This was our 4th CTN with 2 very recent ones on NCL Jewel and Gem, and Carnival Victory a few years back. Our 2 NCL CTN's were in the Winter, so this was a nice change taking a CTN in August as we spent the entire 2nd day at sea in the sun. Was very hard to find a lounge chair to sun due to the beautiful sunny weather and literally all 3,000 passengers were out there. Lets get the meat and potatoes of the cruise.
Overall we had a fantastic cruise, the service was excellent everywhere, from our Cabin Steward, to our Waiters, to the roaming bar servers.
Fastest embarkation on record, we got to the Manhattan piers at 11 AM, paid $70 to park, breezed through security, and literally boarded as part of zone 3 by 11:15. We were eating lunch on the LIDO deck by 11:30. Debarkation was smooth, ship returned to the pier by 6:30 AM, and passengers started leaving by 8 AM as they called you off by deck number, no stress no worries, we carried our luggage on and off ourselves.
We had balcony cabin 8267, typical Carnival room, plenty of storage, flat screen TV, lots of storage, free products in the bathroom with an adequate shower with shower curtain. Only negative was that our cabin was located too close the lobby elevators and we could literally hear the elevators buzz on arrival and the music from the lobby came up and could be heard in the room.
Ship was recently updated in December of 2012, mostly hits, some misses. The whirlpool in the gym had the ugliest brown fake rock formation I have ever seen at sea. This ship still has some of the gaudy decorations that have now been retired by Carnival on the newer ships. The disco was the ugliest one we have ever seen on any ship, piano bar was a blood red and black, thank god they changed designers finally.
The pools for some reason by their paint scheme made the water look green and unappealing. We never went in them as the pools were packed during the CTN. Winners of course were the Guy Fieti's burger bar, the burrito bar, the Red Frog bars by the pool, and this ship has the first Fish and Chip's food area that I ever saw at sea and the food there was delicious.
We ate both of our lunches at the LIDO buffet, food was good, lots of variety, if you can't find something you like then you are too picky an eater. We ate our breakfasts in the main dining room, that was a great choice as they were not crowded, service was excellent, and food choices of filet mignon, eggs benedict, etc were very very good. We ate our 2 dinners also in the main dining room, mostly hits, nothing to complain about, highlights were the melting chocolate cake, lobster, the soups, etc.
The casino was packed, everyone was having fun in there. Surprisingly there was no formal show on night one which worked out well as we took pictures, listened and danced to a very good Latin band, then danced in the packed disco, what a great time. The second night we watched the very entertaining Latin show, we liked the new Carnival glitz show and the short 30 minute presentation. The crowd on the CTN varied from young to older adults, a few kids, and just lots people having a lot of fun.
Overall, the was our favorite cruise to nowhere since we got to sun in the beautiful weather, everyone was in a party mood, we stayed up late dancing and people watching, we would take this ship again. This type of vacation hands beats a weekend in Atlantic City or the Poconos, we are already looking at booking our next CTN.