We are cruiseaholics and this cruise was our first this year. We generally sail 2 to 3 sailings per year. We have sailed from Baltimore before, we have sailed Carnival before, first time on the Pride.
Embarkation - We drove to Baltimore and stayed in White Marsh 15 minutes from port, Hilton Garden Inn across from Hampton Inn. Easy drive to port but MUDST stay far right through toll and Key Tunnel for Exit as us IMMEDIATELY after exit from tunnel. Any other lane and you can't make exit.
Doesn't get any easier, off exit two lefts and enter pier area. Can't miss it since ship is RIGHT THERE. Drive to luggage drop, then be directed to parking right there. HINT - credit card became 10 minute wait eventually, cash, no wait line. We went cash and were parked and in terminal in about 10 minutes. Since had VIP due to suite 6174 we were processed and boarded in 5 minutes as was starting. Cannot get to cabins until 2:30 however, head right for buffet.
CABIN - Suite 6174 was excellent choice. I did a youtube video of some parts of cruise including walk through of suite as I am always looking for these before I book. More than enough closet and storage, great large balcony with lounge 4 chairs and table. Suite has jacuzzi tub and double sinks. Bea out steward(ess) was excellent.
FOOD - Excellent in our opinion, loved buffet area though if you have sailed Miracle or Pride ships you know a bit of a walk between stations at times. Sandwich station, burgers, pizza, Asian ( very popular ) and general fare of course.
DINING ROOM - Food again excellent staff extremely friendly, BUT that said. Service, local highway diner level. Crappy service with a big smile and a dance almost every night. We were traditional second seating and service is comparable to what we have found in other Carnival ships. Happy, nice servers with not much of a clue about dining room service standards on most lines. SHORTS, too many to count in dining room and it wasn't even warm. Many did dress for formal evening maybe 70%. Manuel heads Matri'd real nice guy, no control of dining room. We anticipated and not a problem since we presumed this would be the mode of trip.
CASINO - nice staff machines where you can smoke are individually marked. Also if you obtain 1500 points you drink free while playing in casino. You get a card registered with Casino Manager to present to bar server. Only drink while playing and only one every 15 minutes. My wife earned her cards day 5 I think. Not a big benny for many but something new to us. Depends on how much you gamble and drink. Wife gamble every night, drinks one maybe two wines an evening while playing.
GENERAL COMMENTS - Ship was FULL and very family oriented young and teenagers 800 kids on cruise that surprised us to some degree. Not problem for most part they were very well behaved and very well occupied. Last two nights a couple roving flip the do not disturb sign run through the halls kids but exception not rule. Did find two young 11 and 7 riding elevators and eating ice cream at 10:30 at night. Had to wonder about where parents were, such is life.
Ship clean, staff wonderful, loved aft pool area ADULT ONLY and enforced thank you. SERENITY it is called and seats were nicely padded even had some hammocks. No charge simply designated adult area. Down side is that on Miracle used to be a great place at bar to smoke cigar while wife sunbathed. No more, no smoking. Have to go up a deck I was told, never bothered.
SMOKERS - I stopped cigarettes over three years ago but still enjoy a cigar. There is one large lounge empty in daytime for most part forward next to coffee bar and just before main theatre that is smokers lounge, large ashtrays and cigar permitted. Starry Night Jazz lounge.. Smoking in casino signs say only if playing and only where designated. CANNOT smoke in cabins but can still smoke on balcony if you have one including cigars. Harder and harder for smokers. If I was still a cigarette smoker I could live with it but you can see the writing on the wall. Still I think ALL ships should have a cigar type bar and balconies should remain smoking, they are not on some ships now.
Bottom line cruise was great but I think I will forego holiday cruises in the future, just too crowded. Still was on the bucket list so no complaints.
Had minor bathroom maintaince problem, called desk respond and fix in MINUTES, impressive.
Many Asians and Indians traveling, locals MD and PENN and NY mostly it seemed.
PORTS - did Epcot ship excursion tad expensive but worth it for most part. Again busiest day of the year 12-28 hey actually closed entrance to three parks by afternoon. Never on holiday again :)
DISEMBARKATION - Again easy enough, off by colored luggage tag, has VIP again so off grabbed porter at car in minutes and on highway. Carry off your own first as is offered on most now.
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George IN NY