This cruise included my husband and I, both in our late 20s. This was a first for both of us, and despite my extensive research and planning (thanks Cruise Critic!!), I wasn't completely sure what to expect.
I'd like to make this short and sweet, and will say that we had a great time overall and left happy. Our cabin (PT, 2220) is an excellent value - I'd recommend it to anyone who, like me, is a penny-pincher, but must have a window. As far as I know, these cabins are priced the same as an Inside (sometimes less, I've seen, if you're willing to take bunk beds) but you get two lovely porthole windows and a larger, Outside-sized cabin (with couch, table, etc.).
Food was pretty good, though lots of salt. Dining room food was always the better option. I admit to being picky, though I am a pescitarian (vegetarian who has some fish), but my husband will eat nearly anything without complaint. Neither of us liked the buffet at any time of the day. The dining room was just that much better (especially for breakfast - and go early, we did and it was nice and quiet). Two successes from the buffet: hot chocolate and pizza. Both were on 24/7 and reliably satisfying.
A note on dinner: I wasn't sure what to expect, but was quite satisfied with the non-upcharge option. The fish was always decent, veg. options were good (but DO NOT get the Indian option if you're sensitive to salt like I am), dessert was pretty rich but there's fruit if you're looking for something lighter. There's always steak, much to my husband's delight. We had the anytime dining and found we were seated right away at a 2-person table if we arrived at around 6 PM.
Service was always adequate. I honestly feel that one can't complain when someone else cooks and cleans for you for an entire week. Our cabin steward was not super friendly, but was accommodating and efficient. All waiters were extremely nice. The cruise director was a little irritating, but well-meaning. Am I missing anyone? Overall, the crew were great, better than I expected for sure.
My one very big criticism: the entertainment. The shows, specifically 'Just Rock' and 'Livin in America' were just awful. Lots of skimpy clothes, which pleased the husband and didn't bother me, but I felt they used that to distract people from the fact that it was a poor show. Overall, very simplistic, boring, and too loud. There were some gems, though - the physical and stand-up comedians were mostly great.
Day-time activities were lacking, and mostly just set up to make more money. My husband found a book in the library and read the entire thing before the cruise was over. I brought books and was happy with that. The Serenity Deck was great for just lounging around and reading in peace.
One tip for Canadians, specifically - go to the duty free shop and buy some booze! We got two 1L bottles of decent brandy for $20! Sure beats one bottle at the liquor store for $35!
A quick review of this particular itinerary - NE & Canada. This really is an older persons' cruise, just be aware of that. Pretty quiet all around. Loved Boston, Portland and Halifax, though found St. John somewhat boring. Maybe get off for an hour there and book a spa special back on board for the rest of the day.
Embarkation and disembarkation were pretty unremarkable. We did the self-assist and were off super quick. Why have someone else take your luggage if you can handle it yourself and move on with your day that much more quickly?
Lots more to say, but I tried to keep it short-ish. Overall, we were pleased. Cruising is a lot of fun and a great value (esp. Carnival, it seems). We're not super social, so were happy to find lots of quiet places to hang around. However, everyone we met was great and there was a lot of entertaining conversation to be had.
Looking forward to Western Caribbean next fall - Xunantunich (and cheap Mexican vanilla), here we come!