As you may have noticed my blogging has been silent for a week… that was due to the fact that I went with my boyfriend on our first cruise. I wrote up a summary for Carnival’s forums so rather than re-write a new one I’m going to just post it on here for anyone who might be interested in cruising:
We (my boyfriend and myself) sailed Nov. 3rd-10th out of Baltimore MD to Grand Turk, Half Moon Cay and Freeport. I’m going to put things into categories to make it a little easier to read.
Pre-cruise: We booked through a AAA agent which was a great choice for us as first timers. She handled everything for us including booking our hotel for the night before, securing our travel insurance, and completing the online check-in. We drove to Baltimore MD Sat. evening and stayed at the Holiday Inn Express Baltimore at the Stadiums. The hotel was great… nice staff, clean room, and I felt secure leaving our car parked there for the week as only hotel guests can access the parking lot. The shuttle driver was really nice and took care of loading our luggage once we arrived at the cruise terminal. Once we entered the terminal there were lots of Carnival workers pointing out where to go which was incredibly helpful as I would’ve been lost without them. We had taken the 10:30am shuttle to the terminal and were checked in and seated before 11:30am. We boarded the ship sometime between 12:30 and 1 if I recall correctly.
Ship and Cabin: We sailed on the Carnival Pride and had a balcony stateroom on deck 4. The ship was gorgeous and our cabin was more spacious than I expected. I would strongly recommend getting a balcony especially if you’re more of private people and enjoy time to yourselves as my boyfriend and I do. We spent a lot of time especially late at night on the balcony watching the water and stars. The ship is really clean especially given how many people are on board. The cabin steward cleaned the room including making the bed twice a day which kept that really clean as well. The bed is the most comfortable one I’ve ever slept in; the pillows are amazing. The only slight complaints I would have are having only one outlet (though I took a surge protector per the advice of these forums which was a good idea because I brought along an alarm clock to have plugged in the whole time and needed other outlets for my blow dryer and straightener) and that all the shelves in the bathroom are above the sink; there was no where to put our shower items other than on the shower floor.
Food: The food is great and plentiful. We had breakfast brought by room service nearly every morning and they only made one error in bringing orange juice instead of apple juice one day. When I realized I could get french toast up in the buffet area though we ate breakfast there. We ate at David’s Steakhouse the first night; my boyfriend had a steak and I had rosemary infused chicken. I forget his appetizer but I had a crab cake and we shared a cheesecake for dessert. It was definitely worth the money especially since we went on the first night which entitled us to a free bottle of wine. My boyfriend is more adventurous than I am so he sampled frog legs, escargots and other unique items throughout the week at dinner. He claimed to have not had a bad meal the entire trip. The only meal I found so-so was the meatloaf. I tried chilled melon soup to be “adventurous” and really enjoyed it. The chocolate melting cake was good though not as great as I thought given the rave reviews I’ve seen from other people. Also, we had pumpkin pie and cheesecake that tasted more like the Jello no-bake desserts than anything else; the cheesecake in the steakhouse was much better. I loved the deli for the fact that they put most of the sandwiches on a pannini press which just made them even better; my boyfriend loved the pizza and I ate plenty of chocolate ice cream.
Entertainment: We enjoyed the various evening shows though we didn’t go every night due to being tired. We made it to one comedy show which was good. We liked the different trivia events particularly music ones that they held. Our favorite was “Guess that Song” in the piano bar. The piano bar was one of our favorite places to go as it’s smaller and not quite as crowded as other bars, and the person who played the piano and sang did a really great job. The only thing we noticed is that most of the activities we were into were all in the evening which made our 3 total sea days (Mon, Tues and Sat) fairly boring during the day. It seemed as if you’re stuck either gambling in the casino, drinking or hanging out. We actually spent a lot of this time in the cabin watching movies which unfortunately aren’t too varied. I think I saw The Hobbit and The Croods 3x each and The Longest Yard twice. I guess if we were more social butterflies this wouldn’t have mattered, but we preferred each other’s company to that of strangers. We did go for drinks a few times though the biggest disappointment to me is that they don’t have Captain Morgan at their bars. This is my favorite and one of the most common rums so that made absolutely no sense to me especially given that they sell it in their gift shops.
Destinations: The islands we visited were by far our favorite part of the trip. We stayed in the Margaritaville area of Grand Turk by the beach. We loved that the palm trees provided shade and Omar made frequent trips to bring everyone’s drinks so we didn’t have to leave our beach chairs. The ocean is beautiful though when entering it has rocks and I saw more than one person with a cut leg or ankle so I’d suggest water shoes. Out of the places we visited this was the best for souvenirs… we bought 5 tshirts, a hat, and a water globe for around $150. Half Moon Cay was our favorite though we had to rent a clam shell to be assured shade (we both burn easily) but for $20 for the day it was a good deal. The water was crystal clear, allowing us to see our feet even when we went far out. My boyfriend’s not the strongest swimmer so he loved the calmness and lack of waves. We booked a glass bottom boat excursion for Freeport as we were told there wasn’t much to do there otherwise and I would agree with that. The excursion was worth the money; nothing too elaborate but we got to learn about the island on our drive to and from Lucaya where we got on the boat, and we got to see fish and some sharks. My boyfriend tried a conch burger before we got back on the ship and really loved it though said the Bahamian beer he tried didn’t taste much different from domestic beer he gets here like Miller Lite.
Overall: We definitely had a good vacation though we did get seasick Mon. morning. We took Bonine which made me sleepy but once I napped and had some lunch we were both ok the rest of the trip. So many people told us that you don’t even notice you’re on a ship… well I don’t know if we just had rougher waters but 95% of the trip we could definitely tell we were on a ship especially in the dining hall in the evenings. We loved the islands we visited, but think that next time we’ll just take a plane and stay at one of the islands. The ship was nice and well worth the money, but the days at sea just got a little tedious for us so if we cruise again in the future we’ll probably stick to a shorter cruise with less sea days.