Saturday, March 12, 2011

Carnival Glory Review 2.27.2011

Carnival Glory Review 2.27.2011

Just The Facts
Ship: Carnival Glory
February 20-February 27, 2011
Captain: Salvatore Rassello
Cruise Director: Jorge Solano / Bloggers: John Heald
Ports: Miami- Nassau- St. Thomas- San Juan- Grand Turk- Miami
Weather: Good all week

This was my 24th Carnival cruise, 64th overall, 2nd time on the Carnival Glory, and my 2nd John Heald Bloggers cruise. This is the second week of a B2B and the week of the John Heald Bloggers Cruise. Within the Bloggers we are also traveling with a group of friends from the CruiseMates roll call (although private group) this week.

Day One--Sunday--Embarkation
We have an easy embarkation as we are already on the ship. I again had breakfast in the dining room as I know I will be busy this next week. After breakfast I returned to the cabin to pack for our change of cabins. Mr. Wi and housekeeping made it so easy for us by arranging for our new cabin to be prepared early. About 10:00 am we moved to our aft balcony, cabin 8457, our favorite on a Conquest class ship and met Mr. Gregorio our new stateroom attendant for the week. The cabin was all set to go and as the aft cabins have some Conquest decorations it seemed like ‘home’. It even had a Gauguin tile in the bathroom. We went down to meet the Purser and the other B2B pax at 10:30 as prearranged by Guest Services. They gave us our new Sail & Sign cards and as soon as the final guests were off the ship they walked down to U.S. Customs and we did our thing and returned to the ship. A very simple process. We returned to the cabin and headed up to Lido for lunch as we knew it would soon again be busy. First stop was to see Mr. Frank and get a nice bowl of Mongolian chicken and vegetables. While in line I saw our friends arriving and as they are experienced cruisers several also made their way to the Mongolian Grill. As most of our group are all Milestone and Platinum they were all soon aboard and eating lunch in our designated meeting area on Lido deck aft. As a group we have all the 8N balcony cabins so this is a logical public area meeting spot just above our cabins. After meeting everyone and lunch we went back to our cabin to finish unpacking and to settle in for the week. In the cabin we had a fruit basket delivered from the group manager, and an OBC credit notification as well as champagne & strawberries from Bosque Travel. The Bon Voyage department brought a Birthday gift: a cooler of coca-cola, mug, and hat. Boat drill was held about 4:00 pm and we did our usual thing. Following boat drill we had our first sail away party from the deck 8 aft balconies. This will become a regular and infamous occurrence throughout the week. It was fantastic weather as we sailed out of Miami and everyone was in great spirits. Everyone in the group came by and picked up their group schedules, party invitations, and pre arranged liquor purchased and extended the sail away until the Bloggers Welcome Party in the Amber Theater. This is our first scheduled Bloggers party and I do say that the Glory really prepared some great h’orderves. Very different than what they serve at the Past Guest Party. It’s also hard to serve 280+ people, but they did a great job. They were also very generous with the cocktails too. This was the first time to be able to see some extended friends & bloggers and see John Heald for the first official time. Of course I think our group will have the most FUN this week. We have dinner in the Platinum Dining Room and we have two great 10-top tables on the center lower level. Great location and we have the same waiters so that we can table hop this week. For dinner I had the Tomato soup, the Sweet & Sour Shrimp, Flat Iron Steak, and the Crème Brule for dessert. All were very good. After dinner many went to the casino or various music venues. The ‘Welcome Show’ with Jorge was at 10:30 pm in the theater and some attended although we retired early.

Day Two--Monday--Nassau, Bahamas
Great weather today. We arrived very early in Nassau and several in our group met early for private excursions on Lido aft before 8:00 am. I got up to see them off then met a friend in the MDR for my usual 1st day Carnival breakfast of Eggs Benedict, Grapefruit, with sides of Bacon, and Potatoes. After breakfast back to the Lido aft to met others getting their breakfast and meeting in our spot. By 10:00 this had turned into our annual Bloody Mary Party that lasted until after 1:30 pm. We had a wonderful view of the Nassau harbor and the Atlantis resort so it was a wonderful morning visiting with group members and friends as they arrive back from town. The Lido Maitre’d who I met last week came by with the Food & Beverage manager to visit and he promised a surprise for our Texas night party later in the week. We had to break up our Bloody Mary party in order to attend our Sail Away party at 2:30. We had to break up our sail away party in order to make our private cocktail party in the Cinn-A-Bar at 3:30. This was a party just for the twenty+ in our group and special friends held in the piano bar on Lido deck. Our host was Flat Mike who had joined us on the previous group cruise on the Carnival Splendor in lieu of real Mike who could not make it due to health. We were so happy that both made it for this cruise. John Heald popped in for just one minute to say hello, but I noticed in his entourage Chris Prideaux from the Carnival head office. Chris is Director of On-Board Programing for the fleet and I asked him if he would join us for a quick Q&A in an informal (cocktail) situation and he agreed. It was great fun. In fact one of the suggestions made at this get together has now gone fleet wide, the need for a regularly scheduled Veterans meeting on each cruise. Several in our group have been suggesting this for years and now we had THE man who could do it. He agreed and did it. We also implemented a trick we learned on the Splendor that will work well for us on this cruise. If you get a good bar server adopt him as your own, we did and Victor was his name. For me, what little was left of the day was devoted to cabin time. This evening is the Captains Reception although we no longer attend. The Platinum gifts were left this evening and what should it be? Coolers! After all the trouble last week of no cooler I now have five. It is also the first ‘cruise elegant’ night, but the gentlemen in the group wore our Hawaiian shirts for a dressy, but causal look. This was again ‘Lobster Night’ in the dining room, still a bit of a surprise as Lobster is usually on the 2nd elegant night. I had the White Stuffed Mushrooms, and both the Lobster & Shrimp entrée and Prime Rib. For dessert I had the Cherries Jubilee. Many attended the late production show, Livin’ in America, in the Amber Palace Theater and others did their thing in other venues. After enjoying a very long and busy, but FUN day we retired to the cabin.

