After getting through the NYC traffic at the Port Authority terminal where 4 ships were in port, embarkation by the Carnival was easy with no problems. The staff was friendly and understood our frustration with the traffic congestion. We boarded the ship and were able to go straight to out very comfortable stateroom. We generally book a balcony or suite, but as none were available, I was concerned about the room. It was great and very convenient to everything!
This cruise consisted of mostly elderly passengers. Rarely did we see anyone under 40! Very different for us - but was ok as we met some really nice couples and I was feeling quite young! LOL
The first night at sea was really rocky as we sailed through Hurricane Hannah. People were having difficulty walking and a lot were sick. Barf bags at every elevator and some folks actually slept in the lobby. Captain Casula navigated the ship splendidly slowing down to about 10 knots. I and a small number of other brave passengers attended the show that evening. A tough night for first time cruisers and the staff. Captain Casula made the appropriate decision of not stopping at our Boston port of call - which did not make those Fenway Park fans very happy. But, I was happy for another relaxing, fun day at sea. Cruise Director Malcolm Burn (Whoo Hoo) did a great job of putting on a very funny 'silent movie' show that evening when the scheduled performer was unable to board in Boston. Great job Malcolm!! (I know you are reading this).
My only constructive criticism of Malcolm is that he could have been more visible to the paying passengers. He is a great cruise director with a big personality that brings life to a room. I was hoping for "Malcolm in the Morning" on Carnival TV - as we did not see a lot of him. Three other staff members that need to be recognized for the great job of 'making things happen' are Dave, Marky Mark and of course, William. They were everywhere making sure things kept moving. Did not see a lot of Ingrid and wondered if she is happy in her position - or if she is in the right position.
Jamie in the lobby bar kept us laughing with great service as we enjoyed our beverages before the shows and other events. The shows were great - I especially appreciated the dancers. Corey and Max (and others I do not remember their names) are excellent dancers and really put a lot of energy into the shows. The magician and comedian were also quite good - one of the best week of shows in my cruising experiences.
Food - great service by Glenn and Oka in the dining room. Love Love Love the chocolate melting cake and flat iron steak. Glenn and Oka anticipated our needs, knew our names and kept us fat and happy all week. Great job - and we loved the after dinner dances. The 9/11 memorial by Malcolm at dinner was much appreciated as well.
I would be remiss if I did not mention my trip to the spa. At the art auction, I won a free 'spa taster'. Of course I immediately flew to the spa to take advantage of that and ended up booking a stone massage for the last day at sea. I was so fortunate to have booked the service with Natasha - who I wish worked at my local salon!!! She is also a skin care expert and spent time outside of the massage giving me advice on improving the quality of my skin. She was very knowledgeable and provided me with the best massage I have had in quite some time. My stress level decreased and she also gave me advice on how I could keep the stress down at home. Thank you Natasha - you are a special professional.
We did book the Moosehead Beer Tasting excursion in St. John - which was quite fun and the hop on hop off bus tour in Halifax. The weather was cool and brisk - very refreshing. The people are quite friendly and it was easy getting around all the cities. Very nice and a good change from the daily grind.
Now that I am back to work, I once again realized the value of cruising. It is a floating resort where I truly get away from the daily stress - making new friends and enjoying the service and new adventures. Will continue cruising out of New York - Thanks Captain Casula, Malcolm in the Middle and all the Victory Staff! Whoo Hoo!