The first 2 full days of our cruise were “Fun Days at Sea.” The first of which was Monday, May 29, which happened to be Memorial Day. The ship honored the day with a huge flag hanging in the Atrium.
We started the first day with a nice breakfast at the MDR. The dining room is open for breakfast/brunch on sea days only. We mostly relaxed during the days. One day we spent the whole morning on the Serenity Deck, which was lovely. You really have to get there early to get a chair though. (I’m talking 7:30am) It’s a very popular area of the ship.
Another nice thing about being not only on vacation, but on a cruise ship, is that nobody is driving. So nobody has to worry about driving home! So with that, we enjoyed a nice bucket of beer on the first day at sea. We sat on the Lido Deck at the Red Frog Rum Bar and enjoyed our beverages.
Also on the first sea day was “Cruise Elegant” night in the MDR. We tried to get a nice outdoor photo of the 2 of us, but it so windy my hair was going crazy! So we settled for these. We also didn’t purchase many of the “official” cruise photos. Just a personal choice, they’re so expensive and we end up wanting all of them. So we usually just pick a couple.
The Alchemy Bar had a “Martini Tasting” during one of the Sea Days. We loved that. Neither of us had tried Martini’s before, so this was a great introduction. And these were not traditional Martini’s. We chose 4 martini’s from a list and the bartender (aka “The Mixologist”) created our drinks right in front of us. It was fun to watch. The bottom drink (in the above collage) was “Forty is the New Twenty” which ended up being my favorite and I had to go back for more later in the week.
In the evenings on the Fun Days at Sea, there were shows in the Taj Mahal and Comedy Clubs. We opted to go to the Piano Bar one night. There was a Sing-A-Long with Jeff True Jones. He was fantastic. Funny and talented all in one.
Our 4th day on the Pride was also our first Port of Call. My next post will be all about our day in Grand Turk.
Embarkation Day finally arrived! It was a lovely morning weather-wise. We were allowed to board at Noon, so we had the whole morning to explore more of the Inner Harbor and grab some breakfast. There was a Starbucks in our hotel, then we just walked around the Harbor some more. We found this right across the street from our hotel:
Why did we not see this earlier?! It was a Sunday and they didn’t open until Noon. We’d be boarding the ship by then, I was so disappointed.
Anyway, back to the real reason we were in Baltimore!
We arrived at the Port around 11:45am. We got in a long line of cars, many of which were being told to leave and come back later. We were fortunate enough to have Priority boarding, so we were waved right in. We drove down to an area where they were loading luggage onto big carts. All we had to do was open our back hatch and they were right there to take our luggage. We then parked, walked over to the terminal and got in line. We went through security and got our sign & sail cards. 45 minutes after arriving at the port, we were on board!
Within 30 minutes of being on board, these were ordered and in our hands. There is nothing more satisfying than your first umbrella drink. And it was as delicious as it looks.
We were able to access our room right when we got on board since we were in an Ocean Suite. (We splurged for a suite, and it was SO worth it!)
With the suite came some nice amenities, such as Priority Embarking and Debarking. This alone was a fantastic perk. We also had a load of laundry done for us. Not to mention, we had a giant room, with a Jacuzzi tub and a HUGE balcony. I think we’ll have a hard time going backwards after having all of this luxury.
This kind of shows how large the outdoor space was. We had 3 chairs, a table and a lounge chair. And plenty of space to move around.
After settling in, having our first drink and attending a “Meet-and-Greet” for a group we met on Facebook, we wandered around the ship to figure out where things were. Our cabin was on Deck 6, the Empress Deck. This was a nice centrally located area.
Deck 2 was the Promenade Deck. The Main Dining Room and the Alchemy Bar were here, as well as the Casino, the Sports Bar, the Red Frog Pub. The Atrium is also on Deck 2 as well as a new Sushi restaurant. Also on this deck is the main entrance to the Taj Majal.
Deck 3 was the Atlantic Deck that had an outside Promenade. Deck 3 was the deck with all the shops, the Photo Gallery, Piano Bar, and an entrance to the Taj Mahal and Comedy Club. There was also the “Sunset Garden” Promenade, which was a lovely, quiet area to walk or relax with portholes to gaze out into the ocean. (Top right photo above.)
Deck 9 was the Lido Deck. This is where all the action is as well as the buffet. The Serenity (adults 21+) area is at the back of the ship on the Lido Deck.
Those were the places we visited the most. And our room was right in between all the fun. Plus it was very quiet on the Empress Deck. We’re active people, so we took the stairs pretty much the whole week. A little exercise is a good thing while you’re on vacation!
It started raining just before the sail-away, which didn’t make for nice photographic opportunities. We got a few pictures, but didn’t stay outside very long. The nice thing about the rainy sail-away, it was just about the last bit of rain we had all week. So if it was going to rain at all, I’ll take it on the first day and be done with it.
We dined in the Main Dining Room (MDR) every night of the cruise. The first night we were without table mates, so it was just the 2 of us. I’ll do a post about the food and experience in the MDR later in the week. We enjoyed dining there and had a fabulous wait staff.
After dinner, we went to the Lido deck for the first of many “Dive-In Movies.” The first night was “Ghostbusters 2.” We had already seen the movie, but it was fun, so we hung around. After the movie, we were beat and headed back to the room. It had a been a long day and we needed some rest.
Our first “Fun Day at Sea” tomorrow! Stay tuned for another post.
On May 28, my husband and I embarked on a much-deserved journey to the Caribbean. Just 10 months earlier, he was diagnosed with Stage 3 Colon Cancer. He had his last treatment on March 14. It was a very long and painful road for him. On April 12, he was declared cancer-free. We decided we needed a vacation to celebrate. We thought a cruise would be perfect, although he did have his heart set on Disney World. A cruise however would be more relaxing. Something he desperately needed. As much fun as Disney would have been, we thought a cruise would be best this time. We’ll get to Disney another time!
We decided to cruise from Baltimore. Aside from NYC, it was the closest city to our home where Carnival had a departure port. It was less expensive than NYC and so much easier to get to. It was about a 5 hour drive for us. We did some research on Baltimore and decided that going to the Inner Harbor the day before would be a fun pre-vacation warm-up.
We stayed at the Hilton Garden Inn on President Street in the Inner Harbor. This was the view from our room. The hotel was in a great location, we were able to walk everywhere. For dinner, we went to the Hard Rock Café, then we walked up to Presidential Hill over looking the Inner Harbor.
The Inner Harbor area was fairly crowded as it was a Saturday evening. There were museums, an aquarium, lots of restaurants and tons of retail stores. There was even a place to rent a Chinese Dragon Paddle Boat so you could paddle around an area in the harbor. There were few large vessels that were filling up with dinner cruise guests. It was quite a hopping area with great energy. It was a perfect way to start to our vacation.
Welcome to our travel blog, where we will be highlighting and detailing our adventures. Whether it’s a weekend getaway to the wine country, a day trip to a state park or an extended tropical vacation, come along with us to enjoy the beauty and excitement that our world has to offer. Feel free to come along for the ride!