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.


Friday, October 21, 2022

Carnival Pride Mediteranian Cruise Review

Carnival Pride Cruise Review  October 21, 2022

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: Civitaveccia, Italy - Naples, Italy - Messina, Sicily - Valletta, Malta - Malaga, Spain - Gibralter - Portimao, Portugal - Lisbon, Portugal

This is the second of three consecutive cruises on the Carnival Pride. I am sailing with the Dear Wife and friends from Thailand. This is my 2nd cruise on the Pride my 106th Carnival cruise, and 190th cruise overall.
Friday October 21st  /  Embarkation  /  Civitavecchia, Italy  /  Day 1 
An easy transition day as we are already on the ship and we only have to meet the other 200+ B2B guests at 8:00 am and receive our new Sail & Sign cards for this cruise. No requirements for customs within the European Union so one of the easiest embarkations and we were back in the cabin by 9:00 am. There were some hiccups with many B2B cards not being activated but soon straightened out. I made some excursion changes when they opened at 11:00 am and by 11:30 the four of us left the ship. We walked to the newish large Piazza Della Vita located along the seaside and stopped at Chalet Gariba a very nice open seaside cafe/bar. Great place to relax and enjoy the weather and people-watch as well as have a few refreshments. The Piazza also has Palm Trees and unique art work (photo). Using Google Maps we found a highly rated Bistro named Cavoli A Merenda only six blocks away and went for a late lunch. It was a great experience, a beautiful small outdoor location, with fresh farm food, wine, beer, and bakery items. Great place for a vegetarian. We all ordered off the special day menu and enjoyed it very much…this made our day. We walked back towards the ship and I stopped at a Mini-market close to the shuttle location to purchase Coca-Cola, Peroni beer, and Lay’s Potato Chips. We were back on board and visited our Muster Station by 4:00 pm. There were six ships docked in Civitavecchia today, as the sun sat they looked impressive as we sailed away. I had dinner at our new table (222) in the Normandie Restaurant tonight. I ordered the classic Roasted Tomato Soup (it was excellent), the Sweet & Sour Shrimp (very good), the Pollo Parmigiana Della Cucina (a great chicken dish from the Cucina de Capitano Menu) entree, and a nice Tiramisu for dessert. An excellent Menu. I retired soon afterward. It was a very nice transition day in Civitavecchia and on the Pride.
Saturday October 22nd  /  Naples, Italy  /  Day 2 
Smooth seas overnight and I slept well. We were up early for our busy day. I went to the MDR at about 7:00 am for a nice breakfast: Western Omelet, Bacon, Hash Browns, Grapefruit, Tomato Juice, and Hot Milk. Our Excursion is 
the Ancient Ruins of Herculaneum and left the ship at 8:30 am. We arrived at the Herculaneum Archeological Park within an hour and began our 2.5-hour tour. This Roman seaside town was destroyed in the famous Mt. Vesuvius eruption in 79 AD. Not as large a site as the more famous Pompei, but it was better preserved. Numerous homes have been uncovered with original painted walls, flooring of various types, household items, and more (photo right). It was well worth the time and effort to see it all. There are also two museums with relics. We returned to the ship just after noon and prepared for another attempt at a walkabout in Naples. We were docked in the prime port location unlike on Thursday so closer to the better areas of downtown. Our goal was to get some sweets from the famous Gran Caffe Gambrinus and find a pizza place along the way. We found the famous local pizza establishment, but it was an hour's wait to get a seat. We walked through the Large beautiful Galleria Umberto I and exited on the busiest pedestrian street in Naples: Via Toledo. It was midday Saturday and half the population of Naples was on the street. Every walk-up pizza location had long lines, but we lucked into a table at L.u.i.s.e Restaurant. We ordered a White wine, a large draft of Peroni beer, and a Pizza Pie. We were soon joined by our friend out on a solo walkabout of his own. Great for people watching as at least 1000+ passed by while we ate. We walked down to the very busy Gambrinus and bought pastries for takeaway. Then walked back to the ship arriving back at about 3:15 pm. We did 12,300 steps between the tour and walk today, second only to the Santorini day last cruise. Serious rest until dinner tonight I had the Escargot, Shrimp Cocktail, Lentil-Pumpkin-Chorizo Soup, the Weiner Schnitzel entree, and Cheesecake for dessert.  After dinner I retired to the cabin and sleep.  It was a busy and interesting day in Napoli.

