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Mitsugirly takes great PRIDE in bringing her Spring Break extreme review

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Hello all. This will be my April 5th-12th Spring Break review and pictorial from our Carnival Pride cruise to Grand Turk, Half Moon Cay and Freeport out of Baltimore. I hope you enjoy it.

 

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A little about "me" (us). I have been cruising since the 80's & 90's off and on and "full time" (hehe) since 2010. We try to take at least 2 cruises a year but have been fortunate enough to cruise 3 times last year and I'm hoping it will be the same for this year.

 

We normally cruise with NCL...I don't know, it was the first cruise line we ever cruised with and I kinda stuck to it with buying the future cruise certificates and getting great deals with the kids/family sail free specials. However, I tried Carnival for the first time in 2013 on the Dream and LOVED it!!! I vowed to do Carnival again in the future and I'm very sorry to say I am just now getting around to it again. Although this was only our 2nd Carnival cruise, once again, it will NOT be our last!!! The only other line I have been on is RC and that was back in the 90's. I hope to sail with them again, I just need a raise to do so...a huge raise. (wink wink).

 

So since this is my second Carnival cruise, I will not bore you with comparisons between the 2 lines (Carnival vs NCL) since I did that in my first review (located in my signature line) of the Dream. However, I will throw in a few things here and there with both lines when I feel the need. Fair enough?

 

I have been to many ports (some several times) in the Caribbean and hopefully have helped a lot of you cc people out with my detailed reviews, suggestions and answers on the ports of call sections. I try to be as detailed as possible and I'm a picture FREAK! I'm a visual person and have to see things in detail to get a better feel for what I'm looking at. I'm a research fanatic and will spend months and months reviewing, searching and asking questions over and over before making a decision. So many of you cc cruisers have helped me out in the past and I love to give back to the community as much as I can. I will not sway a person one way or the other but like to give MY honest opinion...and we all know that opinions are VERY different between people and just because I may or may not like something by no means determines whether or not you will be the same. I only give MY experiences and hope that you will dig deeper into whatever interest you.

 

Now, who I cruise with...normally (well always) the hubby and my 6 year old...wait NEWLY TURNED 7 YEAR OLD (this weekend) BIG GIRL, Sakari. Sometimes my oldest daughter (Kendra, now 26), her boyfriend and my grandson (Brayden, who is the same age as my youngest but 3 months apart) will join us. Then my youngest son (age 20) and his girlfriend (21) have joined us twice now. I have yet to get my oldest son (28) back on a cruise since he was a teen. Some day...

 

This cruise, it will be myself, hubby, Sakari, Kendra and grandson Brayden.

 

We (well truth be known, I) scoured the Internet for the perfect cruise to add to our "collection" for Sakari's Spring Break. I knew I had wanted to come back to Carnival and it was a task to find the perfect cruise. I knew I wanted to try different ports this time around as well. I'm hoping this year will be full of different ports than the past (I'll be doing my first Bermuda cruise in 45 days from now). After polling the people on here between 4 different ships....I picked a totally different ship than the 4 I had posted...thanks to, once again, wonderful suggestions from people on here. The Pride it was. After a lot of research and interrogation from everyone I could, I found that it came highly recommended, had just had the 2.0 updates, Dr Seuss, water works, Guys Burgers, Blue Iguana Cantina and looked fabulous!

 

Now...just throwing this out there...but this is the MOST EXPENSIVE cruise I have EVER taken...like ever!! Like 2 1/2 times the amount I normally pay for any cruise. However, with the Pride cruising out of Baltimore, I would save what I would normally pay in air flight and that was the way I was able to justify booking it...to the hubby at least. Also, the ports we would be visiting would basically be "free" ports and we wouldn't incur additional expenses with these ports if we didn't want to. Cha-ching, another point checked off in my direction. Hubby agreed, we booked. (Now that I have to pull too many strings for him to want to cruise again lol). However, I bragged a little too much to Kendra about this upcoming cruise that she worked and saved every dime she could...and booked it too. But this time, she left the bf at home and it was just her and my grandson this time around. Now anyone who has read my reviews in the past, know my grandson is...um, well...a little terror to say the least. Constant reminding and threatening does not go a long way with him. I love him to death, but man does he strike a nerve when he can. Just saying...

 

So the Pride was booked and the planning had begun and I will tell more about that during the review.

 

As you can all tell by now, I'm a little winded with my reviews. Yes they are long. Yes they have a lot of detail in them. Yes, they contain a lot of pictures. If you are not prepared for that or like the short and sweet reviews, this one is probably not for you.

 

However, I can say this is the first time I have started a review and have ALL my pictures picked out, done and hosted. So all I have to do is type and insert pictures. It should go a lot quicker than most of my reviews. I know how people can get a little anxious waiting for more. I'll try to do my best. Hey, I want this over with as soon as possible too so I can continue making plans for Bermuda. ;)

 

So let the fun begin...

