Background Information: My wife and I are in our mid 30's. My sister and her husband are in the late 20's and their daughter is almost 4. This is my 6th cruise and my wife's 5th. It was the first sailing for my sister and her family.
Both families drove in to Queens and left our vehicles at my in laws (we live in Upstate NY and my sister is from RI). This is one of the best reasons to leave from NY for us.
Embarkation: We have left from NY before and I have to say this was the easiest embarkation ever. No line as we got there around 11:15. My wife and I are Latitude members and were sent to a different line from our fellow party members. Did not matter since we both were finished at the same time with pre-boarding ritual and got on the boat at were able to walk on together. :)
I had done my research before the cruise (almost to a sickening extent) on CC boards to find out all of the helpful hints for this ship. It definitely paid off and the advice of previous cruisers was helpful.
Sail Away: We lucked out with weather and had a great sail away right past lady liberty.
Activities: I have to say this is one area that I thought the ship was seriously lacking. ON one of the sea days my bro in law took out the daily activity sheet and showed me something quite funny. First the spacing on the sheet was ridiculous to make up room and make the page appear full. Secondly, they actually listed library open as an activity. That is sad . We usually go to the art auctions for the excitement and these were horrible as well. NO giveaways, only brought up expensive works and the speed at which the auction was conducted was horrendously slow. The art auctioneer was very knowledgable but needs to speed things up.
They offererd free art to all that attend but not once was anything handed out.
Ship could use more activities for sure
Service: I found the service adequate. Room steward was awesome & did a great job
Stateroom: Our room was fine and served its purpose. We spent hardly any time in the room.
Dining: Before we left I read all of the dining reviews. I found the food to be decent. You can not expect 5 star cuisine on a lower priced cruise line. It is ridiculous to even think that going in. The buffet was good, the main dining room was above average and the specialty dining was decent. We only did the best of all brunch for the specialty restaurants. It was ok but nothing spectacular. Best thing about the food was the crepe station everynight right after dinner. Don't forget about the crepes.
Kids Club: Our niece was in the Kids club and really liked it. She kep begging her mom to go there so I assumed she was having a good time.
Entertainment: All of the shows were good. THE magician was kinda crappy, but that's what happens when you sit too close to the performance.
Disembarkation: The crew screwed up a bit letting us off and it was poorly coordinated but all in all not too bad. I have been through worse. Where you get off in NYC is a little hectic but with good planning you will be all right.
Summary: Great cruise. Halifax is a beautiful place. Portland is also one of my fave ports for this itinerary. The other 2 ports in Canada could have been there or not, did not make or break the trip. I would def do again, we all had a good time.