My Family just got off the Glory for the Western 08/16/03 Sailing. On a scale of one to ten this ship is a 9…the ports left a little to be desired however and I would score them a 6 on the ten scale.
What follows is my thoughts on this new Mega Liner the Carnival Glory:
We flew from our home in Kansas City on Friday the 15th and arrived at the Orlando airport at 3:00 pm. We checked into the Hyatt in the airport for our overnight stay. We have stayed here before and my wife likes to shop in the stores of the airport…..However the airport is under construction and a few of the stores were closed…I missed the discovery store the most…they have the neatest stuff. However Disney and Universal are well represented. After some shopping and diner at Chilli’s my wife and son hit the pool at the Hyatt which is really a big big whirlpool spa. After that off to bed…I do recommend this hotel for pre or post cruise, but there are many alternatives to this and you may find others that you like.
In the morning we used AAA Limo Service to transport us from the Hotel to Port Canaveral. Because of the Airport construction we had a little problem hooking up with the driver. The airport is restricting where they can pick up…so we did not leave at our time of 10:30..instead we left around 11:00 am for the 45 minute drive to the port. The limo dropped us right at the pier and porters helped us with our bags…off to clear security.
We had booked a Cat 11 Cabin and were able to make use of their “Skippers Club” boarding process. We were escorted to a small room and had our Doc’s checked credit card pre approved and then taken past the other check in lines. This whole process took about 10 minutes and then we were on the ship….you board under the life boats on deck three and walk down to a door that enters the lobby. Because we were early…check in time is 1:30 pm we were requested to have lunch on the Lido deck in the Red Sail restaurant. I did notice that the lobby of the Glory is quite small, and the central atrium is small also when compared to RCL voyager class or Sovereign class ships, however there is plenty of room. We ate lunch outside the Red sail…and I had a bucket of beer and bought a pop card for my son…this is really the best way to buy beer and pop on board. We sailed at 5:00 pm and I didn’t notice we were moving…that is how quiet and vibration free this ship was…wait I said we sailed at 5:00 pm…rather we left the pier and then backed up to pick up a late arriving passenger who was meet with cheers when they boarded the ship. I think you can plainly see that Carnival cares for their guests…enough to stop the ship and have it back up to pick up three people who otherwise would have missed the ship.
The ship and Cabin
We went to our cabin at around 1:30 pm…we had cabin 7283 which is a cat 11 on the starboard side of the Glory. Odd is starboard and even numbers on port…seemed backwards to me, but hey….they didn’t ask me when they built the ship. The Cat 11 cabin was large with a sofa queen bed real wood crown molding and a large bathroom with a Jacuzzi tub. The bathroom had two sinks with a separate dressing area. Plenty of closet space and room for my family of three. Speaking of this ship…She is a beauty…110,000 tons…however you soon discover that this is mainly in cabins and cabin space…not public areas…so I did find it somewhat crowded at times. The pursers desk was ALWAYS busy which is somewhat strange and different from my past 14 cruises. This usually signifies problems but I didn’t hear a lot of complaints during our time on this ship. The ship was booked with over 3000 guests on this cruise and because of the tight public spaces you knew they were there. I did talk to some of the crew and they had transferred from the Fantasy Class ships and were disappointed in the amount of space given to crew areas…much more space on the fantasy class vessels. Speaking of all our fellow passengers…and all the kids on board (over 500 < 15)…it was a pretty good cruise…a few late night parties…but hey everyone is on vacation. You may book your shore tours on the TV in the Cabin and the tickets are swiftly delivered to your mail box by your door. Yes there are audio video inputs on the VCR…I have seen this question asked on this board.
What I thought
As I said….this was my fifteenth cruise and the worst one was good….I would rate this one a seven. The ship is immaculate and the crew spends a lot of time maintaining that appearance. This ship is not a gaudy as other carnival ships and as a matter of fact I liked how is was fitted out. Carpet and furnishings were well done and the public areas were great. It was a little had to find the internet café…which is located in the ivory lounge, but after a little exploring…I found it. You could tell that it was a basic after thought. Some areas of the ship are a little hard to navigate however…getting to the platinum restaurant required us to go all the way aft then down. Service on this ship was good…cabin steward excellent…dining room excellent…emerald room excellent…Red Sail. Service just good. Bar service was hard to get at times and seemed to be understaffed.
