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Carnival Pride vs Royal Caribbean (A REVIEW!)

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Hello everyone,

 

I've been following these threads for years and am finally posting for the first time. I've written down notes after all my cruises and other vacations with the intention of writing reviews, but never got to actually doing it. I figured it's about time.

 

About me and this Carnival Pride cruise. My wife and I who are quickly approaching the age of 30, live about an hour away from Baltimore. We've been on 7 cruises together in the past five years. I have been on 8 total cruises and my wife has been on 9. They have all been on Royal Caribbean for both of us. We cruised with another couple who have been on one cruise which was with us two years ago, and decided to give it another go.

 

My wife and I always said we were going to try another cruise line. We have also only ever sailed in interior rooms. It has helped us afford being able to go on multiple vacations. So, we looked into Carnival because of the generally cheaper prices which would allow us to finally try a balcony. Well, that didn't quite work out the way we wanted it to, but that will all be revealed in the following review.

 

I've read many reviews posted in these forums and I don't think I can pull off quite the witty and entertaining review as many of you have. So, since I never have done this before I will probably just go through my day-by-day doings and then at the end give my opinion on specific things (stateroom, dining, crew, etc). I tend to ramble on so it may get long so hopefully I get a few of you to stick with me. Without further ado, I will start the review!

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Looking forward to your review! The Pride is (now) my favorite Carnival ship since the Miracle left NY ;).

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Starting from the beginning....

 

We booked this cruise about June of this year. We had some plans for the winter when we normally go on a cruise so me being as impatient as I am and wanting to go on vacation, looked in September. Since we have cruised out of Florida, San Juan, and most recently Spain, we thought we'd try the local Baltimore port. Save us from having to fly with convenience of not having to stress about getting to the port and getting off in time for a flight. So, we found this great price for this Carnival Pride cruise and jumped on it. Of course, my wife and I always discussed doing a balcony with Carnival since they are generally around the same price as Royal Caribbean's interior rooms. But, me being the cheap person that I am, ended up going with an interior room. I mean, it was a great price! So, we booked, Carnival Pride for the week of Sept 13-20th, going to Grand Turk, Half Moon Cay, and Freeport.

 

Several weeks later I was checking the prices and I normally do to look for some price drops, found that the balcony guarantee was only $90 more a person for the whole week. So, knowing that the guarantee can get me any balcony room from obstructed to the top of the line balcony room, figured I'd just go ahead and do it. Well, I think it took a day or two and we already had an assigned cabin. Well, I looked into it (I also research EVERYTHING very EXTENSIVELY). It was an obstructed balcony. Room 5147

 

I really wasn't disappointed because I knew that was a chance. And all my research showed that the obstructed balcony is just the lifeboat that reaches to the bottom of the balcony. So you can still sit, relax, and look out into the water. You just can't lean over the balcony and look straight down into water. No biggie..... Well, with my luck, that's not what I got.

 

Apparently on the ships there are a few rooms that aren't regular obstructed balconies like that. They have a lifeboat/tender that reach up to the TOP of the balcony railing. And, with my luck of finally splurging a little bit more to try and get a balcony, scored me one of those obstructed balconies. I was disappointed and upset going in, but accepted my fate and figured my wife and I are really easy going and will just roll with the punches. It's a cruise vacation after all!!!!

 

Our friends stuck with an interior room.

 

Alright, I guess this could have been with the first introduction post because I still haven't gotten to the first day. Well, I promise, the next posting WILL be Day 1 -Embarkation day. Finally! Again, rambling problem.

 

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Here it is, Sunday Sept 13th. As I previously stated, I live about an hour away from the Baltimore port. We have two dogs so the night before we dropped them off at a friend's house. We then stayed at the In-Laws house for the night since they were close to the dog sitters and lived only 15-20 min away from the port. Woke up the next morning, not used to not being a hurry to catch a flight or in the case of when we fly in the day before, getting everything packed from the hotel room and figure out out transportation to the port, and was able to relax. I'm the guy that wants to be at the port as early as possible so I can get on that ship and get as much time on it as I can. After reading reviews for the Carnival Pride, I was conflicted on what time to get to the port. My understanding was it docks around 9-10am which is much later than I've experienced with the other Royal Caribbean ships. So I've read people getting there around 10 (which I believe is when they open the parking lot up to embarkation folks) but having wait quite some time for the doors to open. I've read people that just go in any time after 2pm and walk right through without any wait. Well, I decided to try to get there around 10:30 - 11am.

