Cruisin’ on Carnival

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I recently cruised on the Carnival Pride from Baltimore with a girlfriend from high school. Baltimore is about 45 minutes from home, so no flying was necessary, which was awesome. I just needed a ride to and from the cruise terminal.

The itinerary:

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Sunday:                 4:00 p.m. set sail (under very dark clouds and later thunderstorms)

Monday:                At Sea

Tuesday:                At Sea

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Wednesday:          Grand Turk (Turks & Caicos) from 8:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Thursday:              Half Moon Cay (Private Island) from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

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My favorite snorkeling photo ever from Freeport

Friday:                   Freeport, Bahamas from 7:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Saturday:               At Sea

Sunday:                9:00 a.m. arrival in Baltimore

(I did not bring my big DSLR camera on this trip.  I brought my iPhone 5 and a Fujifilm XP point and shoot camera that you can also use underwater when snorkeling.  I have had my Fujifilm camera since about 2010 or so.  Now these cameras have wi-fi capabilities so you can load photos right from the camera to your phone or computer immediately.  Very cool.)

We were in cabin 7157, which was a nice cabin. We had an extended balcony and were far enough away from the elevators and stairs that we didn’t hear any noise.  (I didn’t take photos of the room, but here is a link to our room, and a review from Deck Plan Genius.)  We had an extended balcony, which is 50% larger than other balconies.  That was a nice feature.

I love the entertainment on Carnival. There is always something fun going on, hence the name “The Fun Ship.”

The food was good, not the best I’ve had on other cruise lines, however; improvements over my last Carnival cruise out of Norfolk in 2013 include an awesome pizza station where each pie is made fresh to order (and is open 24 hours), and Guy’s Burger Bar, where you can fix your burger with any number of toppings, and the French fries are just like what you get at Five Guys (freshly cut potatoes deep fried to crispy brown goodness). Guy’s Burger Bar was on the Lido Deck and was open from 11 to 6.  I took very few food photos this trip.

We ate breakfast once in the main dining room, and were not impressed. The eggs Benedict were overcooked and the Hollandaise sauce did not resemble anything close to what I recognize as Hollandaise sauce. On the other days, we ate in the buffet. A large variety was provided, but the same offerings every day.

We also ate lunch in the buffet, which again, provided a large variety and different offerings every day. We tried a freshly made pizza (which was really good) and sampled a Guy burger, which was also very tasty.

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I dressed for dinner every night.

Dinner was in the main dining room, and we had the later seating, at 8:15 p.m. We were seated with four other ladies (a mother and daughter, and two best friends celebrating a milestone birthday), whom were so nice and we looked forward to seeing each other each evening to recall the events of the day. The food was good at dinner, and we got to choose from a wide assortment of options from a menu. There were different options every day on one side of the menu, and the same options on the other side. You could try items such as frog legs, or tongue, or stick to more traditional items like fried chicken, and meatloaf. Our table was at the back of the ship, and we had a window with a view of the ocean. That was cool.

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One thing that I noticed on this cruise compared to others: there were plenty of lounge chairs on the upper decks (poolside there was nothing to be found – those chairs were taken by 8:00 a.m. with towels, books, and beach wear taking up residence and surprisingly, no people around (and the same was true for the adult pool). All of the pools were packed with people and so was the hot tub, however; that’s to be expected on “at sea days.”

A few favorite things from this cruise:

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Friday Morning in Freeport: Towel animals all over the pool deck. It was SO cool!

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Mikey, the entertainer.

Renzo, the bartender from Lima, Peru (a place that is near and dear to me), who reminded me of Tom Cruise in the movie Cocktail. He had a part in one of the evening shows tossing around rum bottles and creating fabulous libations.

The room stewards and dining room stewards, as always, fabulous on every single cruise I have ever been on, regardless of cruise line.

A couple of things I wish were different:

The alcohol policy, which is pretty much the same on all cruise ships. Drinks are expensive and watered down, no other way to say it. You aren’t allowed to bring your own alcohol on board; however, if you can get away with it, I know some people have smuggled the contraband on board.

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Lunch at Half Moon Cay

We didn’t have much time in any of the ports, except for Half Moon Cay, Carnival’s private island, which was really beautiful. They have a full kitchen set up and cruise guests could get lunch and sit in shaded pavilions to eat. The facilities on the island were modern and clean.

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Other than that, I had a fabulous time, and look forward to going on another Carnival cruise in the future.

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