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Carnival Pride is definitely a ship showing some age (launched 2001) and is in need of some clean-up and touch-up (many rust stains all over the ship). We chose the Memorial Day week sailing as it fit with the school vacation schedule. A 1 week cruise to Grand Turk, Half Moon Cay, and Freeport. This was our very first experience with Carnival. Our mental comparisons are to Royal Caribbean and Disney. Our cabin was a small suite for 3 people. It had a separate bedroom that could be closed off from the other single bed. Definitely a good sized room in the corner on deck 8 at the back of the ship. Very nice wrap-around balcony. However, as I mentioned, the ship does show its age and we were warned not to leave anything on the balcony because of the ship's exhaust - we were told exhaust can leave droplets of oil on the balcony and can stain anything left out there. Suite privileges included early / priority embarkation and debarkation. Our cabin steward, Greg, was also excellent. Even though Carnival offered pre-tipping so it could be included on the credit card, I gave extra to him. Towel animals everywhere, extra everything whenever asked, and always a smile. Dining options on the ship were not quite what I had expected. Pizza was available 24 hours a day. But the Guy's burger joint and the taco/burrito place were only open noon-6pm. These were the only other 2 very kid-friendly options and it was strange not keeping them open longer. when they were closed and the 10-year-old needed kid-friendly food there was a deli on the Lido deck (9) that served grilled cheese and hot dogs till 11pm. Main dining room serving staff were definitely as expected - very friendly and would go out of their way to take care of requests. We also opted for the experience of the steak house (addition charge of $35 per person) for a fine food and quiet dining experience. This was well worth it. Even though there was no "unlimited" entree selection if you didn't like what you picked, the dinner included up to 3 starters per person, the entree and a dessert. We opted for NY strip, Filet & Lobster, and lamb chops. All three choices were excellent. Far superior to the steaks served in the main dining room. All in all, that was a very nice experience. However, as for my couple of criticisms about the dining, the regular options on Lido deck and main dining room were repetitive in the food choices. One section on the Lido buffet stations included a place called "Chopsticks" for Asian selections. While the names changed each day for the dishes, the flavors were almost identical. So not too much variety there. Another thing that irked us was that, in our view, the answer to any reasonable guest request ought to be "yes". One could get a small bowl of caesar salad at one station or take as much iceberg lettuce at a self-serve station. It did not seem like a lot to ask for a full plate portion of a caesar salad instead of a small pre-plated portion. But it took arguing with the servers to make this happen. I can only imagine how they would have reacted to a more difficult request than just a larger order of a caesar salad (not even with a protein in it - just the lettuce and dressing). Total opposite of the cabin steward mentioned above. Entertainment on the ship was also to be expected - bingo and casino, drinks, movies on deck, music, trivia, etc. We participated in a few trivia games and the Hasbro family game night where they had life-size games on stage and my daughter was selected to participate. The best part of the cruise, in my opinion, were the 2 shore excursions we selected. On Grand Turk we went with the Snorkel and Sting Ray adventure run by Chukka. The Chukka folks were really nice, pleasant, and helpful. Ours was the only child on the tour and they watched her like caring parents during the snorkeling to make sure she was safe and having fun. That, to me, made it worth every penny. During the sting ray portion they did everything they could to entice her to touch the ray and to feel safe. Way beyond my expectations of a shore excursion. On Half-moon Cay (Carnival and Holland America's shared private island) we chose the horseback riding by land and sea. This included a ride around a trail to the highest point of the island on 1 horse. Then when back at the stable, we got on a different horse and went into the surf up to the horses' necks and rode through the water. That was a great excursion. And again, the people running the tour watched the 10-year-old like parents making sure she had no issues with the horses or anything else. Way beyond expectations and I tipped accordingly. My overall review is still for 3/5. The mixed approach by the shipboard staff just left me shaking my head sometimes. If the approach was consistently good/excellent, I would have scored higher. Definitely a decent value for the money spent - this cruise was a lot lower cost that Disney, but like all things, you get what you pay for. (Soda not included in this cruise, lack of variety of food, etc.)