 

My sister-in-law and mother-in-law drove us to the port, which was rather easy to get to right of 95, and we were dropped off at the entrance at 10:40 am. Gave the luggage to the porters and stepped inside. No wait at Security! Stepped right through and was led straight to the counters to check in. Not a soul in line. Not used to that. Starting to think that my not getting the FTTF pass worked out. I got to the counter and asked the very nice lady if we missed the first 10am rush of people that drove there. She instantly laughed. She says it doesn't normally get busy until noon and that's the time that as she helps people she notices the line only gets longer and not shorter. So, she took our pictures and gave us our cards and told us we were zone 1 and should be one of the first ones on. We were led right to the sitting area where there were a handful of people already sitting (Maybe 50-100 people?? I'm horrible at guessing that kind of stuff). So, we got dropped off at 10:40 and by now it was about 10:45.

 

As we waited we saw quite a few wedding parties come through. They checked in a separate line and went straight through a door that leads to a hallway behind the counters. It was probably around 11:15 when the lines started getting long. It was very chilly inside waiting. The people next to us said they were told the doors would open about 11:45. I was unsure since I saw people leaving the boat when we arrived at 10:40 and figured the crew would need plenty of time to finish cleaning up and setting everything up for this cruise. Well, just prior to noon I saw through the open door that the wedding parties were going through, that they were walking towards the ship. Next, they open the doors for us and they got the Diamond/Platinum members and FTTF people through and then boarded us. So, if that was 12pm, I think we stepped foot on the ship no later than 12:05pm. It really was nice and quick walking through.

 

Finally, we stepped foot into the Atrium on floor 2. We were given a Fun Times schedule for the day as soon as we walked on. I went straight to Guest Services since I heard through the week the lines get really long (Spoiler alert, there were very few times I saw much of any type of line at Guest Services) so I could apply a $200 gift card to my account. I ended up with about $241 of onboard credit for the week. $200 gift card that I redeemed through my credit card rewards points. $25 given by the website travel agency that I used to book. And I forgot to ask but $8 and some change credit were given to both my wife and I for a total of $16 something that was already on the account when we arrived. Later confirmed that the friends we were sailing with also had it so I'm assuming it has something to do with port fees/taxes not being as much as we paid for. That happened on one of our recent cruises where the fees went down for whatever reason and everyone was given a credit. But, I'm not sure as one of the things I felt was lacking that I hope I'll remember to touch on at the end of my review, was communication. Anyways, before I get too sidetracked. At Guest Services we were told there are kiosks that I had heard about that I could use to apply the gift card, but it would be easier for them to just do it. So, they applied it to my account. I saw a tiny foldable map of the ship that I took, and started our adventure.

 

My wife and I were hungry and decided to go straight up and eat before it got busy. We decided to try Guy's Burgers. Oh the burgers and fries were so delicious. You can pick from a pre-set menu of what kind of burger you would like. But, they also had a station with all the toppings and sauces right next to the counter so I always just asked for a cheeseburger and fries (Or like on the last day a double cheeseburger) and went to the counter and fixed it up to my liking.

 

For those that don't know, Guy's Burgers and Blue Iguana Cantina (think Chipotle, only better) are on the Lido Deck, floor 9, mid ship where they have this really nice pool and the movie screen. Unfortunately, when we got there, the pool was closed and it had several men in construction-ish type clothing doing work on it. Smelling paint was wonderful. It didn't look like the pool would be open anytime soon and feared it was going to be closed the entire week.

