'Imagine having a lot of fun.
Ok, now imagine that you don't have to imagine.'
(c) Advertisement that appeared to be true...
Theater, as we know, begins with a hanger. In any cruise there is also a 'hanger' - it's called registration. Cruise registration is similar to the registration process on the plane, only in the case of the cruise registration begins long before the departure of the liner.
Even before you arrive at the port of departure (in our case it was the seaport of Miami in Florida) you have to complete a self-registration process on the website of the cruise company. In addition to the standard procedure with passport information, during the self-registration process, you can link your credit card to your account to be able to use all services on the ship even without having a penny in your pocket. The final amount will be automatically debited from the account at the end of the cruise.
I also had to pick the time of dinner: early (at 6 pm) or late (at 8.15 pm). You could also choose a third option where you could select your own time for lunch between 5.45 pm and 9.30 pm.
At the end of self-registration, the system generates a pdf file that you have to print and take with you to the port for an in-person registration. This file contains a boarding pass with a bar code (like on the plane), detailed information about the cruise liner and stops, as well as an important page with luggage tags that you should attach to the handles of all your suitcases even before the arrival at the port.
The start of in-person registration on our cruise was around noon - four hours before departure. We arrived at the port of Miami around 11.10 am in a rental car. Before I managed to stop and get my baggage out of the trunk, two porters in a uniform ran to the car, opened the trunk and got our large suitcases with already attached baggage tags. They said we didn't need to worry about anything and our bags would be delivered directly to our cabin after the departure of the cruise liner. You are supposed to give a tip of $1 per suitcase. I didn't have two dollars and had to leave five dollars for both suitcases.
After a few minutes, our suitcases disappeared in an unknown direction... One more thing: before picking up our bags, the porter asked us if we had alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks there. According to the policy of
, the number of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks that you can carry onboard is limited: each guest can carry up to 12 cans of soda (coke, etc), and each guest over 21 years old may also carry not more than one bottle of wine or champagne. You can't take liquor with you - you can buy them in many bars on the ship. Another condition is that all of these drinks should be in hand luggage during the registration on the cruise. That's why porters asked if we had drinks in our baggage. Of course, we had nothing because we knew that rule and had prepared.
I returned the rental car and went to the port on taxi. We joined the long line for registration, which, surprisingly, went very quickly. First, we went to the desk where the Carnival employee looked at our passports, made a copy of U.S. visa: as we leave the territory of the United States, we need to be able to come back after the cruise and the cruise company is responsible for checking all documents.
Then we went to the personal inspection area. It is very similar to the inspection area at the airport: the same scanner, you also have to put all your hand luggage for scanning. Unlike at the airport, during the inspection on the cruise, you are only asked to show all alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks.
After the inspection we went up the escalator to the second floor and found ourselves in a huge room with lots of desks - it was the last stage of registration. There is a very important procedure: each passenger is photographed by a digital camera and given the key from the cabin with the number of the personal account and the restaurant's name and the number of the table where we will have dinner on the cruise.
Photographing is necessary for identification of the passenger by the security officer during the landing-boarding in ports of call.
The whole procedure of the registration including standing in the priority line took us about 40-50 minutes.
Our ship seemed huge!
Somewhere at the bottom, there were passengers' suitcases sorted according to their decks and ready for loading.
. 3d, 4th and 5th deck on the ship are uninhabitable. There are... Actually never mind, I'll tell you about the structure of the ship later.
We had a sea-view stateroom without a balcony. When I bought a cruise on the Carnival website, I did not want a cabin with a balcony thinking that we will likely come to the cabin only to spend the night, and the rest of the time we'll hang out on the upper decks and on the beach.
The area of the cabin is about 20 sq.m. Besides a double bed with a mat for luggage, there is a sofa, a desk, a mini-bar, a TV that we almost didn't watch, and of course, a bathroom with shower. In general, everything you need for a pleasant and comfortable rest.
Cabins are available from 1.30 pm. Baggage that we left to the porters, they promised to bring between 3 and 6 pm. We left our backpacks and went to explore the ship. We went up to the ninth deck and immediately found ourselves near one of the pools -
During the registration, I noticed that some passengers stood in line almost in swimsuits. They knew that the baggage wouldn't be transported to the cabin until the evening, and to not waste a few hours of sun and warmth, they dressed in beach clothes in advance.
We were impressed by the scale of the cruise liner only when we got up to the upper decks. There is almost everything. Numerous pools, whirlpools, SPA areas, sunbathing areas, entertainment area, two outdoor bars and four private ones, and a very decent water slide.
There are even volleyball and basketball courts on the 12th deck.
It turned out, Carnival Glory has 14 decks. The numbers go from zero to fourteen. There is no deck with number '13'.
On the top 14th deck, there is the water slide, as well as the 'adult area' where children are not allowed.
While we were walking around the ship, they brought one of the two suitcases to the cabin, where mostly my clothes were. Dressed in swimming trunks, I started water activities on the fourteenth deck.
However, they didn't last long. At 4 pm, a few minutes before the departure, all the passengers without exception were gathered on the fourth deck near the lifeboats for the safety briefing. This briefing is required for all, ranging from century-old grandfathers, which, I must say, there were many on the ship, and ending with the babies.
Everyone should know where the lifeboats are and where the gathering place for each passenger is. The gathering place is also mentioned on the key to the cabin which we must always keep on ourselves - it appears to be some type of a payment card. Carnival Glory began to move. All the way from the port, we were accompanied by two police boats.
