by Michael Thruman
January 9, 2002
This was a great short cruise. My wife and I (ages 29 and 31) were able to do this same exact cruise in October, 2000 when the Carnival Victory entered service. We have also sailed on the Fascination, Inspiration, Carnival Destiny, and Elation for 7 day voyages. Later this month we will be sailing on the Paradise. We really enjoy the product that Carnival offers and feel that it is a great vacation for the money. I won't go into great detail describing the Pride, the Finelli's did a terrific job in their review. Instead I will simply replay some of the observations that I made during the 3 days we sailed on her.
We had cabin 4182, which is a standard catagory 8 balcony on the port side of the ship. This cabin sleeps 4, with 2 single beds, a sleeper sofa, and another bed that lowers from a recess in the ceiling. One thing that I immediately noticed was that the cabin has an actual THERMOSTAT DIAL to control cabin temperature! Those of you familiar with the older style of AC control on the Carnival ships will really like this feature. The bathroom was well equipped, and water temperature and pressure was great. There is still a heavy chlorine taste to the water. The amenities basket included one BIC razor, sample sizes of SOFTSOAP shower gel and CLAIROL shampoo, men's JOOP! and women's MANIFESTO cologne, and a few CREMESAVERS candy thrown in as well. THe shower also contained a shampoo and shower gel dispenser, as well as the usual bar of soap. There was one 110 volt outlet in the cabin, I'm glad I packed my multi-strip. Upon opening one of the drawers, we discovered a hard-wired hair dryer inside. Another surprise was a refrigerated mini-bar with assorted drinks and snacks (for a fee plus 15 percent restocking charge). The cabin television featured first-run movies daily, as well as beamed in ABC, NBC, and CBS from New York and Nashville. Also available were pay per view movies (just like a hotel), and the Kathie-Lee infomercial channel rolls 24 hours a day. (AAARRGH!!) You can book shore excursions and check you sail and sigh balance as well. A few more channels include forward and aft cameras, and a navagational map with the ship's position.
We ate all of our evening meals in the Normandie Restaurant, and all were excellent. Entrees that I had included New York sirloin, lobster tail, and prime rib. During breakfast and lunch we ate in the Mermaid's Grille. This was generally good as well, although some selections were a little on the "cafeteria" scale of quality. The pizza was great, as was the salad and pasta bars. I didn't try the sushi, but was told that it was good. On the first day, the David's Supper Club staff had some of their selections on display and were taking reservations.It didn't appear that David's was very popular on this voyage, based on the number of empty tables I observed when passing by. We ordered room service one time. It took approx. 10 minutes to receive the knock at our door, not too shabby! For those interested, a domestic beer (a.k.a. Budweiser) cost 3.74 including gratuitiy.
I can't comment on it all, because we only saw the two main shows. Both these were very well done. We saw "VROOM" on a previous cruise, but this was a different version and it was great. We pooped out before the midnight comedian came on both times, RATS! There was live music being performed everywhere, and it was all good.
I'll be brief. In a word, excellent! One person that stood out was our assistant waiter Jelena. She made our dining experience all the better. We supplemented her pre-paid gratuity with some cash as well as a pre-paid calling card in which she was truly pleased to receive.
Our debarkation had the potential to be very quick. There wasn't the usual repeating pages for people to report to immigration, or any other delays of that nature. They let passengers off according to luggag tag color, and naturally ours was the last color to be called. We left the ship around 11:30 AM. We later found out by a dockside employee that the main delay was that a passengers's bag was searched and a pair of brass knuckles were found. This caused US customs to lock down the ship until this passenger could be located and dealt with.
I'll close with some misc. observations that I made during this qiuck three days. One thing that stands out in my mind was this reoccuring phenomenon: SHOCKS! You will notice that in the passenger cabin hallways there are aluminum handrails. Myself, along with other passengers, noticed that if you touch this handrail while walking down the hallway, you will get zapped by static electricity! ALL THE TIME!! I finally wised up and quit touching the rail, but if you walk too close it will zap your arm! The first time this happens to you, you will remember my warning! We used one of the launderttes during our "fun day at sea". 75 cents a load each for the washer and dryer, and the sundries are available in a vending machine for 50 cents. We never tried the internet cafe, but it seemed well equipped with DELL computers. They had a free use "happy hour" on the first day, but the satellite was down during the entire time. It miraculously came back online after the happy hour was over. There are now TRAYS in the lido dining area, and heavy china plates have replaced the usual plastic ones. Gone are the standard issue brown plastic drinking glasses, in their place are colorful green, yellow, and blue plastic tumblers and coffee cups. The elevators arrived almost instantly when called. I'm not exagerrating here. We waited no longer than 10 to 15 seconds for a car. The gift shops were well stocked with something for everyone. They offered a lot of "inaugural season" logoed clothing, which we purchased.
The artwork on this ship is really beautiful. Let me add that that there is an emphasis on tasteful nudity in the ship's adornments, culminating with the lifesize statue of Michelangelo's "David", complete with his uncircumsized manhood looming above you as you ascend the spiral staircase to his supper club! Those passengers with pre-adolescent boys might like to be prepared for this! (wink!) Also, there is glass sculpture everywhere on the ship, and it is striking as well. Shortly after leaving Nassau on Friday morning, we were strafed by the Fantasy steaming the other direction, with her horns blaring and passengers cheering. It was a sight to see!
So now it's back to cold Illinois, and now I have the chore of opening my week-long pile of mail. It's mostly bills. And the latest issue of Currents. Bon Voyage!