Sunday October 23rd  /  Messina Sicily, Italy  /  Day 3 
Calm seas overnight and I slept well, I was awake when we sailed into the harbor of Messina near sunrise @ 7:15 am... We are not doing an excursion just planning to walk around the city so an easy morning for us. I had a nice Omelet+ from the Lido at about 8:30 am and took some pastries back to the cabin for the DW. At about 10:00 we left the ship and walked the few blocks over to Piazza del Duomo. Here we visited the Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Assumption and stayed for the 10:30 Mass. We then had two Coca-Colas in the Piazza while waiting for the noon presentation at the Campanile Del Duomo Di Messina (photo left) or the Church Clocktower. It was impressive…similar to or better than what one would see in Munich or Prague at their famous clocktowers. BTW-you can catch the HoHo buses here if you wish… an easy walk from the cruise port. I knew because of a great experience in Genoa that many fine restaurants in Italy offer a nice Sunday midday meal. I researched Messina and found a great restaurant with a Michelin award called Ristorante Sacha about a 15-minute walk. We arrived at about 12:40 and were the first guests. I recognized the Chef when we entered as I had just seen his photo on Facebook, I greeted him and we instantly had great service. We were also seated at the prime table to be able to see the Chef at work…similar to a Chef Table concept. Amazing. There is a Sous Chef, Cook, and the (celebrity) Chef supervises and does the presentations. Since we were first we saw all of it being prepared. Very unique serving dishes with each course too. The food was amazing, I may do a full review of it, but for brevity, we had a Veggie Sampler, Shrimp Sampler, Pumpkin Risotto, Lobster, Fresh Fish, Unique vegetables, and an amazing Pear for dessert. Perhaps dear, but less than the price of an excursion and more enjoyable to me. We walked back along the harbor enjoying the perfect weather, also no traffic on a Sunday. We returned to the Cathedral to go through the Museum, we also had the option of climbing the Clock Tower…but no. We returned to the ship at 3:30 to relax from our walkabout and observe our 4:30 scheduled sail away from the port into the busy Straights of Messina. I updated this blog then went to dinner @ 8:15 pm. and all four of us attended for first time this cruise.  For dinner tonight I ordered the Linguine and Meatballs as a starter, the Tuscan Minestrone Soup, the Tenderloin Steak entree, and Roasted Pineapple for dessert.  We retired after dinner following a full fun day in Messina. 

Monday  October 24th  /  Valletta, Malta  /  Day 4 
Smooth seas overnight and I slept very well. I woke at about 6:00 am and we were docking in the impressive port and walled city of Valletta at about 7:00 am. I went to the MDR for breakfast before they closed at 9:00 am for three fried Eggs, Bacon, Hash Browns, Grapefruit, Tomato Juice, and proper Hot Milk. We then began our big walkabout in Valetta starting with the 20+ minute walk uphill to the City from the harbor. We did it properly and went through the original City Gates and soon stopped at a Cafe for Coca-Cola and rest a bit. Then on to the St. John’s Co-Cathedral the premier tourist site in Valetta. Opened in 1578, the exterior is rather austere and reminiscent of a fortress, but the interior is very ornate, one of the most unique places we have visited. It’s also home to an art masterpiece: The Beheading of St. John the Baptist (1608) by Caravaggio (photo right). It was our second visit but still awe-inspiring. We enjoyed walking the streets and St. Georges Square with buildings dating back to the 15th & 16th centuries. We took a tour of a private palace: Casa Rocca Piccola built in the 16th century. It was very interesting and the original kitchen is now a restaurant: La Giara where we ate our lunch. I had one of their specialties, Tagliatelle al Ragu of Wild Boer, it was delicious. We continued our walk and had some specialty ice creme as we headed back towards the ship. It was a warm day @ 81° so we returned by 3:00 pm and we sailed about 5:00. A beautiful fortified harbor so a nice sail away. Cabin time to rest the rest of the evening.  DW brought goodies down from Lido for us to snack on until we fell asleep.  It was a wonderful but tiring day in Malta.

