Hi everyone! I have never used cruise critic, but my parents and husband frequent the site. This is my 4th cruise, third with Carnival, and I thought it was a good time to share my thoughts and get more involved.
My husband and I are from Massachusetts. We took a bus from Boston with 7 other friends. I've never been to New York, so this was a chance for me to see the city. Bus dropped us off at Port Authority, where it was about a 20 min walk to the pier. When we got the to the cruise terminal, it was chaotic. We had no idea who to give our bags to, one person told us to go left, the guy there told us to go right...finally someone took our bags and I said a little prayer they would make it on the ship! Finally made it inside to check in. Wasn't impressed with the set up, Boston and Miami are cleaner and easier to navigate. All 9 of us had the faster to the fun, so we were brought to the head of the line. It was about noon and we were told not to get there until 1:30, but they let us right on the ship, which was wonderful!! As we head to our cabins to put our carry-ons away, we get to the 6th floor and find it flooded! Our friends rooms were inaccessible! Thankfully, my husband and I had booked the 7th floor due to the 6th being over the theater and we didn't want the noise. None of the crew would give them a straight answer about what was going on or what to do. They basically ignored all questions. So everyone stored their things in our room.
So the next thing on our list was to get a few drinks. We headed to the bar and asked to sign up for the Cheers program. They tell us we can't until we are out to sea due to New York laws. We were disappointed, but very thirsty and eager to start our vacation, so we paid for each drink. Later, we find out, each drink we buy is credited to the Cheers program! We were confused as to why the bartenders did not tell us this to begin with. In fact, we got several different answers when we asked when we could get the Cheers program. Weird. We got food and chatted then it was time for the safety drill. It took forever, with Malcolm the cruise director reminding people that this was mandatory. It sounded like people were just not going.
Finally, my friends checked on their rooms and they were dry. They never got an explanation, but did get free champagne and chocolate covered strawberries and a ship on a stick. I was more jealous about the ship on a stick!!! Love those!
I'm going to bullet the rest of my story:
*People were RUDE and obnoxious. Children running up and down the halls screaming at all hours, adults having screaming matches. People claimed chairs, never came back and none of the crew moved their things. One guy had a sound system cranked. I was talking to a bartender in the lobby, she said a musician had chicken tenders thrown at him. I was getting food at the burrito bar and a container of ketchup mysterious comes crashing down, hitting a gentleman and causing him to drop his tray. One afternoon I went to relax in the cabin and the guy next door had his music CRANKED. Just weird behavior.
* Speaking of food, there were lines everywhere. Very slow moving lines. I tried the Mongolian Wok for the first time. It was as awesome as I hoped, but it took about a half hour to get. There were about 5 people in front of me. What took so long was that people had about 4 bowls for their family. I get that you have to feed your family, but there HAS to be a better way. Long lines at the deli and for pizza. Both were wonderful. Burrito line wasn't long. When I was on the Liberty earlier this year, that line was awful. My husband enjoyed Tandoor, Indian food. Rotisserie was nice. But we found getting lunch was always an event, taking forever. Dinner was always great, the staff there were wonderful as always, very attentive. I felt their shows were a little silly, but others seemed to enjoy it.
*I never had a cruise where I felt that I was around cigarette smoke all this time. This cruise, I felt everywhere you went you could smoke! The casino I get, but the night club, jammed packed with people. Come on! On the decks, I feel everywhere I went there were people smoking.
*Speaking of the night club, we spent an hour there and that was enough. Music was terrible, mostly the same 5 songs they always play on the ship. We asked for requests, never got played. It was also 18+. It gets to a point where we just wanted to hang out with other adults!!
*We did enjoy the Serenity area, which people were a lot more respectful, for the most part. I sneezed and people said bless you. I joked and said I was sorry for making noise, and someone said it's better than the screaming kids! Sadly, Serenity was below the mini golf area. So there was some screaming and obnoxious behavior from above.
*El Mojito was our meeting spot and where we hung out a lot. It was pretty quiet there and the bartender got to know "our" drinks. To be honest, pretty much every bartender on the boat got to know our group and were amazingly attentive and humorous.
*We skipped most of the shows. They have gone down hill. We saw a ventriloquist and a juggler, both were a lot of fun! Comedians were a lot of fun, one of them picked on me the last night, one thing off my bucket list! One complaint about the comedy shows, after each show, they made you leave. I never had a problem in the past when you could stay, but I am sure people complained. Things got chaotic and lines were very long, which interfered with getting around.
*We had a lot of fun at the piano bar with Hailey! She was a lot of fun. Though I don't know how that poor woman can sing the same songs every night. By the end of the cruise, if I heard Piano Man one more time I thought I would scream.
*Ports of call were great: San Juan, St Thomas, Grand Turk. We have been to San Juan before, so my husband and I pointed our friends in the direction of the forts and we went and ate. Love PR food! We had been to St Thomas before, so we decided to do St John. My husband looked on this site and found our doing the excursion through Carnival would be easiest. We usually do things on our own, but getting to St John was a hike and not much cheaper than going through Carnival. We swam and I snorkeled for the first time! The beach was clean and beautiful. If you have done, Maeghan's Bay, this is a fun option. In Grand Turk, the beach is right when you get off the boat. We decided to walk 20 mins to Governor's beach. There were only a handful of people there, it was quiet and lovely. So nice to get away from the crowds and loud music!
*Lastly, I actually made it to the gym on this cruise. This is a shocker! Very nice gym, it was busy the first half of the week, but dwindled down towards the end. I wish they had a limit for the machines when it got crazy. One guy was on a machine for 2 hours. I didn't do any spa treatments. My husband vetoed that due to me wrecking my car a few weeks before the cruise and that cost a lot of money. I accepted my punishment, but probably wouldn't have gotten anything. Very expensive, but a lot of cruisers seemed to be getting treatments.
Overall, it was a great time. I probably would not go out of New York again. It was tough dealing with New Yorkers and the terminal was sub par. Sorry New Yorkers! Though the sail away was seriously gorgeous with the statue of liberty and the sky line.