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Grazzt April 26th, 2012 04:23 AM

Write up of our 1st cruise!
Hello Everyone,

Over the next few days I will hopefully be able to write up my experience of my 1st cruise which was 4/15-4/22 on the Carnival Glory. It may take me a few days and I will go day by day for the most part.

Let me start with a general description. It was our honeymoon; we are in our early to mid-30s. We are not big nightlife types, granted we both work at night as RNs in ICUs. We don't smoke, and we don't drink alcohol, and never really ever gambled before. My wife is a health minded eater while I definitely take liberties. My wife loves the sun, can layout and read all day, I sunscreen and nap.

DAY 1;
Direct flight to Miami at 7am. Got to MIA at 930am. No Problems. MIA is massive, and I compare that to the next biggest airport I have been in which was Atlanta. We must have walked and taken monorails for about a mile just to get our baggage. It was a little confusing actually getting out there to wear the taxis were. The cool thing though flying into MIA we saw our ship from the air.

Taxi was about 15-20min with a flat rate of $25 to the terminal. We did see the Carnival Cruise shuttle meeting point. At first when I saw it I said I wish we did that. But once we made it outside, taxis were plentiful and it was quite easy.

Drop off at the terminal. Hordes of people I tell you. It was about 11am at this point. People leaving, new people coming. The taxi dropped us off and there we were, travel docs in hand, luggage tags printed and folded, and no clue what to do. 1st impulse was intimidation for me; my wife is less bothered by things like that. So we knew we needed to check the bags. We did not see signs or how-to's. So we followed the mob. We found a porter who took our bags, stapled the cruise tags on them. I gave him $3 tip, $1 per bag. No clue if we should tip or not so I did. We each kept a backpack.

Terminal phase 1; Boarding pass, passport, and security screen, a very large winding line. Again we followed the masses. 1st time I have flown since TSA type stuff, note to self, if you bring rolls of quarters, get them out or the digging through the bags happens. No problems there, just follow the masses, signs if they were there were missed. So many people.

Terminal phase 2; Inside and our 1st look at the Glory through the windows. Okay, These ships are massive, I know duh, but never seeing one up close and personal, they are massive. We had boarding docs printed out with our passports so got into a line for self-check-in. No problems there and a little slip of paper prints out and tells us to go to line B. We are seeing signs now. So in line B we go and move up until we get to the counter and there they give us a plastic zone 12 card and our sail and sign cards. No clue was zone 12 card was, but quickly figured it out. We sat for about 30minutes, the terminal filled up and they started to call zones for boarding. Either side of the terminal got us to the same place. Pre-cruise fun photo taken and on to the gangway.

Glory phase 1; On to the ship and into another large line. We get into the ship on deck 3 and they take our pictures tied to our cards. Lot’s our crew with “Ask Me” shirts on. Which was nice, but honestly I had no clue what to ask. I did not know what I did not know if that makes sense. We followed the masses. Cabin 6259 was ours. Instructed not to go there until after 130pm. This was stated on a Glory ship layout card given to us in the terminal. Off to deck 7 for lunch if we wanted. We wanted to so we went. Elevators we jammed and masses waited. We stair walked 98% of the cruise, the 2% was when my wife was wearing some new heels heh.

Deck 7 Lido; Open air and sunny, main outdoor activity area. Got in line for soda card and I bought a tumbler. 7day cruise = $60 soda sticker + $4 tumbler. (side note: I will never get the soda plan again. The lemonade, tea, water, coffee and juices were good and easy. Soda had to be ordered at bars and in lines. They would not give a can, so the tumbler was a good bet in that case. I am not knocking the plan, but did not come close to using the value.) Mass lines at the buffets, so again lines and waiting were not my problem at all, it was the what do we do or what are we supposed to do was the issue. After eating (side note: will talk about food later) we wandered the ship. We found our room, and met our steward, it was not 130pm yet so we were told not ready yet. We wandered, the shops, casino and so on were closed, droves of people lingered everywhere. We walked into the theater, and most places without issue. The Lido deck was slammed packed, mainly because that is pretty much where everyone goes during embarkation. It was the only thing really open and servicing people. It then was 130pm, and to the room we went. Done! We napped and it was good to be alone and quiet. We had a balcony so out we went and watch more and more people get on board. A bit staggering really.

