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Old June 6th, 2007, 02:28 PM
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Default Carnival Glory Review / May 26 - June 2 / Eastern Caribbean

Here's my review of Carnival Glory - Eastern Caribbean - May 26!

The sailors: Me (Beth), Husband (Justin), Brother-in-Law (Jay), Parents-in-Law (Phyllis and Jim), Aunt and Uncle (Carol and Steve) - 7 total.

The trip: 7-day trip around the Eastern Caribbean on Carnival Glory out of Port Canaveral, Florida. Stops at Nassau, Bahamas; St. Thomas, USVI; and St. Maarten, DWI. The room was a balcony cabin #9241, booked through Carnival.

The background: This was our 6th cruise on Carnival, and second cruise on this week (Memorial Day week) with the same group of 7. Second time stopping at each port. We had a little fun building a surprise on this trip - Jay is active duty Air Force, and we only get to see him once a year or so depending on his orders. So we thought we'd play a little trick on Phyllis and Jim and surprise them on the boat with Jay's presence. So he told them he was "on the hook," meaning he wasn't allowed to travel far away from base, so he couldn't make this trip. So I secretly booked him after we booked our three primary cabins.

Booking was easy - did it over the phone the first week of January. Got the past guest discounts for three balcony cabins right in a row, and we were able to go ahead and book 9th floor (Lido Deck) cabins. As we didn't want to be separated, we chose to go ahead and pick the rooms. Booked Jay on the military discount for the cheapest rate possible for a single traveler. I kept calling to see if the rates had lowered (as they had on previous trips) but they actually went up! So we got the best rate possible, I believe.

Cruise Time: We drove to Port Canaveral from Tennessee, about a 10- or 11-hour drive. We drove down the day before sailing, which was the Friday prior to Memorial Day. TRAFFIC!! I-95 was packed, but we still made good time. Spent Friday night at the Radisson at the port on the cruise package where we could park our car for the week. Driving down was a hoot with Phyllis calling us throughout the day to see where we were, then calling Jay to say hello - thinking he was in New Mexico. (Phyllis, Jim, Steve, and Carol left town early that morning, but Justin had to put in a couple of hours at the office, so we left around lunch time.) We were plotting our reveal all the way with lots of fun ideas to surprise them. The early group stayed at a different hotel in Cocoa Beach, but they called us to tell us that their hotel was a sister to the Radisson, and they were coming to our hotel to park the car and ride the shuttle. There went all our plans for a fun reveal on the boat! There would be no way to avoid them if they were running around our hotel.

Once we got to the Radisson around 10:00 Friday night, I was able to book the three of us on the 12:30 shuttle the next day - the same as everyone else in the family. The next morning, we woke up to light rain, but it cleared off fairly quickly. Had breakfast at the hotel buffet - lots of stuff both hot and cold. Hotel was lovely (Sleep Number beds!), pool area was great, staff was friendly. We decided to go ahead and let the cat out of the bag. That way if we had to stand in line for debarkation, at least we would have more people to stand with and something funny to talk about! As luck would have it, we have a cousin who lives in Cocoa Beach who was visiting Phyllis on Saturday morning. So we used her as an excuse to show up at their hotel. Justin and I walked into the room to say hello, and Jay came in a few minutes later. Everyone was shocked, stunned, and so excited. He has spent lots of time in Okinawa, Iraq, Bahrain, and all over, so we always look forward to getting to be together as an entire family.

So now we are all together and ready to cruise! Parking at the Radisson is easy, and getting on the shuttle was very organized. They had a list of names and numbers in parties and called us out to get on the bus. It was a mid-size bus, so it wasn't a million people. We were able to leave the Radisson on time, and it was a 5 minute ride to Port.

Embarkation: Embarkation was very smooth! We got off the shuttle, turned in our bags to the porters, and got in line by 12:40. Line was long and started outside, BUT we never stopped moving. I don't mind a line as long as it moves! We showed cruise tickets, went through security, up an escalator to the cattle lines, checked in, got our photos taken, and were on board by 1:10. Justin and I traveled on birth certificates rather than passports and had absolutely no problems. When we checked in to get our Sail and Sign cards, we did an express check-in where they didn't take our credit card info in the terminal, rather instructed us to go to the dining room once we got on board. We didn't request it or go to a special line, so I don't know how or why we were chosen for that. Wasn't a big deal though - there was no one in line to do the credit card in the dining room, so that was easy.

The Room: We've done balconies for all but two cruises and won't ever do anything but. We're very spoiled! The room was very similar to other balcony rooms by way of size and layout. We had a king bed, sofa, table, etc. There was a mini-bar with plenty of fridge room. Only one electrical outlet in the room at the countertop. Took a shower that evening before dinner, and the drain was exceedingly slow. Water ran out all over the bathroom floor. Called maintenance and it was fixed within 10 minutes - no more trouble the rest of the week.