Day Three--Tuesday—at Sea
Weather is again perfect today for the first day of March. I started the day with a very nice omelette from Mr. Frank and met others in the usual Lido aft location. We did scheme an idea for later in the day though and that was to enter the Mixology Contest. This is a contest where passengers come up with a mixed drink and then it will be served on the ship the rest of the week. Between the group we came up with: a drink recipe, the name of the drink (key), and our PR guy for the crowd. After breakfast I joined several others for TV trivia in the Amber theater, no luck though. The Bloggers slot tournament was this morning a few in our little group made the finals for later today. I had a nice Lido buffet lunch then it was time for Mixology entries. Several of us entered but whoever was chosen would go with the ‘special’ drink. It worked perfectly, Storm’n Norman, the crazy hat guy, was chosen so we were in the contest and since we had a slot conflict I became the mixologist. The name of our drink was ‘Johnny’s Underpants’ named for John Heald who famously writes his blog in his underpants. Of course the group was there to encourage the judges and after judging six entries, yes Johnny’s Underpants was the winner. It’s a frozen drink with a rum base, creme de cacao, banana liquor, and pineapple liquor. Actually pretty good. A little bit of cabin time before we have our joint cocktail party at 4:00 pm. I called the bar manager to give her a 'heads up' about our party time because after all the talk and the mixology contest everyone would probably want a sample of the winning drink. BTW-she was one of the judges. She did not disappoint, at 4:00 pm Victor and two other cocktail waiters walk out with trays of Johnny’s Underpants. (photo left) Our shared party was with the Cruise Critic folks and they were a bit surprised by our antics and organization. They were in the spirit within the hour and of course the one-hour Carnival cocktail party is our groups specialty. After the party a nap was in order, but we did attend an early performance of the comedy show. Carnival has done a great job with the comedy venue. Dinner was again very good. My selections were the French Onion Soup, Braised Short Ribs, Pork Tenderloin and a Fruit Plate for dessert. After dinner the group again split up to do various things. I attended the late (adult) comedy show and it was very good!