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Yay! Sailing the Pride on May 31st and the more pictures the better! You can never have too many picture heavy reviews :)

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So here we are, cruise is booked, saving money by not having to spend about the same amount in air flight...and then the hubby starts to whine "I don't wanna drive...I'm spoiled...I wanna fly pleeeeaaassse." Then gives me that sad puppy dog face. It's only (according to google maps) a 6 1/2 hour drive from our house...which in reality means about 9 hours give or take because I'm worse than a child and have to "potty" every hour at least.

 

So I give in to his whimpers and start checking air flight. We discover that both the hubby and Sakari have enough points to fly for free! Well, I guess that pretty much made up (his) mind...we were flying. I would only have to purchase my ticket. Go me!

 

Fast forward to April 4th. It's time for our flight. I've been packing for the last month, hoping not to forget anything, meticulously separating all the items (a trick I learned on here in case any of our luggage was to get lost we'd still all have clothes) and then the night before, in 10 minutes tops, the hubby packs. You know like a scene from a game show where you are trying to beat everyone else's time. He won I tell ya. Although he didn't win in the thorough department...the man would go all week with no underwear if I left it up to him.

 

We had a 11am flight and we had Kendra with us (our cruise last May, she made us miss our flight and we spent the entire day, all 8 of us completely split up, trying to get to Florida for our cruise...she's never on time for anything). We are NOT morning people, so the later the better (and of course the cheaper the better). This gave us time to be able to function prior to arriving at the airport and time for any "delays" that might happen before leaving the house. This time my youngest son and his girlfriend would not be coming with us (baby on the way prevented it this time), so she was our designated chauffeur for the morning.

 

We arrived on time, checked in and Sakari was super happy. She loves flying and was even more excited to know it was only 1 plane this flight and only 1 hour long until we are there. Kendra arrived...let's just say "in time" after going past the exit to the airport (even though it's clearly stated several times along the freeway) and then having to turn around and head back...she finally made it.

 

Our flight was on time and away we headed down to board the plane. Sakari always insist on the window seat.

 

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The plane was pretty empty and we had our choice of seats. I don't think I have ever seen it this empty before...but I wasn't complaining.

 

She was excited as we took off.

 

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Then the excitement started to die....

 

Sniff sniff, does anyone else smell that? Seriously? Someone is transporting a farm animal on the plane! Is this aloud? There should be some unspoken rule about these type of things on a plane. The silent deadly types that should require the oxygen mask to automatically drop in circumstances like this. I couldn't wait for that hour long ride to be over with.

 

We are circling our downtown and headed to Baltimore.

 

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We arrived at noon, as scheduled and we were warned it was a little windy. Yes, yes it was. The plane was swaying back and forth and the hubby swore that the plane landed a little sideways and on 1 side of the wheels before the other hit. Either way, we landed safely and I was thankful.

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Once again, have to give credit where credit is due...

 

When searching for a hotel, it was suggested to look up Trinity Reservations. They have excellent hotel/park/fly/shuttle services. I'm just sorry I had not learned about them prior to now. They are wonderful and so cheap. You really can't beat the prices.

 

I really struggled over which hotel to pick. I had read terrible reviews on 2 of the hotels I wanted. There seem to be issues with the shuttle service. Since we were flying in, we needed a place that had some type of food within walking distance for dinner that night (even if it was fast food) and also a place (whether it be a gas station, grocery or pharmacy) to get pop (yes POP, I'm from the north, we call it pop...for all you southern "soda" people that don't understand-hehe) for the cruise.

 

Everyone suggested staying at the Best Western Elkridge, which seemed to be located around...n-o-t-h-i-n-g! Ugh. Perfect place, highly recommended, good reviews, but nothing close by.

 

I contacted the person at trinity and they gave me direct numbers to all of the places and the contacts he works with. That way I could ask all the questions I had directly to them and get the answers I needed first hand. I was very grateful for this. The first 2 places (with the no-so-good reviews) was Comfort Inn and Best Western. The issues with these places seem to be the shuttle service. The way things are done there are...you don't sign up for the shuttle service until THE DAY OF the cruise and you MUST be checked out of the hotel AND put on a waiting list. The other problem is that the airport people coming in and leaving take priority over the cruise ship people. So you may be sitting around and waiting for them before they can shuttle you. (There were reports of people waiting as long as 6-7 hours and not leaving the hotel until 2pm). The other issue is that the hotel waits until they received a call from the cruise port saying "we are letting people board now" before they'll even put you on the shuttle. Well, we had purchased FTTF, so that was unacceptable!

 

Now, time for the interrogation with BW Elkridge. You sign up for the shuttle when you arrive and check in. You can leave whenever you want. They have several shuttles as well and someone to drive you 24/7. Also, they informed me that there was a restaurant on the premises in the parking lot if we wanted to eat there AND they would shuttle us to the local mall at any time we wanted day or night. They also told us that there were plenty of places to eat there and also a Walmart for our "soda" needs. I think I found the place! Something told me this was a good decision and I'm 100% satisfied I chose it.

