by Anthony Jones
May 15, 2004
On Saturday, May 15, 2004, Kevin, Melissa, Bobby, Amanda, Lexie and I set sail on a long anticipated, well deserved cruise to the Eastern Caribbean aboard the M.S. Carnival Glory. This was a 7-day journey that took us to Nassau in the Bahamas, St. Thomas, and St. Marteen of the U.S. Virgin Islands. To sum up this vacation in a few words- "It was freakin' awesome!" I really don't know how else to put it. This review will take you through our entire trip.the good, bad and the ugly!
Traveling to Port Canaveral
As I mentioned, we were all very excited about going on this trip. Our plans were to fly out the morning of the cruise, with Lexie and I flying separately on Northwest and meeting the rest of the group on the ship (they took an early morning flight on Delta). We awoke about 5:30 that morning to the sound of the phone ringing. Lexie answered and I could tell it was Melissa calling from the airport. I wasn't exactly sure what the conversation was, but I knew it was going to be a long day when I hear Lexie cussing and saying, "You're kidding, right?" We had just found out that our flight had been delayed. We jumped up and started looking into the problem.
Basically, we knew we were on a tight schedule with little room for delays. We get to the airport and find out twice more that we were going to be even further delayed due to bad weather. Lexie was in tears and we were about to face the fact that we were going to miss at least the first day of our cruise.
I'll make this long story short-we finally take off from Memphis headed to Orlando. I had talked to Carnival and they said to try to make it to the pier using a taxi by 3:30 and we might make it. When we touched down in Orlando, we sprinted off the plane to find a Carnival representative waiting for us! They had 1 last shuttle at the airport waiting to take us to the pier. As it turned out, there were 20 people on our plane in the same situation, so they waited. We checked in on the bus and when we arrived at Port Canaveral, we went through security in 5 minutes and ran aboard. We were the LAST people on the ship!! We learned our lesson: NEVER, NEVER, NEVER fly out the day of your cruise. Too many things can happen to delay your arrival and it's simply not worth the stress of a crying wife! Trust me.travel the day before!
Prior to cruising, we had seen many pictures of this ship on the web and read many positive comments. However, none of the photos did justice to the magnificence of this vessel. It was absolutely awe inspiring to stand next to the ship. One hundred and ten thousand tons sounds huge, but take a close look and you'll see why!
The ship is a beautifully decorated floating city. It has more bars than my entire hometown. We ate in the Golden dining room, which was very elegant and plush. The Amber Palace was a large 3-story amphitheater where all shows, comedians, and other indoor activities took place. This was also a very glitzy and elegant room. The Camel Club casino was an area that I must say occupied a good deal of my time on a few sea days and in the evenings. It's very large casino for a ship, and has a cool camel / desert theme. We never played slots-just blackjack and some Caribbean stud. As expected, nobody came out winners but we had fun trying!
The ladies visited the White Heat disco dance club a few times. It seemed to go from totally empty to completely packed at random times-but they seemed to enjoy it when it was kicking! Most of the time we spent on the Lido deck enjoying the warm sun, pools, water slide, and grazing on 'free' food. The weather awesome..we only got 1 five minute shower in Nassau and that was it as far as rain and clouds.
I'm not big on the shows, and didn't go to all of them, but they seemed to be enjoyed by most. The ladies especially loved the magic show and Las Vegas singing/dancing shows. The comedians were pretty good. Percy Cruz was funny until he used his time to make a political speech bashing President Bush-that seemed inappropriate and not appreciated by many.
We had a wonderful cabin, mid ship on level 8 with a balcony. Yes, the balcony was worth the extra $$, contrary to what I anticipated. If you ever cruise this ship, cabin 8347 is a great room to request.
Unfortunately, not everyone had such a great room. Kevin/Melissa and Bobby/Amanda had requested an ocean view guarantee room. Since we had this type of cabin on a previous cruise and enjoyed it, we didn't think it would be a problem. However, they were stuck in the absolute middle in the back of the ship on level 2. The other way to visualize this is the butt-crack of the ship. No joke. They were right above the propellers and when the ship sped up or went into reverse-hold on cuz you were going for a ride. The rattling would pretty much register on an earthquake Richter scale. Bottom line is that these rooms should not be the same price as a regular ocean view room. However, they complained to Carnival and were compensated for their troubles since there were no other empty rooms on the ship.
It's everywhere. Every time you turn around you are faced with a tough choice: Pizza, burgers, buffet, ice cream, fish, you name it! The problem is you have to try everything and the only way to do that in 7 days is to load up! As a result, we all have to loosen up the belt notches this week as we did some serious damage.
The food at dinner, of course, was the best. I have to recommend the lobster, New York strip, grouper, veal, oh hell it was all good! If you get something not so great, send it back and get something else. If not, just wait for dessert and I promise you won't walk away hungry! If so, there is always the midnight buffet that you can graze upon. Since we had the late seating dinner, we were always too full and never even tried this out..unfortunately!
Fantastic. The crew went out of their way to make everyone as comfortable as possible. Our room-steward, Putu, was very attentive and did a great job in cleaning our messy room twice per day. Other crew members worked round the clock keeping the ship spotless. Our waiters, however, were the best. Many thanks go out to Renato and "Manny" for waiting on us hand and foot at dinner. These guys were very friendly, professional and courteous. If you ever get a chance to dine in the Golden dining room and get this duo, you can rest assured you'll be well taken care of!
Our cruise director was Marc Price. We saw him the first night and he seemed like he was going to be a great cruise director. Unfortunately, he got really sick after the first or second day and we never saw or heard from him again. The guys that filled in for him did a great job, although we hate we missed having a professional CD like we did with John Heald on our first cruise two years ago on the Victory.
