Sunday, December 4, 2022

Carnival Celebration B2B Cruise - December 4 & 11, 2022


                                                        Carnival Celebration B2B Cruise Review

Just the Facts:
Ship: Carnival Celebration is the 2nd of the new XL Class ship launched in 2022 at 183,500 Tons & 6500 max guest capacity.
Captain:  Andrea Catalani  -  Hotel Director: Pierre  -  Cruise Director: Lee
Ports: Miami. FL - Amber Cove - San Juan - St. Maartin - Miami

This is only the 4th cruise sailing of the new Carnival Celebration and of course my 1st on her. I’m cruising with the Dear Wife (DW) on a B2B (back2back) for 15 days and have several friends and clients on these two cruises.  This is my 108th and 109th Carnival cruises, and 192nd and 193rd cruises overall. We will sail 15 consecutive nights on board the new Carnival Celebration. 

Sunday / December 4th, 2022 Embarkation / Day 1 
I finished packing early Sunday morning and we were off on our drive to Miami at about 6:45 am. We did the I-75 route crossing the Sunshine Skyway Bridge and south to Alligator Alley crossing the Everglades to the Atlantic coast. We drove into downtown Miami to Premier Cruise Parking arriving at about 11:00 am. The parking garage was very busy and by the time we were checked in and parked we had an hour wait to get a shuttle over to the pier. We saw old friends and made new friends in that long shuttle line. We finally arrived at the new Terminal F on cruise ship row at about 12:45 pm. From this point onward, it was a very smooth process. We checked one bag and I rolled mine on as usual. Then entered the Terminal and we did have a priority line for security and guest check-in. The Diamond lounge looked very nice but we proceeded directly through and boarded the ship. We ran into our cruise friends on deck six on the way to the aft elevators and our cabin. We arrived at our aft-facing balcony cabin on deck nine at about 1:20. Very nice to have a NEW cabin…very clean with no stains or wear and tear at all...very different from the recently sailed Carnival Pride. We have a huge balcony directly above the Summer Landing pool. It will be interesting and convenient being above the Summer Landing Area with a Bar, Lounge, entertainment, and BBQ (and secret breakfast) area. We went by our Muster Station F-7 on the way to the new Golden Jubilee Bar. This bar is a celebration of Carnival’s 50th birthday. It is decorated with Carnival ship memorabilia and the menu has old classic cocktails, very interesting. I saw several veteran Cocktail Servers and Friends while enjoying a couple of classic Mojitos. We went back to the cabin to enjoy the sail-away and fortunately, DW’s luggage had arrived so we settled in for the week. Our balcony was a fantastic location for viewing sail away and we also sailed at sunset … very special views of Miami, the other ships, the pool, and more. Enjoyed it. I met friends in our group at the Golden Jubilee (same location as the Brass Magnolia on Mardi Gras) then we had dinner in the MDR, the Festival Restaurant on deck 7. I had Tomato Soup, Sweet & Sour Shrimp, the Pollo Parmigiana Della Cucina (a great chicken farm dish from the Cucina de Capitano Menu) entree, and a fruit plate for dessert. I retired to the cabin and was soon asleep after this long and busy day. An overall fine embarkation day for the Carnival Celebration.
Monday, December 5th  /  Fun Day at Sea  /  Day 2 
Smooth seas overnight and I slept very well. Absolutely no noise at all from the Summer Landing area below our cabin location. I went down to Summer Landing for breakfast and was very disappointed…yes they had the (kind of secret) breakfast buffet, but the eggs, both Ham Benedict and Scrambled, were cold. Very cold. I don’t know why as they were warm on the Mardi Gras. They did have the grapefruit that I enjoy and I took some rolls, toast, peanut butter, and juices back up for DW and we enjoyed snacking on the balcony. Beautiful weather too. About mid-morning we decided to tour the ship starting from the top down so went up to the Serenity Deck on deck 18 forward. It was already packed with guests and hot tubs and the bar was very busy. We worked our way down to deck 17 and then the busy Lido deck 16. So far the same as Mardi Gras. We walked by the busy main swimming pools, the Red Frog Tiki Bar, and Blue Iguana, then through the Lido Marketplace all the way to the aft pool area. Our friends were there at a table so we visited with them and people-watched. It was amazing to see the long lines form at Big Chicken, it’s certainly no longer a secret for sure. We broke up at lunchtime. DW and I went to ChiBang for lunch. She ordered a vegetarian Tortilla Bowl and I ordered two Asian Noodle Bowls, a Chicken, and a Beef. Different style noodles and both were good; however, the beef one was exceptional IMHO. I will do this again. We went back up to 16 to continue our tour and actually sampled two items from Street Eats, I wanted to test the Thai food, and DW sampled the Fries. We watched an urban dance-off between guests organized by the DJ and Fun Squad. A lot of participants, but urban music is not my thing, certainly interesting to watch though. Continuing our tour we skipped the passenger decks down to the next stop: deck 8 and DW’s first visit to Summer Landing. Sitting there were our friends just finishing their BBQ lunch from Pig & Anchor. I did enjoy a Farmers Ale and it was great to see Nellie again behind the bar, she was excited to see me from the antics we had at the Pig on Mardi Gras. We finally had to break up our group as we’ll be meeting for cocktails prior and we older guests need a nap. Tour to be continued later. After cabin time we went down to the Golden Jubilee on deck 6 our designated meeting place for cocktail hour. I enjoyed a couple of Harvey Wallbangers as we visited our friends and were joined by other friends. The Captain and senior staff came by as they returned from the Center Stage and the Elegant Night Captain's Toast and greeted us as did many former cruise friends, staff, and acquaintances.  A FUN time. We had six for dinner at Cucina de Capitano this evening. DW ordered Arancini, Caprese Salad, and Pasta Pomodoro and really enjoyed it as it’s not easy to get a proper vegetarian meal. I ordered Arancini, Nona’s Meatball, the wonderful grilled Pork Chop entree, and Tiramisu for dessert. Excellent dinner. FYI-now only one meatball is served on the Nona’s order. It was almost 10:00 pm by the time we finished, so no entertainment tonight, and back to the cabin for us. It was a very enjoyable Sea Day on the new Carnival Celebration.

