My husband and I, both in our mid-50's, chose this cruise for a short getaway after a very hectic year. We have previously cruised with Princess, Holland America, NCL and some defunct cruiseline in Hawaii. We tend to be pretty easy to please with few demands, and we came on this cruise knowing that it was a ship ready to be drydocked for upgrades.
Embarkation was very easy and fairly quick. We were eating at the grill within 45 minutes of getting out of a taxi at the port, and our room was ready by 1:30, which we found acceptable. Our luggage arrived around 3:00, so we were able to unpack before the muster drill.
The ship was in good shape overall, with a little wear and tear in places, but nothing that was just awful. We were very pleased with the size and cleanliness of our cabin, and our cabin steward was great, even though he never introduced himself. We enjoyed the walking track above the Lido deck, and the miniature golf was fun.
Those are the positives. I guess to be honest, our biggest issue was with the food. We understand that this is subjective, but truly, we are not picky eaters and we had trouble finding something that we liked. A number of times we were quite queasy after eating, especially the breakfast and dinner buffet. We felt that there were not really many choices at the buffet - at least not as many choices as on other ships. The deli was not very good, either, although the young man who worked there was very friendly. We had a grilled ham and cheese one time, and the bread was as hard as a rock from the grill, but the ham and cheese inside were cold. Hamburgers and chicken strips at the grill were about the best food we had, and we liked the ice cream. Even taking into consideration that they are feeding 3000 people, we still felt that things could have been much improved. The morning we got off the ship we stopped at a McDonald's and the Egg McMuffin tasted delicious to us, if that tells you anything.
The entertainment on board was okay, but not much of a selection. Many things seemed to start quite late, especially on nights when we were docking early at a port. We enjoyed the two comedians, and also the karoke night. Justin Illusion was pretty cool, but we did think it was pretty "sexy" for a family show! Everything else seemed to be centered on drinking and music, and neither of those are of particular interest to us.
We planned to do the self-disembark as we had a tour of Manhattan scheduled for later that morning. This was a joke. They called for 3 floors to start disembarking, and at least 500 people rushed downstairs. The line was a mile long, people in wheelchairs were trying to self-disembark, and there was no way all of those people were on 3 floors. Carnival needs to find a way to control the masses. By the time we got off I would say that a third of the ship was already empty!
The day we were in Saint John, New Brunswick it was pouring rain. This is certainly not Carnival's fault. We did get off the ship and walked a couple of blocks to the Marketplace, which really was a small mall. Bought a couple of souveniers at the place right next to the ship and got back on board. The people greeting us in Saint John were extremely friendly and we wish we could have had a better weather day there.
The next day we were in Halifax, Nova Scotia. We didn't book any tours - just got off the ship and walked the beautiful waterfront. There was a lot to see on this walk and we enjoyed our day there.
All in all, we were disappointed in the cruise. We felt that many of the passengers were very rude - charging into elevators before we could get off, loud and demanding people, and just generally not so nice. The last night we put our room service order placard on the door, and when our breakfast was delivered the next morning, there were 4 glasses of tomato juice, 3 glasses of orange juice and 2 boxes of cereal that we did not order. The stuff we ordered was also on the tray. When I mentioned that this wasn't our order, the guy showed me the order form, and someone had gone through the hallway that night and added all of the juice and extra cereal - I guess they thought this would be hilarious for some reason. So wasted food due to foolishness.
We probably will not be sailing with Carnival again. We cruise to feel pampered and relaxed, and neither of these things happened on this cruise. Perhaps we are the wrong demographic for this cruise line. It was not a horrible trip, but it certainly wasn't what we had hoped for when we decided to take this cruise.