Lower Platinum early dinning; Table number was on our card, cabin number was not. Took us a quick duh moment to realize why the cabin number was not on the card (aka room key) heh. Moving on… Our table was a set for 4, we were the 1st there. We met our main waiter and the rest of his team. Okay, they by far were the most enjoyable crew people we met the whole trip. We never thought once to ditch main dinning and go elsewhere for dinner because of them. They knew our names by the end of the meal and always greeted us with our names even if they saw us not in the dinning room. Outstanding, and again food review later. Our tablemates arrived, married couple about the same age, 2nd time cruisers, really fun. Next to us a family of 6 and to the other side a family of 4. We made friends with the family of 6 and our tablemates. The family of 4 was there the 1st night and never returned the rest of the cruise. After dinner we retreated to our cabin and turn down service was complete. Towel animal, chocolates (yum) and “Fun Times” and other info were on the bed waiting. Our 1st day was done and we were on our way.

Thoughts on Day 1; Confused at times, excited all the time, tired at times, lost most of the time. We were ready for coming days. No glitches at all, just the fact of not knowing. Welcome to 1st time cruising. Day 2 coming soon.

Donna April 26th, 2012 03:10 PM

So far, so good, awaiting the rest of the cruise. Do you have pics in the gallery?? I cruised on Glory a few years ago and had a ball....

TLCMTravels April 26th, 2012 06:39 PM

Exciting to hear! I too have been on the Glory and had a great time. Wish you well! :)

Mike M April 26th, 2012 06:48 PM

I'm looking forward to the more.

That first day can be quite "congested". The buffet is the "default" place to go and it can be quite the madhouse. After that it's usually ok, which I hope was what you found.

Take care,

Trip April 26th, 2012 06:57 PM

I'm so glad you took the time to contribute to Cruisemates. I too, want more. It's so nice to see a ship through newbies' eyes.

Grazzt April 27th, 2012 05:59 PM

Thanks everyone for reading. No photos up yet, but I can definitely put some up.

DAY 2; (Fun day at sea)
This day started with a kinda annoyed wife. I was sleeping soundly and was awakened with "get up it is almost noon, we slept through half the day." by my wife. I said there was no way we just slept 14hrs. She showed me the time on her iPhone, and it did say it was almost noon. I turned on the TV and flipped to the ship GPS station and we learned something very valuable: SHIP TIME. It seems iPhones and those types switched to GMT. It was in fact almost 8am ship time which was in this case EST. This was followed up with, "oh go back to sleep then, sorry." from my wife. This is important for 2 reasons; 1st, with the blackout curtains fully closed, even on a balcony cabin it is dark. 2nd, bring a watch that does not automatically update time zones.

Ship time became important because all the activities and schedules stay on this time including docking and departing times. We went through 3 different time zones on this cruise. This also made us relook at our cruise excursions. Following some advise here on Cruisemates, we did not book through Carnival. Those excursions stated all times were local times. Know that we would have timed them a little different. We timed them to give us about 2 hours to spare on getting back to the ship. In one case that meant we have about 15min to get back the ship. Carnival excursions follow ship time. so morning calls to guest services on port days asking for local time became the norm on port days. Funny 1st time cruise moment of the day was done, but we stayed up and got ready for the day and went to breakfast.

To deck 7 and the buffet. It was a good spread to say the least. Your classic choices mixed in with some I am not familiar with what that is choices. They switched the tea and lemonade dispensers with a choice of juices. We ate outside, because the restaurant inside had a nice AC going and my wife is very cold natured. It takes a little looking but never really had a problem finding a table for us. The day was beautiful and warming up.

