We sailed on Carnival Pride May 19th out of Baltimore, Md. Embarktation was easy and relatively quick. One of the crew members directed us to the back elevator which worked out since our cabin was right there.
We stayed at a hotel the night before and took a shuttle to the port. I wasn't aware that parking was so close to the port so next time we go out of Baltimore I will probably park at the port.
The Pride was smaller that the Norwegian Jewel ( which was the other cruise we took).I was not crazy about the lounges, activities, restaurants, and casino being spread out all over the ship. There were times we missed shows, and activities trying to find out where they were located. By the end of the cruise we did have our bearings pretty much.
One thing I can say for Carnival is that their staff and crew are friendly and accommodating. Our steward was especially nice. He made sure that he introduced himself to us and never forgot our names. We also made sure to take care of him before we left.
There were supposed to be 3 ports for this trip but we were unable to go to Half Moon Cay because of rough seas. We did go to Grand Turk which was fun. I got to go snorkeling for the first time. We took the Ultimate Snorkeling Excursion. I was not the only first timer on the boat. I can tell you that the 3 guys who work the excursion were terrific. They kept a close eye on the snorkelers and 2 of the guys were in the water with us the whole time. One stayed on the boat and kept a close eye out for anyone having an issue.
In Freeport we took the Historical and shopping excursion. It was interesting and relaxing mainly due to our driver, Leon, being informative and entertaining. This is not an excursion you want if you are looking for an adrenaline rush but it is a nice way to learn about the Island and do some shopping.
I have to mention that we had lunch at Molly McGuire's in St Lucia. Toni, the manager is wonderful. She greeted us with warmth and took time to chat with us. I would definitely recommend this place.
The only bad thing I can say about the ports is that Carnival does not give you a lot of time. We arrived early in the morning and left early afternoon ( 1 or 2 pm). I did not enjoy having to get up early to make the excursions on time. I am on vacation and didn't want to use an alarm clock.
I do have to say that our stateroom was very nice. We had the extended balcony which means our cabin was bigger. Our friends had a regular balcony cabin and after seeing that I am glad we upgraded.
I kept hearing that the beds were really comfortable. The first night I hardly slept because the bed was so bad. I spoke the steward about it and he flipped the mattress and the bed was fine the rest of the trip. As I said earlier he was fabulous.
Now to the dining: David's was excellent!!! ( you pay extra for this). Gentleman, you must wear long pants in the restaurant but it is worth it. For dinner the main dining room was good. They have some basics that stay the same every day and then add different choices which change from day to day. My husband and I are basically meat and potato type people but are willing to try new things occasionally and having basics like fried chicken or a comfort food offering, ( they have a place of this on the menu) made it a good choice.
Lunch was another issue. We went to the main dining room for lunch one day and didn't like anything on the menu. Lunch did not seem to offer any basics and if you don't like what they have you can always go to the buffet.
Speaking of the buffet, it was rarely good. One night they had turkey at the carving station. The meat was so tough I couldn't chew it. I have had dry turkey but never tough. They did have cranberry dressing with it but someone put cherry tomatoes in the dressing. I have never heard of tomatoes in stuffing.
Many days we went to the lido deck for lunch. They had burgers, hotdogs and chicken strips daily. These were generally better than what they had at the buffet.
One of the things I really did not like is that the coffee is a lot like Starbucks, very strong. I drink a lot of coffee and had to dilute each cup to make it drinkable
I don't think they put too much effort into the entertainment. Most of the lounges had one person performing music or a crew member hosting karaoke. This is fun to watch once in a while but I got the feeling Carnival uses it to replace performers. They do hired energetic and friendly crew members to host the activities. My favorite was Lisa from Australia. She hosted a game show and has a wonderful ability to improvise which made the show very funny.
Another problem I had was this. A man had a small dog on board. I understand that the dog is certified as an assist dog (not a seeing eye dog). However, the man would carry that dog right up to the buffet and start getting his food.
There was a woman with him where he could have had her watch the dog while he got his food. A number of people were upset with this but no one from Carnival said anything to him. I am not sure if food safety issues on cruises are subject to the same rules as on land but they should be.
Getting off the ship was a breeze. I guess it helps to get rid of the people so they can clean up for the next group. It's a win/win situation.
We enjoyed the cruise overall. We were on vacation and understand that everything is not tailored to our liking so we went with the flow. We will not take this cruise again and I am not sure we will go with Carnival again. But I met plenty of people who love the Pride and Carnival so it's all a matter of taste. This cruise was just not to our taste.