 

After eating and still waiting for our friends to arrive, we decided to start from the very top floor and make away back to front, down floor by floor until we get to the bottom. It was obviously very helpful and we got to learn the ship very quickly and was able to navigate the ship easily after that first day. They have deck plans laid out on Carnival's website and other ones so I won't add to my rambling with that. However, I must say I really did like the layout of the ship. The most recent ship I've been on that is fairly close to size of the Pride, I believe, is Royal Caribbean's Jewel of the Seas. I HATED the layout of that ship and just found Carnival Pride's layout to be much nicer.

 

Another disappointment and fear after reading reviews through this summer, that we discovered during our self-guided tour, was the green slide. It was closed. Oh how I hoped it would open back up some time this week.

 

After our ship tour it sounded like our friends would be on the boat soon, so we went to the Serenity Pool and found an open hammock. The Serenity pool area was FANTASTIC. It was the very back of the ship on deck 9 and had hammocks, big round chairs, some with clam shells for shade, and lots of deck chairs. There were tables and a bar as well. Of course it looked like a lot of room, but as we discovered through the week, there were very little kids on this sailing so this area, especially on the Seas Days, filled up rather quickly.

 

Finally, About 3:30pm our friends texted they were on the ship and we were meeting them at the Blue Iguana Cantina because they ran a 5k that morning and were starving. We met up with them and even though we already ate, we are on vacation, and had to try a burrito. So I got a Shrimp burrito and it was absolutely delicious. But, our friends told us they arrived at the port at 1:15 and the lines were so long it took them over 2 hrs to get onto the ship. So, it appeared my research and previous experience is maybe that assuming people all try to get on really early so arriving later may be easier, is false.

 

After eating it was immediately time for the muster drill. I'm quite disappointed how that is conducted. Again, I only have Royal Caribbean to compare it to, but feel like Carnival needs to catch up. We created multiple long lines on deck 3 and received instructions. I can get a little claustrophobic so I'm glad I was on an end with a door that we had to keep clear or I don't think it would have went very well for me, because it felt like we were out there for a very long time. Luckily, the weather was cool enough but I can only imagine how miserable that is either in the middle of the summer when it's extremely hot, or in these colder months when it's very chilly. We checked into no one, so we could have just stayed in our room and since there's no accountability to who came, would have gotten away with it. This is compared to Royal who either scans our seapass card electronically or has checked you off on a sheet so they know that you attended the muster drill. We also have always been inside in a lounge, gym, theater, etc that is next to the lifeboats. That is where you would meet in the event of an emergency and then get led to the lifeboats. So, that was that.

 

And don't fear, I do only have Royal Caribbean ships to compare this cruise with. However, as you'll see through this review, I really really really enjoyed this Carnival Pride cruise. And although I've done multiple cruises exclusively with Royal Caribbean, I'm not one who is going to compare everything on Carnival Pride to Royal Caribbean and how it's better on Royal Caribbean. I know that is a turn off for some and like I said, I really enjoyed this cruise, and there are definitely things I like better with Carnival and Royal Caribbean. So, just stay with me!

 

Finally time for sail away. We stood up at the top where miniature golf is located and watched us go under the Key Bridge. It was pretty cool to see, and man does it look like it is very close from the upper most part of the ship and the bottom of that bridge. After that we went to our room to unpack and get everything ready for out 8:15pm dining time, and just to relax.

 

So, we get to our room. The extremely obstructed balcony. Dun dun dunnn.. Well, we open up the door and was pleasantly surprised that the room itself seemed quite spacious. Not what we're used to compared to Royal's interior rooms. We eventually saw that our balcony was noticeably bigger than our friend's interior room, which I think was a little more bigger than Royal's interior rooms also. We opened the balcony curtain and there it was, a boat. It went to the top of our railing. So, if you were walking in our room, or sitting on the bed, or sitting on the balcony, you pretty much saw boat, with a little bit of water. However, when you were standing you could see out into the ocean. We came to not really sit out on our balcony through this cruise because of this, but it was nice to have that nice big window with natural light, and we did see some good views when we were hanging out in our room. So, I'm torn. We payed $180 more than our original interior room price. I'm still undecided if that was worth the price. I'm leaning more towards yes. I wouldn't want to pay much more without getting a better obstructed room or non-obstructed, but the room really was nice and I liked the extra space it provided.