By 10am we went to stake out to lounge chairs and well claim them early if that is your thing. All the "choice" chairs were long gone and we ended up a deck higher near the sports deck. Carnival has nice beach towels which were in the room waiting, and you can take off the ship, but in info packs warned not to lose them or $22 each, along with the robes at $55 each. Off to laying out we went. About an hour goes by and an announcement of bingo in the theater happens. I figured never played bingo before why not so I go.

Bingo in the theater, this was a special game it seems, a $1000 ship sopping spree ending at midnight. It cost $25, which gave me 1 sheet with 3 cards, and 1 Carnival version of a scratch off lotto ticket. I did not win on either heh. I don't think I would play $25 bingo again, there were $5 dollar games later in the week, but no more bingo. Right after bingo in the theater was a ship information meeting. I stayed and for an hour learned a few things like ship time, and a pitch for how to do a few things through different depts on the ship. Kinda felt like an info commercial, but for the record I do have a sad long history with As seen on TV. After that there was a how to shop at port seminar, I left. but our tablemates went and bought a $30 coupon book and made the most of it. Lots of free stuff if shopping is your thing, they found a great value in it, maybe give that a shot the next time. I may have bought it, if I didn't just pay for bongo heh.

Lunch at the buffet again, good choices again basically a repeat of breakfast. Then a bad moment / funny after the fact cruise moment. After laying out for another hour a plan of quick cool down dip in the general pool, listen to the band, and then go explore. We left our towels and flip flops at our chairs. The deck was standard beach sand warm, the outside stairs going down were 200 degrees. By step 3 of 8 my wife had literally jumped on my back and I painfully hotfooted down the stair in cartoonish fashion up to and including dunking our feet in the pool. All that was missing was the steam rising. I had charred feet that took 3 days of scrubbing to remove. Keep the flip flops on at all times when walking heh.

After we got back and cleaned up we hit the casino and lost about $20 in quarters on the slots, we marked off the we gambled box. It was fun though, we wandered and found the alternative dinning like the burrito bar, deli bar, saw people eating pizza and at this point had not found that. We wandered the shops. We napped and off to dinner. We saw a show in the theater that night and made plans to do that.

Dinner was great and our wait staff got to know us better. We noticed the overall pace of dinner went a lot smoother this time around. Also, there was stronger winds tonight and for the 1st time we "felt" the ship. It affected my wife a bit but she did well, her 1st time sea sick. she can take roller coasters without problem all day, never car sick and so on. This got her a little. Off to the show which was listed as PG, singing and dancing variety. the theater was packed. The show opened with girls in a little less than bikinis, thongs, heels, a few feathers. This didn't really change throughout the show and there definitely a sexual theme going on, and by the 3rd dance we noticed many of the families with children had departed. We enjoyed the show for the most part. Wife was still feeling the ship. Show ended and some Dramamine gave us the end of our day. Next stop was Cozumel.

Thoughts of Day 2;
Much slower and relaxed, the crowds dispersed compared to day 1. Lido deck was still the place to be though. Sea sickness took us off guard. For a new cruiser I had not found much of the "included with fare" activities yet, everything seemed to be added costs and they were really featured and pushed. Time also seemed to fly. A good relaxing day and a good get your bearing time.

Grazzt April 29th, 2012 03:46 AM

DAY 3; Cozumel, Mexico
Our 1st port of call! We woke up and had breakfast. The ship at this point was so much easier to navigate after wandering the day before. It was 1hr behind ship time there. We had set up an excursion to Nachi Cocom Beach Resort. We docked and it was very quick and easy to disembark. We took our ship cards and DLs. They kept announcing to bring a photo ID. We left the passports in the room safe. The odd thing was we never needed to show our DLs to get back on or off the ship in any port. I guess it was kind of a failsafe measure.

