My past experience on the Carnival Spirit (Alaska 2009) was fantastic. Carnival has really gone way downhill since that time. Having travelled on many cruise lines, at one time I considered Carnival to be rising to the occasion and getting better. Boy, was I wrong.
All negative reviews on the Pride were right on target.
For starters, passengers encountered a very long embarkation process. I heard the ship arrived late to Baltimore because of an ill passenger on a previous cruise. I understand things happen.
When I boarded the ship, I was totally astounded at the distasteful and very ugly decor. It's inappropriate for children. In fact, the decor does not change anywhere on the ship so there's no getting away from it. The public areas were dark and uninviting and the carpeting was an awful shade of brown. No lovely nautical themes anywhere.
Refurbishment -- I don't think so. After boarding I noticed the windows in the public areas were filthy, and you could not see outside of them. Terrible first impression indeed. Window washing was not done until mid week.
I entered my cabin to find that the sheets had hair and dust on them. When I brought the matter to the attention of my cabin attendant, he stated, "I just changed the sheets." Of course, I asked that he change the linens again. The room was large and had lots of storage space. However, the furniture looked quite worn. I asked Guest Services about the "refurbishment." Amanda, from Guest Services, advised me that the ship was not refurbished, but dry-docked for a mechanical check.
My suitcase arrived to my cabin totally trashed and could no longer be used. I guess it was tossed around or got stuck going through a conveyor belt. Amanda, of Guest Services, came to my cabin to survey the damage. She suggested that I purchase another suitcase during our port stop in Cape Canaveral and Carnival would then reimburse me. I suggested to Amanda that it was my vacation, and she should purchase the suitcase for me. I also insisted that my clothes be pressed (complimentary) as they arrived in a ball. I must say Carnival did press my clothing at no charge, and Amanda purchased a new Samsonite (well made too) suitcase for me. So, they made good on that.
My cruising experience in general was that of boredom. All I did was eat due to a lack of activities and entertainment. The lack of guest stimulation and entertainment was really shocking. There was no orchestra, only a band, and they were terrible, and no deck parties at night. Generally, one-man bands on board and the disco was lousy and the DJ never played requested music for anyone. No Latin night which was a major disappointment for me as they always had that. In fact, the Glory had a Salsa band on board. Basically, there was piped in music throughout the ship. The pianist was okay, but should have played during dinner. The only good music on the ship was on the ship's navigation channel on the television -- classic jazz standards. My entertainment was listening to the music through the television in my stateroom. The shows were only fair. Believe me, you would get better entertainment at your local bar. In addition, only one man playing a guitar at the pool, no steel band. I brought my concerns regarding the total lack of entertainment on board to Kirk, the cruise director's attention. He told me that "Carnival is cutting back." I believe Carnival has cut back to a degree which is unreasonable.
The passengers were allowed to enter the dining room during formal nights wearing jeans and T-shirts. I felt this really brought the entire cruising experience down several notches. Shame on the Maitre D for allowing this. The passengers in general were uneducated, not well travelled, loud, obnoxious, etc. Speaking of the Maitre D, how dare Carnival provide tip envelopes for him when he never came to our table once.
I looked forward to the Chocolate buffet. Again, a major disappointment. A few chocolate cakes and nothing more. On the Glory in June, 2010 it was a major and spectacular event.
The positives were: I met a wonderful couple from Ohio with whom I will be life-long friends. The shower had great water pressure, the food at times was excellent. However, the Afternoon Tea Time is a joke compared to other cruise lines. My tours were great.
Some of the waiters were great and others were not polite nor efficient. My cabin steward was fine.
We had awful weather, but Carnival cannot control that.
What Carnival can control is to provide guests with a variety of good to excellent entertainment, not allowing children into Adult Serenity, not allowing guests dressed inappropriately for formal dining, and to refurbish a ship which has really seen its better days. NOT A FUN SHIP for sure.
Carnival has not responded to my telephone calls and emails since my negative experience. I paid 2 fares because I travel as a single. I did enjoy my balcony cabin, but I feel I was totally ripped off, and I did not in any way get what I paid for. I am not seeking monetary reimbursement, simply an apology and explanation, in writing.
Take it from a very experienced cruiser and world traveller --DON'T GO ON THIS SHIP OR ANY CARNIVAL SHIP. When I read all of the negative reviews, I should have cancelled this sailing.
Thanks for reading and happy and safe cruising.