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I am so excited to introduce today’s guest blogger! I noticed, on social media that she was cruising with her family, and asked her to write a review to share with Momma To Go readers!
Victoria is a new blogger over at One Sharp Mama. During the week, her Monday thru Friday, is being a Sonographer at a local outpatient radiology office. She has a fairy tale husband and is a mother to a beautiful young daughter. She loves sharing her stories on parenting, infertility, organization, and some favorite recipes. If you enjoy reading this post on Carnival Pride Cruising Tips, make sure to check out the rest of her posts over at One Sharp Mama.
Carnival Pride Cruising Tips
So, my family and I just went on our very first cruise a few weeks ago! We’d love to share some of the things we learned while cruising on our 8 day- 7-night cruise on the Carnival Pride out of Baltimore, MD. It was a great first cruise. We enjoyed ourselves, the ship, the fellow guests, and the employees. Everyone was pretty much always happy and helpful. Our cruise traveled from Baltimore to Grand Turk, Half Moon Cay and finished at Freeport. About two/ three days at sea, a day for each island and then a day and a half-ish at sea to get home. So, let’s get down to business. I want to share with you our Top 10 Recommendations for The Carnival Pride Ship out of Baltimore, MD.
1. Documents :
Make sure you have all of your travel documents with you when heading to the Port to board the ship. At the Port of Baltimore, there were many clerks waiting to check you in to board the ship. Make sure to stay together with your cabin group as they will check in the whole cabin at once. Everyone needs their Boarding Pass, which you print out ahead of time and Passport (or other acceptable form of identification). For children, depending on their ages, they will either need a Passport or can get away with just their Birth Certificate. Since Caroline was only 6 months old, we only needed her Birth Certificate. Notice how I said Birth Certificate and NOT Record of Live Birth. They’re two completely different things. We saw a couple, in their late 40′-50s and the lady was trying to use her Record of Live Birth, thinking that it was a Birth Certificate. Boy was she wrong! That’s a bad way to start your vacation. I’m not really sure if she was allowed on the ship or not. It was quite the mess. So, save yourself the hassle and have the PROPER travel documents ready for easy access.
2. Ticket to Fun:
Once you’re checked in, each guest gets a “Sail and Sign Card”. This is your lifeline. This is your form of payment while on the cruise- they do not accept cash or credit card while on board for the majority of the trip. This S&S Card is also your room key. If you’d like to save yourself some time and avoid a mental headache standing in line at Guest Relations, add your credit card to your account ahead of time. The last night on the ship, they’ll provide you with a print out of everything that will be charged to your account and if you have to dispute anything, THEN you can go wait in that line. Otherwise, you can avoid it. You do not need to carry your ID, wallet, and purse around. Stick that in the safe!
3. Kids :
If you’re traveling with young children, sign them up for Camp Ocean. They have odd hours, so make sure to get a schedule so you know when the kids will have activities scheduled. We traveled with my two younger siblings. My sister is 7 years old and she consistently had a good time at Camp Ocean. She would always be so excited to tell us what she did. This was nice because we knew she was having fun and we were able to go to the adult activities and art auctions without worrying about her.
4. Dinner Time:
If you can book early dinner- DO IT! It seems that the daily activities cater to early dining guests. We booked the cruise kind of late, so the only option was late dining unless we wanted to wait list the early dining plan. We found that quite a few activities we wanted to do would be during our late dinner time. We also ran into a couple instances where there was nothing interesting going on during the early dining hours before we had dinner. Then, of course, the stuff we wanted to do was later, when we were scheduled to eat. We ended up asking to be put on the wait list for the early dining by the end of the cruise because we were tired of this happening.
5. Eats :
You MUST eat a burger, or two, or five from Guy Burger Joint. They’re a must have. I could eat one every day…. Oh, wait, I think I did! If you’re hungry at odd hours of the day, the night or in the middle of the night– get a hand made DELICIOUS Pizza, made on the Lido Deck. They’re open 24 hours a day! =-) Oh, and on the way to your next activity, grab a nice soft serve ice cream cone- also open ALL the time! There’s tons of food everywhere. The sit down restaurant, Normandie, always had quite a collection of food. My favorite breakfast item was the French Toast encrusted with Fruit Loops! Yes- it does EXIST.
