In some ways you almost feel ungrateful giving a "so/so" review on a cruise ship,after all not everyone gets to take a vacation. Being that this was our 8th cruise, I feel somewhat qualified to give a fair comparable view of the different cruises and ports we have visited.
My husband and I wanted a mini vacation get away and a 4 night cruise leaving from a port within driving distance seemed like a good option. Flying nowadays can be so stressful. Dollar for dollar , you almost can't beat a cruise for everything you you get. We decided to see what Saint John, Canada would be like and opted for a inexpensive cruise with Carnival. In comparison to Princess, Celebrity and Royal Caribbean , I would lump Carnival in the lower class of them all. Overall the staff is somewhat friendly, but seemed almost overworked and hardly ever greeted the guests. You almost feel bad complaining about the workers because you know they are tired and work their butts off, yet we have seen how friendly they can be on other ships, so we know it can work! Alot of the staff wears a red t-shirt with the Carnival logo on it and not a uniform, which sometimes made it hard to see who was a worker and who wasn't.
We noticed that the tables were hardly ever cleaned and many trays would stay on tables, whereas on other ships that we had been on , the staff was right behind you waiting to clear your spot. A few times we actually went looking to find someone to clear a table for us. That really grossed me out.
This particular cruise went to Saint John. What a boring port! We took the "Bay of Fundy/ St. Martins" day trip that cost around $60 a person. (big rip off!). We drove almost 45 minutes to get to the Bay of Fundy, which was nice to see but they built it up to be this great thing. We were fortunate enough to walk out to the sea caves since the tide was out. That was nice to be able to walk on the ocean floor. My husband and I had a bowl of their "famous" chowder, which was pretty yummy ($7.00 for a cup!), and loaded with seafood. We then hopped back on the bus and headed to the fishing port. The fishing port consisted of 3 boats and 3 pop up tents with a few buildings that were falling apart that were "gift shops." I asked Barbara, our tour guide if this was the last stop , because I thought surely this wasn't the fishing port everyone on the ship told us to see!? She said that it was. If you blinked your eyes you would miss the "port." It really was almost comical!
Dinnertime took almost 3 hours every night! We missed all the shows. When I mentioned it to the Maitre De he tried to help out and got us a private table for 2 and a bottle of champagne, which was very nice. The food was overall not bad , but not great either. I will say that the food presentation was nice. This was our 2nd Carnival cruise. Our 1st Carnival Cruise we took was with our children (3 of them) and our dinner took about the same time. So we thought that maybe since we had children that was the issue. Obviously not, since it was just my husband and I. The buffet lines were very long and they closed them down around 2:30 everyday, which isn't very accomodating especially if you decide to have a later lunch.
Overall it was a nice get away , but I think I would pay the extra money for a nicer ship , service and better food. I think since it was more of an "budget saver trip," it attracted some "interesting" characters. (if you know what I mean!) The old saying "you get what you pay for " is true!