Carnival Pride Reviews: Norwegian Fjords Cruise Review (After 2023 Dry Dock)

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Carnival Pride may be one of the oldest and smallest ships in the Carnival Cruise Line fleet, but she still has lots to offer. If you are considering a sail on the Pride for your next cruise you have probably watched lots of Carnival Pride Reviews.

This Carnival Pride Review, however,  is bang up to date as it is based on the newly refurbished ship’s layout after its dry dock maintenance period in May 2023.

We were fortunate enough to sail on Carnival Pride on her second cruise after the dry dock, so the ship was in probably as good a shape as she is likely to have been in a few years.

Carnival Pride reviews – Contents

Carnival Pride Reviews – Main Changes Since Dry Dock

Carnival Pride Reviews - external view of ship with new red white and blue livery
Carnival Pride Docked in Molde, Norway with its brand new livery

Carnival Pride was in dry dock at the port of Cadiz in Spain, during May 2023. During the dry dock period the following upgrades/changes were made:-

  • New Ship’s Livery – the exterior of the ship was repainted to match the newer ships with the blue, red, and white sweeping design
  • Beauties Night Club – The nightclub was previously spread over levels one and two. This was converted to be on one level only on deck two.
  • Removal of the Bar in the Casino – The casino bar was removed to allow the installation of more casino machines. However, bar service does still exist in the casino area.
  • The Sky Sports Bar was refurbished and rebranded as the Heroes Tribute Bar (still a sports-style bar)
  • The Library on Deck Three was removed and replaced with a new retail store – The Carnival Adventures store which sells Carnival-branded goods
  • Installation of a new Private Photography Studio in the Pixels Photo area on Deck Three
  • The Cloud 9 Spa and Gymnasium was given a facelift – new equipment was also added
  • The Hot tub in the Spa/gymnasium area was removed
  • Davids Steakhouse was refurbished and rebranded as the “Fahrenheit 555 Steakhouse”
  • 29 Cabins were converted into ADA (Americans With Disabilities) compliant cabins, so they are fully wheelchair accessible with rolling showers etc.
  • Five new cabins were created in the space vacated by the lower level of the nightclub (1 ADA cabin, 2 Interior, and 2 Ocean View Cabins)
  • The onboard Internet was upgraded to Starlink
  • There was some new carpeting installed on many deck areas of the ship

Carnival Pride Cruise Itinerary – Norwegian Fjords

Carnival Pride Reviews - Morag up on deck admiring the stunning scenery of the Norwegian Fjords
Morag up on deck admiring the stunning scenery of the Norwegian Fjords

Our cruise itinerary was something very special as it was to the Norwegian Fjords. The reason it was so special as this might be Carnival’s last year of cruising the Fjords. The Norwegian Government has announced that only zero-emission cruise ships will be allowed to sail into the Fjords from 2026.

The Fjords are protected as part of their Unesco World Heritage Status.  Unfortunately, there are no zero-emission cruise ships in Carnival’s fleet. Or any major cruise line’s new ships for that matter.

If you are considering a Norwegian Fjords cruise, you should do it sooner rather than later!

Our Itinerary was as follows

Day 1: Dover, UK
Day 2: At Sea
Day 3: Bergen, Norway
Day 4: Alesund, Norway
Day 5: Molde, Norway
Day 6: Olden, Norway
Day 7: Skjolden, Norway
Day 8: Haugesund, Norway
Day 9: At Sea
Day 10: Dover, UK

From the point of view of the review of the overall cruise, I think this Carnival ship itinerary was perfect. It gave us a day at Sea at the beginning of the trip and another at the end. This was perfect as it allowed us to relax into the cruise, and then a day to unwind after a very port-intensive 6 days in Norway. The amount of time in port was just perfect as well. 

The real star of the itinerary was the Fjords themselves! It was amazing to watch the scenery from the deck as the ship slowly navigated through these incredible waterways. 

I’ll be posting a separate itinerary review later, so please keep an eye out for that.

Dover Cruise Terminal – Carnival Pride Embarkation Process

Carnival Cruise Reviews - Dover Cruise Terminal
The Queue for Security at Dover Cruise Terminal moved very quickly
[ Related Article: How to Get From London to Dover Cruise Port ]

It’s fair to say that the cruise terminal isn’t the type of nice fancy building you see in Miami. But it’s efficient. I like that when you dropped off your baggage you could see it was being taken directly into the baggage hall. No wondering where your luggage was being taken to.  

Top Tip: Paper Cruise Luggage Tags can and will fall off – don’t risk your luggage going missing – get proper luggage tag holders! Take a look at our list of cruise essentials for other great tips.

