Sunday, October 23, 2016

Carnival to Canada from New York


We just got back from our trip to New York and Canada via Delta and Carnival.  My sum up, a pretty fantastic trip.  I love Canada very, very much.  The trip all in all just including the flights and the Carnival cruise in general definitely had its ups and downs.  But no downs at all as far as Canada is concerned.  Canada is fantastic!!!  and I will certainly tell you what I’ve learned after a few cruises and our family trial and error.  Plus there are tons of photos below.  My sum up…

Delta >>> I really do love flying Delta and of course the staff can make all the difference.  I highly recommend flying Comfort Plus if you can afford the small upcharge if you like a few in-flight drinks.  It’s basically the new first class as far as I’m concerned but you don’t pay $1k+ a seat.  The space feels the same as coach but you get all the free drinks you want plus “premium” snacks.  Which is basically cookies and some other choices besides just peanuts and that was perfect for the kids.  We had fantastic flights to New York, on the way back we had a couple snooty stewardesses or whatever you call them now.  They were not liking me which is odd because I never ask for anything special, we’re quiet and I’m really accommodating.  Sometimes you just get stuck with stuck up people and it can ruin the flight.  And for me it tainted it for sure.


New York >>> As I suspected it was cool to see but it was never on my list to visit on purpose.  We flew in early and stayed so we could walk the streets, see the night life, eat at good restaurants and shop.  It’s cool to see Time Square but it is a city so it has people on people and it’s got that dirty city feel.  And not that it’s gross by any means I just don’t want people to go there and expect something it’s not.  You have to appreciate it for what it is.  I have never heard so many languages spoken just standing on the street for a few minutes in my life.  You are certainly going to be with very few true New Yorker’s if you are in the tourist areas.  So hook up with someone local and ask what’s authentic.



New York Cabs >>> Do use them.  To and from JFK all yellow taxis have a flat rate and they will bring you to the ship, back from the ship and you can always catch one from your hotel if you decide to stay.  For the flat rate with tax, the peak hours surcharge and the toll charge it was $70.01 on the dot to go to or from our port and JFK.  Much less expensive than the $133.00 it would have cost for the non-private Carnival transfer for a family of 4.


The Carnival Cruise >>> So this was our 3rd cruise with Carnival and going to cold weather was completely different from the two cruises we did before going to beachy type islands.  By the end of the cruise I could tell the staff was over it.  Not over just the people, but the daunting task of a repeat trip.  We were on the last run for that ship going on the Canada run (Carnival Sunshine) over and over and over again.  Some of the staff slipped up and were already starting to cut loose the last night talking about how excited they were about their break.  Which was cool, they are human.  I was actually relieved to have a true-blue interaction instead of the fake stuff.

They were getting ready to take their couple day break and head to the Caribbean.  So I did learn when you want to snag them!  My best tip, catch the first run on a route with any particular ship.  The people are super refreshed.  And I’m sure warmer weather trips make for happier staff.  I’m sure most don’t notice or care about the moods of staff but I do.  I can’t help but see when people seem to not be at their happiest.  Happy people make for a great trip over people trying to be happy for show.


A Rev Up >>> We had such a great time in St. John and Halifax.  It was lovely and the trip was mostly stressful due to 6 year old twins that were lagged from the plane.  It’s fricken hard.  The older I get and the more stuff you need the tougher it is in comparison to packing a swimsuit and pair of shorts carry on and rolling out.  But I do want to paint an accurate picture and I do tend to dig into every aspect of our journeys so I know in the future what I want to repeat and what I want to scrap.

Excursions Tip >>> I have gone both ways.  My husband and I went non-excursion to the Bahamas over a decade ago.  Just us, we had a blast.  We laid on the beaches and tanned, ate the local “must try” foods, rented bikes, a moped thing and saw it all.  Then last year we went to Catalina and Mexico and booked long excursions, 4 hours a piece.  After I felt like I saw it all and knew so much but didn’t experience the simple things.  Like in Catalina we never stuck our feet in the sand.  But we had truly authentic and unique experiences.  We did not do excursions this time around out of fear we would feel we would miss out on simple and we got simple.

My only regret this trip between flights, the boat, the cabs, etc… is not booking excursions.  When you have limited time if you really want to see it you need to fork out the cash.  The excursions are expensive but if I could go back a week I would book them immediately.  Now I know in the future we are going to have to go back destination style to really experience Canada.  So I’m going to do that with a train ride to the Canadian side of Niagara Falls very soon.  Maybe 2018 since I’m planning Cozumel all inclusive in 2017.  Or if I can squeeze it in cheap I may even do it next year too.  Heck, the train ride is only $900 for all 4 of us.  That’s a steal and it’s super unique.  I like to mix it up, always.

St. John Canada >>> This is more of your laid back “country type” town.  I loved it.  I actually loved it so much I wanted to transform an abandoned building into an insane 3 story high ceiling water front home.  And the “dream home” was a block from the best restaurant EVER… Steamers.  Hands down the best and most affordable seafood extravaganza I’ve ever had.  We got the dinner for 2 with the steamers and muscles (had 2 whole lobsters, 2 chowders, bread and more) plus a half dozen oysters on the half shell and a huge awesome fish dinner for the kids, couple beers and glasses of wine… $126 USD after the 20% tip and the Canadian transfer rate.  I have eaten half as good for twice as much here at the top seafood restaurants in Missouri.  Literally twice as much or more I have paid here in MO.



Halifax Canada >>> The history here is amazing.  It’s a super cute little water city with plenty to do all in walking distance from the boat.  Most people don’t know that the survivors from the Titanic were routed there so they have a history museum.  On top of that they have a romantic history with Boston.  When they had a huge explosion decades ago Boston sent help.  Every year in thanks they send a huge Canadian Halifax Christmas tree and actually pay to light it.  It’s such a rich and sweet history with their town and the US.  I just fell in love.



So there you have it.  Visit.  I found my love for Canada.  Really all in all a fantastic trip.