Final night was a bit different. This was the first cruise with automatic tipping for us. As a result, you didn't see the steward hanging out in the hallway and didn't necessarily get that very personal greeting from the waiter and assistant that we have gotten on many other cruises. Basketball jersies , t shirts, sneakers and shorts were in evidence everywhere including the dining room on the last night. We exchanged addresses with our tablemates and after dinner went to the final show. The comedian was ok , his jokes were mostly cruise ship cliches and ethnic jokes which he apoligized for before telling each one. They were funny but a bit "incorrect " for 2003. The second performer was so bad that we , along with many others, simply walked out. Tired, we headed off to our room. We closed up the suitcases and put them out, hoping to see them again in the morning.
We ate breakfast in the dining room then headed up to our room, picked up our carryons a dutifully headed out to a public lounge to await diembarkation.
Let me jump back a bit, I did go up on deck at sunrise to see the city, but it was so overcast you could barely see the shoreline. Thank goodness we've done that before or I would have been disappointed. If the weather is clear , this is a must see.
Disembarkation did not begin until 10:30 and was quite slow. By 11:30, only half the ship was cleared. On the otherhand the dockside activity was much more orderly and organized than any other disembarkation I have experienced. The problem was that by noon there were cars backed up over a mile on the West Side Highway trying to embark on the next trip, with limos and personal cars caught up in the traffic trying to make pick ups on disembarking passengers. In otherwords a repeat of 8 days earlier (only now I knew why). Got my car, picked up Gram and we were on our way north on the West Side Highway within 15 minutes of walking off the ship.Believe it or not, Gram dropped me at work on the way home.
Final thoughts. A great , relaxing trip. Strong points were sea days(basically 6 out of 8)
great room, good service overall and a beautiful well run ship. Weak points were
Main show room entertainment (other than production shows),and lack of entertainment in non smoking venues.
Observations(no judgements here just observations). Many extended families and Camp Carnival must have been good because for the most part the kids were not all over the ship. Many handicapped individuals. My guess is that with the sailing from NY a lot of folks took advantage of not having to fly. With no tender ports, this very new ship accomadated these folks well. Good for you Carnival on this point. Dress varied in a wider range than any other ship I have ever been on but certainly leaned towards the casual end of the spectrum . If you are "into" the ports this is not your cruise. Many folks did not like San Juan (I did), We were in St Thomas on a Sunday which cut the downtown shopping time in half for many folks (with and 8 day cycle this will probably not happen again). Most folks were disappointed in Tortola. You really need to spend DAYS there to catch the laid back spirit of the BVI's. Five or six hours just doesn't do it. Although I HIGHLY recommend the BVI's for vacation and honeymoon. The City needs to do something about moving traffic in and out of the pier area. There was a distinct lack of traffic control in the area. If you live in NY this might be most folks best cruise alternative. Many folks do not like the Bermuda cruises because the casinos are closed for 3 and a half days of a seven day cruise. On this cruise, casinos were open 6 days and 8 nights. The ports are "better" than those offered by Norwegian and the Canadian cruises as well.
Carnival provided a fabulous cruise product and changed my opinion of it's product.
(our last two Carnival cruises were 24 hour a day beer bashes for mid twenties to mid thirties singles and couples).
A final thank you to our waiter and assistant Montrey and Ronald and a get well soon to our Steward Jose who took ill during the cruise.
The urns were a bit much. Urns for railings, urns for pillars, urns everywhere one turned. No one ever said that understated was a theme for Carnival and it certainly was not the case here. I half expected that the gift shop would sell urns for your future internment. Of course they did not. Personally I have decided to be buried, as I never want to see another urn again in life or after.
For the first time in 8 years we do not have another cruise booked. After sailing in Hawaii several years back we decided to try a "land" trip. Eleven days , (5 Oahu, 6 Mauii)
scheduled for October. We've already booked Old Lahaina Luau and Polynesian Cultural Center. Most of the rest will be beach , sun and water.
Happy cruising everyone.