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Sail Date: August 2003
Just returned from our much anticipated Carnival Pride cruise out of NYC.... 7 nights (Departure Day, Day-at-sea, Bermuda, Bermuda, Bermuda, Bermuda, Day-at-sea, Arrive Home) and have terrific things to say about the ship, crew and overall ... Read More
Just returned from our much anticipated Carnival Pride cruise out of NYC.... 7 nights (Departure Day, Day-at-sea, Bermuda, Bermuda, Bermuda, Bermuda, Day-at-sea, Arrive Home) and have terrific things to say about the ship, crew and overall experience. Arriving early at the port in NYC, check in was relatively quick and painless once we figured out where to go. Walking onto the Pride, you are taken back by the beauty of the main lobby with its soaring ceiling (topped by the red-glassed smokestack) and multiple glass elevators. This was like no cruise ship I had ever seen before. Our room wasn't quite ready, so we headed up to the 9th floor Mermaid Grille, where most of the buffets and a la carte eating were to be found the rest of the trip. This dining room, with its multiple food and beverage stations and plentiful seating, was a great place to grab a quick bite or get some pizza (from their 24-hour pizza bar) while lying poolside. SPEAKING OF POOLSIDE-- my husband and I were most pleasantly surprised to find an ADULTS-ONLY pool area on the Pride. The rear deck on the 9th floor has a terrific pool and jacuzzi, ice cream bar and alcohol bar and is off-limits to the under-18 crowd. It was a great option, as a couple traveling without children, to be able to sit at a child-free pool. Security did a great job of 'redirecting' kids away from this area. This seems to be a new idea that Carnival is toying with, as the signs saying Adults Only was a computer print-out and taped to the door. From the crowds on this deck, it seems that its a popular idea! We made it down to our room and were quite pleased with the accommodations. 5th floor, obstructed balcony. I was apprehensive about the 'obstructed' part, but it turned out, as accurately explained by the Carnival rep when I booked this trip, that a lifeboat was in front of the lower part of the balcony. Not a problem at all, visibility-wise and certainly worth the savings. The deck had a small lounge chair, an upright chair and a small table. Great place to fall asleep reading. The room was clean, very spacious (3 closets!) and the bathroom was new and immaculate. Throughout the week, we ordered the FREE! room service and our order always showed up within minutes of hanging up the phone. The cruise director, Michael, and his wife, Jennie were a riot and kept things rolling along. We won 500 bucks playing Bingo the very first night. The shows were entertaining and well-done. A little used area of the ship seemed to be the Ivory Piano Bar. We went there almost every night and sang along with the personable Eric. There's nothing like hearing and singing along to 'Pour Some Sugar On Me" by Def Leppard! People took turns skimming through his song folder and making requests. What fun! The crew warned passengers about Scootering/Mopeding once we got to Bermuda. Few people seemed to take heed and MANY were bandaged and broken by the time we departed from this lovely island. I also heard a few people complaining that they HAD to pay 60 bucks roundtrip for a cab to the beach. Yes, it costs that much to cab it to the beach, if you CHOOSE to go that way, but a better deal was to buy a 3-day transit pass for 23 bucks and use it for unlimited bus and ferry passage. A 15 minute bus-ride on a clean bus filled with mostly cruisers was a great alternative to that 60 dollar cab ride. Silly people. We snorkeled at Church Bay (the closest beach to the ship, though you can't walk there) and the beach was a bit rocky -- I wore my Teva's in the water when swimming. We took the bus to Horseshoe Beach and walked about 15 minutes down through a number of little isolated beaches and came to an empty beach where my husband and I spend the day riding the waves and snorkeling in virtual isolation. It was WONDERFUL and something I will always remember.(BE WARNED: I used sunscreen all over, but forgot my lips -- ended up with yucky sun poisoning on my lips in the form of lots of crusty old fever blisters--how romantic) The dining staff was adequate in the main dining room. We sat at table 404, upstairs along the railing which was great for viewing people eating downstairs and the nightly dancing done by the wait staff. The service and food was good, though the last night, something strange happened that has me still scratching my head. We saw a few tables below us eating lobster when lobster hadn't been offered on the menu. We asked about it and our waiter laughed and said he would go 'fishing' We thought that meant he would try to find us some. We saw seconds and THIRDS! being served below us and brought it to the attention of our waiter again. He joked about it and we said we weren't joking (in a nice way) and that we really would loooove some