I read and re-read all the reviews before going... taking family on their first cruise, I wanted to be sure that we planned accordingly...
This is my first cruise review, so this may be all over the place, but you'll definately get my thoughts..
Overall, I would rate our cruise an 8.5 out of 10. We definately got what we paid for. We stayed in an inside cabin on the main deck, all four of us. First time with the kids in the same cabin, and it was okay. The travel agent said that all the cabins are the same size, but that is incorrect. The inside is definately smaller than the outside, but it was managable. The rest of our family had outside cabins on the main deck, and we spent more time in them. Their cabin steward knew us better than ours.
The food was great. No complaints other than temperature. Yes, there were lines, but nothing so bad that we couldn't deal with it. We had 6:00 early dining, and never had any issues other than many kids. We had an aft window which was great, but some parents let their kids wander to the windows and sit there, right next to us..making unnecessary noise. One stern look to the parents and this ceased. There was entertainment each night... a song and waving of napkins... kids loved it. Wait staff was good, sometimes fast sometimes slow, but we were okay with that. The Lido deck has a lot to choose from. Don't miss the seafood on the deck above.. so good!! My husband ate at the Mongolian Wok more than once.. a very long wait, but worth it. Chocolate buffet was very good too.
Activities were fair. Hairy Chest contest, mixology, trivia... same stuff different ship. The big TV outside was good and bad. They showed Cher's show for a couple of hours which was nice, but then replayed other activities over and over, just like your tv in the room. The weather had a lot to do with the "fair" rating. It was cool and windy. Golf was near impossible. Had to keep covered up when the sun wasn't shining. The 2nd sea day it drizzled all day, keeping activities limited to indoor. We were actually bored a few times.
Entertainment was very good. The first show was a snoozer. We went to all the comedy shows which we thought were great. I caught a portion of their tribute to America show, and wished I had seen more. Bingo was fun, but we only played once.... for the $1000 final jackpot (didn't win). Love & Marriage was funny as usual. Casino didn't pay...just took our donations.
Photographers were everywhere.... a bit annoying at times... walking down the promenade, I think there were 10 different backdrops to get your picture taken. I suppose that's good for options and no lines, but the hallway was so cramped, you could barely get to dinner. Pictures are overpriced. Depending on the size they print, the pics are $9.95 or $12.95 for each candid (most were $12.95), and $19.95 or $21.95 for portraits (most were $21.95).
Kids programs... we have a 10 year old that wasn't interested in participating in most activites, nor did she want to be put with the little kids at 10:00pm. She also commented that one of the staff members was mean. Our 14 year old did enjoy some of the Circle C events, but some were "boring".
Lastly, attire. I guess you would expect a cheap short cruise from NYC would have a variety of people. I like to get dressed up on a cruise. I was disappointed to see shorts, golf shirts and flip flops on elegant night. The level of dress on this trip was definately extra casual. We're not black tie by any means, but people should at least dress like they are going to a nice restaurant, not McDonalds. That's what the Lido deck restaurant is for.
Well that's it. Would we go back on Carnival? Yes. Would we go back on a Canada/New England cruise? for the right price maybe. I would prefer a longer cruise in warmer weather on Royal Caribbean.