We recently went on our first cruise together (my 3rd cruise). Originally, Price and were supposed to go to Greece for 10 days back in March but that trip fell through at the beginning of the year. It was a huge disappointment as it was totally out of our control, but serendipitously everything else fell into place resulting us getting our first house. We felt that we still needed a little vacation so we began looking around and found a great deal on a 4 day Carnival cruise out of Boston that would take us up to Saint John, NB. A fun, quick trip up to Canada was just what the Dr ordered! :-)
Long post… I know… but I hope it helps anyone looking for information about taking a Carnival Cruise in New England and Canada.
Embarkation Day (Thursday)
We each took a half day so we could head over to the port early on. Plus I had to buy a pair of sneakers before we left. After a quick T ride to South Station and then a Silver Line bus to Cruise Port and we were quickly breezing through the lines to board the boat. Everyone was really friendly as they ushered us through security, checked us in, and gave us our cards that act as our room keys, security to get on & off the boat, and our debits cards for anything we purchase on the boat.
Before we knew it we were dropping off our bags in the room and running up the Lido deck to enjoy the views.
I was completely and utterly loosing my mind every time a plane came in for a landing at Logan. There is just something so fun and amazing about their power and I love knowing that people are going on or returning from an adventure. (Unless of course they are on a bussiness trip).
Prior to leaving the port we went back to the room, changed into our bathing suits, went on a tour of the spa, went through the safety drill, and went back to the spa for a raffle. Sadly, we didn’t win any spa services so we high tailed it back up to the decks to wave bye to Boston and enjoy the sun on the Serenity area. Unfortunately, we went opposite ways when we left the spa & couldn’t find each other for a while so I just grabbed a lounge and enjoyed the music, sun, and time to relax.
Price did find me so we hopped into a hot tub and enjoyed the whole novelty of being in water while being on a boat. dorks. Serentiy started to clear out as people went to the first seating for dinner so we were able to get a hammock and relax for a bit before we had to get ready for dinner.
Tall ships were arriving for the Fourth of July celebration so we saw a few coming into Boston as we left.
This happy towel animal greeted as when we came back to the room. We headed off to dinner and that is when things went poorly for Price who started to battle a headache. He didn’t make it through dinner since he went back to the room to lay down. I went to the duty free shop and paid though noise ($12) for a small bottle of Tylenol for Pricer. (Remember to be prepared so you don’t have to pay so much too!) Thankfully he woke up feeling fine the next day :-)
Fun Day at Sea (Friday)
There are Fun Days at Sea which is just when the ship needs a day to travel to get to the next port. Our cruise has 2 Fun Days at Sea, which were the days that brought us to Saint John and then back again to Boston. The daily ‘Today at a Glance‘ brochure that is provided in your stateroom outlines all the activities to available to participate in. We decided to generally keep our days relaxing so we didn’t do a whole lot, which was just perfect!
You are here when you wake up…
rain clouds and fox news… kill me!
After breakfast and a nap, I went to the information session that the Cruise Director Josh hosted to let passengers know what is going on around the ship.
I went to a foot analysis seminar. It was focused on a set of orthotics from Good Feet that they were selling but it actually was really interesting and informative. We did imprints of our feet and that would tell us about our ‘foundations’ and how that could relate to any pain we have. Well my imprints showed my right foot is flatter than my left, which could relate to my issues with my hip on my right side. hmmm… should prob see a DR about that…
After lunch, the weather started to clear and the sun came out so we got our bathing suits on to enjoy the day. We heading out on the Lido deck and saw an ice sculpture being carved away at.
Thankfully, I grabbed some seats quickly so we spent the afternoon laying out by the Azure pool. After getting too hot we would just take a dip into the pool and then layout again. Oh, and we would sip on pina coladas as well. My kind of vacation!
