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.