Carnival Pride Entertainment
A guest on Carnival Pride could sit in one spot during the length of the cruise and get more entertainment than is to be found on the Las Vegas strip. We were really impressed with the quality of the singers, bands and production shows, and marvel at the creativity of the cruise director's staff.
The Taj Mahal Theatre, the ship's main show lounge, is a state-of-the-art venue in which elaborate production shows take place. Some of the support posts interfere with sightlines, but with three floors of seating space, finding an unobstructed view isn't too difficult.
Pride's many bars and lounges have individual entertainment, whether a jazz trio (as in the Raphael Lounge), a country singer (as in the casino bar), or a cool and funny pianist (in the Ivory Piano Bar). The pools on Lido Deck have their own sets of entertainers: a Calypso band for the Venus pool area, a DJ for the Poseidon pool at the very aft. All of them are very good, and add substantially to the cruise experience.
But, when it comes to entertainment, nothing can compete with the ingenious shenanigans of the cruise director's staff, and the games and activities they devise to keep the ship hopping. There are the usual, of course -- Newlywed game, trivia contests and the like -- but then the creativity begins. Scavenger hunts, pub crawls, pool games that entail stuffing items in bathing suits or relays that require wiggling with balloons between legs, and of course the Men's Hairy Chest Contest (there isn't one for women). Those who don't choose to participate certainly have a great time cheering from the sidelines, but the level of participation is surprising and reaches across all ages. The Hairy Chest winner on our cruise was a 53-year-old electrician from northern California, who clinched the title with his flawless rendition of a Tarzan yell.
There is also an enormous casino with every imaginable table game and slot machine; dance classes, bingo, and art auctions; talent shows for both the adult guests and the kids (in Camp Carnival); dances in the evening either on the aft end of Lido Deck or in one or more of the clubs inside; and one of the best ideas yet -- a teens-only dance several times during the week, 12 - 17 only, adults not allowed.
Carnival Pride Public Rooms
Decks 2 and 3 form the hub of the ship with a combination of bars, lounges and public areas. Passenger flow is terrific -- the public rooms are connected by a two-level promenade with a grand staircase leading between levels. At the ground level of the Renaissance Atrium on Deck 2 are the guest services and shore tour desks.
Upstairs on Deck 3, the upper part of the Via Vento promenade combines a seating area with the ship's main shopping boulevard. Heading from bow to stern, the sunset garden is a walkway with seating areas and porthole windows. It accesses the stairs leading to the kids' areas one flight up, and is a favorite hangout for teens and tweens. The Wedding Chapel is the location for wedding ceremonies and vow renewals.
Next door to the Wedding Chapel, the Nobel Library/Internet Cafe has a small collection of books and 10 computer terminals, as well as a printer and comfy chairs for reading. Internet packages cost $100 for 250 minutes, $55 for 100 minutes or pay as you go at 75 cents a minute.
Continuing along, the Fun Shops on either side of the walkway sell jewelry and watches, makeup, perfume, liquor, Carnival logo wear and sundries. Formalities is an odd bird -- it's a combination candy shop and formalwear rental shop. The photo gallery surrounds the atrium. In addition to pthoos, priced from $7.99 to $21.99 (based on photo type, not size), they also sell cameras, photo frames and scrapbooking materials. (You can also print out photos from your own digital camera on special machines, again for a fee.)
A conference room is located outside the Deco Lounge at the aft end of the deck.
Five self-service launderettes are located on Deck 1 mid-ship, Deck 4 aft, Deck 5 aft, Deck 6 forward and Deck 7 aft. A wash is $3, a dry is $3, and soap and softener are $1 each. We found that pretty pricey for do-it-yourself laundry, but sending out your laundry is more expensive (a midweek special was $15 for a bag). A medical center is located on Deck A.
Carnival Pride Spa & Fitness
The central pool, Apollo, is used for a variety of games and activities designed by the cruise director's staff. The forward pool, Venus, is quiet, perfect for lazing around when the weather is good. The adults-only Serenity Deck, located on the stern, features the ship's third pool.
The fourth swimming pool, the one for kids, is located on the Sun Deck above the Lido Deck; it has a two-deck-high twisty waterslide slide and is active, splashy and rowdy. Plenty of adult "kids" enjoy the slide, so the pool has a nice mix of ages and is not solely limited to youngsters.
All of the swimming pools have adjacent whirlpools that are large and tend to be quite sociable.
Spa Carnival, located all the way forward on Deck 9, comprises two levels, with a fully equipped, two-deck-high gymnasium surrounded by glass walls overlooking the bow; an interior hydrotherapy pool; an aerobics studio for classes and workouts (Pilates, yoga and individual instruction carry a slight extra charge); complimentary steam and sauna rooms for Pride guests; and locker rooms and showers.
Hint: The showers in the staterooms are spacious enough, but for a real treat, enjoy the glass-enclosed multi-jet showers in the gym after your workout or sauna. There's a nice rainhead above, and four side showerheads that make you feel as though you are getting a free massage.
A salon for hair and nails, the Look, is located on Deck 9, and a full-service spa. The Body Beautiful, operated by Steiner of London, offers treatments ranging from facials to deep-tissue massages. The spa treatment rooms are just aft of the gym; there is an exterior promenade adjacent to the rooms on Deck 9, aerobics studio above them on Deck Ten, and jogging track on Deck 11 -- all of which can create some nerve-jangling if you're trying to relax with a nice massage while joggers or aerobicizers are thunking in sneakers above you or along the side of the ship.
The Spa has a Greek theme but the treatment rooms have gone to a more South Asian decor. Pretty batiks and dark fabrics drape the treatment tables while Balinese bells and scented candles soothe the soul. The more popular treatments also have an Asian touch: hot stone massages, for example, or Shiatsu. One of the best values we found was the scalp, neck and shoulders massage -- very reasonably priced. Other therapies seemed expensive, but are "sale priced" on port days. Look for specials in the daily Carnival Capers, and if you want a hair or nail appointment for formal nights, make sure you book early, as these are almost impossible to get after the first day.
Duffers who want to keep up with their game can use the golf cage on Deck 11 aft.