I am a 27 year old non party girl. This does not mean I am God fearing or Christian, I am actually a secular humanist. This does mean I do not like it when those around me are too drunk to stop themselves from falling on the floor. That said; I chose this cruise because of the horror stories I heard about cruises to the Caribbean. Also, this was my first cruise. I'll tell you upfront I was thrilled with cruising! I would most definitely do it again. I loved it. I am sure this was thanks to Carnival's attitude toward "Fun". They make it a priority and it shows (as far as I can tell).
When I was researching this trip a few weeks before I left I wanted a few bits of information that were hard to find. I have included this information in my review to help those like-minded out there.
EMBARKATION: We arrived around 1pm. The line to go through security was a little slow... I think that's because people didn't have their tickets and passports out. Once through the security the rest moved pretty fast. The people were very friendly.
FIRST THOUGHTS: We walked into the lounge, it was huge, and reminded me of Vegas. It was very........ aquamarine........ We got into our room (room number 1211) which was an inside - no window. I was a little worried about this before we got on, but the room was very spacious and clean. The beds were very comfortable and the temperature was maybe 5 degrees colder than I like but that's perfect for sleeping. We dropped our bags off and went exploring.
FIRST DAY (June 30th from 2pm to 1am) Mostly sunny about 80 degrees: After exploring the ship we tried the buffet. GROSS!!! All of the food was pretty bad. I mean... it was digestible but not something I would eat unless I was pretty hungry. The desserts were OK... the best part by far. By the time we were done it was 4pm and time to get ready for the life boat drill. I believe they had stated you must be there by 4:30. We were there at 4:15... figured we could sign in and get out. Not so much. Actually, it didn't really get started until about 4:45. DO NOT COME EARLY TO THIS MANDATORY DRILL!!! No one else did and you'll just feel like a dip. By 5:15 we were out of our life jackets and trying to get up to the deck to watch the boat pull out of the Hudson. I guess everyone was really fast getting out of that drill because the decks were already full up! So we went to the gym and watched the harbor go by there. It was nice and quiet. Children under 13 aren't allowed in so no one was there. And the gym is the front of the ship. The only down side was the windows were kinda dirty. This was fine for looking through but not for taking pictures through. After we went under the Verrazano Bridge we went back to our room to get into our bathing suits. By 6:15 we were in the pool area. Everyone had these great huge fluffy looking towels that we couldn't find anywhere. Finally I asked someone with one and she said it was in her room. I didn't remember seeing these towels in our room. So I asked a crew member, he said we could get a towel from the pool supplies cart but the cart was closed for the night. We had to go back to our room to get our thin bath towels (which we are told by a large plaque to not take from the room but they left us no choice). There was no one in the pool so we thought we'd have it all to ourselves. Then we found out there's no one in the pool because it was FREEZING! The official temperature was 64 degrees! Way too cold even on the hottest of days. So I went to the hot tub which was also relatively cold compared to average hot tub temperature. By 7:30 we got out and showered for our late seating dinner. The shower was really nice (great temp range and really good water pressure) but the shampoo was weird. There was no conditioner and while it didn't say it was a shampoo + conditioner I think it was... my really thick hair was really easy to brush afterward (doesn't normally happen with out conditioner). But it was really watery. It took 4 handfuls to get my head covered. At 8:30 we get to the Atlantic Dining Room Lower Level for our seating. There was a line as people didn't know where their table was and had to wait for a waiter to come over and seat us. We sat with a few nice people. I ordered the Caesar salad, salmon and chocolate melting cake (all A+!). The after dinner coffee tasted like instant coffee (Nescafe or whatever) so I didn't like it. Service was decent (Kenroy was our waiter) but a little slow (can't say that's the waiters fault). At 10:30 we went to our first show. It was a tiny taste of the shows we were to see for the rest of the week. The two main singers (a male and a female) came out and danced around, sang some oldies. Then the cruise director (Malcom) came out and talked for a few minutes. Then there was a (horrible) comedian for a while (we didn't stay long after he came on). At 12 we went to the casino to check out the tables and machines. Every dealer was really nice. One of them (Jerilee I think) taught me how to play blackjack and Fun 21 (same as blackjack, kinda). At 1 we went back to our cabin and our bed was turned down for us with a paper detailing the stuff to do tomorrow (called a Caper).