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02/18/2024 03:18 pm GMT

UK Baggage handlers receive a proper wage, so a tip of 1 or 2 pounds per bag is more than enough. While they will accept US Dollars it is a major hassle for them to exchange the notes, so please bring some small UK currency with you. The smallest UK note is £5 ($6.25). Our £1 (equivalent to around $1.25) is in the form of a gold and silver-colored coin.

Once our luggage was dropped off we had a very small queue to wait in while they checked our passports and boarding passes. Despite the problems with the local taxis we ended up arriving half an hour before our allocated arrival time, but they said that was okay and waived us through.

You then have to pass through the security X-ray scans.  Again this was relatively efficient. Nobody with a badge and an attitude was barking orders at us as they seem to do at most airports nowadays 😉 

Overall it’s fair to say that boarding the ship was a breeze even though we decided not to buy the Faster to the Fun package!

What are Carnival Cruise Line’s Carry On Restrictions in Europe?

Carnival Pride Reviews - European Beverage Policy
This Policy Surprised a LOT of People on our Cruise!

When cruising in Europe with Carnival, there are no restrictions on how much alcohol you can bring on board. Not many people realize this, and Carnival won’t tell you themselves. In fact, they actually refuse to confirm this if you speak to Customer Service and ask. Apparently, even Carnival’s Head Cruise Director and Brand Ambassador John Heald would only confirm the standard policy when asked about it on Facebook. 

I don’t know why they are not following the same strict “two bottles of wine only” policy that they, and other, cruise lines follow. But I suspect they may have been legally challenged on it under the EU Monopolies Act. 

Anyway, whatever the reason, we took great advantage of it.  Nearby our local accommodation was a small supermarket, so we stocked up on alcohol before heading to the port. We took on board the following in our carry-on with no one challenging us (Don’t judge. We’re Scottish LOL):

  • 4 Bottles of wine
  • 3 Litres of Vodka
  • 1 Bottle of Glayva (Scotch Whisky-based liqueur)
  • 12 Cans of Beer
  • 12 Cans of Diet Sprite
  • 12 Cans of Pepsi Max

This saved us a small fortune. We had deliberately not purchased the Cheers drink package as we knew this relaxed policy was going to be in place.

Do be aware, however, that any drinks brought on board are for consumption in your cabin only.

We were also able to top up our supplies in Norway at each port of call. (Although they do have some interesting alcohol-purchasing restrictions which which means you can’t buy alcohol stronger than 4.7% in local stores. You can only buy it in Government owned Wine stores – The VinMonopolet).

Carnival Pride First Impressions

Carnival Pride Reviews - Carnival Pride Docked at Dover Cruise Terminal
Carnival Pride Docked At Dover Cruise Terminal

Once through the relatively quick embarkation process, it was a short walk up the gangway which took us onto Deck 3, the Atlantic Deck.

Deck 3 is like a typical promenade deck which has an area outside almost all the way around the ship.

We were then directed through into the lobby area at which point they asked us to head immediately to our muster station and get that task checked off.

Now I’m a great believer that your first contact with someone on the ship should be with a big smile and a “Welcome aboard” greeting, but there was none of that which was a disappointing first impression.

Carnival Pride Muster Drill

Carnival Pride Reviews - Lido Deck Stage
The Lido Deck Stage

The Mustering Safety Drill is very straightforward.

You head to your assigned station. They check that you have ticked off the safety drill items in the Carnival Hub App and then give you a quick demo of how to put on a liferaft. They then scan you in and you are free to go.

By the time we got onboard and completed our muster drill, it was just 11:20 am. It took us 25 minutes from when we got dropped off by our taxi to get on the ship and complete our muster drill.  That’s pretty good in my books!

As is standard on most ships, the staterooms were not going to be ready until 1:30 pm, so we headed up to the Lido deck to find some loungers and to grab a couple of cocktails as a welcome aboard treat.

[ Related Article: Carnival Pride Ship Tour After Dry Dock ]

Carnival Pride Stateroom Review

Carnival Pride Reviews - Carnival Pride Deck 8 Room Interior Room 8106
Carnival Pride Deck 8 Room Interior Room 8106

In order to cruise as often as we do, I always try to get the best value for money. So invariably we always book an interior room. I figure that with just being the two of us, most interior cabins offer enough space and to be honest, we are usually only in our room to sleep anyway as we are always doing something during the day.

I also don’t like balcony staterooms as I sleepwalk – a lot! And I suffer from vertigo LOL. A balcony cabin is definitely not for me.

I’ve had lots of experience with Interior staterooms on other ships and other cruise lines. 

Our room was ready as promised at 1:30 pm and our luggage was already waiting for us in our room.  Excellent service so far! Time to get changed and hit Lido deck for the classic Carnival sailaway party. 