Restaurants and the food
There was open seating for breakfast and lunch in the main dining rooms and you could always eat at the Red Sail any time. One thing that bothered me was the absence of bacon on the Red Sail Buffet…this is clearly a cost issue and I think Carnival need to address it. A clever way around this was to ask one of the wait staff at the omelet station for bacon which was gladly provided.
Okay folks…At home I eat anywhere from McD’s to 4 star’s and I found the food on the Glory to be just “good”. Truthfully I didn’t expect it to be “fantastic”…I have found this to be so ever since the invention of the Mega liner and by that I mean ships greater that 40,000 tons and 1000 passengers. This is not a hit on Carnival or any other cruise line for that matter…I just rarely expect fantastic food on a mega liner and with that attitude I am sure not to be disappointed. When you think of it…you have to bear in mind that when the galley has to sever thousands in hours…no matter the presentation…the food is drawn from what amounts to a buffet. We were seated at table 234 in the golden upper dining room which is perched a little to close to the stairs leading to the lower dinning area. Our waiter and assistant waiter gave VERY good service during the cruise and I tipped them a little extra for their efforts. Our table mates were good people friendly…and here is where Carnival did good….four boys at the table in the same age group. My son was in heaven…people to talk to in that foreign language kids use. We had main sitting which was 6:15 pm…5:45 pm in the platinum dinning room which is a little early for my tastes. The food all over was good and we ate in the dining room all but one night during which we ate in the Emerald room alternative restaurant. The food is prepared to order and is excellent almost rates 4 star qualities. I had the porterhouse and my wife had the filet and lobster. The service is outstanding in this dinning room and I would recommend that you pop the extra $25 per head for this for one night.
I wanted to talk a little about the Red Sail….expect some lines when getting food here. I waited sometimes as long a twenty minutes in line for a hamburger…and I search for a reason why. The food is not cooked to order…and it appears to be just inexperienced wait staff who caused the jam ups. The buffets always had plenty of food for the mass of people who would swarm them, and for the most part it was great. You could dine inside or outside as you desired. I never made the midnight buffets…been on to many cruises for this, and I can’t quite keep eating this much food.
Shows and Entertainment
We saw only one show while and board, and it was the rock and roll show…lasted slightly over a hour and was just great. There are two singers on board who do a wonderfull job…to say nothing about the dancers. These people earn their money! You do need to show early for a good seat in the Amber Palace. Greg Kneale was
The new CD on the cruise. He did a fine job and even apologized because he was not John Head. He did the standard stuff I have heard before…ontime ahead of schedule but we are lost….stuff.
I found the folks who pressed the issue of CD with Greg to be A**’s but he took it in stride. Look folks…it was John Head who requested the change…not Greg..he busted his butt to make a good cruise for you.
Camp Carnival is a good kids program we used it twice…and the arcade is great…big is the word and was quite crowded at times One thing about Camp Canival…9-12 year olds can sign themselves out and in. If you are uncomfortable with this…you can put you kids in the lower group, but this is death them, and I couldn’t do it. My son met some good kids from this board and they hung out together most of the time. I do have one small pet peeve regarding the arcade however…almost all the games except two are four tokens($1)….why doesn’t Carnival dump the two coin machines and use one token per game…instead you must buy and insert four coins per machine.
Where we went…the Ports
I said I rate the ports a six…and I feel that the problems are the locations themselves.
Key West…We have never been there so I planned to go to the Aquarium, Little White house and because I am a serious Parrot head…Margaritaville. The Glory will dock at the Old Navy pier…and you board trolleys to go downtown. This is like a tender and the lines can get long….but it is organized and the lines do move swiftly.
You receive a narrated talk on Key West on the way downtown except for while the tram is in the Navy Annex (condo patio home complex) during which they must quiet.
It was hot…hot ….hot, and we went and did a shipwreck museum instead of the Aquarium…it was interesting in a tourist trap sort of way. Walked from there to Truman’s little white house and did a tour of this….This is a must see…the tour was GREAT. I however am from Missouri the home of Harry Truman and may be a little biased. From there the Parrot head in me forced me to Margaritaville where I had a cheeseburger in paradise and adult beverage while listening to Jimmy on CD.
