My husband and I are travel agents, and were with a small group. This cruise was a fund-raiser for our church. We were a total of 16, 14 adults and 2 kids. We got a bus to bring us all to the pier and split the cost. We were able to park at the church. We arrived at the NYC pier at 1:30. There were long lines at check-in, but they moved fairly quickly. Four people needed wheelchair assistance to get on and off the ship. Two couples were in the regular line, and we went through VIP. The two in the regular line weren't that far behind us, really. We got an Oceanview stateroom because of the difference in price. At this time of year, it's a little too cold to sit out on the balcony. Our stateroom steward Serafin, was terrific. I asked for 2 copies of the Capers. No problem. I told him I loved towel animals. We got them almost every night. Even the last night! Water was always replenished; ice bucket always full. He always smiled and said hello.
We love going to the shows, and didn't miss one. Our Cruise Director, Jorge, was the best! He was hilarious. All of us made sure to go to anything he was going to be running, just to hear his standup routines. One lady in our group watched the debarkation video on her incabin TV 3 times, because she thought he was so funny! I also enjoyed the two "fly-on" comedians. Tommy Drake's 10:30 show was in the Rio lounge, and was totally packed. I was standing against the wall, as were a lot of others. He was really funny. Sometimes the R rated show is just an excuse for them to be disgusting and swear a lot. Not this guy! They also had a comedy and magic act called Kevin and Caruso. It just wasn't my cup of tea. Maybe I just wasn't in the mood that night, but it didn't do it for me.
My husband tried his luck in the casino, and did OK, not great. He didn't make the finals of the Blackjack Tournament, which disappointed him. I played in the 1st slot tournament, and did very badly. Better luck next time! We both got involved in the Trivial Pursuit competition, but didn't join in until the third day. The score was cumulative, and whomever had the highest score on the last day won a bag full of prizes. My husband won! I came in third! I got a ship on a stick, and he got a rolling Carnival bag with a picture frame, scrapbooking supplies, a Del Sol t-shirt, a book of pictures of the ship, and a Build-a-Bear frog. It was fun playing trivial pursuit, too. Our group all loves karaoke, and two of us like to sing. Judi sang "Strokin" and got a ship-on-a-stick for being the funniest, and I sang "New York, New York". Both of us had been in the Legends show before, and didn't audition this time. We wanted to give someone else a chance. There was a regular group of people who went to karaoke every night, and most of them were really good. A few of them were in the Legends show, and did a good job.
We were in the London dining room, at two tables for eight, right in the middle. Everyone loved Jogi, our Maitre D'. He is the best I've met on 22 cruises. Every night he came by to say hello and ask if we needed anything. When anyone did ask for anything, they got it right away. He also was leading the dancing and singing each night. Some of them hide. One of the few Maitre D's I've ever tipped on the last night. Our ass't waiter was Germaine from the Phillipines, and she was great. Always refilling the drinks before we had to look for her and ask, etc. There were 2 children in our group, one 4 and one 10. The 10 year old loved Camp Carnival, and was there a lot. The 4 year old wouldn't stay.
We went to Boston, Portland, St. John, New Brunswick, and Halifax, Nova Scotia.
In Boston we went to Salem, MA on the Historic Salem and the Witch Museum Tour. It was very good. My husband liked Salem so much he wants to go back for a few days in a year or two during October, to see the other attractions that we missed. After the Witch Museum we shopped at the street fair and bought souvenirs. The Salem PD had some neat logo souvenirs!
In Portland, we took the Kennebunkport and Scenic Cruise. The town of Kennebunkport was charming, and on the cruise they pulled up a lobster pot, and showed us how to tell the difference between a male and female, and a few other things. We also had time to eat and/or shop in the town, and had a nice drive back.
The third day we were in St. John. We've been there 3 or 4 times before, so we took the tour out to St. Martin's and the Bay of Fundy. That tour was very nice, and included a cup of excellent chowder, a bisquit, some freshly made cookies, and a beverage. The only drawback was that it was rainy and cold, in the 40's. Brrrr. We were encouraged to pick up rocks on the beach near the caves. We didn't even go that close to the caves. Took a few pictures and got back on the bus. I'd love to go back on a nice day some time. I don't like seafood, so I had the pasta soup alternative, and it was delicious, too.
Then, we finally had our first day at sea! Of course that night there weren't as many things going on around the ship. It's just as well. We were pooped!
In Halifax we got tickets for the HOHO bus. The 2nd or 3rd stop on the C loop was the Citadel. It was 10:45 by my watch, so I thought "well at least we'll see the changing of the guard". Halifax is on Atlantic time, so we were just in time to see the firing of the noon gun. Or should I say hear it. BANG. We got on the next bus, and went down to the Maritime Museum. We spent a couple of hours looking at the exhibits. It is an excellent museum, especially if you are at all interested in the Titanic, or the Halifax explosion disaster. They offer a AAA discount, by the way. Bring your card. And you can pay by credit card. We decided to walk the boardwalk back, and got sucked into the Rum Cake factory store. I bought several cakes, and a t-shirt. That day there was a rep there from Canada's only single malt whisky distillery. My husband bought two small bottles of whisky to bring back. He and the sales rep were talking about baseball. We walked back to the ship, and bought a few more souvenirs in the shops in the cruise terminal.
The last day was our second day at sea. The weather was a little rough; we had 16-20 foot waves at one point. You could hardly tell. Gotta love those stabilizers. At 9:30 in the morning on that day we took the Behind the Fun Tour. It's expensive, but we think it was we worth it to do once, if you are curious like we are. We got to go backstage, in the galley, the laundry, the engine control, the bridge, and even got to see the crew lounge and the crew dining room. We got a few gifts along the way, too. We felt we had to try it so we could tell our customers what it was like. Then they could decide if they thought it was worthwhile or not. I had signed up for the Walk for the Cure, but they couldn't walk outside due to the rough seas. I couldn't find out where they did go, so I'll just have to walk some other time.
Disembarkation went fairly smoothly. We were all off the ship by 10 or so, and were home by noon. I wish we didn't have to get up so early! Altogether a great cruise. A little tip we found out on the second day - If it's too cold in your room, turn the A/C way down or off! That helped a lot.