By Jana Jones, Cruise Critic Contributor
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, 11 bars and lounges, 4 pools and 5 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.
Carnival Pride Fellow Passengers
Mostly rowdy, raucous, and ready for a good time, Pride passengers actively participate in this huge seagoing party. We met physicians, corporate attorneys, housewives, teachers and captains of industry, all of whom knew they had a week to cut loose and be silly before resuming their normal lives. We met families who played together, older folks who danced until the wee hours and college students freed from the rigors of classes. No single demographic defines the guests on this ship, except that they are all people who enjoy an outrageously good time and choose Carnival Pride because there is also an element of elegance.
Carnival Pride Dress Code
Anything goes in the public spaces, but shorts or tank tops are not permitted in the dining room. There are two formal nights on a seven-night cruise; quite a few passengers dress up.
Carnival Pride Gratuity
Carnival recommends $11.50 per person, per day. The guidelines allocate $5.80 to dining room services, $3.70 to cabin services and $2 per day for alternative services, which include kitchen, entertainment, guest services and other hotel staff members. The amount is automatically added to your shipboard account, but can be adjusted in either direction at the guest services desk. A 15 percent gratuity is automatically added to bar bills. Tipping for room service at delivery is expected (and appreciated) by the service staff.
This was my first cruise and despite some rough patches of weather, everyone in my party (there were four of us) said they had a wonderful time. We departed from Baltimore April 28.
SHIP: The ship was decorated to a Renaissance Art theme. ...continue
Check in: We arrived at the terminal around 11:30. By 12:30 we were through security and check in and on the ship. We had to make a stop at the shore excursion desk and then just hung out on the Lido deck until our room was ready at 1:30. ...continue
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My college roommate and I decided to go on a cruise as a much needed vacation and a year-belated graduation celebration. I have cruised twice out of baltimore on both Royal Caribbean ships and she was a first time cruiser. We decided on the Pride ...continue