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CARNIVAL GLORY CRUISE REVIEW/CRITIQUE

MisterD21

If you take me serious, it's your problem
#1
Good afternoon everyone.

i am back from my cruise and i wanted to post a review of my recent cruise. However i think this is going to more of a critique of the cruise line and ship than of my experiences of my overall cruise vacation. The reason i have decided to critique my cruise rather than a general review of what i did on my cruise is simple really, I was really disapointed in my complete cruise experience with carnival this time. I had great experiences on our port days in the actual ports of call themselves , and i will explain about that after i critique carnival and their ship. this critique is in no way to discourage anyone from cruising with carnival and are completely a recollection of my own personal experiences with this cruise in particular.

the cruise : Western Caribbean
the ship : carnival glory
the ports : cozumel, roatan, belize, grand cayman


EMBARKATION:
I must first say that the miami terminal is very nice and easily navigable(especially if one needs to use a wheelchair or walker). The terminal security was running late by about 30 mins. to start my cruise experience. though i realize this really isn't carnival's fault, it was the first impression we were given of this cruise vacation. We arrived a little early as to give the porters ample time to retrieve our luggage(which they did, and were pleasant to interact with). We figured while getting there a little early, after having checked our luggage we would only have a 10-15 minute wait before heading inside the terminal for security. we were wrong, we ended up waiting almost 40-50 minutes outside in the morning heat and humidity that is miami. which was ok, as we knew miami is like that, just didn't expect such a long delay. ok, once inside there was only two carnival employees there to handle the guests and any questions(such as where do the priority guests go to embark). I mention this because many of us guests had the same question about where priority guests go to embark. it seemed like alot of people had questions and with only two carnival staff to answer them it caused a sort of bottle neck where you exit security. we were given our instructions and herded upstairs to the guest services counters. I cant stress enough about the lack of info about faster to the fun, or any other information posted as to direct you where to go. After about another 20 min. wait we were finally called to begin boarding the ship(this was around 11:15 - 11:30). on the website it said to arrive about 9:30 to be able to begin boarding for faster to the fun, as we were to begin boarding with the diamond and platinum priority guests. we were aboard and heading to our staterooms which we were told were ready and waiting for us to drop off our carry on luggage and that we could head up to the lido deck for lunch.

DINING ON BOARD:

LIDO DINING: Guy's burger joint was up and running when we went up for lunch. this was where we began our dining experience. the burger bar was busy and a small line had already formed. the burgers were ok, but a bit greasy. the cooks serving them were stingy with the fries(seriously he only placed 4-5 fries on my plate, and didn't seem all that thrilled about me asking if i could have some more). the fixin's bar was good, with selections of onions, bacon, mushrooms, lettuce, pickles, and all were fresh. along with the usual condiments there were several other sauces to add to your burger. from chipotle mayo to hotsauce, you had plenty of options to customize our burgers. for dinner there was only one station open and both lines were serving the same foods. there was little selection to choose from unlike on past cruises with carnival(the serving locations changed from forward,mid, aft each meal so you didn't know from meal to meal where they would be serving from). on past carnival cruises they used to have all the stations open and each line was usually serving a different selection(like one serving asian, another serving comfort food, another serving indian, another serving healthy choices, etc.) the quality of the food through out the cruise was poor, and often only lukewarm and was cold on the plate halfway through the meal. I likened the quality to a cafeteria buffet that i could go to at home. it was nothing spectacular or appealing by mid cruise. we eventually gave up and only dined at guys burger joint, or for breakfast only(as how do you screw up scrambled eggs/omlettes and pancakes..).

MAIN DINING ROOM:
I enjoyed the main dining room and the food here was better than the Lido deck food, but not really spectacular(example, the shrimp cocktail were three medium sized shrimp, not the big ones they used to serve). at least here the food was hot, and the service was somewhat better. they seemed to rush the experience though by bringing the courses fairly quickly. we hadn't even finished our starters and they had already began bringing our entrees to the tables. the same happened with the dessert course.. i think on some occasions we were in the MDR less than 30mins. from being seated to exiting the restaurant.

THE STEAKHOUSE:
We all enjoyed the steakhouse the night we saved for the last sea day before we were to debark in the morning. the service sucked though. our server acted like she had better things to do than to wait on us. getting her to the table was a chore(i had found a spoon that was dirty and in need of being replaced, it took me about five mins. to get her attention to address the issue.) Here the food was ample, hot, and delicious. i think it was the best meal i ate on the ship the whole week.

