I sailed with my son and reluctant husband on this cruise - my husband's first and the second for my son and I. Our previous cruise was on Carnival's Fantasy in January.
Our cruise started out with a bit of uncertainty because of approaching Hurricanes Ivan and Jeanne. A few days before we left Atlanta for Florida, we were glued to the weather channel and the Carnival website as we tried to figure out where and when we would be going. At last, Carnival told us we were leaving from Port Canaveral after all, but would be doing an Eastern Caribbean itinerary - St. Maarten, St. Thomas and Nassau instead of Belize, Cozumel, Costa Maya and Progreso. Were a little disappointed about missing the Western, but a quick family conference revealed we all wanted to go anyway! Our senses of adventure were high and we couldn't wait to meet the Glory.
We arrived early, around 9:30 and finally attracted the attention of a porter. We were 2nd to arrive inside and when the line finally moved, we were done in under 30 minutes. Another 1 ½-2 hours before actually boarding the ship, not getting on until almost 12:30, by which time we were all starved!!
Finally on board, we proceeded to cabin #6244 on the upper deck. We booked a guarantee 6A oceanview and were upgraded to an 8A balcony. There was an A/C control, so we were able to keep our room the polar palace my dh desires. Plenty of storage (5 drawers, 1 small cabinet with 3 long shelves inside, 2 nightstands with shelves and a closing door, 3 floor to ceiling closets - one with 3 deep shelves, 1 with closet rod and shelves, and 1 floor to ceiling for hanging long dresses, etc.), small table and chair. Safe locks with a magnetic strip card of your choice (don't use your sail and sail card). Two warm, fluffy bathrobes from Carnival completed the closets (ordered another for my son from our steward). My dh was a bit disappointed in the TV selection throughout the week (1st pro football game of the season wasn't on). We are spoiled now with the balcony and I don't want to cruise without one! Two chairs (one reclined) and a small table was an oasis for us. My husband spent lots of time reading on the balcony. I knew ahead of time that sunrises (we saw every one) and sunsets would be spectacular, but I hadn't counted on how nice it was to see the ship pulling into and out of the ports.
Bed was a king (2 twins pushed together) and quite comfortable. None of those new wonderful duvets like on the Fantasy, but pillows galore. My son chose to sleep on the sofa (twin bed size) the first night, and had our steward pull down the bunk from the ceiling the rest of the nights. I was happy to find out that we didn't feel cramped. Our room was plenty big enough for 3.
Our room steward was Bernadus from Indonesia and was delightful. After literally never seeing our room steward on the Fantasy, it was nice to meet Bernadus. Every request we made was immediately answered. My dh's suit returned exactly when promised, robe for my son, extra beach towel, and when the bathroom sink backed up, Bernardus had the plumber there immediately. People that don't tip their room stewards are doing a grave disservice to them.
Our waiter Bernard (from India) and his asst. Anna (from Honduras) in the Platinum dining room were a great team. My son and Bernard arranged a cake brought to the table for our 25th wedding anniversary - it was chocolate and to die for. I would recommend the pumpkin soup or ANY of the soups for that matter. Prime rib is to be avoided - tough and flavorless. Lobster just okay, salmon tasty. Crème brulee is a dessert to not be missed, as is the chocolate soufflé with hot choc. sauce.
Breakfast buffets in the Red Sail Restaurant (lido) were a bit disappointing. Omelet station every day (delicious - you custom design your own), along with bagels, pastries, scrambled eggs. The first day French toast was offered and it was quite good. The 2nd day pancakes and they were DREADFUL -mushy and cold. They switched between French toast and (inedible) pancakes. The coffee machines were frequently out of order (!!!) causing quite a lot of grumbling. We ate in the dining room once for breakfast and after telling my dh about the wonderful "Eggs Carnival" he was unfortunately served waaay overdone eggs and with nothing (there are supposed to be served on toast).
Lunch was much better. Main buffet was good some days, not so good others. The deli is wonderful, pizza is as good as I remember it and the Fish and Chips restaurant was every bit as good as I'd heard. The line was always long (go early) because they make it hot and fresh for you on the spot. My son loved the Oriental Bar and ate there every day for lunch. He said the Lo Mein was good, as was the fried rice.
We were disappointed to see the Sushi Bar now has a charge.
I can't say enough about the entertainment. John Heald, the cruise director, lived up to his reputation of the best cruise director at sea. No need for comedians with him around - he's hilarious! All the comedians were funny (Happy Cole, Percy Crews, Michael Macey and someone we can't remember his name). My son bought the CD's from both Percy Crews and Happy Cole and listened to them all the way home to Atlanta. The magician (Justin Illusion..) was that Vegas type I don't really appreciate, I'm afraid. The Welcome Aboard Show, Rock Down Broadway, Talent Show (passengers), Living in America Show and Variety Showcase were all good. The singers and dancers were marvelously talented. It was fun to get a chance to talk with the dancers since they also helped with Bingo and taught some of the dance classes on board. DO NOT miss the chance to take these dance classes. They are soooo much fun!
