We arrived at Baltimore BWI airport a 20 minutes early than expected at 11:30 AM. It was a rainy and cold day in Baltimore. Our checked luggage took a while to come out, but since Carnival left an automated message telling us to check in between 1:30 PM and 3:30 PM, we weren't in a hurry. We got a taxi and was surprised that there wasn't a flat rate to go from the BWI Airport to the Baltimore Cruise Port- I thought I had read otherwise on the Internet. We were told it'd be about $35 and it turned out to be $34 and change. We arrived at about 12:30 PM and were able to board the ship within about 45 minutes which was pretty fast.
We boarded the Carnival Pride at around 1:15 PM and what struck us right away was that it had a Renaissance Art style decor with lots of nude paintings. We proceeded to deck 9 to the Mermaid's Grill (the Carnival Pride ship buffet) and had lunch as it was announced that cabins wouldn't be ready until 3:30 PM. We heard good things about David's Steakhouse and went ahead and signed up for dinner there on the third night (Tuesday). Apparently the Carnival Pride dress-up nights (or as they called it- Cruise Elegant) were Monday and Friday, and we figured we would eat at the main dining room (Normandie) for at least those two nights because the food would be better than the other nights.
Afterward we signed up for our Internet time at the Internet Cafe which was actually located in a library. The Internet Cafe manager just sat there, no greetings and doesn't even look at you. After I got him to explain how to sign up, I proceeded to purchase a Internet time package (250 minutes for $100, + $3.95 sign up fee + 20 free minutes first night special). Apparently it connects you right to the Internet without your permission and eats up a minute even though I clicked disconnect right away. I complained about that and he pretty just said "too bad- a second counts as a minute". I never had such problems with NCL cruises.
We proceeded to our cabin at 3:25 and was pleased to find it ready and our luggage delivered. We had a balcony on the 7th deck. It was our first balcony cabin so we were pretty thrilled about it. The room has all your run-of-the-mill amenities. It was a nice touch to see that Carnival included new shaver in the bathroom. The shower used a curtain- we'd would've liked to see a shower door.
After the painful mandatory safety drill (which we had to go down like 5 flights of crew-use stairs), we went to the Sushi Bar. It was okay- it's free so we didn't expect much. We then went to the Sail Away Party which consisted of a live band that was pretty good but there was no Barbeque or any sort of celebration we were used to. So we went to the Mermaid's Grille to sample what they had for dinner in a theme they called "Seafood Bistro". The line was really long because pretty much half the place was closed, and the food was decent but wasn't worth the wait.
After resting in the cabin, we went to the Normandie Dining Room (the main dining area for Carnival Pride) for dinner at about 9:15 PM. We picked Carnival's Your Choice Dining and had no trouble getting a table just for the two of us. The staff there was friendly and the food was good. Of note the Cured Salmon with Sweetened Fruits was a tasty appetizer, and the Indian Vegetarian entree was delicious. The Mahi Mahi was cooked well and tasted fresh.
We then went to the Taj Mahal Lounge (Carnival Pride's main theater) for the "Welcome Aboard" show. Apparently the ship had their own dance troupe in the "Carnival Pride Dancers and Singers". They were decent but nothing spectacular. The cruise director Kirk Benning then came out and did a good job getting the crowd involved. Then comedian Hank McGauley performed- pretty funny stuff. After the show we then retired to our cabin for the night. We took a shower and noticed the water temperature fluctuates which was odd because it was late at night (1 AM).
Day 2: Sea Day
After a tiring first day we slept in and didn't wake up until around 12:30 PM. We went to eat at the Normandie Dining Room for lunch. We were surprised that we were put together with three other strangers at a table, but everyone was friendly and there was good conversation. As for the food- the cold avocado soup wasn't too good. For the main entree, the Mongolian Beef salad was fairly good, but the Shrimp and Crab French baguette sandwich was a bit too mayonnaise-y. We then went to the Mermaid Grill (oink oink!) and had a nice white fish dish and egg rolls (not very good).
We then went around the top decks and took pictures. People seemed to be having fun with the miniature golf- we'll definitely be trying that on another day. The lower portion of the chimney of the Carnival Pride was actually made of red glass which was pretty cool. We also noticed that the stairs to David's Steakhouse was made of glass, and was actually kind of scary to climb up on it.
We decided to go work out at the gym. It's at an interesting location- you actually have to go through the ship's spa in order to reach it. There was a nice selection of equipment at the gym, and had multiple TV's available. Also fast-paced music was playing to help you pace your workout. We went on the elliptical for about 30 minutes.
Later we proceeded to the Mermaid's Grille to sample what they had for dinner. The Hudson Valley Duck Supreme was just that- supreme. It was definitely one of the best duck dishes we've ever tasted. The meat was so tender and flavorful. There was also prime rib which was good- maybe slightly too bloody though. The salad bar was fantastic. The Thai Lime Heart of Palm dish was spicy and yummy, and so were the roasted peppers. The Apple salad with nuts and raisins was also good.
Later on we got dressed as tonight on the Carnival Pride was Cruise Elegant (dress-up night). We went to dinner at the Normandie. For starters we had pumpkin soup (pretty good) and cold baby spinach salad which was also good. For the main course we ordered lobster tail with tiger shrimp. The lobster tail was small but tender, and the shrimp was also not overcooked and were crunchy. Too bad they didn't provide more steamed veggies on the plate, however, as there was only a piece of broccoli with bread crumb. A nice touch was when the entire wait staff started singing for a couple minutes which deserved a nice applause from all the diners.
After taking many photos we proceeded to take more photos while we were in the formal attire. Then we went to the 10:30 PM show by the Carnival Pride dancers and singers. The show was called "Wonderful World" and was very good for the most part. They did nice "special effects" with the a facade screen and the dancers were sexy.
Afterward we watched the R-rated adults only comedy show by Hank McGauley. He had some funny material but didn't exactly had us falling out of our seat with laughter. His stuff from the first night was definitely fresher and funnier.
There was a Michael Jackson tribute at the Carnival Pride dance club, but we were tired and retired to our cabin for the evening.
