We decided to take a later train into the City and arrived at the pier at 1:15. Big mistake. Long security line and very slow check-in lines.
Our cabin was a corner aft wrap on deck six. Perfect. You can tell the furnishings are relatively new (ship was refurbished early 2010). Cabin and balcony in good condition though the outside chairs had some holes (cigarette burns?). Our steward and his team kept our cabin nice and made cute towel animals. Robes smelled like dirty laundry as did the blue towels. Nice flat-screen tv and refrigerator, lots of closet space, but with those already attached to pole hangers. Glad I brought some of my own hangers. Love the amenities basket in the bathroom with toothpaste, razor, lotion.
Platinum dining room is aft and has windows on three sides. Very nice lunch there. We were assigned to the Golden DR which is midship. So we got a little more exercise. We noticed the nice tables by the windows; seemed a lot of tables for two. Waited to see who'd fill the two empty chairs at our table, and our cabin neighbors showed up which was great. Food in the Golden Dining room was very good and we got to try a lot of the dishes as we shared with our tablemates. I don't think there was anything I didn't like, and we ate there four of the five nights. I requested a fully baked chocolate lava cake and our server, Glenn, found one! It was very good completely baked (not raw and runny). Formal night was the first day at sea. Good lobster. Most people were dressed nicely, but not formal. Some suits, some dress shirts, some polo shirts on men. I don't think I noticed any tuxes. No matter to us.
Breakfast buffet in Red Sail is just ok; the powdered eggs are awful though the omelet station was good. Some days the bacon police were present. Love their chocolate muffins at breakfast, and assorted fruits. We had room service for breakfast every day; and one day our cool neighbor delivered an omelet as he had gone to the buffet early. Thanks Dave! We also had room service the day we left; a nice feature for departing guests. Lunch buffet has a nice variety, grill is great, deli, burrito bar. I LOVE Mongolian Wok and I wish it stayed open past lunchtime. Be prepared for a long wait as the line gets very long for that, but be alert that there are two cooking stations next to each other and you can move ahead. The grill also closes at six pm. Fish and chips upstairs from Red Sail was very good.
Love the waterslide. Outdoor theater is great too but it was a bit chilly to sit and watch a movie. Nice forward area that is adults only lounging area. Shows were just ok. The best show at sea is still Carnival Dream's Dancing in the Street. Hypnotist show was funny. The duet, Play That, who play in the Colors atrium every night were very good. They have quite a repertoire of songs. There were several others bars/lounges throughout the ship.
Past guest party in the Amber Palace (theater forward) was good with the usual free drinks and appetizers served. Carnival really does a nice job with this. I wish they would stop wasting so much paper with pamphlets left in the cabin for jewelry, spa, etc.; I hope they recycle. The one paper I do want, the comment card, we did not get, but I understand Carnival now will email guests for their comments. So we wait.
The navigation channels were not working the last two days so we didn't get to see our speed or location. I like this feature when we are coming into port; you get a forward view on your tv. Can view your account on tv and also the dinner menus. Satellite feed from Denver, CO. Lots of channels available.
Several times we smelled sewage while walking through the hallway, and once it smelled in our and our neighbors aft cabins.
I like that you can have photos taken pretty much every day with different backgrounds. Not just on formal nights. Some photos come out very nicely; others appear out of focus.
We had been to both ports before so we just wandered around in Halifax, shopped a little. In St. John we walked around and then rented a car and headed for St. Martin, which was really cool at low tide. You need to reserve a car with Avis in advance; the car we got had already been returned by a fellow cruiser that day.
I learned that on my next Carnival cruise I will bring along my own shampoo as I didn't care for what was in the dispenser. Also my own tea, as they only serve Lipton unless you want to pay $1 plus tip at the cafe. The tall chocolate cake there was awesome and just $2.25 per huge slice.
Be aware you will be charged sales tax on all purchases while you're in the NY area.
Returning we were under the Verrazano bridge followed by Caribbean Princess headed for Brooklyn, and RC Explorer of the Seas going to Bayonne, NJ. We were at the dock before 7:30 and express walk-off started around 7:45. Nice and quick.
Overall a fun cruise and I would do it again. We had nice calm seas; most of the time we had minimal movement of the ship. Weather was good the first two days, Halifax had fog and then mist, but it was good for walking around and not breaking a sweat. St. John was pleasant with mixed sun and clouds. The passengers were a vastly varying age group which I liked. We had a lot of fun with some of the seniors. And a hello to Mary & Dave!