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Tag: carnival pride

Basking in Bermuda Part 1: Royal Naval Dockyard, Crystal Caves, & Aquarium

Glad you’re back for the next installment in my Carnival Pride back-to-back cruise series! The first week of the cruise meant a visit to one destination for four days: Bermuda. This first post will cover my exploration of the Royal Naval Dockyeard, the Crystal Caves, and the Aquarium, Zoo, & Museum.

The Royal Naval Dockyard is flush with British history and icons. The fortress and slumbering cannons provide the backdrop for cheeky, bright red phone booths. Tropical palm trees stand out like exclamation points to remind us of the Empire’s colonial reach.

Iconic Images at Royal Naval Dockyard

A stroll through the Royal Naval Dockyard is also a patriotic reminder for American visitors of why this large Naval base was built up: because we kicked the British out! Through their presence in Bermuda, Britain could make an effort at keeping a watchful eye on us.

I ordered a monster sized glass of amber-colored beer from the local brewery, the Frog and Onion Pub. They call it the “Big Ben.” It was just the perfect serving to spend a long time lingering here, soaking in the history and sunshine.

When the sun set, the water glistened in the moonlight and bold silhouettes of the twin clock towers shined with the glow of their lights in front of a backdrop of clear, star-littered black sky. It was time to rest up for a busy day of sightseeing tomorrow.

Night

I took a tour featuring an excursion around the island, including stops at the Crystal Caves and the Aquarium, Zoo, & Museum. The caves are a natural wonder formed during the Pleistocene Ice Age, later discovered by two teenage boys playing cricket in 1907. The cave ceilings are dripping with stalactites, and floors are coated with stalagmites. These limestone caves are truly a sight to behold, eerie and other-worldly while at the same time beautiful. The “crystal” in the name refers to the crystal clear water at the base of the cave. Here, it is easy to see how these waters have become a black hole for cellphones, sunglasses and other modern conveniences that were dropped and never retrieved. I can’t say I’m surprised – the views are so awe-inspiring in here I can see how someone could easily get distracted and drop what they were holding.

Crystal Cave 2

Crystal Caves

I, however, emerged from the caves my personal belongings intact, and I boarded the bus to head on to the Aquarium, Zoo, & Museum, where I would witness an abundance of varieties of tropical fish and other sea creatures as well as an interesting assortment of animals.

The flamingos and fish were bursting with color, and the chorus of squawking by the flamingos was endlessly entertaining! The seals were very friendly, gliding through the waters and poking their heads out as they came around to greet me! The museum housed interesting displays describing the natural habitats of the island.

Next it was a return to the Royal Naval Dockyard and the ship for some rest in preparation for another exciting day in Bermuda tomorrow. Next week: Bermuda’s cities – Hamilton and St. George’s, as well as the famous pink sand beach!

My YouTube video is available for this time in Bermuda here!:


As always, thanks for coming along on my travels!

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Carnival Pride Tour and Review!

Welcome to installment 2 in my Carnival Pride back-to-back cruise series! The Carnival Pride sails out of Baltimore, Maryland. My itinerary included Bermuda the first week, and Bahamas and Turks & Caicos the second week. I previously posted on the back-to-back cruise experience, which you may read here: Back to Back Cruise Experience.

The Pride is a comparatively small cruise ship, and some cosmetic wear and tear is apparent in the form of rust spots and nicks and bumps on the trim and decor. This will bother different people to different extents. Personally this is something that I am bothered by, but it’s superficial, and I still managed to have a great time on the cruise. Customer service and meals were very good, and the entertainment was hit-or-miss. The shows didn’t have a huge production value and elaborate special effects that I have seen on some other ships, but the performers were talented. The Bermuda leg of the trip was cold and rainy – especially when the ship was in the vicinity of Baltimore. April is still quite chilly in Baltimore, so spring is not an ideal time for a sailing out of this port.

The cabin was larger than any other interior cabin I have ever been housed in on a cruise ship, and unlike with the other Carnival cruises I have taken, I actually had a refrigerator in my cabin this time. I was very satisfied with the roominess! I would say the cabins are probably the best asset of the Pride. If a roomy cabin is a high priority for you, this may be a good ship to look into.

The Lido deck was unusual in that there are really 2 neighboring Lido decks: one with a sunroof, that is closed off from the elements, and a second one that is wide open. I have never sailed on a ship with this arrangement before. People generally crowded onto the covered deck when it was chilly or rainy, and the other deck when things warmed up closer to the port destinations.

The Atrium was also unusual. It wasn’t vast and expansive the way I have experienced on other ships. It was a very tall shaft. Decor seemed to be inspired by the renaissance in most areas, and a kind of mermaid theme on the deck and buffet areas. As I have become accustomed to on Carnival, the decor was somewhat tacky in some areas, but there were other areas of the ship that appeared to be more recently remodeled to retreat to.

Meals were usually good. I enjoyed most of the meals I was served in the main dining room.  Guy’s Burger Joint and Blue Iguana were always great. The pizza was also fairly good. I can’t rave about the buffet, however. The drinks at the bars were very well prepared. I particularly enjoyed the atmosphere and drinks at Alchemy Bar and Red Frog Pub.

The Serenity deck was large, and included many clamshell loungers and even hammocks. Unfortunately, whenever it wasn’t raining it was absolutely packed! I couldn’t get near the hammocks or clamshell loungers even once over the course of the 2 weeks. (I wanted to go out there in between the 2 cruises when there were only a few other customers on the ship, but it was pouring rain!) This was a big disappointment.

There was definitely room for improvement on the Pride, but a Pride cruise is a fun experience nonetheless. If you’re sailing out of Baltimore, be sure to pack some long sleeves unless it’s summer! Shawls and sweatshirts were the hottest sellers in the shops when I sailed because most of us (myself included!) were not prepared for the weather!

Come back next Monday for the next installment in the series – the first stop: Bermuda! In the meantime, here is my video tour of the Pride on YouTube!:

Donation

Please consider donating $2 to this blog so I can afford to keep it going!

$2.00