Carnival Pride from Baltimore a mixed experience

Carnival Pride Cruise Review by aag040

5 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: May 2017
  • Destination: Eastern Caribbean
  • Cabin Type: Aft-View Extended Balcony
Carnival Pride is definitely a ship showing some age (launched 2001) and is in need of some clean-up and touch-up (many rust stains all over the ship). We chose the Memorial Day week sailing as it fit with the school vacation schedule. A 1 week cruise to Grand Turk, Half Moon Cay, and Freeport. This was our very first experience with Carnival. Our mental comparisons are to Royal Caribbean and Disney.

Our cabin was a small suite for 3 people. It had a separate bedroom that could be closed off from the other single bed. Definitely a good sized room in the corner on deck 8 at the back of the ship. Very nice wrap-around balcony. However, as I mentioned, the ship does show its age and we were warned not to leave anything on the balcony because of the ship's exhaust - we were told exhaust can leave droplets of oil on the balcony and can stain anything left out there. Suite privileges included early / priority embarkation and debarkation.

Our cabin steward, Greg, was also excellent. Even though Carnival offered pre-tipping so it could be included on the credit card, I gave extra to him. Towel animals everywhere, extra everything whenever asked, and always a smile.

Dining options on the ship were not quite what I had expected. Pizza was available 24 hours a day. But the Guy's burger joint and the taco/burrito place were only open noon-6pm. These were the only other 2 very kid-friendly options and it was strange not keeping them open longer. when they were closed and the 10-year-old needed kid-friendly food there was a deli on the Lido deck (9) that served grilled cheese and hot dogs till 11pm.

Main dining room serving staff were definitely as expected - very friendly and would go out of their way to take care of requests.

We also opted for the experience of the steak house (addition charge of $35 per person) for a fine food and quiet dining experience. This was well worth it. Even though there was no "unlimited" entree selection if you didn't like what you picked, the dinner included up to 3 starters per person, the entree and a dessert. We opted for NY strip, Filet & Lobster, and lamb chops. All three choices were excellent. Far superior to the steaks served in the main dining room. All in all, that was a very nice experience.

However, as for my couple of criticisms about the dining, the regular options on Lido deck and main dining room were repetitive in the food choices. One section on the Lido buffet stations included a place called "Chopsticks" for Asian selections. While the names changed each day for the dishes, the flavors were almost identical. So not too much variety there.

Another thing that irked us was that, in our view, the answer to any reasonable guest request ought to be "yes". One could get a small bowl of caesar salad at one station or take as much iceberg lettuce at a self-serve station. It did not seem like a lot to ask for a full plate portion of a caesar salad instead of a small pre-plated portion. But it took arguing with the servers to make this happen. I can only imagine how they would have reacted to a more difficult request than just a larger order of a caesar salad (not even with a protein in it - just the lettuce and dressing). Total opposite of the cabin steward mentioned above.

Entertainment on the ship was also to be expected - bingo and casino, drinks, movies on deck, music, trivia, etc. We participated in a few trivia games and the Hasbro family game night where they had life-size games on stage and my daughter was selected to participate.

The best part of the cruise, in my opinion, were the 2 shore excursions we selected. On Grand Turk we went with the Snorkel and Sting Ray adventure run by Chukka. The Chukka folks were really nice, pleasant, and helpful. Ours was the only child on the tour and they watched her like caring parents during the snorkeling to make sure she was safe and having fun. That, to me, made it worth every penny. During the sting ray portion they did everything they could to entice her to touch the ray and to feel safe. Way beyond my expectations of a shore excursion.

On Half-moon Cay (Carnival and Holland America's shared private island) we chose the horseback riding by land and sea. This included a ride around a trail to the highest point of the island on 1 horse. Then when back at the stable, we got on a different horse and went into the surf up to the horses' necks and rode through the water. That was a great excursion. And again, the people running the tour watched the 10-year-old like parents making sure she had no issues with the horses or anything else. Way beyond expectations and I tipped accordingly.

My overall review is still for 3/5. The mixed approach by the shipboard staff just left me shaking my head sometimes. If the approach was consistently good/excellent, I would have scored higher. Definitely a decent value for the money spent - this cruise was a lot lower cost that Disney, but like all things, you get what you pay for. (Soda not included in this cruise, lack of variety of food, etc.)
aag040’s Full Rating Summary
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Ages 10 to 12
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Cabin Review

Aft-View Extended Balcony
Cabin 8M 8273
Interestingly shaped cabin - suite that slept 3. Only criticism was that the drapes/curtains did not completely block out the sun so at 6am every morning when it was sunrise, the light came pouring in and immediately woke me.
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