We only ate breakfast and a couple of lunches in the lido. We mostly got pretty good burgers or pizza which was okay and available 24 hours. None of the lunch entrees really appealed to us and the way it's laid out you have to stand on a huge line to get that or even the salad bar so it wasn't worth waiting for. We did go to the midnight buffet. There was only 1 and it was in the lido deck. The Legend had 2—one in the lido and one in the main dining room that was way more impressive than this one. We got up there and found a table but didn't eat anything but a piece of cake. The lines were wrapped around the place with people taking pictures and taking forever so we just went to bed. We ate each evening in the Atlantic dining room for the late seating and sat with two other couples who were fun and made dining with strangers a pleasure. On the first day we went to the maitre'd to find out what table we had and he told us we would be with other people around our age and if we weren't happy, he could try to find us a table alone. It was nice that they actually put thought into putting you with people you might have things in common with and we ended up glad that he put us where he did. Our waiter, Horace or "Big H", and his assistant were great. Very attentive and remembered the things we liked. Water glass never empty and when the husbands wanted seconds or if we couldn't decide between desserts, he would get whatever for all of us. All of the waiters put on a show each night and they were very entertaining.
Entertainment—The shows were okay. A little over the top but the dancers obviously worked hard and it was entertaining. The comedians were pretty good, especially the adult only midnight shows. The cruise director, Malcolm was fun and did a good job. He put on a silent movie featuring guests that we thought was pretty funny.
Gym—I was always able to get an elliptical machine and it was nice to get a workout to compensate for the extra calories. Some classes were offered and I did go to the detox weight loss seminar, but ended up leaving thinking that everything that wasn't organic will eventually kill me. Probably true, but not info I wanted to hear on a vacation. The seminar was free but the personal evaluation and detox plan was extra.
Ports of Call—Boston, Portland, St. Johns, Halifax Tons to do in Boston. We met up with friends and walked around the city, but it's definitely easy to find a cab from the port and within a few minutes your right at the aquarium and Faneuil Hall area. You can definitely tour around yourself or find local tours for ½ of what the cruise line charges.
In Portland we booked a land and see tour from a local place right near where the boat docked and it was around $60 for both of us together instead of double that for the same thing through Carnival. We were glad we toured. We wouldn't have gotten all the local info, history and sights in if we did it ourselves. The land part went through the city out to a light house that was built around the time of the Revolutionary War and the harbor part toured around the same area. We saw a few harbor seals too. In between the land and see parts of the tour we had lunch at the Portland Lobster Co. and lobster rolls were actually about $18. They were pretty good, but later on when before we got back on the ship we went to another place and I had great clam chowder and my husband had a lobster roll for about ½ the price of the first one and it was better.
St. Johns was small Irish town and we were greeted at the port by people from the chamber of commerce. Ladies got roses and there were a bunch of local vendors there selling gifts and souvenirs. I bought really good fudge at >>>>>>>>. We took the City Highlights and Beer Tasting tour and it was great. Our tour guide was great and we saw the reversing falls and the best of the city. The tour ended at O'Leary's, an Irish pub where we sampled three beers and got a pint of our choice. There was a live musician who was great—sang lots of songs and really engaged the crowd. We were happy with the tour. It gave us enough info and entertainment, but didn't take all day. After, we just walked around and went back on the ship. There isn't an overwhelming amount of stuff to do or see in St. Johns and I find when I'm left on my own, I wander around and I don't get a lot out of it. I like tours for that reason.
Halifax was a lot larger and definitely Scottish. A bag piper played at the port when the ship docked and departed. The port had local vendors as well. We did the Peggy's Cove tour and it was definitely worthwhile. We had really warm, sunny weather that day and Peggy's Cove was beautiful. It's a small port town with only 40 residents and a lot of history. We were glad we saw it and took a bunch of nice pictures. After, we were able to take a hop-on, hop-off trolley around the city at our leisure that had a tour guide pointing out sites. We later found out that there's a transportation system called FRED which stands for "free rides everywhere downtown," that would have taken the place of the trolley. The trolley was included with the tour so it didn't matter for us, but if you are planning to tour around yourselves, you can do it for free with FRED. We ended the day at the Maritime museum where they have a lot of Titanic history and exhibits so that was interesting.
From our balcony, none of the ports were scenic. It wasn't like the Caribbean ports where you would get outstanding pictures right from your own room. The ports were very industrial and pretty ugly. We could have done without a balcony and not missed anything. We only used it a few times. I'd get one again for the Caribbean, but not again for this one. Overall, we were satisfied and even with the things we didn't like, it was still a vacation, very relaxing and we liked the cities/tours. We definitely enjoyed the Legend more—the ports, the ship itself and its offerings. We would cruise Carnival again, but first we're trying out Royal Caribbean in a few months to see how that compares.