Carnival Pride Cruise Review by DanWilJr: Christmas Week on the Pride
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Christmas Week on the Pride
After taking our first Cruse in September on the Carnival Victory from San Juan. In early October my wife and I found ourselves wanted to take another cruise. After almost daily reviewing of the fares on like and checking the options available on Royal Caribbean From Baltimore and NCL from New York. Due to the fact that we get a good discount on Carnival as a past guest we decided to take the December 18 cruise out of Baltimore on the Pride. On Sunday December 18th at 10:00 AM my wife and I left our home in Northeast Maryland to travel to the Cruse Maryland Terminal in Baltimore the terminal is right off I-95 and is very convient for travelers coming in either direction on I-95. After entering the lot at 11:15 AM we were given a sheet indicating we would be parking at the terminal and waited in one of two lanes to drop our bags with the porters. After a short wait we were directed to a porter who unloaded our bags into a luggage cart for transfer to the ship we then paid and pulled in More
to the large parking lot which was dedicated to passengers traveling on the Pride. We gathered our carry on bags and entered the terminal where we quickly went through security and were checked in by the representatives by 11:30AM we were waiting for embarkation to begin there was a wait in the holding area but after a short 15-20 minute wait embarkation began after a quick stop to get the arrival photo it was a brief stop to activated the sail and sign card and it was out of the terminal through a covered and heated area to the gangway. By 12:15 PM we were on board we made a quick stop at the shore excursions desk to pick up our excursion tickets. We discovered there were two option offered for meals either a meal in the dining room or the lido deck buffet. My wife and I opted for the buffet on the Lido deck where we fond that the ship does vibrates and the vibrations that got even more noticeable after we were underway. The buffet has a nice arrangement on the Pride with two lines serving the main meal, a separate grill line, a deli, a salad bar, a Pizza bar which was excellent, a coffee bar, a desert bar and one line for Asian Food. We were also able to make a reservation to dine at David's the ships steakhouse. We waited on the Lido Deck until 2:30 PM when our room was ready and we found that our bags were waiting at our cabin door after dropping our carry on bags we looked around the room and checked out the ship which was beautifully decorated for the holidays. Stopping on the lido deck to tour the Spa and to buy an endless bubbles sticker which allows you to have unlimited sodas for the cruise. At 4:00 PM there was the mandatory lifeboat drill which was held outside on deck three which was quite chilly. After the drill was over it was back to the Lido deck for a snack and to watch the ship set sail. The parking lot which was empty when we arrived was full with some cars in a near buy overflow lot. In order for the ship to depart and head out to the Chesapeake Bay the ship had to be turned around which was a major undertaking with two Coast Guard Boats stopping all traffic in Patapsco River and a Coast Guard Helicopter keeping watch overhead. We were underway passing Fort McHenry and heading under the Key Bridge it was out to the Chesapeake Bay. After attending a drawing for services in the Spa it was back to the room to unpack... then to the Sushi Bar to try the Sushi. Then it was time for dinner in the Normandy Dinning Room we always use your time option. On the Pride the your time dining was located on deck three with reserved dining on deck 2. Dinner was excellent and I had a wonderful Warm Chocolate Melting Cake. After dinner we ordered some liquor and bought some souvenirs in the fun shops and purchased our embarkation photo from the Photo Shop. After shopping it was off to the welcome show which was terrific. It featured a little bit of singing and dancing by the ships dancers and a preview of the comedians who would be performing on the cruse. After the show it was off to the buffet for a midnight snack. At this point the ship had made it way to Atlantic Ocean and it was off to bed.
