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Copyright © 1995-2003 
Linda Coffman


Cruise Diva's CRUISE DIARY
Carnival Glory

July 14-19, 2003 ~ Inaugural 5-Night Cruise

by Linda Coffman

A "Glory-ous" Maiden Voyage

Port 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.

Getting There

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 cumbersome.

Carnival Glory - stateroom with private balcony

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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 dinner. 

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.

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 before.

Carnival Glory - Spa Therapy Pool

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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 dinner.

The Emerald Room

Carnival Glory - Emerald Room

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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 steal.

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)

                    Carnival Glory Cruise Diary (Part 3)

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Carnival Glory Images © and courtesy of Andy Newman/CCL 

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