Carnival Pride Cruise Review by MDReferee: First Cruise - Rocking and Rolling on the Pride
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First Cruise - Rocking and Rolling on the Pride
We are a young couple (early 30's) with 3 kids and were finally able to get a week away... without the children. The Pride cruise out of Baltimore was convenient (we live about an hours drive away) and the price was right. This was our first cruise experience.
Embarkation: Our folks dropped us off at the pier so we saved $105 parking for the week. Fairly straightforward process. Took about 90 minutes from security to check-in to ship. While waiting for the staterooms to be ready we had a very hard time finding a place to sit down up on the Lido Deck. Lots of people with lots of luggage. We circled completely around 3 times. Of course it was too cold to be out on deck, so I'm sure that made the problem worse.
Stateroom: Extended Balcony on Deck 8 Mid-ship. Nice room overall. Stateroom stewards were very attentive. Significant noise from pool deck above. Also, lots of loud "creaking" in rough seas. Seemed worse near our stateroom -- wouldn't have been so bad farther More down the hall. Bed was comfy. The thermostat knob broke off in my hand the first time I tried to adjust it. A call to guest services resulted in a repair that night. The TV in our room has seen better days, but worked fine.
Decor: As others have stated, the Pride's decor is a touch garish. For a family-oriented cruise, there were certainly a lot of breasts and other body parts on display in the artwork around the ship. It didn't bother us, but then again, our kids weren't with us. Just seemed contradictory to the image Carnival is trying to portray. The common areas seemed dark and a touch cramped.
Food: The Lido buffet was were we did most of our dining (the rough seas later in the cruise made dining in the main dining room tough). There wasn't a ton of variety. The food was about what I expected, though, so I'm not complaining. Of the times we did eat in the main dining room (we had "Your Time" dining), we were impressed with the wait staff. We did eat at David's Steakhouse one night and the food and service was excellent.
Entertainment: Kirk Benning, the Cruise Director, was very personable and witty. Jaime, the assistant cruise director, and later revealed to be Kirk's girlfriend, was also great. They were a good team. We were less than impressed with the "Around the World" show -- seemed very "blah". The lead female singer's voice really annoyed us. The later revue show "Vroom" was cancelled on Friday night due to rough seas. The comedian, Hank McGauley, was hilarious. We didn't get to see the other comedian, Darren Smalls, as we were stuck in the room with seasickness (rough seas strike again).
Other Activities: We're not really the bingo-playing type, so we were kind of annoyed that it seemed like Bingo was the Pride's activity of choice. We just didn't find a whole lot of activities that we were interested in. (Hairy chest contest? Really?) We'd suggest more "interactive" activities (i.e. having the dancers teach us dance moves or something like that)
Port Canaveral: We took the shuttle to Cocoa Beach and had a good time. It was a little on the chilly side for the beach, but not bad.
Nassau: We had pre-booked the Segway tour. Carnival cancelled it without telling us about two weeks before the cruise. I saw it disappear from the website and we got a refund on our credit card. They didn't tell us it was because a bunch of people had been robbed at gunpoint on that excursion. Most of the excursions in Nassau seemed pricey to us. We settled on a "Beach Break with Lunch" at the Wyndham hotel in Cable Beach. The lunch buffet wasn't bad. While it was sunny when we got off the ship, it was breezy, chilly and raining when we got to the beach. Oh well.
Freeport: We missed this port-of-call due to rough seas, high winds and strong currents. Carnival issued us a $20 per person Sail and Sign credit. The entertainment staff did what they could to re-arrange the schedule for the day, but had to later cancel many of the activities due to the motion of the ship.
At sea: Unfortunately, we experienced very rough seas on Friday and Saturday with 65kt winds and 15'+ swells. Even with a couple of doses of Bonine, my wife spent most of Friday in the cabin (unsuccessfully) trying to keep her food down. I didn't do very well either. Saturday was slightly better, but we were making our way directly through the center of a Nor'Easter that brought 20+ inches of snow to the east coast. By Saturday night, we were very happy to make the calmer waters of the Chesapeake Bay.
Debarkation: Sunday morning was very easy - we were in the second "self-assist" group and were off the ship and clear through customs by 9:30. The only problem is that there was 20+ inches of snow on the ground, it was under 30 degrees and there was no place to wait for our ride inside the terminal. We spent about 30 minutes out in the cold waiting for our ride to arrive.
Overall: Had the conditions not been so bad the last 2-3 days, I think the overall impression would have been better. I'd have no problem booking another Carnival cruise, but I think it's going to have to be from a warm-weather home port during the summer so we can spend more time on deck rather than having to rely on indoor entertainment options. Less
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