Day 3: Sea Day #2
We woke up at 1 PM and at the the Mermaid's Grille at around 1:45 PM. The beets and red cabbage salad was excellent there. The lamb was pretty good as well, and so were the Indian food area. The Mahi Mahi was way too salty, however. We also tried the goat cheese and mushroom pizza at the Pizza Bar- it was too salty also.
Afterward we played two rounds of miniature golf atop the Carnival Pride. You have to check out the clubs and golf balls at deck 9 pool area. The course was 9 holes and wasn't anything innovative but it was fairly fun. We then returned the clubs and exchanged them for paddles for some ping pong on deck 10 overlooking the pool deck. Sometimes the ball would drop down to the pool deck which makes you ponder why the table tennis tables were not strategically placed in a better location.
Later on we attended the Carnival Past Guests invitation-only party at the Taj Mahal. This was only our second Carnival Cruise and we didn't know what to expect. We arrived about 10 minutes early and a fellow cruiser said that you would get free cocktail drinks and hors d'oeuvres- no wonder there were a pack of people already waiting outside the closed doors. Once inside we took photos with the Carnival mascot and then were greeted with live music from the excellent Marty Szucs and the Carnival Pride show Band. We had a few cocktails and hor d'oeuvres, and the cruise direct Kirk came out and raffled off a free dinner at David's Steakhouse. We were then shown a brief video of the history of Carnival Cruise Line and its line up of current and former ships. It was a fun experience.
We had reservations for David's Steakhouse at 6:30 PM so we got dressed up for that. Upon arrival we were greeted heartily, but noticed that surprisingly there were vacationers in short sleeves and pretty casual clothing even though the dress code was supposed to be "Cruise Elegant". After we ordered we were presented with two small appetizers "complements of the chef". One was a small dish of beef tartar and a tiny bowl of tomato cream soup. They were tasty and had pretty presentation.
In fact all the dishes of the night had terrific presentations. For starters we had Tuna Tartare and Escargot. The tuna tartar was bland (needed some lime juice and kick) but the Escargot was very good.
For dinner we had Chilean Sea Bass (excellent) and the Surf and Turf (lobster tail and filet mignon). Unfortunately the lobster tail was only half a tail and a tad overcooked. The filet mignon was tender and good, however.
Then came the odd, extremely long wait. The service up until then had been superb, but then it was like they had totally forgotten us. No one came to check to see if we liked our entrees. We pretty much just sat there for more than an hour before someone came to take our order for dessert. In the meanwhile we had to listen to a neighboring table chatter loudly and throw in some f-bombs to boot. We figured the wait staff got busy but still were annoyed about it.
For dessert we ordered the Chocolate Sampler and the Cheesecake. The sampler consisted of four shot glasses of various ice cream and dessert. We especially liked the one that had mango sherbert and the tiramisu- the other two were too overwhelming in terms of chocolate flavor. The cheesecake was massive but good- we couldn't finish it it was so big.
David's Steakhouse was a mixed bag- we probably won't be trying it again, especially at $30 a person. The food and ingredients were good, and the presentation was great, but overall it took 2 and a half hours for dinner, and that was too long for us.
Later we went to showtime at the Taj Mahal theater where ventriloquist/comedian Jerry Goodspeed performed. It was a pretty funny and impressive performance. The funniest part was when he got a guy from the audience to be his "dummy".
Day 4: Orlando Kennedy Space Center
We had to wake up before 7 AM today because we had an excursion at Port Canaveral to the Kennedy Space Center. We set up a wake up call the night before (interestingly it doesn't seem like Carnival Pride has an automated system for this) for 7 AM, but the phone call came at about 6:47 AM. It turned out to be better because we were pressing for time. We also ordered for room service for between 7 AM and 7:15 AM and were pleased to see the food show up at about 7:10 AM. We got out onto the gangway (on Carnival Pride deck 2) at 7:40 AM where Customs were making sure that everyone wasn't bringing any fruits or nuts onto shore. We then boarded the tour bus at about 7:50 AM.
The drive to Kennedy Space Center (KSC) from the cruise port took about half an hour. During which our tour guide (from Sunward Tours) told us various facts about KSC and the space program in general. At the gate we noticed the price of the ticket was around $59 whereas we had paid $90 with Carnival. I supposed our price included transportation + a healthy profit margin for Carnival. After watching the cool 3D IMAX movie "Magnificent Desolation" and spending some time at the Visitor Center area, we took the KSC tour bus which stopped at three other locations of interest, including the massive Saturn V rocket replica. Later we took the Shuttle Experience which was pretty cool- not quite a roller coaster ride but an interesting simulation of a space shuttle takeoff. We then tried to catch another IMAX movie at 2 PM but missed it- the people are very strict there about not letting people in even if you are just a minute late. We then walked around, took more photos, and shopped at the gift shop before the bus back to the Carnival Pride left at 3 PM.
After returning to the Pride at around 3:45 PM, we were disappointed to find that the Mermaid's Grille was already closed. It would have been nice if it had stayed open for a while longer for the folks who went on shore excursions. We ended up having to eat at the Pizza Bar and the outdoor grill, which turned out to be pretty decent. We would've still much more preferred the salads and variety offered by the buffet.
We were tired so took a nap and woke up at around 8:30 PM and went to the Normandie Dining room (anytime dining on deck 3). We had several tasty starters including the sirloin beef and noodles salad with peanut sauce and a smoked duck salad dish. We also had the portobello mushroom salad which had a tad too much dressing. For dinner we had the New Zealand Rack of Lamb which was cooked and seasoned well- very tender and delicious. We skipped dessert as we planned on trying out the Mexican Buffet at 11:30 PM.
Afterward we went to the Taj Mahal for the Carnival Dancers and Singers show "Jazzin'". It was a mixed bag. Some highlights included a number with the girls in different color costumes, one where they were in tight red outfits, and another where the men had funky overcoats. But some other numbers, including the final one, didn't really strike a chord.
At around 11:30 PM we headed to the Mermaid's Grille to try the Mexican Buffet. Nothing really stood out there. The soft taco with grilled chicken/grilled beef was fairly good and the churro was yummy, but most of the other dishes were mediocre.
