I considered myself a somewhat seasoned cruiser having been cruising since 2001, logging 20 cruises in that time; and in the process achieving Platinum status on RCL, Princess and Carnival. I say somewhat seasoned because I know many ... Read More
I considered myself a somewhat seasoned cruiser having been cruising since 2001, logging 20 cruises in that time; and in the process achieving Platinum status on RCL, Princess and Carnival. I say somewhat seasoned because I know many cruisers that consider me a beginner. That being said here is my impressions of the 11 night Journey cruise on the Glory out of San Juan.
While having never sailed the Glory before; I have sailed several of her sister ships and because of familiarity with the class, I had no problems finding my way around. I thought the ship was tastefully decorated and I did not feel crowded anywhere on board, except for the Serenity area. I went to the Serenity area a few times but it was usually crowded so I didn’t send much time there. Large seagoing ships by the nature of where they live; always need scraping and painting somewhere and she appears to be well taken care of. The casino appeared large enough to accommodate everyone interested in gambling. While I did not partake of any of the shows because of back and hip issues; I heard many people commenting on how good they were.
The one thing that did seem strange after being on Carnival ships at Halloween, Thanksgiving and around Christmas time was the absence of Marti Gras decorations on the ship; especially since our cruise included the last week of the Marti Gras season or ‘Carnival’ as it is referred to it in the Caribbean. The only thing associated with Marti Gras I saw; was a girl in a Marti Gras costume and a photographer running around taking pictures for the guests to buy. The ‘Throwback Sea Day’ was pretty much a joke as well. We had a couple heavy showers come through after breakfast that morning and I think all the Throwback Day activities on the Lido deck for the day were canceled; but the photographers putting guests in 80’s costumes long enough to take their pictures was still being going strong. Also some of the shops on the ship closed on day 5 or 6 of the cruise and all but the candy shop closed on night 7 of our 11 night cruise. We heard that the merchandise sales contractor had changed and they had to pack everything up and remove it from the ship when we reached Miami so the new contractor could bring their merchandise onboard.
The crew was the best I have seen on a ship in several years now. In general, all crew members I interacted with were congenial and helpful to the individual. My cabin steward and his helper were among the best I have encountered in the 20 cruises I have taken. In the time it took me to get breakfast at the buffet and return to my cabin the morning service was completed and they were working elsewhere. In the evening, after a busy day ashore or onboard, I would come in with them nowhere in sight, get cleaned up and go to dinner. When I returned from dinner, the bed had been turned down and a new animal was in the room. However, if I wanted to talk to one of them about something or had a question; they seemed to appear out of nowhere as if they knew I wanted to see them. I spent most of my bar time at the Red Frog Rum Bar, primarily because they were the only bar on board that has a rather obscure Dominican rum that is my favorite sipping rum. They always knew what I was drinking and addressed me by name when I approached the bar; and when I encountered them elsewhere on the ship or ashore they always spoke calling me by name and were very cordial.
Not having sailed with Carnival in almost a year and a half I saw a further noticeable degradation in the exoticness, variety, quality and quantity of the foods offered in the Main Dining Room. While the food I did eat onboard was ok to good, it was less than I expected and was no better than what I can get at a good restaurant at home; and nowhere near what Carnival was providing 3-5 years ago. The extra quantity I can do without these days, it just doesn’t come off as easy as it goes on any more; but I do miss the exoticness, variety and quality of what we used to get. I did not bother visiting the dining room on either of the elegant nights. After reviewing the menus on those nights; I did not think the offerings were worth the cost of cleaning my dress clothes. Specific disappointments were what was once delicious Alligator Fritters has turned into something barely edible and the apparent replacement of the Black Forrest Cake with a Black Forrest Cheesecake. The deserts also leave a lot to be desired. Not everyone is a chocoholic or addicted to Chocolate Melting Cake. I also noted that normally the buffet had a much better selection of deserts than the main dining room and many nights I had my desert in the buffet after dinner. I had a few late night slices of pizza and the peperoni has stayed pretty much the same on every Carnival cruise I have taken since I first sailed on the Celebration back in 2001, good but not really great. I remember they also had some other offerings besides salads on a couple nights. I believe they may have had lasagna one night and something else on another night.
I ate all my breakfasts in the buffet, usually because I either got up too late to make it to the dining room or was in a hurry so I wouldn’t miss an excursion. While the buffet had a good selection of items I did think the scrambled eggs were a little lacking both in flavor and occasionally in cooking; and usually hit the omelet station after the second morning. I also did Guy’s for lunch if I was on the ship, there is just something about those Piggy Patties. I even ate one of their Vegie Burgers which wasn’t bad either. They are not on the published menu and you have to ask for them. They usually take about 5 minutes to fix. I did not eat at Fish and Chips or the Blue Iguana or the extra $$ venues either. While others may rave about them, I have found, that for me; the extra $$ venues, industry wide, generally do not live up to their hype and are not worth my time or money. Then the Red Frog snacks for the Super Bowl were not even up on the Lido deck by the Frog and big screen, they were being served somewhere else on the ship.
I did ship sponsored excursions at St Croix, St Maarten, Dominica and Grenada; plus an independent snorkeling excursion in Bonaire. At Aruba & Curacao, I just went ashore, did some shopping got lunch and went back to the ship. The ship sponsored excursions were basically all island tours as I had never been to any of those islands before and all were reasonably good informative tours. However, I was expecting the St Maarten tour to go by the airport for a photo op; but it didn’t. I don’t know if I told the excursions desk person the wrong tour or he put me on the wrong tour, but by the time I found out it was too late to do anything about it, maybe next time I am there. I booked the Bonaire excursion with a company I had snorkeled with in the past. Read Less