Friday, May 16, 2008

May 2008 Cruise -- Days 6 & 7, Carnival Glory

Thursday & Friday
At sea

Carnival Glory, Panama, R.P.
We had a bumpy night, nearly as rough as we ever felt on the four other cruises we've taken. But the ship and the captain managed to get us through it all at 21 knots. That's pretty fast for a ship that's 952 feet (290 meters) long.

Thursday night is formal night again and we actually planned to crash it wearing casual clothes, but when we saw the menu on the cabin TV and decided we would brave the buffet. It wasn't good but it wasn't bad. And we had extra desserts. And didn't feel under-dressed.
Carnival Glory pool and live entertainment stage
As for the Golden Restaurant, the one with waiter service, we weren't pleased the other night when the maitre d', Mr. V, needed to liven things up by having the waiters stop serving us and go dancing around the room. All we wanted was our decaf and dessert.

I don't know why it bothered me but I didn't like seeing a waiter dancing on one of the tables for eight guests -- while the eight guests were sitting there. They didn't look too happy about it either. Last night he had all the waiters get in the aisles (and urged the guests to as well) to do a conga line through the dining room. And Mr. V led this while dancing on a dining table. On the final night his pitch for us to tip the maitre d' fell on at least two deaf ears.

Maitre D' tip envelope
By the way, passengers are told upfront that the management adds tips to your "Sign & Sail" account every day for the waiters and stewards you see, and many staff you never see. The maitre d's are not included in this group. So we got pre-printed envelopes from the maitre d's asking for tips. Wow.

There was a pile of these envelopes at the restaurant's front desk. Does the management know the maitre d's are doing this? Who's next, the Captain?
Carnival Glory's bridge
The final days on the ship were at sea and very restful if bumpy. I went to the high decks at the front of the ship and took some photos of the bridge and superstructure against the deep blue Caribbean sky.

We also spent some time in the computer room reading and sending emails. The computer room is just off a nightclub called the Ivory Room. They also have Tea there several afternoons during the cruise.

As you walk through the Ivory Room to the computer room there was a zone of bad smells. Certainly the sewage treatment plant must be isolated from the public areas of the ship? I noticed this in other parts of the ship but never in the same place every day. I also noticed cooking odors and fumes from engine exhaust in hallways far from kitchens and smoke stacks. This Carnival Glory problem is mentioned by other people on online cruise forums. Only once on a Princess ship did I smell anything bad. It was late in the cruise and in a hallway there was a stale walk-in cooler food smell.

Empress Deck 7, Carnival Glory
It is clear we didn't like much of the food we were served, especially in the Golden Restaurant. The buffet was better and there was always the side stations with fresh pizza, calzones, Caesar Salads, fish and chips, burgers, hot dogs, Chinese food and deli sandwiches. So, even if the prepared items on the buffet line seemed like bad elementary school cafeteria food in a wildly diverse neighborhood, you could always get a fresh sliced ham on rye sandwich. And all the soft serve ice cream you could eat.

As for service, at best it was grudging. I asked a waiter at tea (tea bags no less!) what a certain pink pastry was and he said, "I have no idea." End of conversation.

Carnival has some reputation as a fleet of party boats, "Hooters of the Sea", some unkind person once called them. That reputation is more likely on their three and four night cruises. The longer ones like this one may attract a slightly older crowd and the time of year for this cruise was long after spring break and well before summer vacations. So it didn't get too rowdy.

Perhaps Carnival needs a better level of service on their 7-night and longer cruises.

Day 6 towel sculpture
This was our final towel sculpture of the cruise. It is very good. Is it a baby or a ghost?

No comments: