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




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