We are on the dock and there are plenty of chances for Carnival photos to be taken with an assorted cast of characters and signs. Even on the dock I finally felt that I was indeed in another country. It was very cool. We walked through a long duty free shop which you had to. Liquor, liquor and more liquor mixed with everything else you pretty much could find in the ship’s shops for pretty much the same prices. We exited into a “tourist trap” of shops and it was GREAT! Again this was not like going to the beach in the USA and hitting gift shops. This was colorful, fun, and I am not the shopper. It was clean and until you actually went into a store the vendors pretty much left you alone. We were not mobbed or hassled at all. Some of the shops seem to be in every port. Del Sol, Diamond International were the main two. We wandered the shops, and made some mental notes of things to buy on the way back to the ship. We made it to the end and walked out of the area and that is where the city of Cozumel became real. Good ole city traffic, people yelling for us to come to their stores, horse carriage tours REALLY wanting you to go with them. We walked the street some saw some the local street food and decided to go to the beach.

We went back in the terminal area and there was a taxi stand and lines of taxis waiting. A sign gave rates and Nachi Cocom was $15. Off we went. We book this outside of Carnival. It was a day on a strip of beach, beach chairs and our own palpa, all the drinks we wanted and full lunch. I will try and get pictures up. We got there and it was good that I had read reviews beforehand. One thing common to all the reviews was the front gate area left much to be desired, but inside was beautiful. It had stormed that night so the water was a bit dark, warm and calm though. The sand did not get hot even though I think it was more crushed shells. We made a deal to drink some here since it was included. Drinks that we heard of but never had, daiquiris, pina coladas, rum punch, sex on the beach and so on. We each had 4-5 over the course of the day, plus a supply of bottled water. We met some other Carnival cruisers though from different ships. There were 3 docked that day. Lots of fun, we had some authentic Mexican food which was great. Carlos was our waiter and we were never without drinks or food. We ate right on the beach under our palpa. This was a vacation. My wife sunned, and I stayed in the water for a few hours. At Nachi Cocom, you could rent jet skies, go parasailing, go snorkeling, all for extra costs. The beach was awesome for us. We spent the day and had a blast. When we wanted to leave, Carlos called us a cab and back to the terminal area with about an hour before the ship left.

We bought some $1 handmade maracas, some shirts, found two actual pairs of Oakleys for $20 total on the tower of glasses. This was the also the biggest place for the coupon book our tablemates bought. I think she got 5-6 free jewelry pieces, a couple of totes and what not. We walked back through the duty free long shop and back aboard. It was a great day. We watched the ship leaving port and then on to dinner. After dinner we retreated back to the room and just sat on the balcony under the moon.

Thoughts of Day 3;
We called it a complete success and had a great time. Our first port of call was more than we thought and we had high hopes. The navigating the ship was almost automatic now. Our wait staff at dinner truly learned us and had coffee and soda waiting for my wife and I without asking. Things just seemed to click.

sun~ April 30th, 2012 01:25 PM

Great review!

Have you posted some photos yet?

Grazzt May 2nd, 2012 11:12 PM

DAY 4; Belize
Our truly rainy day, all day part of the trip, also our 1st tender to shore . We did not have anything planned for this day, so after a slow start and long breakfast we went to the theater which was tender number pick up place. We were in the last group to get numbers before a general just go to the gangway. The way there we sat in the center, and those on the sides with plastic sleeves down got soaked. It was about a 20min trip to the port. This port had a different feel. Smaller less developed with many of the shops smaller than out stateroom. They did have a chocolate factory right there and could tour which was fun and good local chocolate. We didn’t leave the port shop area and covered it very slowly in about 2hrs.

Back to the ship we went, one thing I noticed from the tender captains and crew was great enthusiasm for their country. It seemed they truly felt bad for the weather and didn’t want people to think there was not so much more about the country. It was nice to see and hear. I would definitely try and do more should I ever visit Belize again.

We went back to the stateroom and watched a movie. Each day there were 3 movies playing for free all day, 2 adult movie such as Lord of the Rings, The Aviator and what not, and 1 child friendly movie like the Lion King, or the chipmunk movies.

At dinner our tablemates had went cave tubing, and it seems the rain stayed on the shore, and about 30min inside it was sunny, go figure. They had a blast and recommended it. They went through Carnival. Also, this night was a magician show in the theater. We went to that and it was great. Also I should note this was the 1st of 2 elegant night (aka formal) I would say of who we saw 90% were dressed in suits and dresses. We did. We just bought a garment bag for this trip, and it could one of the best pieces of luggage you can get. It can store a good amount of clothes which left room in our other bags. We turned in early.

