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Rick

Age: 42

Occupation:Navy Officer

Number of Cruises: 1

Cruise Line: Carnival

Ship: Carnival Pride

Sailing Date: 2010-06-27

Itinerary: Bahamas

Our first cruise and it was an amazing experience. Celebrating our twins' high school graduation and our 20th anniversary, this was the a great choice and all four of us would do it again. The ship is wonderful, the staff was attentive and friendly and even the weather really cooperated.

Mermaids Grill (buffett) on deck nine was good. Food quality was good considering how much food. Think Golden Corral one steroids. Lot's of choices (pizza, asian, burgers/dogs, chicken and fish, etc.). The dessert bar had many choices and the daily rotation kept it interesting. Lines could be long sometimes, you just have to be patient. The 24hr pizza bar was a life-saver at 1am sometimes. Also this is where you can find 24/7 soft serve ice cream in several places.

Davids is the premium steakhouse and costs $30 per person. Well worth the money. 5-star service and food. I had lobster tails and crab cakes. Others had porterhouse, surf/turf, and the NY strip. The deserts were amazing. A 2 hr experience that I highly recommend for adults. Not sure I would bring kids here (under 16 or so). This is not a chicken strip and ketchup type of place.

Normandies is the sit-down restraurant. It was hit or miss for us. A couple of the breakfasts were really good, others were cold and not prepared as requested. Staff is very friendly. One morning, however I think we were in a black hole of service because after being seated we were not approached for 12 minutes. We left and went up to Mermaids (bufffet). We did the any-time dining vice a set time and never had to wait. We enjoyed not being tied to a specific eating time.

Did I mention 24/7 soft serve ice cream? Also room service was 24/7 but not the quality of the other food services. The menu is limited and the food wasn't that great. But having that pot of coffee delivered to the room at 8am every day was nice.

We splurged our our rooms. We had suites on the 5th deck (a Vista suite and an Ocean suite) and our balconies connected. WIth only 4 suites per deck, we knew were were spoiled. Lots of room, huge balconies, all granite and marble, jet bathtum and double vanity. ALso a separate area for make-up/hair. Flat screen TV's. We were always out on the balcony reading or just watching the ocean. Being at the very back of the ship and a view of our wake, we never had a wind even though it was 30 mph at times. AFter seeing some of the other staterooms, we are definately spoiled now.

The steward was great. Polite and hardworking. He had 26 staterooms to take care of, so he is a busy man. But he kept us pointed in the right direction and responded promptly to every request. Unsure of the tipping protocol since we had that pre-paid already, but I gave him a $100 bill anyway.

Lots to do and non-stop. The shows were exceptional. We won a trivia contest the first night so that was fun. There seemed to be alot for the kids, but ours are 18 so too old. We stayed busy though. Every evening you will get a program of activiities for the next day delivered to your stateroom. Use this to help plan the main parts of your day. Also the casino was very fun for us. This was the first time my boys could use a casino (18 onboard) and they had some fun playing blackjack and escpecially craps. THe casino staff was friendly, helpful and patient. And the boys WON! Each coming back a couple hundred bucks up.

My only neg comment on the activities would be I think the staff should somehow do a better job at communicating the appropiate age for the activities. There were a couple very awkward times when it was an R or PG13 show with sexual language and there would be twenty 8 year olds in the crowd.

In Port Canaveral we did the Kennedy Space Center. It was fun. We would not go back, but we are glad we did it once. We did not book through the ship, I used my military discount and got discounted tickets on the base. Using a previous reviewer's recommendation, we used "Spaceport Transportation" to get to/from the ship. THey were great. Picked us up right at the terminal and drove us to the entrance of KSC. Then were there waiting at the appointed time to return us. Cost $100 round trip.

In Nassau we did Atlantis resort. Crowded. 30-45 minute waits for some of the water slides. Expensive. $12 hot dogs, etc. We did not do the ship excursion which was $120 pp for 5 hours. We booked a room at an on-premisis resort for about $370. This gave us the armbands we needed to access the part, plus gave us a place to change and just relax for a few minutes. Taxi was $20 each way for the four of us. If we ever go to Nassau again, we will not go to Atlantis. Been there, done that, got the t-shirt ($28).

We were only in Freeport from 7am to 2pm. We booked a snorkeling trip (again not thru the ship) with Pat and Diana Snorkling via the web. They were great. Picked us up at the ship and returned us several hours later, well-fed and tired from swimming with the fishes on the reefs. The boat they used was big and had a fun water slide. A great trip that we were all very happy with. This was $46 pp includes the transportation to/from ship.

On the ship, I did the "behind the fun" tour which cost $95. For about 4 hours a group of 10 were provided a behind the scenes tour of all the different departments of the ship. As a career navy officer, I found this very interesting, albeit over-priced.

Embarkation. Since we stayed in a suite, we had VIP embarkation. After a long wait in the luggage line (in the car) we dropped off our luggage to a rude port of baltimore employee, self-parked ($100) and walked to the embark area. VIP was a snap. We were able to avoid the long lines and were taken to a small room and checked in while seated. We were then walked past all of the other lines and taken to the ship. VIP worked perfectly here.

Debarkation. Not so great. We were told to report to the Starry Lounge at a certain time to be escorted by a staff member directly to the gangway. That staff member never showed so we actually lost time and then still had to wait with lots of other folks.

Okay, I understand this seem's whiney and elitest. But in fairness, we paid twice and in some cases three times what other guests paid in order to get a little better service. It worked fine during embark, not so much at debark.

Parking lot was easy to access and leave from. Traffic was easy.

Overall a great trip. We would recommend Carnival to anyone and will cruise with them again. We are going to try some other cruiselines in order to compare, but are still very happy with Carnival Pride.

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