Day 5: Nassau Bahamas
After a bit of chaos we made it to your Nassau tour of Ardastra Gardens and City Tour. We first went to the Charlotte Fort- an old stone fort that was never placed in official use. Nothing really that interesting there. We then went to the Ardastra Gardens. The flamingo show at the Gardens was pretty cool- it was fun seeing these bright pink birds flock around in a group.
There were other interesting animals at the Gardens including lemurs. The "garden" itself wasn't all that- the animal collection seemed more impressive. Afterward it got very cloudy and we decided to just walk around the port area/Bay Street. The police presence at Nassau was pervasive which gave a good sense of security- we had heard of some string of robberies there from just last month. Later we went to a Starbucks and was able to buy internet access there for $3 for 2 hours which was magnitudes cheaper than the cruise rate of 75 cents a minute. We also bought a white chocolate mocca drink there. The cashier at that Starbucks had the annoying propensity to not give you back your change- creative accounting/thievery?
For dinner we found the Mermaid's Grille to be quite lacking in variety. It had even less selection than lunch- there wasn't even any non-regular salad dishes made. My "Men's Express Facial", the prize from Sunday night, was next. It was relaxing and made my face shinier. Later on we went to the Normandie Dining room and like earlier in the week had good food and service. This time we had Tom Turkey and Small Filet Mignon and Short Ribs. The Tom Turkey was especially good with very tender meat and tasty sides.
After dinner we checked out the comedy show by Darren Sanders. He had some funny bits and is more of a physical comedian, but we didn't find his material to be hilarious. Cruise director Kirk actually had a funny "Top 10 Most Stupid Questions asked on a Cruise" list afterwards, and then hosted the adults only The Quest competition. We just observed and didn't participate. At the end it was funny to see grown men vying for the "Fairest Maiden of Carnival Pride" title by putting on bras, earrings, and carrying handbags.
Day 6: Freeport Bahamas, or NOT?
We woke up early at 7:20 AM to get ready for the Garden of the Groves and City Tour excursion for Freeport. Oddly enough the ship was not yet docked (it was supposed to at 7 AM), and then at 7:30 came the bombshell announcement from Cruise Director Kirk: the strong winds will prevent the ship from docking at Freeport, and all excursions are canceled and the money will be refunded. It was very disappointing but definitely safety is the #1 priority and the captain simply didn't want to endanger the crew and passengers.
For the entire day the ship was rocking back and forth badly and it made it difficult to stay balanced. We were getting a touch nauseous and slept for much of the day. The main show for the night with the Carnival Pride Dancers had to be canceled also for safety concerns of the performers. It was Cruise Elegant dress up night and we ate at the main Normandie dining room. Unfortunately there weren't really any special dishes though the escargot appetizers was good. At the Mermaid's Grille there wasn't anything special there either except the nice crunchy tiger shrimps dish.
With the original main shows canceled, Comedian Darren Sanders had to step in instead. He had some excellent material despite having to go by a list of jokes that did not segway smoothly from one to the other. Then at 11 PM he did the adult comedy show and that was also pretty darn hilarious. He definitely was the highlight of an otherwise rough day at sea. This was our fifth cruise and today was the worst in terms of the shakiness and fun level (or lack there of).
Day 7: Sea Day
Today the ship was still rocky but a bit better than yesterday. This was our last day on the cruise and Baltimore didn't sound too appealing with temperature in the teens to the high 30's according to the forecast. We at lunch at the Mermaid's Grille. There was a good pot roast dish and a cute ice cream swan dessert but otherwise the food was very mediocre and the lines were much too long again. Later in the afternoon we checked out the Christmas show at 3 PM. It was a nice festive production and at the end we got to get on stage and take photos with some of the Carnival Pride dancers and singers plus with the ship captain as well. One unfortunate thing about the schedule was that the ship galley tour was at 3:15 and we were forced to miss it. We thought that would have been a nice experience.
A little later we attended the fun farewell party which offered everyone a free cocktail drink with live music. About an hour later I got violently sick. The ship was rocking badly and I'm not sure if it was sea-sickness or something I ate/drank. I don't think it was sea-sickness because I've never gotten it before, but it could have been. We tried to eat at the main dining room but I could not get past the appetizer before having to run back to the cabin to throw up. I had to lay in bed with the chills and sleep so we had to miss the Liars Club. Thankfully after my nap I felt much better and we were able to attend the Carnival Legends show at 10:30 PM. It was a funny show featuring fellow cruisers singing and dancing on stage along with the Carnival Pride dancers and singers. Afterward I felt like I could now stomach some food so we had some midnight snack at Mermaid's Grille (pizza, french fries, chicken breast, chili, sauerkraut, etc).
Day 8: Disembarkation
The Carnival Pride seemed to arrived at port at around or before 8 AM. We woke up at around 8:20 AM. It was a very cold morning we could see thick blankets of We had packed our large luggage which had to be left outside by midnight for the crew to picked up. We received Zone 9 luggage tags. We went to get food at the Mermaid's Grille at about 8:40 AM (it closed at 9 AM) and had to eat at the cabin because there were no available seats. There was a pretty decent selection of breakfast foods (this was the first time on this cruise we ate breakfast that wasn't room service). They had scramble eggs, sausage links, bacon, cereal, skim milk, regular milk, chocolate milk, fruit, grits, danish, bagels, croissant, etc.
After eating, we left our cabin for good at around 9:10 and proceeded to the library at deck 3 which was surprisingly empty. All the other lounge chairs on deck 3 seemed to be occupied. An announcement was made at around 9:30 AM asking all passengers to leave the cabins if they were still in there. Carnival let self-assisted disembarkation people get off the boat first (the deck order seemed random). Then it was Zone 1-4, 4-8, and then 9 through 13. We didn't get off the ship until around 11:15 AM.
