost $29 for 45 minutes, $59 for 120 minutes, $89 for 240 minutes and $159 for 480 minutes. Bow-to-stern Wi-Fi is also available.

Flanking the atrium on Deck 5 are Cherry on Top and the Fun Shops, all selling the usual cruise fare, from Carnival insignia-wear, vacation-wear, snacks and toiletries to a pretty huge selection of duty-free booze, tobacco, perfume and jewelry. Look for daily sales and raffles for the best deals. Outside the shops are an ATM (fees apply) and a kiosk to check your Sail & Sign account. Cherry on Top sells all manner of sweets by the quarter pound in the "scoop it from a plastic box" fashion. Souvenir bags and boxes of candy, Carnival- and Seuss-themed gift items, flowers and fancy cakes are also available there.

The Future Cruise Sails and shopping desks are also on Deck 5, just beyond the atrium.

For do-it-yourselfers, launderettes are available on decks 1, 2 and 6 through 9. Costs are $3 for a wash or dry; you'll need lots of quarters. Detergent and dryer sheets are also available for $1. Each laundry room is equipped with an iron and ironing board and utility sink for complimentary use.

A medical center is available on Deck 0.

Carnival Glory Spa & Fitness

Spa

The 13,300-square-foot Spa Carnival on Deck 11 houses a spa, salon, gym, whirlpools, saunas and steam rooms. It's run by Steiner, the ubiquitous cruise ship spa operator.

Book facials and massages from $107, body treatments from $140 (such as a lime and ginger salt glow massage or Ionithermie cellulite reduction program) or acupuncture from $150. The best prices are for port- and embarkation-day services; look for specials advertised throughout the ship or in the Fun Times daily newsletter.

A full-service beauty salon offers hair, nail and waxing services, but it tends to book up for formal nights, so reserve early. Teeth whitening, medispa services (Botox, Restylane and the like) and grooming for men are also available.

The two-section spa whirlpool is accessed through the locker rooms and is available to anyone for free. There, a waterfall cascades down a stone-like wall between decks. Surrounded by glass windows, the pool looks out onto the gym, creating a fishbowl effect. Separate saunas and steam rooms for men and women are also accessed via the locker rooms.

Children younger than 12 may not use the spa or gym facilities; teens ages 12 to 16 must be accompanied by an adult.

Fitness

The gym is reached via the locker rooms. All the way forward on Deck 11, it balances panoramic sea views through floor-to-ceiling windows with low ceilings and a sloped front wall. (If you're tall, be careful when getting on cardio machines.) A range of Life Fitness machines includes elliptical trainers, bikes and treadmills, and both free weights and resistance machines will pump you up. The "aerobics studio" is just a small, open area of the gym. Some fitness classes, such as morning stretching, are free, while yoga, Pilates and cycling carry a fee of $12 per person. Stretch mats and resistance balls are also on hand

If you really want to combat the "Cruising 10" weight gain, you can sign up for personal training or a nutritional consultation, both for an extra fee. Spoiler alert: That chocolate melting cake is NOT part of a healthy diet.

Carnival Glory For Kids

Carnival Glory attracts lots of families with its popular kids club and its Seuss at Sea partnership. The branded activities include a parade and story hour with Dr. Seuss characters like Sam I Am and the Cat in the Hat and a Seuss-themed brunch (see dining) with a whimsical bent and kid-friendly fare. The ship shops also sell Seuss souvenirs, such as books and stuffed toys.

Carnival's camp programming is notable because it's the only line to include 2-year-olds in the drop-off programming, as its counselors will change diapers. It also offers activities for under-2s at select times (both parent play and drop-off baby-stting). Youth staff are certified for CPR and first aid and have been background checked.

Kids

The 4,000-plus-square-foot Camp Carnival on Deck 12 has daily activities for passengers aged 2 to 11. The kids are divided into three age groups: 2- to 5-year-olds, 6- to 8-year-olds and 9- to 11-year-olds with separate but similar activities; kids can play with Play Doh and Legos, participate in crafts projects like spin art and picture frame decorating, get their faces painted, play video games and go on scavenger hunts. Some events combine the 6- to 11-year-olds in one group.

Glory's Camp Carnival facility is an open, colorful space that can be set up for any number of games and activities. Indoors, there are kid-size tables and chairs, flat-screen TVs and a few video game stations; outside, a play area features climbing and sliding playsets and a few Little Tykes cars for toddler drivers. (Note that in October 2016, Camp Carnival will get a facelift and change to Camp Ocean, with a marine theme.)

Occasional Family Beary Cuddly Workshops allow kids to create their own stuffed animals for an additional fee. Adult supervision is required for these optional sessions.

Parents or guardians must sign kids ages 2 through 8 in and out of Camp Carnival. Kids ages 9 to 11 can sign themselves in and out. Mobile phones are available for parents to check in with Camp Carnival staff; priority is given to parents of children with special needs.

Scheduled activities begin at 10 a.m. on sea days, with start times varying on port days, depending on when the ship arrives and shore excursions begin. Depending on the day, Camp Carnival might close for an hour or two for lunch, family activities or event setup. Kids lunches and dinners with kid-friendly food like quesadillas or chicken nuggets take place on select days on the upper level of the buffet. Programming generally runs until 10 p.m., after which Night Owl parties -- late-night group baby-sitting with a more fun name -- are available for $6.75 per hour, per kid (plus 15 percent gratuity per child). There are also occasional theme parties (Beach, Mardi Gras), which run from 10 p.m. to midnight and cost $15 per child (plus 15 percent gratuity).

Children younger than 2 are allowed into Camp Carnival during specified hours on port days for a fee (usually half-day slots, either just before or right after the noon lunch hour), as well as on sea days from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. This is to allow parents to go ashore or participate in shore excursions without the kids. In addition, little ones can play in the kids club facilities during designated hours for free with parental supervision. (A schedule is available at the Deck 12 facility.) Babies and toddlers can also attend the group baby-sitting sessions, but not the theme parties, for the regular fee. Camp Carnival does have cribs for sleepy babies, though parents are welcome to drop off little ones already asleep in their strollers. Speaking of which, a limited number of strollers are also available to rent for $8 per day or $40 per week. A diaper changing facility is located on Deck 3 forward on the port side, and the sundries shop sells baby wipes.

Teens

The 12- to 14-year-old "tween" set also have their own dedicated space, Circle C, on Deck 4 forward, with video games, a touch-screen jukebox, plasma TVs and cushioned seating. Supervised activities are limited to afternoon and evening hours and include scavenger hunts, video game challenges, movie nights, late-night mini-golf and theme parties.

Club 02, the facility for 15- to 17-year-olds on Deck 5 by the video arcade, includes a dance floor, video wall, lounge, soft-drink bar and state-of-the-art video games. Like Circle C, supervised activities are afternoons and evenings only, and many are in combination with the 12- to 14-year-olds. Events might include dance challenges, dodgeball, card games, T-shirt decorating and lip sync contests.

Carnival Glory Ship Stats

  • Crew: 1,150
  • Launched: 2003
  • Decks: 13
  • Passengers: 2,980
  • Registry: Panama
  • CDC Score: 93

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