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Nolan Bennett

Age: 40


Number of Cruises: 10

Cruise Line: Carnival

Ship: Carnival Glory

Sailing Date: 2009-08-29

Itinerary: Eastern Caribbean

This was my second Carnival cruise, with my first being more than 10 years ago. I swore off Carnival after the first one, and then discovered Royal Caribbean, Holland America and Norwegian. With incredible bargains and an itinerary to St. Maarten, I decided to give Carnival another chance. Unfortunately, I should have stuck with my intuition. I was incredibly disappointed, even taking into consideration that it was a bargain fare. Adding to the disappointment was the fact that we never made it to St. Maarten due to tropical weather. I will say that the clientele on the cruise did not add to the experience. I don't like being negative, but I struggle to find much good to say about this adventure.

The food was bland in the Red Sail. They do not add salt or seasonings to anything. I understand the need to do that for dietary reasons, but some foods can't be "fixed" after they have been cooked. Some notable good foods at Red Sail were the hummus, corn salsa, eggplant lasagna and garlic potatoes; all excellent at lunchtime. Breakfast was not much better either. The eggs tasted powdery and were definitely not fresh. The pastries were dry and day old. The fruit was good, particularly the pears and peaches. We loved the warm melting cake, but it was inconsistent. The first night it was "melting" and the other nights it was cooked all the way through. Regardless, it was still very good. The seafood was blah and the shrimp cocktail appetizer had no taste whatsoever. The pasta dishes were really good. Other folks at our table sent back the beef strauganof and the sirloin. The chicken dishes were acceptable. The cold soups were also notably good.

We were seated in the Platinum Dining room for evening service. The wait staff was rushed. Unlike other cruises I have taken, the staff did not spend much time chatting with guests and getting to know their customers. Language barriers may have been the reason at our table.

Our stateroom was #8455, starboard and was a junior suite. It had a huge balcony due to its location, but was rather strangely shaped. I have no complaints other than the air conditioning was unpredictable. It would get cold and then hot in a short period of time. We kept the curtains drawn to keep the sun out. Our cabin attendant was exceptional! If you get Marrianne from the Phillippenes, you will love her! The bathroom was clean, the room smelled fresh and the linens were nice. The decor in the room was also good, just as it was on the rest of the ship.

Enjoy the shopping at St. Thomas, but make sure you get away from the port shopping area. St. Thomas is a beautiful island, and the downtown area has good shopping to. We took a ferry over to St. John and spent most of the day at Trunk Bay. This is one of the most beautiful beaches in the Caribbean. If you enjoy snorkeling and the beach, don't miss this opportunity. Don't book it through Carnival! Save money by taking a taxi to the ferry. The natives are nice and it was very easy.

We missed St. Maarten due to the tropical storm, but have been there before. It is a fantastic stop.

Even though I have been to Nassau 4 times before, and vow to never get off there again, I did it anyway and regretted it. DO NOT TAKE A WATER TAXI! Grab a cab both ways and make sure you don't pay more than $4 bucks. The water taxi is a rip off and they will leave you sitting on the boat for 30 minutes while they make sure every seat is filled. We sat on the boat 30 minutes, and then the captain had the audacity to pull back up to the dock to grab three more people!

We flew into Orlando International and took the bus transfer to the port that was offered by Carnival. I highly recommend it! The transfer was easy and eliminated the hassle of arranging transportation, renting a car or dealing with parking at the port. Once at the port, we quickly realized that there was a lack of organization. There were no signs and people were not sure where to go. We stood in one line for over 10 minutes, and were then told by other passengers that there was a faster line further along the terminal. Once we got into the terminal, we made our way to an agent fairly quickly. To our disappointment, there was a "boarding issue" and we were given a number. We had to wait for them to call our number before we could board. It took about 20 minutes. The boarding was the longest boarding time I've ever experienced in cruising.

We arrived on the ship at 12:30 and rooms were not available until 1:30. We took our initial tour of the ship and headed to the Red Sail for the lunch buffet. The ship is in remarkably good shape, and the art deco theme is quite nice. I actually think that the ship was nicer than many of the RCL, Holland America and NCL ships I've seen. The worst part, though, is the layout. It is horrendous! Even after a week, we still continued to get lost. You cannot access some decks from forward to aft, so you have to go up a deck to get back down. For example, if you are aft and want to get to the photo gallery on deck 4, you will have to take a different deck to the front of the ship and then come back to deck 4 to get there. The Golden Dining room breaks up the deck and you can't go around it. The tiny maps are of no help to those of us with aging eyes.

We had an awful experience with the matre'd that we will be taking up with Carnival corporate. He was a total jerk to his employees right in front of us. As executives, we were appalled that anyone would ever reprimand another employee in the presence of customers. It is a major no-no and was uncalled for and unprofessional.

Do go see Mary Rose in the wine and martini bar on deck 5. She is terrific and very friendly. We spent a lot of time with our friends there and she took exceptional care of us. You will not be disappointed in her drinks!

Overall, the communication on board the ship is poor. They changed the elegant evening and half the guests did not get the message. They did not make announcements about where activities were being held. Debarkation was also a fiasco for some folks. We worked our way to the front and got off as quickly as possible. That was the best part of this cruise.

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