Carnival Pride Interior Stateroom 8106

We were in Stateroom number 8106 all the way Forward on Deck 8 right behind the bridge. Now if you study the recommendations on Carnival Pride rooms to avoid, this is one of them.  It’s all the way forward and it’s high – so lots of movement, right? It was also underneath the Fitness Center!

We got lucky. Our North Sea crossings both ways were extremely calm and we felt no movement at all. To be honest, I’ve been on ships in major storms and don’t really get fazed by the moment anyway, so I wasn’t concerned at all by our stateroom location.

Additionally we never heard any noise coming from the fitness center.

In fact, I would say this room was pretty ideal, as we were just one deck down from the Lido deck, so it was very handy for access to the Pool areas and the Mermaid Grille.  Although being all the way forward can be a bit of a pain if you spend a lot of time at the Serenity pool which is all the way aft, as we did. I certainly got my daily steps in.

The room itself was larger than I expected. Definitely a bit larger than the interior stateroom on our last cruise on Royal Caribbean which was on Vision of the Seas.

Stateroom Storage Space and Facilities

Carnival Pride Reviews 2023 - Interior Cabin Storage Space
Lots of storage space – excuse the mess we were still unpacking 😉

There was tons of storage. There were three large wardrobe spaces and ample drawer space.

We also had a fridge in the room, which was great, given that we were allowed to bring alcohol onboard.

A quick tip with the fridge: These small units need lots of air circulation to work properly. So make sure you don’t block the vents in the cabinet and if you can, pull the fridge out a little to give the air more space to circulate. Also, leave the cabinet door open. By doing that, our fridge kept everything wonderfully cool.

We normally ask for our beds to be set up as twin beds as it can give the impression of more cabin space. But on arrival, Carnival had ignored our request and set it up as one King. However, we left it in that configuration as there was plenty of space.

Either side of the bed was a decent-sized bedside unit with a lamp on either side. There was also access to a main light switch at the side of the bed for the main cabin lights.

Stateroom Power Outlets on Carnival Pride

We were disappointed to see that despite Carnival Pride having spent time in dry dock, there had been no upgrades to the power outlets in the staterooms. There were only two sockets beside the main dressing table/mirror area. One was a standard US outlet and one was a standard Euro outlet. There were no USB outlets.

Fortunately, we always travel with our handy cruise approved power strip, which gives us an extra three sockets and USB outlets. Always make sure that if you are bringing a power strip on board, make sure it does NOT have a surge protector – for some reason cruise lines do not like these. This is the cruise-compatible power adapter that we use.

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Carnival Pride Interior Stateroom Shower Unit Review

The shower room was quite roomy. Again there was lots of shelf and storage space. There was one shaver/razer power outlet in the top right corner beside the mirror. I didn’t notice this until day three as it was so well tucked away in the corner.

The shower itself was quite roomy even for a large guy like me (260lbs). It did have the dreaded shower curtain though, which was a bit of a negative.

The w/c was the standard stateroom unit you see on any cruise line. It did seem to have the suction power of a 747 jet mind you LOL.

Stateroom Attendant and Cabin Cleanliness

Carnival Pride Reviews - Always Monkeying Around
Always Monkeying Around

Our stateroom attendant Defri was brilliant. Like most cruise lines, Carnival has switched to a “one-time-a-day” cabin service, which I think is absolutely fine. It didn’t impact on service. Our room was always spotless and he still found time to leave a new towel animal for us every day.

As we had brought booze on board with us, we asked our stateroom attendant if we would have an ice bucket supplied with ice daily. Sure enough, he did this every day, and any time I passed Defri in the corner, he would smile and ask “Mr Alan, do you need more ice?”. Great service.

We didn’t use room service during the cruise, so I can’t give any review of that particular service.

Carnival Pride General Cleanliness

Carnival Pride Reviews - Bergen
Carnival Pride docked at Bergen

Whilst the cleanliness of our stateroom was without fault, some other areas of the ship weren’t so good.

My main concern was that you would think Carnival had forgotten that COVID had ever existed. Hand sanitizers, although located at strategic points were frequently empty. I lost count of the number of times I told staff at the Mermaid Grille that the units were empty. 

There was no “washy washy” person that you see on Royal Caribbean’s and Norwegian ships encouraging people to wash their hands or use sanitizers. 

We had a similar experience with empty sanitizers at the entrance to the main dining room. 

Some of the exterior deck areas were a bit rough as well. Deck 10 forward clearly didn’t get any treatment during dry dock. There were areas with spilled paint and it clearly looked well past its best.

Carnival Pride Deck Plans and Ship Layout

Carnival Pride Reviews - Blue Iguana Tequila Bar
Carnival Pride Blue Iguana Tequila Bar

Carnival Pride is a Spirit Class ship. It was built in 2002, so although relatively new, it’s one of the older ships in the fleet. It is also one of the smallest. 