Monday was the first of three Fun Days at Sea when we woke up we were off the North Carolina coast near Cape Hateres where the temps were in the upper 40's to low 50's the Ship speed was about 19 knots with a light wind which made it feel much colder if you wanted to walk on the deck. Also even tough one of the pools had a dome the walkways near the bar which lead to the outdoor pool were open and had no doors creating a cold windy draft. If Carnival is committed to operating year round from cold weather ports such as Baltimore and New York they will have to consider fully enclosing the indoor pools on their ships or increasing speed to get to warmer weather. We were actually followed and then passed by an unidentified NCL ship during the afternoon. After awaking and getting dressed we had breakfast on the lido deck that was good. My wife and I then attended the Fun Ashore and Fun Aboard presentation which was presented by our Cruise Director Brent. We decided to have lunch in the Normandy Dining room which was quite good. After lunch my wife and I found a quiet place to sit and watch the sea attended the fun finds shopping show and then it was off to after noon tea in the dining room which also featured a selection of cake and cookies along with tea. After tea it was time to get ready for the first formal night. The formal night was more semi-formal than formal with only a few tuxes and members of the military in their formal uniforms. Most of the men were wearing business suits with the woman wearing mostly cocktail dresses. My wife and I stopped at the Captain's Celebration where we met Captain Galotto and had our picture taking with him. We also stopped at and had our portraits taken at the many photographer stations set up. After photo's it was off to dinner and then to the show the show was Vroom which was the only show that was a repeat from our previous cruse which was good show then it was off to dinner.
Tuesday was our 2nd Fun Day at Sea we decide to have breakfast in the Normandy Dining Room which was hot and delicious I had Eggs Benedict which were excellent. The ship was just off the coast of Georgia and the weather was finally warm enough to wear shorts and tee shirts and people were actually able to use all the pools and the slide. Unfortunately on the Pride the Kids pool and slide are located right above the adult's only serenity area on the rear of the lido deck. Unfortunately due to high winds the bow of the ship and the sports deck where the basketball court and minture golf are located were closed. My wife and I bought out formal portraits from formal night had lunch on the lido deck. I then dropped my wife off at the spa for a hot stone massage and went and found a quite place on deck to read and I also played Super Trivia. I then met my wife and we went to the Taj Mahal lounge to attend the appreciation party where every one who has taken at least one cruise is invited for free drinks and snacks. For those who were celebrating Chanukah there was a nightly Menorah Lighting with wine and food. We attended the 7:00 PM show which featured the Physical Comedy of Max Winfrey who was one of the finalists on America's Got Talent after the show we played bingo and had dinner. Since we had an early shore excursion in Port Canaveral the next day it was off to bed after leaving our breakfast order on the door.
Wednesday we awoke early as it was the first of three port days on the cruise as we arrived at Port Canaveral. Since our shore excursion left early we arranged to have continental breakfast in our room. The meal was basically same as what was served on the lido deck and was delivered after the time we specified on our order we decided not to have room service breakfast for the rest of the cruise. For our shore excursion we opted to take the tour of the Kennedy Space Center which was a good overview tour of the space complex however I would suggest taking the Kennedy Space Center Up
Close tour which proves a much more detailed tour of the space center than the overview tour. The visitor's center is undergoing construction of a new building to house the retired Space shuttle Atlantis. However there is plenty to do we saw the IMAX film Hubble in 3d, and rode the Shuttle Launch Experience which is a simulation of the launch of a space shuttle hosted by former Astronaut and current NASA administrator Charles Bolden. After visiting the exhibits we left the space complex at 3:30 PM and were returned to the Port by 4:00 PM where we took some pictures with the photo in the background and reboarde the ship Port Canaveral is one of the largest cruises port in the US with 5 cruise terminals. Disney Cruise line has its own dedicated terminal and the port is in the process of expanding but since the Pride was the only ship in port in the middle of the week the terminal was quite and empty. Upon returning to the ship and not having a very good meal at the KSC we headed to the Lido Deck for a snack. At 7:00 PM
we left port heading through the channel and out to sea my wife and I had found a terrific place to sit because we were able to see the pilot being picked up by the pilots launch. After that it was off to dinner and the only show a review called Wonderful World.
After the show it was time to attend the deck party and to have the Mexican buffet and it was off to bed.
Thursday after having breakfast on the Lido deck we went back to our cabin to prepare for arrival in Nassau about 10:30 AM we went up on deck to take some pictures as it was from the ship was the best place to get a great view of the huge Atlantis resort hotel
Complex and the Hilton Hotel. We were the 3rd of 4 cruse ships scheduled to be in port that day. The other ships were the Explorer of Semester at Sea, NCL's Norwegian Gem( from New York) and sister fun ships the Fantasy (from Charleston,SC) and we were followed by the Fascination (from Jacksonville, FL). Once we were cleared to get off we got off and got some pictures and it was off on our shore excursion which was a day at the Aquaventre water park after being led in to the park through the coral towers and casino and the dig we dropped at the water park after renting a locker my wife and I headed to the Current a mile long tube ride. After the ride we had an ok lunch at one of the restaurants that were on our food voucher I wanted to try one of the water slides but all of the slides had long lines so we tried the main made beach and did two more trips on the Current. Due to the ships late arrival and the fact that the water park closes at 5pm limited our time at Atlantis after doing some souvenir shopping at the resort it was time to take the last shuttle back to the pier where we did some more additional buying of gifts
before returning to the Pride to shower and have dinner due to the late departure from Nassau the only activity was the Gender Showdown which was a game featuring the men
vs. the women and it was off to bed since we had an early shore excursion in Freeport.
