Mom is in her 70's and has been wanting to cruise - but not for many days, and no flying to ports. Carnival fit the bill, and securing a balcony to accommodate her smoking was reasonably priced.
Embarkation- Mom used a mobility scooter and EVERYONE went out of their way to give assistance, resulting in a very quick and easy trip!
First Impression: we stepped onto a lively scene, music pumping and somewhat forced party atmosphere. We were ther just befor 1pm and were able to drop our bags in the room, though it was still being cleaned.
Cabin: my first balcony, cozy and room enough for two, but it got pretty chilly leaving Canada. Didn't deter mom from smoking! Very nice to enjoy morning coffee, though mostly too foggy for any view.
Dining: I feel for 4 nights we got a good mix of experiences. First night MDR at table 377- great because it was just off a ramp and allowed for parking the scooter mom used. Never met the other two people who were supposed to share our table for 4. Delicious brisket for dinner and that chocolate melting cake is to die for! We also did MDR for breakfast one morning, open seating meant some wait time, but we were accommodated with a lovely table for two at a window, that allowed for scooter parking. The omelette was tasty, the comedian had a tough crowd but did a short routine ( we never did see where he was). Emerald Steakhouse was not crowded at our 6pm seating. The party of 3 ahead of us arrived on the wrong day for their reservation, but they were going to be seated, except for not wearing appropriate clothes (had on shorts). This could have been remedied by a quick change, but they seemed done with the experience and left. In the steakhouse's defense they do write the expectations on the confirmation card and again remind you when they call to confirm that day. Okay, onto the food. Very GOOD. Mom had filet and loved it, I had ribeye, tasty. Also tried beef carpaccio as a starter, which I did not care for. They offered another starter, but I knew the large steak coming would be more than filling. Desserts were also delicious - chocolate sampler for me, baked apple in pastry for mom. Other dining included Guy's burgers -good, blue iguana cantina (?) burrito place - DELICIOUS, TRY IT!, and buffet. Had great carved jerk pork one night, tasty roast beef another, and nice blackened chicken that was not black at all. I was disappointed with the meatloaf which I had been anticipating, but it was spicy to my taste. Desserts were good, not great. Breakfast buffet standard but adequate. My mother loves a buffet and truly enjoyed this part of the cruise, trying lots of offerings.
Shows- wasn't interested, did see the end of Divas and it looked like a good time.
Activities - didn't really do any from the Fun Times, but did some shopping, which mom loved.
Casino - good way to kill an hour and 20 bucks a day. Went two times, allowing mom to smoke and try our hands at the slot machines. I would have enjoyed a tutorial or explanation of how t use sign and sail card with the machines, but figured it out with little problems.
Shore Excursion: just before leaving on the cruise I found out Mom loved a bus tour, so we booked the trip to St. Martina's and Bay of Fundy. It was a fun 3 hours, knowledgeable guide and fun driver, but the village was TINY, and it was a gray, rainy day. Had I known, I would have brought water shoes to negotiate the rocky shore and water to enter the sea cave, then changed into dry shoes for way back, but I didn't and so, did not get into the cave. We didn't see St. John at all, but we had time before the excursion, so that's our fault!
Gym: okay I planned on visiting, but wasn't impressed at first day look around, and was possibly too comfy in cabin o really try to get there. No report.
Notes: our cabin was just off the elevators, great for accessibility, but the music from the Atrium was pumping until 11:00 or 12:00 each night. I like to use a noise machine to go to sleep, but this took it's place, so not a problem for me, but could be for others. I know Carnival had no control over this, but the foghorn sounding every two seconds throughout day and night for half the cruise cold be jarring. Crowded and sometimes hard to maneuver the scooter, luckily I could direct/block foot traffic as needed, but for solo travel with a scooter it could be tricky.
Overall: a fun time, good for a first cruise. I personally probably wouldn't go again on Carnival, but that is because my preference leans to a quieter environment. If I went with children it may be a different story, but fr me, a cozy seat with a great view is great.