However, don’t let that fool you. In the 1990’s ships of this size were the largest in the World. So it is still a large ship! 

The layout of the ship however is very different from any other ship I’ve been on. Usually, the main interior entertainment decks are in the center of the ship. But on Carnival Pride, the two main interior entertainment decks are all the way at the bottom of the ship on decks 2 and 3.

Was that a bad thing? Not at all, I actually quite liked the quirky layout and there was a lot of variety in the number of bar and entertainment options.

Carnival Pride Pool Area Reviews

The pool (Lido) deck was great. There are three main pool areas.

The Apollo Forward Pool

Carnival Pride Reviews - The Apollo Forward Pool
The Apollo Forward Pool – on one of the only poor weather days we had.

At the front half of the ship is the Apollo Forward pool. This is a nice quiet pool area and there is a hot tub as well. This is also where you’ll find the table tennis tables.

Central Venus Pool with Retractable Roof

Carnival Pride Reviews - the Venus pool with retractable roof
The Venus pool with retractable roof

In the center of the pool deck, you will find the Venus pool with the retractable glass roof.

This is where the Red Frog Rum Bar and the BlueIguana Tequila bars are located. Guys Burger Joint and the Mexican Blueiguana Cantina fast food areas are also located here as well.

The retractable roof was perfect for this itinerary. We had expected Norway to be quite cool. Fortunately, we had a spate of warmer weather for the entire cruise, so while they kept the pool covered, they left the last part of it open which created the perfect climate in the pool area.

This central covered pool is where the large screen is and any pool entertainment is held here, so it can get noisy at times. 

The Serenity Adults Pool Area

Carnival Pride Reviews - The Domed 'Pods
The Domed ‘Pods” at Serenity Pool

All the way at the back of the ship (on the other side of the Mermaid Grille) you will find the Serenity Pool Area. This is an adults-only area and not open to guests under the age of 21.

This is a delightful space right at the aft of the ship. Actually, for the first couple of days of the cruise, it was almost as if not many people had found this location as it was very quiet. But as the cruise progressed, our fellow passengers soon discovered this jewel in Pride’s crown.

The Serenity pool features upgraded sun loungers and round, shaded “pod” lounge beds. The pool is a decent size and there is a hot tub as well. 

You’ll also find one of the quietest bars on the ship here, so it is nice and quick to get served. 

We loved it here – especially later in the afternoon, early evening.

Availability of Sun Loungers on Carnival Pride

Even though our ship was completely sold out, and the weather was awesome, we never once had any problems finding a couple of sun loungers each day.

We always managed to find sun loungers in the main Venus pool area or in the Serenity adults area. Not once did we have to venture up to the Sun Deck to find a lounger. I was really impressed.

The Sports Deck

Carnival Pride Reviews - Splashzone
Carnival Pride Splashzone

Up on the Sports Deck, you will find access to the main water slides and the “Splashzone”.

You will also find a nicely sized Basketball court. This court doubled up for other activities during the cruise including Pickleball.

This is where you will also find the mini-golf course.

Review of Carnival Pride Bars and Bar Service

Carnival Pride Reviews - The Red Frog Rum Bar on the Lido Deck
The Red Frog Rum Bar on the Lido Deck

There is no shortage of bars on the Carnival Pride. Perfect for a pub crawl 😉

  • Red Frog Rum Bar
  • Blue Iguana Tequila Bar
  • Serenity Pool Bar
  • Ivory Piano Bar
  • Raphael Lounge Bar
  • RedFrog Pub
  • Heroes Tribute Sports Bar
  • Renaissance Atrium Bar
  • Alchemy Bar

For the size of the ship, I was pleasantly surprised by the number and variety of watering holes. Bar service was typical of a busy cruise ship. So you need a little bit of patience. 

Top Tip: Once you find your favorite bar, give the best bar person a nice cash tip at the start of the cruise. They’ll then look after you and make sure you are served quickly for the rest of the trip.

Our favorite bar was the Red Frog Pub as we loved the live band that played there most evenings. We never tried the Alchemy bar or the Raphael lounge, but so many people raved about the Alchemy bar.

I’m mainly a beer drinker, and the Alchemy is a Martini bar. That was my excuse. However, apparently, the measures poured in that bar are very generous indeed.

Dining on Carnival Pride

N.B. Any specialty / extra cost dining areas are marked ($)

A review of the Normandie Main Dining Room on Carnival Pride

Carnival Pride Reviews - Normandie Dining Room
The Normandie Dining Room

The main Normandie dining room on Carnival Pride can be found at the aft of the ship spread over decks two and three.

We have an awesome table located all the way aft, with floor-to-ceiling winds looking out onto the ocean.

Both my wife Morag and I commented that the decor was a bit dark. We are used to dining rooms being brightly decorated, so it just seemed “different”. 

