We stayed at the Hilton Garden Inn on 8th Ave which is a very nice hotel. We walked to the port - slightly less than a mile. We got to the NYC port at about 12:00 and were on the ship by 12:30, it was much quicker than I expected/remembered.
The ship itself is okay. I was not a fan of the decor, I felt that it looked old and dark. However, it was clean and I did not find there to be any problems with dirty dishes laying around everything that some other reviewers had remarked. Our room was on the first floor, ocean view aft. I did not feel any rocking, but our room was right next to the anchor I believe and it was loud whenever pulling into port. Our room steward, Walter, was great.
My biggest gripe was the food. I did not think I was picky, but I guess when on a cruise you expect the food to be amazing. Breakfast was awful, cold and greasy and I mainly stuck to fruit and hard boiled eggs. I did not try the fish and chips because I am not one for fried food, but the the Mongolian Wok was AMAZING. However, I recommend getting in line for it at 11:45am or else you will be waiting at least an hour. We had anytime dining and ate there 3 out of the 5 nights. The only night we personally had a wait (for 6 of us) was formal night, and the next day we were sent cookies to our room as an apology which was very nice. The first night we got there fairly early, and when we were leaving the line for seating was quite long. Dinner took a very long time, and we had 2 children with us which made it difficult. I did not hate the food, but I did not love it - except for the lobster, delicious!! We ate in the steakhouse the last night and it was one of the best meals I've ever had - I got the lobster bisque which was SO GOOD and the surf and turf, also delicious.
I also did not think there was a lot to do on board, the activities that were planned seemed boring or were expensive ($20 for bingo!). I loved the comedians and I was not really impressed with the illusionist or the main show. The Love and Marriage game was really funny. My mom won some money at the casino, my boyfriend did not.
Port of Saint John - It was a cute little town, the weather was perfect maybe 65-70 degrees and sunny. We are not ones to do excursions, we prefer to see the city ourselves, however the rest of my family did the pink bus tour and enjoyed it. We walked throughout the city, had coffee at Java Moose which was very good but expensive. We ate at the Lobster Co. which is right off the port, I had a lobster roll which was delicious and my boyfriend had a big bucket of mussels which was also good. We had some beers at Big Tide Brewing and across the street at O'Learys. Both were great, and no one seemed to mind all the tourists.
Port of Halifax - It was cold and rainy (50 degrees or so), however the locals said it is not normally like that. We went to Garrison Brewery to try the Jalepeno beer, which they did not have on tap so we bought a bottle. We went there at about 11:00 Canada time and brought it right back on the ship before the set up the alcohol confiscation table - smart move! They did not know what to do with it so told up to bring it to our rooms and not drink it (yea right!). After that we walked to Stayner's Wharf which is on the waterfront. We had Donair which I was so excited to try - it is a local dish and I definitely recommend it. It was delicious, I believe it is a sliced meat with spices, similar to a gyro. After that we walked all the way up to the Citadel, I thought it was kind of boring especially for the cost (almost $30 for 2 people), but I don't typically like those things to begin with.
Disembarkation was fairly painless.