THE RED FROG RUMBAR(LIDO DECK BAR): If you drank the bar's namesake beer it was reasonably priced at 5.50 a pint. the mixed drinks and shots ranged from 8.50-13.00 depending upon what you were drinking. As usual the servers were hovering always there to ask you if you wanted something from the bar.

THE EA(ELECTRONICS ARTS)SPORTS BAR(DECK 5 ADJACENT TO THE CASINO):
Again, the pricing for alcoholic beverages were pretty much the same anywhere on the ship. The bar is what it's name implies, a sports bar. I spent alot of time in there over the weekend watching NFL games, and more importantly the OHIO STATE game, in which my beloved buckeyes beat the fighting illini ... a small bucket of peanuts, or soft pretzel cost 1.25, the peanuts were plenty to last me through four beers and the entire ohio state game.

SHIP ENTERTAINMENT:

The lido deck entertainment was light with the exception of the seaside theater which is on 24/7, and plays movies, sports, and news on it. there was a live artist in the evenings. a guitarist who played and sang mostly 80's-90's music. the mid morning and afternoon entertainment was a dj spinning songs and getting the crowd in the mood to drink.. occasionally the cruise director would host trivia contests and games.
about the only shipside entertainment i took advantage of was either on the lido deck, or in the casino. so not really much to comment on ship entertainment. i will say however that the casino slots were kind to me this cruise. i started out with loading my S&S card with 100.00. At one point i was up 60.00 on the slots and next thing i knew i was down to 0.00.. so i stopped playing, and went to watch the football game. i returned to the casino at halftime and added another 10.. to my card. this time i was up to 130.00 and was thinking of cashing out and i decided to give it another go... glad i did, i hit a nice 50.00 win, and hence kept playing. at the end of the day i ended up cashing out and was up 20.00 after all of my initial buy ins. so the casino wins ended up paying for my beers at the bar during the game. all in all it was a good experience that afforded me with several hours of entertainment.

CARNIVAL STAFF/SERVICE:

Despite my negative experience with the wait staff on the ship, our room steward was a gem. she alone is the reason i am giving the ship staff a pass... she was always cheerful, always asked if we needed anything, did not disturb my mother when she was napping during the time she normally would be doing housekeeping on our cabin.

THE SHIP: The ship has a dated feel about it. the theme of colors reminds me of a disco era club. the broken ship layout, and need to have to go up a level, over, and back down to traverse the ship is unpleasant. I had thought the Legend was a bad layout, but the glory was even worse. the vibrations from the azipods were more noticeable than on other ships. i could often feel the vibrations while on the lido deck, and was worse in the cabins. it was noticeable, but not something that made things less enjoyable.

CARNIVAL AS A WHOLE:

we ran into a few couples who were sailing on the legend, and the triumph, which were all in port in belize on the same day as us. we all compared our experiences on each of our ships and cruise vacations. amazing what you learn from others while awaiting the tenders back to our ships.. both couples had similar experiences with their dining and ships. one said they had sailed on the glory earlier this year and they had the same problems as with this cruise. they said they were done sailing carnival for a while and were probably going to go back to sailing on RCCL.
I do not know if this is an industry wide issue, but for carnival it seems as if they are cutting corners everywhere they can. The food seems to be where they are cutting corners the most. On top of that carnival has forgone the envelopes for tipping and has instituted a shipwide 15% gratuity to every ship purchase. which i thought was odd when i looked at my check for the refillable cup i had bought, and there was a 15% gratuity included in the total... i don't know about you, but i liked the old way with the envelopes so you could thank, and tip the crew personally. they didn't even send the envelopes to the stateroom with the debarkation information like they used to.

I don't know if this is just another way for carnival to grow profit for their shareholders, or if this latest round of cost cutting measures are due to a larger issue of solvency after the several incidents they have had in the past year. i mean how many billions of dollars is the concordai disaster going to cost them? and the lingering class action lawsuits from the ship fire and loss of power in the gulf.... all of these things add up, and the costs are mounting. so i understand them wanting to cut costs, but not at the price of the consumer's expense. I have heard of at least three families who have said they won't be sailing carnival anytime soon... and i don't believe our ship was booked more than 90% capacity. it never felt at all crowded anywhere on the ship. as i for one will probably be taking advantage of HAL's latest promotion for our next cruise... no more carnival for me until i hear others sing their praises consistently.

ok.... now for a little about what we did on port days.

