Hello and thank you for reading my review of the Carnival Pride for the week of January 20 - 27, 2013. For this trip, Gina and I drove down from Hamilton, Ontario to Baltimore, MD in a surprisingly short 8.5 hours, including stops.
We did the cruise and park package at the Hampton Inn at the Baltimore-Washington Airport for $139 and that included 7 nights parking and transportation back and forth from the cruise dock. As before, we booked the cruise from vacationstogo and got the best rate I have seen yet for this particular cruise.
Embarking the ship was easy, the process took about 45 minutes. Security is ridiculous, they seem to think we are boarding an airplane. Checking the rim of my cap to see if I have a knife? Really, guys? No knives on the ship?
The Baltimore Ravens were playing that evening and the Pride had the game up on the big screen in the Taj Mahal lounge, was fun to watch the audience get right into their team spirit.
There has been alot of criticism with the decor. Once you get used to the overt sexuality of it all, the decor becomes rather enjoyable. But.....it is so darned dark all around the public areas of the ship. I would rather see them drop all these lamps and put up some subdued lighting. That's my minor complaint about the ship. The MAJOR complaint is....
Smoking. For the love of god, it is a small, one floor casino. And there
is Smoking. Everywhere. Each table. Each bar stool. Everywhere. No smoking signs? Yes, they are around. Enforced? No. I complained to the casino manager about the smoking. I got a smile and a shrug. If you do not smoke, be prepared for this.
Other than that, this is a clean ship. It is becoming a little worn around the edges, much like the Ecstasy ( unashamed plug for that review here.... http://www.cruisecritic.com/memberreviews/memberreview.cfm?EntryID=102249)
After two sea days, we arrived in Port Canaveral to find us in cold weather
(still) about 60f and to find ourselves in a...Port. Yes, there is nothing to do there unless you take a tour or hire space in a taxi for $12 per couple one way. So, $24 + tip for you go to town to buy a couple of t-shirts or ( and this is my favorite ) $179 EACH to go to Disney for 7 hours. Let me say that again. $179 for a bus to Disney. That is $93 for the Disney ticket + $ 86 for a one hour bus ride to and from Disney. Soooo the math is this. $86 x 44 persons for the bus. $3784 per bus. Nice profit margin. Same price for Universal. Same price for Sea World. I am in the wrong business.
Nassau is a challenge, to say the least. As soon as you disembark the ship,
you are bombarded with a myriad of people all clambering to get your last dollar for a variety of goods and services. We were asked at least 20 times if we either wanted a taxi, hair braided, a tour, or moped rentals. Once you can fight off the gauntlet, you are left alone to your own devices. This time around, Gina and I simply walked to the Victoria Stairs and enjoyed the view of the Fort and a beer afterwards. Total cost, $11.
This was my first visit to Freeport. Hopefully, my last. You arrive in a port
and are herded towards the taxis so that you can spend $20 to go to town to buy or attempt to buy a t-shirt. Just don't bother.
Overall, this was a good cruise experience with the exception of the ports. And that was my huge problem with this cruise. The ports. Two long sea days, then disappointing Ports of call. If Key West was an option, this would be a much more enjoyable experience, in my opinion.
Our cabin was very good. We took a trusty inside cabin on Deck 1, and it was surprisingly spacious and comfortable. The television has about 6 carnival channels and 4 or 5 others. We caught up nicely on our sleep here during sea days. The cabin was always cleaned and well maintained.
We ate during freestyle times. We never had the same wait staff ( which was fine) and the food was quite good and plentiful. We ate once at Davids which was also very good with massive portions. Do NOT eat lunch beforehand.
One thing. Tea during Sea Days is a CANNOT MISS. It is quiet, with excellent
desserts, little sandwiches and great service.
I know and understand that I can be quite cynical. Carnival has devised numerous ways to part the customer and their money and that is mainly due to the fact that cruises are not overly expensive anymore. Do not expect to leave the ship with less than a $400 tab on your account.
You can expect a friendly and capable staff. Expect good production shows.
Expect LOTS of trivia contests. Expect lots of cheering, lots of food and lots of good times on the Pride. Expect lots of photographers and $24.95 per picture.
I enjoyed this, but maybe after 9 cruises, I need a land package.