By Karon Warren
Cruise Critic Contributor
4.0 / 5.0
Cruise Critic Editor Rating: Entertainment

Carnival Pride Entertainment & Activities

Theater

Pride's main theater, the Taj Mahal Main Lounge, is a two-story venue that hosts Playlist Productions shows; "Hasbro, The Game Show"; the "Love & Marriage Show"; and other entertainment options like towel folding fun, bingo and the "Seuss-A-Palooza Story Time." On the main floor, seating comprises rows of bench seats with small tables; these provide good views of the stage, although there are a few spots that are obstructed by columns. On the second level, there are rows of theater seats, but some of the views up here are obstructed as well. For the best view of the stage, arrive early to find a good seat.

Daily Fun

There is no shortage of fun activities on Pride, with games, trivia, karaoke, contests and more. We saw large turnouts for the "Rock Tune" trivia at the Piazza Cafe, the RedFrog Pub karaoke and the interactive skin care seminar in the spa. We attended the cooking demonstration at David's Steakhouse on the first sea day, and competed at "Hasbro's Sorry" in the Renaissance Lobby. You'll also find daily puzzles and brain busters activity sheets on the counter at the Piazza Cafe. These include crossword puzzles, sudoku and cryptic word challenges.

At Night

Even after a busy day of fun in the sun, there was no slowing down after sunset on Pride. Every evening, passengers turned out for Dive-In Movies at the Carnival Seaside Theater, which is a giant movie screen by the midship pool. Recent releases like "The Greatest Showman" and "Justice League" were among the family-friendly movies that were shown.

The Lido Deck is also the spot for evening deck parties, including the Mega Deck Party with the cruise director and live music, the Electric White Night (yes, everyone wears white) and the '80s Rock-n-Glow Party with DJ, dance contests and giveaways.

The Renaissance Lobby also stayed busy each night, with live music, music trivia with the cruise director and even a preview of the "Lip Sync Battle" show featuring fellow passengers.

Passengers who love dancing can do just that at the two-story Beauties Nightclub on Decks 1 and 2. On the main floor, the dance floor is the center of attention, surrounded by tables and chairs plus seating along the wall. Upstairs, bar seating overlooks the dance floor below with more seating along the wall. A large bar is in the rear of the space.

Filled with numerous slots machines and gaming tables, passengers can try their luck day or night in the casino. Gaming tables include roulette, craps, blackjack, poker and more. The casino hosts tournaments throughout the cruise, including Texas Hold'em, slots, blackjack and more.

Carnival Pride Bars and Lounges

Butterflies Lounge (Deck 1): Home to the Punchliner Comedy Club shows, this lounge features booth-style seating with small tables. There is a hardwood floor in front of the stage, and butterflies dance across the ceiling. The lighting is low, reminiscent of a 1970s-era club. A bar lines the back wall, where passengers can grab a cocktail before the show starts.

RedFrog Pub (Deck 2): This specialty bar is outfitted with highboy tables and stools and palm tree decor. Menu items include Carnival's own beer, ThirstyFrog Red, along with craft and Caribbean beers, handcrafted cocktails, frozen cocktails and rum. The pub also is home to live music in the evenings.

SkyBox Sports Bar (Deck 2): Outfitted with massive large-screen TVs behind the bar and a scrolling sports ticker on the back wall, this space speaks to sports lovers. The bar runs along one wall with barstools at the ready, while high top tables with chairs and booth seating are available throughout the rest of the room.

Renaissance Lobby Bar (Deck 2): The centerpiece of the atrium lobby, this semicircular bar is a popular place to grab a drink throughout the day and night. Stools surround the bar, with additional seating scattered around the lobby.

Alchemy Bar (Deck 2): Another popular hot spot, this pharmacy-themed cocktail bar features leather stools around the bar and at additional high tops throughout the space. The menu features an eclectic mix of cocktails or you can work with the bartender to create your own.

Ivory Piano Bar (Deck 3): The party gets started late here, with live music starting at 9 p.m. The centerpiece of the bar is an elevated piano surrounded by bar seating; you'll find folks here every night singing along with the piano player.

Raphael Lounge (Deck 3): Sitting in a corner across from the Raphael conference room, this lounge consists of a bar along the back wall, with couches and chairs with tables. People mostly used this as a spot for pre- and post-dinner drinks.

RedFrog Rum Bar (Deck 9): Located by the main pool, this Caribbean-themed bar features has plenty of stool seating and a menu that includes Carnival's own ThirstyFrog Red beer as well as Caribbean and craft beers, rum-based cocktails and more.

BlueIguana Tequila Bar (Deck 9): Opposite RedFrog Rum Bar, this Mexican-themed bar, decked out in blue colors and accented by Mexican tile, serves up tequila-based drinks.

