First-Time Cruiser: Carnival Pride Cruise Review by DCnative83
Overall Member Rating
For those who are experienced in cruising, some of things I've mentioned below were probably expected but having never been on a cruise before they completely ruined my experience:
Overall: The cruise was supposed to be 7 nights with 3 days at port but unfortunately we were told that the weather was too severe to dock at one of the ports (Freeport). This means that out of the 8 days, 6 were spent at sea and parts of 2 days were at port. If you've never been on a ship before, spending 6 days on a ship that has terrible food, limited TV channels, and no activities for individuals in my particular age group was torture. Obviously this is partially due to leaving from Baltimore which takes 3 days just to get to the Bahamas. More However, one would think that due to the fact we could not go to one of the scheduled ports that some sort of reimbursement would be provided, but no.
Food: As I mentioned above the food on this cruise is not good. There were 3 places where we ate, the Lido Deck (basically a cafeteria), the dining hall, and the steakhouse. The food at each of these places is mediocre at best and it's not hard to tell that everything you eat has been frozen and re-heated. Similar to other areas of the ship you will be constantly approached by photographers trying to take a picture and sell it to you. In one night at the dining hall we had 4 different photographers come to our table in the span of 10 minutes.
Service: The guest services department on this ship is horrible. When asking any question regarding excursions or billing you either get a blank stare from guest services who clearly don't know any details about their own excursions or a terse response if you question any of their billing to your cruise card. Other than that, room service was slow but in general they were pleasant and tried to help whenever possible.
Billing: I flat out don't understand how items are charged during the cruise. Unknown to us, there is apparently an $80 (7 days) pre-paid gratuity charge that is automatically billed to you at the start of the cruise. Of this $80 a portion goes to dining services, room steward, etc...for each of the 7 days. So even though you may not use those services on a particular day you'll still be charged. Also, because we were unaware of the charge during the first three days, we were tipping everybody on top of this charge. These types of charges are made even more confusing because all charges to your card have a generic "Carnival Sign/Sail" title so you have no idea what they are related to.
Excursions: Getting off this miserable boat was the best part of the trip. The 2 ports we did get to go to were fun and had plenty of activities(Canaveral and Nassau). As I mentioned above, the cruise was supposed to go to Freeport but due to weather (windy conditions) we could not go to Freeport.
The bottom-line is that if you're going to take a cruise I highly recommend that you do not take it out of Baltimore because you'll be spending more days at sea than exploring the different ports and experience aboard the Pride does not make the time you are on the ship enjoyable at all. If you want a relaxing vacation fly to one one of the islands and stay on a resort. It might be slightly more expensive (I say slightly because there are numerous other costs associated with cruises that aren't included in the ticket price) but you'll have a much better vacation. Less