Carnival Glory is a ship that was built for entertainment -- 20-plus lounges and bars all play on the "colors" theme with dramatic interiors. It is worth seeing all of them in action and this ship gets hopping around 10 p.m. each evening. (During the day, Carnival features the usual wacky antics along with bingo, bad-hair-day seminars and shopping in its duty-free emporiums.)
The 1,400-seat multi-level theater, Amber Palace, was inspired by Russia's legendary Amber Room. Design elements include rococo moldings, gold leaf columns, candelabras, cornices, and paintings of famous Russian czars and czarinas. The venue is the jumping-off point most evenings with Vegas-style revues. Each show consists of elaborate sets and costumes, and some of the most dazzling special effects at sea including a revolving stage, rising orchestra pit, and a multi-million-dollar sound and lighting system. We found the best seats to be on Deck 4 where you can really see the special effects and the "flying objects."
Another evening theater offering is "Hasbro, the Game Show," an interactive event inspired by the TV show "Family Game Night." Think classic board games transformed into novelty-sized interactive versions. For instance, Connect 4 morphs into a sharp-shooting basketball contest pitting two families against each other. Operation takes on the form of ski ball.
Punchliner Comedy Club plays host to family-oriented (early) and R-rated (late) shows from a rotating lineup of comedians. The Camel Club Casino features an Egyptian motif; the highlight here is life-sized kneeling camels that greet visitors at all entrances, a great photo spot.
Carnival Liberty's Seaside Theater towers over the main pool deck is a 270-square-foot screen that thrums with programming, day and night. During the day, the screen plays music videos and displays photos taken of random passengers on deck. At night, a variety of films were played, both family-oriented and retro-hits like; late in the evenings, concerts are sometimes shown.
Glory features bars aplenty. The White Heat Dance Club is a campy disco with gigantic white candles lining the walls. The Ivory Club features elephant tusk replicas, intricate wall coverings, windows inset with mosaics of faux semi-precious stones and a wood-paneled ceiling. Bar Blue is the ship's jazz bar with giant peacock feathers that extend from the floor almost to the ceiling. The Ebony Cabaret has an African atmosphere, with dark ebony walls and ceilings, and hand-carved and painted wooden African masks mounted in copper-like frames.
RedFrog Pub, added during the fall 2012 refurb, is a love letter to Caribbean kitsch -- see the driftwood signs, plastic marlins and fake palm trees. The popular venue features nightly acoustic music and a group of high-energy passengers sharing pints (or 101-ounce beer tubes) of Carnival's easy-drinking private-label ThirstyFrog Red. Another fun hangout spot is the EA Sports Bar, which features a wall of flat-screens, video games and an LED ticker that posts current game scores. Alchemy is a dark wood bar that serves alcoholic beverages by "prescription." Choose a drink from one of the light-up menus, or create your own by writing down what you'd like on one of the bar's prescription pads. Prepare to be surrounded by apothecary jars and bartenders in white lab coats.
The Lido Deck features two popular bars, the BlueIguana Tequila Bar and the RedFrog Rum Bar, both of which were added fall 2012. Each is designed similarly -- driftwood signage, colorful mascots -- so the emphasis is on drinks with the respective liquors noted in the names. Both are open day and night.
|Fitness and Recreation|
The 13,300-square-foot Spa Carnival features an exotic Polynesian design theme that incorporates lush foliage and a waterfall cascading down a stone-like wall between decks with two indoor whirlpools. Panoramic views of the sea, along with decent weight and exercise technology, pleasant work out (as pleasant as a workout can be, at least). The workout area is through the locker rooms only; inside the locker rooms are complimentary steam rooms and saunas, and Steiner-operated spa treatment rooms. Among the relatively unusual spa services available is a heated seaweed dry float.
A full-service beauty salon offers hair services, manicures and pedicures, but tends to book up for formal nights so reserve early. Fitness classes such as low- and high-impact aerobics and yoga are offered in the aerobics studio. Some classes -- yoga, kickboxing and spinning -- carry a fee of $12 per person.
