Carnival Pride Cruise Review by lsnyder: Carnival exceeded our expectations
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Carnival exceeded our expectations
This was our 4th cruise - first time with Carnival and first time on an "older" ship. I really didn't set my expectations super high - but based on all of the positive reviews I assumed we would enjoy it and we certainly did. I felt we got a great price for a balcony cabin leaving right out of Baltimore (1/2 hr drive from home). I booked it for the convenience - not the itinerary!
Carnival is truly a fun ship - our cruise directors Josh and Ben were fantastic. It was fun watching them enjoy themselves while they were working! I have never witnessed this on any other cruise (Royal Caribbean and Norwegian - to be fair our previous cruises were 6-8 years ago so maybe that's different now). Our ship was at full capacity and there must have been 800 kids on board (lots of extended families which was nice to see - our teens opted to stay home!)
Service on the ship was excellent - servers, cabin stewards, bartenders, towel staff...hard working and always with a smile! More
Food in general was very good in both the main dining room ( I missed the ambience - it was way too bright and noisy- felt like a diner IMO. We did anytime dining and never had to wait more than 5-10 minutes for a table for the 2 of us) and the Mermaid Grill - however vegetables/salads and other more "modern" healthful options were lacking in my opinion -I would have liked mixed greens (not just iceberg/romaine) and more variety of veggies (they served A LOT of broccoli salads). Based on people's loaded plates/appetites - for fries, breads, burgers, pizzas ( the pizza was delicious with a glass of Prosecco!) and other starches and desserts at all hours, I don't think there is a huge demand for "healthy" options.
That being said -the gym was usually packed! Maybe because we had so many sea days??...I did take a spin class (pretty awful bikes...the instructor was a ton of fun which made the bikes tolerable...supposedly they are getting new ones with the upcoming dry dock) and yoga on the beach at HMC - basic beginner yoga (many had never tried it) - but the instructor stayed after the class to continue on with more advanced poses which I thought was really nice - given that it was his day off on the beach afterward.
The Spa was very nice - I had a seaweed treatment with full massage (excellent) - expensive but that's just how it is. The bar drinks were excellent - fun menus - great martinis and certainly not over the top prices.
We dined at the Steakhouse - great ambience and relaxed dining - very good food but I wouldn't say it was spectacular food. We also did the Chef's table dining (read about it on Cruise Critic) - terrific experience! I don't know if other cruise lines do this but we really enjoyed it and felt the surcharge was more than reasonable considering it included champagne and wine with dinner. Taste was neat to stop by and grab a "taste" before the early show to hold us over until dinner.
Shows were decent but I did tire of just hearing the 2 main singers, song after song/night after night...the costumes were beautiful. We really enjoyed the comedians (saw all 4 of them - they change mid-cruise).
Spent a rainy hour in the Casino but can't stand the smell of smoke so the rest of the time we avoided it at all costs.
THANK GOD for the Serenity area- a definite MUST on a summer cruise for those without children...wish they'd pipe in a little music back there though...bar service was terrific out there - hard to get loungers but we always managed to get something and even scored the hammock one afternoon - woo woo! Pool is tiny and kind of grossed my husband out - at least there weren't kids running around. Wish the Serenity area was double the size! The black soot out there was pretty bad at times...I felt like it was always on the decks or the cushions. Perhaps this will get fixed at dry dock...seems like it would be violating some kind of emissions rule...I don't recall that being an issue on any other (newer) ship we've been on.
Décor is not to my taste but well done and the ship was immaculate everywhere we went. I would definitely sail Carnival again - although I would like more dining options (smaller, restaurant style) for dinners. Less
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