 

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So back to the airport.

 

We gathered our luggage and called the hotel for the shuttle at 12:25. The shuttle arrived at 12:39! Just 14 minutes later and we had our luggage in the shuttle, piled into the van and on our way at 12:41. Now that's service.

 

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We arrived and checked in quickly and the place looked great. You could tell it had just been remodeled.

 

 

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This is the area off to the side of the entrance and where they served the free hot breakfast the following morning.

 

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They also had lemon water you could get during the day.

 

There was a nice fireplace in the lobby.

 

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We did a quick check of the area and took a quick look at the indoor pool. This would come in handy with trying to entertain 2 kids during the rest of the day and it was still chilly outside.

 

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It also had a hot tub, which was good for us cold-natured people as well.

 

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We headed up to our room to check it out and drop off our luggage.

 

It was super nice, but like most places, we had 2 regular sized beds. I'm sorry, but I just can NOT sleep well in a regular sized bed. Maybe if I was the only one in the bed, but 2 people in a regular sized bed just makes for a bad night for me. I'm use to my king sized bed and I like to spread out. Put me in a normal bed and I'll have extremities hanging off the bed and sliding down. I just can't do it. This night would be no exception and I would not get much rest.

 

My goal in life is to remember to book a bigger bed in hotels from now on. I don't know what success I will have in finding them like that (with 2 beds in a room), but I'm going to attempt it!

 

The room was nicely decorated in a neutral tone and all dark wood.

 

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I did an immediate inspection of the room for any "critters"...you can't be too sure, even with a new room and I'm not about to take that chance.

 

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There was a small sitting area and table.

 

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A nice floor to ceiling mirror, which happened to be a closet behind it.

 

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The bathroom was a good size and very nicely decorated.

 

They left little sample sized shampoo, conditioner, lotion and so on. Normally I take these with me for "future use"...but somehow I discovered the last time I moved that the "future use" never seemed to happen. I was shocked to discover just how many of these "future use" trial sized bottles I had in the closet at home. I'm not sure why I have taken these in the past. If I haven't used them while I'm here, I probably won't use them when I'm home. They would remain on the sink for others to use this time around and this would be the end of my collection of trial sized goodies.

 

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However, I will say they had a little goody bag that consisted of a needle and thread, q-tips, nail file and something else that has escaped my mind...yep, I can (and did) put this to use and took it.

 

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The shower head worked great, nice flow (although not adjustable) and lots of warm/hot water.

 

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There was a refrigerator and microwave hidden in the dresser under the television. Great if you have something to put in it I guess.

 

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The hallway

 

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It didn't take us long before we headed back down to the desk and ask if we could go to the mall. Of course the kids wanted to go swimming, but the adults decided heading to the mall while it was still daylight out would be the best idea to get that done and over with for the day.

 

The driver immediately pulled up. Well that's service!!!

 

Now I have to tell you about this driver. I don't think I have ever rode in a shuttle for any hotel, or any taxi, or even the nascar wanna-be's in Cozumel that scared me as much as this driver did. He was crazy I'm telling ya. Slamming on breaks at the last minute, cutting over in lanes with no warning (for us or the driver next to him in the lane he was trying to get over in), almost missing an exit, and that last ride was a doosey! He slammed on the breaks so fast that I think it even scared him thinking he wasn't going to stop in time. I'm throwing up my hands across the kids and praying that not only he doesn't hit the car in front of us but that the unexpected driver behind us doesn't slam into us. Yes, tires squealing and the whole 9 yards as the saying goes. Yes, it was his fault...it's not like the traffic came to a dead stop. It was all him not paying attention. Anyone staying at this place, fear for your life if you driver is Nahmed! Just saying... Nice man, just scary.

 

We told Nahmed that we needed to go somewhere so that we could get pop for the cruise. "Um, what?" You know, SODA. He took us to Walmart. He was nice and ask if we were just running inside to get that and if we would be right out, he'd wait outside for us. He said he would pull somewhere out of the way and when he seen us, he would pull up and get us.

 

We hurried as fast as we could, but of course it's Easter weekend and it was a mad-dash, Wally World style to get all the left-overs on the shelf for the teeth rotting goodness for the precious munchkins in the family. The lines were long and every register was open. You had to rely on your motherly instincts to determine which line was going to move the quickest. Or course after 4 kids, you would think my motherly instincts would be superb, however, I'm normally 99.9% wrong in my choice of line. This would be no exception...."but I swear there was a sign saying this was on sale" arguments with the cashier line.

 

When we were done, we found Nahmed actually waiting right outside, blocking traffic, sitting in the pedestrian lane, as if he was the only one that existed out there. We climbed in, he abruptly pulled out from his privileged parking spot, cutting someone off as they tried to maneuver around him and off we went.