Tuesday October 25  /  Fun Day at Sea   /  Day 5 
Smooth seas overnight and I slept very well, I watched the sunrise from the aft balcony as we are sailing due west this morning. We went to the MDR for the Sea Day Brunch and Mayong was our waiter, later joined by our friends at the next table so it was make-up for missing dinner last night. We enjoyed our Diamond cocktails, a Bloody Mary, and Bellini and I ordered: Steak&Eggs, Hash Browns, Bacon, Danish, Toast, Tomato Juice, and Hot Milk. It was a good breakfast. Afterward, we went to collect our $25 Casino gifts, I got $1 bills to use as tips for servers. We then returned to the cabin where I worked on documents for our next cruise, our call in Bermuda requires extra entry forms. Very few sea days to get business done on a port-intensive cruise. I booked an excursion, picked up our diamond gifts, bought candy at Cherry on Top, then had a Guy’s Hamburger for a late lunch. Just a nice relaxing day. We went to the Elegant Night Dinner in the Normandie MDR, DW had a special Vegetable plate, and I ordered the Italian wedding soup, Prime Rib with Baked Potato, Lobster Tail, and Creme Brûlée and a Banana Split for dessert. A nice meal and good service. After dinner, we took a walk before retiring to the cabin. It was both a relaxing and productive sea day on the Carnival Pride sailing the Mediterranean Sea.


Wednesday, October 26 / Fun Day at Sea / Day 6
Smooth seas overnight and I slept very well. I was awake at dawn and watched the sunrise behind the ship as we sail west in the Mediterranean Sea. The coast of Africa was visible on our port side for most of the day. You could even see an occasional Saharan dust cloud pass over us. The sweet DW brought pastries down for breakfast as I finalized our Bermuda entry paperwork. At 11:30 we went to deck 3 and the Diamond Guest Luncheon in the Normandie Restaurant. I ordered the usual but had the advantage of finishing the DW’s dishes as well. I had a Salad, Pork Belly, Sea Bass, NY Strip Steak, with Tres Leches, and Fruit Plate for dessert. Very good food, good friends, and plentiful cocktails so a great luncheon. DW went to Lido to get vegetarian food then it was cabin time for the rest of the afternoon. Great weather on the balcony and interesting ‘dust devils’ on occasion so we had a very lazy day in the cabin & outside. I went to the Lido for dinner, the Tex-Mex pasta bowl sounded like comfort food to me, especially when I added cheddar cheese and a dollop of mashed potatoes. I did a walkabout the ship, everyone enjoying themselves on this final sea day. A stop at Cherries on Top for some candy, I prefer that to a cocktail on occasion. With a notice that our excursion now meets at 8:00 am, we decided to retire early. It was a relaxing day on the Carnival Pride.

Thursday, October 27th / Malaga, Spain / Day 7 

Smooth seas overnight and I slept well, I was up early before we docked at about 7:00 am. I went up to Lido for a quick breakfast as we had to meet for our excursion at 8:00 am, Today we are doing Cordoba Highlights. It’s almost a 2-hour drive to the ancient city of Cordoba founded by Rome about 152 BC. On the drive up we past the world's largest Olive Tree plantations. The scenery was amazing. Arriving in Cordoba we walked through lanes and passageways of the Old Town and the Jewish quarter. The Historic Center of Cordoba is UNESCO listed site, of course, the Mosque-Cathedral of Córdoba is the jewel. The site was earliest a Roman Temple site, then the Great Mosque from 756 - 12th century, and a Catholic Cathedral from the 13th century. An amazing and huge building certainly worth a visit. We had more than an hour on our own to shop and eat lunch. I wanted to try the traditional dish of the city: Salmorejo made of tomatoes, bread, extra virgin olive oil, and garlic. Then topped with Serrano ham & local cheese and served cold. Very interesting. I had some nice local ice creme from a shop for dessert. and we did a small amount of shopping. We arrived back at the ship at about 4:45 for our 5:30 back-on-board time. Tonight I had a Funderstruck Burger from Guy’s. They don’t advertise it, but they will make it if you properly and specifically order it. It was good. Our friends ate at the unique Steakhouse located in the funnel of the ship. They said it was very nice. I enjoyed the sail away as you can watch the city and then the mountains disappear as you sail further into the Mediterranean Sea. Sundown was a bonus. We had cabin time until retiring. It was an Andalusian kind of day on the Carnival Pride.

