Where can you find the artwork of Raphael, da Vinci, Botticelli and Michelangelo, and the architectural details of ancient Greece, Byzantine empires, Renaissance Italy, Beaux Arts France and Victorian England all under the same roof? Perhaps in the great museums of the world -- the Smithsonian, the Bilbao Guggenheim, the Metropolitan -- but also, most definitely, in the public spaces aboard Carnival Pride.
Long, narrow, sleek as a knife and very fast, the 2,124-passenger Carnival Pride, launched in 2002, is the second ship in the cruise line's Spirit Class. Carnival's long-time interior designer, Joe Farcus, chose Icons of Beauty as the ship's theme: beauty in life, beauty in art, beauty in the world's architecture, beauty in the human body and in the human spirit.
At 963 feet, with 1,062 passenger cabins, 14 bars and lounges, four pools and five hot tubs, this ship was made for active participation. Carnival's passengers come onboard knowing that they will have access to 24-hour partying, food and entertainment. A large and well-equipped kids' center, Camp Carnival's Fun Club, is one of the line's signature features, luring families with kids of all ages: Everyone gets to play.
There must be something in the water on this ship, because we have yet to meet a more accommodating, cheerful and outgoing crew. Everyone, from the harried purser's desk staff to the dining room and bar servers to the hardworking room stewards, expressed a sort of unfettered joy for being available to serve Pride passengers. Officers were accessible and engaging, and the general atmosphere was uncompromisingly upbeat.