Tuesday, December 6th / Amber Cove, Dominican Republic / Day 3 

Smooth seas overnight and we slept very well. We were docked in Amber Cove early and it was a beautiful day. We went up to the Lido Marketplace for breakfast at about 9:15 am and it was busy, but the eggs and food were hot. We were invited by good friends to share their private over-the-water cabana in Amber Cove so we went there arriving at about 10:00 am.  (Photo: The over-water Cabanas taken from our aft balcony) This was a new experience for me and the cabana was very nice with WiFi, Loungers, TV, a small Refrigerator, Bar Service, a great view of the ship, and of course the water. Due to a recent storm, the water was a bit murky but I enjoyed swimming. I enjoyed my share of beer as they had Bohemia one of my favorite brands as well as Presidente the popular local beer. Chips, Bottled water, and Coca-cola included. Food available by menu. We had an early return time of 3:30 pm so at 3:00 we were back on board and enjoying a wonderful meal at Big Chicken. It was great. We went then back to the cabin for a nap…and with the beers and a full belly, I slept until 7:00 pm well past our meet friends for dinner time. We had a movie night watching the classics Giant and Casablanca on TCM, and rested. It was a unique day at Amber Cove.

Wednesday, December 7th  /  San Juan, Puerto Rico  /  Day 4 

Calm seas but located far aft there is more rocking movement, enough to create an annoying knocking sound from the sidewall adjacent to the bed. I woke early but had enough rest. I went to the Festivale Restaurant (MDR) for breakfast just after it opened, I had a very nice 2-top table at the aft windows and watched us sail past El Morro Castle and into the harbor. I ordered: Hot Milk, Grapefruit, Danish, 3 eggs Sunny-side up, Bacon, Ham, Hash Browns, and toast. It was very good…fresh and hot. I then got some Croissants for the DW, she misses the complimentary Continental breakfast that was her norm on a cruise. Full sun and a hot day so we decided to stay on board and take advantage of a near-empty ship, it was nice. Also, a good time to do business since our phones and WiFi work in Puerto Rico. A good walk about the ship finishing our tour and stopping at the Lido for a light lunch. We both had a salad from the Salad Bar and I had a Banger & Chorizo from Sea Dogs. Cookies and Passion Fruit Gelato for sweets. It clouded up and a light rain made the balcony more enjoyable in the afternoon. At 5:00 pm we went to the Golden Jubilee for cocktails. The theme of the bar is Carnival’s 50th anniversary and since it wasn’t as busy I had time to view the mementos from previous Carnival Ships. They have Glass from the original Mardi Gras, the actual Tabletops from the Fascination, the original Builders Plate from the original Celebration, and the Carnivale’s original (old fashion) Telegraph from Bridge to the Engine room. They also have exact reproductions of Blue Prints and Mirror Art by Joe Farcus of several original Carnival Ships. and the Chairs are reproductions of the chairs in Carnavale’s Riverboat Lounge. A very interesting theme and is very well done. Some friends went to the feature production at the center stage (I’ll go to the repeat showing) and some to dinner. We chose the Cucina del Capitano as they have a much better variety of vegetarian choices for the DW. Items she enjoys are the Arancini, Caprese Salad, Penne Pomodoro, Parmesan Semolina Gnocchi (side), Eggplant Parmigiana, and four other vegetable sides. Perfect for vegetarians. Tonight I ordered Nona’s Meatball, the Minestrone Soup, the Veal Marsala entree, and the Baba Napoletano for dessert. The Veal was excellent as was the service by our waiter Antolin. After dinner we did a short walkabout before retiring, not as many guests out and about, I assume they were recovering from a big day in San Juan. It was a very enjoyable stay-on-board day on the Celebration.


Thursday,  December 8th  /  St. Maarten, NA  /  Day 5  
Smooth seas overnight so no knocking and I slept very well. I woke in the night so updated the blog, the WiFi works very well on this ship. We were docked well before I woke again at about 8:30 am in the port of St. Maartin. Usually up to six ships here, but only the Celebration and three small ships today. I went up to the Blue Iguana for the first time, usually my favorite location for breakfast on Carnival ships. I had Huevos Rancheros with Pico de Gallo, Shredded Cheese, and Salsas. I also had an Arepas and took one back to the cabin for the DW. We went swimming in the Summer Landing Pool just below our balcony. More guests staying on board than yesterday, but friends were already there so we had a lounging area for the morning. Not that many actually in the pool though. Afterward, we had some cabin time before going to Big Chicken for a late lunch. After lunch, we had movie time watching Barefoot Contessa on TCM. I went to the Alchemy Bar for the first time. Of course, I knew all three Alchemists and there were friends from my Breeze travels there too. Nicola made me a nice cocktail and it was Fun. The Christmas Show was on the Center Stage this evening as well as the Amor Cubano production show in the Theater. A lot of Comedy Shows in both the Punchliner and the Limelight Lounge.  I went by Miami Slice and brought a Pizza back to the cabin for a late-night snack/dinner…the pizza was good... MSC quality. It was another Fun stay-on-board the ship day on the Celebration. 
Friday, December 9th  /  Fun Day at Sea   /  Day 6 
Rolling seas overnight and I slept well, I was up early so updated this blog, did some business, and paid bills…the WiFi continues to work well. I went down to Summer Landing for breakfast, the eggs were actually warm to hot, a huge change from Monday…in fact a good breakfast and not busy at all. The seas are too rough today for swimming in the pools. Nice sunshine and weather for outdoor activities, but not in the pools. Then busy with the Carnival Jubilee cancelation notices this morning. I had seven client bookings canceled as well as my transatlantic. Memories of the Mardi Gras cancellations. We met our friends for the Diamond Luncheon at 11:45 we had eight people in our group among the other 360 Diamond Guests. I ordered the Pork Belly, the NY Strip Steak x2 (photo), and Tres Leches for dessert. Both Bar & Food Service was very good. We decided to continue the party in the Golden Jubilee afterward and we had quite a party that continued until 8:00 pm. If you stay in one spot long enough everyone you know will eventually come by…I saw many past cruising friends, Diamond friends, and good friends. We even had pizza delivered using the Hub. Great FUN. Of course, I retired as soon as we returned to the cabin. It was a FUN day sailing the Carnival Celebration

