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Nancy Davis

Age: 48

Occupation:Self-Employed

Number of Cruises: 11

Cruise Line: Carnival

Ship: Carnival Glory

Sailing Date: 2008-12-20

Itinerary: Eastern Caribbean

My husband and I are veteran cruisers with Princess and Royal Caribbean. This was our first (and LAST) Carnival cruise. Our family booked for a Christmas cruise and two of our family had cruised Carnival on a 14-day Panama Canal cruise and enjoyed it alot so we went with Carnival. Embarkation was very well organized and went quickly as we had VIP status since some of us were in suites. They also let the other members of our party embark with us even though they did not have the VIP stamp which was very nice. We understood there would be alot of families so we were not surprised at the number of kids on the cruise (1,000 of the 3,000 passengers) though we were very disappointed in Carnival's false advertising of "adults only" areas. One evening about 9:00 my husband and I decided to go to the "adults only" jacuzzi and found a Camp Carnival Marco Polo game of teenage boys in the adjoining pool and the jacuzzi was filled with teenage girls. We asked the Camp Carnival person on-site why they were there as it was "adults only" and her only response was that they would be done in 20 minutes. The same area during the day was packed with kids, and when we asked again we were brushed off saying that Carnival is a family cruise line. I have to say the majority of the staff were wonderful, they tried their best to make our cruise a great experience.
Two worlds - The Emerald Supper Club was in one word - Fantastic! We ate there two nights and the food and service were impeccable. Definitely worth the $30. Don't miss the chocolate tarte dessert!! The food on the rest of the ship - one word - inedible. My son who is in the Air Force said the food at basic training was better. The Red Sail buffet was just awful, salads were wilted, their "international" side had food I had never heard of nor did it look appetizing enough to even try, the "American" side was unimaginative and unless you are a fan of roast beef or ham there was never anything else of any substance. The fish and chips upstairs was good but as others have said on this board unless you know it is there you would never find it. The "oriental" side was okay, though again not very imaginative. The "deli" line was always long and the sandwiches were not worth the wait, the grilled cheese from room service was better. The pizza was on par with frozen pizza, and the hamburgers and hot dogs never looked appetizing enough to try, gray is not a color I like to associate with my food. Never did get a chance to try the Sushi bar as it never seemed to be open. The food in the main dining room was terrible. Not one night did any of us take more than a couple of bites of the entrees. Standard menu items, which are usually good on any ship, were gross, the steak so tough it could not be eaten. Christmas dinner was turkey that tasted like it had been sitting on the ship since Thanksgiving. Our waiter, Glenn, and his assistant were very attentive and did a great job. It was very confusing the way the service went, house wine orders were taken by the waiter, mixed drink orders were taken by another person and if you ordered a wine off the wine list you had to wait for the wine steward. It made for a very confusing start to dinner each night and we were usually one of the last out of the dining room since it took so long to get all our orders done. It seemed to be very hard on the waitstaff too as they were constantly looking for the right person for us to order from. One good item on the dining menu was the Chocolate Melting Cake, or maybe I was just still really hungry when it came time for dessert. Room Service was hit and miss, we ordered the same thing every morning for breakfast and not once did we get it as ordered. I think it would have helped alot to have someone with a little better grasp of English taking the Room Service orders. The staff who delivered the orders were always great and did their best to make the orders right.
We had a penthouse suite and the room was very nice overall, though not as nice as the higher-end suites on our past cruises. I know Carnival prides itself on it's kaleidoscope decor but in the suites it really just came off as tacky. We had a very nice balcony with two chairs but unfortunately they did not recline so we could not even enjoy the quiet of our balcony to sunbathe and not fight the crowds saving chairs on deck. I would also recommend Carnival go to the non-metal chairs they have on Princess as they don't make enough noise to raise the dead when you move them on your balcony. We had a nice jacuzzi tub/shower combo but when my husband went to use the jacuzzi jets nasty brown oily residue filled the tub. We called housekeeping and they sent up a plumber who told my husband it was "rust" in the lines, we tried to convince him it was an oily substance but again the language barrier was a problem. We left for dinner and when we returned the tub was cleaned but we never tried the jacuzzi again. It looked to be suntan oil or some other oils that were used in the bath and it was obvious to us that the jets were not run and sanitized between guests - yuck. Our room steward kept the room clean but was non-existent the rest of the time even if we called her on the phone. Some of our other family had a suite