We just got home from the 5 night Canada cruise out of Boston. We have both cruised numerous times and have traveled extensively using all inclusive resorts and guided tours throughout the world. I thought this was a great way to see this part of the world.
We stayed overnight at the Holiday Inn Express South Boston where there is a stay, park and cruise package.....excellent value, very convenient, and the transfer is free and quick and on time both delivery and picking us up off ship. Excellent rate too!
Embarkation: We read you could get on ship as early as 11:30 so we arrived as early as 10:30. We want to make the most of our trip, get the most time on this ship, great to explore before all the party begins. The embarkation was the smoothest I have ever experienced, and we have been early before. It was so well organized, many people directing your way. We brought our two bottles of wine, no questions asked, they did not even open our wine carry case to verify it was wine, it could have been any liquor. We also brought 12 cans of soda and cans of pineapple juice to mix our drinks with (we use rum runner bags, get through all the time in checked luggage, but you can also buy a bottle to be delivered to your cabin). They did not even check our cans which were in a duffle bag, again they could have been beer! Anyway we were too early so we had to sit for about half an hour, then we were on the ship and on our way.
The ship is nice and well kept. The lido deck has two pools, one more for the slide which is full of kids... I would never go in that pool. The other is a bigger pool and less full of crazy kids. The lido deck and surrounding decks are full of chairs, plenty for all. There is another pool in the back of the ship which was very quiet and peaceful as well. The Serenity deck though is where we hung out the entire time at sea. It is GREAT! We got up early to get a primo spot, but we love to be out in the sea air and my hubby has no problem sleeping outside, and neither did I on the sea day the fog horn was NOT blowing. We saw dolpins galore, and whales too! It was awesome. We did order drinks at sailaway, which of course are expensive, but they were good and strong! I don't know about other drinks we just ordered the sail away special. Our cabin was ready as promised by 1:30 and our luggage was there shortly after. We were unpacked and sitting in hot tub on serenity deck by 3:30! Oh and we had a Guy Burger immediately after getting on ship, it is open right away. It is an awesome, awesome burger, and I am not a big junk food eater, I loved these burgers. They are delicious, and you can eat the whole thing, contrary to what other said about it being too big for one. I had no problem, they are so delicious!
We had the platinum dining, late seating. It is a beautiful dining room and the service was excellent, Royson was our server, 20 years experience he told us and it showed. He was polite, attentive, skilled as were his two helpers. We always order the wine package, 3 bottles for $77 and change including tax and gratuities. So in all you have then five bottles, one for each night which is perfect for us. It is a good deal. The martini bar, Alchemy is awesome too, great delicious drinks, strong and unique with excellent excellent service and presentation. A beautiful unique bar. The martinis are $8.95 with one special one every night for a dollar less. I think it is a great deal, as martinis at home cost as much or more and are not half as good as these. We did this every night before dinner and then had our bottle of wine. We had a great time.
We saw the Divas and Motown shows, both great. The disco was fun for about an hour or so, we spent time in the casino too. There is music all over the place at night, the piano bar is great fun too. I think there is alot to do, alot of variety and a very nice ship.
Some people complain about rude people, crazy kids, people dressing horribly. Yes to all of that, but I think this is happening every where. Our world has become a greedy, self centered, entitlement attitude filled place and I travel alot and find this EVERYWHERE! We dressed up, others didn't, so what, we like to dress and if others want to walk around with pants on the ground then let them look like idiots. We even had a hippie type eating near us at dinner who went barefoot in her dresses every night. I think the maitre,d tried to talk to her but she really was a hippie. long hair, lace long flowwy dresses, a real flower child. And so what, she didn't bother anyone, she was polite, not drunk etc....
I also thought the food was good. Not excellent, excellent, excellent but good. The brunch is great at the platinum dining room on sea days it is the punchliner comedy club menu. It is very good. ,Other days at port the breakfast and lunch are good but nothing great. The only complaint I have is the lido deck buffet. Slowest I ever experienced. I preferred a sit down anyway since we were not in a rush to get off ship on port days.
St John is an OK port. I wish we had rented a car, they were booked solid by the time we inquired. It is easy to drive around and go where you want. We walked around to some of the sites like to old cemetery, the market and some shops. But not much to see or do. We wound up in an Irish pub right by the ship and tried some local brews. We had a great time talking to the owner we spent 3 hours doing this. We like that kind of stuff anyway. In Halifax we did rent a car and drove out to Peggy's Cove, very easy to do and much cheaper then a guided tour. Plus you get to do what you want. We went to Ryers for lobsters,(a five minute ride from Cove, right past Swissair memorial) what an excellent excellent lobster, I could have eaten more, but it was a long wait. A very good experience though. The seaport, boardwalk front in Halifax was very nice and the Jazz Fest was going on with free concerts. It was a nice nice place.
Others may have written about the fog horn, yes it does go off every five minutes and yes it is foggy. What do you expect for that part of the ocean! From the Serenity deck you could not hear it too much and from our cabin we heard nothing. It was very quiet, except for kids running up the hall at 7 am. Again rude people in this world. I always taught my kids manners and how to be considerate, so they would never do this and if they did I would stop them and reprimand them. That is why they still to this day hold doors for complete strangers everywhere they go, but his isn't happening anymore, so be ready for that. They push by you to get to be first. I am not an old cranky person either and my kids are only 15, 18 and 21, but they never behaved like this. So be ready for a rude awakening to what is going on in society when you are with 3600 people on one ship!
Debarkation was again excellent, the fasted I have every had. Luggage easy to find. No complaints from me, I enjoyed the trip very much and you cannot beat the price. I find Carnival to do a great job for the money and feel the workers go out of their way to do their jobs well.