Taxi from the Baltimore Cruise Terminal to the BWI Baltimore airport was a flat rate of $30 which was nice. The road conditions were pretty bad so our driver had to take some side streets through downtown. We got to the airport at 12:45 PM and tried to check luggage for our 6:25 PM flight but Southwest wouldn't let us- apparently you can't check your luggage more than 4 hours before flight time. So we checked our luggage in a couple hours later and had to wait in a massively long line. Plus we found out the bad news that our flight was delayed until 8:15 PM. We waited at the upstairs lounge overlooking the planes and runways. There was free Boingo wireless internet for the holidays thanks to Google. We were able to connect but after having to shutdown and reconnect later we could no longer obtain an IP address. I imagine it was due to all the people in the airport connected.
In the end, we were actually lucky because apparently yesterday the entire airport was closed due to all the snow.
Overall Rating & Impressions
The following sums up my review and thoughts of our Carnival Pride Cruise to the Bahamas in December of 2009 leaving from Baltimore. I would give this cruise a 3.5 star out of 5.
What was good:
Carnival Pride Baltimore Cruise Terminal check-in was relatively speedy
Carnival gives you a new shaver in the bathroom
The Indian Vegetarian entree and Mahi Mahi at the Normandie for dinner were terrific; Cured Salmon appetizer was good
Some of the eggplant dishes at the Mermaid Grille Buffet for lunch were good
Comedian Hank McGauley was pretty funny
Announcements don't reach the cabin unless it's important so you don't get awaken early in the morning for calls to bingo or art auction
Cruise Director Kirk was the best cruise director we've seen as he has a good sense of humor and did a good job pumping up the crowd.
Can get info on excursions and order on TV
Good service at the Normandie Dining room
Room stewards were friendly and did a good job
Hudson Valley Duck Supreme from Mermaid's Grille (and also was available at Normandie Dining Room) was the best duck we've tasted
Vegetable/salad section at Mermaid's Grille for dinner was very good- specifically the Thai Lime Heart of Palm dish and Roasted Peppers
Carnival Dancers and Singers show "Wonderful World" was very good
Carnival Pride workout gym was well equipped
Singing wait staff at Normandie dining room for dinner
Carnival Repeat Guests Party (free cocktail drinks and Hors d'oeuvres)
Red cabbage and beet salad at Mermaid Grille was very good
Great presentation of dishes and they tasted good in general at David's Steakhouse
Ventriloquist Jerry Goodspeed was entertaining
Flamingo show and other animals at Ardastra Gardens in Nassau
The Quest show was very funny
Facial at the Carnival Pride Spa was enjoyable
Christmas show was festive and entertaining
Legends of Carnival party was fun and funny
What could be improved:
Food quality at the Mermaid Grille Buffet in general
The often times long lines at the Mermaid's Grille buffet
Mermaid's Grille closing time should be extended in the afternoon on port days so people on excursions can eat there after returning mid-afternoon
Food selection is not wide enough nor exciting in general
No chocoholics buffet!
Gym closes way too early at 10 PM
Internet Cafe manager isn't exactly eager to help
Extremely long wait between main entree and dessert at David's Steakhouse; overall "experience" was too long at 2 and a half hours
Kennedy Space Center tour was educational and interesting
Good service, food and dancing wait staff at the Normandie dining room for dinner
Not Carnival's fault at all but strong winds prevented docking at Freeport and the entire ship swayed badly the entire day
[Editor's Note: This Cruise was originally undertaken December 13, 2009]
This will be our 2nd time on Carnival cruise; this time is Carnival Pride. We arrived at 12:40pm dropped of our one big luggage at luggage check-in, we then went in to the building to check. Everything went nice and smoothly; even though the boarding time was 1:30pm, but we were able to start check in right away and we were one of the firsts, maybe thus less waiting. We went from having our passports checked, through security check, fillet out quick health information, then we went to the check-in desk to sign in; here we showed them the passport, tickets and credit card info. They gave us a credit-card-like as a board card which we'd be using for boarding ID card, cabin key and as;credit card for ALL of our purchases on board (neither cash nor checks will be excepted on board). On our way for boarding, we got stopped to get a picture taken like everybody else, and you can purchase the picture on board at later time.
We came on board at around 1:20pm, but couldn't go to our cabin right way due to the cleaning process of getting the cabins ready (the clean up from the previous on-boarders.) So we went for buffet in Mermaid's Grille; the place is kinder small compare to others buffet area we had seen in other cruise ships. The food was okay, or at least the stuff we tried (Chinese and Italian food). We then were able to get into our cabin and that was really nice; we got a cabin with a balcony which was nice in size with two beach- chair-like with a tiny table. At 4:45 we all were requested to go through the Safe Briefing Mandatory, and after that there was a sail-away party, but we missed it. Instead, we went for sushi bar which is complementary and was opened very day from 5pm-8:15pm only; though they only give you three pieces of sushi for each person (the sushi wasn't impressive, don't think I want to try that again). The small pieces of sushi didn't fill us up, we went back to the same buffet that we were earlier to get more food. However on our way to the buffet, we accidentally got involved in the spa raffle and got lucky to win a spa facial treatment. Then we went to our initial destination (buffet), the food seems to be a bit better this time. Since we were planning to eat dinner at a restaurant later on (I know, we're pigs), we decided not to eat too much.
We then went back to our cabin to get a nap. We then went for our late dinner at around 8:40pm at Normandie restaurant on deck 3 - Carnival is now giving you options of :;Your Choice Dining (assigned tables and time; might have to sit with strangers) and;Your Time Dining (most likely get own table and can eat at any time during the restaurant hours), and we picked the last option. After dinner, we went to watch the;Welcome Aboard Show at 10:30 pm and a show comedian show right after and both shows took place in Taj Mahal lounge on deck 2. That was the end of the day and would have more fun tomorrow!
Fun Ship Activities
Ping Pong Tournament (or play for fun family and friends)
Putt Putt Contest at Sport Deck
FREE Golf Clinic at Start Nights Entertainment lounge
Mini Golf at Sport Deck
Library Hour, Books and Games at Internet Cafe
Good Morning Trivia at Show lounge
Volleyball Tournament (or play for fun family and friends)
Scrapbook Meet and Greet at Photo Gallery
Sea Feud Game
Digital Scavenger Hunt
Ice Carving Demonstration
Carnival Pride Master Mixologist
Free Throw Tournament
Football Sports Trivia at Sports bar
Family Karaoke Hour (all ages)
Karaoke Fun (over 18)
Daily Art Action
Daily Bingo at frequent times throughout the day
Casino (they have a pretty big one)
Discos and Bars With Live Music
Daily Showtime for Main Seating and Late Seating
Many different activities could be changed daily and on top of that there are other Today's Special Activities and Entertainments.