Friday, October 28 / Gibraltar, British Overseas Territory / Day 8  

Smooth seas again overnight and I slept very well. We were docked before dawn, but we’re doing our own thing today so we could sleep late. It was foggy in the early hours so we didn’t leave the ship until after 10:00 am. Since we leave at 4:00 we ruled out going up on the Rock since we did that extensively on our last visit here. We walked from the port to the High Street, much of it Pedestrian only, and found numerous General Shops, British Pubs, Restaurants, Souvenir Shops, Government Buildings, and more. They use British Pounds Sterling here, but we use the Apple card now exclusively overseas. Great value against the US dollar now so a lot of bargains for us. We did get a lot of items for the long upcoming transatlantic cruise including MacVitties biscuits & cookies, vitamins, candy, Coca-cola, and more. We walked the entire length of Main Street to the old Gibraltar Cemetery. It was interesting with most graves being Royal Navy officers from the 19th century. We found the Admiral Nelson statue and then started our walk back. We stopped at a great pub: Lord Nelson Pub. Great pub atmosphere, beer, wine, and fast WiFi. I ordered Fish & Chips, it was fantastic…served with lemon, tartar sauce, and mushy peas. The fish was huge. We stayed as long as possible (3 pints long) before returning to the ship. We watched the sail away and the Rock of Gibraltar disappear as we sailed (photo from 2016 visit). I had a short nap and almost missed dinner…it was steak night too. I ordered: Stuffed Mushrooms, Shrimp Cocktail, 4-Season Salad, the Filet Mignon entree, and Key Lime for dessert. It was a good meal. I returned to the cabin, checked the market, and turned our clocks back one hour as we change time zones overnight. It was a FUN port day in Gibraltar.


Saturday, October 29th / Portimão, Portugal / Day 9

Rolling seas overnight as we sailed from the Mediterranean Sea into the Atlantic Ocean. We were anchored off of Portimao on the south coast of Portugal at first light. I was awake by this time and went to the MDR for an early breakfast, I ordered Grapefruit, Danish, Eggs Benedict, Bacon, Hash Browns, Tomato Juice, and Hot Milk. We then met our friends at the Diamond guest gathering spot at 8:30 am for priority tender service to shore arriving at the port just after 9:30 am. We walked towards the old town and found a very nice cafe/restaurant, the Casa Inglesa located along the harbor. We had our first Pastéis de Nata (photo left) with soda, water, or coffee. Very nice as was the internet. After resting from our long walk from the port we then toured some of the city of Portimão before stopping for lunch at Taberna Portimão a unique restaurant located on a narrow street in the old town. We had a great meal for four, I had the Veal served with Rice, Salad, and Mushrooms. We then began the long walk back to the port arriving to a very long line to be tendered back to the ship. It was about a half-hour wait. Once back on board we rested and I attended the Platinum & Diamond Cocktail Party at 4:45 pm. I was once again the cruise guest with the highest number of days: 705 on Carnival…we visited after the party while finishing our cocktails as we began to sail away. This is our friend's final day on board the ship as we begin our Transatlantic cruise tomorrow. For dinner tonight I ordered: Cobb Salad, Dill Lemon Comfort Soup, Country Fried Chicken, and Baked Alaska. Very tired after so much walking today so strait to the cabin and soon to bed.  It was a nice day at a new port with great weather and friends…

Highlights of the Cruise
The Fantastic Weather during the entire cruise

St. John’s Co-Cathedral and Valetta
Ruins of Herculaneum
The meal at Ristorante Sacha in Messina
Campanile Del Duomo Di Messina




Monday, October 10, 2022

Carnival Pride Mediteranian Cruise Review

 Carnival Pride Cruise Review  October 11, 2022

Just the Facts: 
Ship: Carnival Pride is a Spirit-class ship launched in 2001 at 88,500 tons & 2200 guest capacity.
Captain: Maurizio Ruggiero - Hotel Director: Stephen Chastney - Cruise Director: Felipe Couto
Ports: Civitaveccia, Italy - Mykonos, Greece - Kusadasi, Turkey - Santorini, Greece - Athens, Greece -  Katacolon, Greece - Messina, Sicily - Naples, Italy.

This is my first cruise to Europe since 2019 and the pre-covid era.  I’m cruising with the Dear Wife and this is the first of three consecutive cruises on the Carnival Pride.  This is also my first cruise on the Pride but my 105th Carnival cruise, and 189th cruise overall  I do have some friends and clients sailing that will be fun to see.  We will have 31 consecutive nights on board the Carnival Pride.   

Monday /  October 10, 2022  / Travel Day 
I finished packing early Monday morning and off for the Tampa airport at about 10:45 am. The DD and Grand dropped us off at American and we proceeded to check our two bags through to Rome. We went through security and everything went quickly. We were at our gate 1.5 hours before our flight to Charlotte NC. The flight was only just over an hour and we arrived with time to spare for our 4:45 flight to Rome. We were boarded on the 777-200 aircraft (photo) and have our favorite cheap seats on row 36. Everything was going well until there was a problem with the plane and we all had to debark the plane, Oh My! We walked across the airport for the second time today to our new gate and aircraft for our Rome flight rescheduled for a 7:00 pm departure. We re-boarded and we were away at about 7:20 pm. We had the same seats and I watched 4 episodes of Taylor Sheridan’s 1883 and the new Elvis movie, not much sleep if any. An interesting travel day.