SECOND DAY (July 1st from 8am to 1am) Canada Day, Mostly sunny about 60 degrees: Because this was the first full day at sea there was a lot of things to do. At 8am we got up and got dressed. About 8:30 we head down to have breakfast at the restaurant. The food was OK. I ordered Eggs Benedict. DO NOT ORDER THE EGGS BENEDICT! The hollandaise sauce was gross and the poached eggs were hard. My boyfriend ordered poached eggs with hash. His eggs were hard too. The coffee was that Nescafe sludge again. The OJ was good. The service was nice and this dining room (the Pacific lower level) had nicer views than our dinner dining room. At 10 we head over to the ships bingo. They sell cards at 1 for $10 or 3 for $20. We bought two $20 cards, played one game and it was over. We didn't win. $40 pretty much down the toilet. I have had better, cheaper, and longer lasting times in a church basement. At 10:30 we stayed in the lounge for the Canadian Trivia (it was Canada Day). This was fun and we got a surprising amount correct and would have won the "ship on a stick" trophy had someone actually kept anyone honest. She basically asked us all questions, had us write down our answers, when she was done with questions she told us the answers, we told her how many we got right. My boyfriend legitimately got 20 correct. After someone heard that 20 correct was the best anyone did, he said he got 21. So he got the ship on the stick. It's no big deal but it was annoying. This was the case for most trivia contests. At 11 we went to the casino to try our luck at slots and tables. No luck today :-p At 1:30 we went up to the miniature golf. It was miniature miniature golf but it was still nice. We were kicked off at the second to last hole because of the Camp Carnival kids - they had it reserved for 2pm. At 2 we went to lunch at the restaurant and it was closed! The lunch is only from 12 to 1:30. We had to settle for the buffet. This time though we tried the "taste of nations: India" and the sandwich bar. Those were both VERY GOOD! The ruben was a little fatty but just fine and the Indian food was delicious! While eating lunch we saw there were Canada Day activities going on. There was a "Hairy Chest" contest (fun to watch), a Watermelon Carving contest (I participated in and therefore ended up in the ships video which was playing in the casino and bar 24-7... sigh), and a Hot Dog Eating Contest. Those were fun to watch. At 3:30 we went to the general trivia going on. The same thing happened at this one. My boyfriend (which has a wide shallow pool of knowledge to draw from, this is why we play these) got a 22, someone decided at the last minute they got a 23... oh well. At 4 we went to another Bingo game, this time it was the same price but 7 games played on a card. This was a little more fun but we still didn't win. At 4:30 we went to the DVD Movie trivia. Same thing all over again, this time it was a group of boys who decided they got all of the questions right. Glad they get a nice trophy to bring home. At 5 we went back to the cabin and took a nap. At 7 we got ready for dinner. It was the formal captains dinner night. I wasn't really into it, I don't care for dressing up but my boyfriend likes that kind of thing. So we got all fancied up. At 8:30 we went to dinner, which went a little smoother because we all knew where we were going. I ordered Caesar salad and lobster tail and chocolate melting cake again (all very good again). This time we ordered espresso and cappuccino instead of coffee and those were very delicious. At 10:30 we went to the show: Living in America. This show was hilarious. I am sure it wasn't meant to be. The dancers were just so... into it. It was nice because the costumes were pretty. But otherwise, it was something to laugh at with your best friend. At 12 we went to the casino and tried our luck again. No luck yet!
THIRD DAY (July 2nd from 7:30am to 12am) Partly cloudy, spots of rain, about 60 degrees: Our first day at a port. St. John, Canada. We purchased the Bay of Fundy day trip so we needed to be at the bus at 8:15. At 7:30 we went down for a quick breakfast buffet. GROSS! Oh man, if this buffet was bad for dinner, it was DISGUSTING for breakfast. The eggs were nasty, the French toast and pancakes were dry, the bagles were hard... eew. We ate what we could and waited to disembark. At 8:00 we get off the ship and are bombarded with different cameramen wanting to take our picture. We took some but I don't remember with whom (maybe an old salty seaman?). At 8:15 we were sitting on our little 25-seater bus, on our way to the Bay of Fundy. The driver and the tour leader were hilarious! They were both so nice and had this adorable charm to them. I don't remember their names unfortunately. At about 9:30 we arrived at the gate to the national park and we saw 2 moose! One mother and her 1 year old baby. We stopped there and took pictures. At about 9:15 we picked up an "interpreter". They are like park rangers in the US. He was AWESOME! He was hilarious, just like the tour leader. This subtle - "Fargo"-like humor. Humble and charming. He told us all about the park and why it's special while we drove down to the beach to see the high and low tides of Fundy. He told us about the flora and fauna that live there. It was great. At about 11:30 we had lunch. They packed a sandwich, apple and candies in a brown paper bag and handed them out. They were decent. At about 12 we had a new interpreter. She brought us to the woods of Fundy. We hiked to a waterfall, everything was beautiful. At about 2 we went back to the same beach to see the tide difference - it was huge! The tides go out 39' and boy can you tell! We went to take pictures and saw something shiny on the beach. Some of us went to investigate and it was a baby seal! We thought it might have been stranded as the tide went back out but it looked at us then turned around and went back into the ocean. It was amazing! At about 2:15 we headed back to the ship and saw the same moose again with another one as well! This was a red letter day for animal life! At 3:30 we were the last ones back on the ship as they got ready for disembarking. At 3:45 we went to the buffet to eat a snack, we stuck with what we've liked so far - sandwiches and desserts. At 4:30 we took a nap. At 7 we got ready for dinner. At 8:30 we got to dinner. I ordered the Caesar salad, NY strip steak and a cream pie (the steak was a little tough and I should have stuck with the chocolate melting cake). At 10:30 we went to see Rand something, Illusionist. It was entertaining enough but there wasn't a lot of illusions. The only tricks he did were pretty easy to figure out. And he was a little melodramatic (not unlike Job on Arrested Development). At 12 we went to bed.