Saturday,  December 10th  /  Fun Day at Sea /  Day 7
Rolling seas overnight, but not as bad as Friday. I slept very well and long as I needed to recover from the 8-hour party. We went to the Sea Day Brunch at about 10:30 am. I ordered the Steak & Eggs, Bacon, Hash Browns, Danish, Bloody Mary, Hot Milk, and the Assorted Cookies dessert for later in the cabin. We had a relaxing movie day in the cabin. Those old TCM movies are great and really the only decent TV channel available.  I did an afternoon walkabout picking up our Celebration Pins and gifts (still the Koozies) and made a stop at Big Chicken before it closes at 5:00 pm. I made it to the Time Machine LED show by the Latitudes Bar on deck 6, it was interesting…something different for Carnival. We missed the Production shows this cruise, but plan on it for next cruise. I had cocktails tonight at the 820 Bar with Lidja one of my favorite Alchemists from the Breeze. They have some specialty cocktails (photo), I preferred the Mango 305 over the Key Lime Pie. My friends came by and they had done the same as me eating early on this final night of this cruise. I retired early to purchase my WiFi for the second week, almost forgot, and to preliminary pack as we are changing cabins. It was a good final sea day for the last day of this cruise.


Sunday,  December 11th  /  Embarkation Day /  Day 8 of B2B 

Smooth Seas overnight and I slept well. We had been docked a while when I got up at 7:30 am and had a quick breakfast at Big Chicken as debarkation began. I then returned to the cabin to pack as we change cabins today. Fortunately, it’s just down the passageway from the current cabin with the same room steward. Since the guests left early we were able to get moved into the new cabin before our 9:00 am meet time for B2B’s. All of our friends were there and eventually, the 250+ B2B guests received their new cards and had new photos taken. At about 10:00 am we were off to Border control and the Facial Recognition system. All was well with our group and we were back on board before 11:00 am. We have coupons for the Welcome Cocktail and Photos so straight back to the new cabin. We quickly changed for the Summer Landing Pool hoping to get pool calisthenics in before guests arrived. We ended up in the Hot Tub…much warmer! I had Pig & Anchor BBQ for lunch, and DW had the Macaroni & Cheese with Pretzel roll. The BBQ was quite good, I didn’t have any last week. It really got busy so we returned to the cabin to unpack and set up for the next 8 days. We have a suite, really just a larger & longer cabin with a sitting area and two big screen Televisions. The bathroom is larger too. It will do. We met the group for cocktails in Golden Jubilee then had dinner in Cucina del Capitano. I had the Veal Marsala again as well as Arancini, Nonas Meatball, Minestrone Soup, and Tiramisu for dessert. We ate a bit early so that the group could see more shows on this cruise. They had a variety of Preview scenes at Center Stage and Amor Cubano in the Theater. A lot of music in various venues and Comedy in Limelight and in the Punchliner. A busy day for guests. It was a busy day for us as well on the Carnival Celebration.


Monday,  December 12th  /  Fun Day at Sea /  Day 9 of B2B 

Very smooth seas overnight and I slept well. A lazy cabin morning and I had fruit for breakfast. We had TCM movie time, Cool Hand Luke and I did some Monday morning business until lunch. We went to ChiBang for Noodle Bowls, not as much meat in the Beef Bowl as last week, but I did order two so it was fine…easy too. I did a walkabout, does seem as many guests outdoors as last week, perhaps a bit cooler. Along deck 8 seems to be the area most overlooked for both sunbathing and activities. Balcony time in the afternoon until we met our friends at Golden Jubilee for cocktails. Fun's great to have good friends on board. We returned to ChiBang for dinner as it’s a completely different menu and we have not eaten there for dinner as yet. I ordered a lot and all of it was very good to excellent: Egg Drop Soup, Slow-Braised Pork Belly (much better than the Diamond Luncheon), Spring Rolls, Pot Stickers, the Kung Pao Chicken entree, Hakka Noodles, and Tres Leches for dessert. Also a very nice Lycée favorite at a Chinese venue.  We all split up for Casino, Center Stage feature show, or Cabin. The DW and I retired, and we are enjoying our suite very much. It was a restful sea day onboard the Carnival Celebration.


Tuesday,  December 13th  /  Grand Turk  /  Day 10 of B2B 

Slight rolling of seas just enough to rock one to sleep.  We slept late and I again had Fruit for breakfast.  Our friends are going to Jack’s Shack today. We are not going off the ship, we were just in Grand Turk a few weeks ago, and we enjoy the ship with fewer guests onboard.  I did a nice walkabout the ship then did some work online. The beaches and water here are beautiful, you can see a lot of the island from the upper decks.  We watched some classic black&white TCM movies with the Falcon, a Detective.  We enjoyed them.  For lunch we went to the Deco Deli, DW had Swiss Cheese on Rye bread (off menu), I had the #5-Reuben (classic) and a #9-Pan Con Lichon (Pork, onion, mojo sauce on Cuban Bread).  We ate outside on deck 8, the under-utilized deck I have mentioned. Then sat at the Summer Landing pool on deck 8 enjoying the perfect weather an views of the beach…looks like a lot of people at Jack’s Shack, but a lot of new competition along the beach.  We had an early dinner before Big Chicken closed for the evening.  Then we sat outside on our balcony to watch the sunset and our brief sail-away.  We only backed from the dock and anchored just off the beach for hours.  We are close to our next port so perhaps the Captain wanted the protected waters for the big Circus Production show with aerial performances tonight, but who knows?  Just seems very odd…I’ve never experienced it here.  It was an easy relaxing day on the Carnival Celebration.

Wednesday,  December 14th  /  Amber Cove, Dominican Republic  /  Day 11 of B2B 
Smooth seas overnight, just enough action to rock you asleep. We slept late as we aren’t getting off the ship today. Fruit again for breakfast as I’m trying to limit some calories and still enjoy some unique food onboard. We did a walkabout the ship, the beaches and water are not as pretty as Grand Turk yesterday. I did some work from bed this morning and we have shade on the balcony so balcony time as well. I had my Spa day today getting a very nice pedicure and massage…I’m getting spoiled…my previous one was on the Carnival Pride. Afterward, I went for my first Guy’s Burger, it was busy as guests were already returning from Amber Cove, as we do leave early. My hamburgers were great as were the fries. We sailed at 3:50 pm and we watched from the balcony, the Spirit sailed just after we did. We sailed around the island and we could see Puerto Plata and two NCL ships docked there, It was a clear day and I could see the huge Christ Statue on top of the mountain. You have to know where to look. A beautiful sunset sail from
Hispaniola (photo).  We went to the Lido Marketplace for the first time for dinner. The selections were very good, I had Roast Beef from the Carving Station and two small NY Strip steaks plus side dishes. It was very good. The DW was able to find Salad and Rice for herself. We found a unique dessert, hard to describe, similar to a warm bread pudding but made from cereal with a sweet topping side. It was excellent. Lots of good entertainment tonight, but after that nice meal we decided to have a movie night. We watched the classic The More the Merrier (1943), and the comedy Out of the Blue (1947). I had never seen the 2nd and it was hilarious. We are enjoying TCM. It was another easy relaxing day on the Carnival Celebration. 

