Carnival Glory 3/19/05 Eastern Caribbean
JUST returned this afternoon from our very relaxing trip. My wife (44) and I (44) and two kids (15, 13) and energetic aunt (81) had a great time. Overall the vacation was all that we could ask for. Please understand that “complaints” are minor compared with all of the positives. I’ll include both to be fair. Here goes:
Saturday – Set Sail
Our flight into Orlando was late (no one’s fault) and we had to do the check-in on the bus to the pier. Carnival employees were professional and efficient and got us there 15 minutes before scheduled departure (ended up being 75 minutes late so we were fine). Understand that the bus trip to the pier is about an hour. Entered the ship on Deck 3 Lobby but no one to greet and direct to cabin. Not a huge deal, but Carnival should have some one there. Muster drill was well-mannered and was an indication of the what the rest of the trip would be like—99.9% of the folks following directions and doing the right thing and a few not (college age girl on cell phone following the NCAA basketball game during the lifeboat instruction). Sail away party is fun and dinner is casual as bags are still arriving outside of cabins. Overall impression of ship is a bit Vegas/tacky but my only other experience is the QE2. My kids liked it.
Sunday – Nassau, Bahamas
Arrival in the Bahamas is picturesque. Breakfast buffet on the lido deck and in the Red Sail is great and at 7 AM was almost deserted. Leaving the ship was a mess. No strategy/plan so all passengers try to exit at 8:30 (Carnival helps clog things up by selling water/film in small Deck 0 Lobby as we file to gangway. Our Blue Lagoon snorkeling shore excursion (advertised as 8:30 to 2:00) leaves one hour after we leave the ship and after we walk 15 minutes to clear the pier. Then we have an hour boat ride. The time at the Blue Lagoon ends up being only 2.5 hours. Honestly it was enough time to enjoy the lagoon and the boat ride was nice, BUT the description tends to omit the travel time involved with the excursions. Dinner is formal. Most dress nicely. Sad to see preteens and teen boys in sneakers and no jackets. Come on! There are alternatives to the dining room if you don’t choose to participate. The Red Sail Restaurant has the same food buffet style. Burgers on the lido deck aft are wonderful and quick. Prices for drinks seem reasonable to me. Las Vegas style show at 8:30 PM was well done and entertaining. Parents are warned that it has a PG rating due to “Las Vegas style costumes” (i.e. thongs), but it really is tame. Later that night was my wife and I had a latte (quality was OK and prices were very good – we own and operate an espresso bar), two teen boys entered the teen club (Ultraviolet) with life jackets on. They were told to return them to the cabin or the place would shut down. Family next to us at dinner orders wine and pours four glasses for four 15ish girls. Again, 99.9% of kids were great and parents were parents, but there were too many little ones (8, 10, 12) roaming the ship unsupervised. Kids are kids; I don’t blame them for running, being loud. Adults and kids really should not walk around ship in bare feet other than pool areas. Classless.
Monday – Day at Sea
Balmy, partly sunny. Chair saving is rampant. At 7 AM all chairs around pool (we are taking hundreds) are saved. Often only 20% of chairs in use, but all saved. No effort on part of crew to enforce the posted rules. Too bad. A little announcement and some small enforcement effort on the first day would go along way. We usually waited until afternoon anyway and found a chair or two on an upper deck. Even at Blue Lagoon the day before every hammock was saved yet 1 in 10 were being used. My son enters the putting contest in the lobby at 10 AM. Very relaxing day, sea is like glass. Aunt goes to Motown show and loves it. Exhausted-all asleep by 11 PM. Our room is on Deck 6 and is directly over the sports bar. Not a problem except for NCAA basketball nights when the noise was unbearable. We woke up early everyday (around 6 AM) and were in bed before midnight. Kudos to those who are night owls!
Tuesday – St. Thomas (85 degrees!)
Arrive at 10 AM. Immigration takes 1.5 hours. Shore excursion doesn’t depart until 11:30 and we are at Coki Beach for 2 hours. The sun is very strong and 2 hours is enough BUT would be nice if time of excursion matched “real time.” Back to ship, clean up and son and I take the tram ($16 each) to overlook of harbor. Cool! Dinner is casual but most are dressing very nicely (pressed khakis, polo shirts for men). Staff is fun. Sang in Italian one night, danced to Living la Vida Loca last night and tonight the entire place gets up and conga dances. Ship is finally loosening up and we feel on “vacation.”
Wednesday – St. Maarten
Arrive at 7:30 AM. Take bus tour (Booked through Carnival) that lasts around 3 hours and takes us around the entire island. Great driver gives us a ton of neat info about a very interesting island. Back in time to return to ship, take water taxi to beach. Nice public beach, close to shops and ship. Casual dinner. Big Band show, Talent Show in Amber Palace. St. Maarten much cleaner and nicer than St. Thomas!
Thurday/Friday – Days at Sea
First day is ideal with wonderful sun. Second day is cloudy and breezy. Ship easily accommodates the 3500 guests (we were FULL) and no place seemed crowded to us. We did not use the casino, but it seemed very nice. There really were passengers of all ages, and a real cross-section of America. It was a fun time!
Saturday – Disembarkation
We did the self-assist as we had an early flight. Ship docked at 6:20 AM and we were off the ship by 7:40 (waited in Amber Palace with about 100 other self-assist cruisers). We had to be able to handle our luggage with no assistance. On a Mears bus and off to Orlando Int. Airport at 8:15.
CCL often gives contradictory directions in the nightly newsletter and the PA system—best to confirm some info with purser’s desk
I WOULD go on another CCL trip. I would go expecting some folks to disregard the “rules” and it probably would bother me a lot less! My kids tell me chill a lot. No surprise, huh!
Carnival Glory 3/05 E. Caribbean
QE2 5/03 Bermuda