 

Finally dinner time. We lined up about 8pm and were towards the front of the line. We did find out through the week that the line got extremely long, really fast. However, once the doors open, it's a straight walk through to your table so whether you got there early in the front of the line or later and got to the back of the line. Those doors opened, you got right in to your table. We ate at table 192. I did email Ken the Maitre'd prior to cruising to get us and my friends at the same table which he promptly replied that it was done. I did tell him we had no preference whether it was just the four of us at a table or the four of us with other people at a bigger table. Whatever would have been easier for him to get us together. It ended up being a table just for the four of us. Now, on every single of our previous cruises, the waiters/assistant waiters/head waiter/etc come by and introduce themselves and everything. This was not done. We just had several people give us bread, menus, take our orders, etc without any sort of introduction. Talking to other people through the week, no one else had that experience. However, don't get me wrong, the service was EXCELLENT in the dining room. They are absolutely amazing and I will always believe they are one of the most hardworking staff on any cruise. It was just odd that we got no sort of introduction. Of course, as the week went on, we got to know them a little better, and Roy, who I believe is a senior waiter, would come over and have great conversations with us as he served us. He was very personable. But aside from him, as my wife puts it, it was like staying at a hotel and going to dinner. Or a fine restaurant. Excellent service, but just wasn't personable like we are used to.

 

Dinner was good and unfortunately I didn't start writing down my notes until the end of the cruise so I don't remember all of the food that we ate. So, I will just give my opinion on the food in general at the end of the review. However, I did remember I had the Chocolate Melting Cake which I have been looking forward to since this cruise was booked. It was SO DELICIOUS. However, very rich and filling. After the 3rd or 4th day in a row of having it, I had to take a break until our last night. But definitely worth it.

 

After dinner we went down to the Butterflies Lounge on deck 1 for the adult comedy show. He was pretty good. A guy from West Virginia who I can't remember his name. There were four comics total throughout the week and we saw three of them, all with very different styles. With this first one, I wasn't too impressed at first but he grew on me.

 

Finally, since I was hopped on allergy medicine because I spent the previous night at the in-laws and they have cats who I'm allergic to, my head was going crazy and I knew I just needed a good nights rest to clear it up. So, it was an early night, and I think the earliest in the entire week. But my wife and I went to bed and woke up refreshed the next morning.....

 

Which I will try to get to Day 2 later today.

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Great start on your review! We were on the Pride a few weeks prior to you, and loved the ship and itinerary.

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We were on The Pride when she was sailing from Tampa in January.

 

Loved the Pride! Enjoying your review!

 

Mike

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Nice review. We've sailed the Pride a number of times and never not had a good time. We have about an hour and a half drive too. Thats a big plus for me not having to pay for fly 5 of us to the port when the kids join us.

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Well thank you everyone for your kind replies so far to my review. As far as the color change, let me know if this one is any better. I was just looking for something different to make it differentiate my posts!

 

Coming up soon, Day 2

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This is great! We're sailing on the Prode on Oct 18. We were considering getting to the port later to avoid the crowds but now I'm thinking we will go earlier. Couldn't actually decide.

 

Can you clarify something? After you go through security are you directed into a room where you just wait to go on and then that room just goes on as a crowd without any check points? Or do you wait and then there's another check point before getting on the ship?

 

I'm wondering is my husband can drop my daughter and I off curbside and we can go in while he parks and the three of us still board together.

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Well thank you everyone for your kind replies so far to my review. As far as the color change, let me know if this one is any better. I was just looking for something different to make it differentiate my posts!

 

Coming up soon, Day 2

 

yep, much better!

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After a great night of sleep, time to wake up and hit the gym. I try to go 4 or 5 days during a 7 night cruise. I think I managed that once. I usually make it 2 or 3 times. When I got to the the gym that is through the spa, I saw it was a little on the smaller size. It kind of goes around in a semi-circle and all I saw was cardio machines. It had plenty of them and the times I walked past the gym on the deck outside or went to the gym, I never saw any of the machines full of people. But after walking the semi-circle I was confused that there were no weights. Well, then I turned my head and realized at the center there were stairs that led up and had weights and weight machines. Nothing huge and not a big area. In fact, where the free weights were, the mat was big enough for me and the one other guy that was there. We had room for ourselves but I don't know if we would have fit a third. But, again, the equipment was sufficient for a good work out. There was also a hot tub in the middle that I don't think you could have gotten through the gym itself, but had to go out the doors back to the spa and locker rooms, and you could get to it. I don't know if it was open to anyone or if you had to be doing something at the spa to use it.

