After reading about the physician who had the worst cruise ever (one of the reasons was they called him by his first name after he registered with Carnival as a doctor!!! OMG how terrible they did not recognize G-D was on their ship), I thought I would add my own opinion. This was our fifth Carnival cruise and around 15 in total. After our 2011 Carnival cruise which was a nightmare we decided to try them one more time since this was the only cruise we could fit into our schedule and we thought (correctly) a New York cruise to a non caribbean destination would have a better clientele.
EMBARKATION Drove to terminal but was stuck on line driving up to terminal for about 30 minutes, dropped off bags and went to park car outside of terminal at local lot. Parking on pier cost $35 day and the ship may return to another pier so will have to walk anyway. Outside lots are as cheap as $19 day. Checking in took 20 minutes and was on ship by noon. Ship left late at 5:30 so early seating people missed seeing many of the sites of lower NY (Statute of liberty, going under Verrazano bridge)
SHIP Was in great condition, especially after 2.0 upgrade. Food was also much better than previous cruise. All meals were delivered hot and were surprisingly good. We had planned on eating at the premium restaurant but due to the good quality of the dining room we never got to go. Specialty places were even better (Burgers, Mexican and Fish and Chips). Entertainment was pretty poor. No live music at shows. Instead of usual two singers with back up dancers they had four men and four women each dancing and singing. They volume was so loud you could not tell how bad the singers really were and their dancing was even worse. But if you want Broadway quality stay in NYC and dont get on a cruise ship. The comedy club was very crowded with 35 minute shows every hour and they make you leave after each show and you have to get online to enter again to see two shows in a row. Why not move the comedy club to the larger Amber theater since it seems comedy is more popular today then the poor quality production shows. Then you could do one show with both comedians and accommodate everyone. Comedy is hit and miss and we felt they were more a miss. Not much laughter in the room. One of the comedians kept remarking that the group did not get it. Wrong. This was a New York crowd and you need to be funny. Poolside during at sea days is crowded and everyone had their towels out early reserving their lounges (yes Carnival still does not enforce the 40 minute rule). However the piped music is too loud and cannot hold a conversation so we did not even want to be there. There was still plenty of drinking and partying but no visible drunks and no poor behavior seen, after all you are on vacation.
PORTS Not much excitement in either St John or Halifax and we have been there before. We were not planning to get off ship other than for short walk. Very surprised to see so many people also staying behind and many people came back on to get lunch so in the buffet it looked almost like an at sea day. This is not a destination cruise. But there are some highlights to see. For adventure take a jet boat ride in St John on the reversing falls (now called rapids since there never was any falls). You will have to wear the supplied rain gear as you will get soaking and it is a fast and scary ride. In Halifax get a little education and see the titanic exhibit in the Maritime museum and then take a taxi to Fairview Lawn cemetery to see where many titanic passengers are buried (nobody knew where the survivors were buried Sorry old joke)
DEBARKATION If you had carry-ons you can get off ship during the first hour after docking. We were among the last to debark and left the ship around 10:30. Nice to be able to have breakfast in the dining room and then relax on a chaise lounge and not have to rush off ship.
In summary we were pleasantly surprised with our cruise. Would definitely recommend doing this ship and itinerary.