Day Four--Wednesday—St. Thomas
Weather was perfect today although some clouds in the afternoon. Another Mr. Frank omelette and breakfast with the group this morning. This is the big excursion day for many in the group and it is important to arrive at St. Thomas at our scheduled 10:00 am time and everyone meet our arranged transport as we have some traveling to do. We want to make Trunk Bay on the island of St. John, but it will be tight. Those going met on deck 3 and soon it became obvious that we were going to be a bit late to the pier. I saw a Purser who I had been teasing for ten days about the cooler situation and she came to the rescue. Our group was literally the first off the ship and then as we walked towards the exit we saw a sign saying “Snoozers” and knew our Safari Taxi driver was there and waiting. Our goal of making the 11:00 am St. John ferry looked much better. We loaded up and Alex, our driver, said “everyone hold on” and off we go. We were the first out of the pier area and well on our way to Red Hook before 98% of the passengers were even off the ship. At Red Hook the group split with some going to a resort/beach on St. Thomas and those of us going on got our ferry tickets ($12 return) for the 11:00 am ferry to Cruz Bay on the island of St. John. The ferry ride was short and the views of the islands were marvelous. At the village of Cruz Bay we hopped another Safari taxi ($6) for Trunk Bay. Almost all of the island of St. John is in the U.S. National Park system and it is absolutely beautiful and clean. Soon we stopped at the overlook for the famous view (so many photographs and a U.S. Postage stamp) of Trunk Bay. We were dropped off, paid our Park Admission ($4), and were in the water by noon. It was beautiful. Trunk Bay is the finest beach I have ever seen or been on at anytime. The white sand is perfect almost as if it has been sifted. No rocks anywhere and a great view of the islands beyond. This is a park not a commercial area so only basic amenities, but that adds to the charm. Well worth the effort to get there, even if only for a few hours from a cruise ship. It did cloud up and sprinkle so that encouraged us to move on and meet our goal of the 3:00 pm return ferry. We took a Safari back to Cruz Bay and looked at a few shops before getting the ferry returning to Red Hook. Our designated meet location was the famous Duffy’s Love Shack in Red Hook. This is just a parking lot bar, but made famous by it’s predecessor bar and a song by the Mama’s and Papa’s. The other half of our group was already there having a good time. The drinks are very good but a bit dear. (dear = expensive if your not a Scot) I had the ‘Shark Tank’ served in a 64 oz. fish bowl and little sharks swimming inside. After an hour or so, Alex our Safari driver arrived for the return trip to the pier. We arrived back safe and sound and in time for the girls to hit a few shops. It was a wonderful day for an excursion. I checked two places off my bucket list: Trunk Bay and Duffy’s. I was very impressed with Trunk Bay, not as much with Duffy's. BTW--I highly recommend Islander Taxi, contact Alvin at they really did a great job for us. Back on board we only have a short time before our ‘special’ planned sail away party. Since this is Texas Independence Day we had a Texas theme for our usual balcony sail away. Some of our group that stayed on ship had arranged party supplies, the bar, and snacks. Others brought Texas neckerchiefs, and sparkle Texas pins for the group and our guests. The Food & Beverage Manager did send a great large tray of butterflied cut chicken wings with dipping sauces. We also had fruit and vegetarian snacks as well as a nice selection of wine, champagne, beer, and spirits. Everyone in the group attended as well as some specially invited friends and guests. (photo left: ornery Texans!) It was great fun and the evening was perfect. We also got to enjoy the sunset as sail away was delayed for well over an hour - more party time. The Freedom of the Seas was docked aft to aft with us and the pax on her really got to see what a FUN ship is like first hand. It was fun watching her sail away and that really opened up a beautiful view of Charlotte Amalie harbor. We finally sailed and the timing was good as it’s now time to prepare to go to the dining room. For dinner I had a Salad, Pork Chop, and the Bitter & Blanc for dessert. The group did their usual thing and after such a busy day I retired right after desert. A long and wonderful day with friends.

Day Five--Thursday—San Juan, Puerto Rico
We arrived by 7:00 am even with the delay in leaving St. Thomas. I watched us sail by El Morro early this morning. The weather is great actually getting warm by afternoon. I did the Mr. Frank omelette again, it is so nice to have a fresh off the grill omelette made just the way you like it. We are docked right in Old San Juan (OSJ-the walled part of the city). Many in the group left to tour OSJ and El Morrow early this morning, but we didn’t leave until 10:00 or so. We walked around OSJ - looked at some shops - DW got some Pandora pieces - then went to meet our group at Barrachina for lunch and sample some of their famous Pina Colada. After lunch and splitting up again we went to the Cathedral of San Juan Bautista (photo left) one of the oldest buildings in San Juan (1522) and is the second oldest cathedral in the Western Hemisphere. I really think that OSJ looks so much cleaner and tourist friendly than when I was here just a few years ago. DW even said she would like to return, I did show her my favorite little hotel and it seemed meet her approval. Sail away is at 3:30, but for once we are NOT having a sail away party as the carnival Past Guest party begins at 3:45 pm. We met as a group before entering the Theater so we could sit as a group and find Victor our designated group bar server. Victor did a good job as usual and we enjoyed the hour, so much we really didn’t want to leave, knowing a second party would be starting afterward, and our experience from the Splendor. Chris P, who adopted us at the first private cocktail party, and has attended all our activities so far came to our rescue and asked CD Jorge if his ‘friends’ could stay over. We stood in the aisle so they could do a quick clean before the next party, Jorge made a joke, to the servers about serving us--it was funny--but will be funnier in a moment. He later told us to take a seat, but no one did--why? We were waiting on VICTOR to tell us his assigned area which happened to be dead center. That surprised Jorge and everyone. OMG they have their own server. It is a FUN ship. Cabin time until dinner. DW had the Vegetarian Lasagna and I had the Fried Shrimp with Plum Sauce, and the Filet Mignon/Short Rib combination entrée. Following dinner I attended the comedy shows. They were very funny. Can’t beat Al and Lewis.