The overall food quality was variable. The starters were always amazing. The mains were disappointing and the desserts were to die for. Service was inconsistent as well. On some nights the speed of service was tip-top. On other nights we were waiting over an hour for our appetizers still to appear. 

As usual, a couple of days into the cruise, the restaurant crew want to entertain you and this then continued every night after that. Twice a cruise is enough for me.

Just as you were expecting your main course to appear, our waiter would disappear to give another rendition of “O Sole Mio” or whatever was the choice of tune that evening.  Cue another delay on the main course being served.

I’m no grouch and I love it when the waiting staff give a presentation like that. But not every single night LOL. 

One thing I would point out. And if you are a regular cruise you will know what exactly I mean Not once did we get the lecture about how our post-cruise review would reflect on them and how important it was to give them a good review.

How Many Formal Nights are There on Carnival Pride?

A lot of people ask how many formal dress nights there are. On this 9-day cruise, we had two. The second night and the seventh night.  On shorter cruises, there would normally just be one night.

As is typical nowadays, everyone’s version of “formal” (or “elegant” as Carnival describes it) is different. On Carnival Pride, it seemed to range from “smart casual” to “black tie”.  I don’t think anyone would feel uncomfortable wearing anything from either end of that spectrum, so don’t stress about it. 

I did see one old gentleman in a set of denim work dungarees, which seemed very informal to me, but he was strutting his stuff and very proud of it. So each to their own, I say.

Mermaid Grille Buffet Review

Carnival Pride Reviews - The Deli at Mermaid Grille
The Deli at Mermaid Grille on Carnival Pride

The Mermaid Grille Buffet area is outstanding. Again its decor is darker than some other cruise ships, but there was a huge variety of food available at any time of the day.

There was never any problem finding a free table and the waiting staff quickly cleared and cleaned the tables as soon as someone left.

In this area, you could find all the typical buffet foods you would see on any cruise. There was also Asian food at “Chopsticks”, a huge salad bar, and for a small additional fee, there was the “Seafood Corner”($). 

You could also find fresh hot Deli sandwiches made-to-order, and the amazing “Pizza Pirate” place which served pizza until the wee small hours. Fabulous.

The cakes that they would serve daily were stunning to look at and amazing to taste as well.

Fahrenheit 555 Steakhouse ($)

Although I’m a huge steak fan, we didn’t give the newly upgraded steakhouse a try on this cruise. Friends that dined with us did give it a try and didn’t rate it. They both had to send their steaks back as they were extremely well overcooked. To be fair that can happen in any restaurant. So I’ll reserve judgment until I can try it myself on another cruise.

Guys Burger Joint

Carnival Pride Reviews - The awsome seasoning that goes on the Fries at Guys Burger Joint
The awsome seasoning that goes on the Fries at Guys Burger Joint

What can I say about Guy’s Burger Joint? These are easily the best burgers I have tasted at sea. And the Fries were to die for as well. I even had to beg the server to tell me what seasoning they were putting on the fries as they were SO good.  (Badia brand Fajita Seasoning if you really want to know 😉 )

Blue Iguana Cantina

I never tried the Cantina, but my wife Morag loved it. Her only disappointment was that it wasn’t open long enough. She said tacos and burritos were fantastic. The flavors were amazing and so spicy. 

Piazza Cafe ($)

The Piazza Cafe served wonderful cakes, pastries, and coffees. Very tasty and beautifully presented.

Bonsai Sushi ($)

Again, we didn’t get a chance to try this restaurant out, so I can’t comment on this one.

Captain’s Club and The Chef’s Table ($)

Carnival Pride Reviews - The Captain's Club located just outside the Normandie Restaurant on Deck 2
The Captain’s Club located just outside the Normandie Restaurant on Deck 2

Now I have to admit, I actually thought the Captain’s Club and the Chef’s Table were one and the same thing. Thanks to my fellow cruisers on the Carnival Pride Cruisers Facebook group, for pointing these are held in two different locations.

So the Captain’s Club, which I did find (and you can see a video of it during the Carnival Pride Ship Tour walkthrough video) is just outside the Normandie Restaurant on Deck 2.

Carnival Pride Reviews - The Chef's Table on Deck One - Image courtesy of Paul Coleman
The Chef’s Table on Deck One – Image courtesy of Paul Coleman

However, the Chef’s Table is downstairs from the Normadie on Deck One, right next to the main galley. I never found this location, so a huge thank you to Paul Coleman who provided this picture of the “secret” little hideaway.

A review of Entertainment on the Carnival Pride

Carnival Pride Cruise Director Frankie Portera

Cruise Director Frankie on Carnival Pride
Frankie Portera on Carnival Pride

At the heart of any entertainment and activities program on a cruise ship is the Cruise Director. For me, a Cruise Director can make or break a cruise.

