GETTING THERE: We drove from York, PA. My thought was to leave at 6:00 a.m., but of course my plans never pan out they way they should. Got on the road at 7:30 a.m (made a couple stops on the way). Decided not to drive all the way into the city (didn't want to deal with the hassle). We parked our car at Port Imperial/Weehawken Ferry Terminal and took the NY Waterway across. We paid $60 for parking and approx. $38 (round trip ferry). Pretty painless procedure. Although we could have easily walked to the cruise terminal from the ferry, we opted to take a cab. Of course the cab driver didn't want to drive us down the street ("Can't you just walk? It's right there!). Total attitude! Well, I had to give him a few choice words (can't write what I said) and told him he would mess up his good tip if he didn't hurry up get me down the street (they can't refuse to take you). Needless to say he took us there (pouting). Upon reaching our destination, cab driver received his nice tip (cost of cab fare $7.40 gave driver $15.00 total). Cab drive took our luggage out the car and gave it to the waiting porter and sheepishly wished us a happy vacation. Gave porter $7.00 for handling bags. Everyone's happy!
EMBARKATION: Arrived at the terminal at 11:50 a.m. It took us 15 minutes to get to the check-in desk. We were able to walk right on to the ship after check in.
SHIP: I don't want to hurt the die-hard Carnival fan's feelings, but I found the ship to be pretty ugly. The theme was supposed to be Colors. UGLY COLORS! However, the ugly dEcor did not make or break my vacation experience. Once we realized that you must use deck 5 to navigate the ship, we were okay. We still had a wonderful time despite the decor!
CABIN: I booked an inside guarantee and was awarded with a 4G located aft deck 8. Nice location, close to elevators and Lido deck above. Noise was not an issue. Now I don't know if my next statement is a pro on con for some folks. I never met our room steward (forever known as The Room Fairy). The Room Fairy kept our room spotless! I could not have been any happier! Anytime we left the room, it would be cleaned (didn't even leave the sign out, indicating we had vacated). The Room Fairy just knew! I'm quite sure if I needed something, it would not have been a problem.
SHIP ACTIVITIES: Spa: Wonderful! I tried the sampler 3/$59 or 4/$64. I chose the scalp/back and shoulder/foot massage. Ask for Kimberly!
Gym: Was always packed. Could not get a machine. We settled for walking on the track every morning. It turned out great. It was so beautiful and peaceful out there early in the day. 27 times around equaled 3 miles.
Serenity Deck: Nice!
Shows: I did not like the main shows in the Amber Theater. The only talented individual was the main female singer. The male singer needed to get over himself! Ugh! I found the dancing from the Glory Dancers to be on par with a Middle School production. Not High School! That would be giving them too much praise. Some of the dancers needed to go on a diet and exercise regimen immediately. We left in the middle of Livin' in America show and did not return again. I did hear that Justin Illusion and the passenger talent show were good.
Casino: Played the 1 and 2 cent machines. I found they paid much better than the quarter machines. Had fun!
Bars: Not a drinker, so can't speak to the bars and lounges. We would sit in the lobby lounge during the evenings and enjoyed the singing offered (really liked the duo Play That).
Comedy Club: Enjoyed Hal Spear's R-rated act. Very funny!
DINING: We were assigned Anytime Dining in the Golden Dining Room. We were very pleased with the service and food. We would normally dine around 6:00 p.m. Twice we were assigned pagers until a table became available. Wait time was around 15 minutes both times. Servers were eager to please. If we did not like something it was substituted without a problem. Appetizers and entrees were served quickly. Food was hot and we did not feel as if we had to rush through our meal. We did tip the Asst. Maitre'd for the excellent service we received.
For breakfast we normally, hit the omelet station. Fresh and hot! We tried sit down service in Platinum once. We did not return. Service was poor. Food was cold!
We had successful results for lunch at the Mongolian Wok, burrito bar, fish and chips, and the grill. We stayed away from the buffet. We don't drink sodas or juices, so we drank water from the free dispensing station. No problems with the water.
PORTS: In Saint John and Halifax we just walked around the towns exploring. I love ice cream so I had to get a cone at Laura's (Saint John) and Cow's (Halifax). The weather was perfect! We visited the parks in both cities and just sat around and read our books for awhile. In Halifax, we also walked to the casino and made a small deposit. I know, we're pretty boring! We just didn't want to take any excursions with a lot of people. We just enjoyed each other's company and people watched (always fun).
DISEMBAKRING: My mom's cell phone was on Atlantic time, so she got me up extra early! We decided to do self assist. We had breakfast on Lido deck at 6:30 a.m. and watched the ship sail back into the city. We were off the ship with the first call of self-assist. We were off the ship in 10 minutes. This time we took a leisurely walk back to the ferry terminal and were back in the car in under 30 minutes. We got back home before 12:00 noon.
FINAL THOUGHTS: We had a wonderful, relaxing vacation. We beat the heat but still had sunny cool weather. As with all cruise lines, you will get the hurry up and buy, buy, pitch all day. Just tell the drink servers and photographers "No" nicely and they will leave you alone. I would definitely book this cruise again without hesitation.