 

He told us that if we wanted to do some shopping at the mall, he would gladly take our "soda" back to the hotel for us so that we wouldn't have to lug it around in the mall with us. (We always bring a gym bag type bag, on wheels, with a retractile handle just for our pop to be put in). We were excited that we would be able to spend a little more time here and possibly get some lunch.

 

He dropped us off at one of the entrances and told us to remember where we are at and when we called for the return ride, we would need to tell them our "number" at the entrance. I had no idea why and would later find out.

 

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SO excited you have started your review!!!!:D:D:D

Between you and Jamman54, I have something GOOD to read.

Keep it coming!!!!:D

Sakari is getting SO big!!!

Cannot wait for more.....

Hope it was a great cruise!:D

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Into the mall we went...and went...and went...man this place was big. Kendra was on a hunt for a place called something 88. It took awhile, but we found it. I was on a hunt for some food. My sniffer was in full force at the time and I managed to locate the food court. It was pretty neat with plenty of options to choose from. It was all set up like a railroad train station.

 

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We decided on our food of choice, Chinese, and then wandered around trying to stake our claim in some prime real estate for lunch...well, actually any location, ok, the floor may have to do. AH! This place was packed!! What, everyone has to eat when they go to the mall? You don't have kitchens at home? Oh oh, there's a place, grab it. We got a 2 person table and Kendra snagged another 2 person table about 3 rows over. When the table beside us became available, she moved over. It's a dog eat dog world in the table snatching area of the food court at this place. By the time we were done eating, there was plenty of seats available. I guess we were just eating at the wrong time.

 

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While we ate, Kendra looked up information on the mall. DO YOU REALIZE IT'S LIKE 5 MILES LONG?? Or something like that she mumbled. I'm not sure where she got her information and it's hard to believe...even going in circles, but who knows. I know the place was HUGE and now I understand why the driver said we needed to pay attention to where we are being picked up at. I have to say I really loved the look of it though. It was not your "normal" shopping mall and the decor of things sticking out of the buildings inside were pretty neat.

 

When we were ready, we called the hotel at 4:11pm and was told the driver was "on their way". He arrives at 4:19pm!!! Seriously 8 minutes after I called. Now that's service!!! Very prompt.

 

Now some of you might be saying...how does she remember this stuff? Well, the way I keep track of things like this is I take a screen shot on my cell phone...which includes the time. :D You can never go wrong with your memory that way and it makes me look like I have the memory of an elephant.

 

The guy would came to pick us up at the mall was extremely nice and very talkative. He was pretty awesome and refreshing to talk to about the area (plus he had family from our place and we could relate). Very nice and a "good" driver to boot! I just wish I would have gotten his name.

 

We arrived back at the hotel and retrieved our luggage with our pop in it and headed up to the room to change for some pool fun.

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We put on our non-flattering bathing suits (speak for myself) and headed down to the pool and hot tub. There wasn't anyone there and we would pretty much have the entire place to ourself the entire time.

 

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The kids had a blast and I believe it was especially fun for my grandson Brayden. Sakari learn to swim a few months after her 3rd birthday, but Brayden hasn't really been around pools very much. When Kendra would bring him over to our house to swim, he always stayed in the "baby-pool" instead of the big pool learning to swim. Sakari does really well...as long as she has her goggles on because everyone knows that's what makes you swim right? Take those goggles off and she's like a fish out of water...or more like a cat in water. It's like she forgets everything she knows. She's always been a good swimmers as long as she swims with her head below the water. On top of the water with her head up...forget about it. Doggie paddle, forget about it. This year, Brayden has conquered his fears and has started to learn to swim a few feet. A lot of improvement and better than nothing (although I would not trust him without being right beside him).

 

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The place even had a sauna room, which I tried to use, but the coals would not heat up. Hmmm

 

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Hot tub fun for the family

 

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We decided we were all water logged after about 2 hours and it was time to head up to the room to relax for a bit. Kendra decided she was going to take a nap and we decided to watch a little bit of t.v. We found a really interesting show called "My cats from hell" and it was pretty hilarious to watch and a bit scary. LOL

 

As it started to get dark, we decided it was time for dinner. I called over to the place located on the parking lot premises of the hotel to find out they were open until 1am. It would be time to get ready for dinner.

 

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I called and woke Kendra up and we headed over.

 

We were promptly seated and there were several families in there, a few couples and plenty of people at the bar watching games on tv.

 

A selfie with the daughter while waiting on our drinks.

 

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The menu:

 

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I decided I wanted the pretzel burger...I love any sandwich that contains a pretzel. It was good.

 

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Kendra had a chicken sandwich and said it was "ok".

 

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Brayden had the penne and meat sauce noodles and fell asleep during the meal, so obviously it bored him.

 

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Daddy had the pizza (which he stated he was starving and he ate it, but really didn't care for it).