 

After the workout, the wife and I went to the Mermaid Grill buffet. We were a little disappointed as we didn't think it was that good. It had the tyipcal buffet breakfast food (eggs, ham, waffles, omelette station, etc) but the quality wasn't anything spectacular. Wasn't bad, just wasn't anything I looked forward to. I guess with that I should make a disclaimer on my food opinion. I'm not much of a food critic. I LOVE food. If I didn't work out or stay as active I was playing soccer and other things, I would be huge. I love food and it doesn't take much to impress me or satisfy me food-wise. Of course, the downside to that, as much as I workout and stay active, if I didn't love food the way I do (and of course it's not healthy food I like), I'd probably look pretty darn good with a shirt off. But, with that being said, the breakfast buffet was a little bit of a let down.

 

After that we went to go lay out. The middle pool was again closed as the men in construction-ish outfits were working on it. Rumor was that the pool is closed for the winter. Womp womp. But that did concern us as we know at sea days brings a lot of people to the pool area making it already difficult to find seats, and room in the pool. With one pool down with paint smells and noises, I doubt many people were going to lay out by it. We were able to find a spot for the two of us on the top deck above the open pool as the serenity was very crowded with no seating. The pool itself was crowded but the bright side was there weren't many kids at all. The down side, the few kids in the pool were jumping and splashing around. I don't mind it too much but I could see how some adults were getting annoyed.

 

When we got a lot of sun and some reading done, we decided we'd go down to the Red Frog Pub and grab a drink. This place quickly became one of our favorite spots to grab a drink. When we went down we ran into our friends. They were busy doing all the stuff inside the ship. Entering raffles, art auction with free champagne, etc. I don't think they really saw the sun and got into bathing suits until the next day! But they were enjoying themselves.

 

Back to the pub. Inside is spacious and they have shuffleboard, Foosball, checkers, chess, Jenga, etc. It was a lot of fun and although I think it filled up at night, during the daytime when we came in, we were usually one of the few in there. It was a nice quiet, fun space and the bartender was good.

 

After leaving the pub we went back up to grab lunch. It was around the time the buffet was closing but they have a deli that's open real late and pizza that's open 24 hrs. I grabbed a Reuben Sandwich from the deli and it was absolutely amazing. I love the Reuben that my wife makes. I've tried them at multiple places and they never really add up. Well, this one came awfully close. It was very good and there were a lot of options at the deli. After food we went to Serenity and by pure luck got a free hammock where we rocked back and forth and had a nice nap. Woke up in time to get back to the room and start preparing for the first formal/elegant night.

 

Now, my shout out to a very helpful, friendly crew member. After I put my suit on and we were ready to meet up with our friends to get to dinner, I realized I forgot my tie. My buddy had three ties, none of which matched with my shirt I had for my suit. So, I went to the Funshops on deck 3 where they had $10 ties. After going through what they had on the table and with some help from Ganna, there really wasn't any that matched my shirt. So, Ganna asked if we could give her 5-10 minutes, she'd run and get a black tie from her stock. Apparently her stockroom was a little bit away from the shop. But, she eventually came back, and with multiple more ties, not just the black. After going through we found two that matched pretty well. Then she helped garner opinions from others to which of the two to go for. I told her I have very little fashion sense and I have very few reasons to ever wear a suit, so I completely trusted her and her judgement. We finally got a nice lighter blue tie with a simple pattern that matched really well, and I was ready to go for dinner. I just think she was great and went well above and beyond what she had to do! Not only that, as embarrassing as it is to admit I'm a grown man and don't know how to tie a tie (well, at least without youtube), since as I said, I have very little occasion to dress up and when I do I already have a bunch of ties that are pre-tied, but Ganna had the tie tied up for me without a problem.