If you want to play ping pong, mini golf, basketballs etc. - you need to sign up to get the equipments and bring them back after playing. So we can't play for example the ping pong late at night like many other cruises.
Breakfast, lunch and dinner either at Mermaid Grille (buffet restaurant) or sit down dining at Normandie restaurant. They also offer 24 hour Pizza Bar & Self Serve Ice Cream, and Late Night Snacks from 11:30-1am which all happen at Mermaid's Grille.
Tip: On their dress-up nights, they normal make the food more fancy (service lobster, Prime Ribs, Duck etc). So if you want to try more than just one dish you can either order more than one dish at the Normandie restaurant, or you could try some small samples of the same dishes at the Mermaid's Grille/buffet. We did the latter, and we tried a little bit of the duck and the Prime Ribs which both were so good; the duck was phenomenal.
David's Steakhouse restaurant is supreme fine dining at an extra charge of $30 per person (gratuity included).
Daily Fitness and Spa Activities
Complementary: Sunrise Stretch Class, Aerobics Class, Abs Class etc.
With a Fee of $12 each: Pathway to Yoga, Pilates, Indoor Cycling etc.
The spa and the gym are in the same area. Gym is small but has a nice Jacuzzi which is separated from the gym by glass walls. The gym closes 10pm; we wish it open 24 hours like many others ship.
Kids areas: Activities for kids and baby sitting.
06/06/2014 - 09:37 PM CST
We didn't start our day until 1 pm. We started our day with lunch at Normandie restaurant where we were seated with strangers; we got started with a cold avocado soup and salad, and for main course we got Mongolian Beef salad and shrimp and crab meat french baguette ( the sandwich wasn't good), and I got a dark chocolate cake for dessert which was okay. Though I didn't get full by a salad and some very few bits of the bad sandwich and the cake, so we went to the buffet and get a little bit more food; the small fillet of white fish was really, but the shrimp egg roll was really nasty (almost nothing inside and no shrimp taste, it's like eating fried egg roll wrap).
To help burn the calories that we just ingested, we took a tour of the ship and took tons of pictures which was really nice. Then we went to our cabin to relax a bit. Short after we saw the sun setting (absolutely beautiful) from our balcony, we decided to get a better view at the top desk of the ship, but once we were up there, it was too late. So we went back to our cabin at around 4ish and changed for the gym - we worked out for half an hour. Sure and sick enough, we went back to the buffet after our work out and did some small samples of the dishes (today is dress-up night and they usually make the food more fancy, like lobster, prime ribs, duck etc.). Since we know that we both want lobsters at the Normandie restaurant tonight, but were curious about the other dishes as well. And some of the dishes were also available at the buffet (the prime rib and duck, not lobster though); my hubby got a small thin piece of the prime rib (good) and I tried the duck (the best duck I ever had eaten, super tender and tasty), and we both got each a salad (their salad bar is really good with great selections).
We dressed up nicely (dress-night); me with long pretty dress and hobby in suit, and we headed to the Normandie restaurant for our true dinner 8:40pm. We got our own table, and we started our appetizers, we both got pumpkin soup (it was okay), baby spinach salad and fruit mix (nothing special). For the main course, we both got lobster and three big shrimps with one broccoli and a bit of mashed potatoes; it was pretty good (the lobster was actually not overcooked and the shrimps were good and crunchy). For desserts, hubby got tropical fruits plat and I got Cherries Ice Cream and on other;dessert with Danish Bleu and fruits; I ate two spoons of ice cream (too sweet) and only ate the fruits on the other plate and took a few bits of the cheese.
After the dinner, we went around to take picture of ourselves in different places. Then we went to the Taj Mahal Show lounge to watch the Showtime at 10:30pm and the Rated R Comedy for adults only at 11:45pm; the show time was much better than the other night (the theme was;Around the World, dancers in cool and pretty costumes meditated different countries and danced to their traditional dances. The comedy show ended at 12:15am. We were planning to go to the;Michael Jackson Tribute Hours at Beauties Disco, but when we got back to our cabin to change for some more comfortable clothes, we realized that we both were pretty tired and decided to skip the disco. We relaxed and watched TV and went to sleep at around 3am.
06/06/2014 - 09:44 PM CST
Woke up at 1 pm and 40 minutes later, went for lunch at Mermaid's Grille buffet; we both got a big salad, and got some roast lamb, some vegetarian Indian food and a little bit of not so good Chinese dishes (once again, not sure why we keep trying and hoping that it'll get better, I guess). After lunch, we went to play mini golf (played it twice) and played 3 ping pong matches- I lost 1 to 2 to hobby
At around 4:20pm, we went to the Taj Mahal show lounge to join the private party for Past guests only, but we forgot to bring the invitation cards with us, so hubby had to get back to the cabin to get the invitation cards to get in. The party started at 4:30pm but there were already so many people waiting in lines to get in; at the party, we got all kinds of cocktail/wine drinks of your choice and hors'dourves, and all are complementary. At the party, there were live music and some people went on stage and dance. Then the cruise director came out say hi and called the raffle winner who got free dinner at David's Steakhouse for two (value of $60).
We went back to our cabin at around 5:30pm and took some picture of the sunset; hubby took a video of the sun setting; so beautiful. Afterward, hubby went to online from his laptop to check some work, and I relaxed and watched some TV while writing my daily journal. Tonight, we'd be eating at the David's Steakhouse at 6:30pm; earlier we accidentally saw the stair way to the restaurant which was see-through where you can look down from 9th floor (I got a chill when I walk up and down on the stairs while looking down, realized how high up I was).
