Beginning this summer, Carnival Cruise Line began their newest itinerary – a cruise to Canada out of Boston, MA. Here’s my just-back review of The Carnival Glory which departs from Boston for a five day New England coastal cruise to St. John and Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.
Carnival Glory’s short summer and fall cruising season out of Boston has received an overwhelming response from New Englanders and has been sailing at full capacity. “A short cruise with the ability to drive to the port, what more could you ask for?” stated a passenger from Connecticut. The fun ship adventure offers something for everyone, with all types of activities including arts and crafts centers, “activity walls,” indoor climbing mazes and computer labs. This is an an ideal family cruise. The three under 18 programs; Camp Carnival, for kids ages 2 to 11, Circle “C” for the 12 to 14-year-old set, and Club O2 for 15 to 17-year-olds, provided parents with the confidence that their children were enjoying the cruise and while they enjoyed sitting poolside. Grownups were entertained as well, with pool-side mixology and hairiest chest contest. Fun was all over the ship, it was up to you to be a joiner or observer.
We kicked off our cruise with a trip to the spa, which was a bit disappointing. The aromatherapy massage and wrap treatment were very nice, especially the dry float bed, but the “spa” is actually part of the gym, there are no robes and slippers and the waiting area is in the locker room. In my experience I would not consider this a spa, more like a treatment area, and a rather noisy one at that. You heard every conversation, and door opening and closing on the way to the gym, not a very relaxing atmosphere.
We dined in the Platinum Room, which featured an extensive menu. If you prefer, the buffet on Lido deck or anytime dinning were all available with a wide variety of food selections. The entertaining wait staff was an extra bonus and our waiter Anthony was always full of surprises.
The Emerald Room, awarding winning steakhouse, was fabulous. There is an additional charge of $35 pp for dinning, but we felt it was well worth the charge. Passengers have numerous options for dining; arranged seating, dining anytime, buffets and so much more. From omelet stations for breakfast, to burrito stations for lunch, there is something for everyone. And if you are feeling a little lazy, just call room service. And of course the midnight buffet is truly magnificent.
“What can we do to make your experience the best?” was the mantra throughout the cruise, and the entire staff was committed to make this happen. No one exemplified this more than the cruise director, Josh Waitzman and his amazing team. Josh began cruising at age 8 and instantly fell in love. Although he chose a different profession after college, the sea still called to him. Since he always had the most fun on Carnival, it was the only cruise line he applied to. Hired in 2004, Josh joined his first cruise with only 24 hours notice. When Josh became the cruise director on the Glory his goal was to make sure all the passengers had fun. We invite you to read his blog, www.bigsexyinc.com .
Josh credits his amazing team with executing creative and entertaining activities such as their now famous Murder Mystery. Bringing the board game, Clue, to life they engage the passengers in solving the “WHO DONE IT Mystery”. Poor Henry Bagget is murdered and the stage is set with an Adams family like introduction complete with the creepy, crawly atmosphere. The staff all pleaded their innocents, while entertaining us with hilarious antics of moving the body behind the storyteller. Of course, no true mystery would be provided clues and cryptograms to help solve the crime; a family event enjoyed by all. There are numerous options for your evening pleasure; shows, karaoke, lounge singers, etc. But for me, one of the highlights was seeing Jayonce bust a move-Beyonce move over.
Josh and his team are looking forward to the new Fun Ship 2.0 upgrade taking place while the Glory is in Dry Dock. It looks like Carnival Glory will be enhancing the on-board experience through branded spaces and celebrity partnerships. Some of those new partnerships are with George Lopez, who serves as the creative director for comedy, Food Network personality Guy Fieri, with a new free burger venue called Guy’s Burger Joint, EASPORTS Bar, and Hasbro. There will be new food and beverage concepts such as the poolside RedFrog Rum Bar, BlueIguana Tequila Bar and BlueIguana Cantina and the “cocktail pharmacy” Alchemy Bar. Playlist productions will be part of the entertainment choices as well as a new partnership with celebrity song master DJ IRIE. Apparently, several of the other Carnival ships have already been upgraded with huge success.
Service is everything on cruises and Carnival has really managed to pamper guests, from our room steward, Orlando, who left us adorable towel animals nightly, to the supervisors and managers who were always inquiring as to what else they could do to make our trip more enjoyable. But the one person who made it his business to check in on his staff and the passengers is Captain Salvatore Rassello.
The last time I cruised was 1999 and things have really changed. Beautiful staterooms, wonderful food, entertainment 24 hours a day, and a staff who caters to your every need for one flat price; probably the most economical travel buy available today. Everything is included in your base price; room, meals, and entertainment. Cruising may not be for everyone, but it is certainly an experience worth trying. As many passengers told us, “it is a no brainer, you don’t have to think about where you need to go to dinner or what to do for entertainment-everything is right on board”. We met passengers who cruise several times a year and sometimes it is the destination, it’s the particular ship or the duration which influence their decision. With airfares rising, and the hassle of flying, cruising from a home cruise port is becoming more desirable, and I can certainly see why.
I must admit, this was the most relaxing vacation I have had in years. Although we were a guest of Carnival, we had the freedom to explore and observe everything. Our conclusion was Carnival certainly deserved the FUN SHIP title. They go above and beyond to make sure everyone had a great time. If you are looking for an economical, fun enjoyable experience, try Carnival’s Glory ship out of Boston, it’s certainly worth the price. To fine the latest cruise specials visit Carnival.com.
Photo Credits: #1, 3, 4 Linda Rappaport, #2 Flickr: Cruise News Weekly