 

So, dinner. We were taking pictures that are set up for the atrium area and this is when we found out that no matter how long the line for dinner is, it moves. The line went from the dining room, through the alchemy bar, and past the atrium. We just attached ourselves to the end of the line and at 8:15pm when the doors opened, the line immediately moved and we walked right in from the back of the line. Easy!

 

Ken the Maitre'd, as I found out from previous reviews, did some singing. I really like Frank Sinatra and he was so good at singing his songs. Sounded just like him. After he performed he promised the next day he'd have the waiters dancing on the tables. After dinner we made our way to the casino. Neither my wife or me are casino people. I'll do the penny slots the few occasions I'm in a casino. However, ever since our first cruise together almost 5 years ago, my wife has taken a liking to the quarter machine. It's the one where you pop in a quarter or quarters, it drops down and you have the thing pushing back and forth. It moves the quarter forward into the pile of quarters and you hope it pushes the pile enough to drop some quarters down for you that you win. I hope that explanation was good enough. Any ways, these quarter machines had stacks of 25 $1 bills, and casino coins that had values of $1 or $5, a t-shirt, and a free alcoholic beverage. Well, I got $5 worth of quarters to play the game. I think after 50 cents I won a free drink. The drinks we get, after gratuity, is about $9 or $10 so I thought the free drink coin was a decent value. So, we continued playing for a while off of that $5 until it was completely gone. We won't get rich playing that game, but it is entertaining. And for $5, I won a drink thing that, like I said, is valued to me at $9-10.

 

After that we decided to try the Alchemy bar. I've heard such great things about it, and since my wife is in the science field, she enjoyed the atmosphere with the lab coats and the other nerdy science stuff! The four of us got a different drink off of the menu. Everyone loved theirs. I got a chocolate drink. I should know better because as good as those drinks look to me, I never really end up enjoying them that much. Yet, that didn't stop me and I ordered it anyways. It was good. Just wasn't my favorite.

 

At this point it was pretty late into the night so that was it and we decided to call it a night. Next day up, another at sea day...

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Good review so far (you do not write like a rookie reviewer). I am in the midst of writing my review of our first Carnival cruise after sailing on Royal the last few years and it is interesting to read some of your observations. [We were on the Splendor.]

 

With the time it is taking me to write it you will probably finish your review before I finish mine, and my vacation was over a few weeks ago.

 

I look forward to reading the remainder of your review and comparing notes.

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This is great! We're sailing on the Prode on Oct 18. We were considering getting to the port later to avoid the crowds but now I'm thinking we will go earlier. Couldn't actually decide.

 

Can you clarify something? After you go through security are you directed into a room where you just wait to go on and then that room just goes on as a crowd without any check points? Or do you wait and then there's another check point before getting on the ship?

 

I'm wondering is my husband can drop my daughter and I off curbside and we can go in while he parks and the three of us still board together.

 

I guess the best way to describe it is it's a very large, open room. You walk in from the outside after getting dropped off/dropping off your bags, and Security is right there. You go through security and you are in a large, rectangular room. Straight ahead is the long counter where you do the check-in and get your sail card.

 

Take a rectangle and cut it right down the middle. On the right side is the check in counter and the area where you stand in line snaking back and forth. On the left side is a whole bunch of chairs where you sit and wait until they open the doors where you walk to the ship.

 

BUT, depending on when you get there, depends on what order you do things. Like I said, when I checked in, went through security I went straight to the counter, and then to the left side to wait for the doors. When our friends got in at 115pm, they went through security, got a number, and waited in the chairs on the left side of the room. Once their number was called, they were then able to go back to the right side and wait in line to get to the counter. When they were checked in at the counter, they walked straight through to the ship.

 

So I'm assuming once they board the initial people that wait for the doors to open, they switch it to you wait to get in line to check in. Which makes sense as more and more people come.

 

I hope that explanation answered your questions. Unfortunately I don't think that's an area where you're allowed to take pictures to better show you, so I didn't take any.

