Diva's CRUISE DIARY
July 14-19, 2003 ~ Inaugural 5-Night Cruise
by Linda Coffman
"Glory-ous" Maiden Voyage
Canaveral in July is hot, hot, hot, but that didn't stop hundreds of
embarking passengers to pause in the bright sunshine to watch as the
first American woman in space, Dr. Sally Ride, christened Carnival
Cruise Line's newest "Fun Ship" Carnival Glory.
Maiden Voyage... would
we encounter glitches? Untested crewmembers and servers, an unfinished
ship, plumbing problems? Happily, as it turned out, none of those
challenges appeared. There was a minor inconvenience, which I'll get
to, but overall my friend Lori and I had a marvelous "fun"
journey to the Western Caribbean, including port calls in Costa Maya
and Cozumel, Mexico.
Uh-oh. All the
passengers were on board our Delta jet in Atlanta, but we weren't
going anywhere until our missing "catering" was
located. After an hour delay, we were airborne and the missing
"catering" turned out to be bottled water and pretzels. No
big deal on a one-hour flight.
Once we touched down in
Orlando it was a simple matter to find baggage claim and our Carnival
transfer to Port Canaveral. The entire transfer process was seamless—after
a 45-minute ride, we were deposited pierside. Lori and I packed
everything we needed in standard size carry-on rolling suitcases and
proceeded inside the cruise terminal where our luggage easily went
through the screening machine.
Note: All luggage loaded
in the storage compartment of the bus will be automatically
transferred to the ship. Be sure your luggage tags are attached before
you hand it over! On a full bus, our carry-ons were somewhat
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Check in lines inside
the cruise terminal were somewhat long, however they moved efficiently and
we were soon on board. Soaring atriums are a trademark of Carnival
ships and the Glory's certainly makes an extraordinary first
impression! With welcome aboard
piano music in the background, we made our way to a scenic elevator that
whisked us upward to Panorama Deck (deck 10) where we found our
stateroom with private balcony. Carnival Glory's theme decor is based
on "colors" and each deck is color-coded, which made
finding our way around this 110,000 ton beauty a bit easier.
First things first—it
doesn't take long to unpack carry-ons and settle in, so we were soon
headed to the Azure Lido Pool aft where the Pizzeria is located. Even
though many other guests had the same idea, we didn't find long lines
as we passed through the casual dining Red Sail Restaurant with its
numerous convenient serving stations.
After the mandatory US
Coast Guard Life Drill we headed back to the Lido Deck for a festive
sailaway party and Carnival Glory was officially on her Maiden Voyage.
What a thrill!
A Bit of An Oops...
While dressing for our
first night's casual late-seating dinner, Lori and I noticed that our
stateroom was growing somewhat warm. We chalked it up to two women
using hairdryers after hot showers and headed for the Golden
Restaurant where the food was a hotter topic than the increasing
warmth. In a word—delicious. Much has been said about the increased
quality of food on Carnival Cruise Line's ships and it's true. Meals
throughout our cruise were consistently well prepared, tasty, and
beautifully presented. Between serving entrees and desserts in the formal
restaurants, the wait staff performed to the delight of their guests.
Old salts may consider it corny, but their spirited rendition of
"Hey, Baby" was a fun finale to our first evening's
As we learned from
announcements made during the evening, a balky electrical circuit
board was responsible for the rising temperature inside our ship. The
crew worked frantically to reroute power and had to turn the air
conditioning down to accomplish a repair. To their credit, the staff
on Carnival Glory kept us apprised of the situation. Later, the
elevators were shut down briefly and our vessel stopped, but by
morning we had air conditioning and high spirits for a day at sea.
Is there a better way to
be awakened than by a knock at the door? Not if there's a day at sea
to look forward to and the person knocking is from room service. Each
morning on Carnival Glory our breakfast order was delivered promptly
with the items requested on the form we hung on our doorknob the night
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Lori and I each
discovered areas of the largest spa at sea to "work out"—her
routine included the vast gym with its state-of-the-art exercise
equipment, while more sedentary pleasures are my speed. It was
easy to imagine I was in the South Pacific with my back to the glass
wall separating the therapy pool from the gym. Sunshine streams in overhead
and a gentle waterfall cascades past tropical plants down a rocky
surface. Really tranquil surroundings, but no more soothing than the
ocean views through the steam room and sauna floor-to-ceiling windows.
With no particular plan
in mind, Lori and I drifted off in separate directions. She enjoys the
out-of-doors and I avoid too much sun exposure. Carnival Glory proved
to offer plenty of options for both of us, as well as the 3300 other passengers on our
sailing. While my friend enjoyed Calypso music and games at the
Turquoise Pool, I relaxed with a cappuccino and people-watched on the
indoor promenade, Kaleidoscope Boulevard. Gaming lessons in the Camel
Casino caught my attention, as did a travel talk, and art auction.
Soon it was time to meet up and prepare for a formal
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Tucked away midship on
Panorama Deck is one of Carnival Glory's finest features—the
Emerald Room supper club. After dark the decor softens and glows with
jewel toned light. It's a romantic restaurant with an elegant ambiance
and, best of all, serves superb meals!
Our server greeted us
with a tray displaying the evening's entrees... anyone familiar with
big-city steakhouses will recognize such a presentation. All steaks
are USDA Prime, hand selected, and dry aged for 30 days to insure
perfection. In addition to huge New York strip, Porterhouse, and Filet
Mignon steaks, other choices included Alaskan King Crab Claws, Chilean
Sea Bass, Broiled Free Range Chicken, Grilled Lamb Chops, milk-fed
Broiled Veal Chop, Lobster Tail, and Surf & Turf.
I began with a selection
of starters—escargots baked in
brioche, wrapped in rice paper, and classic Bourguignonne style,
followed by a creamy lobster bisque, and classic Caesar salad. My Surf
& Turf, a petit filet and lobster tail were exquisite—succulent
lobster and meat that didn't require a steak knife. A trio of crème
brûlée was the perfect dessert. Each course was served with a
flourish on unique china and the presentation was worthy of one of the
best meals I've been served on any cruise ship. Dinner in the Emerald
Room is a must-do on Carnival Glory and the nominal cover charge is a
To end an evening of
splendid dining, Lori and I chose the Ivory Room for after-dinner
cordials and jazz.
Continued --> Carnival
Glory Cruise Diary (Part 2)
Glory Cruise Diary (Part 3)
More --> Take
Glory Photo Tour