I’ve been on cruises where they are incredible and work so hard. I’ve also been on others, where you could clearly see they were not engaging with the clients and were completely out of touch.

On Carnival Pride, our Cruise Director was Frankie Portera and he was amazing. You could clearly tell he was putting his heart and soul into his job.  He was always happy to answer any questions and when not entertaining us he was always chatting away with cruisers. It turns out he lives half a mile from our second home in Clermont, Florida.

Frankie’s “Fun Crew” were an equally entertaining bunch and were always working hard.

For the size of the ship, I was really surprised by the amount of entertainment venues and the variety of activities available.

[ Related Post: Check Our Your Carnival Cruise Director Schedule ]

The Taj Mahal Theatre Shows

The “88 Keys” Production Show in the Taj Mahal Theatre

Most nights of the cruise the “Playlist” performers would put on a theatre show. Now, I wouldn’t rate these as “Broadway standard”, but the shows that we saw were very good indeed. The highlight for me was the “88 Keys” show, which featured hits from Billy Joel, Elton John, and other famous piano singer-songwriters.

As well as the hit shows, we also had the “Deal or No Deal” game show and the iconic “The Love and Marriage Show”,

Stepping in a couple of nights to give the hard-working Playlist production players a rest was guest performers Glen Forster (Comedian and Magician) and the fabulous Kate Lindeman. Kate is an operatic-style singer who transforms classic modern hits into classical crossover pieces. She was amazing.

One other thing – don’t forget to visit the delightful “Secret Garden” interior promenade area that is on either side of the theatre. It’s a hidden gem and a great place to relax!

The Punchliner Comedy Club

The Butterflies Lounge down on Deck One was transformed into the “Punchliner” Comedy Club most evenings. We had a total of 5 different comedians on board during our cruise: John Floyd, R T Steckell, Thomas Brown, Tom Foss, and Richie Holiday. 

The standout performers for me were Thomas Brown and R T Steckel. They were both fantastic and had everyone in hysterics.

Some nights would feature two different comedians, and there would be a regular set and adults-only shows later on. 

Other Entertainment onboard Carnival Pride

Carnival Pride Reviews - the Sea Surfers Band in the Red Frog Pub
The Sea Surfers Band Performing in the Red Frog Pub

Live music in the Red Frog Bar

Every night in the Red Frog Bar there would be a live band playing. The standout band for us was the Sea Surfers Band. They seemed to be able to cover anything from the 50s to the latest hits and always knew how to read the room and engage with the right music for their audience.

The Ivory Piano Bar

Davey Wild was the resident pianist on board and I’m sorry to say, I wasn’t a fan. Don’t get me wrong, I love a piano bar, but I just didn’t like Davey’s singing voice. That’s just my opinion and his bar was always packed overnight, so what do I know?

Live music in Atrium Lobby Bar

While we didn’t spend a lot of time there, the musicians would alternate between a musical duo ( Out of the Box) a solo guitarist (Kiara Taylor), and a Violin Trio (Polaris Trio). The violin trio used electronic instruments and played classical versions of modern hits. They sounded amazing!

Live music in Alchemy Bar

Just like the Red Frog Bar, there was live music in the Alchemy Bar as well. This was usually a bit less lively than the music featured in the Red Frog, but good musicians, just the same. The Alchemy featured the musical duo Out of the Box and Guitarist, Kiara Taylor most nights.

Entertainment on the Lido Deck

Whilst the evenings were definitely cooler on this cruise, Frankie and his team still pushed on and had two nights of entertainment under the sky dome roof of the Venus Pool area. 

One was a “MEGA” Music night with line dancing and the other was an “80s Rock and Glow Party”.  The 80s party seemed to be the only “themed” evening on the whole cruise apart from the two formal nights. There was no “white night” on Carnival Pride.

Daily Onboard Activities on Carnival Pride

Frankie and the Fun Crew worked diligently every day, even on port days, so there was always lots to do on board.

Here are just some examples of the daily activities

  • Trivia contests
  • Art auctions
  • Sports events (including Pickleball, Basketball, Table Tennis)
  • Dance classes
  • Pamper spa parties
  • Bean Bag Tournaments
  • Bingo
  • Health and wellness seminars
  • Scavenger Hunts
  • Ship Building (Some of these were amazing!)
  • Charades
  • Karaoke
  • Pilates and Yoga
  • Build a Bear Workshop
  • Beer Pong

And when all that wasn’t going on, the DJ or one of the entertainers would be up on deck. It was never a dull moment.

[Related Article: Check out All The Daily Carnival Fun Times Newsletter for this cruise]

Carnival Pride Casino Review

I didn’t spend much time in the Casino, usually apart from walking through it. But everyone I spoke to said it was well stocked with a variety of tables and machines.

