My husband and I just returned from a 7-night Bahamas cruise on the Carnival Pride, which was an excellent cruise. This was our third cruise, second on Carnival, but our first cruise since December 2012 (nothing against cruising, we were ... Read More
My husband and I just returned from a 7-night Bahamas cruise on the Carnival Pride, which was an excellent cruise. This was our third cruise, second on Carnival, but our first cruise since December 2012 (nothing against cruising, we were just busy doing other kinds of vacations). Two of the main reasons chose the Carnival Pride was because of its departure port of Baltimore (only an 8-hour drive from our house so we didn't have to fly anywhere) and the size of the ship (we had previously been on Carnival Dream and felt it was hectic and crowded all the time). Overall it was an excellent cruise, and I will discuss some of the features we liked, as well as a couple of things we felt could have been improved.
First I will talk about the ship in general. Of course with the ship being a little older, there were some areas that seemed a little run down. The outside of the boat needs a new paint job (especially when we saw it next to the new Norwegian Breakaway when we were in Nassau). But despite that and a few signs of wear and tear (some cracked tiles in the buffet area), the ship is in good condition. What's more, is that everything is very clean! The hardworking staff was everywhere I was, always cleaning and keeping things looking very tidy. I was very impressed with the cleanliness of the common areas.
Now to some specifics of our sailing. We sailed from March 11th-18th, having two sea days, followed by a day at Princess Cay, Nassau and Freeport. Then one sea day home and getting in around 8:30, although we didn't get off the boat until close to 11:30 because there were only 2-3 customs agents at any given moment which was ultra aggravating, but not Carnival's fault. We also chose to park at the port since we had such a long drive back, and this was the absolute best decision since most other people who did a park and cruise situation with a hotel nearby seemed to have to wait even longer.
Next, I'd like to speak to some specific staff who wowed us, and some who could use a little improvement.
- Cruise Director- Leigh: We said it to his face, but he's the best cruise director we've ever had. I told this to a relative when we came home, but he is the exact right combination of hilarious, sarcastic and borderline inappropriate that everyone wants in a cruise director. He was always that right mix of dialogue that parents appreciated when their kids were around but that all adults were able to read right through. It was perfect. Leigh was funny, charismatic and honest. I honestly cannot think of one thing to say about him that is constructive. I just feel sad that he won't be on a cruise with him in the near future.
- Room Steward- Victoria: I know I started out this review saying how I hadn't been on a cruise in over five years, but I can't imagine someone better than her before. She was so friendly. Victoria introduced herself the first night, asking us when we wanted our room serviced ( morning, evening or both). Although I had remembered hearing about the cutbacks at Carnival where the room stewards wouldn't come both times in the day automatically, I forgot this when she asked and foolishly said morning. Upon reflection, I remembered reading about this cutback in a blog, and we later left Victoria a note asking for both times in the day. She obliged. And was great. Everything was spotless. When we had the issue with the whistling door, it was dealt with by the time we came back after dinner even though we left her a note and saw her in the hallway on the way out. I don't know what else to say that explains how great she was. I hope this review is reflected in her promotion track.
- Main Dining Room Staff- Agus (main waiter), Lamberto (waiter), Tiur (waitress)- Overall this staff was excellent. Agus led his small team magnificently. Agus even started noticing what our preferences were and began suggesting items we might like and even brought us extra entrees to share when we were unsure what we wanted. Agus was slightly shy with us at first, and I can entirely understand why. I think this crew dealt with a lot of slobby tourists who don't respect the hard workers on this cruise. On the last night, one insulting person literally tossed their plate on the floor after a loud band on the table. In 12 years of international travel, I had never seen anything so disgusting and I was shocked someone would actually act like that. But the staff was so professional and I was blown away. Thank goodness for the patience of this team. Agus was really good. Tiur is obviously newer in the role but I think when her confidence in English gets better she'll improve. Lamberto needs a bit of practice before he's promoted, his demeanour was a little cold overall.
- Armen- Booze guy in the dining room: Armen greeted my husband and each time he brought us a drink with a joke. He started becoming a familiar face week looked forward to seeing every night.
- Elin- the Female bartender in the atrium bar- We didn't see this bartender everytime we were in the atrium, but I wish we had. She noticed multiple time that we were back and remembered what we wanted from previous nights. She was great.