Thoughts of day 4;
In all cruises some rain must fall. Well maybe not, but this was a rainy day and an unplanned day so a slow day. Now while we may seem boring a little, it was our honeymoon, enough said heh. To be more clear this was not a bad day, we did get good rest which was nice.

Grazzt May 2nd, 2012 11:13 PM

Also, no photos yet. I am in the process of moving so I am using work computer. I will get some up though.

Grazzt May 2nd, 2012 11:44 PM

DAY 5; Roatan
Sunny day and an unplanned day again, and we had in our mind the same kind of day we had for Belize. This port was a walk off. First, off I think Mahogany Bay is pretty much a Carnival Cruise built area. Looking at it from our balcony was nice. It was very pretty. For beach lovers, I would recommend going early. We who did not know much waited until late morning. At this point were becoming very use to the “tourist trap” shopping areas at each port. This one was the most maintained. It just looked and felt good. Shops where some you have seen before, with a mix of local crafters. Prices were on par with Cozumel which was a little less than Belize.

“The Magical Flying Beach Chair”, okay it looks cool, we were game to take it until it said $12 per person for all day pass. I had read pre cruise it was $5. Well, let me put it to you like this; we got out of line and walked to the beach and beat people just getting on there. A 6-8min ride vs a 3min normal walk. Yes, the beach was right there. Now if it were $5 we would have done just to get the arial view, $24 was right out. We did not plan of going back and forth much.

The beach, white sand and PACKED, there were 2 Carnival ships docked. Again we went later, so the scores upon scores of beach chairs were in use. Most of the beach line was also used. We found a spot close to the water edge, we laid our Carnival towels down and that is were we stayed. My wife laid out, and I went into the water. It was warm and clear, mild waves and just oh so nice. We didn’t go to the beach bars and what not there. You could rent manpowered watercraft and go out on the inlet. We planned to, but it was a very popular option and again there were a lot of people. So sun, beach and water for us and had a blast. After we were done we left and shopped a little and walked back to the ship. A fun beach day without any planning.

Dinner and another musical show what on tap for the night. The music revues did not equal the magic show.

Thoughts of Day 5;
If you notice I am writing less about the ship at this point. Getting around was second nature, all the hidden food areas found, the ship routine was known. This was achieved by the end of the Belize day with the location of the Fish and Chips station heh. For this day again a low stress, low cost beach day without excursion. You could rent cabanas and certain packages at the beach through Carnival, but not sure about the true value in that. Just another good day.

OklaCruiserMom May 4th, 2012 04:59 PM

Despite the lack of pictures, I am loving this review. Definitely lets the reader know what it feels like to be a newbie. I am getting a little nervous, because my first cruise is in only 3 weeks. (Finally!) Congrats on your marriage. Looking forward to reading more of your review!

Grazzt May 7th, 2012 02:59 AM

DAY 6; Grand Caymans
Okay, I need to get the bias out. This was the port I was looking forward to the most. Most the Cruise was leaning in favor of my wife, this was my day. This port was an hour behind. We chartered a 18ft Boston Whaler speed boat for 4hrs through Scotch Bonnet Charters. A little pricey for just 2 people, the price could have included up to 4 others to split the cost. I would 100% charter again with just me if that helps. The freedom for a private craft taking us anywhere we wanted to go dodging crowds and mobs was beyond worth the cost.

The charter started at noon and was for 4 hours. This gave us time to eat, wait for the tender and get some shopping done. The tenders here were much bigger and the trip much shorter than Belize. The weather was beautiful and we were ready to go. We saw a “pirate ship” in route, along with US Coast Guard Cutter at the pier when we got there. The pier shops were probably the least appealing out of all the ports, a lot of tent merchants, but a great big candy store. We headed out pretty quickly and walked the streets. Cars went fast, but this place just felt safe over all. Within 5 minutes of walking you could look over railings and see large colorful fish in the water, crabs on the rocks, and lizards in the brush, it was very cool. Lots of malls and high end shops, some standard themed restaurants and bars, and open air craft markets gave a lot of shopping options.