Just finished our dinner at David's Steakhouse; 2 1/2 hours dining is a bit to long for us. We started out with two tiny samples with Beef tartar and some kinder cream potatoes soup (complementary from the chef) which was pretty good. I liked the soup sample but wasn't a big fan of the beef tartar; I don't like to eat raw meat. Then they brought out the two types of tomatoes and herbs spreads and butter for our bread of choice; they brought a small basket with three types of bread (we both picked the buttery bread with rosemary flavor). Short after we got our Tuna tartar and escargot; the tuna was light on the taste, didn't have much flavor. However, the escargot was good and their presentation was original with this escargot dish - they had a small cold creamy soup bowl with one snail in it (it was good) and on the same plate there were five snails inside these tiny bread bowls with two of them had potatoes ships on top which was a very cute and different way of serving escargot (very tasty too).
After finishing our starters, we continued our meal with a baby spinach with bacon + mushroom, and I got the;Sliced, Sun-ripped Beef Steak Tomatoes - it was so good, there was goat cheese and thin sliced of red onion on top of the medium sliced of these giant tomatoes with olive oil as dressing and it was so good, the tomatoes was very juicy and meaty (no wonder they call it Beef steak tomatoes Then we got our main course. Hubby got the sea bass dish which came with a side dish of his choice of steam broccoli, and on his plate there were also these small olives and grape fruit and few of the sauted mushroom and they were all on top of the green art brushed line with avocado sauce; they decorated the sea bass by having two medium size cube of the fish with spinach leaves and placed each fish cubes on each corner of the place the plate was big and square. The sea bass was cooked perfectly. I got the Surf & Turf dish with lobster and filet mignon (both were cooked perfectly), and my side dish was sauted wild mushroom which was very good; I picked the mushroom sauce for my filet mignon, but the sauce had a bit of bitter taste (didn't like it that much).
Everything was very good (excellent food, presentation and service) until we finished our main course. Even though they did indicate that it'd be a two hours of dining experience, but we didn't like the fact that we had to wait for 30 minutes or more to clear out our main course plates. We then waited at least for another 35 minutes to receive the dessert menu and another 15 minutes to get the dessert orders taken, though we got our desserts in within 5 minutes or so. Waiting for over an hour to get the desserts was absolutely ridicules and annoying; we didn't like how they totally ignored us, and we were not the only ones, the other two tables where people dining at the same time as us, went through the same pain. Another negative thing about the restaurant was that we were seated right next to the kitchen which became more and more noisy and smoky/smelly (our clothes got all smelly) due to the high in the demand of orders - some people might enjoy sitting next to the kitchen, but we didn't appreciate it. It supposed to be a quite and classy dining experience. Besides the noise and smoke from the kitchen, we were a bit unlucky to have a table of four next to us with people talking and laughing really loud. Not to sound bitchy with a classy restaurant, you'd expect the atmosphere to be nice and quite with low music playing in the background, right!? Over all, everything was okay due to the great starting part of the dining and they DO have good food, but you just have to expect to spend at least 2 hours at the restaurant; enjoying the quality time with your love ones or friends after finishing the meal is different from having to wait for your desserts over 1 hour is just ridicules which we would consider it to be bad service.
We left the restaurant at around 9pm and went back to our cabin, and I was relaxing and writing my journal. We headed to Taj Mahal lounge at 10:30pm to watch the ventriloquism show with Jerry Goodspeed. The show was great; the guy was really good; he did three characteristics (old man, old lady and a young black guy). The old characteristics ended up with dating each other....hahahaha that was pretty funny. The most amazing part of the whole show (at least for me) was that the ventriloquist did two different voice tunes when the old couple sang together. The entire show was really awesome; the conversations/jokes were hilarious. We both like the show a lot. That is it. Need to sleep early tonight since we have to wake up at 7am tomorrow for the Kennedy Space Center excursion in Port Canaveral, Orlando.
06/06/2014 - 09:47 PM CST
Kennedy Space Center in Port Canaveral
We made a schedule for a wake-up call early this morning. We woke up at 6:45am and ordered room service from the night before to have our breakfast at 7am. While we were eating our breakfast, we watched the channel with the cruise director giving an announcement about the rules of taking food from the cruise ship - people are prohibited to bring food from the ship (there will be a fine if find any food in passengers" bags, and they did check most of the bags at the security line).
We started our tour at 8am and were driven in a big bus to the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) with a friendly and elderly guide. When we got there, we started out with watching the iMax movie for about 40 minutes. Then we walked around with the tour guide whom feed us the information while we were talking pictures. Though at one point, we ran very behind and lost the group, so we just went with the KSC tour buses to get to the three different tour destinations: LC-39 Observation Gantry, Apollo/Saturn V Center, and last to the International Space Station Center. After that, we got back to the main KSC walked further around to take more pictures " we went one building to another.
If you get a chance to go to the KSC, we highly recommend you to check out the Shuttle Launch Experience where you can experience the sights, sounds, feelings and excitement of a vertical launch in the world's most complex vehicle ("space ship"). At first, we thought it would be a rough ride - two from our group got cold feet by hearing these friendly warning of the ride might be rough but turned out it was nothing. After the "space ship" ride, wanted to watch the 45 minutes iMax movie number 2 at 2pm but didn't make since we were late by a couple minutes (once the doors are closed, they wouldn't let people get in), and we didn't have time to watch the next iMax show since we had to leave there at 3pm.
When we got back to our ship's docking location, we had to show our Carnival cards with our photo ID, and at the ship's entrance we got our carnival cards scanned to get back on the ship - we also had to go through the security check. After we got inside the ship, we went to our cabin to drop of our stuff and since we were starving, we went straight to the Mermaid Grille/buffet. Unfortunately the buffet was closed 20 minutes before we got there and the only choices we had left were the pizza bar (opens 24 hours) and the outdoor grill served burgers and hot dog- not exactly our preferences! But we were too hungry to be picky, so we each got a slide of vegetables and meatballs pan pizza which weren't good. So we decided to check out the outdoor grill and got grill chicken as chicken burgers with some fries. While we were eating, we heard the announcement of something special would happen at the lobby. So we went there after finished out meal, but turned out that there was a small Hanukkah celebration for a small group of people (mostly old people). They were serving the fruits, bread, these tiny crepes and Jewish red wine with a nice sweet taste " yes, we did try two of those tiny crepes and got to taste the wine as well.
