Getting there and embarkation
Since we live on the North Fork of Long Island, we decided to take advantage of embarking in Boston. We live 20 minutes from the ferry in Orient Point, NY so we opted to take the ferry to New London and then drive to Boston. The trip up was easy. No traffic on Sunday morning and we got to Boston in 3.5 hours (which includes 1 hr 20 min on the ferry). Parking at the port was easy, and it is a 5 minute walk to the terminal. Once we got to the terminal it was confusion and lines. We were wandering on the street, and found a porter to take our luggage. There were no signs that we saw indicating where to drop off the luggage, and there were people on the line to check in, who still had their luggage. The line to check in took us about 1 hr 30 minutes, once we did check in, it was quick and we were given zone 10 for boarding. We found out that the reason for the delay was that the computers were down; the rep at the desk did handwrite our information. It was another 30 minute wait until our zone was called. We got on board and were able to drop our bags off in the cabin. Then we headed to the Fish and Chips on deck 10 for lunch. I had heard good things about the Fish and Chips and we were looking forward to trying them out. They were ok, not great I thought they were too heavily battered, but we both liked the calamari. All said, I hope they fix this issue, it could turn people off from departing from Boston.
We like early dining and we were in the Golden DR upstairs. The 1st night is always a bottleneck with everyone waiting to be shown to their tables. We were behind a group that was having an issue of some type and there was no other dining room staff to show us to the table, after a few minutes we decided to walk around and find our table. Our tablemates were 2 other couples and they were very pleasant. We like the mdr and rarely eat at the buffet. The MDR was quite good, a few misses but for the most part, the food was good. The flank steak was good, I order it either medium or medium rare and didn't feel that it was leathery. I also enjoyed the Prime Rib. A few of the misses were the Cheesecake with Strawberry sauce; it was served warm, not cold. The Fried Chicken was bland, it wasn't horrible but I wouldn't order it again. Overall the food was good. Our head waiter Howard and his assistants were friendly and the food was served quickly. We did bring our own bottles of wine and were charged the corkage fee for both bottles.
We usually get a balcony but decided to get a porthole cabin since we would be going north and not south. The room was spacious enough and the portholes provided plenty of light. Our room steward Oliver was great. We asked him if he could get us some ice and to empty out the refrigerator which he did while we were at dinner the 1st night. We had a 2nd bucket with ice and he replenished it daily. I liked the flat screen tv, but we couldn't get the power button to work from the remote, not a big deal, we just turned it off on the set. We would definitely get a porthole cabin again; it was roomy enough and quiet.
The 2 production shows were Just Rock and Livin' In America. We both felt the shows were pretty stale. It could be that we have seen the shows more than once, but we just didn't think the shows were up to par. We thought the singing was a little off key and the overall feeling of the shows was tired. Hopefully they will come out with new shows soon. We went to Be a Game Show Star with Jason. It was a Jeopardy type show and fun. I spoke to Jason during the Captains Celebration and learned that he just got to the ship 2 weeks prior, we had a nice chat and I learned that he is a White Sox fan. We also took part in the Ballroom Dance lesson; which was the Cha Cha. It was in the Amber Palace on the stage. We were in the back of the stage and had a hard time seeing the dancers who taught the class and they went a little too fast for some people. But we did have fun.
Punchiner Comedy Club
The Punchliner Comedy Club is in the Ebony Cabaret deck 5 Aft. We went to both adult show to see Tim Young and Jim Lauletta, they were both funny and I really like the addition of the comedy club on the ships.
Pools, Hot Tubs and Chair Hogs
The aft pool was heated, although the 1st sea day it was warm enough that you probably didn't need it. The 1st night we skipped the Welcome Aboard Show and went to the hot tub in the Serenity area. We got there at 9:30 and it closes at 10:00. We were the only people in the hot tubs. There are 2 hot tubs in the Serenity area; they would sit 10 -- 12 comfortably. We went to the Serenity hot tubs in the afternoon of day 2 and we noticed that there was no where to place our towels etc. we ended up putting everything on one chair, so we became chair hogs. There was only one chair available, some were being used for towels but there were also people occupying some of them. The situation was similar in the Aft section as well. It was hard to tell if the chairs with towels belonged to someone in the pool or hot tub or if they were being held for someone else where on the ship. We also used the aft hot tub and did notice some kids in the hot tub at night which is supposed to be adult only. The kids were being quiet and we were fine with sharing the hot tub with them.
We originally booked St. Martins and the Bay of Fundy for the morning and then St. Andrews by the Sea for the afternoon online a few weeks before sailing. We received our tickets in the evening of the 1st night. When checking them we noticed that both excursions were in the morning. Not possible to be in 2 places at the same time, I haven't perfected that yet. The time on the St. Andrews was crossed out and the new time was handwritten on the ticket. Off to the shore excursions desk the next day. We were told the time was changed by the operator and the afternoon excursion was cancelled. Ok so we decided since we had been to St. Martins last year, to cancel that one. No problem, they cancelled and credited our account. Later that day, after the shore excursions desk was closed, we received a notice that the St. Andrews excursion was cancelled due to lack of interest. Arghh! We went to Guest Services and rebooked the St. Martins and Bay of Fundy for the afternoon. Now when we booked the excursions we used the 10% off code but on the ship we couldn't use it. The Guest Services rep wrote on our ticket that we originally got 10% off. We spoke to the Shore Excursions rep in the terminal in Saint John and he assured us that we would receive the discount. When we checked our folio later that night, we were given the credit. Good job shore excursions crew! We did enjoy the excursion, and got some of the seafood chowder from the Cave View Restaurant in St. Martins -- which was our reason for going back there this year. In the morning we walked around and had lunch at Billys Seafood in the Market Square, very good. What was interesting was that on Wednesday, we met other people who were also on the St. Andrews tour and were equally disappointed, so I know there were at least 6 of us on the ship who wanted to go, it was too bad we didn't meet them earlier, maybe we could have gotten together and hired a cab in port.
I think this was the easiest debark we have ever experienced in 11 cruises. They started calling self-assist at 8:00 while we were at breakfast. We finished breakfast, got our stuff together and were off the ship by 9:00. We hit a little traffic getting out of the parking garage and going south on 93, but nothing really bad, I drove in rush hour traffic on Long Island for years and this was a minor hiccup compared to some days I've had. We had a 2:00pm ferry reservation, but made it to New London by 11:45, there was a ferry boarding and we were able to get on it; sweet!
- We ordered a bottle of Goslings Dark Rum from BV, we brought along diet Coke to mix in. Although the price was steep, it was worth it when we figured how much we would've spent on the ship.
- The salsa band in the casino was good. We enjoyed listening to them on elegant night.
- Josh Waitzman the CD was friendly and was very approachable as always. This is our 4th cruise with him and we enjoy talking to him.
- The ship looked to be in good shape and it will be interesting to see it with the 2.0 additions.
- I went to the gym 2 mornings. I really liked the new equipment. The machines have an iPod dock. I use a sansa mp3 player with earplugs but I was able to mute the volume and watch the scenic channel from Carnival tv while listening to my tunes right on the elliptical. Very cool. The gym was busy but not overcrowded; I had no problem finding a machine.
Overall the trip was good, we would take the itinerary again, even from Boston.