FOURTH DAY (July 3rd from 8am to 12:30am) Mostly cloudy, about 60 degrees: Second day at a port. Halifax, Canada. We didn't purchase any excursions today. At 8 we got up for breakfast. We tried for the buffet; we heard the omelets were very good. I guess everyone else heard this because the omelets line was HUGE and everyone was mad at everyone else. I didn't really eat any breakfast. At 9 we disembark to Halifax. We asked an information desk how to get to Deadman's Island (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deadman's_Island,_Halifax). It's a pretty obscure tourist area. She suggested city buses. They were OK. We expected them to come more often than once an hour. We ended up wasting most of the morning and just getting in a cab. At 11 we get into a cab and ask the cab driver to bring us to Deadman's Island. He had no idea what we were talking about. So he pulled over and turned off his meter and called his dispatcher. His dispatcher couldn't understand he cab drivers accent so the driver handed the phone to my boyfriend. He tried to explain to him what we were looking for. Eventually he understood. We got to the area but couldn't find the plaque that was the actual monument. So the driver called the dispatcher again. He was so nice! He even waited for us when we did actually find it. At 12 the driver took us to the Citadel. It cost about $28 total (with tip) for this guy to drive us around. Way worth it. The Citadel was nice and the seafood chowder in the cafe was amazing! At 1 we walked to the Natural History Museum. It was adorable. There was a working beehive demonstration I found fascinating. At 2 we walked around downtown waterfront. At 3 we found a restaurant on the harbor "Saltys". It was very good but a little pricey. Next door was "Cows" which had great ice cream. At 5:00 we got back on the boat and headed back for home. At 5:30 we went back to the room and took a nap. At 6:30 we got up and got ready for dinner. At 8:30 we went to dinner. I had Caesar salad, some river fish and chocolate melting cake (all very good). At 10:30 we went back to our room. I was all set on seeing another ludicrous song and dance (called Varoom this time... ugh). We played some card games amongst ourselves. At 11:30 we ordered room service which was fast friendly and free. My three favorite "Fs"....... when it comes to room service. At 12:30 we went to bed.
FIFTH DAY (July 4th from 8am to 10:30pm) I don't know what the weather was, I spent most of the day in the casino. Second full day at sea. At 8 we got up and went to breakfast. I had the bagel and lox which was pretty good (but the bagel was hard). At 9 we went to the casino. We were there from 9am until 12pm. We broke even most of the time. At 12 we went to lunch at the restaurant. I ordered a spinach and ricotta ravioli. It was very good but heavy. At 1 we went to the art auction preview. There were a few nice pieces up there. At 1:45 was the art auction. It was interesting at first then got very boring very quickly. It went from something people wanted to do and bid on to a sales pitch for every other ugly piece of artwork that went up. We left at 3 and it was still going on. At 3 we went back to the casino. I won a jackpot of $1100+ on a 2 cent slot. I then won several of the smaller progressives (about $20 each) and then $100 with one quarter in a quarter machine. Needless to say, we spent most of our afternoon/evening in the casino. Thankfully, I kept most of those winnings. At 8:30 we reluctantly pulled ourselves away from the casino for dinner. I ordered Caesar salad, quail and cappuccino cake (should have stuck with the chocolate melting cake). At 10:30 we went back to our room and went to bed.
DISEMBARKMENT (July 5th 5am to 9am) Foggy, choppy seas. At 5 am I was woken by announcements from the crew to passengers that needed special attention. I have no idea why they didn't just call the passengers room. Why did I have to wake up so freaking early!?! At 7 our wake up call came, I ignored it as I had been in and out of sleep since 5 am. I wasn't in any hurry to get off the ship so I wasn't really in a hurry to get up. At 8 my boyfriend demands I wake up. We are up and dressed watching CNN waiting for our floor to be called. At 8:45 our floor is called, we gather our stuff and go up to the 3rd deck that was PACKED! Why in the world would they call all decks if they clearly are not ready to accept them all. I was pretty serene, still living off the high of the great vacation and winnings from yesterday so I didn't really care or complain. However, this large annoying couple behind us could not stop bitching about the situation. The whole time it was how they are done with Carnival and done with cruising all together. I would have told them to shut up if I wasn't already in my happy place. At 9:45 I was on my way to work while my bags were on their way home with my boyfriend.