Serenity Bar (Deck 9): Lining the back wall of the Serenity Deck, this expansive bar features stools and chair seating and a menu of standard cocktails, beer, wine and nonalcoholic beverages.

Carnival Pride Outside Recreation

Pools

Carnival Pride has three swimming pools, all on Deck 9. These include the forward pool, the midship (or main) pool and the Serenity pool. The midship pool is where all the action takes place: live music, Dive-In Movies, the Hairy Chest Contest and more. There are lounge chairs all around the pool, as well as on the perimeter of Deck 10. This also is where you'll find BlueIguana Cantina, Guy's Burger Joint, BlueIguana Tequila Bar and RedFrog Rum Bar, so it can be extremely crowded, especially during meal times. The area has a retractable roof that can be closed in the event of bad weather. There are no hot tubs in this area. This is easily the most crowded and loudest pool of the three.

There is a hot tub at one end of the forward pool, as well as lounge chairs around the perimeter and up on Deck 10. There also are shaded seating areas with wicker furniture and cushions. Two Ping-Pong tables sit at one end and were popular with people of all ages. The right side of the deck, by the forward pool is also the ship's smoking section, so be aware of where you choose your lounge chair. While this pool is active, it's not nearly as crowded as the main pool and certainly not as loud.

At the back of Deck 9 is the Serenity pool, which is part of the adults-only Serenity Deck. It also has a hot tub. There are plenty of lounge chairs and seating groups around the pool. Because it's adults-only, it's not nearly as crowded as the other pools, and is also much quieter.

Recreation

Up on Deck 11, also referred to as the sports deck, there is a nine-hole mini-golf course surrounding a basketball court. We played mini-golf on more than one occasion, and there always were other players on the course. The basketball court also stayed busy when we were sailing, but not in port. Down by the forward pool, there are two Ping-Pong tables, and these were always in demand.

At Carnival WaterWorks, passengers can tackle two water slides: the Green Thunder and Twister. As one of the faster water slides at sea, Green Thunder provides an adrenaline rush, while the Twister lives up to its name with many spiral turns. There's also a splash zone with water features, a dumping bucket and two mini water slides for small children. The water park's only drawback is there is essentially no seating on the small deck space surrounding it. We saw no more than six chairs by the water park during our cruise.

Sun Decks

Because there are three pools on Pride, sun decks are more limited, but there is some space on Deck 10 just above the pools and below the water park. These have lounge chairs, but no tables. The adults-only Serenity Adult-Only Retreat on Deck 9 contains plenty of lounge chairs with cushions, half-shell cabanas and even some shaded seating; it also has a swimming pool and hot tub in the middle of the deck.

Carnival Pride Services

Guest services and the shore excursion desk are located on Deck 2 in the Renaissance Lobby, while self-service laundry facilities are in the following locations: Deck 1 (midship), Deck 4 (aft), Deck 5 (aft), Deck 6 (forward) and Deck 7 (midship). Bring plenty of quarters; laundry detergent is available for purchase.

In the Noble Library on Deck 3, passengers can borrow a book to read or play one of the many board games with family and friends. There are two workstations, a large center table with chairs, and couches with tables by the windows. On Deck 2, the Crystal Card Room lives up to its name, with several tables and chairs set up for groups to play cards.

The Raphael Room on Deck 3 is a small conference room that played host to the art shows during our cruise. There's also a chapel on Deck 3 that stayed busy throughout our cruise with private meetings.

Along the Via Veneto, which is the shopping hallway on Deck 3, passengers can shop at the two large Fun Shops, one on each side of the hallway, for souvenirs, clothes, jewelry, toiletries and more. This also is home to Cherry on Top, where shoppers can purchase candy, flowers, special occasion gifts and more.

The Internet Cafe on Deck 2 consists of five computers and one printer. Passengers can choose from three internet service plans while onboard and pricing varies by length of cruise. The least expensive of the plans is the Social plan (the cost is about $5 per day), which provides access to social media networks and the most popular airline websites only. The Value plan provides access to all websites and apps; on our one-week cruise the cost was $16 for 24 hours or $84 for the entire cruise. The Premium plan provides access to all websites and apps and includes streaming services like YouTube and Spotify. However, Netflix, Hulu and Vimeo are not supported. The cost on our cruise was $25 per day or $123 for the entire cruise.

The Pixels Gallery encompasses all the wall space surrounding the atrium on Deck 3. Here, passengers can purchase souvenir photos, photo albums, picture frames, scrapbooking materials and photography equipment.