 

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And obviously Sakari didn't eat that night because I don't have a picture of her meal. Just kidding, no picture, but I can guarantee she had a cheeseburger.

 

For the 3 of us with all meals, we paid $35 plus tip, which I felt was a decent price for a sit down meal at somewhat of a restaurant. Our bellies were full and it served the purpose.

 

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What's a stained glass pub (the name of the place) without stained glass right?

 

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We headed back to our rooms and off to bed around 12 midnight.

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As predicted, I had a rough night in the too small for Mitsugirly bed. I tossed and turned, body parts falling out of bed, arms hitting the night stand kinda night. I had my alarm set for 8am, but was wide awake at 7:30am.

 

I headed outside to see what the weather was like and it was cool out. Rain was predicted the last time I had looked, but there was no rain in site.

 

We all got up and got ready for the free hot breakfast down stairs which consisted of the powdered mixed scrambled eggs, sausage (which I admit looked really weird and light in color but tasted decent), french toast (that looked even weirder than the sausage and tasted nasty), 3 different types of cereal, white and wheat toast with various jellies, bagels, mini muffins, milk, apple juice, orange juice and coffee. It wasn't the greatest breakfast, but it was enough to keep us tied over until we made to the Pride.

 

We headed back up to our room to wait until 10am (the designated time we had picked for our shuttle to take us to the port). Once it was a few minutes until 10, we headed downstairs to check out and the shuttle was already waiting for us. We were the only one's on the shuttle.

 

The excitement grew once we got close enough to lay our eyes on the Pride sitting in port. The day had come. We were about to meet her in person.

 

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Our shuttle pulled up and the porters took our luggage and loaded it up for us. At one point they grabbed my pop bag and I told them it was loaded with "soda" so I needed to take it with us. They told me we were more than welcome to check it in and have it delivered to our room. I know on our Dream cruise, we were told that we had to carry it with us (and it was the whole reason why we purchased the pull along small luggage for this). We went ahead and checked it and hoped for the best. I couldn't think of my room number off the top of my head, so Kendra gave them hers. I know one of the main reasons I purchased FTTF was fast access to our room in order to drop our soda off. It looks like it was not needed after all.

 

A quick tip to the porter and we walked over to the building only steps away. I'm use to the hustle and bustle of the Florida ports, but this was different. It was very calm and not very many people around. Maybe it was because we were so early. The cars that were parking were already lining up for the prime spot, but were not being aloud in yet.

 

We snapped a quick picture before we headed inside.

 

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There were no lines inside at security check in. We zoomed right inside.

 

We told them we had FTTF and they pointed us to "our line" to wait for our turn. There were maybe 10 families ahead of us. Kendra did not purchase FTTF since she actually snagged the very last OV room available on the cruise and it was too late to purchase FTTF. She was directed in the "other" line.

 

So...Kendra actually made it up to the counter way before we did. Hmmm. Yea, I wouldn't live that one down for awhile.

 

During check in we were informed they had a "new system" that just went into place. The person helping us was struggling a bit and it was pretty obvious that she was still in training or didn't know what she was doing. She had to keep asking the lady beside her what was next and "why is my computer doing this". Meanwhile, you could tell the lady 3 places down knew what she was doing and was having no issues. "Katie" was a super nice lady, just really didn't know what she was doing honestly. It was quite a long process getting checked in, she even had problems with taking our pictures. But, we were in no hurry and knew we would be waiting for awhile.

 

Once we were done, we seen the Easter bunny running around the place taking pictures with everyone. Sakari was excited and had her picture done.

 

We were directed to our FTTF chairs, which were directly across from the suite and VIP people. Directly beside us were the people who were none of the above...which included Kendra. They were only 2 rows behind us and beside us. She once again reminded me that we probably wasted money on the FTTF because she was going to bet me that she would get on the ship within minutes of us.

 

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Here we would continue to sit until noon. People on our roll call were posting selfies of themselves sitting in their chair while others were attempting to locate them. Hey, it passed the time by and was a little comical.

 

I of course headed off to buy a pop at $1.75 each.

 

Katie, our slow but very nice check-in person approached me and said that she forgot that, with their new system, they could now take gifts cards at check in. WOO HOO!!! Now I know I had been told that once you get on board to go to customer service to have any gift cards purchased applied to your account. This was going to save time and waiting in long lines doing this. I was happy. (I had mentioned to her how we had purchased a large amount of gift cards prior to the cruise to use for our sail and sign card).

 

I thought it was nice that she came back and found me in the crowd to tell me she'd be happy to apply those for me...off I went with her back to her station (this tells you how slow things were and it was not crowded at all).

 

She did have a few problems at first, and I actually helped her apply them. It was pretty much the same principal as applying them online with the Carnival site. I kinda walked her through the steps and she applied all 5 of them. She couldn't give me a print out and said she was having issues with the computer still. I told her it was probably waiting for her to complete all of the transaction and to try to print it out once she was done. Right once again....score a few points for me.