 

But once they let you in after check in, they have the pictures set up to get your first sail away picture, but then you walk straight up to the ship where, if I remember correctly, you use your sail card to ding into the machine indicating you are on the ship. I don't think after checking in you need any of your identification other than you sail card.

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Good review so far (you do not write like a rookie reviewer). I am in the midst of writing my review of our first Carnival cruise after sailing on Royal the last few years and it is interesting to read some of your observations. [We were on the Splendor.]

 

With the time it is taking me to write it you will probably finish your review before I finish mine, and my vacation was over a few weeks ago.

 

I look forward to reading the remainder of your review and comparing notes.

 

Thank you for the compliment. I will have to look out for your review as I like seeing the point of view of those who have done Royal and then try Carnival, much like myself.

 

Since my only experience is with Royal it is natural that I will be comparing everything to that. Although I interject some of that in the review, I figured at the end when I sum up the different experiences (dining, crew, etc) it will naturally be compared to what one could expect with Royal.

 

I figured I'd get as much of the review done today while my wife is at work and I'm lucky enough to have this last day off before getting back to work. Then it may be a struggle to get as much typed up!

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Looking forward to the rest of your review. Great start. Love reading others view of the ship.

 

We always get the obstructed view balcony, but I know better than to get one of the cabins by the first 3 tender boats. You would have liked the other cabins better since you would have been able to sit and see out while on the balcony.

 

we are going on her next Sunday and looking forward to see the updates. Have cruised on the Pride numerous times since the port is only about 20 minutes away.

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I'm really enjoying your review. Very nice writing style and flow. I have only been on Royal twice and Norwegian once but have yet to try out Carnival. Will you be posting any pictures? Looking forward to the rest.

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My notes on this day is rather small so this may be a quicker one.

 

Woke up. Which, may I add, I love sleeping on cruises. I don't know if the beds are really that much more comfortable, or it is the slight swaying of the boat, or just utter exhaustion from all day adventures with stuffing face with food and alcohol, but I don't think I sleep better than how I sleep on a cruise. I was worried that it might just be that Royal Caribbean has a super comfortable bed that I wouldn't have that same sleep experience on this cruie. Well, I had nothing to fear. I was OUT every night.

 

After waking up, we went out for breakfast. After being a little disappointed with breakfast the day before, I ended up getting a breakfast burrito from Blue Iguana. Oh was that GOOD! You get to pick your fillings, just like the regular burrito and they have plenty of options. Regular eggs, eggs mexican style, ham, hash browns, sausage, lettuce, tomatoes, guac, etc etc etc. Along with two types of tortillas to use. They are very good and very filling.

 

We ate, got our bathing suits on, and decided to adventure up for another morning of soaking up the sun. Again, the Serenity was packed, no where to lay out there. The mid pool still being closed, we went to the upper deck of the open pool like the day prior. We were able to find plenty of chairs on the side where people can smoke. Which, by the way, we were surprised by the amount of people that smoked on the cruise, and of all the areas you could smoke. But, that is a topic for the end of the review. We laid out, I grabbed some ice cream when my wife was sleeping, and we went into the water. We then decided to try the water slide.

 

Which, I want to do a correction. I think for yesterday, Day 2 At Sea, I stated the slide was closed. It was opened. I was so excited. We weren't in the mood to go down them yesterday, but I figured we had all week. So, we went today and of course, it was closed again. The yellow, more tame slide, was opened. And we ended up going on that twice, back to back. It was still a lot of fun. Wasn't much of a line. But I really wanted to do the green slide. Again, rumors were that it was closed due to the wind. It was a beautiful sunny, hot day. But I guess there was a little bit of wind. Later, when we were at Guest Services for something else, one of our friends asked them about the green slide. The crew member said that he believed it would be closed for the week. As we were walking away, one of the other members must have updated him because he caught our attention and stated that it was just closed due to wind, that it should be open the next day. Fingers crossed!

 

At some point around here we went and grabbed lunch. I tried the Pepperoni Pizza which I really liked. Thought it was better than the pizza you get on the Royal Caribbean ships. My wife got a Reuben. I took a bite and for some reason it was not as good as yesterday. I mean, it was definitely delicious, but just slightly different.

 

My wife and I grabbed a drink at the Red Frog Pub. We then walked around some looking at different stuff. There was dancing going on at the Atrium that we watched. And then looked for our pictures that were taken around the ship at the photo area. We then went to the room to take a nap before dinner.

 

Dinner. Well, Ken made good on his promise of table dances. After singing a song, the waiters came out and were dancing, some on tables with glow in the dark glasses and other things with the lights getting dark and light, to the song of "Apple Bottom Jeans, boots with the fur...." And I didn't even realize it until the song was almost over that it was actually Ken singing the song! He was really good.

 

After dinner we decided to go to the comic show. I believe his name was Macio. A lot of people thought he was hilarious and really enjoyed him. Our friends went to another show of his and said it was much better than this one and was non-stop laughing. This was the only show I saw of him and I was not really impressed. I think he had a good start with me but I'm there for a comedy show. A couple of times I felt that it turned political (and not political comedy which I have no problems with no matter what side they are joking on), but more into his thoughts and opinions. I remember thinking, am I at a comedy show or a political rally of sorts. Just that kind of stuff turned me off to him. Again, just my opinion. I don't think my wife enjoyed him that much. My friends seemed to like him. It's funny, I'm not a political person and our friend had worked for one of our previous Governors, and she didn't seemed bothered by it. But like I said, it's not so much the topic, just the comic interjecting his opinions and feelings that were not comedy related.

 

When the comedy show let out, we went to the Casino. I don't even know if we played any money. The one friend of ours played the video poker table where you strictly play against other guests. It was the one and only time there were only like 4 players. The rest of the week, any time we went to or through the casino, that game was always full. I think it holds 10-12 players. On the bright side, even though my buddy started and ended very quickly, losing $20 within seconds, the one player had convinced one of the casino managers to get everyone a round of free drinks. The manager even extended it to my wife, the fiancee of the friend playing, and me even though we were only spectating and not playing. He did say next time we'd have to be playing to get the free drink but let us have one anyways. I thought that was pretty cool. I've never gotten free drinks on a ship, let alone in the casino since we spend barely any money in there.

 

It ended up being a late night so we then went to bed. We were excited to go to Grand Turk in the morning. And for anticipation for the next entry, there was some overnight excitement on the ship......

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I'm really enjoying your review. Very nice writing style and flow. I have only been on Royal twice and Norwegian once but have yet to try out Carnival. Will you be posting any pictures? Looking forward to the rest.

 

Thank you!

 

I'm going back and forth with the picture thing. I'm not 100% sure how to but since I think I may be done with the review portions for today, if I get to sit and relax later tonight I may try to post some pictures with what I've covered so far.

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I guess the best way to describe it is it's a very large, open room. You walk in from the outside after getting dropped off/dropping off your bags, and Security is right there. You go through security and you are in a large, rectangular room. Straight ahead is the long counter where you do the check-in and get your sail card.

 

Take a rectangle and cut it right down the middle. On the right side is the check in counter and the area where you stand in line snaking back and forth. On the left side is a whole bunch of chairs where you sit and wait until they open the doors where you walk to the ship.

 

BUT, depending on when you get there, depends on what order you do things. Like I said, when I checked in, went through security I went straight to the counter, and then to the left side to wait for the doors. When our friends got in at 115pm, they went through security, got a number, and waited in the chairs on the left side of the room. Once their number was called, they were then able to go back to the right side and wait in line to get to the counter. When they were checked in at the counter, they walked straight through to the ship.

 

So I'm assuming once they board the initial people that wait for the doors to open, they switch it to you wait to get in line to check in. Which makes sense as more and more people come.

 

I hope that explanation answered your questions. Unfortunately I don't think that's an area where you're allowed to take pictures to better show you, so I didn't take any.

 

But once they let you in after check in, they have the pictures set up to get your first sail away picture, but then you walk straight up to the ship where, if I remember correctly, you use your sail card to ding into the machine indicating you are on the ship. I don't think after checking in you need any of your identification other than you sail card.

 

Thanks!

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