Carnival Pride Spa & Fitness

Spa

Open 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Deck 9, Spa Carnival features 14 treatment rooms where passengers can enjoy facials, massages, body therapies, medi-spa cosmetic services and salon services. Prices are steep: a 75-minute Thai herbal poultice massage is $195, while a 100-minute Elemis Absolute spa ritual is $199. Medi-spa treatments include dermal filler treatments and wrinkle treatments. Men can enjoy a facial or grooming treatment with a shave. Salon services include blowouts, nail services and teeth whitening. Throughout the cruise, the spa offers a number of specials, which can be found on flyers just outside the spa entrance; also look for port day discounts. Inside the spa, there are men and women's locker rooms and a hot tub. Spa staff recommend booking appointments online prior to sailing or on the first day in order to get a preferred treatment and/or time. Sea days usually fill up first.

Fitness

Located on Deck 9 at the front of the ship, the fitness center actually has two levels. Entry is on Deck 9, which is where you'll find men and women's locker rooms, as well as cardio equipment like ellipiticals, treadmills and bikes. One deck up is a selection of hand weights and weight machines. Towels are provided. The fitness center also hosts a variety of free and paid classes throughout the cruise. During our cruise, free classes included sunrise stretch, Fab Abs and evening stretch, while paid classes included yoga, indoor cycling and Body Sculpt Boot Camp. Yoga and cycling classes are $12 per class, with class passes available at discounted prices. Gym hours are 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Children ages 12 to 16 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian at all times; kids under 12 are not permitted.

On Deck 11, the jogging track circles the mini-golf course and the basketball court. Just over 15 laps equals approximately 1 mile. Walkers can also take to the outside promenade along Deck 10; 3.5 laps is equal to 1 mile.

Carnival Pride For Kids

Carnival is known for its family friendliness, and Pride is no exception. This is readily apparent in the many Dr. Seuss-themed activities, including the "Seuss-A-Palooza Parade & Story Time" and the Green Eggs & Ham Breakfast. We also saw characters making appearances in the Pixels Gallery so passengers could have their photo taken with their favorites. "Hasbro, The Game Show" also was well attended, with kids and their parents competing for a spot on the stage. Outside, Carnival WaterWorks was a big draw, along with the Ping-Pong tables and pools.

As part of its Fun Ship 2.0 initiative back in 2014, Carnival redesigned its kids camp offering and renamed it Camp Ocean. The marine-inspired program, designed for kids ages 2 through 11, builds its activities around educating children on the wonders of the sea. To participate in Camp Ocean, children must be registered (parents can do this online prior to sailing).

Kids

Penguins (ages 2 to 5), Sting Rays (ages 6 to 8) and Sharks (ages 9 to 11) all participate in such activities as arts and crafts, games, and science and discovery. Activities are tailored to each individual age group.

Children ages 2 to 8 must be signed in and out by an authorized adult age 18 or older. Children ages 9 to 11 may sign themselves in and out if parents provide permission. Otherwise, they are subject to the same sign in/sign out policy as the younger children. Parents must provide diapers and toiletries for children who are not potty trained. Children must be potty trained to use all water facilities onboard.

Whether at sea or in port, Camp Ocean is open daily from morning to night, with the occasional afternoon break on some days. On embarkation day, the camp usually doesn't open until evening. In the evening, kids do have the option of having dinner at Camp Ocean. Menu items include chicken nuggets, macaroni and cheese, pasta, hot dogs, grilled cheese, hamburgers and other kid-friendly dishes.

Attending Camp Ocean is free for all children throughout the day until 10 p.m. At this time, the camp changes to a babysitting service, known as "Night Owls," which is open from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. The cost is $6.75 per hour, per child plus a 15 percent gratuity per child.

Teens

Circle C welcomes preteens and teens ages 12 to 14 to engage in scavenger hunts, compete at karaoke or challenge one another in basketball or mini-golf. Toward the end of the cruise, the program will usually host a Pride Prom, for which young teens can get all dressed up.

Club O2 is geared to ages 15 to 17 and features a variety of activities throughout the cruise. Typical hours on sea days are 12 to 5 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. to 1 a.m. For port days, the club opens shortly after "back onboard" time with a short break around 5 p.m. before reopening in the evening. During our cruise, activities ranged from balloon tennis and dodgeball to themed nights (think "Kindergarten Night," where teens can pretend to be a little kid again or "Pride Prom 2018") and scavenger hunts.

Although there are no sign in/sign out procedures with Circle C or Club O2, all tweens and teens must be registered to participate in these activities; this can be done online prior to sailing.

Carnival Pride Ship Stats

  • Crew: 930
  • Launched: 2002
  • Decks: 12
  • Passengers: 2,124
  • Registry: Panama
  • CDC Score: 97

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