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Family Friendliness
Shore Excursions

Age: 26


Number of Cruises: 1

Cruise Line: Carnival

Ship: Carnival Glory

Sailing Date: 2009-07-11

Itinerary: Western Carribean

This was the first cruise for myself, my fiancée and his two 12 yr old boys. We chose Carnival because the age separation was most appropriate (12-14). We took a risk by selecting an early flight from Chicago into Port Canaveral. I've heard about nightmares that people got delayed and missed thier cruise, but we had no problem. Port Canaveral is one hour away from Orlando airport so we had to arrange round trip transportation through ACE Luxury....100 bucks for a huge passenger van both ways. Well worth the money as they were on time. If you are a backseat driver don't look unless you like anxiety attacks.

We arrived at the port where there where several other ships leaving that day, but we had no problem getting in. We attached our baggage tags that Carnival sent us, and dropped them off by the ships entrance where personnel took our stuff to our cabins. Then stood in a long, but fast moving line to go through security and check-in. This process was SO much easier then what I thought. I didn't have a passport, and neither did the kids but that was not a requirement. We showed our birth certificates and the lady who checked us in was very nice. She set up our "Sail and Sign" account...where myself and my fiancée had access to charge to my credit card for all on-board purchases.

We arrived onboard and got something to eat until the rooms were ready. When we arrived at our rooms, our luggage was outside it, not inside so practically anyone could take your stuff which I did not like. Getting off the ship, on the other hand, was not so easy. They call you by decks and you have to stand in long lines like cattle with impatient families that seem to hate each other by the end of vacation. Customs took longer than anticipated which wasn't so fun.

The food was great-considering how many meals are prepared and how many mouths need to be fed. We chose the early seating (6pm) for dinner. We only went twice for the elegant nights because we were busy doing other things. We ate at the buffet stations which were open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Only complaint from my fiancée is that the oriental section wasn't open long enough and there wasn't any fried rice. The pizza station was open 24hrs a day and so was ice cream, which was a huge bonus for kids. Keep in mind, SODA IS NOT INCLUDED. That was a very unpleasant surprise for me. You have to spend about 30 bucks on a seprate card that your kids can carry, so they have to carry two cards(room key and soda card). Drinks for adults were good but pricey: about 6.50 per cocktail and a a bucket of just 4 coronas cost 22 bucks!

Room service was good and prompt. No complaints there especially since the kids ordered 1,000 cheesecakes. Good thing it's free.

The rooms were nice and clean....I have issues with bathrooms so I brought lysol wipes. I was surprised that it was actually very neat which made that anxiety go away. The shower pressure was surprisingly strong and there was always good supply of hot water.

We had a balcony room, and the kids slept across from us in a interior room. Both us, and the kids had plenty of storage room. My only complaint about the room was that our bed was actually two beds combined into one. That could have been OK, but each bed was caved in a bit and so there was a huge hump in between me and my fiancée. The balcony was well worth the money, get it if you can. There were great views and it was nice to see how close you are to land. There was a good amount of room to move around, we were not cramped at all. If you don't want to spend any time in your room, the interior room is a good value. It was perfect for the kids since they were barely in there. Every night, our attendant came in to tuck down our sheets and leave one of those towel animals on our bed with mints, we thought it was really cute. He also left a "Carnival Capers" on our bed which was a full schedule of the next day's activities, it was very helpful.

The activities for adults were a little sparse. We participated in a wine tasting which was 10 dollars. It would have been nicer if the people who hosted it had been knowledgeable at all. The two pools were small and crowded, because all the kids congregate around them. Needless to say, we went elsewhere. I can't imagine the amount of young peeing children that go in there every day. At night we hung out in the piano bar. It was very fun to watch drunk people sing along. I would say we hung out at the Casino 90% of the time learning how to play at the tables and trying our luck at the slots. The attendants were courteous and willing to help us inexperienced out. As you play a drink goddess comes around and fetches what you want.

The kids hung out at the game room (12 yr old boys) until they finally met some other young kids and walked around with them. There were activities provided by the cruise line but they thought they were too cool for that. There were lots of places for them to go, but lots of touble to cause if they get caught up in wrong crowd. We checked on them several times throughout the night to make sure that wasn't happening. We forced them to come to Bingo with us one night to have a chance at the 1000 jackpot; we didn't win but stayed for show after. We are not "show" people so that was the only one we went to. It was a magic show and it was sort of tacky with men running around in wierd clothes. We wished that there was some live music on deck at night. We wanted to go for romantic walk on deck with warm air blowing through our hair but it was really dead upstairs. It would have been nice if you wanted peace and quiet but some live jazz would have been the ultimate perfect touch. We also wished there were more family activities. There were a lot of separate things for adults and kids but the shows were the only thing to do together.

We visited Cozumel, Belize, Costa Maya and Nassau. We did a shore excursion in Cozumel and Nassau. Cozumel was beautiful...we should have stayed in local port area. We did a Mayan ruin tour. It took two hours to get there and tt was HHOOOTTT. Tulum was beautiful, but we got eaten up by bugs on the walk to the temple area so bring bug spray. Our guide was was super nice but way to talkative. He stayed at one spot we went and walked around on our own. There was a beautiful beach there. It would have been helpful to know that we could have gone swimming. It was so hot and I could have jumped in with all my clothes on. The water was beautiful and the natives consider swimming there a blessing. We went to Belize next and let me tell you it was HORRIBLE. It is a very poor country, no beach near port which happened to be a gated area. The tourist area was small, and shopping was shady and not reliable. The food was bad. My advice: do a shore excursion that involves water or just stay onboard. Next we went to Costa Maya. We stayed in tourist area which was very nice. They have a large pool there with swim-up bar and beaches. We did most of our shopping there. Make sure to by jewelry from reputable dealers. Next we went to Nassau were we did the swimming with dolphin excursion at Atlantis. What a beatiful resort! It made me instantly vacation-envious. We didn't have nearly enough time to enjoy ourselves at the resort after our excursion was over. The actual dophin thing was ok, but was it worth $132 bucks a person? Nope. I'll stay at home and watch flipper. Do the beach day at Atlantis excursion. The water is beautiful and tons of things to do with family.

Overall the trip was a success. I've done an all-inclusive resort before and this was very different. I liked that it was "contained" for the kids and it was easy to find them, whereas the shore resorts are a bit more tricky. We will try another cruise line next year to compare as I've heard very positive things about Royal Carribean. Then again, we won't be taking the kids next time so we will need a more "adult" atmosphere. Carnival has a great program for kids of all ages. The boys weren't old enough for the teens program, but I did get to see it and I liked it. I thought this cruise was perfect for either really young kids or teenagers. The 12-14 group was tricky since they are "in-between" but they were easily coaxed.

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