First let me be up front that my wife and I are RCCL's Crown and Anchor Diamond Plus level members and I am a Club Royal casino player at the "Signature" level. Our cruise on the Carnival Pride from Baltimore MD was a seven ... Read More
First let me be up front that my wife and I are RCCL's Crown and Anchor Diamond Plus level members and I am a Club Royal casino player at the "Signature" level. Our cruise on the Carnival Pride from Baltimore MD was a seven day casino "free"cruise for port charges, taxes and fees, we purchased the pre and post cruise transportation from BWI and the vacation protection (insurance) for the week.
Arrival and transportation to the ship: we arrived at 8:30 am to BWI and were at the "waiting area" in the baggage area, a Carnival cruise representative met us and we were escorted to a Chevrolet SUV with another couple for a quick trip to the Cruise Port Baltimore at 10:20 am, then the waiting began. The cruise ship was still debarking passengers from the prior cruise and we had to wait outside of the cruise port building for about forty minutes. The process is going through the check point were they he m your passport and cruise documents, then you go to the metal detectors and then into the main waiting hall to get your "Sail and Sign" card, which is your room key and on board charge card, they had our credit card on file. Then we were told to sit. As the prior cruise passengers were still getting off the ship, they started to move passengers onto the Carnival Pride about 12:45 pm, the cabin 1245 interior room on Deck 1, was not ready till 2:00 pm. We spent time dining in the Lido Buffet on deck 12. Food was good, not great. Going through the muster procedure, was pretty standard, however, the cruise director, the Reverend Dr E was trying to make vocal impressions for the safety drill and it was somewhat unprofessional, cut the baloney and give us the facts, just the facts. Then the ship sailed.
YOUR TIME DINING: this is unassigned seating in the Normandie Main Dining Room (MDR) on deck three, we were fortunate to get a fantastic head waiter for our table by the name of Adrian and the two assistant waiters, Thet Thet and Saisa. If you do the Your Dining Time, ask for Adrian, you will not be disappointing. Food in the MDR previously was good, but on this cruise, I would have to say that the fare was better than average, service was good to excellent. The menu included a seafood, pasta, vegetarian, beef, poulty or port Beef was served four out of the seven nights.
My wife we one of two couple selected to do a private tour of the kitchen and tasting on fifth night and we now have "A GREATER APPRECIATION of the MDR kitchen and wait staff. The MDR kitchen is located on deck one, and the waiters have to go up and down an escalator to bring the food up to the guests. The kitchen is well organized and the MDR kitchen food is prepared totally separate from the 9th deck buffet. In the MDR Ken, the one of the maitre d' had a good voice and he did celebration announcement and sang ballads, mainly Sinatra songs-very entertaining.
SHOWROOM ENTERTAINMENT was mainly production shows which were okay, the Punchline Comedy Club had two very entertaining comedians. In the Centrum, they had a variety of musical entertainment, the trio of electric violin artists were very good.
WINNERS CIRCLE CASINO has a variety of updated slot machines of various demoninations, two roulette tables, on craps table, one electronic poker table, three three card poker table, on Heads Up Holdem tables, one Let it Ride table and the rest were blackjack table. The dealers, pit bosses and Casino Host Petra were all very friendly and accommodating, I was on the Carnival Players Club Dealers Choice which was a "free" cruise and $300 CASINO CASH BACK, but BEWARE, make sure that you photocopy the original offer, as when I went to the casino cashier's window to collect my $300 casino cash, I was entitled to only $150, fortunately I brought a copy of the original casino offer which listed the August 5th Carnival Pride cruise. In speaking with a couple of the other casino players, they also were told that they were "entitled" to a lesser amount. The casino had nightly drawings, and giveaways, for anyone who had accumulated at least 100 points.The "Drinks on Us" card, now takes 1500 points to earn your "Drinks on Us" beverage card for free beverages in the casino while gambling. It used to be 1000 points.
Please note that to earn one point it you have to run $5 through the slots, I have been unable to determine how the table time is calculated to "earn" your "Drinks on Us" card. All in all the Carnival Players Club casino was very entertaining and during the week they announced many slot jackpot winners.
OUR INTERIOR CABIN number 1249 on deck one was standard queen size bed which is two twins pushed together, very adequate closet space, a mini frig, two chairs, deck and table. The bathroom has the necessary sink, and shower with a curved curtain, and sufficient shelves for you toiletries. Our cabin steward (they call them "attendants" now) was Ketut and he provided excellent service.
DRINKS are expensive, we don't get the drink package as my wife and I are not big drinkers and in the casino the pit boss bought a round for the table players at least once every night.
DEBARKMENT was slow. On RCCL's Grandeur of the Seas which also goes out of Baltimore, MD, usually docks at 6:00 am, but the Carnival Pride did not dock until 830 am, and they take the walk offs who take their own luggage off the ship, and the majority of the passengers are from Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania and NYS, so most of the passengers drove to the port. We finally got off the ship by 11:15 am and we took a Chevrolet SUV back to BWI for our flight home to NC on Southwest Airlines (SWA). Unfortunately, SWA cancelled a bunch of flights and we went into the terminal there were at least 200 people in line to be their flights rebooked. I called SWA automated line and cancelled our flight and our fare for the return flight was refunded to our SWA flight funds account. We rented a one away car rental and drive 6 1/2 hours to our home in NC.
This was my 9th cruise on Carnvial overal and my third on the Carnival Pride and probably my last, due to the slow embarkment and debarkment. Travel through the ports in Florida get you in and out quicker. Read Less