October 2015 - Carnival Splendor to Canada, New England, New York
This cruise was a marvelous way for us to celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary! We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves, even without the 3 days in New York City post-cruise. That was just the frosting on the cake.
Carnival took very good care of us from the time we entered the terminal until we returned. The crew was attentive to our needs and provided a wonderful experience. The ports of call provided a good variety of American and Canadian cities both large and small. The indulgences aboard ship were most enjoyable - and of course, decent weather contributed to the pleasure.
Our stateroom on deck 2, mid-ship-aft, had an unobstructed view and more room than our Manhattan hotel room. The bed was very comfortable and our only complaint here is that scraping and banging noises from below ran up the hull more frequently than we would have liked. There was also some squeaking in the cabin door as the ship rocked with the heavier seas on a couple of the nights.
Food was generally good, especially in the buffets on Lido deck. Our favorite was the Tandoor Grill, but we happen to really enjoy Indian cuisine. We had to try the ever-popular pizza but were not particularly impressed, and the server seemed uncomfortable with his assignment that day. Our first two nights of "your time" dining were also less than stellar as the steaks were lacking in flavor. That set us to skipping dinner one night and eat at the buffet, but we returned to The Black Pearl night 4 and found much more enjoyable entrees for the rest of the cruise. Service in the dining room was passable but not as classy as we were expecting. We're simple folk, however, and don't need excessive pampering.
While our room steward kept the room clean and well made up, we noticed other lapses in service in the buffet dining rooms. Sometimes the tables were bussed as we finished a plate, and other times we would find multiple tables needing to be cleaned. We had to keep an eye out for tables needing to be wiped down as we looked for a seat.
We did enjoy the diversity of nationalities among both crew and guests, and there was also a wide range of socio-economic status among those aboard. As to ports of call, our only disappointment was the Boston schedule of 4pm to 11pm, delayed by heavy seas from 2pm to 10pm. Neither schedule allowed much time for visiting the city, but we did find our way through the bus/subway to the North End for dinner at the Union Oyster House and "snacks" from Mike's Pastry and from Modern Pastry. It was a fun time ashore. Portland, Halifax, and Saint John were also pleasant little port cities with interesting historical sites and good local seafood lunches.
Shipboard entertainment did not impress, but we are not very interested in usual nightlife activities even including television. The stage show had good music with constant scene changes - the number of costume changes the cast went through was amazing! And, they were excellent singers and dancers. We sat through two "PG" comedy routines; one was reasonably funny, the second a complete dud. When the comic realized his routine was falling flat, he tried resorting to more off-color humor and commenting on the age and presumed Bible-reading state of his audience - the pathetic refuge of an unfunny comedian.
Not to end on a negative, we enjoyed the various "towel animals" that the steward left in the room each evening. They were folded and rolled to look like dogs, bears, dinosaurs, crabs, and elephants. It was fun to anticipate what each night's "critter" was going to be sitting on the bed.
We're ready to do this again! :)