We are in our early to late 50s. This was our 14th Carnival cruise, therefore platinum member. We've tried other cruise lines but always returned to the Carnival reservation.
This was our first time out of Baltimore. Usually apprehensive cruising with east coasters, due to attitude laden new yorkers or new jersers. No problems on this cruise, many canadians w/ children, many from pennsylvania, maryland or spring break students.
We drive to ports, no more flying. Being in Cincinnati area we have many port options within 8-12 hour day. Very favorable impression of the Baltimore port and facilities.
We drove in a day early, did the Stay and Cruise option with Admiral Fell Inn on the Inner harbor. Fell Inn was an excellent choice. Had second thoughts when I drove down a narrow cobble stone street to the Inn, I drive a Toyota Tundra full-size pickup. I parked outside the Inn entrance, a valet/bellboy come out and helped with the luggage. Told them I was there for a Stay and Cruise. They gave me a claim check and put the truck in secure parking about 3 blocks away. My wife forgot her jacket in truck, when I asked them to retrieve; they pulled the truck up at entrance so we could take the jacket out. We set the pickup time for 1230pm to depart for the port. The Inn provided a limo to transport us to pier, and on our return to Baltimore from the cruise, we called the limo service after customs and luggage was collected, they were there in 15 minutes to return us to Fell Inn. Truck was at Inn entrance when we arrived. The limo driver had called ahead our claim ticket number to the valets. The Inn also has an Inn historian who is also a Baltimore historian. Call ahead to the Inn to find his times and time our arrival to participate in his presentations. He is very personable, talented and knowledgeable.
By 12:40pm we were on our way to the pier. Approx a 20 minute ride. Longshoreman remove your luggage and put on a cart about 5 ft away, so don't tip more than $2/bag. Do tip the driver generously, he earned it.
Being Platinum members we were ushered into the reception room and was on the ship within 30 minutes, approx 1:30pm. We sat on the floor in the hallway entrance to our cabin to read our books when the cabin steward supervisor struck up a conversation with us. He ended by saying he didn't like that we were sitting on the floor and that he was confident our room was ready, and since we were the only couple he escorted us to our cabin. So we sat on the balcony until the ship announced the cabins were open to guests.
On the balcony, I surprised my wife that we had David Steakhouse reservations that nite. So we went to the Lido deck for a lite lunch, wandered the ship since this was our first sailing on a Spirit class ship. We loved the Sunset Garden area on Deck 3. Excellent layout of ship with one exception. The entertainers (one man bands) at the casino and atrium were behind the bar rather than on the floor close to the guests. There is no Carnival Blvd either. Minor difference, but Carnival Blvd is distinctly Carnival.
Being March, dress accordingly. We had nice weather, but our cabin was cold and the rooms have no heat. Only the hearty braved the temps to use the hot tubs the first day at sea. 2nd day at sea was much better temps. We had no interest in Port Canaveral, so we did a Boat Day, i.e. spent the day on the boat. Very relaxing day, with most passengers off the ship.
The next day was Nassau with 6 ships in port and 16k cruises on the island, could not find a good price for a shore tour so we stayed in the pier area. Ducked into a small outside bar when the rains hit. The bar rolled plastic curtains down when the wind picked up, so we had a pleasant time with some cruisers and locals at the bar until rain stopped enough for us to return to the Pride.
We pulled into Freeport the next day and took a taxi to Port Lucaya. 2 ships and 7k cruises, so Port Lucaya was a good choice. Minor shopping, a few drinks and back to Pride by 1pm for 2pm departure. Had a good time in the two Bahaman ports, no rush, no stress and no problems.
Next day was at sea day. Rained on wife when she did her 7am walk, but blue skies and sunny by 11am. Great finish to the cruise.
We docked in Baltimore at 9 or 9:30. Custom's agents were overwhelmed with all the Canadians so lines slowed. We were back at Fell Inn and on the road by noon. Great weather for the drive back home.
We enjoy cruising out of southern ports, Tampa, Mobile and NOLA but Baltimore will get a repeat cruiser and we will direct others there also.