Friday night was the Captain’s Dinner night so it means getting dressed up. Apparently that memo did not get to everyone as there were 2 winners for the night. One guy wearing plaid (not madras style) cargo shorts and a polo with some graphic on the back and the other guy who wore jeans and an orange hoodie. (Overall, orange hoodie guy won as we saw him wear that for the rest of the cruise)
After dinner we went to one of the on board Broadway/Vegas style shows called ‘Livin’ in America’. It was good but I dozed off a bit since we enjoyed a bottle of wine with dinner and all the afternoon sun caught up with me. Instead of walking through the ship to get to the elevator bank to take us to Riviera Deck we went up and walked along top. Very cool as it was really foggy.
Saint John, NB (Saturday)
As with all ports, you can book an excursion through the boat to have something secured for the day. We didn’t plan on booking a tour through the cruise line and after having the info session on Friday our initial feeling is that we would not. Saint John is not a very large city and if we can handle 8+ miles in NYC on a typical visit we could handle Saint John. And if we felt we wanted to go with a tour company we could easily book a tour just outside the port, where a lot of companies set up. In the end we just figured we would wing it and we are glad that we did. w
I highly suggest putting something in your window so you can spot your room when you get off the ship. It’s silly but a lot of fun to figure out where you are in the massive ship.
When we got off the ship I was handed a rose from a member of the chambers of commerce. I manged to safely hang on to it the whole day :-) Also, one of the tour guides was really helpful as she provided us with a map of the city and explained how to get around, if we didn’t take a tour. We would simply have to walk a few blocks and then could follow the pedestrian trail of Harbor Passage towards Reversing Rapids.
There was a look out along Chesley Drive and that was out first real glimpse of the Reversing Rapids.
Reversing Rapids with Irving Paper and Crow Island. Truthfully, I was really disappointed to have the paper mill right across from the park, and therefore in the photos. It was annoying but watching the rapids pick up pace in the hour we were there made the whole experience worth it. The birds would drop down into the water from the island, ride the current for a bit, and then fly back up to the island and repeat the process. It looked like they were having a blast on the rapids.
The funny thing was that our intent was to book the zip line at the falls but once we got there we decided not to do it. It was not like what we expected with it being out in the open, not really over the rapids, and having such short runs between the platforms. So we decided to save our money and plan on going zip lining again in the Berkshires.
A muskrat (I think) came about 2′ from Price. It came up the embankment and just waddled around for a bit eating the grasses.
After leaving the park we following the map along the route the tour buses take along Douglas Avenue. There were so many beautiful houses along Douglas. And then we turned on to Main Street which gave us the perfect shot of the Saint John sign (above). We did get a little lost at one point as Main Street became a bridge over Rt 100 and there was no sidewalk anymore. We figured out we had go down to Hilyard St, which became Paradise Row and then take the Somerset Street Bridge over Rt 100. That brought us right into the older area of Saint John and by the cruise ship.
Old City Market was nice to walk through.
And after strolling around a bit we decided to have lunch in Saint John. They were getting ready for the Canada Day festivities so there were bands playing on a stage in Market Square. We had lunch at Lemongrass where I had Thai Fried Rice and Price had a Chicken Pad Thai. The service was great and the food was good but the time it took for the kitchen to prepare simple dishes was unreasonable. At least we had a beautiful day with some live music.
After our trip I figured out we walked over 6 1/2 miles that day. It was tiring but a perfect adventure together. We got to experience Saint John at our pace and get plenty of exercise doing it. We came back to the ship and spent the afternoon relaxing in the Serenity area of the ship for a while and then got ready for dinner and enjoyed the beautiful sunset.
And dinner was always very entertaining. Shooooow Time!
Funday at Sea (Sunday)
From my experience on my past cruises I knew that the pool side chairs would fill up fast as sitting poolside is very desirable for the at sea days. So, I quickly got ready once I woke up and was up by the pool by 8.15 and there were already a few people securing their seats. I grabbed 1 pair right at the edge of the Azure pool (adult only) so we could hop in and out as we wanted. Price came up after he got ready and we then grabbed breakfast from the buffets at the Red Sailt Restaurant. From there we did a whole lot of nothing until 2.30. From laying out, ordering drinks, and taking dips in the pool. It was so nice to be forced to relax. Not like when I’m home and I get distracted from relaxing with the computer, laundry, dishes, etc.