The musicians in almost all venues were top notch, especially the Jazz Trio. They played mostly in the Ivory Club and my dh discovered that's where the crew hung out. Piano player in Cinn-a-bar (piano bar) wasn't near as good as on the Fantasy.
My son and I are big fans of all the games (trivia, game shows, etc.) and weren't disappointed. The social directors were good, but several of them were new and "in training", which showed. You are put on a team at the beginning of the cruise - either red, white or blue and get points throughout the week anytime someone on your team wins at Bingo, trivia, etc. It all culminated in a big "colors" deck party on the Lido deck, which was a blast. Food Fear Factor was disgusting, but my son loved it and our team (red) won! Our "champion" (the guy who also wore a bikini to the Colors Deck party) drank a nasty combination of tuna water and some other gross stuff to win several hundred points for our team.
Casino and Arcade
Both places you can spend a lot of money with nothing to show for it! I actually won $35 at the roulette table and a little in the slot machines. My son spent a total of $75 at the arcade (kids can get up to $20 per day on the sail and sign - so beware) for the 7 days.
This time we actually signed him up for the teen program; only because you get a schedule with the different teen events if you sign up (they are NOT printed in the Capers). He went to several events where no one showed up, but still managed to hook up with some other teens and have fun. There were only about 30 teens total on board.
The Ship Itself
The Glory is a beautiful ship, living up to her theme of "colors". The floor plan was, as I had heard, a bit confusing. It took a day or two to figure it out. The 2 story dining rooms are lovely, as is the Amber Palace (if you keep in mind it's SUPPOSED to look a little overdone - it mimics a Russian Palace). The promenade had the usual comfy furniture next to the huge windows - great for lazing around and looking at the sea. Duty-free shops were plentiful and had good prices. The casino was huge and the smoke wasn't too much of a problem. All public areas were kept scrupulously clean at all times. All the staff were friendly and helpful, except the bartenders. Both my dh and I noticed they were somewhat sullen.
As we came into port, we saw beautiful rolling mountains, with villas stuck into the hillsides shrouded by mist and looking as though a volcano could burst forth any moment! Unfortunately, the weather would play a part in cutting our day a bit short. We left the ship early and went by cab ($3 per person) to Philipsburg. The island is divided in half - the Dutch side (Philipsburg) and the French side. You are closest to the Dutch side when you leave the ship. We shopped a little and then decided to just wander around. We found the courthouse (my dh is a lawyer and likes to see the local courthouses) and my dh and son saw a cockfight taking place in an alley - we hurried away! After walking around a few hours, we decided to return to the ship on the water taxi ($3 per person). My son opted to stay on the ship, so my dh and I took a taxi to the French side of the island ($9 per person) to visit Orient Beach. Up mountainsides and thru some beautiful countryside (cows and goats, even). Orient and Bikini Beaches were beautiful, with lots of bars and little restaurants right on the beach. Unfortunately, the outer bands of Hurricane Jeanne were catching up with us and the waves were dangerously high - no one was in the water. When the wind really began to howl and the rain started to fall, we decided to make a quick retreat back to the ship. Warning: the beaches on the French side are clothing optional.
As we were leaving the port, the captain told us the pier at our next port, St. Thomas, was underwater and the winds were clocked at 70 mph. Needing to outrun Jeanne, we spent the next 2 days at sea (again) before arriving on Friday in Nassau.
My son and I had just visited in Nassau in January, so weren't too anxious to see it again, but decided it might be fun to show my husband around. We walked into town for shopping (free bracelet from Diamonds International and $5 diamond earrings) and the straw market. We then went to Fort Fincastle and the Queen's Staircase. The fort sits at the highest point on the island where you get a great view of the harbor and all the ships docked. The Queen's Staircase was carved by slaves from the limestone cliff (the steps themselves have been replaced) and there is one step (sixty something) for every year of Queen Victoria's reign. Back to the ship for lunch. My son again decided to stay on board. Hubby and I found ourselves at Senor Frogs (wild place) and after drinking one of their huge Frog Margaritas (which is a color of green not even found in nature) I wobbled back to the ship.
We waited until almost 11 when they called our deck, but stayed in the cabin sitting on the balcony until about 9:45 or 10:00.
We waved goodbye to the Glory and I asked the question I had wanted to ask my reluctant cruiser husband all week: "Will you do it again?" His quick reply was "Of course!" Already planning the next cruise - in September again because we have a sense of adventure - next time on the Miracle out of Tampa, and hopefully THIS time we'll see the Western Caribbean!
My son and I are still Carnival fans after our second cruise and my husband, who is a quiet, laid-back kind of guy, liked them as well. We would not hesitate to cruise Carnival again, although a RCCL or Princess cruise might be in our future.