Tuesday October 11  /  Embarkation  /  Rome & Civitavecchia, Italy  /  Day 1
We landed about 10:00 am Rome time and being a late arrival it made it very easy to clear local customs…and yes you do clear customs before you get your baggage (won a bet on this). We had to wait in the airport for an hour + for our shuttle time to the Port of Civitavecchia. We were both walking zombies by the time our noon shuttle left at 1:00 pm. It was an easy one-hour drive to the port and security and check-in went very smooth, we did the mandatory Boat Drill on the way to our cabin arriving by 2:30. Very tempting to just sleep but we went up one deck to Lido to eat. I had one Guy’s Burger with fries and DW had Macaroni & Cheese with Broccoli and Guy’s french fries. We met our Cabin Steward Joe and surprisingly our luggage was soon delivered…that is always a relief. We were both too tired to unpack and it was finally Nap time. I slept from 4:00 pm to 10:00 pm very soundly, as I never even heard the loud boat drill blasts, announcements, nor the sail away. At about 11:00 pm I went down to Guest Services as I was having trouble logging into Wifi and met Alexandra from Bucharest who guessed a firewall problem…I then recalled I had the same problem on Harmony of the Seas and with one click in Network Settings fixed it. Wifi working great. I then did a late-night walk about on the ship stopping to check the Red Frog Pub and then spent some time in the Ivory Piano Bar on Deck 3 forward. I returned to the cabin, hung my clothes, and did a partial set-up for my 31-day stay. After updating this blog it was a return to bed for still-needed sleep. A long adventurous embarkation day for the Carnival Pride.