Thursday,  December 15th  /  San Juan, Puerto Rico  /  Day 12 of B2B 
Smooth seas overnight and I slept very well. We were entering the harbor as we woke this morning. We had a nice breakfast at Blue Iguana, I had my usual and the DW had a freshly Scrambled egg on a tortilla with queso. We left the ship at about 10:00 am for our day in OSJ (Old San Juan). We went along the harbor front and noticed them setting up for the Holiday Festival before we began our walk uphill. Our first stop was Marshall’s, I waited in the Park outside the main entry. (seems I recall doing that many times when I take friends on the OSJ tour. There are a lot of locals in the tourist areas, I suppose because of the Festival. The next stop was for a Diet Coke, Water, and a local Magnum beer on Fortaliza street. Visited a few shops before ouR stop at Catedral Basilica Menor de San Juan Bautista. We spent some time here as usual and I always visit Ponce DeLeon’s memorial located inside the Church. We walked down to the Puerta de San Juan (1635), the old iconic gate through the fortified walls. Now at sea level, we walked around the outer walls to Paseo de la Princesa, the 1853 urban European-style promenade. I love the fountain here, especially at night. Next was the Festival grounds and we saw the early vendors and displays. We purchased some great homemade cookies. When we got back to the Harbor Walkway we stopped at La Casita de Rones, the well-known small Restaurant on the Harbor. I’ve never been able to get in (long wait times) but with the attractive lady with me, we were able to score two seats at the Bar. DW had a frozen Margarita and I had the local Pina Colada. Very nice. The last stop was at Walgreens…we picked up toiletries, snacks, and Coca-cola. We were back on the ship by 4:00ish. We sat on the balcony and enjoyed the Regal Princess’ sail away. I love the theme of The Love Boat they play on the ship horns as they sail. Once they sailed we had a great cool breeze on our balcony. Yea! We enjoyed dinner in the Marketplace we went again this night. I had Ham from the Carving Station (excellent), Two small steaks, Broccoli, Breaded Cauliflower, and Rice…the DW had the Vegetables, Rice, and Salad. It was very good. For dessert, I had Bread Pudding. We retired to the cabin after getting in our 8000 steps today. It was a fine day in OSJ and the ship.

Friday, December 16th / St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands / Day 13 of B2B

Smooth seas overnight and I slept well. We had been docked well before I woke at about 8:00 am. We went to the Blue Iguana again for breakfast…it was very good. We are the only ship docked here today. We left the ship at about 10:30 am and took a taxi into Charlotte Amalie. We really enjoyed the nice shops and the old historical area of the old port. We met the owner of the Side Street Pub which is located at Creque Alley in the old town. We had a great discussion about the significance of Creeque Alley to Rock Music history specifically the Mamas & Papas. It was here in a bar owned by Hugh Duffy that the band members worked while honing their music…including writing California Dreaming. I asked him how many Pub customers are even aware of this and his answer was: “98% have no clue”. My personal favorite Momas & Popas song is the one named Creeque Alley about the formation of the group and the transition from Folk music to Rock. We did some more shopping and then returned to Side Street for refreshments and snacks. Most of the seating is outdoors and very pleasant with a sea breeze. We ordered a Bushwacker+, CocaCola, Water, and Chips and Dips including Pico de Gallo, Salsa, Frijoles, and Queso Cheese…all was very good. We met new friends as well. We taxied back at about 2:50 pm as we have a 4:00 pm sail time. We met our friends in the Heroes Bar of Summer Landing upon reboarding. Time for a couple of Farmers Ales until sail away. Thanks, Mike. We sat on the balcony for sunset as we left the Virgin Islands behind us. We ate at the Lido Marketplace again tonight as it really is best for DW and her vegetarian needs. I also enjoyed it, tonight I had Pork Shoulder from the Carving Station, Breaded Chicken Breast, two BBQ Ribs, Soup, Baked Potato, Broccoli, and Bread Pudding for dessert. It was great. It was a super FUN day in St. Thomas and on the Carnival Celebration.


Saturday,  December 17th  /  Fun Day at Sea  /  Day 14 of B2B 

Smooth seas overnight and I slept well waking at about 10:00 am. I had a banana for breakfast from our fruit bowl to ‘hold me’ until the Diamond Luncheon at noon. A beautiful day and guests are enjoying the outer decks today. I met our friends at about 11:45 and we got a nice six-top table in the prime location for the Cruise Director and Captain’s comments. The menu was the same and I again had two NY Strip Steaks as one of my friends unknown to me ordered an extra for me, a running joke as I usually have the DW’s steak but she didn’t attend. The Steak was actually very good as were the small Salad, and Fruit plate. The tall (her mother was Montenegrin) and attractive Alexandria really kept us in the cocktails too. Not as many Diamond guests as last week, maybe 300. We again stopped in the Golden Jubilee to finish our cocktails but for perhaps an hour+ not the rest of the day as the last cruise. It was nap time when I returned to the cabin. At about 7:00 pm we went to the Lido Marketplace for the DW’s Vegetarian meal. I had a light dinner: Prime Rib from the Carving Station with Horseradish and Bread Pudding for dessert. I retired early as I was still happy from the complementary cocktails from the Luncheon. It was an easy restful and needed sea day on the Carnival Celebration.

