October 2014 - Carnival Glory to Caribbean - Eastern
Having completed numerous cruises, I would rate this cruise as excellent. Embarkation was a smooth, effortless process. We were at the port by 11:00 am and on board by 11:30. We had been on the Glory before so we didn't do much exploring but went up for lunch and waited for our rooms. I can't say much about the cruise director/staff. Our only encounters were the numerous "singing" announcements - could have done without most of those "Good Morning..." and "Good Evening...".
Our iternary was a typical 7 night eastern Caribbean with a substituion of Half Moon Cay for Nassau. This was our first trip that included this port - WONDERFUL beach (see pictures). Tendering to/from the island was a slow process. Rather than frequent trips, they would wait until these large tenders were full to leave ship/shore. We had rather long waits on the tender both going and returning. If I have the opportunity to return (hope to) I will rent a cabana. Cabana rental will allow first access to the island (on the early tenders), drinks, shade and air-conditioning, with on the beach access and views.
Cruising in the fall is a risk when it comes to hurricane season, but over the past 3 years we have been fortunate. The weather has been very cooperative. The biggest advantage is the lower prices and so few ships in port. We were the only ship in St. Thomas and Half Moon Cay. In San Juan and Grand Turk we shared the port with one other ship. Old San Juan always has great food, is easily accessible on foot or trolly (free) and fun shops to explore. In St. Thomas, I grabbed a shared taxi to Megan's Bay and enjoyed the beach with so few people, beautiful weather, and great drinks.
This was our 3rd trip to Grand Turk. It appears to have taken a hit by a storm this past year. There was significant erosion of the beach leaving a drop off in areas. The cruise lines have built crossovers with 3-4 steps to compensate. This year we explored beyond Margaretiville and the immediate cruiseline beach to Govenor's beach (just a few feet north of the cruiseline port area). We were too late to rent beach chairs and umbrella so we hung out at Island Jerk at a table with umbrella by the building. Great music, beers were $3.00 ($7.00 at Margaretiville), beautiful beach, free fast wifi, and friendly people; all within site of the cruise crowd and ships. Highly recommend going a little farther away and early.
We had a 9B extended balcony cabin. We have had this cabin before and I highly recommend it for people who enjoy spending time on the balcony. The room is HUGE by cruise cabin standards, being a large square rather than rectangle. Being on deck 8, at the back of the ship, has its advantages for easy access to the buffet and adult pool. It is a hike to the front for theatre, gangway, and Your Time dining room (Golden).
The food continues to be good on Carnival. Disclaimer: I really enjoy food, but am not a foodie or critic. If I don't like something, no worries - you are going to eat again in 4-5 hours. This philosophy has served me well for life and many cruises. I have read many mixed reviews, but we were very satisfied with the options, quality, and service. The Chocolate Melting Cake had a new version of the name, but was still on the menu every night and fantastic. I do recommend breakfast burritos at Blue Iguana (free and no lines) and burgers at Guy's. We particularly like these two poolside features on Glory.
We chose Your Time dining for the first time. LOVED it. We usually went to dinner between 7-7:45. Never had to wait more than 5 minutes (4 people traveling together). We were usually seated at a booth for the 4 of us, but joined another group of 4 on the last night. Our wait team the first night was excellent. We were asked the second night if we would like the same area. We gladly said yes and then requested to be with the same team the rest of the cruise. Only one night were we not able to be with this team, it was the second formal night. The service that night was off. We have already changed our future cruises to Your Time.
I can't say anything about entertainment - we didn't go. We had seen these mediocre shows before and chose to spend our evenings reading on the balcony, catching up with family, walking on deck, or watching TV. Total relaxation not trying to be somewhere at a specific time.
The only really negative thing I saw on the cruise were some of the passengers. The clientele is changing. Is it me or have people become more rude, all about me and get twirled up about things? Not wanting to sound like a Disney movie, but let it go; you are on vacation. Have fun, wait your turn, say "please" and "thank you." You will enjoy yourself so much more.