Day Six--Friday—Grand Turk, Turks & Caicos islands, BWI
It was rainy in the morning and the seas were choppy, but it later turned into another beautiful day in the Caribbean. Mr. Frank still greets me with a big smile as I order another omelette for breakfast with some of the group. We didn’t arrive in Grand Turk until 11:00 so we had some cabin time in the morning. It was very cool watching the Princess ship sailing directly toward us to dock. We were to meet our friends at Jack’s Shack, but since it was raining stayed on board for lunch. That means hello again Mr. Frank at the Mongolian grill. Take advantage when possible of short lines at the grill. We left the ship after lunch. Grand Turk is one of the new made-for-cruise-ships facilities similar to Costa Maya and Mahogany Bay. There is a nice area with gift shops, jewelry stores, a wave runner ride, and the largest Margaritaville in the Caribbean. There is a very nice beach and a huge swimming pool within the facility. Our group met at Jack’s Shack located beyond the port facility proper, but just up the beach. (photo right) We had a wonderful time. The weather cleared and the beach is very nice. The owners dog Topher is amazing, he spends the day digging in the sand and playing with tourists. The drinks and pricing was fair too. We did stop by Margaritaville to get our complementary margarita earned at our stop in Grand Cayman the previous week. They had a big crowd of people. We returned to the ship at 5:00 and of course we had a sail away party on the adjoining balconies. Great to watch Grand Turk disappear into the distance while enjoying cocktails. Some cabin time for me before dinner. This is the second ‘elegant night’ but a lot in our group decided to skip dinner in the MDR tonight, just as we did on this night last week. Yes experienced cruisers. We only had one table for dinner and that was nice too. I had the Escargot and the Chateaubriand with Sauce Bearnaise then the Baked Alaska for dessert. It was very good. Tonight was the second and IMHO the best production show: Just Rock featuring the Glory singers and dancers. The group again split up to the casino, comedy club and music venues.

Day Seven--at Sea
We had great weather for our final day at sea. DW had her Lido breakfast and I went to the dining room to meet several of our group for a very nice breakfast. I had a four pancake breakfast to change it up and it was very good! We had a Bloggers Q&A in the morning and received our T-shirts for the afternoon photo. I had a Reuben sandwich for lunch--much better than last week. I must also mention that the ice creme was much better this week. It was too thin last week, but we also had all those kids hitting the machines all the time. DW’s favorite is to get the candied almonds from the Chocolate Buffet and put them on the ice creme. The Bloggers Farewell Party and photo shoot was this afternoon in the Theater. Another round of cocktails (no Victor) and very nice h’orderves--thanks John. I will post the big group photo separately--thanks MGA. We actually left fairly timely for us as we did not want to be late for the ships Farewell Party (photo right) held in the Ebony Cabaret at 5:00 pm. Hello Victor, we’re setting over here!! I know Jorge must be glad to see us go by now. Hang in there my friend. There was live music, I got to dance with the DW (long story), and Victor kept us very happy. Following this party it was to the balconies for the ‘get rid of all the booze’ party and watch the sun set. Yes this is a FUN ship. We had our final dinner for the week in the Platinum dining room. One of our members arranged for some special Filipino dishes to be served to our two tables. We had Pancit with Shrimp (a noodle dish) and Chicken Adobo. Both were very good. I also had the Prime Rib entree and the Grand Mariner soufflé for dessert. After dinner it was off to the various venues for the gang, for me it was time to pack.

We were docked by 7:00 am in Miami. They started allowing the self-debarkation people off just about 7:30 a.m. and calling regular debark starting with zone 1-6 by 8:00 am. I had a nice breakfast in the dining room, my final Eggs Benedict for a while. We left the ship about 9:30 and took a shuttle to the airport. The Miami airport experience was not good, too busy, too crowded, too few agents and not an easy experience.

The Week
The week was very busy. I do not normally socialize that much in a year let alone a week. In our future Snooze group cruises, and we have several planned, our infamous one-hour cocktail parties will now be known as “Friends of Chris P” meetings. It will take me a month to recover from this wonderful week I am sure. Throughout the week we heard from passengers and crew, “Are you the guys having those aft balcony parties?” I’m not sure if that was good or bad, but at least IT WAS FUN!

The Carnival Glory is a Conquest class ship so we are very familiar with the deck plans. It is a very nice ship and the theme is Colors with each public room having a different color theme. The lobby areas have a multi-color display using LED lights and panels. IMHO it is not as nice as the Carnival Conquest as far as overall art, décor, and theme, but again I am prejudiced towards the Conquest.
The ship was very clean and has the recent updates such as the Seaside Theater and a very nice Serenity area.

We have cabin 8457 a category 8N facing aft on deck 8. This is our favorite cabin on a Conquest class ship and we have had it many times. It has a standard cabin floor plan. The cabin has a double bed, three closets, card swipe safe, flat screen TV, refrigerator (never used), and hair dryer. This week the cabin cooled just fine even with the balcony drapes open. A short walk to the aft stairwell and elevators, and convenient to the Lido buffet . DW just went up for breakfast and brought it back to the balcony. You can hear the chairs scoot on the floor of the aft Lido above, but not bad enough to want a different location. Mr. Gregorio did a great job maintaining the cabin for us and keeping us in ice.