There was global disappointment that the bar had been removed in the dry dock, but everyone said the bar servers were still doing a great job keeping them supplied with drinks.

The Casino was always busy when it was open and wasn’t too smoky either.

Cloud 9 Spa and Fitness Centre

Carnival Pride Reviews - Upgraded Gym equipment
The Fitness Centre features upgraded Gym equipment since Dry Dock

The Cloud 9 Spa and the Hair Salon have clearly had a makeover in dry dock and both look very stylish and modern.

They have lots of separate treatment rooms and staff were always at reception when we passed by every morning on the way for Breakfast. (Our room was just below the spa on deck 8).

While we didn’t use the Spa or Beauty services ourselves (I mean, have you seen my chiseled good looks 😉 ), those that did make use of the services said the staff were great.

One other significant change since Dry Dock is the removal of the hot tub from the Spa area.

The gymnasium equipment had also been upgraded, and the equipment was typical of the latest you would see available anywhere.

I didn’t use the gym myself as the last time I used a machine in a gym I became very ill. The machine accidentally dispensed 6 Hershey Bars instead of 1 and I was sick afterwards. Boom Boom. Ok, I’ll get my coat.

Shopping onboard Carnival Pride

Carnival Pride Reviews - The Via Veneto Shopping Mall on Carnival Pride
The Via Veneto Shopping Mall on Carnival Pride

Shopaholics were well catered for onboard with the Via Veneto shopping mall featuring well-known brands like Invicta and Effy. There was a good variety of stores and the prices were actually reasonably good. 

Even though the ship had its relaxed “European” policy in place with regards to being allowed to bring alcohol on board, the cruise liquor store still would not sell bottles that you could drink in your cabin. It would only be released on debarkation day.  

Carnival Pride for Kids

Carnival Pride Reviews
The Warehouse Arcade Games Centre

Now we didn’t have any kids with us, but from what I could see, the kids were well looked after.


There were two adrenaline-inducing water slides and a kid’s water play area up on deck 11

The Warehouse

On Deck Three there was a large arcade machine area and it did seem to be decked out with some of the latest games including Virtual Reality based games.

Carnival’s Kids Activities Program

Carnival’s kid’s activity program is split into three age groups:-

  • Camp Ocean (2 – 11)
  • Circle C (12 – 14)
  • Club O2 (15 – 17)

Surprisingly for this itinerary, there were a lot of kids on board. The staff seemed to keep them all busy and entertained and not once did I see any kids that look bored. They all seemed to have a blast. Dr Seuss’s Cat in the Hat made regular appearances throughout the cruise as well.

Carnival Pride Cruise Wi-fi – How Fast Is It?

Carnival Pride Reviews - Features Starlink-enable Cruise Wi-Fi
Carnival Pride Features Starlink-enable Cruise Wi-Fi

Carnival Pride was upgraded to the latest Starlink technology while in Dry Dock. The system uses the latest mass-deployment satellites developed by Elon Musk’s Space X company. This provides higher speeds, reduced latency, and much more stable coverage than traditional Ship-based satellite systems.

My mobile carrier is the UK provider O2 and I have their plan that provides International roaming. I was able to use the Internet via my mobile when in Norway without any problems, even in what seemed like pretty remote locations.

I was able to pick up a 4G or 5G signal on most of the cruise. The only place I couldn’t get a usable signal was in my cabin.

On the two days at Sea at the start and end of the cruise, I paid for the Carnival Cruise Wi-Fi package on a daily basis. This cost $30 per 24 hour period.

The download speeds were pretty decent (typically between 25mps and 37mbps when I tested) and definitely stable to allow me to get some work done without any issues. Facetime calls were also very stable.

On the days that I didn’t pay for the Internet, I was still able to connect to the Wi-Fi network free to enable access to the Carnival Hub App.

I can also confirm that the iPhone Messages system works with FREE Wi-Fi as long as the messages are not too long and don’t try to send or receive any pictures or video.

Carnival Pride Disembarkation Process

Carnival Pride Reviews - The Disembarkation process
The Carnival Pride Disembarkation Process – Click to View the FULL Document (Both sides)

This is the document that we received in our cabin the day before departure with clear instructions covering the Carnival Pride disembarkation process.

We chose Option 1, which allowed us to carry off our own luggage. This gives me one less thing to stress about – no chance of my cruise luggage not being in the arrivals hall later than I am LOL.

Even through the ship was docked in Dover by 5 am, we never felt “rushed” to get off the ship.

Breakfast options were available between 5 am and 9 am that morning. Staterooms had to be vacated by 8 am.

