Since the Carnival Pride cruises to Bermuda only once a year (or maybe never again since the Splendor is going there next year), I'll just give some points/observations re' our cruise + the ship and a hint of our Bermuda activities.
We arrived in Baltimore a day early to stay @ the Days Inn in Glen Burnie. We had a "package deal" (from STAY123.com) that includes a night's stay, parking @ the Day's Inn for the duration of the cruise, shuttle TO and FROM the pier plus continental breakfast for about $125. When you consider that the pier parking by itself is $105, the package is a good deal. We opted to stay at the Days Inn after the cruise ended to avoid the long drive home on debarkation day. While the hotel is not 5 stars, it fits the bill for thrifty travelers. There is a Giant grocery store next door, lots of eateries within walking distance and a Wal Mart about 2 miles away. There is even a "package" store to buy beer, wine, hard liquor about Â½ mile down the road.
The port people have this down to a science. It took about an hour from arriving at the terminal to getting on the ship. Bing, bang, boom -- and friendly/helpful people too!!
Debarkation was a mirror image of the embarkation -- EZ......a bit lengthy but easy esp Customs.
The decor was interesting but if it were not so noticeable, people would/might complain about it being bland. Different strokes for different folks. Personally, I was reminded of my college Art History classes. We had been on Pride's sister ships before so we knew how to find our way around. Booking an aft cabin lets you get to the MDR and Lido Buffets easily via elevator. On good weather days, the Serenity Area (Deck 9 aft) is the place to be -- provided you can find a place to sit/recline. There is part of the Serenity Area that is out of the sun so you can enjoy the kid free atmosphere without getting sunburned.
We had a balcony (7329) on Verandah (Deck 7 aft) -- very comfortable and a few steps from elevators and the Lido buffets. We had the option of an upgrade to deck 8 but the idea of listening to the staff moving table and chairs overhead at night was not appealing. Mr. Alfred and Mr. Gusti (stewards) were very friendly and while we aren't demanding people, they did help us with the few issues that we had. Thumbs up to these unseen, overlooked and unsung heroes!
The cruise itself:
The weather was pretty bad on the way there -- rainy, very windy but there's not much you can do about Mother Nature. The trip back was a little better but not by much. No chance to spend much time on deck. Take an adequate supply of Dramamine (drowsy or non-drowsy) or drink heavily!
Normandie Dining Room:
We only ate here on formal nights. The 1st formal night included lobster (yummy!) while the 2nd featured chateaubriand and a fish dish. We found the food to be warm/hot and the service to be very good. Don't forget to order the Chocolate Melting Cake.
Some of the several stations changed offerings depending on the time of day. The Continental Breakfast station became the Sweet Shop later in the day.
Great Oriental food. Other ships cook the food for each person but on the Pride, they cook the menu choices in small batches continuously ensuring hot, fresh portions. I made it a point of eating lunch here every sea day.
As the name implies, a cook carves the meat selection of the day and the rest of the line contains the veggies and other meat(s). We ate here most evenings when we weren't at the MDR. On the last afternoon at sea, this station changes to the Chocolate Extravaganza. I'm not a chocoholic, but my wife enjoyed it.
GREAT sandwiches and wraps! Mid day/late night offerings from here were very enjoyable. Open until 11PM made this a favorite.
Didn't do this one -- not enough time. LOL
What can I say? Great slices, open 24/7 and Caesar salad -- what a combo!
We utilized the omelet station just about every day -- not just for omelets but also for custom made REAL fried eggs. Other than that, there was way too much food, not enough time!
Desserts galore -- more calories than Weight Watchers would ever admit to.
Didn't do this one -- we'd rather walk off some of the calories.
Ice cream machines:
Didn't do this either.
In short, there's always something to eat...
We went to 2 adult shows and they were entertaining.
"Dumb" contests/deck activities:
Hairy chest etc.... I took naps or went to the gym instead LOL.
Most bands have been replaced with DJ's, single entertainers, or karaoke. I guess management needs to pump up the "bottom line".
Shows in the main lounge:
We saw one show and it was enjoyable.
I used the gym every sea day and on two shore days. I went during the early afternoon and there was never a crowd. The equipment is good quality and there were just one or two machines that were "out of service".
So much to do, so much to see. The temperature was in the low 70's and the water chilly (mid 60's?) with a slight breeze all the time we were there. Maybe not the bet tanning weather, but enjoyable for me. A light jacket or sweatshirt is recommended in the later afternoon and evening this time of year. The people in the on shore visitor centers were very helpful in setting up places to visit along with maps, what buses to take, beaches to go etc. Unless you use a taxi or motor scooters, take a shore excursion to get an overview of what's on the islands. We took a van trip (Carnival shore exc) along the South Shore and Hamilton to get an overview and then purchased one day passes ($12 pp good for buses or ferries) for a ferry to St George's. In St George's, we took a tram ride ($25 pp) around the area to see places you couldn't get to if walking. Beautiful beaches open to the public (no lifeguards) but you need to take a taxi or bus to get there.
In the King's Wharf area we visited (and bought from) the Bermuda Rum Bakery and the Glass Works -- both in the same building. I went snorkeling @ Snorkel Beach Park (no admission + short walking distance) which featured a shallow snorkel area that was good considering it was free. We purchased a rum swizzle afterward for $9 but it seemed a good tradeoff for the free use of the beach. And no Bermuda visit would be complete without a beer @ the Frog & Onion -- although $7 for a beer is a little steep. We ate no meals in town b/c the prices are so high. Everything (except some brands of rum) is brought in by ship adding to the expense. There a multitude of places to see and even 2 Â½ days were not enough just for this one place. I suggest getting the free booklets/pamphlets and planning your adventuring ahead of time.
WOULD I/WE DO THIS AGAIN?
In a heartbeat! we're thinking of booking on the Splendor for Bermuda in 2013.