Monday October 12  /  Day at Sea  /  Day 2 
Smooth seas overnight and we slept with our aft balcony door open to hear the seas. It was a pleasant evening with temperatures about 70°… sweet. Now we feel as though we are on a cruise, rested, and ready for our adventure. At about 8:45 am DW went up to Lido to get a Continental breakfast. We will certainly miss the hanger cards you placed on the cabin door the night before. I usually go out for breakfast, but DW always had a light Continental delivered. We are not fans of the new room service policy on Carnival. Joe brought us more hangers and DW began unpacking this morning. We did a nice long walkabout familiarizing ourselves with the ship, having sailed the Legend several times it is coming back to us. We met friends on Serenity Deck and then had lunch. I did the Asian Grill in the Lido Marketplace, it was fine but I prefer a Mongolian Grill. It was nice seeing good friends again. At about 2:30ish we sailed by the Stromboli volcano (photo) just north of Sicily that erupted a few days ago. Nice bonus as we sail towards the straits between Italy and Sicily. We took a short nap before meeting our friends at the Alchemy Bar for cocktails. It’s a larger Alchemy with an entertainment stage located on deck 2. Nice bar areas and also lounge chairs. We went to early set dining in the Normandie Restaurant on this Captain’s Elegant Night. I ordered the Italian wedding soup., Prime Rib with Baked Potato, Lobster Tail, and Fruit Plate for dessert. It was good. After dinner, we retired to the cabin for some TV and relaxation before sleep. It was a fun first sea day on the Pride.
Thursday October 13  /  Day at Sea  /  Day 3 
Calm seas and I slept well as we moved our clocks forward one hour overnight. I did get up early to use the internet as I've done for years. At about 7:30 am I went up to the Blue Iguana for breakfast. I had my favorite huevos rancheros with two fresh fried eggs, cheese, salsa, and watermelon. It was good. I returned to the cabin with danish + for DW when she awakes. Very pleasant out on the balcony this morning too. At 11:30 they had the Diamond Luncheon. A big crowd, probably 160+ Diamonds on board. DW skipped, not a Vegetarian-friendly menu, but my Thai friends attended. I had the Salad, NY Strip Steak, and Fruit Plate. The steak was good. The cocktails were good, but the great surprise was that they were serving real Coca-Cola products. I scored four Coke Zeros for the DW. Hopefully, they will have them ship-wide in the bars, if not I will need to discover the stash. Friends returned to the cabin to visit then it was afternoon nap time. After watching the beautiful sunset from our aft balcony (photo) we went on a walkabout the ship and attended the Playlist Productions show in the Taj Mahal Theater. The show was Getaway Island a campy show with lots of Giget-style beach songs, a boy meets girl theme with a Volcano for excitement. It was interesting. It was now time for dinner at our new time and location for the rest of the cruise. We now eat at late sitting set-time dining and we have a nice booth in the Normandie Restaurant. Tonight I ordered the Baked Ziti as a starter, the Escargot and the Wienerschnitzel entree from the 50th birthday selections, and a Panna Cotta for dessert. It was good. The service team was good as well. We retired to the cabin after dinner to prepare for our first port of call tomorrow. It was an easy relaxing sea day on the Pride.
Friday  October 14  /  Mykonos, Greece  /  Day 4
Smooth seas and I slept very well. We were docked before I woke at 8:15 am in the new port Mykonos. This is a new Greek Island for me so looking forward to seeing as much as I can. I went to the MDR for breakfast before they closed at 9:00 am for Eggs Benedict, Bacon, Hash Browns, Grapefruit, Tomato Juice, and proper Hot Milk. The milk was perfect, but they admitted that they get more requests for it in Europe. Our group of four left the ship at about 10:00 and walked to the ferry (€8 return) that takes guests from the new port to the old port and Mykonos town. As we were a little later we were able to walk right on board for the short journey. The weather was ideal and we walked the beautiful passageways of the village. We of course stopped at the six windmills as well as many of the shops. They have souvenir shops as well as high-end shopping. DW even found reel leather shoes…usually, a difficult task for her as she has such tiny feet. Our first refreshment stop was at the Veranda where I had the first greek beer of this trip and a wonderful view of the Windmills across the narrow bay inlet. Nice. We made a beer stop in the shopping district along the narrow streets, but the best beer choices were at Birra Birra with numerous beers on draft (including Czech). That was our final stop before taking the ferry back to the ship arriving back at about 4:45 pm. A short rest before 8:15 dinner. It’s Linguine night, I ordered a Linguine, then combine it with the Meatball appetizer, and an extra portion of Marinara…you get a very nice bowl of Pasta this way. I also ordered the Tenderloin entree and the Pineapple for dessert. We retired afterward as we have an early excursion tomorrow. It was a great day in Mykonos.
Saturday October 15  /  Kusadasi, Turkey   /  Day 5 
Smooth seas overnight and I slept well, I was up a bit in the night so researched sites on today's excursion. I went for an early breakfast in the Lido Marketplace then off for our early 8:00 am meet for our excursion. We are doing the Magnificent Miletus & the Temple of Apollo excursion and we were away by 8:15 am. We barely made it, but only 20 on our bus so  nice group. Just a quick view of the port area as we leave for the one-hour drive to Miletus an ancient city now primarily in ruins. The first stop and main feature here is the huge Greek Theater, the second largest in ancient Greece and fairly well preserved although in ruins. The history here is amazing, perhaps the most well-known speaker here (to us) was the Apostle Paul who gave his last public sermon here (ACTS, chapter XX). The second stop is the Museum with local artifacts also located nearby. Next an additional 15-minute drive to the Temple of Apollo (photo right). This is also a Greek Temple and one of only two Greek Temples with an Oracle (Delphi the other). This was a major pilgrimage site, even Alexander the Great came here to see the Oracle. This was a very interesting visit and excursion overall, of course, you have the mandatory Turkish Carpet tour at the end, but the complementary drinks and toilet were nice. We had time before heading back to the ship and the DW scored a new handbag and cotton top, we also bought some Turkish Delights for gifts and beer & Coke for the cabin. It was a fun day with perfect 70° weather. Back on the ship, I had Guy’s burger and then a nap. The Housekeeping Director had a very nice fan delivered to the cabin too. Thanks. We met our friends at about 7:30 for a cocktail and then had dinner at 8:15 pm. It was a weaker menu tonight, I ordered Baked Potato Soup, Seafood Newburg, and the Steak entree from the daily grill. DW had the Penne Pasta. We returned to the cabin and I updated the blog before retiring. A great excursion day in Turkey.