My rose from the chamber of commerce started to really open up in the rock vase we purchased at Market Square in Saint John. The vases were so unique and handmade by Gary Kingsley.
We went back to our room to relax a bit and get ready for the rest of the day. We started to roam around the boat, including browsing the duty free shops and the casino. And then we enjoyed a picture perfect sunset.
Most of the wait staff gathered together. I really give them a lot of credit as they leave their families for months on end and really work hard during the cruise. The trays they carry are stacked to the top and they are always running around getting you what you need. Keep their hard work that you see and don’t see in mind when you are tipping on the boat.
Roar!!!! It is always so much fun to come back to the room to a different towel animal.
Disembarkation Day (Monday)
I got up at 5.30am so I could see the sun coming up and our entry back into Boston Harbor. (If you are going to want to to sleep in & just see Boston while still lounging in bed get a room on the Starboard side of the boat.) I made it up in record time to snap photos of the sunrise at 5.35am. The sunrise and entry into the Harbor was so beautiful. I was glad that I woke up early for it. I rushed down and got Price later on when we were further into the Harbor. We then had breakfast and enjoyed the views together.
After breakfast we went back to the room to clear things up and get our belongings to wait on the Lido deck- an approved waiting station- for our room floor to be called. They worked from the top down so we had a bit of a ‘long’ wait but we managed to get off the boat, on to the bus, and then take 2 different T lines and I only got into work 30 minutes late. Def not bad deal!
As it was right before the 4th of July, the Navy ships part of the Tall Ships event were in the Harbor. It was so cool to see them all as we entered into the harbor and docked.
- We booked our cruise early so we got to do the Early Saver deal. If you know well advance you want to take a cruise (3-5 months ahead of time, depending on the length of the cruise) then you can take advantage of this deal. We paid for our cruise in full but if you want this deal you just have to put a deposit on the cruise.
- We also did a deal that allowed Carnival to assign the room for us. We told Carnival we wanted a room with a window and they did the rest. We ended up in Rm 1393, which I don’t actually suggest. This allowed us to save more, which is always great, but I would not suggest that you pick this room on the Carnival Glory because there is some sort of in/outtake in what seemed like under the room. It was very loud and we could feel the water rushing in/out. It was not all that bad but I would not want to deal with it on a 7 day cruise.
- Our room steward and our servers at dinner were amazing. Our room was always clean and our servers were all great.
- The boat was very clean. There was always staff cleaning the boat- cleaning up dishes, vacuuming,
- The Carnival Glory was built in 2003. That doesn’t seem very long ago but apparently that is very long for a cruise ship. It will be dry docked this fall for some work. While we were on the ship we saw a segment on one of the ships channels with the architect speaking about the design of the ship. In all honesty, I think he has his head up his ass as we thought the decor was tacky and the materials and color pallet used dated the ship so much that we thought it was much, much older than it actually was. (Post cruise research revealed that he will no longer be working on the new ships. It will be interesting what see a new design team does.)
- While staff was on point with making sure we wanted drinks, cleaning up pool side messes, serving our fantastic dinners, and taking care of our rooms, we felt that the one thing that they lacked was controlling the adult only Serenity Area and the adult only pool. I had to ask for security to come over 3 times to come over to speak to parents with their kids in the adult only areas.
- The food was top notch on the cruise. The food selection was expansive, diverse, and located all over the ship. You could not go hungry on the ship if you tried. I could nitpick about little things- like how they served fish & chips in a basket with a napkin like piece of paper and that disintegrated all over the fish from the heat and moisture from the fish & chips – but it is not worth it to pick at little things considering the crew serves endless meals for thousands of people.