I always read the reviews on cruisecritic for tips and to see other people's views on a trip before I take it. All I can say, is that I hope that the overly negative reviews from certain people (Doc is one example!), do not deter you from taking this cruise. Before I give my review, I also need to point something out that I noticed in the negative reviews. It seems that almost always, the negative reviewer takes a bat at the other vacationers on the cruise and generalizes the Carnival group as a bunch of drunk party people. Sound like a bunch of miserable cry babies...probably the kind that you usually see in a store making a ruckus to the poor girl behind the counter--you know the type--NEVER HAPPY!!! In my opinion, the group on Carnival is like real life...you have your drinkers, your non-drinkers, your meat eaters, your vegetarians, childless families, families with children...brats, non-brats, etc.. It's a mixed bag but that's life! So, with that being said, I can tell you that my husband and I and our 14 year old son had a ball! I don't drink at all, and my husband will take a drink if he is watching a band or a comedy show. We ate dinner each of the 5 nights in the main dining room and the service was excellent and the food was varied and no complaints. I recommend the Indian vegetarian if you don't care for meat, like me. But, there is seafood, pasta, salads, egglplant parm...just too many choices. If you can't find something in the main dining room, then, don't tell anyone, as you must be impossible to please! My husband and son both had a burger at Guy's burgers and said that they were good. We never ate at the Lido buffet, only because we are not buffet people, but there are other choices other than Guy's burgers. There is a fish and chips hidden on the second level (above the Lido buffet)--and it's usually empty..something worth trying. There is sandwich deli that makes decent sandwiches, and I highly recommend the pirate pizza..open 24 hours on the lido deck where the pool is covered. The pizza was a thin crust variety and excellent. Marguerita was very popular. People complain because they make it as you wait...big deal...so wait 10 minutes...is it going to kill you?!!! It was worth the wait. The servers work so hard to provide you with around the clock service. I wish that all passengers were thankful, but that's simply not the case.
So, enough about food. What about the ports? First stop, St. John's, NB, Canada. We had been here before and had taken the top 10 excursion which was great, so this time, we took a 5 minute cab ride to the Rockwood Park, had a fabulous lunch at their Lily Lake Pavilion overlooking the lake, and then, you could rent a kayak, paddleboat and/or canoe. We wanted to try the canoe and the paddleboat, so they were so nice and gave us a 1/2 hour on each so that we could use the paddleboat for 1/2 hour and then the canoe for 1/2 hour. (Total was $20.00) Then they called us a taxi, which arrived in 10 minutes and took us back to the cruise port (also called the Marco Polo port, in case you wanted to know). We bought a few souvenirs and got back on the boat. Next port, Halifax. Took the Top Ten highlights..excellent tour. We saw the public gardens, had 1.5 hours free time to grab lunch, saw the Fairview Lawn cemetary and our tour guide was phenomenal, telling us all very interesting and heartwarming stories about the Titanic passengers buried there. Then, we went to the Acadia Maple store and bought some maple goodies. We went to the Citadel, and of course, Peggy's Cove...just breathtakingly gorgeouse even with the clouds. We didnt' bring any jackets, but they would have been helpful at the cove with all the wind..! Then, back on ship. The entertainment on boat involved 2 nights of comedy (one each of family friendly show and an Adults only one)--we found them pretty funny. The other 2 nights were dance shows (one Diva's and one a Latin nights). The dancers were a total of 4 girls and 3 guys...a little hokey, but they tried to please. Our room was on the Lido deck..and inside cabin. Very clean. The arcade was a lot of fun...skee ball and bball and mostly electronic games...and I have to give a thumbs up for the Panarama deck which had the 9 hole mini-golf. It was so enjoyable being up on top with so much wind, you could almost blow away...we played about 5 times.. We also used the waterslide one day for about 1 hour, but the problem with that was that going down once was fine, but then you were wet and had to climb back up the stairs to the top of the slide and the wind made it pretty uncomfortable...so we dried off and played some mini-golf. There were some Hasbro games, bingo games, and we enjoyed those... Oh--my son didn't participate in the O2 club.. We all enjoyed this cruise and would do it again, for sure. The crowd of other passengers were primarily from NYC, and if you can handle vacationing with New Yorkers, you can handle anything! If you are a reasonable person, like to have fun, love clean rooms, great food, clean bathrooms, good hospitality and like the cooler weather in Canada...go for it! You will not be disappointed!
And lastly, quick notes about embarkation and debarkation. Arrived at NY Penn Station @ noon...walked outside..got a cab in @15 minutes..took it to the Manhattan Cruise Terminal Pier 90..about $13... and then, dropped off our luggage with luggage porters (don't forget to tip!) and then into the terminal..on the boat in about 1 hour. Debarking...we did self-assist, which means you take your bags with you in the morning, instead of leaving them outside your door the night before. We got out of our cabin on the Lido deck @ 8:30--grabbed breakfast on lido deck and were off the ship @ 9:30. Crossed the street, cabs are waiting there...were back at Penn station just before 10. Smooth sailing! : ) P.S. Did I mention that both my husband and I are attorneys, but we were NOT offended that we weren't called anything but our first names! Go figure!!!!