lobster. He said Sure, Sure and brought us dessert menus. When asked what I wanted for dessert, I told him lobster and he said, sure, Lobster Ice Cream, ha ha. Well, I'm all for a good laugh, but I really do wish he had pursued the lobster. Even if he wasn't able to track one down for us, I just wish he had come back and said, "I tried, Sorry, we're all out." But, no luck. Since it was the last night, we were going to tip him some extra money as a thank you, but after such craziness, we decided to just stick with the standard tip. David's restaurant was where we dined one night. My husband and I are great fans of Morton's steakhouse and we were hoping the experience would be similar. The atmosphere is lovely and the service extraordinary. Strangely, they were out of 2 of the entree's, though we were there as soon as the restaurant opened that evening. One that they were out of was their signature Crab. The quality of the steak was excellent, though not quite as wonderful as a Mortons. I was particularly impressed by the truffle butter that they offered with the bread. YUM! Having music to dance to throughout dinner was an extra wonderful touch. Without being asked or reminded, they brought us an anniversary cake, which they wrapped up for us to be taken back to our room. A nice treat. The desserts were MUCH better than the desserts in the main dining room. AHHH desserts! I MUST mention one more interesting detail about the desserts. Every night, Carnival offers a "SUGAR-FREE" cake in the dining room and the Mermaid Grille. As someone who abstains from sugar and flour much of the time, I am familiar with "Sugar-Free" desserts and what they do to one's intestinal track. Malitol, Lacitol and other sugar-free sweeteners that bakers use have a tendency to have a 'ahem' laxative effect on most of the population. I warned my husband of this as he dove into his sugar-free banana cake, only to experience this side-effect for himself later that evening. I spoke with the waiter about it, and he had no idea about it. I wonder, over the course of a cruise, how many people find themselves in the bathroom with a tummy-ache and blame it on the ship/food/flu/etc, when its actually these desserts! Read the back of any sugar-free candy that contains the aforementioned substances. It says "May cause laxative effect" Overall, we had a terrific time. I would cruise this ship again ANY time and wish that I could go again next week! Read Less
Sail Date: August 2003
i was a little apprehensive about cruising carnival. i had cruised them once before and it was just fine but all the negative reviews i read gave me pause. however, money talks and we got a great deal on the ny sailing of the pride to ... Read More
i was a little apprehensive about cruising carnival. i had cruised them once before and it was just fine but all the negative reviews i read gave me pause. however, money talks and we got a great deal on the ny sailing of the pride to bermuda sooooo off we went..... we arrived at the nyc pier and parked without incident. tipped the longshoreman nicely and kissed our luggage good-bye. we were pier pick up on our docs and there was some confusion here. we filled out forms at a desk inside the terminal and when we passed thru the different points of entry everyone kept looking at these papers we had with ????in their expressions but we made it thru. i later learned that the pick up docs did not get to the pier in time. something about the plane delivering them being late, so carnival must have improvised forms. nonetheless, we breezed thru and were on the ship in no time. carnival planned well and had a slew of employees checking in people. on board the ship: very nice....i'm an artist and having art around me on a vacation is a nice plus...it was a looky, touchy, feely experience for me.. the sculpture, paintings, brasses etc. kept all of my senses busy the whole trip. this may not be everyone's cup of tea but boy i loved it. we checked out our room dropped our bags and started to explore. my dh and i went one way while my two daughters went another. we parked it in the lobby for a bit and imbibed a little while watching the rest of our fellow passengers arrive on board. we than hi-tailed it to the lido deck for something to eat. plenty of food, fair amount of choices and once sated we continued to explore mindful of the time so we could be up on deck to sail past the nyc skyline, miss liberty and the verazanno bridge. what a memory, hubby and i leaning on the railing, the statute of liberty behind us and the clouds just opening up to let streams of light shine down on the water. it made quite a photo... next it was off to dinner. we had late seating and were in a booth for four. our wait team was nice, efficient but did seem rushed the whole trip. food choices were varied. shrimp, steak, vegan etc. the food was good. we tried many apps and the wait staff was accommodating. check out the dancing waiter on the table. his last job must have been at chippendales... i thought we wouldn't find enough to interest