We left out of Boston on Thursday June 28th. We had received an email changing the itinerary and asking us not to be at the port until 1:30 (originally 12:30) but we decided to try our luck arriving early. We arrived about 12:40 and were on the ship, bags dropped in room and having lunch by 1:30.
Staterooms: we had adjoining oceanview rooms on deck 2. Rooms were perfect (each room slept 3). Room steward (Wang) did a nice job. The only thing I didn't care for was that the couch was made up as a bed from the minute we arrived. Yes, I could have asked to have him take the bedding off, but every time we saw him he seemed swamped so I didn't want to add more. There was also a strange and very loud noise at various times day and night (would wake me during the night) that we couldn't quite figure out what it was. It came and went though so it was manageable.
Dining: we had Your Time Dining (Golden Restaurant). Three out of 4 of the wait staff was great, the fourth left a lot to be desired. The hostess that worked with us (due to food allergies) was wonderful. Service on at least one night was incredibly slow.
We also ate in the dining room twice for breakfast (good service) and lunch (service wasn't very good but they were also slammed as past cruisers were using their drink coupons and that was the last opportunity to do so).
Buffet/Pizza: The few times we ate there it was decent. The biggest complaint was that we had to wait over 45 minutes for a Gluten Free pizza that had been preordered the night before by the hostess in the dining room and the workers clearly had no concept of how to avoid cross contamination.
Allergy Accommodations: we have allergies galore in our family and Carnival, like most of the other cruise lines we have traveled on, was great. Our orders were taken the night before for dinner and the waiters had the slips when we sat down the next night which made things very easy. It was a bit harder for the Gluten Free diet but he didn't come away starving. I can say that their Gluten Free breads need to be reformulated as he felt like he was eating foam. With the great brands available it would be to Carnivals advantage to strike a deal with one of them!
Entertainment/Activities: There was a decent amount on the schedule each day that grabbed the kids attention which was great. The comedy shows were fun as were some of the game shows in the Amber lounge. The first show by the singers/dancers I didn't like at all. The choreography was poor, the singing fair and the costumes (and no, I'm not easily offended) were horrible. If we weren't half way down an aisle we would have left half way through. The only one who ventured to the show on the last night was our teenager and he said it was "better" than the first but not great. Theater at Sea was fun but many of the movies were in appropriate for children and since the sound was all around the pool deck it was hard to escape it for them to even use the pool.
Kids Club: our two older boys opted not to go to any of the activities for their age range but our two youngest ones did (ages 9-11). Disappointed the first night when their activities were held in the "Green Room" (think meeting room, with no theming) but they had a good time. First sea day the activity they went to was in White Heat and they colored a tee shirt. The last night at sea they were back in the Green Room to watch a movie but the movie was scratched and they had to keep forwarding through parts which made it difficult to follow the story line. Most staff we encountered was friendly but there was one who didn't seem to like her job at all.
Found out about Roy online and was happy when had had our port day available for a tour. His replies were prompt and he was right at the port when we arrived. He took us on a few stops right in St. John's before heading to St. Martin's to do the cave and part of the Fundy Trail. It was a nice tour and we couldn't go wrong with the price ($300 for close to 8 hours).