The pool deck is multi-tiered and large enough to accommodate everyone. The ship has three large whirlpools, four swimming pools (one with a 214-foot-long water slide and another covered by a retractable dome), a jogging track, a half-court for basketball, a volleyball net and an assortment of Ping-Pong tables.
All the way forward -- just above the spa, gym and salon -- is Serenity, an adults-only sun deck that offers loungers, hammocks and couches for relaxation away from the masses. In addition to great views, you'll also have access to additional hot tubs, and waiters will come around to take your drink orders.
The 4,000-plus-square-foot Camp Carnival has daily activities for passengers aged 2 to 11. The 2- to 5-year-olds can finger paint and create sand art pictures. There are designated times for parental participation. Same goes for the 6- to 8-year-old group, which participates in similar activities geared to their particular demographic (scavenger hunts, crafts); 9- to 12-year-olds have their own club, group dinners, talent shows and family events.
Glory's Camp Carnival facility, beyond its multiplex of flat-screen TV's, computer center and PlayStation 2 area, also has an outdoor wading pool and jungle gym.
Scheduled activities generally run until 10 p.m., after which Night Owl parties -- late-night group baby-sitting with a more fun name -- are available for $6.75 per hour, per kid (plus 15 percent gratuity per child). There are also the occasional theme parties (Beach, Mardi Gras), which run from 10 p.m. to midnight and cost $13 per child (plus 15 percent gratuity).
Club 02, the facility for 15-to-17 year-olds, includes a dance floor, video wall, lounge, soft-drink bar and state-of-the-art video games.
The 12- to 14-year-old "tween" set also have their own dedicated space, Circle C, with video games, a touch-screen jukebox and plasma TV's.
Fountain Fun Cards, which are good for unlimited soft drinks, are available.
Expect to find most Carnival Glory passengers ranging in ages from 25 to 55. You will find more families with kids in the summer and during school breaks. Carnival reports that 30 percent of its passengers are under the age of 35, 40 percent are between 35 and 55, and 30 percent are over 55.
Carnival Glory offers a modest range of categories from insides to suites. Of the ship's 1,487 cabins, 60 percent offer an ocean view; 60 percent of those feature private balconies.
Non-suites are typically about 185 square feet; balcony sizes range from 30 to 75 square feet depending on cabin location.
Decor-wise, insides, outsides and balconies feature Carnival's pleasant peach palate. Insides come with chairs; all others have seating areas with sofas (some are pull-outs) and coffee tables. One way in which Carnival distinguishes itself is by offering beds that convert from two twins to a king. (Other cruise lines use more narrow twins that, doubled, equal a queen.) Beds are outfitted with soft linens and duvets.
Bathrooms in all cabins have Carnival's famous "freebie" amenity basket that is filled only once and typically includes a pack of disposable razors, shampoo samples (in packets not bottles), breath mints, toothpaste and the like. In the shower (tubs are found only in suites) shampoo and shower gel dispensers are kept full. Still, bring your own if you take hair care seriously.
Cabins feature interactive TV's offering up pay-per-view movies and a different complimentary movie each day along with port and shore excursion information, re-runs of onboard shows, and satellite broadcasts of CNN, Fox News and NBC. There's also access to your Sail & Sign account. All cabins have mini-bars filled with soda, drinks and snacks. Bathrobes and hairdryers are also part of the mix.
Balcony cabins are equipped with faux-wood patio furniture.
One of our favorite special cabin categories is the 230-square-foot "family stateroom," which features floor-to-ceiling glass windows but no balcony. there are only 18 of these, but the location on Deck 11 right below Children's World is incredibly convenient.
Suites offer a touch more room. The Ocean Suite is 245 square feet with an 85-square-foot balcony. The Junior category suite has 275 square feet of interior space with a 35-square-foot balcony. The Grand Suites are 300 square feet with 110-square-foot balconies. All suites have sitting areas, walk-in closets and whirlpool baths. Suite passengers have access to early embarkation, priority tendering and a special line at the guest services desk.
