I went on a 9-day Carnival cruise for $1,450. Here's what it was like and why it was worth every penny.
Three generations of my family took a nine-day cruise through Norway on the Carnival Pride.
It was efficient and economical — it cost $1,450 per person for a voyage that stopped at six ports.
From water slides to a casino, the ship had onboard entertainment options for travelers of all ages.
My family went on a nine-day cruise through Norway that cost $1,450 per person.
Toward the end of summer 2021, my mother pitched the idea of going on a multigenerational family adventure.
After lots of brainstorming (and comparing calendars), the group — which included my mom, my stepdad, my husband, our oldest daughter, and me — landed on the Carnival Pride.
The nine-day cruise departed from Dover, England, in June 2022 and stopped at six ports throughout Norway.
It cost $1,450 per person to stay in a double-occupancy cabin, excluding taxes, port fees, and gratuities.
Here's what my cruise experience was like, and why I would do it again in a heartbeat.
First, we had to go from Alabama to the departure point in Dover, UK. We took two flights and a train.
My entire family is Alabama-based, so we flew to Atlanta and then caught our international flight to London, where we stayed overnight after the 11-hour journey.
The next day, we took a two-hour train ride from London's Victoria Railway Station to Dover, the Pride's departure point. We stayed in the coastal town for one night before boarding the ship the following day.
When we reached the Port of Dover, the staff, a combination of locals and Carnival team members, was efficient and friendly as they sent us on our way.
My 185-square-foot balcony cabin had more than enough space for two people.
My husband and I stayed in a balcony cabin on the verandah deck, and it served as our home base throughout the nine-day trip.
Contrary to the stereotype that cruise ships have tiny rooms, our 185-square-foot cabin with a 40-square-foot balcony felt spacious and suitable for two people.
It was equipped with a queen-sized bed, substantial storage space, a small safe, a seating area with a sofa and adjustable work table, a hairdryer, a small refrigerator, and complimentary toiletries.
As an added bonus, the pillows on our bed were so comfortable that I plan to order some for my house.
There were six ports of call built into our nine-day itinerary, so we were very busy.
On many of the cruises I've taken in the past, the itinerary has been split evenly between days at sea and days in port. The Pride, on the other hand, was a much more land-based experience.
Apart from our first and last days on the ship, we stopped at ports every day. I didn't mind that the voyage was jam-packed, though.
There was no way of knowing if or when I would be able to return to Norway, so I was excited to see as much of the country as possible.
All of the ports — Stavanger, Skjolden, Alesund, Molde, Olden, and Bergen — were very different and offered one-of-a-kind experiences.
The nine-day adventure brought us to six very unique Norwegian ports.
Our first port of call was Stavanger, the fourth largest city in Norway. Its picturesque harbor, public art, colorful streets, and historic wharf houses made it a postcard-perfect introduction to the country.
Stop two brought us to Skjolden, a village of fewer than 500 people that's located at the end of Sognefjorden, the country's longest and deepest fjord.
Next up was Alesund, a port town known for its exquisite Art Nouveau architecture. As soon as I walked out on the cruise balcony and saw Molde Fotballklubb's football stadium, I knew our time in Molde was going to be a hit with my husband, an avid sports fan.
On our second-to-last port day, we docked at Olden, a nature-filled village that ended up being my favorite of all the stops.
And Bergen, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, rounded out the trip as our final port. It was far more bustling than any of the other stops. We shopped, ate local fish and chips, and sampled aquavit, a Scandinavian spirit.
Because the Pride set sail in June, I didn't get to see the Northern Lights. However, I did experience Norway's midnight sun.
Even though seeing the Northern Lights is on my personal bucket list, I knew I wasn't going to catch them in June (November through March are the months travelers are most likely to see them in Norway).
I did get to experience midnight sun, though. Between April and August, the days in Northern Norway are incredibly long because of the way the Earth is tilted relative to the sun.
On one of the days we were sailing on the Pride, the sun rose at 3:30 a.m. and set at 11:35 p.m. Our cabin's blackout curtains allowed us to sleep pretty well despite the light, however it was strange to walk out of a comedy show at 10 p.m. and see sunshine.
The Pride had a wide variety of onboard activities to keep us entertained during days at sea.
We spent most of the days exploring Norway's landscapes and villages, but the few days we spent on the Pride were full of activities.
One morning, my daughter and I started our day with a fantastic group coloring event.
There were also plenty of entertainment options, including musical stage productions, comedy shows, nightclubs, and a casino.
If our group was feeling competitive, we could sing karaoke or play a round of trivia.
The ship's amenities and dining options were impressive as well.
The Pride had a game room, indoor and outdoor pools, a spa, and a gym. And when it comes to cruise travel, it's impossible not to talk about the food.
Whether it was morning, noon, or nighttime, there was food ranging from pizza to white-tablecloth meals available on the Pride. Some of the restaurants onboard included Guy's Burger Joint, BlueIguana Cantina, Pizza Pirate, and more.
The Nordic voyage was the perfect trip for a multigenerational group seeking adventure.
We ended our trip in Dover, returning to London by train shortly thereafter and then flying home to Alabama.
In retrospect, I'm grateful that we carved out time in our schedule for individual activities. Our multigenerational group was made up of different types of travelers, and not everyone wanted to do the same thing all the time.
Giving each person the freedom to fill their days as they desired — and spending quality time together at night — was essential to the trip's success.
Between the cost of accommodations, food, and transportation, it's hard to imagine getting a better value for this trip than we did on the Pride.
As I mentioned before, we paid $1,450 per person to sail on the Pride. That fare covered our accommodations, three meals per day, transportation to six different ports, entertainment, and activities.
We felt this was the best package for our adventurous spirits and our pockets. We also made sure to consider additional expenses — such as meals, souvenirs, and tours — when we were exploring the ports to make sure we stayed within our budget.
After making so many wonderful memories with my family on the Pride, I'm already dreaming about our next cruise.
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