 

Back to my chair for a quick selfie with the fam prior to boarding. Now I was told by many on these boards that absolutely NO CELL PHONE USE in the port. I was even warned that this port is so strict with cell phone use and pictures that they will conviscate phones. I'm not sure what was going on, but absolutely nothing was said to anyone and everyone was on their phones, taking pictures...no issues at all. ???

 

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Our pre-boarding pic:

 

 

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Yay! Sailing the Pride on May 31st and the more pictures the better! You can never have too many picture heavy reviews :)

 

That's my philosophy exactly!

 

We love this ship and can't wait to read all about your adventure. Bring it on !

 

We loved her too! Bringing it. :D

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Looking at booking the Pride for next spring break so I am excited about this review!

 

 

Absolutely do it!! Loved it and it didn't even feel like spring break while on the ship.

 

 

Love your reviews. Can't wait for the rest :)

 

 

Why thank you. Glad you're here. :)

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I'm hoping you'll have this finished before we leave on Thursday night. If not, I'll have to finish it up when we get back from our B2B on the Valor. I love your reviews and look forward to the rest!

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I've stayed at that Best Western before, but obviously before the remodel. It looks great!

 

Always interested in your reviews since we have daughters about the same age.

 

Keep it comin'. You and jammin' are convincing me to try the Pride!

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I have been waiting for this one. I can't wait to read your review of HMC.

 

Aww thanks. I can't wait to tell you about HMC.

 

GREAT start!! Looking forward to reading your take on "our" cruise!! :D

 

 

Thanks Jamman. "We" had a great cruise didn't we? :D

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SO excited you have started your review!!!!

Between you and Jamman54, I have something GOOD to read.

Keep it coming!!!!

Sakari is getting SO big!!!

Cannot wait for more.....

Hope it was a great cruise!

 

We will give you more than enough to read that's for sure. :p

 

Glad you can join me in this adventure. :)

 

Great start, can't wait to read more! Thanks for putting the review together

 

You're very welcome and glad you have come to read it. :)

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I live 30 minutes from that outlet mall! That place is always crowded on the weekends.

 

It was a mad house, but a really neat mall.

 

Yay, it's here, now I have two reviews to read each night.

 

 

You are going to be very busy between the both of us. :D

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I'm hoping you'll have this finished before we leave on Thursday night. If not, I'll have to finish it up when we get back from our B2B on the Valor. I love your reviews and look forward to the rest!

 

 

I seriously doubt it will be finsihed by then. :( My reviews are pretty lenghty and with the amount of pictures I have to share, I can't see it happening within that time frame. :o I hope you have a wonderful cruise on the Valor. That was one of my 4 I had listed when I was trying to decide. I really wanted to go to Bonnaire and Aruba. Hopefully some day.

 

 

I've stayed at that Best Western before, but obviously before the remodel. It looks great!

 

Always interested in your reviews since we have daughters about the same age.

 

Keep it comin'. You and jammin' are convincing me to try the Pride!

 

We really loved the Best Western. We decided if we ever cruise out of Baltimore again, we will definitely be staying here.

 

I definitely recommend you trying the Pride. She was an awesome ship!

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Ok, going to stop for now. It's been a busy day and I'm tired. I will continue in the morning when I wake up before heading out to work. See you all then and thanks for joining me. :)

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I have been waiting for this. We are on the Pride at the end of August with my son(6) and my daughter(3). Can't wait to read the review from a mothers perspective!!!

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Hello all. This will be my April 5th-12th Spring Break review and pictorial from our Carnival Pride cruise to Grand Turk, Half Moon Cay and Freeport out of Baltimore. I hope you enjoy it.

 

P4060093%20copy-L.jpg

 

A little about "me" (us). I have been cruising since the 80's & 90's off and on and "full time" (hehe) since 2010. We try to take at least 2 cruises a year but have been fortunate enough to cruise 3 times last year and I'm hoping it will be the same for this year.

 

We normally cruise with NCL...I don't know, it was the first cruise line we ever cruised with and I kinda stuck to it with buying the future cruise certificates and getting great deals with the kids/family sail free specials. However, I tried Carnival for the first time in 2013 on the Dream and LOVED it!!! I vowed to do Carnival again in the future and I'm very sorry to say I am just now getting around to it again. Although this was only our 2nd Carnival cruise, once again, it will NOT be our last!!! The only other line I have been on is RC and that was back in the 90's. I hope to sail with them again, I just need a raise to do so...a huge raise. (wink wink).

 

So since this is my second Carnival cruise, I will not bore you with comparisons between the 2 lines (Carnival vs NCL) since I did that in my first review (located in my signature line) of the Dream. However, I will throw in a few things here and there with both lines when I feel the need. Fair enough?

 

I have been to many ports (some several times) in the Caribbean and hopefully have helped a lot of you cc people out with my detailed reviews, suggestions and answers on the ports of call sections. I try to be as detailed as possible and I'm a picture FREAK! I'm a visual person and have to see things in detail to get a better feel for what I'm looking at. I'm a research fanatic and will spend months and months reviewing, searching and asking questions over and over before making a decision. So many of you cc cruisers have helped me out in the past and I love to give back to the community as much as I can. I will not sway a person one way or the other but like to give MY honest opinion...and we all know that opinions are VERY different between people and just because I may or may not like something by no means determines whether or not you will be the same. I only give MY experiences and hope that you will dig deeper into whatever interest you.

 

Now, who I cruise with...normally (well always) the hubby and my 6 year old...wait NEWLY TURNED 7 YEAR OLD (this weekend) BIG GIRL, Sakari. Sometimes my oldest daughter (Kendra, now 26), her boyfriend and my grandson (Brayden, who is the same age as my youngest but 3 months apart) will join us. Then my youngest son (age 20) and his girlfriend (21) have joined us twice now. I have yet to get my oldest son (28) back on a cruise since he was a teen. Some day...

 

This cruise, it will be myself, hubby, Sakari, Kendra and grandson Brayden.

 

We (well truth be known, I) scoured the Internet for the perfect cruise to add to our "collection" for Sakari's Spring Break. I knew I had wanted to come back to Carnival and it was a task to find the perfect cruise. I knew I wanted to try different ports this time around as well. I'm hoping this year will be full of different ports than the past (I'll be doing my first Bermuda cruise in 45 days from now). After polling the people on here between 4 different ships....I picked a totally different ship than the 4 I had posted...thanks to, once again, wonderful suggestions from people on here. The Pride it was. After a lot of research and interrogation from everyone I could, I found that it came highly recommended, had just had the 2.0 updates, Dr Seuss, water works, Guys Burgers, Blue Iguana Cantina and looked fabulous!

 

Now...just throwing this out there...but this is the MOST EXPENSIVE cruise I have EVER taken...like ever!! Like 2 1/2 times the amount I normally pay for any cruise. However, with the Pride cruising out of Baltimore, I would save what I would normally pay in air flight and that was the way I was able to justify booking it...to the hubby at least. Also, the ports we would be visiting would basically be "free" ports and we wouldn't incur additional expenses with these ports if we didn't want to. Cha-ching, another point checked off in my direction. Hubby agreed, we booked. (Now that I have to pull too many strings for him to want to cruise again lol). However, I bragged a little too much to Kendra about this upcoming cruise that she worked and saved every dime she could...and booked it too. But this time, she left the bf at home and it was just her and my grandson this time around. Now anyone who has read my reviews in the past, know my grandson is...um, well...a little terror to say the least. Constant reminding and threatening does not go a long way with him. I love him to death, but man does he strike a nerve when he can. Just saying...

 

So the Pride was booked and the planning had begun and I will tell more about that during the review.

 

As you can all tell by now, I'm a little winded with my reviews. Yes they are long. Yes they have a lot of detail in them. Yes, they contain a lot of pictures. If you are not prepared for that or like the short and sweet reviews, this one is probably not for you.

 

However, I can say this is the first time I have started a review and have ALL my pictures picked out, done and hosted. So all I have to do is type and insert pictures. It should go a lot quicker than most of my reviews. I know how people can get a little anxious waiting for more. I'll try to do my best. Hey, I want this over with as soon as possible too so I can continue making plans for Bermuda. ;)

 

So let the fun begin...

 

 

Yes!! Your reviews are my favorite!!!! I am so excited!!!

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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Once again, have to give credit where credit is due...

 

When searching for a hotel, it was suggested to look up Trinity Reservations. They have excellent hotel/park/fly/shuttle services. I'm just sorry I had not learned about them prior to now. They are wonderful and so cheap. You really can't beat the prices.

 

I really struggled over which hotel to pick. I had read terrible reviews on 2 of the hotels I wanted. There seem to be issues with the shuttle service. Since we were flying in, we needed a place that had some type of food within walking distance for dinner that night (even if it was fast food) and also a place (whether it be a gas station, grocery or pharmacy) to get pop (yes POP, I'm from the north, we call it pop...for all you southern "soda" people that don't understand-hehe) for the cruise.

 

Everyone suggested staying at the Best Western Elkridge, which seemed to be located around...n-o-t-h-i-n-g! Ugh. Perfect place, highly recommended, good reviews, but nothing close by.

 

I contacted the person at trinity and they gave me direct numbers to all of the places and the contacts he works with. That way I could ask all the questions I had directly to them and get the answers I needed first hand. I was very grateful for this. The first 2 places (with the no-so-good reviews) was Comfort Inn and Best Western. The issues with these places seem to be the shuttle service. The way things are done there are...you don't sign up for the shuttle service until THE DAY OF the cruise and you MUST be checked out of the hotel AND put on a waiting list. The other problem is that the airport people coming in and leaving take priority over the cruise ship people. So you may be sitting around and waiting for them before they can shuttle you. (There were reports of people waiting as long as 6-7 hours and not leaving the hotel until 2pm). The other issue is that the hotel waits until they received a call from the cruise port saying "we are letting people board now" before they'll even put you on the shuttle. Well, we had purchased FTTF, so that was unacceptable!