COZUMEL:

this time in coz we chose to rent a car like usual, and were delighted to find that pricing had dropped about 30% from lat time(was about 69.00 to rent the SUV for a day). gas was reasonable at 13.00 pesos a litre(about 5.00 a gal. with the exchange rate at 11.50 peso to the dollar). as i have paid almost 6.00 gal before on coz. we drove around the island stopping on the east side of the island for a drink and a little walk in the surf. Then my brother and i did the tequilla factory tour. at 15.00 a person entry it was a steal.... it starts with you being served a big margarita that had plenty of tequila in it. then a tour guide takes you on the short, but very informative, tour. as you may have guessed... the tour ends with you entering the gift shop.now usually i dislike tours that end in gift shops, but on this occasion this is where you get to sample tequila..... lots of tequila. as i was driving, i only had what amounted to about three shots of tequila. my brother on the other hand being what the tour guide described as being a "mucho macho man" had about 6-7 shots of various tequilas.. now i don't know about you.... but for 15$ you definitely get not only your money's worth... but you can get a little tipsy in a very short time. then we did some duty free shopping, and back to the ship.

BELIZE:

We attempted to rent a car from the hertz place around the corner... but they didn't any cars, not even at the airport. So we hired this pleasant guy who was very nice. He gladly answered questions my family had for him, and even discussed local politics with me on the ride to the ruins(we went to AltunHa again, being that this was my brother and sister-in-law's first cruise). it had been raining alot this week in belize and the road to the ruins showed it.. but our cabbie efficiently navigated the roadway. after the ruins our cabbie took the western highway back and showed us some of the different things he thought we might like to see of his country. then we did some shopping and back to the ship..

ROATAN:

We rented an suv and drove around the island and showed the family what life looks like outside the terminal. my SIL couldn't believe the armed military that were posted in various places on the island. she was like "look at that.... why's he got a machine gun?" i had to explain to her that it was a very poor country and that they were there to keep people from doing things they shouldn't. i then began to point out the simple shacks that some of the people lived in there, and explained that not everone there was fortunate to have jobs, and money for better. that alot of them think they have a good life because most of their needs are met. but even something as simple as owning a tv is still considered a luxury. she had a hard time wrapping her head around that.. as most of us here in america have several tv's and some of us even have tv's in their bathrooms. I like traveling to roatan... it keeps me grounded, and thankful that i can live at the standard in which i do.. did some beach time down on west end... back to the ship.

GRAND CAYMAN:

Today we took a taxi to the turtle farm, and then to the beach... the turtle farm was pretty lame except that you get to pick up and hold a sea turtle. how cool is that?!! seven mile beach was awesome... drank some beer and got some sun, it was a good afternoon. taxied back to port and did a little shopping, then back to the ship...


In closing i want to say that while i was disappointed in my ship-side experiences, i had a great cruise and a wonderful time spending a week with family. I would also like to say that we decided to spend an extra day at sanibel/captiva islands directly after our cruise. so it was an excellent end to a good vacation. I have pics, and will eventually get around to uploading them for those who are interested.

LASTLY..... FOR ANYONE SAILING WITH CARNIVAL, AND HAVE OR IS CONSIDERING PURCHASING THE "FASTER TO THE FUN" PACKAGE...... GO TO THE GUEST SERVICES DESK SHORTLY AFTER BOARDING TO HAVE THEM EXPLAIN HOW PRIORITY DEBARKATION/PRIORITY TENDERING WORKS. IT MAY BE DIFFERENT FOR EACH SHIP. sadly we didn't know how it worked and much of our cruise didn't get to take advantage of it. it is a good program, but carnival doesn't seem to give much directions on it. so for sure you need to check with guest services.

thanks everyone, i am glad to be home and ready to begin planning our next cruise.
 

MisterD21

If you take me serious, it's your problem
#2
I need to correct something i said... i stated that carnival said to arrive early at 930 for embarkation.... that is wrong, it said priority embarkation for faster to the fun would begin around 10:30 and that we could expect to be onboard by 11:30.