This was a first cruise for me, my husband and my sister. We are all professional adults in our early 30's who live in the Baltimore area. We have no kids. I want to state that this was our first cruise and we loved it so much, we have already re-booked the same cruise again and are bringing my parents! Anyway, we drove 15 minutes from our home to the port, parked and got in line to get on board. It took us about an hour to get onto the ship. We learned that if you are driving to the port and leaving your car, pay cash. There is no one in the cash line but a wait in the credit card line. We swooped right in, paid cash and parked. Easy as pie!
We loved the ship. Clean, clean, clean! I noticed ship employees steam clean the hallway carpets, shine the metal brackets on the edge of each stair, clean the window ledges, replace a broken floor tile in record time. Even the ceiling tiles/strips at Mermaids (buffet) were clean without a speck of dust. We tend to be neat freaks and we notice these things. Impressive!
The ship staff was courteous and helpful and our room steward was wonderful and efficient. The main dining room, Normandie, had delicious with a great selection each night. Not a single complaint about service. It was wonderful. We also ate at David's Steakhouse 2 nights during the cruise and it is worth paying the extra $30. Simply a treat! Don't miss it! It is a 2-3 hour dining experience that you will thank yourself for later.
While at sea, we would sit around the Adults Only pool, bask in the warm sun and it was bliss. I read 4 books, listened to the light music that was playing in the background and just relaxed, relaxed, relaxed. Ruki and Inez served drinks all day long and were always at the ready - we miss them both! Now and then we would get in the pool or hot tub to cool off and then back to relaxing. The ship staff did kindly and discreetly enforce the no kids policy in this pool and it was nice since we were looking for serenity. The kids on the ship had plenty of fun in the larger family pool, kiddie pool and water slide. We enjoyed a few slips down the slide as well. Like I said, we're kids at heart!
By far, the best part of the cruise was the day at Half Moon Cay! Absolutely, hands own, the best part of this cruise itinerary. We almost rented a cabana or a clam shell but are glad that we didn't. Why? Because except for lunch, we spent the entire day in the water. Literally. We did not once take a seat on a chair. The sand and water were spectacular and we did not want to miss one minute in that water. The lunch that was served (the Beach BBQ) was also wonderful. It was all in all a very relaxed atmosphere and there was something for everyone. We had such a good time on this cruise that we are returning in a few months, on the Carnival Pride once again, with my mom and dad. This will be their first cruise and I can't wait until they spend a day at Half Moon Cay. We may never get them out of the water!
Only one negative comment. We were first time cruisers. Very new to the whole process. Once we were directed where to park, directed where to enter the port, directed where to wait in line, directed where to get our first picture and directed to the gang plank we finally made it inside the ship. We then proceeded to stand there not having a clue as to where to go next! We did not know that we couldn't get into our room yet but didn't find that out until we lugged everything up several flights of stairs. So, we turned around and found that everyone had congregated at Mermaids for lunch or a snack. It was so crowded by the time we got there that there were no seats available and so we stood in a corner eating ice cream. Point being - we were so fully directed to do everything UNTIL we got onto the ship. It would have been nice to have received a little direction for first time cruisers. Seasoned cruisers know what to do or where to go but we just stood there in the atrium not knowing what to do next. Eventually, we figured it all out but it would have been nice as new cruisers to have received a little guidance at that particular moment.