 

Now, time for the interrogation with BW Elkridge. You sign up for the shuttle when you arrive and check in. You can leave whenever you want. They have several shuttles as well and someone to drive you 24/7. Also, they informed me that there was a restaurant on the premises in the parking lot if we wanted to eat there AND they would shuttle us to the local mall at any time we wanted day or night. They also told us that there were plenty of places to eat there and also a Walmart for our "soda" needs. I think I found the place! Something told me this was a good decision and I'm 100% satisfied I chose it.

 

-------------------------------------------------------

 

So back to the airport.

 

We gathered our luggage and called the hotel for the shuttle at 12:25. The shuttle arrived at 12:39! Just 14 minutes later and we had our luggage in the shuttle, piled into the van and on our way at 12:41. Now that's service.

 

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We arrived and checked in quickly and the place looked great. You could tell it had just been remodeled.

 

 

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This is the area off to the side of the entrance and where they served the free hot breakfast the following morning.

 

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They also had lemon water you could get during the day.

 

There was a nice fireplace in the lobby.

 

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We did a quick check of the area and took a quick look at the indoor pool. This would come in handy with trying to entertain 2 kids during the rest of the day and it was still chilly outside.

 

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It also had a hot tub, which was good for us cold-natured people as well.

 

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Haha I love how your grandson is still laying down for pictures!! [emoji2]

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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Loving these Pride reviews! We leave on Sunday and can't wait!

 

Glad you're here.

 

I have been waiting for this. We are on the Pride at the end of August with my son(6) and my daughter(3). Can't wait to read the review from a mothers perspective!!!

 

 

I hope you have a blast. We did.

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Yes!! Your reviews are my favorite!!!! I am so excited!!!

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

 

Aww thanks for the compliment. Glad you are here.

 

Haha I love how your grandson is still laying down for pictures!! [emoji2]

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

 

I know right? It's never ending with him and the laying down and also the "peace" fingers. :o

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At noon, they started letting us board the ship. They called all the VIP/suite people sitting across from us and they marched out like soldiers...only not in single file, a little bit too excited and jumping for joy at this point.

 

Then we were called right after them. I glanced back at my daughter and she mouthed "see you in a minute" and winked. (Once again making reference to us purchasing the FTTF and she didn't).

 

Away we went with Sakari in the lead of course.

 

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Now normally I'm use to being in a building, up high on the floor that we have taken an escalator to and going up about 2 inclining floors to the ship. But I had forgotten that we were still on the ground floor and had to make our way all the way up there.

 

This girl really didn't want a cruise and she's so bummed about being here can you tell?

 

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We walked and we walked and the excitement grew.

 

Mommy and daddy fell behind and Sakari reminded us to "get up here" multiple times.

 

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Then there she was...we stepped foot on her and our vacation has officially started.

 

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Welcome back. Welcome home! I like it!

 

We walked around and explored for a short period of time.

 

My first thoughts were "man she's a beautiful ship"

 

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I love the glass elevators.

 

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I also love the expression of Sakari getting caught off guard when one pops up in front of her face.

 

 

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Daddy grabbed his first bloody mary from the bar.

 

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Sakari posing under the "Happy Easter" sign.

 

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We made our way to our room...since we had FTTF and all...we felt special that we were able to head there before everyone else had access to theirs. Only...the purpose of heading there first would be to drop off our pop in the room and not have to lug it around and now we didn't even have the pop because they allowed us to check it in. Oh well. We could still check out the room while we were at it.

 

We walked in and Sakari found a gift bag on her bed that our wonderful TA left for her. She absolutely loved it.

 

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It was filled with all kinds of goodies and she screamed with excitement as she pulled everything out of it one by one and demanded I take a picture of her posing with the items. (I won't bore you with all of them).

 

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We absolutely loved the room and the layout and the placement of Sakari's bed being against the wall and out of the way. It definitely felt like we had enough space compared to the rooms we have been in where you pull the bunk bed down over the regular beds.

 

I had planned on putting up my decorations on my door that I had spent a month making and precisely measuring out everything since we have the FTTF and are supposed to get our luggage early. But it was not here yet. I'm not really sure what "getting it early" meant, but since we were here so early, maybe it just meant earlier than everyone else and not upon arrival to your room?

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I love your reviews! I've been reading reviews non-stop before our cruise in just under 3 weeks. I absolutely LOVE the Pride! Been on her many times in the past. And I love reading about your daughter. Mine is just about 6 months younger and it reminds me so much of how much she loves cruising.

Edited by BugsMomma

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