6. Tidbit of Helpful Knowledge:
Get the Carnival Hub App for your phone. This app shares information about the dining locations, hours, and different events and their locations all throughout the ship. I will say that this was a great thing for us. It was also a HORRIBLE thing for us as well. It was like a double-edged sword using it. We would look at the next days itinerary and make a list of the events we wanted to go to. But, I guess, as the day progresses, they change the itinerary. We’d show up for events at different times and be told that the event was canceled or it would just disappear from the Hub App. Kind of frustrating, but, it was very nice to use for the times when it did work and nothing changed.
Dave, dad, and my brother showed up for the “Battleship tournament”. They had been talking about this all day, they were hyped up, they were excited…..all to be told that “That activity on the itinerary, was there just to tell people we have the Battleship board game in the game room”. They were let down for sure. So, use this app with caution! But it can be quite helpful.
7. Things To Do:
Go to the art auctions! Initially, we had no interest in going to the auctions or art classes. Somehow, we got suckered into one auction and we had SOOOO much fun. We learned so much about some of the artists and pieces in there. We ended up going to some of the classes and auctions every day for the rest of the cruise. Both my parents and Dave and I ended up buying some pieces at the auction! We had a blast and can’t wait to go to one in our area. We may have found a new hobby and interest we had no idea we liked. The ship offered tons of Trivia Games while we were aboard. We had a great time working as a team to answer the various categories of Trivia Questions.
8. Must See:
Go to the Comedians shows at night. They have shows for all ages. They have shows that are PG family friendly and then adult only “R” shows. Next to the art shows/auctions, this was the most fun I had on the ship. We enjoyed the family friendly shows, but, we laughed our butts off with the adult comedians. They were worth staying up for. Staying up late was difficult for me because I’m used to going to bed early because of Caroline. But those laughs— soooo worth it!
9. Drinks :
On our ship, in the Red Frog Pub (not sure if it’s offered on other ships), you could get a “Fishbowl”. Drink prices can be very pricey on board. You’re only allowed to bring one bottle of wine per adult on the ship in the beginning. So, you’re kind of forced into paying for some of these ridiculous drink prices, if you want to enjoy a drink later. So, we found out, if you go to the Red Frog Pub, they offer this Fishbowl. It’s 3 drinks in a ginormous glass for about the price of two. Drinks are normally around $10 a drink, this fish bowl held 3 drinks for $20! It was much more affordable. Dave and I would get a fishbowl to split and sometimes Dad, Mom or Mommom would go in on it with us and help us out.
10. Ports :
Our trip went to Freeport, Grand Turk, and Half Moon Cay. Freeport is, as I describe it, “Industrial Baltimore in The Bahamas”. Honestly, there isn’t much to do there in Port. They have a Senor Frogs, a couple buildings of “shops” and a few huts of shops to look through. If you’re looking to book an excursion at Freeport- DO IT! We walked through some shops and then spent some time at Senor Frogs and went back to the ship early because we didn’t have anything else to do. We regret not booking an excursion for that island. Nothing pretty to look at where we were, but we didn’t get to go across the island.
Half Moon Cay was pretty. It’s Carnival’s own private island. You’ll have lunch there and it’s a beautiful beach to lay out on. Get there early to get a good seat. If you book an excursion on Grand Turk, it should be fun. Long story short, ours got canceled, the zip line broke. But, we DID get a full refund. Good to know in case that happens to you. If you don’t book an excursion get off to walk the Port. There are fun shops to walk through and there’s a pool! Get to the pool as quick as you can and toss a towel or bag there to reserve your seat. It fills up quickly.
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So, these are just some of the pointers that we have from our most recent cruise experience. As this was our first one, we wanted to make sure to share the knowledge with other first time cruisers. We hope you have a great time on your cruise and we’d love to hear about it. Thanks for taking the time to read it. We hope you enjoy your time on the Carnival Pride Ship! Thanks to Momma To Go for hosting this post.