Day One: Embarkation and exploration. Got ready for dinner and started feeling seasick. The boat was moving quite a bit. I haven't been seasick since our first cruise, and that was in very stormy water. So I just laid in bed while everyone else went to dinner. I took the pills available through room service and felt a thousand times better when I woke up around midnight. Everyone who went to dinner enjoyed what they ate though!

Day Two: Nassau, Bahamas. This was an abbreviated day in port, so we decided to just get off the boat and walk around the nearby streets and straw market. Straw market had pretty much the exact same stuff in every booth - fake designer handbags, floral dresses, etc. We popped into Senor Frogs for a couple of drinks then just headed back to the boat. Laid out on the deck the rest of the day to get a head start on the tan. For dinner that night, I had the chicken dish that was on the Spa Selections. I do not recommend it. It was dry and completely tasteless. Everyone else loved their entrees though! The Warm Chocolate Melting Cake was fab!

Day Three: Day at Sea. Weather was great - sprinkled once. Had no problem finding chairs together on the deck around 9:30 or so. Activities at the pool were fun and we had a nice, relaxing day. Went to the comedian that night - hilarious! The Amber Palace was packed for every show throughout the week. I'm not a song-and-dance show kind of person, so I can't comment on that part of the entertainment. But all the comedians were absolutely wonderful. Formal night for dinner. I had the filet mignon - ordered medium but came out well. I'm not a complainer, so I ate it anyway. I don't eat seafood, but Justin always did. He loved everything he ate.

Day Four: St. Thomas. Wonderful weather again. HOT. Pulled into port at Charlotte Amalie along with Carnival Liberty. When we were in St. Thomas two years ago, we just went into town and found one of the local guys who gave an island tour. This time we wanted to hit up St. John. So we took a taxi to Red Hook to catch the ferry. Taxi was $10 per person and was about a 20 minute ride. Ferry terminal was hot and semi-deserted. We had to wait a little while for the next boat, but there were a couple of food trailers there. Banana smoothie was fab. Ferry ride was $4 per person and was about 15 minutes to Cruz Bay on St. John. At the St. John port we found a guy to give us an island tour. 2 hours all around the island for $25 a person, and the 7 of us were the only ones on the truck. We prefer going in a small group of just us, so that we can stay at places we like a little longer. Tour guide (Archie) was great - learned a lot of history, saw the forest (amazing), the old 19th century Annaberg sugarcane refineries, a couple of beaches, several things. It was great! We could have stayed at a beach for a while, but chose to just head on back. Back at Cruz Bay on St. John, we took a different ferry that went straight into Charlotte Amalie rather than back to Red Hook. This boat ride took longer, as we had to go all the way around the island, but it was a comfortable boat and a pleasant, beautiful ride for $10 each. Back in town we walked around a bit and had a couple of drinks, but everything started closing. So we grabbed a $3 per person taxi back to the boat.

Day Five: St. Maarten. We love St. Maarten! Two years ago we went to Orient Beach, so we knew we wanted to go back. Took a water taxi ($4 each) from the boat to Philipsburg - very short ride. Walked around town for an hour or so (found GREAT liquor deals, and they delivered to the boat), then grabbed a taxi right in town. There were tons of taxi vans driving up and down the street. Charge was $6 per person round trip to go from downtown to Orient Beach and back to the cruise terminal. We asked our driver to pick us back up at 4:00, and he was there right as scheduled! We set up camp at Club Orient where they rent chairs and umbrellas for $6 each. So two chairs and the umbrella were $18. Weather was glorious, even though one dark cloud passed by. Beach was beautiful, and we were on the clothing optional side. Everyone was so friendly. The bar right there on the beach made great drinks (try the Orient Express), and happy hour was from 12-1:30 where all drinks were 2-for-1! They also had a grill with great food. Burger, fries, and slaw for $10.50. Bathroom facilities right there behind the bar. Perfect day on the beach.

Day Six: Day at Sea. By 9:00 all the deck chairs were "taken" by shoes, towels, and books. Though maybe only 10% had a body in them. I'm not fussy, so we just headed up to the top deck. The Glory does have a top optional deck, though it wasn't really advertised as such. Just a sign on the way up that says "Adults 21 and over only." This deck was completely empty when we went up, so we were able to get 7 chairs together. Weather was great all day! This was second formal night, food was fab again. Comedian that night was hilarious.

Day Seven: Day at Sea. We decided to go back up to the top deck again as we enjoyed being able to spread out and not be sitting 6 inches from people we don't know. Plenty of room again. I didn't lay out this day, as I burned a little the day before. So I spent the day doing some laundry, playing blackjack, and reading. Weather was kinda overcast and cloudy during the day. Got packed up so we could enjoy the last evening at dinner and playing cards.

Debarkation: We did the self-assist debarkation and headed off the boat around 9:00. Debarkation was very organized and flowed smoothly. Lines again, but we didn't stop moving. We were in the car at the Radisson by 10:00 and on our way home. We had someone extra with us on the way home - Barry the Tropical Storm. Ugh it was a nightmare. Horrendous rain and strong winds up I-95. I somehow wound up driving during the most hideous parts. It finally stopped raining about an hour and a half away from home.

