For a week in March of this year, my office was located on the Carnival Pride. This is a passenger cruise ship currently operating 6-night itineraries to the Bahamas out of Baltimore, MD. This was the first time I stepped foot on this ship and I was impressed. This ship was put to sea in 2002 and by today’s competitive comparison, The Pride would be considered a smaller ship. However, it still easily carries more than 2,000 passengers and about 1,000 crew. So... quaint and yet still a massive ship that cuts through the ocean waves at an impressive speed of 21 knots.
This ship’s crew was the first of many joys I discovered on board. They were genuinely interested in providing an amazing vacation for every guest. My production crew and I were on board to shoot stand ups for Beyond Your Backyard (the nationally syndicated television series I host for public broadcasting stations) and so while it was work for us, it was fun work surrounded by a staff who seemed to love their jobs. The senior officers with whom we had the pleasure of meeting socially were amazing. They were gracious and accommodating at every turn.
Our itinerary was to take us to Carnival's private island, Nassau, and then on to Freeport. However, due to a sick passenger and some bad weather, the captain avoided rough seas and took us to Port Canaveral for our first port of call. Most guests I spoke to understood the change and took it in stride. Of course, there will always be a few complainers but I am so glad we dropped in on Port Canaveral. It just so happened that on the day we were there, we got to witness a rocket launch from the Kennedy Space Center.
I have always advised staying in a balcony cabin or better when cruising. On this trip, because the balcony cabins were all occupied, the video crew and I stayed in ocean view cabins on deck one and found the accommodations to be lovely. Our cabin attendant Ryan was especially awesome!
While on board, I got a haircut and a manicure. No time for a massage but plenty of time to try out the gym and most of the restaurants. I don’t want to dwell on this point, but the food on board was fantastic. I especially enjoyed the Blue Iguana Cantina at both breakfast and lunch. Also, the Main Dining Room was a stand-out for both the food quality and the gracious service. The guys that took care of us were absolutely perfect. They understood that for us, dinner was a time to relax, have a little wine and decompress from the day’s shoot. They knew exactly how to take care of us.
What didn’t I like? It’s a tricky subject because the crew and I were there for work and not really evaluating the experience as a vacation thrill seeker. But I wasn’t all that impressed with the buffet. There, I said it.
I am so glad we partnered with Carnival for this trip. If you have yet to sail with them or if it’s been awhile, then I suggest you get moving and let Carnival introduce (or reintroduce) you to the fun that can all be yours at sea!
If you would like, you and yours can travel with yours truly in March of 2019 on a six day Caribbean itinerary on Carnival's newest ship The Carnival Horizon. More details to come, so be sure to become an "Erik Insider" to get the latest information and join us!
I am on a mission to get you traveling more often. This blog is a reflection of my mission. I travel (on average) 30 weeks per year hosting and producing a television series for PBS. In addition, I host a weekly radio show and produce original travel videos for online distribution. I am very fortunate for these opportunities and it is my hope you will join me on my travels!