The annual summer vacation cruise this year was out of Baltimore on the Carnival Pride. Since we live 40 minutes from the port it was great not to have to fly to board the ship. Got a drop off and a pick up seven days later so we saved the parking also. The drop off could not have been easier. We were dropped in front of the main door to terminal, handed off the bags , and into the terminal. Literally 15 steps.
Up to the lido for lunch, then to the room were the bags were waiting. Down the bay in about an hour. It was almost perfect. (Editorial Note: We sailed past the recently shutdown RG Steel mill. What a sad sight to see not a wisp of smoke or steam or any sign of life after 110 years of steel making.)
Nothing has changed for the better for carnival. Same buffet food, packed ship, same entertainment, same dinner menu`s with the recent changes still in place. With all that being said we knew what to expect. You get what you pay for and we were OK with all that I mentioned.
A couple of things they really need to change as far as we are concerned. Number 1 is something else to drink included in the fare besides water, ice tea, or the awful lemonade. How about the old fruit punch or flavored water. How much could it really cost? Secondly, the god awful caesar salad dressing. If I wanted anchovies I would order them.Thirdly, lighten up on the bar service. Every waking moment is spent with a bar server trying to sell me one more drink. Give it a break.
The positives were the wait staff at dinner and the cabin steward. Great service with a smile. The entire ship was friendly and seemed to enjoy their jobs and those people really work hard. The casino staff was also very nice and actually gave us a free drink one day.If they would only ban smoking in the casino but that's never going to happen.
The ports were great if you like beaches and we do. Grand Turk and Half Moon are good beach stops. In fact on Half Moon if you want to get away from the crowds just walk down the beach for 15 minutes and you will be alone.
Freeport is just a stop, not there very long and not much to do. However, they are working on it and showed improvement over the last time we were there in 2009 on this cruise.
Debarkation was just as easy with the self assist option. All in all a relaxing seven days away from work with the family and friends. Most of the passengers are from the mid- Atlantic area and drive to the port. That means a lot of western Pa. people so we met some very nice people we could share our roots with.
With Carnival you know what you are getting up front, so relax and enjoy it.