Sunday  October 16  /  Island of Santorini, Greece  /  Day 6 

Higher seas for the first time so bouncy overnight, I enjoy rocking, bouncing not as much. We were anchored in the waters of the caldera off of Santorini before dawn. We met our friends at 8:00 am to get the early Diamond VIP water shuttles over to the island. The line for the gondolas (€4 each way pp) up to the village was already a long line, but we were up top by 9:00 am. Our friends were going to walk but ended up taking the donkeys and beating us up there. We had breakfast at a rooftop cafe to allow the shops to open, we could have made a better choice. We did our walkabout finding popular photo spots then back towards the main village to shop and look around. The weather was overcast and cool but felt good because of the walking. I stopped at Elia a very nice Restaurant to drink a beer and use their WiFi while the others shopped. DW was back first, we shared a Greek Salad and Hummus with Pita Bread. She did get a very nice linen shirt, I got the bill. The others returned so the last round of Greek beer was before a final walkabout for DW and me as we took the Gondola back down. Our friends stayed longer and then ended up walking down…that had to be tough. After a nap we watched us sail away from our aft balcony, a beautiful experience. We ate at the Lido Marketplace, DW had a Salad, and I had Chicken Marsala, Pork loin, Mashed Potatoes, three small mixed salads, and a lovely Bread Pudding for dessert. We had a TV night back at the cabin and I looked at excursion options for tomorrow. It was a very interesting visit to Santorini.
Monday  October 17  /  Piraeus for Athens, Greece  /  Day 7  
Again rolling seas overnight, but I slept fairly well, although waking a few times. We were docked in Piraeus along with many other cruise ships when I woke at 7:30 am. We took an easy morning as we are not going to Athens today. I went up to Lido for breakfast at about 9:15 and it wasn’t busy as most are already off on excursions. No line at the omelet station so I had a 3-egg Western Omelette as well as Ham, Hash browns, and a Pancake. We left the ship at 10:00 am took the first shuttle to Terminal B and left the secure area for a walk into the city. The first stop was the Church of Agios Nikolaos about a 15-minute walk. A beautiful Greek Orthodox church with amazing art, and a LOT of gold and silver incorporated in the art itself. We then walked to the Archaeological Museum of Piraeus only a few blocks away. An amazing and inexpensive museum (€4) with statuary and artifacts from antiquity, similar to the museum in Athens but smaller, the items were actually from the Piraeus area. We discovered that we were on the Piraeus City Walk, I had noticed the yellow markings on the sidewalk so we decided to continue the walk. The next stop was for Coca-cola at a Cafe at the old harbor, now the area's yacht club…a nice neighborhood. We continued the walk into the city center shopping area and several very nice pedestrian streets. Our favorite shop was Hansel & Gretel, a cute and unique candy/ice creme/bakery combination. We stopped at Arlekinos a nice restaurant on one of these pedestrian streets. We relaxed and enjoyed the weather and people-watching. They had Mythos beer on tap so I enjoyed several and we snacked on some unique Pita bread, Baked Feta cheese with pesto, and a great Tzatziki Sauce. Very enjoyable. We continued the City Walk past the governmental buildings then lost the marking on the sidewalk. It was fine as I knew the general way back towards the port and we came upon a barber shop…so I had a much-needed haircut (€ 5 cheaper than Cozumel). From there we decided to catch a taxi back to the terminal (€5) to beat the arrival of the returning Athens tours. We were back at the cabin by 3:30 pm…a great excursion day. I sat on the balcony and updated this blog and enjoyed the views and weather. I went to Guy’s burgers before they closed at 6:00 for my dinner, DW had a salad from the Lido Marketplace. It’s a rest & TV movie night for us. A fantastic day in Piraeus Greece.
Tuesday  October 18  /  Katacolon, Greece  /  Day 8  
Rolling seas again overnight and slept well although I had my common two-hour WiFi session during the early hours. We were docked at the port of Katakolon when I finally awoke at about 9:00 am. The MSC Musica is also docked here. Olympiad, the birthplace of the ancient Greek Olympics is the primary attraction here and most guests will visit it. We have done it. DW and I went to the Blue Iguana for breakfast as we are in no rush to debark, we know the village here is very small. At about 10:30 we went down to the dock and made the short walk into the village consisting of only three streets parallel to the waterfront and beyond a nice park area. We visited several shops and scouted a place for lunch. The weather was perfect and sunny yet only 70-72° The shops were open to bargains as their season is almost over so the DW was pleased. So I set up at a waterside restaurant (see photo) to enjoy a beverage, the view, and the weather while she shopped. She returned with our friends and we made a day of it. We had an assortment of goodies: Alpha beer, red & white Wine, Pita Bread, Tzatziki Sauce, a couple of nice Greek entrees, fresh olives, and the DW finally got her Saganaki or Greek fried cheese. We all enjoyed our afternoon very much. We returned to the ship in time for the 4:30 pm Platinum & Diamond party in the theater. Amazingly I was the high cruiser on the ship so I was called to the stage for a photo, but I did the Ray thing and had my photo taken between the two female officers and not Felipe the CD…just injecting a little humor. We had our two cocktails apiece and surprisingly our server brought us a last call (unordered) so we continued our party of four out in the aft lobby area in plush chairs as we sailed away. It was just the two guys for dinner tonight in the MDR. It was the second Elegant night or colloquially called ‘Steak Night’. My Filet Mignon was very good as was the Soup, Stuffed Mushrooms, and Salad. Very contented I retired to the cabin after dinner. Good friends, good weather, and good food made for a great day in Katakolon.

