We decided last minute on taking this cruise out of NY because of the price and the location. We live in Southern NJ and have two kids ages 2 & 5. It was only a 2 hour drive to the port, easy to find and easy to park. Dropped our bags off at the curb and walked right in, we were on the ship in less than 30 minutes. Totally worth paying $30/day to park at the pier.
Our OV cabin was great! We checked it out right away. They had it set up as a king with a single and a bunk above the single. It was perfect for my family, the kids loved the bunk! The beds, linens and pillows were great...we all slept like rocks, even my 2 yr. old! She did not want to get out of bed! Glad we went with an OV as we had originally booked an inside..changed my mind last minute and it was worth it! Saw our steward once or twice..he was fine. Our cabin was always clean and had plenty of towels and towel animals and chocolates on the pillow at night. Basic samples of toothpaste and soaps in the bathroom, some razors and liquid body wash and shampoo in the shower stall.
Off to Camp Carnival. What a great place for small kids especially. We checked it out the first day and the kids didn't want to leave! We would drop them off around 9am and pick them up before 12 for lunch. We were given a bulky cell phone to carry in case the kids needed to be picked up, but that never happened. They always had some kind of craft project with them or had their faces painted or had stories about meeting Funship Freddie when we picked them up. They loved it! With the exception of the first nite in the MDR, they had dinner with Camp Carnival every nite, their choice. We dropped them off near the Fish n' Chips area on the 2nd floor of the Red Sail buffet. They had the food they liked and then back to camp. We picked them up every nite at 10..exhausted, but very happy! They cried when we had to go home.
The food! Yes, we gained a few pounds or so. Maybe it was the chocolate buffet at lunch in the Red Sail one day...or the nites of chocolate melting cake? I don't know, but Carnival does chocolate right! We had breakfast for the kids in the room...warm coffee for me, yuck. Hot coffee in the MDR, but very slow service..food was fine. OK coffee at the buffet, food was fine as well. Lots of choices...loved the flaky pastries...the bacon police, too funny!!! Lunch with the kids was usually at the Red Sail or the grill. Nothing really sticks out for me...the hot dogs were huge and the burgers were good. Typical buffet food. Had lunch one day in the MDR. No kids menu...that was not good, I even asked and was told no. I gave the kids pasta and meatballs, I had it too and it was very good. My 5 yr old was mad...he just wanted chicken nuggets and fries...my 2 yr old was happy to eat her pasta, thank goodness! One thing about the MDR for lunch was that we had some nice company and a great view! Lots of nice people on this sailing. We had dinner in the Platinum dining room every nite...it turned out to be a table for two since the kids were at camp. The service was really good,(our table was always set for the kids, just in case, and our waitress seemed to miss seeing them) altho some nites slower than others...we were starving! I think the best entree that we had was the jerk pork loin..spicy and really tasty. They do fish well also. I was sad that they didn't have escargot or Chateaubriand. My husband liked his steak. The desserts were just OK, except for the chocolate melting cake, had that every nite..it was that good!!!! Every afternoon we hung out with the kids. The first day at sea we actually all took a long nap in our cabin. They say you never spend that much time their, but with two small kids you can and do. That's where the OV room is a great thing to have. Other days we spent time in the hot tub on the lido deck....the kids loved it and so did we. One day we went to the disco and danced w/Funship Freddie. When we had free time in the mornings we wandered the ship, shopped, had a few drinks, played bingo...just kind of did whatever we felt like. At nite we did one of the shows, it was pretty good.....I didn't really care for the male lead singer. I have to say that I did like Jorge, our CD, he was really funny! Another nite we just relaxed in the spa's hot tub and met some really nice people. We had dinner late one nite with friends at their table and by the time we were done we just got the kids and headed to our cabin. We're not really nite people as you can tell, we all like our sleep =)
On our day in the port of Saint John we had breakfast at the buffet and then met our pre-arranged cab to take a trip to The Caves Restaurant in St. Martin. On the way we got some history from our driver and he took us to see the Reversing Falls and then had a nice scenic drive to St. Martin. We had lunch, great chowder and seafood, and then walked along the stone beach to the caves. The kids loved it, simple things in nature put smiles on their faces. We were with the friends that we met on the ship and we all had a good time taking pictures and exploring. On the way back to the ship we stopped at the Mini Horse Bed & Breakfast. The owner gave us a tour of the farm..the mini horses were awesome! We took some great family photos and bought some organic jam in her little shop. Stopped at the gift tent on the way back to the ship and got some souvenirs and some maple syrup.
Our cruise came to a close...had a great dinner and then back to the room to pack. We put our suitcases out and went to bed. The next morning we had a leisurely breakfast in the Red Sail and then waited on deck for our number to be called. We got off the ship easy enough, got our bags and just walked over to our car. This was one of the easiest trips we've ever taken and will definately do it again!
I'm sure I've forgotten some things...any questions please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org