The Liberty Trio- I started planning my nightly activities around seeing these ladies. They were excellent. They are incredibly talented, and they seemed to be one of the only musical acts on board playing very current music. I just loved them. I'd book another cruise based on them being on the ship alone.
The Absolute Duo- This act is also excellent. They remind me of an act straight out of the 60s in the best way possible. They're very talented and played all the classic hits I would expect them to.
DJ Chef Shur- This DJ is pretty good. I was impressed with the way that he kept the energy on the lido deck fun and upbeat. He even rolled with the punches when this Asian woman was continually dancing when he was there (what's her deal!?) But as the week went on, I felt like he played the same songs over and over again, and none of them were more recent than three or four years ago. When we went to Beauties one night, it was supposed to be all request, but every song we requested he cut the song off short and went back to some old song I'd heard 20 times that week. He needs to get some new stuff in his repertoire.
Real Spice Carribean Sounds- I wish there had been more opportunities for this band to play around the ship. The steel drum player is particularly talented. I often sought them out in the afternoon, and I really enjoyed listening to them.
Spa staff: I don't recall the name of the person who did my spa treatment, but overall they were good. The only thing I will say is that when I was getting my hot stone massage, at one point the person was using only one hand, and I could tell they were doing something else like looking at their phone. It was a little weird. Maybe the staff could be reminded that they need to keep their personal communications to after a treatment.
The Fun Squad: Overall I liked the fun crew. They were all friendly. They all ran the trivia in their own way which I liked. I didn't get to know any of them too much, but they were fun. Jess was super fun but the whole "Oh Yes Jess" thing has a weirdly sexual vibe which I found off-putting around the kids. Neil also had a little bit of a funny vibe, but I think he could improve that being more outgoing and polishing his physical appearance (tucking in his shirt, shorter haircut).
Theatre performers: I didn't catch too many shows, but the 80's one I saw the whole thing and I loved it. All the performers were really good. I hate to describe them like this, but I don't know their names, so I have to explain the way they look. The black male dancer was particularly talented- I hope they keep him for a long time. The female dancer with the brown hair was also so good- my eyes were always on her because she was the best one. The principal singers were good, but I think they could all use just a little more practice. Still, I really enjoyed the shows I saw, and the final show with the lip sync battle and pulling the kids up from the kid's club was the best.
Other food, drink and service other than dinner at main dining room: Most of the food I had on board was excellent. David's Steakhouse on the first night was excellent. Best steak I've had in a long time. Honestly, Guy's burgers were just okay, not what I've heard people rave about. The burgers always seemed overdone. The taco bowl at Blue Iguana was great but the eggs in the morning were even better. I didn't eat at the buffet much, but I liked how many fun themed food there were on St. Patrick's day. That was a nice touch. The wine selection in the main dining room and at the atrium bar was good. I got drinks at both the Red Rub Bar and the Tequilla bar were always pretty weak honestly. Not worth the price I paid. The one time I went to the martini bar I had the WORST bartender ( I don't know his name, but he was also the bartender at the drink mixing contest on the lido deck). He took honestly, no joke, 25 minutes to make my drink and he was super rude to not only me but other customers. I didn't go back to that bar the entire trip because of that guy.
- In general, although the food was good, we felt like there was way too much emphasis on meat and carbs. One night we ordered broccoli to come with our dinner, and they gave us TWO pieces. I'm sure veggies are less expensive for the company than meat! Increase the number of vegetables you're serving.
- On St. Patrick's day, I wanted to join the pub crawl, but since we had the late seating and there was the plate flipping incident (see above), we missed the start of it. We were able to catch up to them at the second venue, and even though we were willing to pay the whole price although we had missed the first drink, they wouldn't let us join! How does this make sense? You refused our money and ruined my fun for the night. I don't know who's policy this was, but it made for a sour end to my otherwise excellent cruise.
- We paid for the most expensive internet package because both my husband and I needed it for work and school, and it was so horrible. Barely worked from the beginning of the week and only got worst. It was so bad we asked for a refund and were thankfully promised one, but it hasn't come through yet.
Overall, this was a great cruise. I'm going to have a hard time going back to a bigger ship. I would go on the Pride again in a heartbeat.
***Full disclosure, I also shared all of this information with Carnival directly, which is why I feel comfortable sharing the names of the staff members I've included in this review.*** Read Less