We got to visit with Timothy Pierce this week. A very nice young man, glad to see he will be on the Carnival Magic. I’m really glad we saw the productions shows last week as we were so busy we couldn’t this week. Those in our group that saw them really enjoyed them as we did. The Reggae band, Caribbean Ecstasy, sounded great on deck. Those that saw Thien Fu loved him. We did see all four comedians in Carnival’s Punchliner Comedy Club shows this week. They were great and of course the long time favorites, Lewis Nixon and Al Ernst were wonderful. Several in our group loved Celebration, a party band, that played all week. Ron Pass and the piano bar were very busy. He had his fans, the blogger fans and online piano bar expert, DiveTrash, there keeping him in line all week.

Our MDR waiters were very good and that was important as on our last two group cruises they were not. Victor, our bar server, loved the attention. Not only did he get good tips, but we gave him a lot of attention and complemented him to the officers. Jorge is a great Cruise Director although we probably stretched him to the limit on a few occasions-the past guest parties for sure.

Our dining room was the Platinum Dining Room located aft on decks 3 & 4. We had two very nice ten-top tables for our group. The food was much better this week than last, but again I was not really concentrating so much on food this week. It’s really hard to say anything negative about the food considering how nice the Food manager was to us in sending the chicken to our Texas party. The chicken was excellent and cut so uniquely, I’ve never quite had anything like them. The meats did seem to be trimmed better and I did have some repeat orders of my favorites.

A Tale of Two Cruises
Last week it was a Jeckle & Hyde cruise, but this week it has been totally marvelous so this is the Tale of Two Cruises experience for us. It was important to have sailed the previous week as the contacts we made allowed this week go so much better for our ourselves and especially the group. Getting the food for the Texas party and being able to get off early in St. Thomas may not have been possible without the contacts made the previous week.

It is really special to be able to experience a John Heald Bloggers cruise. The passengers are fans of John Heald’s blog and experienced cruisers. Having John Heald as your host is very special, but in addition there is extra entertainment, special guests, extra cocktail parties, special gifts, and a special excitement on the ship. The Carnival Glory ship staff and crew really did an excellent job this week assisting with the group.

Cruise Highlight
For me it was our group of friends, extended friends, John Heald bloggers, new friends, and Carnival staff & crew that made it a very special week.

Thanks to The CruiseDuo and Misguided Angel for photos.

Friday, March 11, 2011

John Heald Bloggers Cruise - Carnival Glory

The Bloggers Group!

click photo to enlarge

Carnival Glory - 27Feb-5March, 2011

Some of our Group with John Heald

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Carnival Glory - Grand Turk - March 4, 2011

Part of the group on the beach at Jack's Shack on Grand Turk!

Thanks to CruiseDuo for photo---click on photo to enlarge

Charlotte Amailie - St. Thomas

Charlotte Amalie - St. Thomas

Carnival Glory foreground right
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Thanks to Prince319 for photo

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Snooze Bloggers Carnival Glory

One of the Private Cocktail Parties
Most of the Group
click photo to enlarge

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Carnival Glory Review 2.20.2011

Carnival Glory Review 2.20.2011

Just The Facts
Ship: Carnival Glory
February 20-February 27, 2011
Captain: Salvatore Rassello
Cruise Director: Jorge Solano
Ports: Miami- Cozumel- Belize- Roatan- Grand Cayman- Miami
Weather: Good all week

This was my 23rd Carnival cruise, 63rd overall, and 1st time on the Carnival Glory. This is the first week of a B2B and we are hoping for a wonderful two weeks.

Day One--Sunday--Embarkation
We left the Ranch the previous night to stay with relatives in the Metroplex. We have an early direct flight to Miami and everything at the airport went well other than our flight was delayed about an hour due to a faulty gauge. We arrived a little late in Miami, but the real problem was about to present itself. No Bags. My hope was that since there were several others on the same flight with missing bags perhaps they were only misplaced for a while so we waited. After a wait it was very discouraging to be told to go to the claims and make a report. We were even told they would probably be sent to Cozumel. Not a good feeling for us especially for DW. Finally after reaching and waiting at the lost bag claims area the agent got a notice that some misplaced bags were found. Fortunately ours were among them. It was worth the long wait at the airport in order to actually have our bags. Not pleased with American Airlines. We took a taxi from the airport to the Port of Miami ($24+) and as it was late we had no problems or delays at check in. They have a nice VIP lounge and we boarded immediately. We dropped our bags and went straight to the Lido buffet as we knew it would close soon for boat drill. The salads were very good as usual and I had the roast beef from the carving station. The roast beef was just OK not near as good as on the Voyager nor even the Conquest or Splendor. Muster drill was about 3:45. You do not have to take your life jacket to the muster location. Your muster station is on your sea card so the crew use that to assist passengers to the proper location. We unpacked and settled into our cabin and met our cabin Steward, Mr.Wi, from Asia. We sailed away just after 4:00 and the weather is perfect. It is amazing to see all the cruise ships sail away from Miami. After sail away we had some cabin time and then went to the Lobby Bar for cocktails. On the way to dinner we visited the all the public rooms along the Promenade deck. There are some interesting decors. Some we liked better than others. We are in the Platinum Dining Room upper level and have a two top table. It is a very nice table for the two of us. I had the Tomato soup, the Fruit Plate, the Sweet & Sour Shrimp, and the Crème Brule for dessert. All were very good. The ‘Welcome Show’ was at 10:30 pm in the theater, but we retired early.