For do-it-yourselfers, launderettes are available on most cabin decks. Costs are $3 for a wash, $2.75 for a dry. Detergent and dryer sheets are also available for sale. Each laundry room is equipped with an iron and ironing board for complimentary use.
Carnival recommends $11.50 per person, per day. The guidelines allocate $5.80 to dining room services, $3.70 to cabin services and $2 per day for alternative services, which include kitchen, entertainment, guest services and other hotel staff members. The amount is automatically added to your shipboard account, but can be adjusted in either direction at the guest services desk. A 15 percent gratuity is automatically added to bar bills. Tipping for room service at delivery is expected (and appreciated) by the service staff.
The 2,974-passenger, 110,000-ton Carnival Glory, the second in Carnival's Conquest class, is a colorful ship in more ways than one. With each public room celebrating a different shade of color, this ship takes the "rainbow connection" to a whole new level.
Onboard Carnival Glory, passengers will find a lively "let's do it all" atmosphere. There are more than 20 bars, plenty of entertainment options and a head-spinning array of Fun Ship schlock, from Bingo to karaoke to hairy chest competitions. The constant announcements remind passengers of most of the daily activities. Occasional congestion occurs at the buffet during peak hours, particularly on sea days; on formal nights, lines form for photos along the Kaleidoscope Boulevard. Colors Bar in the atrium tends to fill up for pre-dinner cocktails. And yet there are offbeat, out-of-the-way spots -- like the Ivory Club -- that offer chances to escape from crowds.
A fall 2012 refurbishment, part of the line's half-billion dollar Fun Ship 2.0 initiative, added a bevy of new features. These include a quartet of theme bars, (fee-free) burger and burrito joints, and a comedy club rebranded with the help of George Lopez.
Overall, Carnival Glory's biggest strength is its appeal to a wide variety of travelers, from families and groups to couples.
The Colors Lobby, Carnival Glory's nine-deck-high grand atrium, is highlighted by a giant digital kaleidoscope which projects slow-moving images on huge screens over the bar; it is best viewed from the glass elevators. This ship is easy to navigate, as many popular spots -- Camel Club Casino, the Ebony Lounge and White Heat Dance Club and -- are situated on Deck 5. At one end is a cluster of hot spots like Cinn-A-Bar, a sing-along piano bar; Alchemy; and the Bar Blue for jazz. The Ivory Club, offering drinks and light entertainment, is one deck below.
At the opposite end of the Promenade Deck are Cherry on Top and the Boulevard Shops, all selling the usual cruise fare, from Carnival insignia-wear to a pretty huge selection of duty-free booze, perfume and jewelry. Cherry on Top, done up in candy-cane red and white, was added fall 2012. It sells all manner of sweets by the quarter pound in the "scoop it from a plastic box" fashion. (Individual boxes of Sweet Tarts, giant lollies and chocolate candy are on offer, too.) Tux rentals and flowers for purchase are also available there.
The Black & White Library features checkerboard wood squares in black and white patterns, wood bookcases and framed images of famous newspaper headlines. The library is very small for this size of ship so remember to bring your own reading material.
An Internet cafe is open 24 hours; it is located in an out-of-the-way room behind the Ivory Club. Charges start at 75 cents per minute (plus a $3.95 "start-up" fee), though purchasing a package can bring that rate down to 30 cents. Bow-to-stern Wi-Fi is also available.
Dining options include traditional two-level formal dining rooms, an upscale reservations-only steakhouse, and an expansive two-level poolside complex offering casual alternatives for breakfast, lunch and dinner including a 24-hour pizzeria, burrito venue, New York-style deli and seafood station.
