by Keno Quizzard
December 13, 2003
This is my 3rd cruise, and second with Carnival. Keep this in mind when reading the following review. I am also very budget minded.
This cruise certainly got off on the right foot from the very beginning. We had booked the cheapest "Guaranteed Inside" cabin - but we were given an Ocean View cabin in the middle of the ship without even asking! I think two things made this happen -- #1, checking the "Sailed with Carnival before" block in the cruise documents and #2, checking in at 11:30am (I was one of the first ones in line) on the sailing date.
My wife and I enjoyed two free cocktail and Hors d'oeuvre events - the Captain's Gala and the Past Cruiser's party. These events are a must if you like to drink and are to cheap to pay extra for them (you have to pay for all drinks, except for fountain juices, lemonade and apple juice, and unsweetened tea).
I took my meals in the Dining Rooms whenever possible - breakfast, lunch, and dinner. For dinner, I always had two entrees - the seafood selection and the steak selection. (OK, I'm a pig, I admit it.) The lobster and jumbo shrimp were excellent. The Chateaubriand and prime rib were divine. My waiter was very attentive and eagerly served me. He would offer me second helpings without prompting.
To complement my eating volume, I worked out every day in the Gymnasium. The Glory has an impressive facility, complete with steam room, sauna, Jacuzzi with waterfall, free weights, and nautilus style machines. There were 10 treadmills, 4 recumbent bicycles and 5 elliptical Stairmasters -- all were brand new and state of the art.
We saw all the evening shows, with the exception of the "Guest Talent Show". The best show was "Marcus Anthony" - that man has a great voice! I enjoyed all the rest.
The ports of call were all very nice. In the Bahamas, I took a taxi over to Paradise Island and spent the day at the Atlantis Resort ($25 admission, per person). They have the largest aquarium in the world. At St. Thomas, I took a rather pricy Carnival snorkeling tour to St. John and Buck Island. I thoroughly enjoyed swimming at both locations. I took an island sightseeing tour in St. Maartin. 7 of us rented a taxi at the St. Maartin information center. The tour was 3 hours, included both the French and Dutch sides of the island, and including shopping and beach stops.
A special note about excursions - Carnival and the Cruise Director will only give you information about Carnival excursions and tours. These tours were always were priced at a 40% premium above a similar tour you could book on the island. All ports had official government information centers at the end of the pier, so it was easy to book your own tours. All taxi prices to the major attractions (beaches, resorts, etc) had fixed prices so it was hard for a cab driver to gouge you. Everybody spoke English and took US dollars.
Embarkation & Disembarkation - I was one of the first ones on the ship, and the last one off (I had a late flight home), so these events went smoothly.
I am very sensitive to cigarette smoke, but I did not have a problem with smoke on the Glory. People tended to smoke a lot in the Casino and the lounges, but I didn't go into these places, so it didn't bother me.
I was happy to pay the full recommended tip ($69 per person, which was automatically added to your account). The service was excellent.
I enjoyed sailing on the Carnival Glory and I will sail with Carnival again in the future.