Day Two--Monday--at Sea
Great weather today. Seas calm. DW ordered her usual Room Service breakfast and I had breakfast in the Platinum Dining Room. I had my usual 1st day Carnival breakfast of Eggs Benedict, Grapefruit, with sides of Bacon, and Potatoes. After some cabin time we toured the ship and ended up in the Red Sail Restaurant as DW wanted to try the Burrito Bar. I sampled the Roast Pork from the carving station and the Key Lime Pie. The pork was just OK and I did not care for the pie. The tortilla used at the burrito bar was cold. It had just opened, but that’s no excuse for the tortillas to not be at least room temperature. Burritos should not be served cold. Very disappointed with lunch. We visited the shops and I also turned in a nice liquor order to be delivered on the last night. The 2-for pricing is pretty good on liquor. We explored more of the ship and then watched a movie in the cabin. About 2:30 they delivered our Platinum Canapes. They were very good, better than on other Carnival cruises, and came at a good time considering the weak lunch. I just wish they had something vegetarian for DW. After the movie DW wanted a snack so we went to the deli for a Arugula & Mozzarella sandwich and I ordered a Reuben sandwich. The Arugula was good, but the Reuben was the worst I have ever had anywhere anytime. I saved the remains of my sandwich and expressed my concerns to the assistant Lido Matre’d. The food has been so ‘hit and miss’ on this cruise. As the sun went down we watched a Tina Turner Concert at the Seaside Theater on Lido deck. It was very good show and beautiful evening and I had to sample a Pilsner Urquell beer, one of my former favorites that they do have available on the Carnival Glory. Before dinner Chocolate Covered Strawberries were delivered to the cabin, I believe a nice gesture from the Lido Matre’d. This was the first ‘Elegant’ night and the Captains reception was prior to dinner this evening although we passed on attending. This was ‘Lobster Night’ in the dining room, a bit of a surprise as Lobster is usually on the 2nd elegant night. I had the White Stuffed Mushrooms, Pasta Carbonara, and the Lobster & Shrimp entrée. For dessert I had the Cherries Jubilee and a Fruit Plate. After dinner we went to the Cinn-a-bar piano bar to hear Ron Pass perhaps the best piano bar entertainer in the fleet. I believe he is actually kind of retired from Carnival, but back by request for the Bloggers cruise next week. He is very entertaining. We attended the late production show, Livin’ in America, in the Amber Palace Theater. This was also our first time to see Jorge, the Cruise Director. We enjoyed the show very much. I recognized several dancers from the Conquest and all the singers and dancers were very good. We enjoyed a very long and busy sea day.

Day Three--Tuesday—Cozumel
Weather is again perfect today for my birthday. Mid-day temperature 85° with a cool breeze. We arrived very early in Cozumel and the Glory was the only ship docked at the Puerto Maya pier. I started the day with a good breakfast in the Platinum dining room and we went down to the pier well after the rush. We took a taxi ($7) into town and visited with our friend Nelly at her shop Caribbean Angel, spent some time on the internet ($1 per hour), and I got a haircut at Antonio’s Barbershop. With our business in town finished we went to one of our new Cozumel favorites: Buccano’s Beach Club located north of San Miguel. The open air restaurant areas and beach facilities are very nice and they have a beautiful small private beach and a designated snorkel area. The large freshwater swimming pool is great with good showers and view of the Caribbean. There were a few cruise excursions here, but it was not too busy. I had a wonderful swim both in the Caribbean and the pool. We ordered Guacamole and Chips and had a few Mojitos. I like the way they serve their Guacamole with Pico de Gallo, it’s my favorite style of dip. It was a wonderful way to spend the afternoon with lovely breezes and beautiful views. About 3:00 we went back to San Miguel to have a birthday drink at Wet Wendy’s. I had a mojitos and we also ordered some Pink Panther margaritas. with mango, strawberry, & coconut flavoring. They are really special! There was a very nice group of folks at the bar and I was given a complementary shot of tequila for my birthday. When our new friend Chad (the owner) realized it was my birthday he too bought me a shot of the Aguava premium tequila. It was smooth and very good. Soon our friend Nelly came over and also gave me a birthday shot of the Aguava. What was going to be one drink became a spontaneous ‘birthday party’ at Wet Wendy’s. I enjoyed it very much. I really hated to leave, but we had to return to the ship at 4:30. DW went to the Red Sail and took a plate to the burrito bar eliminating the need for a tortilla and I ordered two BLT’s from room service. The BLT’s would have been good as the bacon and tomatoes were wonderful, but unfortunately the toast was burned ruining the taste. This type of thing has happened several times so we have decided to call this cruise the “Jeckyl & Hyde” cruise. Every time we find something or a task that exceeds our expectations we also experience something very disappointing. We rested and recovered in the cabin until dinner. My dinner selections were the French Onion Soup, Shrimp Cocktail, and Pork Tenderloin. The waiters did bring a cheesecake with candles and sang ‘happy birthday’ for me. That was very nice. After such a busy day we retired after dinner.