Sunday,  December 18th  /  Fun Day at Sea  /  Day 15 of B2B 

Smooth seas overnight and I slept well. I went down one deck to Pig & Anchor for a light breakfast, the eggs were hot, and I brought back Croissants and Grapefruit to eat on the shady balcony this morning. We did a morning walkabout this morning and got our Diamond free-play chips turning them into $60 Casino chips at the Roulette Wheel. I also cashed out my chips for the year $140, low compared to last year, but on our last eight Carnival Cruises, we received $25 in cash and not chips. I also got a nice photo of the two senior Alchemists at the Alchemy Bar to update the Alchemy Bar Facebook page (photo). We ended up on Lido Deck at about 12:30 pm so I had my last Big Chicken of the cruise. DW had a salad and picked up items for an express breakfast in the morning when we have an early debarkation time. DW began packing and we watched a movie before meeting our friends for our final cocktail hour in Golden Jubilee. We had dinner tonight in Cucina del Capitano, I had the same meal as the previous visit: Arancini, Nona’s Meatball, the Minestrone Soup, the Veal Marsala entree, and the Tiramisu for dessert. It was very good. After dinner, the DW returned to the cabin to pack and I used my complimentary Diamond event cocktail at Latitudes. Ana prepared a very nice Caipirinha for me. I then went to the Piano Bar to listen to a set by Eden and get a photo with Nadia. It was rather quiet on the ship by 10:00 pm … everyone was busy packing I guess and that’s what I did as well. It was a very nice final day on the Carnival Celebration.


Monday, December 19th / Miami Debarkation 

I was up by 5:00 am as we sailed past Miami Beach and into Miami’s famous cruise row before dawn in Miami (photo). I had time to finalize packing and have breakfast before meeting the Diamond priority walk-off at 7:00 am. We actually were off before 7:15 am so waiting for the shuttle to Premier Parking for half an hour. But by 8:15 am we were heading down the road arriving at the Villa at about 12:45 pm. Easy Peasy.  


The newest ship in the fleet with that new ship smell, so to speak. The XL class is a unique and great improvement for Carnival. The same basic design as the Mardi Gras with an extra staircase and new Zones and Bars.  


Week One: we had cabin 9507 an aft-facing balcony on deck 9. It has a huge balcony, but only two chairs and a table outside. The usual push button safe, queen bed, couch, two shelves, reading lamps at the bedside, a nice small refrigerator, bench at dresser/desk, and large screen TV. There are two large wardrobes and one set of drawers at the dresser. The bathroom is small and compact, but glass doors at the shower. Week Two: we had cabin 9459 a suite located just off the aft elevators and the same Cabin Steward. The balcony was not as large, but the cabin was much larger. The usual push button safe, queen bed, two shelves, reading lamps at the bedside, a nice small refrigerator, chair at dresser/desk, and two large screen TVs. There are two large lighted wardrobes and one set of drawers at the dresser. The bathroom was much larger with sliding glass doors at the larger shower…also premium toiletries. The best is the separate sitting area with a couch and vanity. Very nice.


Loved seeing all the veteran Alchemists on board. Our cabin steward Joven was very good and friendly. The wait staff in the MDR and specialty restaurants were also friendly and did a good job serving us. They usually do have the best crew members on the new flagship.

Dining / Food / Bars / Entertainment

The MDR food is the long-time standard Carnival menu, they have added 50th birthday throw-back classic dishes. The Specialty Restaurants are numerous and very good. My favorites were Big Chicken and Cucina de Capitano.



It was a FUN cruise on the new Carnival Celebration


Sunday, October 30, 2022

Carnival Pride TransAtlantic Cruise Review

 Carnival Pride TransAtlantic Cruise Review 
Just the Facts:
Ship: Carnival Pride is a Spirit-class ship launched in 2001 at 88,500 Tons & 2100+ guest capacity.
Captain: Rino Constanzo  Hotel Director: Stephen Chastney  Cruise Director: Felipe Couto
Ports: Lisbon, Portugal - Ponta Delgada, Azores - Praia Da Vitoria, Azores - Bermuda - Grand Turk - Tampa, FL

This is the third of three consecutive cruises on the Carnival Pride. I am sailing with the Dear Wife and know many guests. This is my 3rd cruise on the Pride, my 107th Carnival cruise, and 191st cruise overall.

Sunday October 30th  /  Embarkation  /  Lisbon, Portugal  /  Day 1 
This is another easy transition day as we are already on board the ship. With over 600+ B2B (back-to-back) guests, we are going to try to make it even easier by scheduling an excursion today using our Transit Cards and avoiding the B2B formalities until later in the day thus avoiding the hassles of debarking and embarking going on in the rushed morning hours. Overnight the seas were the highest of any of the previous cruises. I was awake by 5:00 am and we were already docked in Lisbon. I took advantage of super fast internet (rare) to finalize the previous one and start this new blog review online. Also to check NCAA football scores from the USA and do some business. I went to the MDR at about 7:00 am for my usual full breakfast then we went to our excursion meet before 8:00 am, the good news is that they gave us our new sail & sign cards as I had hoped. Our excursion today was to Obidos (photo) an ancient former Roman town that by the 14th century became a prominent Medieval Fortified City. When access to the sea became blocked in the 18th century the city lost population and favor; however, that preserved the character of the old city and in the early 20th century tourists came to see the preserved ancient bastions, walls, and churches of the walled city on the hill. Now it is the most picturesque and well-preserved in Portugal. A wonderful place to visit…clean, full of varied shops and restaurants, restored churches, and more. It is now known for bookstores, Sour Cherrys & fruit, and Chocolate. A very interesting historical town within the walls. We did a nice panoramic tour of Lisbon's Boulevards, Parks, Squares, and Neighborhoods on the return. Reembarking the ship was easy once through security and we were back at the ship by 2:00 pm. Debark & embark seemed to go very well, I noticed that there were 100’s well-dressed uniformed helpers from Portuguese tourism doing many tasks today both in the terminal and on board the ship. I think Lisbon has a great future of becoming a cruise hub in the future. I soon had a Funderstruck Burger from Guy’s before afternoon nap time in the cabin. We really enjoyed sailing away after sunset, the lights of Lisbon looked great as we sailed out, as did the Christ the Redeemer Statue and passing under the bridge. I went to dinner in the MDR just to get my Roasted Tomato Soup and Sweet & Sour Shrimp. It was good. I then retired to the cabin. It was a great tour of Obidos today.

