Most memorable: We went on the July 14-21 cruise. As it was our wedding anniversary, I booked a cake for the July 14 dinner. The dinner service was very slow. When he main entree was served, I asked the waiter about the cake. He was completely unaware of the cake order. When they finally resolved the cake order, the dinner service was over and the PA announced we should leave the dinning room. We had to wolf the cake down and leave quickly. Through out the week the server was very green as he kept consulting his order sheets and tried to figure out what goes to who while the food cooled down on the service table. We were always the last group to leave. By the 4th night, they assigned other waiters to help out and the service sped up to normal speed.
The Ship: Clean and nicely renovated. I agree with reviewer BigDog1958 about the ship's layout. The ship had many places where one must walk around the obstacle. To get from one end to the other you have to walk through closed areas such as the dinning room. The good thing is the staff won't scream at you (MSC) when you do so. We ate all our meals in the dining room where the food was quite good and better than expected; almost as good as Celebrity and RCL, and leagues better than MSC. On our first day at sea during tea time in the dining room, a waiter bypassed our table with new food and was asked by a lady to return, his response was borderline rude. The Burger bar and the Mexican food and the Pizza were also very good. The Fish 'n Chips served very tasty fish and fried oysters but the calamari was greasy and chewy. I am a early riser and like the fact that the freshly ground coffee is available in the buffet 24/7. My wife liked the choice of tea and lemons. The shows were ho-hum with only 2 larger sing and dance productions and the rest were audience participation games. The trio by the bar near the casino were Latin music specialists and were very enjoyable. Silly me forgot to note the band's name. The casino allowed smoking and that detracted from our enjoyment. It would have been better if the casino had a walled off non-smoking section.
Ports of Call: We had drove through the Canadian Maritimes a long time ago and the only place we had not gotten to was Cape Breton. For Sydney, I booked a car with Discount Car Rentals a week before we cruised. Although I asked for an email confirmation, I did not receive one. I called on 2 different days before we cruised and each call, the Sydney Discount folks would give me a computer excuse. When we were at sea, Sydney Discount left a message on my cell that no cars were available due to vandalism. Discount being the only rental car company in town, my drive to Cape Breton's Cabot Trail was toast. It did not seem right to me, so thinking a small town like Sydney with so many cars vandalized would have made the news...nothing found via Google. Hmmmmm....
Cruise ships must have been relatively new to Boston as the dock looks more like a commercial shipping dock than a passenger dock. Because there were no Customs and Immigration Office in the dock, the officials had to come on board and take over the theater to process the non-US folks.
We stayed a couple more days after the cruise. This is a beautiful city that has had explosive growth since our last visit 20 years ago. The streets downtown cannot be driven through without a GPS due to the every which way one way streets. Newbury street, Prudential Shopping Center and the 2 just outside of town outlet malls for the shopaholics. The Boston Public Library and the Church Of Christian Scientists complex are some of the other worthy sites to visit. And of course, the numerous well known historically significant places. We had some really tasty seafood at Legal's Seafood and very good Italian food in Italian town. We even joined the long lines for cannoli at Mike's Pastry. We used AirBnB to find our lodgings and learnt that this site is good for bookings only if you have a lot of time in advance (more than a week). This is due to the back and forth communication before being accepted by the renter. Despite the name, it is not a traditional Bed And Breakfast site. The renters were renting out a room, with some out of their own apartment.
Walk through the beautiful Public Gardens and the Citadel, it is worth it. If you book a rental car, you can also go Peggy's Cove and Lunenburg (a UNESCO site) for a unique picturesque Maritimes views.
The surprise was the well developed infrastructure of a small town like Portland Maine. The library had free wifi access to the internet but needed a library card for their wired computer access. One of our party went to a dock side bar (The Portland Lobster Company) for a lobster roll in Portland. Although it was 2X more expensive, he thought Saint John's McD cheaper lobster roll tasted better!
A port welcoming committee gave the men Saint John pins and the women roses! Nice! A beautiful town with a cool reversing falls and funky indoor market. Only regret: should have booked a rental car to get to Hopewell rocks.