We had never been on a cruise before, but we're curious enough to give it a shot. So glad we did. We sailed out of Baltimore for the convenience factor. We live about 30 minutes north of Allentown, PA, so the drive wasn't bad at all. Cruise terminal was very easy to get to. Traffic flowed smoothly and all staff were VERY helpful. We breezed right through the security line, no waiting. We sat a bit until they were ready to let everyone board, but we were still in the serenity area on a clamshell with adult beverages in hand by 12:15.
Our cabin was gorgeous. I'll admit, I was nervous. I read a lot of negative reviews about the conditions of cabins. Absolutely no complaints. There was a bit of rust on the balcony, but seeing as how it's a boat with a whole lot of exposure to salt water and weather, the rust was minimal.
The staff were. All. Amazing. Japhett was our steward and was fantastic. It seemed as though he knew what we wanted before we did. Very attentive and really nice.
We spent the bulk of our time on the Lido deck by the pool. Dr E was our cruise director and he was hilarious. With his "good morning" and "good evening" songs and everything in between, he kept us laughing all week long. Our favorite was the guess that 70s/80s song activity in the main atrium. He outdid himself.
Huge shout out to all of the bartenders, but our favorites were Nebo and H at the Blue Iguana Tequila Bar. These guys are hilarious and super friendly.
As for the negative reviews. I read a ton of these after I booked this cruise. Here's my 2 cents, and I've read other reviews saying the same thing: know what things are most important to you when you book your cruise. Don't book a Carnival cruise if all you're looking for is quiet and relaxation. We were incredibly relaxed when we came home, but there's a lot going on on this ship. If you're expecting super high end, maybe check out a different cruise line. This boat was exactly as it was advertised: family friendly and party-like atmosphere. In general, the negative reviews were extremely nit-picky. It's a vacation. You're on a cruise with 2,400 of your newest best friends. There's absolutely nothing worth getting all fired up about.
Also, be nice to the staff. They live there. We're guests in their home. If you wouldn't do it in your own, don't do it there. (Yes, I'm talking to you, lady who dumped an entire plate of food in the buffet line and just walked away without so much as an apology to the crew member on the floor trying to pick everything up so no one would step on it. Also talking to the gentleman with the stellar personality who screamed at the attendant at the pizza station...I still haven't figured out what was so upsetting.)
Sidenote: also know what you're looking for as far as entertainment. I read a ton of reviews about folks being wildly offended by the late night comedy shows. Here's the thing. On the daily newsletter, it says right on it that the late night comedy shows are rated R and only suitable for 18+. Further, before the show even started an announcement is made reminding everyone of such, and also suggests that if you're easily offended or even a little sensitive, you find your way out. The comedians were absolutely hysterical and don't deserve to be slammed for being totally offensive by folks who were well warned as to what they were getting into.
Our cruise on the Carnival Pride has set off a total cruise addiction. We came home Sunday and booked our next cruise on Wednesday.
Carnival is fantastic!
Very clean. Bigger than we expected. Tons of storage space. Amazing steward.