I was VERY disappointed with my first cruising experience. Many other guests were also complaining and we were even told more than once by people who have cruised before not to judge cruises by this experiences because other ones that they have went on were great.
Embarkation was great. We got there early and went right through with no problem. The room was clean and there was a lot of storage and closet space. I was told that our steward would introduce himself to us and check to make sure everything was ok with our cabin - We never even met our steward, we kind of guessed who he was by seeing him in the hall a few times, but no introduction was made.
If you are in the Atlantic dining room consider yourself lucky. You cannot go and walk the length of the ship to get directly there. You have to go up to deck five walk all the way to the end and then take the elevator down. This is very confusing. There were no crew members around to ask. When I did find someone I was told they didn't know and then the second person I asked told me to follow the people that were in front of me. They ended up going to the gift shop. After finally getting there we did have a really great funny waiter which was one of the highlights of our trip. The meals, however, left something to be desired. The first nights dinner was good but then after that it got very repetitive and was not that great quality.
The first morning we went to breakfast in the dining room and it was open sitting. Our waiter barely said two words to us, did not come back to check if we needed anything and we didn't get everything we ordered. After that we got breakfast every morning at the buffet, which has just about the same food.
The food at the buffet left much to be desired and half of the time you went to get something the buffet was closed. This left you with the choice of pizza or hamburgers from the grill. Let me just say that I won't be eating either of those for a while since that is mostly what I ended up eating all the time cause it was the only thing that was open.
The cruise director was funny and the shows that I saw were good. There were not enough activities scheduled during the day though. The bingo was a joke. They wanted $10 for one single card and $20 for three cards and the prize was very minimal from $100 - $300.
The casino was a lot smaller than I thought it would be but it was ok. What really ticked me off however was that there were many children in the casino and I saw more than once teenagers playing the machines or parents letting younger children play. They definitely need to enforce the "no one under 18 rule" not just post it. On the same note teenage children were also allowed into the adult late night comedy shows.
If you needed to ask anyone for help there was no one to be found. However if you wanted a drink all you had to do was turn around, because they get the gratuities that are automatically added in. The price of beer was reasonable but wine was ridiculous and you didn't even get a full glass.
Getting off the ship in Halifax was ridiculous. It felt like you were cattle being herded. It was not organized at all. We were running late as it was and they should have let the people that had shore excursions booked off the ship first. At Saint John's we did not book an excursion and waited a while before we got off to avoid this mess again.
Disembarkation was not well organized either but didn't take as long as I thought it was going to. I was never so happy to see New York City. After about the second day I was ready to go home. If I do ever take a cruise again it will most definitely not be with Carnival.