On to the charter; We met our guide which I will nickname CbFBG (Crazy but Fun Boat Guy). A smile and welcome, beyond friendly and talkative, in to his SUV and off to his boat. We stopped at a grocery store real quick to pick up some snacks at our request. He had bottle water, sodas, and squid on board. It took about 15minutes to get there. We passed mansions and pretty sure a modern castle, along with the other side of the income spectrum. We briefly saw the island the locals live in every day. CbFBG asked us what kind of day we had in mind, and we yielded to him. He had a day already planned out just for that choice. Stingray City, snorkeling on the reef, Rum Point and beach time, Starfish Beach, mangrove tour, drive back to the pier. This was about 3 different tours through Carnival, so I think a better value.

A fast ride out to Stingray City. Into the water we went alongside a half dozen large excursion ferry type boats. A couple hundred people in the water at once, so we went a little off from the mobs and found a stingray a plenty. Into the water we went including CbFBG. Squid in hand we wrangled stingrays for about 30min. I loved this, wife scared but handled it well. Big fish swimming around us while we stood on the sand bar. CbFBG went diving around and found a live conch, sea cumber we held. When we had our time and other boats were coming and going we left and a quick ride to a reef. Snorkeling gear provided and for about 30min we did that for the 1st time. I think we did pretty well. We saw so many fish and colors. Back aboard, a less nice ride to Rum Point. This was more a beach resort type area, not really our scene, but the half mile of deserted white sand beach we walk was incredible. No crowds, no hassles, just sun and sand and the 2 of us. CbFBG dropped us off at the docks and we just walk, he met us at the other end of the beach. Yup one of those holding hands walking down the beach moments, and it was just us, a local’s secret type of thing. Then to Starfish beach and yes it is not a tricky name. There were starfish and again CbFBG went looking around and brought back starfish of different colors and sizes, some were huge. Again no crowds. The whole time he spoke about the island, himself when asked, he asked about us, just great company. A slow trip through the mangroves, sea life and beautiful birds was just perfect ending to our boat ride. Oh funny thing was no matter where we were in the water we saw the ship. The ship was the biggest / tallest thing around this island. Back to the pier and sad goodbye to CbFBG and back to the tenders. 4 hours went by so fast, but not 1 minute seemed wasted. Back on the ship, clean up and dinner time a great day.

Thoughts of the day;
I would absolutely recommend getting a private charter if you want to make the most out your time in this port. We had heard shopping was best in the Caymans, they did have a lot, but the prices seemed higher. I give you the quick story of the hat. I saw a hat that I wanted to buy back in Cozumel. I held off. Then I saw it in Belize, and it was about $5 more expensive. I held off. In Roatan, I found the hat and same price as in Cozumel. Yup, I held off. Grand Cayman, the same hat cost $15 more than Cozumel. So no hat. We waited to shop, and found it more costly. So, in the end we bought less.

Grazzt May 10th, 2012 10:19 PM

DAY 7 : Fun day at sea
So the day started out normal, but the added fact that our vacation was near the end made it a little sad. Next, it was not the best of days, very cloudy and windy, a little rain from time to time. We wandered the shops, looked at all of our photos by Carnival. We did not buy any, seemed pricey for digital stuff, and well we took pictures. The only plan we had tonight was going to the steakhouse for dinner. A relaxing day to say the least, and more than 1 nap happened.

The steakhouse, or Emerald Room. This was $30 extra per person. We dressed up in our finest and went to the top of the ship. It felt like a nice restaurant, French maitre'd greeting us and showing us to our table. Our waitress introduced and got our drink orders. We were told plan for 2-3hrs for total dinner time. It was not packed at all, maybe 8-10 couples out of 30-40 tables. It was quiet. Gaining some insights from out tablemates when knew this, order the cheesecake, you only get 1 entrée, get any and all the salads / appetizers you want.