Disembarkation at Dover Cruise Port

Carnival Pride Reviews - The Warehouse Arcade Games Centre
Disembarkation at Dover Cruise Terminal Was Very Quick

Disembarkation day is always a bit of a downer. You know you have a long travel day ahead of you. So any stress when leaving the ship is the last thing you would look forward to.

Fortunately, due to Carnival’s staff and the staff at Dover Cruise Port, disembarkation was an absolute breeze and I heard later that they fully debarked the vessel way ahead of schedule. We left our Stateroom at 8 am and it literally took us less than ten minutes to get to the Taxi rank.

Fortunately, the local Taxi companies seem much better organized on disembarkation day and there were lots of taxis waiting to take us to the local train station to continue our journey home to Scotland.

Carnival Pride Review – Would I Recommend Carnival Cruise Line’s Smaller Ship for your Next Vacation?

Carnival Pride Reviews - Your Truly Enjoying the Land of the Midnight Sun
Your Truly Enjoying the Land of the Midnight Sun

Carnival Pride Value for Money

Well, it is safe to say that this cruise is easily the best value-for-money cruise I have ever been on.

The reason is that we got an absolute steal of a deal on this cruise, and I found it by complete accident.

I decided to log in to my Carnival account on their website as I was researching transatlantic cruises for 2024 and I was checking what times of the year Carnival moved their ships back and forward to Europe.

Carnival Pride Reviews -  per head cruise fare with 0 onboard credit for a Transatlantic Cruise!
$75 per head cruise fare with $200 onboard credit for a Transatlantic Cruise!

I noticed that they actually had a ship leaving Miami two days later and it was showing $75. I of course assumed that was $75 a day. But then I looked again and it was $75 for the whole cruise! All you had to add was port taxes and fees plus gratuities. Wow. 

That ship was Carnival Pride. 

So I did a search on other cruises by Pride and I spotted the one that we eventually booked. It was to the Norwegian Fjords which was on my bucket list. It was also in June, which is probably one of the better months to go.

The price? Just $100 each. PLUS we also got $200 on board credit. So that $200 OBC effectively made the cruise fare free of charge. All we had to pay was port fees and taxes plus gratuities. That was a net cost of $330. At the time of booking, I think we actually got the last cabin available. 

Carnival Pride Reviews - Amazing Deal on Norwegian Fjords Cruise
Our Final Bill For Our Norwegian Fjords Cruise

I know some of you will think this was a “Casino deal”. It wasn’t I don’t spend any time in the Casino at all.  

I genuinely think it was a “give us another try” promo of some sort. We hadn’t sailed with Carnival in a number of years, so who knows?

Anyway, it was an absolute bargain, so it always pays to keep an eye on the offers that Carnival shows you on your VIFP profile page or regularly check in with your travel agent.

Carnival Pride Overall Rating – 9 out of 10

Clearly, my rating of this ship will have a lot to do with value for money. But even if I had paid 1500 or 2000 per person for this cruise I would still have been absolutely delighted. This wasn’t just because of the amazing itinerary. The ship and its staff were amazing as well.

I know some of you may think that the variable food quality should also mark it down more, but to be honest, every cruise line seems to be the same nowadays. As cruising has become mass-market, prices have dropped and something has to give.

Our only big concern was the lack of sanitizers and the basic attitude that Covid no longer exists.

So that’s the only reason I am marking this cruise ship 9 out of 10. Would it have got the same review with a different itinerary? I’m not sure, but it wouldn’t be far off.

If you are researching your next Carnival cruise, I would highly recommend taking a look at what Carnival Pride has to offer. In my opinion, you won’t be disappointed.


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Alan took his first cruise in 1991 and has been cruising ever since. When he is not writing articles for you'll find him either on a cruise ship (he's the guy in the kilt), or on the golf course!

7 thoughts on “Carnival Pride Reviews: Norwegian Fjords Cruise Review (After 2023 Dry Dock)”

  1. The Pride is my favorite lady of the Sea 🛳🌊. Have never done a transatlantic cruise but if that opportunity ever presents itself, I would check out The Pride first. Thanks for your honest insight.

    • You are very welcome. We are actually doing a double Transatlantic next year. Norwegian Joy February Southampton UK to Miami. And then back at the end of April on Oasis of the Seas from Miami to Barcelona. Should be fun. We did a Transpacific from Mexico to Hawaii back in 2007 as part of our Honeymoon.

      • Thank you for your review! We were on the Pride in February and thought it had some beautiful features then, so very excited to see it now. Question for you…what time did disembarkation begin? Our cruise also shows the ship returns to Dover at 5:00 a.m., but we haven’t been able to get a time when disembarking begins. Your help would be greatly appreciated!

        • Hi Debbie, Disembarkation started very early. The first groups to disembark were scheduled for 5:45 am. We left the shp at 8 am. I think they were aiming to get everyone off by 9am at the latest.


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