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This was our seventh cruise- first time with Carnival.
We are pleased to report that Carnival exceeded our expectations! We have cruised with RCI, NCL, Disney and Princess- I have to say that Carnival's service and food is on par or better than all of them.

Service
Our room steward did a fine job. She did miss one room make up after breakfast but other than that, no complaints. She emptied the cash bar / refrigerator for us, brought the kids their own robes and gave all of us extra pillows. The Normandie Restaurant service was good. Our server, Albert kept the kids busy each night with a riddle or magic trick. He did get some orders mixed up but always brought more entrees than we ordered and remembered our after dinner coffee preferences. FYI- The espresso and cappuccino were free at dinner... Princess charged extra for them! The bar service around the pool was spotty and slow. Most of the time I ended up getting my beverages directly from the bar instead of waiting for service. The service around the Mermaids' Grill was friendly and prompt. The empty trays and dirty dishes seemed to just disappear.

Food
Two of the most positive changes in cruising today are the greater selection of food and the longer periods of time that it's available. During lunch at the Mermaids' Grill there are five different buffets (plus a salad bar) to choose from:

  • Pizza ~24 hours~ by the slice or take a pie to go!
  • Asian Corner- different asian entrees, sushi, eggrolls..
  • Deli- Made to order grilled sandwiches- try the reuben.
  • Taste of Nations- Mexican, Italian, Indian, American.
  • The Rotisserie- Leg of lamb, roast beef, ham, etc.

    For dinner we had the Normandie Resturant, Main Seating. The food was hot and service was great. The singing and dancing at dinner is getting a bit long-in-the-tooth for me. They should just do the Conga in the middle of the cruise and be done with it -- well maybe the Baked Alaska routine too! Our server (Albert from India) was great with the kids and generous with the food.
  • The Ship / Cabin
    The Pride is just over 14 months old and she is still in top shape. The carpet, decks and wood rails still look new. Our Category 8H (8211) cabin was very well laid out with ample storage, a small efficient bathroom, refrigerator and balcony. We could not have asked for a more perfect location. We were on Panorama deck 8- the pool, bars and Mermaids' Grill are all on Lido deck 9. We were close to our interests- relaxing in the sun, eating and drinking! The kids quickly found their way around the ship and felt comfortable moving from the Lido Pool area (amid ship), to the arcade (bow), to the water slide (aft) and back to the cabin. We found the Pride to be a very easy ship to find our way around.

    The kids think I am joking when I tell them about the old days (1992) of cruising when we used to think having an ocean view (window) was cool. They can't imagine being in a cabin without a balcony!

    7 Day Eastern Caribbean
    This was the third time we did the Florida - Bahamas - St. Thomas - St. Maarten itinerary. We like the islands on this route better than the Western ports but are ready to go South to Aruba again! Maybe next year. -->Onboard


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    All Images and Text Copyright© Brent Hamelink 2003