Wednesday, October 19 / Messina, Sicily, Italy 

Smooth seas overnight and I slept well with the typical Wifi session to update this blog in the wee hours. At about 7:45 I went to the MDR for breakfast, I ordered: Eggs Benedict, French Toast with banana, Hash Browns, Bacon, Grapefruit, Milk, and Tomato Juice. We have a ship excursion today, it’s officially called Messina’s Famous Movie Sites, but it is known as the Godfather Tour. We were off again earlier than our 9:45 posted time by 9:30 am so don’t be late for your excursions. After about an hour's drive and a lot of winding roads, we came to the beautiful village of Savoca. From the small town square, you can see the Church of San Nicolo where Michael Corleone got married to his Sicilian wife, Apollonia. We didn’t walk up as all the scenes were on the outside and the road down to the town square and both clearly visible from the square (photo right). That allowed us more time at the famous Bar Vitelli featured in several scenes in the movie. We enjoyed a local beer and a Coca-Cola and sat where Micheal had his conversation with Apollonia’s father. Very Cool. Between the tourists coming and going I was able to get some good photos. Our next stop was another beautiful mountain village: Forza d’Agrò where two churches were used in other scenes. The winding road up allowed for spectacular panoramic views of the coast and beaches of this area. Amazing. We had time (barely) for a local pizza, half Margarita & half Pepperoni. The pepperoni was delicious and a just bit spicy. An hour's drive back to Messina and we were back on the ship by 3:30. Very easy rebounding as we are ahead of most tours. I enjoyed the view from our aft balcony as we are direct across from the gold statue at the harbor entry. Time for enjoying the weather, a Coke, and update this blog update as I watch the ships passing through the straits of Messina. I went to another guy’s only dinner in the MDR, tonight I ordered: French Onion Soup, Green Salad, Chicken Breast stuffed with Spinach, BBQ Pork Spare Ribs, and Apple Pie for dessert.  A short walkabout to pick up my Diamond Gifts at Pixels before retiring.  It was a great excursion day in Savoca Sicily.
Thursday  October 20  /  Naples, Italy 
Smooth seas overnight, I did my usual up in the wee hours to use WiFi, I did get a lot of Bosque Travel business done before going back to sleep. At about 7:45 I went to the MDR for breakfast, I got proper Hot Milk this morning as well as Avocado Toast, French Toast, Hash Browns, Tomato Juice, and Bacon. I had an appointment for a Pedicure at 9:00 am in the Pride Spa, it was very enjoyable and needed since I haven’t been to Cozumel in a while. A value too since I had a $50 off coupon. It was $44 with the tip. We planned to go to Herculaneum by private taxi, but that was pretty much impossible as all the taxis want to do tours only…and don’t allow independents, Uber, etc. near the ports. We’ll try to do a Herculaneum tour if need be in two days when we return. So we did a walkabout around the port area. On our first visit to Naples many years ago we hired a taxi tour and our driver, a native of Naples, commented to us "that Naples is the ‘Armpit of Europe’" he wasn’t wrong. Nothing appealing at all so we returned to the ship. Only use this port as a jumping-off spot to go somewhere nice. Upon return, we pretty much had the run of the ship with few guests aboard at midday. I enjoyed the hot tub on the Serenity Deck and looking up from the hot tub decided I would do the two big water slides. The Green Thunder is the thrill side where you stand on a platform and the floor drop from under and down you go…Wow…it is a thrill for sure. The second water slide is the Twister and common on other ships…still fast and fun. A good day to do it as it’s the warmest day of the cruise so far @ 78° and sunny. I enjoyed a nice Guy’s Burger for a late lunch, then nap and movie time the rest of the day in the cabin.  A light buffet dinner before retiring this evening. New cruise begins tomorrow.

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 many occasions.  
Our cabin steward Joe was adequate and friendly. The wait staff in the MDR were also friendly and did a good job serving us. The GS (Guest Services) staff is 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 not as good as my recent Carnival Paradise cruises though.

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

Highlights of the Cruise
Village of Mykonos
Village of Savoca on Sicily's Godfather excursion
Excursion of ancient Greek sites in Turkey
Katakolon Day
City Walk in Piraeus