Hubby wanted to get more internet minutes, so we went to the internet cafe; he told me that they have a promotion free extra minutes with a recipe of one on-board purchase (including excursions, at least it worked for us). Forgot to mention, on our way to the internet cafe, we stopped at the sushi bar and got each three pieces of complementary sushi just before we headed to the internet cafe- not that good. After we got back to our cabin, hubby did some work and I started writing my daily journal but only for 40 minutes or so, I felt sleepy and took a nap for about half an hour and continued on my writing. Then hubby got sleepy and decided to take a nap too - our day started out pretty early today and did LOTS of walking!
We ate our dinner at 9pm at the Normandie restaurant. I got two starters (the smoked duck with fresh oranges and the baby spinach salad with Portobello mushroom, bacon and blue cheese dressing). Hubby got as well two starters - beef tender lion on sticks with Asian noodles, and the same spinach salad. After the dinner, we went to the buffet to get some hot tea and grape so fruits and shared a Chocolate Cream dessert (we didn't get any dessert at the restaurant). Then we went to the Taj Mahal lounge to watch the show. Mostly they had the same show runs twice a day, but today they only had one show. So we figured that it would be extra crowed thus we went to the lounge earlier than usual. Tonight show was jazz dance show (called: "Jazzin") with many interesting costumes " the theme was the jazz music from back to the 50's to 2000's. Tonight after watching the show, we came to conclusion that the Norwegian cruise line have better entertainment " they seems to have more that the famous performers, better looking and better dancers as well. We didn't like the two Carnival singers that much. The female singer has a good voice, but sometimes her voice was way too loud " it felt like she streamed into ones ears. The male singer wasn't the most charming guy nor had the best voice.
We got back to our cabin and did some work, then we went to Today's special event with Mexican buffet opened at 11:30pm, and yes, we went " sick.....I know. And we were definitely not alone - there were A LOT of people. We got stuff from the salad bar. I liked the octopus ceviche, sour flavored cold noodles and some fruits and all were good " hubby got similar stuff. Then we got some hard and soft tacos and others, but most were too salty and didn't taste that great " we only took few bits of each dish from the plate we shared. To continue indulging our midnight snacks, we went to get some desserts: thin slice of chocolate cake (only took few bits of the cake since it was a bit too sweet), but the flan and the cur-roses that we got were so good " the flan silky and creamy good yet not to sweet, and the cur-roses were not too sweet neither and they were soft and warm that came with a some kinder cream sugar sauce....yummm!!
It was around 12:40 am when we left the buffet with some hot tea on our way back to the cabin " we could feel a bit of vibration/rocking inside the ship due to the windy and rainy outside plus the ship was going pretty fast too to reach the next destination: Nassau, Bahamas tomorrow. It's now 2am and I'm so ready to go to bed; we'll have a city tour in Nassau tomorrow from 1pm to 3pm.
06/06/2014 - 09:48 PM CST
We woke up at 11am with a magnificent of view of the Nassau island right in front of our balcony; it's like looking at a post card, absolutely beautiful (this part of the island was a bit away from the center of the city, so it had more of a tropical feel). We had an Ardastra Gardens & City Tour for 2 hours - we ate some lunch before we left the ship. We were 5 minutes late when we were trying to find our tour group and in the paper that indicated to meet them at the port area. Normally you'd expect someone to hold up a sign of the name of the company or the tour group, but there was no where to find, so we went around and had to go all the way to the down town pier (very confusing). After we could fine anyone with a sign that we were supposed to look for, we went to the service center near by and got a worker to help us out who brought us to the right location. However, the shuttle was full with people so we had to wait for the next tour, and 5 minutes later, we had a taxi driver to give us the tour. But after we left for a couple of miles away the driver was asked to turn back to pick up two more people, and these guys weren't happy since they had been look around for the tour group for about one hour (we searched around for about 15 minutes).
On our way to the first destination, we noticed that they drove on the left and the streets were so narrow with lots of cars; the drivers seem to hook a lot. We arrived to our first destination at Fort Fincastle, the historical monuments of the Bahamas. They built this area for country defense but never got to use its purpose; there where a lot of underground rooms. Then we went to the second destination at the Ardastra Gardens where we first watched the Flamingo show at around 2:10pm - the birds weren't really forming nor did any tricks other than just being chased by the trainer to go to guided the directions for about 20 minutes, and after that we walked around in the garden to take pictures of different types of animals; lots of different kind birds, goats, rabbits etc.
After we got back to the cabin at around 6:40pm, and we went to the Normandie restaurant right after we dropped off our stuff, but the restaurant was so busy. So we decided to go to the buffet instead, and here we got some salad and some pieces of smoke salad sushi; on top of that we got a little bit of fried rice, stir fry shrimp, beef and vegetables, and steam vegetables. Hubby got himself a small of bowl of mushroom soup which tasted a bit like light gravy. After our meal, hubby had a men facial (complementary from the raffle) at 8pm, and I got some hot tea for us and brought it our cabin and just chilled out and watched TV. We then just chilled out until 9ish and went to the Normadie restaurant for dinner. We went to the Darren Sanders comedy show at 10:30pm; they flow him to Bahamas from North Carolina. After the show we went to buffet to get some tea, fund out that the midnight snack buffet was opened so we got a little bit of food. Then we went to the Beauties Club to check it out but surprisingly there wasn't much going on, so we jut went back to our cabin and before our bed time we purchase our excursion for the next day in Freeport, Bahamas - we as well ordered room service for breakfast.
06/06/2014 - 09:49 PM CST
We woke up at 7am (our excursion started at 8:45am) and our room service came at 7:15am. It seemed to be pretty cloudy and sure enough, we got announcement from the cruise director that the windy weather would be too dangerous for us to port at Freeport which meant no excursion. Hubby ate the breakfast and I checked out the weather from the balcony (very windy and the waves were strong), then both of us went back to sleep until noon. We went to Normandie restaurant for lunch, and after that we walked around a bit, since the ship was getting rocky and I got a little sea sick; I got sea sick medication from the service desk. I didn't feel too good, so we hung out a lot in our cabin - we both took a long nap. We woke up and we headed to the buffet for pre-dinner at 6ish, then we walked around the ship and checked out the Ice Sculpture Martini (they made the orders of different types of martini drinks by pouring the ingredients into the ice sculpture.)