After that we walked back downtown and took the trolley back to the Glory. I think I won’t go back to Key West…I grew up near Branson USA and can smell the tourist trap that this place was, is and will be. This port rates a 5 because I don’t like tourist traps.
Belize CA….never been her either, but a fellow CruiseMater known as teachercab. and I booked a private wild life encounter snorkel with Seasports Belize. Teachercab (Karen) and her family were great people and Karen arranged to get us off the Glory first tenders out. I can’t say how much fun this was…after a early start and brisk walk we arrived at Seasports before they opened. We waited about 45 minutes until our guide showed up and opened the store. We were panhandled several times while waiting, but I felt safe because the Belize Police station is in the SeaSports building. The first part of the day was spent in a Boston whaler type of boat on the old Belize river looking for wild life. We saw several birds…during which Karens sister would leap to her feet and try to identify…she is a avid bird watcher and had a book on the birds. I enjoyed giving her a slight hard time…with the cry there’s a bird. We did see large lizards…heard a Crocodile and saw some West Indian Manatee’s. It began to rain as we left the river and we all got wet and crowed under the canopy of the boat except for Karen’s son Kevin…a brave energetic 11 year old with the attitude…hey…we are going to get wet on the snorkel. Princess Margaret once spent time in this CA country and the locals were impressed…they named roads…land and little islands after her. We snorkeled on the little island where Princess Margaret once did…with her British Battleship anchored close by….Sans battleship our little party had a very good time and it was soon time for a swift 55 mile per hour ride back to the Glory…no tenders. Jumped right up on the tender berthing stations and walked aboard. Here is a pitch for SeaSports Belize….If you dive or snorkel…want a small private tour…these are great folks. BTW Red Lobster and Olive Garden gets their lobster from Belize. I rate this port a 8 for the good time we had.
Cozumel Mexico…been her three or four times but I was amazed how much this port has grown…The Disney Magic was in port with us and one of the Celebrity ships arrived as well as the Carnival Fantasy…did I mention that RCL had a ship there also. This is one crowded port of call. My wife is the shopper…I hate it and avoid it at all costs and have been know to become ill at the thought. I did however manage to convince my wife to do the Atlantis Sub thing again…I won’t bore you the details of our last excursion on the sub, but my wife did not enjoy it. The plan was to take my wife, son and I on the sub trip…then I and my son would escape back to the ship.
My wife would do the shopping thing as she feels very safe in this port. The sub tour was great…my son was amazed and my wife enjoyed it also. I was quite smug …this is quite a feat now days to impress my little nine year old world traveler. After a Lunch at Pablo’s Backyard…my son and I went back for a swim on the ship and my wife shopped…she was back on board by 2:00 pm. All in all I would rate this port a 7…its getting a little crowded and starting to smell like a tourist trap…faint odor but it there none the less. My wife on the other hand loves Cozumel for the shopping…to each their own.
Progresso Mexico….Never been there…will not go back. I had nothing planned for this port and when we awoke I found the smell of the port to be..how to say..stinks maybe. As a matter of fact this was my nine year olds first comment. You are docked in a commercial port on a six mile rock pier. They bus you to town, and there is not much there…my wife braved the ride and bought some fake sterling charms…and came back to the ship. She did not feel safe in town…and the shops were few.
I would recommend touring the Mayan Ruins to anyone here…skip the town shop the stores where the ship parks. Carnival <IMHO> should drop this port and replace it….private island with big beach party would be great. Rate it a 4
Debarking the Ship
I wanted to write about debarking the ship as it is a little different…yes there is the normal way…leave bags in hall night before and then claim them when you tag color is called. You may now debark the ship with you bags in tow…They still call you off the ship by tag color, but self debarkers are called off the ship first. They also debark from the top down….spa deck and land tours first then the Panorama and Lido deck cabins. We were next because our cabin was on Empress deck and they called tag colors for the Verandah and Empress decks at the same time. We cleared customs in about twenty minutes and were met by out limo driver in the limo waiting area.
If anyone has any additional questions give me a email.