Now, I love a good steakhouse, and this one was great. You hear about beef that melts in your mouth, well the 14oz NY strip did just that. I had table prepared caesar salad, my wife a standard garden, they brought out tastings from the chief. I got a soup and my wife got something else heh. My wife got a chicken dish, I wish I could remember what else we got. I loved it all, and ate all of mine and pretty much all of my wife’s. For health conscious eaters, not the best place. For us would and do indulge from time to time, wonderful. Great breads as well. Everything here just screamed and tasted better quality than the dinning room, and I loved the dinning room. The cheesecake was light and no joke about 8 inches tall. The best cheesecake I ever had, granted I took it back to my room because I was beyond stuffed. One question we had was do we tip, we tried to see if some people would finished left tips. They didn’t. When done we were given a bill to sign from off our sign and sail card. We didn’t tip, not because of service, which was great, but we saw the 18% added already. There was a musical review that night which was on par with the rest. Thus ended our full days at sea.

Thoughts of day;
The steakhouse was a great 1 time event for me. The food was incredible, but not the type my wife would eat so she smiled and enjoyed that I enjoyed. What she did eat she liked, but for the extra cost not really worth it. Second, in hindsight, I would not have picked our last dinner night to go here. We missed saying goodbye to our servers. We said goodbye to our tablemates and others around us the night before. It would have been a better end if we were there. With the weather not the best, a storm was hitting Miami, and it turned out followed home to VA it was an inside day. But seeking relaxation is was not bad.

Next will be disembarkation day, and a food review, then my review will be complete.

Snoozeman May 17th, 2012 06:07 AM

Great review. :)

lisacan May 17th, 2012 07:02 AM

Wow. Don't you have pics after you entered the ship after all that congestion while boarding. I like the creative idea of "ASK" me t-shirts. Pretty unique idea.:D

Grazzt May 29th, 2012 02:53 AM

Disembarkation Day;
We were given basically 3 options. 1st if we had a Miami excursion that they are 1st to leave. 2nd was the carry your stuff off the ship method which you could leave anytime. Lastly, was the leave your bags outside your room by 10pm and they pick it up and you are given a time to disembark. Figuring we had some heavy bag we chose the 3rd option. We were given 10am, which was the second to last time slot.

We ate breakfast, and by 9am the buffet was closed. Drinks and ice cream was the last things available. It was sunny so we hung out on the lido deck and waited. Ship was so barren by the time they called us. We had no problem making our way off the ship and headed down to our bags and Customs. Baggage claim was just like an airport. Custom had 2 lines, 1 for American citizens and 1 for non citizens if I read the signs correctly. Took about 30minutes after getting bags to get through Customs. A filled out form for each of us and a passport and done. Bags in hand we came into the same chaos as day 1, with hordes coming and going. We waited in a taxi line. A van picked us up and the driver combined us with another couple going to airport. He said $25 for each couple. We disputed right away and he yielded quickly. To the airport and the 9pm flight we had booked. Yup 9pm. In hindsight we would have taken a 4-6hr excursion through Carnival but we didn’t. They would have gotten us where ever and to the airport while watching our bags in between. It was about noon when we got there. Bleh on the long airport wait, but that was our only miss planning for the week.

Thoughts of the day;
Our 1st cruise was done, and we were sad. My wife like the disconnect from home, no phones, just us, sun, fun, and relaxation. I enjoyed what I heard most non cruise fans disliked, structure of vacation. I like not having to plan meals, coming up with what are we going to do today. It was really pretty much carefree in a sandbox type environment. We are already planning our next one. We are officially cruisers now, not veterans by any means, but definitely fans.

Food review;
I know I asked this question to a lot of people before cruising, how is the food? Well I now can answer it myself, in a word great. I am not a foodie, a good meal to me a nice steak at Outback, or some home grilling. I say this because I heard other guests complaining about how this or that was not good, and I simply enjoyed it. I have not been very adventurous when it comes to eating, I made it a point to change that on this cruise.

