A great holiday cruise!
Carnival Pride Cruise Review to Caribbean - Eastern
This was our first cruise and we were a bit nervous but aside from being sea sick the first day at sea, we had an awesome time. Here's a breakdown:
Embarkation -- Standing in line for almost two hours was a real pain but we had no real issues here.
Cabin -- We got an extended balcony room and I can't recommend that enough! When everyone and their mother is on the lido deck, you can sit on your peaceful private balcony and watch the sunset and it is awesome. You can have room service bring your breakfast and enjoy it out there too! The decor of the cabin was surprisingly dated but the room was clean and the bed was comfortable.
Days at sea -- Sea sickness is no joke! I have spent a ton of time on boats without getting sick and assumed I'd be fine but boy is it different out in the open ocean! I was really happy to have backed "just in case" Dramamine.
There is plenty to do to pass the time while at sea and Carnival has a great app to help you plan your day and find your way around the ship, which was very confusing at first.
Grand Turk -- So convenient that you walk off the ship and are at the beach. The shops here are overpriced tourist traps but if you pass through them and walk down on the beach, you can jump right in the beautiful water. I recommend heading to the "GRAND TURK" side of the beach which was way less crowded and just as nice as the "WELCOME TO" side. You can have food and drink brought to you while you lounge in the shade under the huge palm trees, there's volleyball and a huge chess board, and a NASA exhibit. You might consider water shoes here as the sea floor is very rocky and my husband and I both cut our feet.
Half Moon Cay -- For this port, you have to use a tender boat to get to the island since it is too small for a big pier. This was a bit annoying in the morning when everyone was trying to go at the same time and even with the number system, it was still super crowded. As the day goes on, less people are coming and going and it's much less stressful. The beach here is awesome, the water is super clear, you can snorkel right there in the swimming area and see cool fish, there are a ton of activities all over the island, lunch is served in a huge awesome BBQ buffet, it's very clean, and there aren't pushy local vendors as this is a cruiseline-owned island.
Freeport -- Honestly, I would have rather skipped this stop all together and just headed home early. It's just a small strip mall in a shipping port full of pushy vendors selling the same ticky tacky crap (but at least the prices are relatively cheap aside from the random Harley Davidson store). To go and do anything beachy requires an expensive excursion or taking a taxi 20+ mins. We weren't feeling this and hung out mostly on the ship this day as it was a short stop and we got a chance to do the things that were normally too crowded (e.g., mini golf, basketball, hot tubbing, the water slides).
Food -- There are so many options for eating, it's crazy. The first night we went to the official dinner restaurant where you go at your assigned time. It was beautiful and the food was great but it literally took two hours for two people so we never went there again. The quality of the food at the buffets was just as good and allowed you to try all kinds of foods. My husband and I are both vegetarian and we always found plenty of yummy veg-friendly foods. There are a couple of restaurants where you can pay for fancier food but we never tried those as the buffets are included and are very good.
Casino -- I was really disappointed by this. Firstly because you can smoke in there which is a HUGE turn-off. I was shocked that there wasn't at least a non-smoking section. I'm not a hardcore gambler, I just like to play the slots, and the odds are stacked so hard against you that it's not even fun. At a normal casino you can sit and play for 20-30 mins with a $20 and you'll go up and lose some and have fun. These machines suck your money away without any bonus rounds and the fun is over in like 2 minutes. My husband is into roulette and cards and also didn't enjoy his time, though I can't explain why because those games make no sense to me. :)
Comedy club and stage shows -- We really wanted to go to a comedy show and tried FIVE TIMES and every time there was literally not a seat left it was so packed. So I guess that means they're good? If you can get in the door. The stage shows (by Playlist Productions) were surprisingly good with an impressive theatre (the Taj Mahal) with high tech audio visual and stage effects. The singers were often off-key and over-sang everything to death but it was still a good time.
Tipping -- Having never been on a cruise, we had no idea we were going to be charged $180 for gratuity at the end of the trip and had been tipping in cash. That was really aggravating so be sure to understand your cruise's tipping protocol beforehand!
Food and Dining
Service and Staff
Cabin / Stateroom
The extended balcony is awesome!