Monday, October 31st  /  Halloween / Fun Day at Sea  /  Day 2 
Rolling seas overnight were a sharp contrast to our previous 18 days in the Mediterranean Sea. I did sleep well but also got up in the night for WiFi. I want to change our patterns to stay up later for the shows this cruise since fewer ports of call. We changed our clocks/time back one hour, we are now on Ponta Delgada time and +3 from Florida time. DW brought back various Danish for breakfast in bed this morning…Today will be a rest and recovery day from all the excursions and ports of the previous two cruises. The seas are still rough through the day, with lots of guests taking a day of rest just as we are doing. The ship was well decorated for Halloween and many guests wore costumes. It was television, movies, and HGTV most of the day and evening for us. I went up to Lido Marketplace for a late lunch. Then DW later brought fries from Guy’s back to the cabin. We skipped dinner other than our snacks and stayed in this evening so missed the Halloween costume event as it started so late @ 10:30 pm. I saw five Halloween parties last year on the Breeze and spent this holiday on ship for many years so not missing anything new. It was a lazy Halloween for us on the Carnival Pride.

Tuesday, November 1st  /  Ponta Delgada, Azores, Portugal  /  Day 3  
Continued rough seas overnight but I slept well. Wifi not good even in the middle of the night. I went to the MDR and had a shared table for breakfast this morning. I ordered 3-eggs sunny-side up with all my extras and it was good. It calmed and we had nice weather sailing into port at about 10:00 am. We were docked at about 10:30 am and we were off the ship soon afterward. It’s a holiday here today so most shops were closed. We walked to the main square and visited the Church, there were some activities for All Saints day. We stopped at a cafe for Coca-Cola and the best WiFi we had all day, but soon it began to sprinkle and the forecasted rain was on its way. We walked back to the port stopping at a grocery and bought seven 1-liter bottles of Coca-cola (I brought my own bag) for the journey back. We were back on before the heavier rain began. Lunch was at the Lido Marketplace, a Funderstruck Burger for me and Vegetables for the DW. WiFi was not to be on the ship, but we watched a great movie, 
The Greatest Showman on Carnival’s television movie channel. We did a walkabout the ship as we don’t sail away until after 7:00, but most guests, other than late tours, seem to be back on board. Another movie Judy, I had not seen before today. Excellent. I went to Lido for a late dinner, Linguine night was one of my favorite MDR meals, but it is better on the buffet. It had been too dry of late but from the pan, you control how much sauce you want, and the steak was better too. Still learning after all those cruises. It was a good day on the Carnival Pride.
Wednesday  November 2nd  /  Praia Da Vitoria, Azores  /  Day 4 
Still rolling seas overnight, but not as bad as the two previous nights. We have started out a bit rough. I slept very well. I woke at about 3:00 am and the WiFi was finally working so updated this blog and did some work. At 7:10 am and within sight of the island the Captain announced that due to weather we would be unable to dock in Praia Da Vitoria today. Hopefully, now we’ll be able to break through this weather to smoother seas sooner. We did a walkabout stopping at the casino for $ and at Pixels for gifts. Also bought some candy from Cherry on Top and noticed all to new events happening such as dance and trivia on our unscheduled sea day. I ran into my friend Lance on the way to Guy’s Burgers, we had a late lunch and a beer on the covered deck and it looks like the weather wants to improve…still no WiFi though. We actually had nap time today and by the time we woke Wifi was beginning to work and we could see some cloudy/blue skies. We went to the Alchemy Bar for cocktails, I had a nice Absinth drink, then went to Lance Montalto’s 8:30 comedy show. It was the tame show and he had a packed responsive house. Afterward, I checked out the Lido Marketplace and they were still serving food at that late hour, the Steak & Baked Potato was actually very good. Retired to the cabin and had some internet time before sleep. It was the first of many consecutive sea days on the Pride.
Thursday November 3rd  /  Fun Day at Sea   /  Day 5 
Smoother seas overnight but still rolling…I slept very well although up early.  Wifi morning until we went to the Normandie Restaurant for the Sea Day Brunch.  DW had a Cheese Omelette and Potatoes, I had the Steak & Eggs plus my favorites.  We also had our Sea Day Bloody Mary and Bellini.  The sun was out by the time we returned and it looked great … so a balcony/cabin/TV day for us. I did a walkabout and guests seem to be enjoying the activities on the ship I met my friend Lance for dinner and we sat at a share table.  It was great, Lance loves an audience and the meal was much better than previous two cruises.  There were a lot of crew changes before the Transatlantic and I believe a lot must have been in the galley.  I ordered the Italian Wedding Soup, a Lobster, Prime Rib cooked perfectly, and a Cream Brûlée for dessert.  I went to the 10:30 pm Punchliner Comedy Show (photo) as Lance was the Headliner…very funny and material I had not heard.  Late night for me.  It was a funny day on the Carnival Pride.
Friday, November 4th / Fun Day at Sea / Day 6 
Rolling seas overnight again, but I slept very well. We moved our clocks back one hour @ 2:00 am. Just one hours off of Bermuda time and two off of Florida time. I was awake early at dawn but it was very overcast and damp so poor WiFi and no sunrise behind the ship as we sail west. DW brought some Danish for breakfast as the weather improved. I attended the Diamond Luncheon @ 11:30 am in the Normandie Restaurant with my friend Lance. The Captain was there, the first time of three I attended on the ship, but nice to see him. I had a nice table with nice guests, both couples on casino fares yet still received shareholder benefits, and I who paid 6X their fare was refused shareholder OBC. I am so over Carnival at this point. The same menu and I ordered the Pork Belly, Steak, and Fruit plate, it was good, better than the previous two. Cocktail servers were plentiful and I appreciated that. It clouded up again so WiFi was slow, but it was nap time in the cabin for the rest of the afternoon. I did see a Rainbow from the balcony so hopefully, that’s a good sign for tomorrow. I went to Guy’s before the 6:00 pm closing for a nice burger, then to Cherry on Top for dessert. Rough weather and seas again late so time for sleep. It was a Cosmopolitan kind of day on the Pride.
Saturday, November 5th / Fun Day at Sea / Day 7 
Rough seas again overnight, but I slept well, We moved our clocks back one hour again @ 2:00 am. Now on Atlantic or Bermuda time and one off of Florida time. It’s Throwback Saturday on the Pride and we had a printed Carnival Capers delivered with events from 1987 scheduled throughout the day. Interesting. We went to the MDR for a full breakfast at about 9:00 am. DW ordered Orange juice, a Feta Cheese omelet, and Potatoes. I ordered Hot Milk, Tomato Juice, Three Eggs easy up, Toast, Bacon, & Hash Browns. To share we ordered: Avocado Toast and a Waffle. We did a walkabout the ship and also stopped by Guest Services where I expressed my disappointment regarding the Shareholder situation. We went to the Serenity Deck and scored a Clam-shell so we enjoyed the sea air and people-watching until about 3:00 pm or NCAA early game time. The TCU game was on cabin TV and they remained undefeated at 9-0 with the win over Texas Tech. I followed the OU game receiving streaming play-by-play on the Laptop. They had an old fashion formal night Captains Reception before the set dining times in the Theater…didn’t attend. This evening I prepared some comfort food from the Lido Marketplace. I combined a Pasta & Ground Beef & Tomato Casserole with some Mashed Potatoes from the buffet, and Cheese from the salad bar to create my own goulash-style dish. I enjoyed it. The weather again turned cloudy and wet after sundown, it’s not been an easy cruise. TV and movie time for the rest of the night. It was a unique Throwback day on the Pride.
Sunday, November 6th / Fun Day at Sea / Day 8  
Rough seas again overnight and I slept very well considering. For the third consecutive night, we turned back our clocks @ 2:00 am. This one was for Daylight Savings time. We are still on Bermuda (Atlantic) time and only one hour off of Florida time. This is our 8th consecutive day of rainy weather and choppy seas. If this was a person's first transatlantic I doubt they would do another. Certainly, the worst of the nine I have done. I went to the MDR for breakfast, my usual, and sat at a shared table, then at 10:00 am when the excursion desk opened I canceled our Monday excursion for Bermuda. I don’t want to do a full-day tour in rainy and windy weather. Many guests wore their NFL team gear today, too bad they could not follow their games as the WiFi was down for the entire day. I did Chinese food for lunch in the lido Marketplace, the Orange Chicken was good, but I do miss the Mongolian Wok. I was able to get a small bit of balcony time in between showers. The casino was doing well, but it was another boring sea day for us. At about 5:30 pm I had a Guy’s Burger, thank goodness we have a retractable roof over that pool area, in another 15 minutes there was a long line of guests at Guy’s getting burgers before they close at 6:00 pm. On the walk through the passageways I noticed a lot of excursion cancellation notices in the mailboxes and Snoozing signs out, many guests riding it out in bed I assume. It was movie night in the cabin, 
The Eyes of Tammy Faye about Tammy Faye Baker was a very interesting movie. Still no Wifi and in fact, we had the hardest and heaviest rain of the cruise this evening. It was a dreary wet sea day on the Pride. 