Buffet offered good pancakes, french toast, sausage and other meats of various types, cereal, fresh fruit galore. There was always a few things you just don’t see in my mind on a standard American kitchen table. I never was lacking of options, nor was my wife who is a very regimented eater. This was her favorite meal of the day just for the options alone. We learned near the end of the cruise that we could have eaten in the main dinning room if we had chosen to. We stuck to the buffet.

Okay lunch had so many options for me, I never ate that the same place twice when on the ship. Fish and Chips, Burrito place, Deli place which my wife ate every day, Pizza place, buffet itself, grill fare station, stir fry station, incredible. I am not sure how anyone could not like this the variety for lunch. Food would be equal to any decent to good restaurant fare. Our food was always hot and many way made to order right there for you. The trick is finding these places early. I did not find the Fish and Chips until our last day at sea.

I already raved about our wait staff, and I will do it again. They made dinner experience excellent for us. Never once did we even think room service or buffet because of them. This was my adventure time. Each night they had a usual menu option in the appetizer section. I had shark, alligator, oyster Rockefeller, a cheese plate, cold strawberry soup, and so on. Each night I pick the weird one and a safe one. The only one I didn’t like was the oyster Rockefeller. For entre, I never picked the norm. I tried things I heard about but never was willing to try. To me on a food level it seems a cruise is built for this kind of eating. If you don’t like get something else, just that simple. They didn’t have a lot of super healthy fare my wife eats though. She was pretty much limited by her eating habit to 1 or 2 dishes for the entire cruise. Luckily, she has no issue what so ever about eating grilled chicken and backed potato every day. Again, breakfast was her thing. Deserts were great, the best was this bitter and blanc concoction which I would recommend everyone get to at least try. I could have eaten this every day, but it was only offered once. The one I was most disappointed in was the baked Alaska. I saw it on the menu one night boom. Well it did not taste bad, but it was not true baked Alaska as I remember eating in my youth. Kind of sad really. The sugar free deserts were just plain funny and not very good. My wife had fruit. The funniest two were the cheesecake and pumpkin pie. I am pretty sure if I had dropped them, they would have bounced. I never had the melting cake, which was there every night. I usually opted to the out of the norm stuff.

I wrote about this on our last full day at sea.

Room service;
Okay I had a not so great time with them. It was 11pm we got kinda hungry so we tried to order room service. My thoughts was a cheese pizza, some lemonade, and some fruit. After being on hold for 15minutes, which I completely understand and I am not an impatient person, I placed my order and got a resounding no for the order taker. We don’t serve any of that. Now I was a little panicked, for the fact of I had no clue what to order and I hate wasting people’s time. So I ask what do you serve, in about 3 seconds he rattled off about 10 different things. I ended up a turkey sandwich only, and my wife had to fend for herself heh. We were told 45min. So we waited, and my sandwich arrived with a smile and I gave $2 tip. I didn’t eat the sandwich because it was covered in mayo, not a big fan. So we went and got pizza, fruit and lemonade and it took us 20minutes there and back heh. We thought it odd there was nothing around to tell us about room service. Well, our last night while packing, we found in one of the drawers a laminated sheet about the room service menu. So it is there, and we found a few things we would have ordered. Now we know.

Thoughts on food;
We didn’t really know what to expect, we had good reviews and bad ones before going. In the end I thought it was great. My wife again being very health conscious was pretty limited in her choices, but she is use to it and prepared for it. So all in all the food was great and gave us each truly good to purely fine dinning.

Grazzt May 29th, 2012 02:57 AM

Thank you for reading if you got this far heh. I hope any part of this can help new cruisers at all. I will enjoy seeing what a 2nd time cruising trip will be like for me. I will also post some pictures and let this thread now when.

Thanks to Cruisemates, I had some foresight into how to cruise. This site and people writing are truly a valuable resourse!

Donna May 29th, 2012 06:39 AM

Hi Graz,
I had a feeling you would fall in love with cruising and want to go again..While they are not perfect, they are darn close to it, welcome back.

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