Since I frequented this board many times to get a feel on what to expect, I figured Id come back and sign up and write a review of my experience.
My wife refuses to fly anywhere but we needed to get away for a short vacation without the kids. This 4 day cruise was a great idea.
Embarkation - This was a breeze. Ignore all emails that state to get there after 1:30..if you get there at 11:00, barring any issues with the previous Debarkation or the ship, you should be on the Lido deck by 11:30 with a drink in your hand.
Room - The room was spacious. I was expecting a lot smaller but the King size bed was comfortable and the little sitting area was great. We had an ocean view window which was nice. We really didn't need a balcony, if we wanted to be outside we just went up to the 9Th or 10Th deck.The Room steward was friendly and although I forgot his name after 5 minutes, he remembered ours throughout the trip.
Food - I was expecting a little more in this area. The deli, Burrito bar and Grill was great. But the buffet at the red sail was a little lacking in selection and the lines were always there and moved slowly. We had dinner in the Golden Dining room on the first and last night. The portions were kind of small and we felt kind of rushed. On the second night, we went to the steak house which was excellent. for only an extra $35 a person, you are getting a meal that you would pay at least $200 to $250 for in NYC. The Pizza wasn't that good at all, tried it once and decided it wasn't worth the wait. The sushi line was ridiculous. We didn't try the Wok place because there was always a line and we didn't find the Fish and Chips place until the last day. We didn't bother going down for breakfast in the morning because we anticipated a line of course, so what we did was order room service the night before and had it delivered between 8 and 9am. We are fine with coffee, Salmon on bagels and cereal in the morning. We didn't need to load up on eggs, bacon, pancakes etc.
Entertainment - quite frankly, we like the casino, so that was our entertainment for the evening. But we did manage to catch one of the shows on the last night. It was a bit cheesy. They showed recorded versions of the other entertainment on the TV in the room such as the " 60 seconds to win" and the "newlywed type game". after watching for 3 minutes, we realized that we didn't miss much.
Pools- There were kids everywhere in the main pool and the pool by the slide. Even in the hot tubs. On the last day we decided that we should try everything while we are on the ship so we decided to go to the pool at the end of the boat which was adults only. It was nice and relaxing but the temperature of the water was maybe a degree or two less than the hot tub! way too hot. We didn't have anywhere to keep our towels because as people have mentioned here before, the chair hogs were out in full force. IF you wanted to find a deck chair to lounge on, you had to go to the sides of the ship.
St John, NB. Not much to see there. I am not sure why the ship even stops there. I wonder how they make that decision. I would much rather have stopped in Halifax. From what I read, there is a little more to see there.
The best area in my opinion was the Serenity area. The big wicker chairs and the hammocks were perfect. We both lounged out and almost nodded off on the way out of NYC. They did a pretty good job of keeping the kids away.
If you hate to take pictures, avoid the 5th floor on the last 2 nights. photographers are everywhere. They wont pressure you too much to take the pics and even if you do you don't have to buy them but you find yourself tripping over them everywhere you step.
If you like to drink, this cruise is perfect for you. you really cant go 10 minutes without someone asking you if you want a drink. Be prepared for the final statement though, The drinks are a bit expensive.
Debarkation-We carried our own luggage and we were off the ship by 8:30.
All in all, it was a great experience. I would definitely like to take the kids next time. I would do Carnival again, But perhaps try another cruise line just so I can have something to compare it to.