Day Four--Wednesday—Belize
Weather was perfect today. We arrived and anchored in the tender area before our 8:00 am scheduled arrival time. We took our time getting around this morning as we have no excursion planned. DW had her room service and I had a very nice omelette from the omelette station located on Lido deck. We did take the tender over to Belize about 10:30 and walked over to the city before returning to the tourist area. A walk outside the tourist area is only for the brave or experienced. We did find the ferry to get to Caye Caulker and it is easily accessible. We had a diet Coke and Belikin beer at the local bar at the tourist dock and picked up a Wifi signal so I was able to check email and make a Facebook and Snooze Cruisers update. We returned to the ship in time for a late lunch. I was able to get two great bowls from the Mongolian Grill – very tasty and my favorite food on the ship. After lunch was movie and nap time in the cabin. Tonight’s feature show was the magician Justin Illusion. For dinner I had a Salad, Pork Chop, and both the Tirimasu and Bitter & Blanc for dessert. We wanted to see Ron Pass in the Piano Bar, but it was much too smoky for me. Very disappointed as both the Carnival Splendor and Carnival Conquest have non smoking piano bars. Just my opinion, but I believe more passengers would participate.

Day Five--Thursday—Roatan

We arrived by 7:30 a.m. but the weather was very windy and we didn’t get docked until much later. It was 8:30 by the time guest could get off the ship, but we were lucky as a Norwegian ship was waved off and had to tender their guests at Coxen Hole. We are docked at the new Mahogany Bay and it is fantastic. It has a two great piers, great shops, a zip line, nice bars, a beach area within walking distance, and so very clean & new. We hired a taxi for the day ($60) from the taxi stand. (Note: If you walk off the Mahogany Bay property I think you could get tours or taxis for a lower rate. There were several there as we left trying to sell tours.) Our first stop was at South Shore Zip Line ($45 pp). It was great with just the two of us, long zip line runs, and a great views of the Caribbean. By the time we finished they were very busy so it was excellent timing. We then went to the Mayan Princess resort located on West End beach. They have a beautiful pool and access to one of the most beautiful beaches in the Caribbean. (Photo right: steps from pool area to beach area) We got a table very near these steps and enjoyed both the pool and beach. This is one of my all time favorite beaches and you can also snorkel. The Salva Vida beer was very good and it was a very enjoyable day in Roatan. The Past Guest party was held late today in the Amber Palace Theater although we passed on attending. We did attend the feature performance this evening featuring Mr. Thien Fu, an action comedian. He was very entertaining and well received by the audience, you don’t see many standing ovations on a cruise ship. Dinner was one of the best of the cruise. DW had the Vegetarian Lasagna and I had the Fried Shrimp with Plum Sauce, the Penne Pasta, and the Filet/Short rib combination entrée. The pasta was cold and not good, but the shrimp was good and the meat was the best of the cruise. After a long and active day we retired after dinner for TV and cabin time.

Day Six--Friday—Grand Cayman
Another beautiful day in the Caribbean this morning; however, I was rolling around a lot in bed during the night due to the rolling seas. We didn’t arrive in Grand Caymen until 10:00 am. So time for a very good breakfast in the dining room. We have been here many times so we had no specific plans. DW spent the day on deck reading while everyone was gone and I went over to Georgetown just to get a Wi-Fi connection and check email. If you set in one area of Margaritaville you can pick up a signal so along with my Margaritaville unlimited soda glass ($8.95CI) I was set for several hours. I returned to the ship and order BLT’s again for a snack, but it was almost three hours before they were delivered. The Platinum Petit Fours were delivered so that helped. We decided to eat in the Red Sail restaurant tonight and they had Chateaubriand so it was a good choice. A very nice waiter brought some horseradish so I was happy with the choice. For dessert I had a great Mousse consisting of white chocolate and mocha. It was the best dessert of the week. We also had a nice visit with the assistant Maitre’d. After dinner we went to the 2nd big production show: Just Rock featuring the Glory singers and dancers. I loved the show, it was fast paced with rock songs and dances from the 1950’s to the 1980’s.

