The good, the bad, and the really, really ugly.
Carnival Pride Cruise Review to Caribbean - Bahamas
First, let me say that I really WANTED to like Carnival. We had only ever cruised on Disney, but with my husband in a new job, he was unable to get the time off for our Disney Cruise. So, I pushed the DCL cruise up a year, and looked for an alternative cruise for my son and myself. The Pride sails from Baltimore, which is an hour drive from our home. This cruise was the same days as our DCL, with the added bonus of a stop in Port Canaveral, which would give me a day at WDW. My son has always wanted to go to Atlantis, so I booked this and was really excited to see a new ship and visit new ports. I organized a FB group, bought door decorations, Command Strips, Cruise Cash and booked our excursion to Atlantis. I also bought Faster to the Fun so we could board early, and counted down the days. On our embarkation day, my husband dropped us off at 10:30, as we had the FTTF. We sat in the terminal and met a really cool family that we ended up eating with just about every night. We sat and talked. And sat, and sat, and sat. And sat some more. We didn't board until about 12:45. Our cabin, 8207, was ready, so we decided to sit on the balcony for a few minutes....but our balcony was covered in paint chips. One look up showed that the paint was coming from the ceiling, which was a nasty mess of peeling paint.The ceiling on the balcony next to us was peeling apart, almost like it was wet cardboard, and there was some sort of general ickiness falling from that. I called Guest Services and asked to be moved, or to have the balcony cleaned. Moving was not an option as the boat was at capacity, but I was told the balcony would be cleaned. OK, great! I unpacked our day bag loving the three closets and drawers, even though they were showing some wear. The bathroom shelves were covered in dust, but I just whipped out my Lysol wipes and the problem was solved.
After we unpacked, up for a soda and a burger from Guys. Yummmy! These are some of the best burgers I have had in ages, and the sautéed mushrooms....heaven. During our seven days, we would discover that the food on Carnival is head and shoulders better than most of the food on DCL. Sadly, that is the only area in which they are even close to DCL. After lunch, we explored the ship. The teen club was empty, not even a crew member. Off to the video prize arcade, soon to be my son's favorite hangout on the ship. He checked out all the gamesand then, after I tore my son out, we headed back to the cabin, where I discovered that all of our bags were delivered, and that I had forgotten shampoo and conditioner. In my defense, DCL supplies spa level amenities, so I think it was some sort of mental block on my part. I decorated our door, and then we changed into our dress clothes for our dinner at David's. This was my son's birthday dinner, and I was so excited about it! This; however; was the beginning of the downfall of our Carnival experience. The waitress, whose name I have now blocked, seemed distracted, and more interested in the young men around us. Despite noting his birthday on the reservation, and mentioning it several times, we received nothing. Not a cupcake, no 'Happy Birthday ' song, nothing. Ok. No big deal. The food was AMAZING, and my son was thrilled with his steak. When the meal was over, I handed our waitress my Sign and Sail card, and off she went. For well over half an hour. My son wandered to the men's restroom, while I waited. And waited,And waited. She finally returned to tell me that she had lost my Sign and Sail card, but that she had spoken to her manager, who had called Guest Services who had voided the card and already had my new one ready. OK. Off to Guest Services to pick up my new card. And yeah, no one at GS had any clue what I was talking about. So I waited about 20 MORE minutes while they did what I was told had already been done. By this point, I was so furious that as soon as I had my new card I walked away. I was sure I would get a call from someone, with an apology, or something. A spa coupon, a box of candy, something. Yeah, nope. Nothing. After repeatedly calling GSand speaking to the manager at David's, who informed me she found out about the incident AFTER I left the restaurant, I was given a credit for one of the charges at David's. I was also told that Carnival doesn't 'compensate' for mistakes. Umm, pumpkin, this wasn't some spilled milk, this was your employee losing what amounts to my credit card, waiting 40 minutes to tell me, and then lying to me about how she handled it. Anyway, this new card/folio haunted me all week. Nearly every time I used my card, the crew member chose the old folio number, and would tell me loudly that there was a problem with my card. By the end of the cruise, I resorted to using my actual credit card.
As if this was not enough, our wait staff in the dining room seemed just as distracted. Our waiter served my son the wrong soup, and while this would normally be just annoying, the soup he served my son was peach soup, and my son is allergic to peaches. So that evening ended up with my son heavily sedated on Benadryl andme getting no sleep while I hovered over him with an EpiPen. Once I was sure he was OK, I went to GS to reduce the gratuity for our waitstaff. (Sorry, when you almost kill my child with your careless actions, I am not tipping you.) We ate the remaining meals at the table of the family we met while boarding, who were seated alone at an 8 top, as we were. (And yes, I gave that wait staff a tip in cash). That is the all the ugly..well almost, but since the rest was on debark day, I will save that.
The entertainment on the ship is amazing...the comedy shows, the trivia contests(I won the 80's music and movie music games, and have the ships on sticks to prove it) were lots of fun. Not fond of the casino, because of the cigarette smoke, but no big deal.
Nassau, and Atlantis, were the real reason for this trip, and that resort, and the mega watt smile on my son's face the entire day, are the only reason I gave the cruise two stars. OK, I also got a day in WDW, so I did get my Disney fix. We also met a ton of new friends, and my son and I spent a lot of quality time together. As our last day approached, I was sad to be leaving and ready to just let Carnival off the hook. And then I got my final bill. That showed I was being billed $210 despite only $250 of my $300 in Cruise Cash being applied. Mind you, this was at 8 AM and we had to vacate our room at 9. I called GS, and the rep said she would call me right back. Yeah, 30 minutes later, no call back. So I leave my son, head to GS and that is when it got REALLY, REALLY ugly. I will,spare the details, but the lowlight was the GS rep telling me "This is your fault because you lost your Sign and Sail card." That is when I flipped. Seriously. I did end up with a credit on my card for the unused Cruise Cash. My son and I were also OFF the ship by 9:25 AM. (Self assist). Oh, and did I mention that our balcony got cleaned? Yeah, on Friday afternoon.
Food and Dining
Service and Staff
Cabin / Stateroom