October 2015 - 7 Night Exotic Western Caribbean (Miami Roundtrip) Cruise on Carnival Glory
Loved the Ports!
We were on the Carnival Glory for the Western Caribbean cruise on Oct 24-31, 2015. We have been on one previous Carnival cruise to the Mexican Riviera, as well as on a Disney cruise to the Bahamas.
My favorite part of this cruise was the ports of call. We had not previously traveled to any of the destinations, so each port was a new experience for us.
In Grand Cayman, we went on a snorkeling tour with Captain Mario and Acquarius Sea Tours that included Stingray City, which was definitely a one-of-a-kind experience! The downside to this tour was that Carnival stays in port for such a short time that we had to cut our snorkeling short and were unable to see one of the sites we had planned to visit. Captain Mario was very gracious about it and offered us a discount.
In Roatan, we went on an eco-adventure kayak/snorkel tour through Upachaya Resort, which was tiring, but lovely. Kayaking through the mangroves was peaceful. It was the snorkeling that was tiring, as our guide took us on quite a lengthy swim to see different parts of the reef. The drop-off was amazing! However, I think I would have been content to see less of the reef, and spend more time at some of the locations. The lunch afterward was deliciously fresh and many of the ingredients came from the garden there at Upachaya. The owner, Barbara Wastart, was extremely gracious, even though we held up the tour for an hour (ouch!) due to a misunderstanding on our part as to the start time of the tour. Thankfully, our tour companions were also gracious about it.
In Belize, we opted for a private tour through Belize Exotic Adventures to see the Xunantunich Mayan ruins. I was really glad we went with a private tour, because flooding had caused the river to rise too high for vehicles to cross on the ferry, so all the big tour buses had been re-routed to another Mayan site. We were able to cross the ferry on foot and hike to the ruins, where we were practically the only people there. The only downside was that we couldn't spend as much time as I would have liked to spend there due to having to return to port so early. The lunch at a local restaurant afterward was delicious, and we even had a few minutes to shop at the flea market across from the port when we returned. Our guide, "Alf" was very friendly, knowledgeable, and game to hike to the ruins with us.
In Cozumel, we rented a scooter, toured the island, and did some shopping. Driving a scooter was less scary than I thought it might be, and we had a great time, even though we got a little lost in town. My advice here: avoid shopping directly across from the port! The company we rented our scooter from, JM Rentals, had great advice on where (and where not) to shop, and also gave us a map that was very useful.
The Glory itself is older, but I liked the muted decor, which was much better than the garish decor we had experienced on our previous Carnival cruise. My biggest pet peeve was how hard it was to navigate the ship. Even on the main dining levels, it was extremely difficult to get from one end of the ship to the other. We learned that the easiest way to do so was on the cabin levels, which was annoying. I was also disappointed that there was no level that allowed you to walk completely around the perimeter of the ship. I was stuck doing my morning walks on a track where a mile was 9 laps - ugh! It also tended to get a bit crowded since it was so small. The people trying to jog were especially frustrated.
Overall, I would recommend this cruise based on the itinerary. However, if I ever decide to go on another Western Caribbean cruise, I will try another cruise line. Carnival keeps their time in port ridiculously short. I think it's so they can line their own pockets and keep people from doing tours outside of Carnival. Locals are not fond of Carnival cruise lines.