Day Seven--at Sea
We had perfect weather for our final day at sea. DW had her room service and I went to the dining room for a very nice breakfast. We had some cabin time and I worked on some things for next weeks cruise. We took a table far aft on Lido for the day. I was able to catch up on the reading I brought and watch the beautiful Caribbean waters as we sailed. My timing worked to be able to get a bowl from the Mongolian grill for lunch. It was great. The lines were not quite as long as it was very busy at the Burrito Bar, the regular buffet, and the very popular Chocolate Buffet. We enjoyed the outdoor weather from our table the rest of the afternoon as well. We had our final dinner for the week in the Platinum dining room. For dessert I had the Grand Mariner soufflé and a fruit plate. After dinner we had not received the liquor that we ordered earlier in the week and usually delivered on the last night. Sure enough it was being held in housekeeping as we were on a B2B. On previous B2B cruises they had always delivered it, but I understand the reasoning. I just cancelled the order and they credited it back to my sail account. I then just went down to the shop and purchased what I wanted off the shelf as your allowed to carry it with you on the last night. Note to self: Just wait until last night to purchase in the future.

We were docked by 6:45 am in Miami. They started allowing the self-debarkation people off just about 7:30 a.m. and calling regular debark starting with zone 1 by 8:00 am. They were completely finished by 10:30, Jorge said it was a new PB (personal best) for Glory. I had a nice leisurely breakfast in the dining room

The Carnival Glory is a Conquest class ship so we are very familiar with the deck plans. It is a very nice ship and the theme is Colors with each public room having a different color theme. The lobby areas have a multi-color display using led lights and panels. IMHO it is not as nice as the Carnival Conquest as far as overall art, décor, and theme, but again I am prejudiced towards the Conquest.
The ship was very clean and has the recent updates such as the Seaside Theater and very nice Serenity area.

We have cabin 9203 a category 4-J facing forward on Lido deck. The window opens to a small deck and a forward view. The cabin floor plan is more square than the usual rectangular shaped cabins. The cabin has an oversized bathroom, a double bed, only two closets (three is the norm), card swipe safe, flat screen TV, refrigerator (never used), and hair dryer. We found the cabin to be warm and not easy to cool even with the window drapes closed. A long walk to the stairwell and elevators, but I needed the exercise. Mr. Wi did a very good job maintaining the cabin for us and his towel animals were picture perfect. There is more movement with the far forward cabins.

We enjoyed the production shows very much. Thien Fu was very entertaining. Chaz, the magician, from South Africa, came by our table every night and did a trick or visited. We didn’t see all the comedians in the new Carnival Comedy Club shows, but their shows were very popular. Timothy the solo singer I met in Key West is very good. The Reggae band was a two member group and sounded great on deck. The other musical groups performed throughout the ship with a wide variety of music.

Our dining room was the Platinum Dining Room located aft on decks 3 & 4. We had a small table for two on the upper level. We prefer the lower level, but wanted to try the small table experience. The food was very hit & miss, some items were great and many were very weak. Overall I thought that the breads were the weakest link and that the desserts were not comparable to other Carnival ships. I don’t think they trim their meats adequately or not what I am used to for sure. I found a lot of fatty parts especially in my Reuben sandwich, beef tips, pork chop and most everything from the carving station. I did discuss this with Florian the Lido Maitre’d. The cookies were always good, the shrimp dishes were some of the better entrees, and the salads were wonderful. There are several ice crème and yogurt machines on Lido deck.

The Miami TV stations are a welcome change from the Denver stations. There was good recognition from crew once they see your Platinum card. The bar servers would call you by name or you get a ‘welcome back’ and a smile from other crew.

Needs Improvement
I found the ship to be half a bubble off plum. As mentioned we called this cruise the Jeckle & Hyde cruise because every time we find something or a task that exceeds our expectations we also experience something very disappointing. Examples: burnt toast on BLT’s, cold burritos, cold potatoes at dinner, the Reuben Sandwich that was the worst I have ever had, and other situations as well. I feel there were a lot of new crew and perhaps a lack of full training and honestly perhaps not yet a full grasp of the English language. Of course my Texas accent was something new for many I spoke with this week. Worst of Cruise: I will never again take a cruise without first checking the vacation schedule for schools in the area or region I am sailing. There were really too many children on board than I prefer on a cruise, over 600 on this one. They played in the glass elevators, swam in the adult pools, and ran unsupervised throughout the ship.

Cruise Highlights
For me it was the production shows, dining room breakfasts, and the ports of call.

Hoping for a better second week.