Odds and Ends: The service and staff on the Glory were the best that I have encountered in six cruises. And I've never had bad ones - just that these were way fabulous! Room Steward was Florin. He introduced himself immediately and anticipated our needs without our having to ask for them. He asked about me when I was sick and was always nearby when we needed him. Head waitress Rima was great, and assistant waiter Pande was the best I've ever had. Our glasses NEVER got below half empty, and he knew what we wanted without having to ask. Wee Jimmy was a hoot and knew when he was being cheesy, so he played it up. He actually interacted with the guests and was the first cruise director that I actually saw more than once. He seemed so genuine and down-to-earth, and is a great example of a success story for someone who works hard.

We had the latest dining time possible - 8:30. We normally like a later seating so that we don't have to rush in from the ports or from the deck to get ready. But by the time we were eating our entrees, it was 9:15. That's just a bit late for us. Food was good. Things I remember loving were the southwestern eggrolls, the tomato soup, Beef Wellington, amaretto cake, chicken quesadilla, the half chicken, and maybe others. I loved all the different ways they made potatoes. Everyone who had seafood loved it all. The mahi mahi was a larger portion than anticipated. We didn't do the Emerald Room cause we wanted to all stay together and figured we'd just enjoy the dining room.

As mentioned above, there was a topless deck, which we were happy to see. Not because we like to gawk, but because we really enjoy getting away from screaming kids and being able to spread out and walk around easily. The bar waiters came up only sporadically though.

The ages of the guests were all over the board, but probably the youngest of the cruises we've taken. Several people our age (early 30s), many more teenagers than I remember, good groups of kids, pretty much all over the age spectrum.

We had a problem with the sprinkler in our cabin leaking. Every 5-10 minutes it would drip heavily and make a puddle on the floor. This first started happening on the second day, and I called guest services about it. They told me that it was a pressure problem that affected several cabins. They called the next day to make sure it stopped, which it had. But then started again. So we went back and forth, but it never stopped. Luckily the sprinkler was not over our bed or sofa, so it just went into the floor. The wet spot was annoying, but again - not complainers. So we lived with it.

Shower pressure was great - that's important to me. hahaha! The water temp remained constant throughout my showers.

We took three bottles of liquor on in our luggage. We didn't disguise it in water bottles or anything - just wrapped it in tshirts and stuck it in the suitcase. Didn't have a problem. We still bought plenty of drinks on the boat - at least $500 worth, but we saved some by bringing our own.

Went to the casino, and I ended the week right where I started, which is an improvement! I figured out on the last cruise that I am better at blackjack than three-card poker. Better still at no-limit Hold 'Em, but the table was limit, which I don't care for. There were a couple of no-limit tournaments, but not at convenient times for me. Justin and Jay tried to play, but seating is very limited and fills up FAST. I suggest talking to the casino host to find out the best time to get in line for signing up. We play at home all the time, so it wasn't a huge disappointment. I had gone up and down at the blackjack tables and got down to my last $40. Hit a hot streak, turned it into the $200 that I started out with, and called it a week! I play the very low stakes, so it was fun. Watched one guy lose $1000 on one hand though. Painful. He played it right, dealer got lucky!

Justin and Jay loved the fish and chips line. They ate there every day, and as many have mentioned, the line got progressively longer as the week went on and more people found it! It is on the second floor of the Red Sail Restaurant. Fried fish, fries, and chips every day as well as a fried calamari, zucchini, and onion concoction that they loved. It was open for lunch only.

We found a good deal on beer the next to last day. Most domestic beers were $5 tip and all for a 16-ounce. Discovered that Foster's has a 24-ounce can for $6 tip and all. Half as much more to drink for only a buck more.

Overall it was an absolutely perfect vacation. I got a nice tan, got to spend time with the family, laughed my butt off, and drank more than I have since my college days!

We would definitely sail the Glory again, and in fact some of our college crew is planning on taking the exact same route this December and is trying to get us to go. I'm sure we'll wind up going.... Closer to that Platinum status!
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Carnival Glory / Eastern Caribbean - May 2007
Carnival Miracle / Western Caribbean - September 2006
Carnival Victory / Eastern Caribbean - May 2005
Carnival Fantasy / Bahamas - April 2002
Carnival Sensation / Western Caribbean - October 2000
Carnival Paradise / Western Caribbean - January 1999
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Old June 6th, 2007, 02:37 PM
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Thank you so much for the review.. Your cruise sounded perfect.
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Old June 6th, 2007, 03:52 PM
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Beth;
Thanks for the great review. We loved the Glory in Feb. We were on the Western route. Hope to do the Eastern next year in the Fall.
Thanks Again.
Gary
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Old June 7th, 2007, 09:09 AM
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Thanks for the review. sailing out in two days (Sat 9th) on the Glory and can't wait! Sounds like a great ship with a wonderful crew.
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