And here we are leaving Miami, and the USA, and the open sea is ahead.
While we were admiring January sunset and the fading shore, it was lunch time.
Now I have to tell you a little bit about restaurants on the cruise ship. All the food is included in the price. Breakfast starts at 7 am and lasts until 10.30 am, lunch starts already at noon. In the morning and afternoon, you can eat in two restaurants on the 9th deck, arranged by the principle of a buffet. You can also eat in the pizzeria or Mexican snack bar where divine burritos will be made right before your eyes.
You can have meals delivered to the cabin (it's free), but we never did - the process of eating in the fresh air while admiring the surrounding area is pleasant enough.
Lunch lasts until 2.30 pm, and then, only hamburger bar and pizzeria remain opened. That is, even if you stayed on shore excursions and didn't come back on the ship until 2.30 pm, you can always eat.
At 6 pm the dinner starts for those who chose the 'early' option. 'Late' dinner starts at 8.15 pm. You can dine at one of the restaurants on decks 3 and 4 listed on the passenger identification card or go to those restaurants on the upper decks which are open for lunch and also serve rich buffet for dinner.
Here what I'll tell you: it's just impossible to stay hungry during the cruise! The food is everywhere, and you want to try EVERYTHING, that, I'll tell you, is just unreal. Free drinks are only tea, coffee, water, lemonade. For everything else, soda or alcohol, you have to pay with a key to the cabin linked to your card.
One of the dinners on the cruise is called 'captain'. On that day before dinner, you can personally meet with the captain of the liner, ask him any question or just take a picture. On the 'captain's' evening formal dress code is required.
At dinner in a la carte restaurant, we sat at a table for four. There was another couple with us at the table: a man from New York and a woman from Moscow...
At first, the waiter brings the menu and wine list. You can order alcoholic drinks separately.
Every day in the restaurant was a new menu consisting of two parts: the left part is the meals that are every day on the menu, and the right one - only entrees that are available for order that day. I didn't even know where to look - such a wide variety. As I've written above, I wanted to try everything but had to limit myself...
Believe it or not, but all the dishes were very delicious and so beautifully decorated that I didn't resist and often took photos of these culinary delights.
Duck with oranges and parsley:
A very tasty salad:
From hot dishes I liked the medium rare steak the most:
...as well as sea-bass with spicy sauce.
Apart from serving the food and drinks, waiters made a little dance show every evening.
And then dessert!..
After such a heavy dinner it's the best time to walk in the fresh air.
The evening show began at 8.15 pm in the main theatre of the liner on decks 3-5. It was the first performance for those who chose 'early' dinner at 6 pm. The same show will be repeated once again two hours later.
The size of the theater is amazing!
I never understood why, but the theater on the Carnival Glory was made in Russian style. The floor of the lobby was carpeted with a single-headed eagle holding orb and scepter in its claws. On the walls, there were portraits of the Russian tsars: Ivan the Terrible, Catherine II mixed with the same single-headed eagles.
Technical equipment of the stage was beyond praise. We were particularly impressed with five-meter screens consisting of several panels located behind the stage. They could show any picture of the performance in a few moments.
After the dance show, dancing girls relocated to the dance floor in the bar on the third deck, attracting the people.
Performance is not the only thing to do in the evening. The ship has several nightclubs,...
Every evening during dinner stewards brought the ship newspaper 'Fun Times' to the staterooms with a detailed program for the following day.
The program consisted of brief descriptions of what will happen on the ship during the day, and also contained the tear-off part of the entire schedule. You can easily fold and carry that part.
During the cruise, we had planned a few days at sea. Usually, during these days, we sunbathed on Sky deck, swimming pools, whirlpools, riding the water slide.
During those days the upper deck was like an anthill. It is understandable, there were almost 3 thousand people on board, not counting the team (and it is another 1.5 thousand).
One day, just when we were unable to dock at the Costa Maya in Mexico, there was bad weather: the sky was cloudy and the rain drizzled occasionally.
Have you ever seen an oncoming rainfall in the ocean? Such an impressive sight - you can see the boundaries of the clouds so clearly.
We came back to Miami early Sunday morning - exactly one week after the departure from there.
The day before they showed a detailed procedure of landing on a special TV channel which, it should be noted, is thought-through to avoid the hustle and lines. Each passenger may choose one of two options for the delivery of their baggage to the shore:
Option 1: self-service. If you are in a hurry to leave the ship after coming in Miami, you can take your baggage and carry it to the terminal for customs control. The ship arrives in Miami at about 5 am. The first two hours allotted for checking by the border control services. All the passengers are still asleep.
At about 7.20 am landing of passengers begins, and it starts with those who chose the option of self-service for the delivery of the baggage.
Option 2 for those who are not particularly limited in time. 15 hours before arrival in Miami, 4 baggage tags with numbers of landing area (from 1 to 32) are put in each cabin. Tags should be fixed on packed suitcases and you have to put them outside the cabin door not later than 9 pm before arrival. From 9 to midnight all the bags are collected and prepared for unloading.
In the morning after arrival, the area numbers are called on the loudspeaker one by one to avoid lines at the passport control and in the outbound operation area. Passengers, meanwhile, can enjoy the continuation of the stay on the ship until 11.40 am when the number of the last area is named. Very simple!
I suppose that is all I wanted to tell you about the cruise. Summing up, I will say that we loved the cruise and we will definitely go on a cruise again and again. There are also a lot of activities to do with children, especially because there is a mini club for children 2+ years. But it's all in the future.