Upon arrival at the NYC terminal, we got through security and check-in quickly, then there was a long line to get onto the ship. Maybe 40 minutes from the time we got to the port to being onboard which isn't bad at all. It was a bit strange to board at deck Zero instead of into a beautiful atrium, but we got a ground view of the cove balcony cabins which looked cool from the outside.
We checked out our 8C cabin, L-shaped aft just before the wrap 9c cabin, and it was very nice and very new. Awesome double-wide balcony with chairs and lounger. Note the safe uses a code—not a credit card to lock it. Flat screen tv on wall, and the navigation channel is better than on other Carnival ships. Small refrigerator, nice closet space and bathroom, blow dryer in the drawer, full length mirror on one of the closets. Love the amenity basket too.
We then set out to explore. Waterslide is incredible though it was too cold to go on it. Nice seating areas forward on the higher decks near the spa. A lot of access to forward outside viewing areas too. Outdoor movie screen was good with lots of poolside seating—not in stadium setup like other Carnival ships—all one deck level. Mini golf and basketball are farther back.
Center of deck 5 is Ocean Plaza which is a nice open area that has a bar and band, margarita bar, and coffee/dessert bar (for fee). Also outside access with seating areas and hot tubs. I really liked this area and it was always full of activity. Promenade deck went all the way around outside which was great and there were hot tubs and seating areas here and there. Balcony cabins on decks 6-9 overlook this deck. Very tall atrium was very nice and this ship actually has couch seating on the decks above and overlooking the atrium so you can still be part of the activities.
Scarlet and Crimson dining rooms were beautiful and we had a nice table for 4 by a window, though both nights they opened later than 6pm to a lobby full of waiting people. Not sure why they weren't ready at 6. Food service was good, drink service was slow. They appeared to be understaffed. Food was very good and I was thrilled lobster was featured the second night. I missed seeing the dinner menus posted outside the dining rooms though; doesn't appear there is anywhere to post them. There was a $30 upcharge steakhouse on deck 10 or 11 aft, but we didn't try it out (as we just ate there on Carnival Liberty and the menu was the same).
Lido food: Setup a bit different than other Carnival ships but always crowded. Outside on Lido aft is the deli and a fabulous Indian food station. Upstairs inside is a pasta bar—you fill out your order sheet and the food is cooked to order and delivered to your table. We enjoyed lunch here. More forward on Lido is another buffet and the Mongolian grill which always moved slowly, but then again, the food is cooked to order. Farther forward outside is pizza and burger grill. I do think a Carnival supervisor needs to watch the lines in order to facilitate things moving along quicker. Also need to keep other food venues open longer than just lunch; mid-afternoon the pizza, deli and burger lines were too long since they were the only options (besides room svc which we did not use this cruise). Ice cream stations open too.
We didn't use pools or waterslides as it was November in NY. Would love to have tried them out though.
Largest art gallery I've seen on a ship to date.
Launderettes are on decks 2, 7 or 10 only. Ironing on all decks. $3 per wash and dry load; $1.25 for detergent.
Theater was beautiful; had seating on outside both sides of lower deck which I've not seen before. So you had the curved seating toward the stage, and then couches lined up left and right perpendicular to the stage. Dancing in the Streets is the best show I've seen on a ship. Drink service was very slow as it appeared only two people were handling the entire lower level theater. One drink we ordered never arrived.
Clubs are aft and all were busy at night. Piano bar (too smoky for me), comedian shows (get there early to get a seat!) and one other smaller club. Dance club Caliente was usually active. Casino always busy too.
Debarkation was a breeze as with a Cruise to Nowhere you have no customs and take your own luggage. We docked about 7:15 and we left among the first people at 7:40 or so.
Yes, there were small annoyances here or there—trays left in hallways quite awhile, long lines at eateries. Yet I would go on this ship again in a heartbeat. It's new—what's not to like?
About me: I have sailed Carnival, Princess, Norwegian and Royal Caribbean.