We had a total of 3.5 days at sea. These days were extremely relaxing and went by way too quickly. We slept in a few mornings, headed up to the buffet for our morning feeding, and usually headed up to lay out for a few hours-you've got to do something between breakfast and lunch so this was out activity of choice! After the noon devouring of pizza and burgers, we laid out and checked out the deck activities. The hairy chest contest was by far the most hilarious and fun activity of the week. We are very proud of Bobby for winning this prestigious contest as he entertained the audience with his "strut" to M.C. Hammer's "Can't Touch This". He put on a good show for the crowd and camera and was an instant celebrity who was well recognized on the ship the rest of the week. He brought home the prized "24 karat gold plastic ship on a stick" trophy.
Bottom line-you can do as much or as little as you like onboard the ship during sea days. Whatever you do, you'll enjoy it!
We had read that there wasn't a lot to do on this stop but figured we'd give it a try. We took a cab over to Atlantis and had a quick glance at the resort. We then decided to walk over to Paradise beach and found it to be absolutely beautiful. We spent the rest of our time playing in the waves and chilling on the beach. We also rented wave runners for a while and had a blast. Not much time to do a lot as we only had about 5 hours at this stop, and then it was back onboard.
We enjoyed Paradise beach, but otherwise, there didn't seem to be too much else to do. Overall, we had fun but this was our least favorite port of call.
2. St. Thomas
This was my personal favorite. We arrived early in the morning and took a cab to Megan's Bay. This was a beautiful beach surrounded by mountains of trees---absolutely beautiful. There wasn't a lot of activities here, so after a few hours, we took a cab over to Koki beach and that was fantastic! This was my favorite beach on the trip by far. If you ever go there, be sure to snorkel around the coral reefs. The water is crystal clear and the fish are amazing and everywhere. We were able to feed them out of our hands and get a good close view. We weren't here long enough, and if I ever go back, I will spend all my time here. There are other activities here also, such as wave-runners, parasailing, scuba diving and more. I miss this place!
After leaving Koki beach our cab driver gave us a tour of the entire island and took us to the shops where the ladies went wild. Then it was back to the ship. We watched sail away and saw a beautiful panoramic view of the island lit up at night. Very, very cool.
3. St. Marteen
This island was also fantastic. We took a water taxi over to the beaches and shops not far from the pier. Bobby and I headed to the beach while the rest of the gang went shopping downtown. We later rented jet skis and played in the water. If you plan on doing any jet skiing, this is the place. The water was very smooth and you could really cut up. Lots of fun!
Later that afternoon, we took a snorkel excursion over to shipwreck cove. We have mixed thoughts on this. I personally enjoyed it because we had a lot of time and a big area to snorkel and enjoy the water. However, the sunken ships weren't that impressive and there were not many fish to see. Especially since we had snorkeled on Koki beach the day before and saw much more and paid much less, that made this dive a little disappointing. However, I'm glad we did it and it gave us the chance to see another part of the island that we wouldn't have seen otherwise. The guides were very entertaining and they give you unlimited rum punch afterwards! Be careful-that stuff is strong!
The worst part of the trip is going home. This morning was just depressing, but I guess that's normal. The entire process went fairly smooth although it took a while for everyone to find their luggage once we got off the ship. We took the shuttle back to the airport and made it with time to spare.
The trip was a blast. Any trip is what you make of it, so go with a positive attitude and you WILL have fun. There are always glitches and things that won't be perfect, but deal with them and move on. We would definitely recommend this ship to anyone. We will also be booking another cruise as soon as feasible, and will probably go on Carnival next, although we'll try Royal Caribbean one day. Carnival impressed us with service and fun, so they have gained a few more repeat cruisers as a result!
Tips & Hints
Never, Never, Never fly the day of your cruise!
A cruise can be great as a couple, but having good friends come along makes it that much better--so bring your buddies!
If you have a balcony, take a bungee cord to keep the door open. It's great to have the door open at night and listen to the ocean.
This ship did seem to rock more than others, as we had heard. One night the seas were fairly rough and we were jolted quite a bit. Take some bonine or dramamine just in case. I did for the first few days and stopped, but never felt motion sickness. Better safe than sorry.
Beer drinkers: When you get off at St. Marteen, there is a beer stand setup on the beach. They sell beers for 99 cents each. I bought 15 and put them in a backpack and brought them back through ship's security w/no problem. We all did this and saved a lot of $$ on bar bill (which was already too high!). We should have made more trips to refill! Put them in your cabin fridge to keep 'em cool.
Buy stock in downy wrinkle releaser-that stuff is great. No need to iron any clothes during entire trip. Don't forget a bottle before you leave.
Duct tape, extension cord, and a power strip are your friends..bring them along
Men: Be sure to cancel you sail and sign card before your wife has a chance to visit the photo gallery. OUCH!! J
If you have a problem onboard, let the staff know. They will compensate and take care of your problems!
If your waiter or room steward does a fantastic job, give them something extra in the form of cash. These guys work really hard for a few bucks per day, so don't forget the good ones.
We brought 4 bottles of wine in our carry on's onboard with no problems and took them to dinner 4 nights. They may or may not charge a corkage fee (they didn't charge us). Good way to save $$.
Don't over pack liquor. You don't want to run up to your room every 20 minutes to get a drink-you'll just order from the bar or bar servers.
Pictures can be found here: http://www.anthonyandlexie.com/CruisePics.asp
Let me know if you have any other questions!!!! Glad to help!