Carnival Pride by Nanatravel
February 23, 2002
This was our 11th cruise (third in a year) but very first time on Carnival. We have sailed with Celebrity, Royal Caribbean and Princess on primarily new ships built since 1993.
The Pride was beautiful, elegantly decorated with subdued decor in the cabins. All of the arrangements made by Carnival were great. Yes there is a lot of annoying vibration but we only felt it at the stern in the rear of the dining room when the ship is moving at 22 knots or more. If the speed was reduced to about 12 knots, no vibration. I spoke with a structural engineer on board (a fellow cruiser) and he explained that the narrowness at the point of the Apizoids (propulsion system) would cause the vibrations. Glasses, silverware and plates would clink together during our whole dining time. We were right there smack dab in the middle at the stern.
The ship, our cabin (Category 8i #8149), and the Mermaid's Lido buffet was fabulous with so much variety especially at lunch time and available a lot longer than other ships during the day. The gym and spa including jacuzzi were wonderful, the pools were great. The food was fine with plenty of selections in the main dining room. We really enjoyed the Mermaid's lido buffet area as it had numerous stations for different luncheon options or even fresh cooked omelets or eggs for breakfast. There was always something to eat in this area. The numerous pool areas were a nice option and we never had a problem finding a chair. The weather was not so good, but we made the most of it.
We went to Atlantis on Paradise Island, Nassau which was beautiful to explore; $4 taxi ride per person each way which included the toll. Even with all the security at Atlantis, I explored the majority of the property even out to the pyramid to take pictures of the water slides. The tour of the dig ($25 pp) was very informative and I did find the section of the hotel where we spent our 25th anniversary. None of the staff knew of this special "concierge section" where Merv Griffin used to have his penthouse. I found it! It was rainy at St. Thomas, so we just took a 3 hr.tour by taxi, which I wanted to do anyway of Drakes Seat and Mountain Top, and then shopped. It was nice on St. Martin and we spent a couple of hours at Dawn Beach where we had vacationed just before the last hurricane had devastated the island and demolished the resort where we stayed.
Entertainment was just OK. I have seen better shows and heard better entertainers on board ships. Some of the lounge acts had changed last week and they were not the greatest or the venue was put on at the wrong lounge at the wrong time. They had a nice classical music group playing before dinner at Raphael's lounge. That was the smoking room, which was right outside the main dining room. It got very congested and smoky and was not the correct atmosphere for this type of lovely music. You could hardly hear them play over the loud roar of the many people who congregated at this lounge/bar area. Most musical options were after dinner, so we did not have a lot of chance to enjoy them, as we would go to a show then retire. We did enjoy the Karaoke as it was actually good. Also, we enjoyed the Talent Show. It was not a competition but 6 talented guests who performed and then were interviewed by the CD, Troy Linton. That part of the show was really funny.
Carnival sent us a bottle of Champagne and chocolate covered strawberries were awaiting us in our cabin upon arrival. They also gave us an Inaugural copy of the Pride's hard cover book. Travel and all arrangements, which were made through Carnival by our TA were great. I would definitely do another Carnival cruise on a similar type of ship. The decor was beautiful, cabin bigger than others of the same type we have had, the buffet, pools, and gym/spa area was spectacular. There were lots of variety of lounges, just the musical venues were not great or timing the best. I did not notice a lot of country music only in the Atrium lounge. However, I noticed that there were limited musical/dancing opportunities before the 8:15 seating. Florentine, Starry night and Ivory Bar were good spots if the band or piano player was good, but usually they didn't have music before our seating. As mentioned, one extremely tall piano player could not carry a tune and he had his piano bar patron sounding even worse than he did. There was another piano player at the Ivory bar on the last night and he was very good.
The only negative was our dining room service. It was poor in comparison to all other cruises we have been on. Our servers were veteran experienced gentlemen, too. I have never felt so rushed in all of our 11 cruises and they were very impersonal. I even had a dish removed from in front of me when I was not finished! At lunch, when we dined in the Normandie, the assistant waiter was on duty (who had no other customers since you sit at your assigned tables at lunch on sea days), took our complete luncheon order including desert right away. I had to ask another server for some iced tea. Budi never returned or even asked my DH what he wanted to drink or if everything was OK during this lunch service. He would serve hot coffee from left to right in front of 2 people when he had plenty of room to move to the person's right as normal polite and safe service should be at a round table. We did not let that affect our total cruise at all. We really thought the ship was great. I would definitely try another similar class ship on Carnival someday. Of course, we had no control over the weather and made the best of each port.
I had no idea that there were over 300 kids on board. The Camp Carnival staff really kept them busy. Previously for the family, we would have chosen RCI. I think Carnival equals RCI's great family and children's program. You can rent walkie-talkies and they even are renting strollers on the new Pride. I always recommend that parents bring along those umbrella style strollers for those kids 4 and under, but now for just a mere $25 a week they can be rented. I truly think people of all ages and from all demographics will have a wonderful vacation experience on Carnival's new Pride.