Day 1 – Our embarkation time was scheduled for 12 p.m., and we were going to be too early to the pier so we stopped at Arundel Mills Outlet Mall and did a little shopping beforehand. It was a perfect time killer. When we got to the pier, which was easy to get to, we were directed to drop off our luggage and then directed to park our car. It was a very organized process. Parking at the Baltimore pier was $15.00 a day for 7 days. When we got inside, we went through security. We had an extra bag of candy w/ us to hand out to our group during check in, so I offered some to the security ladies and they were so thankful. They said “No one is ever nice to us.” Maybe that’s why they didn’t go through our stuff. We also brought on a 24 pack of bottled water. It is much more cost effective to do so as a large bottle of water costs $3.95. Carnival allows you to bring on a 12 pack of water per person and 1 750ml bottle of wine. That’s pretty generous to allow them for us to do that, but it’s worth it. There is a refrigerator in the room, so we were able to put the bottled water in there. When we got to our cabin, we had a bottle of champagne and chocolates as a thank you for sailing with the group.
Dinner was in the Normandie room. The service was fantastic. We had a great dinner and a delicious dessert (warm molten chocolate cake w/ ice cream). Immediately after dinner, we headed to the Starry Night Lounge for a Red Hat Birthday celebration. There were two cakes there and we sang Happy Birthday to the Red Hat Society and had cake. Afterwards, there were many activities going on throughout the ship; karaoke, a show, the casino, piano lounge. There is so much to do; it’s hard to go to sleep early.
Day 2 – Today the seas were really rough. We woke up to a sea of fog. We couldn’t see very much from our balcony room. We had a group function at 10 a.m. and after 12 p.m., we were free until the group photo at 4:45 p.m. We had lunch in the Normandie room and it was very good. There were several people who were having a rough time due to the rocking of the ship. I do have a side note comment to make about our cabins. Although they are very nice balcony cabins there are few housekeeping items that need to be addressed. There is only one U.S. plug in the room and it’s not in the bathroom. So for gentlemen that have electric razors, you have to come out of the bathroom and shave in the room. This is also for the ladies who have curling irons and hair dryers. Now the hair dryer is another issue. Carnival does provide hair dryers, but they are out in the room and not in the bathroom. You have to hold down the button continuously to get the dryer to work. That’s slightly annoying if you have long thick hair, as I do, to blow dry your hair. My hand hurt after 5 minutes of having to hold this button ALL the time to get the dryer to work. Just for convenience sake, bring your own dryer. The other issue was that another passenger requires sleeping with a CPAP machine. The problem there is that the only plug is on the other side of the room by the mirror. There is no U.S. outlet by the bed making it somewhat inconvenient. So if you have a sleeping apparatus that requires a cord, make sure to bring your own extension cord.
At 4:45 p.m., the red hat ladies gathered in the atrium for their group photo. It was so amazing to see all those ladies dressed in purple with their red hats, and some of those red hats were gorgeous. They had feathers, flowers, beads and sequence. Our one an only group coordinator, Rhoda, was getting cozy with the captain. Dinner was fabulous as both Ellen and I had the lobster meal. The lobster meal consisted of a lobster tail, 3 large tiger shrimp, mashed potatoes and broccoli. It was so good we asked for seconds on the lobster. Of course, they couldn’t just bring us the lobster; they brought us two whole other meals. And sadly, we both ate them. I know, feel sorry for us!!!!! The crew sang “That’s Amore” to us while we had our dessert. After dinner the Carnival Pride dancers put on a fantastic show with an Around the World theme. The costumes were fabulous and very Las Vegas style. After the show we decided we hadn’t eaten enough, so we went to the Lido deck for an ice cream cone and some coffee and tea. We stayed awake for the adult comedy show at midnight and it was a decent show. It definitely wasn’t for the young ears. When we got back to our cabin, our beds were turned down and we had a dog-towel-animal lying on our bed. It was too cute. The stewards are very nice and they are so covert about coming and going in our cabins. We leave for breakfast, come back and our room is clean, beds made, and bathroom clean. If life could only be like this at home….Ahhhh!!!!!
Day 3 – Today the seas were much calmer. We were free in the morning as our session wasn’t until 1 p.m. We ordered room service, which was just coffee and bagels. We had requested for our room service to be delivered between 7:00 – 7:15 a.m., and they promptly knocked on the door at 7:00 a.m. How do they do that? We made it to an 8 a.m. yoga class that was invigorating. We did eat breakfast afterwards at the buffet on the Lido deck, but we contained ourselves. After breakfast, I attended a seminar on golf. I learned a few things about the rules of golf that I never knew before. Lunch came quickly, so we grabbed a slice of pizza before our 1 p.m. session. The session was in the Butterfly lounge. The walls, as you enter into the lounge, are individual glass encased butterflies that are all different species of butterflies. After our session we had some down time until the cocktail hour provided by Carnival for repeat passengers. At 4:30 p.m., in the Taj Mahal, there was a cocktail reception in honor of all those passengers that have traveled with Carnival before. They provided a set arrangement of free drinks and hot and cold canapés. They had a live band for our entertainment. They gave a small presentation about Carnival and how the company began and went through the fleet of ships that have been around since the beginning. It was interesting to see how many ships have come and gone throughout the years. Immediately after that cocktail party, we headed to second cocktail party for the red hatters. When booking a group as large as we did on Carnival, they allow you for certain amenities, and the 1 hour open bar cocktail party was one of them. Carnival provided hot and cold canapés for our red hatters as well as complementary drinks. Those drinks were also pre determined by the cruise ship, but no one seemed to mind. The drinks were free and everyone was having a good time socializing. Immediately after the two cocktail receptions, was dinner. Ellen and I had eaten our way through the receptions, so we decided to skip dinner, until our steward needed to come in and clean our cabin. We excused ourselves and went to the Normandie room and joined our party for dessert. We both couldn’t pass up the opportunity for the warm chocolate melted cake with ice cream. So that was our dinner. The ships entertainment for the evening was an R&B musical performance. When we arrived back in our cabin we had an elephant-towel-animal lying on our bed.