The Japanese-temple-inspired Platinum and Golden dining rooms, both spanning two levels, are Glory's main restaurants. Dinner can be taken either in traditional assigned seating at two times (6 and 8:15 p.m.) or on a flexible basis, via Carnival's "Your Choice Dining" program. With the flexible option, passengers can have dinner in the main dining room anytime they like between 5:45 and 9:30 p.m. (times may vary). Dining assignments -- which you select before the cruise -- are made on a first come, first served basis, so if you have your heart set on one or the other, consider booking earlier rather than later.
As on other Conquest-class ships, the quality and variety of food in the main dining room onboard Carnival Glory is solid. We also love that the dining rooms offer more than just a handful of tables for two for honeymooners and couples. Spa selections are available, and the menu lists calorie and fat content for each; there is also a vegetarian selection noted. Breakfast and lunch are open seating.
The Taste Bar, also added fall 2012, offers a nightly rotating menu of light bites culled from the fleet's various signature dining venues. Given its promenade location, the venue is a perfect amuse bouche on the evening march to the dining room.
The fee-free Punchliner Comedy Brunch, a sea day exclusive introduced fall 2012, features five-minute teasers from that evening's comedians every hour on the hour from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. There's also a special menu inspired by Carnival's "Curator of Comedy," George Lopez, and a Bloody Mary bar ($7.75 to $8.75). Dishes include huevos y carne, a Mexican-style steak-and-eggs dish, and a breakfast burrito.
The Red Sail Restaurant, the casual Lido Deck eatery, offers a daily buffet for all meals with varying themes, as well as self-serve ice cream and frozen yogurt machines. There's a grill station and a "Mongolian Wok" option offering made-to-order stir-fries. Fish and chips lovers should not miss the seafood station, open for lunch only, found up on the second floor of Red Sail. Red Sail also has a 24-hour pizza station, which offers calzones, and a deli.
To one side of the main pool on Lido Deck, you'll find the BlueIguana Cantina, a fee-free venue that was added fall 2012 as part of the line's $500 million Fun Ship 2.0 initiative. Choose from chicken, fish or pork tacos and beef, chicken or shrimp burritos. Toppings run the gamut from lime-infused rice and pico de gallo to beans and corn. The soft taco shells are made fresh on-site and there are also separate bars for toppings and hot sauces. The venue is open for breakfast and lunch.
On the opposite side of the pool is Guy's Burger Joint, a Fun Ship 2.0 enhancement backed by Food Network personality Guy Fieri. Choose from one of five burgers on the menu, or simply build your own with the help of a nearby toppings bar. Guy's is open from noon to 6 p.m.
The reservations-only Emerald Room Steakhouse is Glory's for-fee alternative restaurant. For many passengers, the special menu combined with attentive service is worth the $35 per person fee. Here's a tip: the first day of the cruise is the best time to get in so call to book as soon as you get onboard. Specialties include surf 'n' turf, ribeye and grilled lamb chops.
The Deck 5 promenade is home to Creams Cafe, the extra-charge dessert and coffee bar, and a complimentary sushi cart that's wheeled out nightly. Room service is available 24 hours a day. Hot and cold breakfasts are available in the morning; the usual sandwiches and salads are available around the clock.
Also available on all of Carnival's ships is The Chef's Table dining experience, which affords a dozen passengers a multi-course dinner with a master chef, a private cocktail reception and a tour of the galley and its operations. This dining option usually takes place in a nontraditional venue, such as the galley or library, and it can be booked onboard at the information desk for a per-person cost of $75.
During the day, casual attire is the norm. Carnival's evening dress code is typically "cruise casual," but on two nights during the voyage "cruise elegant" eveningwear is suggested. On cruise casual nights, the line recommends sport slacks, khakis, jeans (no cut-offs), long dress shorts and collared sport shirts for men, and casual dresses, casual skirts or pants and blouses, summer dresses, capri pants, dress shorts and jeans (no cut-offs) for women. Cruise elegant dress means dress slacks, dress shirts and sport coats (suggested not required) for men and cocktail dresses, pantsuits, elegant skirts and blouses for women. On elegant nights, passengers may choose to dress more formally in suits and ties, tuxedos or evening gowns.
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