Monday, November 7th  /  Bermuda  /  Day 9 
Again rolling and heavy seas overnight as we sailed more directly to Bermuda. The Captain has tried to avoid rain cells during the daytime, but at night he does not. I was up early updating this blog although I can’t post it until we get WiFi again. I’m hoping for a break in the weather this morning so that we can at least dock today and guests can get off the ship for a while, they need it. When we arrived on the lee side of the island at about 6:40 am it was the first time the ship hasn’t pitched & rolled since we left Ponta Delgado a week ago. Very overcast and very windy, and we had to have a tug boat assist in getting us to the Kings Wharf at the old Navy Ship Yard docks. We finally tied down at about 8:20 am. I had an enjoyable breakfast in the MDR with Hot Milk. We are docked aft to aft with the Norwegian Pearl and when we had heavy rain you couldn’t even see the other ship. The rain stopped and soon afterward (10:15 am) the ship's WiFi began to work. Great! I have a lot of business to do this Monday morning. At about 11:30 during a break in the weather, we went ashore to do a walkabout in the Navy Yard. We went to the Frog & Onion Pub, which we visited on our last overnight cruise visit. We split one order of Nachos and one beer @ $37.50 a bit dear IMHO (but they are known for that). We walked around the shops located in the old military barracks, but soon headed back when it began to drizzle. Wifi turned poor again…disappointing. We had dinner in the Lido Marketplace, nothing special, but basically the same menu as in the MDR. We had a cabin TV night again as the seas again became rough as soon as we got around the island of Bermuda. They have closed all the port holes and have installed safety barriers on all the Ocean View windows on deck one, we are expecting even worse weather because of TS Nicole, let’s hope they don’t do deck 2 tomorrow. It was a Bermudian kind of day today on the Pride.

Tuesday, November 8th / Fun Day at Sea / Day 10 
Rough seas overnight have become the norm for this cruise. In addition to barricading the lower windows, they have drained all the pools and stowed most outdoor loungers, chairs, and tables, removed items from tables and shelves, and anything that can move. Looks like TS Nicole is between us and home. We also turned back our clocks @ 2:00 am for the final time. We are now in Tampa Florida destination time. At daybreak we were sailing through the rain with little visibility, forget about any internet service, they set up a status information channel on the TV, but it’s not working either. I had a light breakfast and lunch on Lido, I did an improvised sandwich getting sliced pork from the Carving Station and fresh rolls adding spicy mustard. With a salad, it was one of my better lunches. The weather, not the seas, improved during the day. I got an hour of nice balcony time before sunset, then a full moon (photo). The clearer sky also helped me get WiFi as well. I had dinner before going to see the Beatles Tribute Show by Lance Montalto in the Butterflies Lounge. He had a SRO crowd when I went there at about 8:15 pm. A stop in the Casino then Cherry on Top before retiring to the cabin. It was a nasty weather day that improved by nightfall on the Pride.
Wednesday  November 9th  /  Grand Cayman  /  Day 11 
Much smoother seas overnight and I slept well although up very early. The sunrise is early too on the eastern edge of the EST @ 5:50 am. We do have WiFi with the improved weather so I reviewed election results and others news for the first time in a while. They have refilled the swimming pools and it looks like we may be getting back to a normal cruise today as we are now south of TS Nicole. We docked a bit earlier than scheduled next to the Carnival Freedom. It was interesting to see the damaged whale tail funnel from the recent fire on board the Freedom. We left the ship at about 10:00 am and rented a Golf Cart. We drove to the Lighthouse seeing lots of wild donkeys along the way. The water here is beautiful, but the island really is not at all. Then to Cockburn Town to purchase some primitive art similar to what I purchased on my last visit here. There were a lot of tourists there, I was surprised, but there were several tourist buses stopped on the way to a beach break and on tours. It eventually cleared, an advantage of having a golf cart, and I had a beer and looked at the shops. The next stop was Jack’s Shack and we lucked out and scored a table. A larger new bar area than the previous and it was busy. I enjoyed a few Turk Head lager beers and hit the water on this rather warm day. We returned early and were back onboard by 3:00 pm. This was the first somewhat normal or typical cruise day and guests were enjoying it at the beach or at the pools onboard the ship. I watched sail away @ 6:30 pm…a beautiful full moon and lights of the Freedom and Grand Turk as we sailed into the night. We were invited to dine Al Fresco @ 7:30 pm on the Lido Deck. It was different and anything different is good. A perfect evening for it with a nice breeze. It was basically an enhanced MDR menu but I enjoyed a table with a tablecloth and ambiance. I ordered Stuffed Mushrooms, Cobb Salad, Stuffed Pork Chop, and Fruit Plate for dessert. A nice little extra for Diamond guests on this long cruise. It was the best weather day and an island kind of day on the Carnival Pride.