I wasn't feeling too good from the seasickness, so we went back to our cabin, though we were planning to go to tonight dancing show at 8:45pm. As we were about to get ready, we got an announcement from the cruise director saying that they were unable to do the dancing show due to the rocky motions which would be too dangerous for the dancers to perform. However, they had an extra comedy show at 10pm, plus the adult comedy show at 11pm and all took place at the Taj Mahal lounge; the comedian shows were better today. After the show, we planned to go to the Michael Jackson Dancing Time at the Beauties Club, but once we got back to change clothes, we got lazy and decided to stay in the cabin.
Today, we felt like there wasn't much to do, or maybe I was too sick that just ruined my day. This cruise is our 5th cruise and it never had been this bad with the rocky movements; never felt this sick on a ship
06/06/2014 - 09:50 PM CST
Today would be our last full day on the cruise. We woke up at 1pm and went for lunch at the buffet in the Mermaid's Grille, and there were so many people. At the buffet, they had Southern American food and Chinese dishes; once again, the food was ok. We went to our cabin, but left for the Christmas Show in the Taj Mahal lounge at 3:30pm; that was really nice with singers and dancers performing and the great part was that they let the passenger kids to join them on stage singing. Later on, Santa came on stage for the kids to make wishes. We then once again went back to the cabin but left soon after for the Farewell Party where they offered free drinks (we got three drinks with one that was non-alcohol) for costumers and live music; then some kids and adults (mostly kids) on stage and dance. We left there about half an hour later and went around the ship and went shopping, bought some albums. I left back to the cabin and hubby came to check out the video game room and he was back half an hour later.
Since they would be picking up the luggage by midnight (kinder early, normally other cruises have the luggage picked up around 2am or so at the latest); they'd have the luggage ready for us at the ship terminal tomorrow. So I started packing, but we didn't put them out right away. Instead, we both took a nap, and at 8ish we left to the Normandie restaurant for dinner, but short after hubby got too sick - the ship was getting rocky again, and I bought his got seasickness but he thought maybe he got food poisoning (either way he throw up a lot when he got back to the cabin). He went first to the cabin, so I brought our main dishes to our cabin and maybe he would eat some later (we only took a few bits of the appetizers). He took some stomach acid medication while I went up to the buffet to get some hot tea. It seemed like that some other people got sick too; I saw a guy from the elevator who was sitting few tables from us in the restaurant seems to have sea sick or something (he didn't look to good neither; and surprisingly the buffet was almost empty). Anyhow, once I got back with the tea, I started to eat a bit (ate hen and steam broccoli and it was pretty good), but hubby just went to sleep. Then I just watched some TV.
Hubby woke up at around 10pm and he felt better, so we got ready for the Finale Show at 1030pm in the Taj Mahal lounge. Tonight they had the celebrity impressionists who all were cruise passengers; they performed on stage, and some of the impressionists had the dancers to dance in the background. At one time, the cruise director dressed like a woman and had fun on the stage, totally hilarious. After the show we went back to the cabin and put out our luggage in front the cabin. As we didn't get to eat much (especially hubby), we tried to finished the food I brought from the restaurant, but it was cold and only ate a bit of it. We decided to go to the buffet for the midnight snacks, and quit of few people had the same thought. Hubby was getting really hungry and got himself a slice of grill chicken, French fries, mushrooms, grill onion, 1 slides of pizza with one banana and an orange. I ate 1 slice pizza, few mushroom and French fries and an orange; we both got some hot green tea.
06/06/2014 - 09:51 PM CST
We woke up at 8:20 am and went out to the balcony to check out the view; it was really cold with thick layer of snow everywhere in Baltimore. We then went to the buffet to get our breakfast and brought the food to our cabin; it was super crowed at the buffet. After we finished out breakfast, we took some pictures on the balcony. We left our cabin for good at 10ish (the cruise wanted to clean up the rooms as soon as possible for the next group of passengers.) We got a group number 9 from the night before, so we had to wait for our call. It took a while before we could get off the ship since they let who people brought out the luggage on their own. We finally got off the ship at 11ish, and then we got in line for a taxi (it was kinder interesting that you have to wait in line to get a taxi, normally I only see the reverse). Good thing though that the taxi rate was a $30 flat fee from the ship port terminal to the airport (it wasn't flat rate when we took the taxi from air port to the ship terminal, maybe there is but we didn't get to the right one!?).
We got to the air port around 12:50 pm and our flight wasn't until 6ish, so we couldn't check in our luggage until 2:30pm (Southwest airline luggage check-in policy: can't check in the luggage if more than 4 hours before flight time). So we had to wait with the luggage check in, but that wasn't the worst. When we were able to check in the luggage, we had to go this extremely strong line that I honest had never seen in my live, but good thing the line moved pretty fast. We checked in the luggage about 35 minutest later and as well have to go through on order long line to the security point (now I know how so many people have to go through every year with their travelling in the holidays season).
06/06/2014 - 09:53 PM CST
Overall we had an okay vacation on the Cruise Pride. The ship provided the general services and fun activities like any other ships, but other than that nothing special. However my husband and I must say that their cruise director was one of the bests if not the best (great sense of humor and friendly). The Carnival Pride offered decent entertainment, but their food selection was small, and the quality of the food wasn't the best. They only had one main restaurant, a small buffet restaurant, and one upgraded restaurant (dine with extra fee).
Compared to other ships we had been on (including our first Carnival cruise on the Paradise), the Carnival Pride was the least interesting and least impressive. After this cruise, we both think the Norwegian Cruise line is overall better than the Carnival Cruise Line and we might not go with the Carnival cruise line any longer. We want to try other cruise lines on our next cruise trip, and we for sure would not go on the Carnival Pride again. If you plan on going on a cruise I'm not sure if I'd recommend Carnival Pride, especially going out from Baltimore during the midst of winter.
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