us on sea days, but that wasn't the case. i missed many activities. the day just flew by. bermuda: got off the ship a little late. we walked to a small beach that the locals use and tried snorkeling. i wouldn't recommend this. traffic is a nightmare and it was about a 20 min walk. take a bus and go to a beach further away. carnival planned well and had extra busses and ferries available. during our stay we visited st. george, hamilton, tobacco beach, st. catherine beach, the forts at st. catherine, the aquarium and zoo(i had a nice chat with a young man who let us hold some guinea pigs they had at the zoo. apparently someone had let them loose and they were eating and destroying the native vegetation,so the zoo took them in. from the size and weight of these little porkers they must have been sampling every edible plant bermuda had to offer.) we also went to horseshoe bay, church bay and the maritime museum at the dockyards along with shopping and some art galleries. we did a lot of snorkeling. the best was at church bay. the fish were varied and close to the shore. there was this one big guy he was bright blue and black with a big mouth and it seemed everywhere i went he followed. when i got out of the water i was standing on the beach talking to a fellow snorkeler and she commented" did you notice that blue and black fish the one with the big mouth"? uh huh i said. " did you notice that all the other fish left when he arrived?" guess the other fishes didn't want to be on today's menu...ohhh ...i said, at that point i aimed my flippers inland and marched back to the blanket where i parked my generous bottom between my two svelte daughters and started to scan the horizon for my husband who was merrily snorkeling away." we thought you were going snorkeling they asked, to which i replied, i think i'll wait and see how many pieces of your father return before i go back in...for a brief moment i got a skeptical look, than they rolled over to toast the other side.... just kidding everyone!. hubby came back with all his parts and i did research on aquatic life in bermuda. very little harmful to be concerned about. so go and enjoy yourselves. if you do some planning ahead you can fit a lot in. i'll add my two cents about the mopeds...don't! other transportation is readily available and priced fair and its very easy to navigate the island. we had entertainment while we were in port. carnival got around the laws by hiring some bermudian talent and so they could have their own performers while in port. entertainment is a mixed bag. some was very good and some well...lets just say i really hurt for these people they were imho... sooo bad...but to each his own so either i sat there and enjoyed it or left to find something else to do. i love my freedom of choice... some odds and ends: our cabin was nicely appointed with lots of storage. we were notified about the laundry situation ahead of time. our steward did knock on the door a few too many times looking to clean the room. carnival needs a better system for doing this. i guess we could leave the dnd notice on the door but i was just too busy with everything else to do this. imho, carnival needs to control the smoking. it was out of hand on this ship. my suggestion would be large signs defining the smoking areas. those little signs on the tables just too easily get lost. this is a big negative for me. other ships i've cruised on have managed to better enforce their smoking policy. i've written a lengthy letter to the powers that be about this and hope others will do the same. i'll give it time but if carnival doesn't improve on the smoking issue, i'll take myself and my consumer dollars and sail on over to another line who can manage to enforce the smoking policy. we are not pool people so we spent time walking the decks and in the gym. we lucked out with good weather although windy. there were about 500 kids on this sailing. unfortunately, a small contingency of this group were a royal pain in the,,,,,you know the ones i mean they think pushing all the buttons in the elevators is fun and let us not forget the little group next to us in the mermaid that would have put ozzy osbornes vocabulary to shame...my first thought is where are the parents while these little ones are wreaking havoc.. lets see, we're on a ship, maritime law applies,ummmm do they still make you walk the plank for committing a crime (disturbing my peace and that of all the other passengers) just a note here guys before anyone gets their feathers ruffled. i have three of my own love them dearly and would be the first to push them off that plank if they behaved that way. thank you to all those great kids who know how to enjoy themselves and still respect others. all in all we have a good time. i've resolved any reservations i had about carnival so much so that we decided to sail again in september. so to all reading this, go enjoy set your expectations low and this way they'll be lots of room for all the pleasant surprises. 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