Thursday, November 10th / Fun Day at Sea / Day 12 

Smooth seas overnight and I slept very well. It’s been a while since I’ve been able to write my standard opening to a day's review. It does make me appreciate it more. The DW brought Danish down from the Lido Marketplace for breakfast on this bright sunshiny day. In fact, we had to close the drapes as it was heating up the cabin. We had a casual morning watching the Ford vs. Ferrari movie and then went up to deck three so the cabin steward could have the room to clean. I did a walkabout cashing out at the casino and applying some cash on my ship account at Guest Services. BTW-there is not a Texas Hold ‘Em table on the Pride. I then had a very nice Guy’s hamburger for a late lunch. The rest of the afternoon I had cabin time to monitor the Market, a record positive day. Sweet! I had a happy-hour planned on the balcony @ 4:00 pm but some rain showers drove me indoors for an hour. I have beer to drink bought in Turkey and it’s a beautiful evening…so it was wonderful. I had been watching a cruise ship gaining on us since well before 4:00 pm and it caught us and passed on the starboard side about 7:45-8:00 pm. Beautiful with the ship lights and lightning in the background. I went to get a pizza for the cabin at about 8:15, it was good and my first of the 3 cruises. I still haven’t had any ice creme. A Television evening until sleep. It was a FUN and profitable sea day on the Pride.

Friday, November 11th / Fun Day at Sea / Day 13 

Smooth seas overnight and I slept very well on this last day of the cruise. A relaxing morning before I went to the MDR for the Carnival Seaday Brunch. I had a hearty breakfast as I will have my usual sausage & biscuit once I get home. I had a Fruit Bowl, Eggs Benedict, two eggs sunny side, Hash Browns, Bacon, and Hot milk. I then went to Guest Services to cancel my Internet Plan and since I prepaid the plan with OBC they will send an OBC credit and I’ll still have the WiFi through tomorrow morning, better than I expected. If I actually get the credit.  The sun hits our balcony today and we have the curtains closed so we had movie time JoJo Rabbit, a dark comedy about WWII. We both had Blue Iguana bowls for lunch today, always a good option. Ice Creme in the dessert section today...I never used the soft serve. We did some preliminary packing this afternoon and I reserved a Lyft ride for 8:30 am on Saturday so I hope all goes smoothly with debarkation. At 4:45 pm I went to the theater for the Diamond & Platinum party, just so happened I was again the high cruiser, all three on the B2B2B. This time the Captain was in attendance so I had a photo taken with Captain Constanzo and Felipe the Cruise Director (photo above right). I then made it to Guy’s before they closed at 6:00 pm and had a hamburger: The Ringer, it is a good one. We finished packing as we put the bags out tonight for pickup.  Time for another movie before sleep time.  It was a nice final sea day on the Pride.

Saturday, November 12th / Tampa Florida. / Debarkation 

We woke early and packed our carry-on bags then went to the Ivory Lounge, the designated Diamond meet location about 7:00 am. Although we have pickup bags we wanted to get on deck 3 for ease of debarking. We anticipated the calling of bags since we have number 1 and followed the self-assist after about a 15-minute wait. It was perfect as they called Numbers 1 & 2 while we were in line for customs. It's a manual process as they claim the WiFi will not support facial recognition as yet. I found our bags easily and I believe we were the actual first guests out that had checked bags. We walked to the Florida Aquarium arriving at about 8:15 am, perfect for our scheduled 8:30 Lyft pick-up ($65+tip). We were home by 9:30 am. Super easy debarkation.


We have had the same cabin, 8270 an aft-facing balcony on deck 8 for all three cruises. That made it very easy for us. It has a push-button safe, a queen bed, a couch, two nightstands, lamps by the bed, a small refrigerator, a seat at the dresser/desk, and a very small TV. There are three large wardrobes, one set of drawers, and one storage cabinet, and we used a large portable fan on some occasions.  


Our cabin stewards were adequate and friendly. The wait staff in the MDR were also friendly and did a good job serving us. The GS (Guest Services) staff and excursion desk are very friendly and nice.

Dining / Food / Bars / Entertainment

The food is the long-time standard Carnival menu, they have added 50th birthday throw-back classic dishes. Food quality was not as good as my recent Carnival Paradise cruises though. Overall quite average for Carnival and below average compared to other cruise lines. Entertainment was mediocre at best. The comedians were best choice with Lance Montalto #1. The Alchemy Bar disappointing.

Diamond Card — The usual Carnival benefits; the casino does give the $25 in cash, a Diamond luncheon, Chocolate strawberries on request (we didn’t), Laundry, Pin, and a drink koozie as a gift.

Highlights of the Cruise

Of course, Carnival can not control the weather but the poor weather and high seas made the cruise difficult to enjoy. There were some nicer days, but very few, and only one day of thirteen that it didn’t rain. With very limited TV channels and poor internet and the fact that we have seen every production show and played every triva game, the days became rather long and boring for us. Not the best cruise and frankly I now question even taking another transatlantic.  I know I am happier with the XL-class cruise ships.

The first two cruises of this B2B2B adventure in the Mediterranean Sea were wonderful. All the ports in Italy, Greece, and Turkey were FUN and very enjoyable.