My husband and I went on the Carnival Pride as our 3rd Carnival cruise. He works for Kraft Foods and I just graduated nursing school. We were celebrating our 2 year anniversary on May 31st. We have gone out of Miami, FL twice before and decided to try going out of Baltimore just to save some money considering we live 2 hours away.
The Port of Maryland was very easy to find and access. You simply drive up and porters will help you with your luggage and then you go park. We arrived at about 11:30 and we were on the ship by 1:30. Very easy process. Our room wasn't ready until 3:00 or so but it gave us the opportunity to run around the ship and figure out where everything was. This helped out so much later. We ended up leaving 2 hours late for some reason but that was no problem because they just went a little faster. Going under the bridge in MD is crazy, there is only a 12 foot clearance between the bridge and us.
We purchased an extended balcony stateroom. We have had regular balconies in the past and it was a little bigger but it took the space out of the room. I liked it but I don't know if it was worth the extra money. The cabin was clean and stalked every morning and every evening while we were at dinner. This was nice because we on average would take 2 showers a day. Our cabin steward was really good and very nice. The only thing was we didn't know who she was for the first 2 days because she never introduced herself. Still to this day I have no clue of her name but that she always said good morning and asked how our day was going.
Our first 2 days at sea were great. We relaxed and participated in some of the ship activities. It is a smaller ship but I enjoyed it more than the Valor (the ship we had been on twice before). When we did go in the pool we choose to go into the pool on the very back of the ship, it is an adults only pool and whirlpool. We did spend some time in the gym on this trip. It is a well equipped gym. The treadmills are amazing. If you have an Ipod put a movie on it and the treadmills have an Ipod hook up and you can watch your movie. We also spent some time in the spa which is next to the gym. They have an inside whirlpool with a glass dome over it. So if it was raining you would still be able to enjoy some relaxing bubbles. The sauna was very nice. They also have steam room but it was too much for me and I decided to pass on that. We both got a massage from the spa and that was great. Very nice staff.
The Normandie dining room was very nice. Our server was very nice, his name is Olaf. Very attentive. We loved his assistant George. He made our dinner experience so memorable. He was very funny and attentive. He has such a great personality. The food was very good. The Mermaid grille though. It was hit or miss. It is very spread out. You have to walk through the whole area and then decide what you would like and then plan. Yes, you need to plan, you need to get our cold food and dessert first and then stand in line for you hot food. Sometimes the food was good, alot of times it was ok, and a few times it was horrible. We ate breakfast and dinner in the Normandie everyday because of this. The 24 hour pizza is good. I can't comment on the room service because we never ordered it. The only complaint I have really is that their ice machines run out of ice so fast. It seems like half of the time I could get about five pieces of ice. If that is my only complaint, that is great in my eyes.
The cruise director Kirk was very funny. I thought he was a very good cruise director. His assistant Jaime was great too. They worked well off of each other. The deck party that they have every cruise I personally thought was lame. Maybe if I was completely drunk and then I would have enjoyed it but not so much. We did do our laundry on the ship. We were on the 8th floor and the closest laundry room was on deck 7 down the hall a bit. It is $3.00 to wash and $3.00 to dry. Too bad we had to dry twice because our clothes were still very damp after the first round of dryer time. So be warned. If you can go without washing you will save money. The casino was nice. We ended up leaving about even so I can't complain. We played almost every night. Make sure you play face-up blackjack.