two doors down and their room steward actually ended up taking care of things for us. After about the 4th day our assistant room steward picked up the slack and he did a wonderful job. Our room steward magically appeared on the last day, you don't think she was looking for an extra tip, do you? She didn't get one but her assistant did. Another false advertising note - we spoke directly with Carnival before we left to ask if we received free laundry and dry cleaning since we were in a penthouse suite (saves on some of the packing) and were told yes we did. After asking our room steward for 4 days for a laundry and dry cleaning bag (not sure why they don't leave them in the rooms) we were given a price list to fill out, we questioned her and she said it was not free. When we contacted the purser's desk we were told it is only free for passengers who have cruised 10+ times with Carnival. On both Princess and Royal Caribbean it is free for the higher suite passengers. We were able to access the internet from our room which was convenient (for a fee, again, internet is free for suite passengers on other lines). Another note on "free" stuff. They are very quick to let you know that you can use your cell phones at sea - what they don't make clear at all is that international roaming charges apply. I feel very sorry for the parents of all the kids roaming around the ship on their cell phones when they get their bills this month. I wonder what kickback Carnival gets from the cell phone providers...
Highlight of the trip was Gayla in the Cinna-bar piano bar. She is amazing and had everyone involved singing and dancing everynight. Spa was very nice, though the Camp Carnival area is directly overhead, not very conducive to relaxation. Not the spa's fault, just bad planning on the ship designer's part. Comedian and magician were so bad we walked out. Rock and Roll production was very good, lots of good songs and well performed. Smoke was pretty heavy at alot of the bars, even the outside ones, especially around the pool and the entrance to the Red Sail restaurant. Casino was very smoky. The pool areas are very small, as are the pools themselves. It gets crowded very fast as the main pool area is the only one with music. Chairs are saved with towels all day long. There are areas to find a chair but away from the pools. One great activity they have but they don't advertise as well as they should is the Walk for the Cure. You can donate $10 to the Susan G. Koman foundation on your sailaway card and you receive a T-Shirt and bracelet and you walk a mile on the upper track with the group. It was a fun activity for a good cause and I hope the other cruise lines pick up on the idea.
We didn't take any ship excursions. In Nassau we took the water taxi to Atlantis. One note, the water taxi was fun but where they drop you off is at least a mile walk (uphill) to the resort, so if you have members of your party, like we did, who have a hard time walking you are better off taking a ground taxi, as we did on the way back to the ship. Atlantis is a sight to see, the aquarium is worth the admission, I think it was $35, but they wanted $125 for the water slides, a bit steep, especially since we were not in Nassau that long. St. Thomas was beautiful, though much more roadside trash than we remembered from the past. We took an open-air taxi (an experience!) to the beach. We originally thought we would go to Coki Beach as we had been there 4 years ago but it had changed alot and was very crowded so we went on to Sapphire Beach where we had been 17 years ago. It was very nice with snorkel and chair rentals and had an outside cooking area where we bought cheeseburgers and hotdogs that were much better than the ship. The snorkeling was very nice with lots of fish and sea creatures. In St. Maarten we walked into town and had a nice day on the beach. Where the water taxis dock there are vendors renting chairs and umbrellas along the beach. We rented 2 chairs and an umbrella at water's edge with a bucket of 5 beers for $15. Shopping in St. Maarten, especially at the central market is very nice. We then took the water taxi back to the ship, they are very well organized at this port.
We had a nice trip visiting with our family but we definitely could have enjoyed it more if we were not aboard the Glory. Everything about the ship just left you wanting. For just a few dollars more we would definitely recommend a Princess or Royal Caribbean cruise. There were some highlights: embarkation, Emerald Supper Club, Dora at the Colors Bar in the Atrium, Gayla at the Cinna-bar piano, Glenn our waiter and disembarkation which was done very well, it is nice to be able to stay in your stateroom until you are called. But there were so may lowlights in comparison. One last note on travel - Carnival made our flight arrangements and they obviously went for the cheapest flights, we had to leave out of Raleigh, NC at 6:00am on Friday morning, connect through Charlotte, a 25 minute flight with an hour layover and arrived in Orlando at 9:00am. Thankfully the Marriott at the airport where they had our reservations for Friday night was not full and they allowed us to check in early. The Marriott was very nice and their shuttle service was great, we had to return to the airport on Saturday morning to board the bus for transfer to Port Canaveral. The bus to and from the ship was very well organized.

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