On Friday is was our 3rd and final port call in Freeport after having a quick breakfast on the lido deck we went down took some pictures and did some shopping in the port before going on our shore excursion which was the Western Heritage Tour led by our driver/guide Dwayne we visited the Pinder's Point lighthouse, a boiling hole, Josey's Cave and the Fern Gully after visiting the sites we taken to the Paradise Cove Beach Resort where we had lunch and were able to use the beach. My wife did some snorkeling.
After lunch we returned to the ship along with everyone else who had taken a shore excursion. After a quick stop at the cabin to drop off out beach gear it was off to the lido deck for a snack. While we enjoyed our visit to Freeport I believe it would have been better if Carnival had scheduled a stop at Half Moon Cay their private island in the Bahamas. We departed Freeport on time at 2:00 PM and after clearing the harbor the ship
headed toward Baltimore at it's top speed of 24 knots. My wife and I used the hot tub since the water in the pools was to cold to use. My wife stayed on deck while I went back to the cabin to take a shower after getting dressed my wife returned to the cabin. I went to
a talk/sales pitch to take a future cruse on Carnival which was very informative. Then it was back to the Cabin to dress for formal night # 2 which was very similar to the first formal night after our final dinner in the dining room we took in that evenings show which was Jazzin' and it was off to bed.
Saturday which was Christmas Eve was our 3rd and final Fun Day at sea. We got up dressed and went to breakfast on the lido deck did some final shopping for gifts and returned to our cabin to pack our bags. We then went to one final lunch in the Normande
Dining Room which was very good we then completed our packing and attended the Holiday Show which featured the ships dancers, singers, the cruise director and the children who participated in Camp Carnival the show ended with a visit from Santa
who was available to pose for pictures after the holiday show it was time for some caroling in the main atrium which was very quick. My wife one last round of sushi and we returned to our room to complete packing and to dress for Christmas Eve dinner at
David's the ships steakhouse which is located in front of the ships smokestack on deck 10 and 11 the restaurant is very spacious and proves a wonderful eating experience. The surf and turf that I had was excellent as was the whole meal. Although some readers may not want to pay the additional $30.00 per person to eat it was well worth it but I would only recommend the restaurant for a special occasion such as a birthday, anniversary or a
Dinner. While at David's it snowed in the atrium or at lest there was the illusion of snow in the Atrium. After dinner we returned to the cabin to place out our bags for pick up and to find our duty free liquor was placed in the cabin as well. We then took in the Carnival Legends show where some of the guests and members of the entertainment team performed a celebrities such as Madonna and Garth Brooks. After the show it was off to the lido deck for a late snack as we watched the ship enter the Chesapeake Bay.
On Christmas Day we awoke and got dressed packed our carry on bags and made sure we
did not leave any thing behind. We had one final breakfast on the lido deck as our ship arrived back at Baltimore after watching the ship dock we returned to our cabin got
our bags said good buy to our Cabin Stewards and went to the Taj Mahal Lounge to wait for our debarkation zone to be called most of the guests opted for the self assist option which was completed by 10:00 AM buy 10:15 AM the first 5 zones were called we were in zone 8 which was called in the second group of zones called after giving our customs declaration, retrieving our bags getting a porter we were out of the terminal and by 11:15 AM were on our way home where we arrived around 12:30 PM. Overall I prefer the smaller Spirit class ship however after two cruises in four months on Carnival it is time
to try some of the other cruise lines and expand our horizons. If Carnival also wants to be successful out of Baltimore they may want to look at expanding the destinations served
since Royal Caribbean offers more varied cruse programs form Baltimore. Less
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