Here’s Day 10 of our travel series where we explore Europe with three young kids – our first full day at sea aboard the Carnival Pride. We have a themed breakfast with the kids, take part in some ship-board activities, enjoy a great dinner at a steakhouse and take in some stand-up comedy before calling it a day. As you will see, a lot of these activities are a lot more enjoyable and rewarding when done with family and friends.

Dr. Seuss Themed Breakfast on the Carnival Pride

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We started our day with a Dr. Seuss themed breakfast that our two boys seemed to enjoy – Emma, our baby, was too young to understand what was going on, but I like to think she appreciated the colorful insanity. There were additional activities during breakfast where the kids were given autograph books that they could collect “signatures” from various characters in Dr. Seuss books.

I took Ethan and Aiden, our two boys, to a quick walk at the back of the dining area where there was a viewing area of the ship’s stern. The boys and me marveled at the white caps of the wake created by the ship’s massive propellors trailing behind as we moved forward. A fun little aside after breakfast – and an example of how there’s always something to see and do on a cruise-ship even outside of the officially-sanctioned pre-planned activities.

We explored the ship some more after breakfast, I checked out the laundry services on offer and the kids had their sights set on the arcade.

Cruise Ship Travel Tip #1: On-board Laundry - Self or Full-service?
Cruise ships typically provide both self-service and full-service laundry options for their guests:

1. Full-service laundry is a convenient option for passengers who want to avoid the hassle of doing laundry themselves. Passengers simply place their dirty laundry in a bag provided by the cruise line and leave it outside their stateroom door. The laundry will be collected and washed, dried, and folded, and then returned to the passenger's stateroom. Full-service laundry is typically charged per item or per bag.

2. Self-service laundry is a more economical option and is basically a coin-operated laundromat on a cruise ship. Self-service laundry facilities are typically located on each stateroom deck and include washing machines, dryers, irons, and ironing boards. Detergent and fabric softener can usually be purchased on site.

During this trip we went for the full-service option despite it costing more because I found the self-service laundry facilities to always be busy and full.

Arcades, Ping-pong & Bingo Halls on the Carnival Pride

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Like many modern cruise ships, the Carnival Pride has an arcade filled with games and attractions that my kids could not stay away from. They insisted we visit the arcade as soon as they saw it when we were exploring the ship. Of course they wanted to try every single game in the room and I had to remind them of the virtues of moderation which they immediately ignored and ran to their mother for arcade tokens.

Erika, being a softer touch than me, decided to let the boys indulge themselves at the arcade, and we both joined in the fun. Despite not winning anything (no big surprise there – I did warn the boys the arcade game prizes are notoriously difficult to win) we had a good time. After the arcade Erika went to play some bingo (she loves her bingo!) and I took the kids to play some ping-pong. Quick bingo tip from Erika: if you play bingo on a cruise ship only once, play later in the week when the jackpots are bigger!

Cruise Ship Travel Tip #2: Cruise Ship Activities
On a Carnival cruise ship, guests can take part in a variety of indoor recreational activities. From gaming in the arcade and bingo to arts and crafts, indoor sports games and even and captivating theater performances, the ship offers endless entertainment options. There is always something to do and someone to do it with on a cruise ship.

Photo Portraits & Steakhouse Dinner on the Carnival Pride

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As the day turned to night, we prepared for an exquisite dinner at the ship’s upscale steakhouse. Ensuring our attire met the dress code standards became a humorous yet necessary part of the pre-dinner preparations. The boys grumbled at having to dress up for dinner, but they were in good spirits. We spent some time in the ship’s atrium and listened to the captain address to the ship, after which we went to take some pre-dinner photos at their photo booth – might as well since we were already dressed to the nines. We got some great photos, as you can see above and I ordered a bunch of prints which was well worth the extra cost.

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The steakhouse dinner was culinary haven, offering dish after wonderful dish. The photos of our meal speak for themselves and we all enjoyed ourselves. The presentation was great, the restaurant ambiance was luxurious and elegant. And most important of all, the food was great too.

Cruise Ship Travel Tip #3: Dining Options on the Carnival Pride
Carnival Cruise ships boast a diverse array of restaurants, catering to every palate and preference. The Carnival Pride, the ship we were on had a wonderful variety of dining options - both free (as in food cost included in your ticket) and paid a-la-carte or paid per-head. Some of the free buffets and themed restaurants are open 24 hours a day, which is wonderful when travelling with groups or families. To top it all off they have 24-hour room service as well! You will never go hungry on-board a cruise ship.

Late Night Show & Saying Goodnight

After our meal we took in a comedy show, which we all enjoyed except for Erika’s parents you slept through most of it. Amid much joy and laughter, we said our goodnights and retired to our cabins. It was an average day on a cruise ship. Unlike the previous day on board, nothing spectacular happened, no major drama, but we all had a great time just enjoying the cruise ship activities and food and spending time together as a family.

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Here are some final take-aways from Day 10 in Europe with three kids:

  • September to October is our favorite time to cruise. It works well for us because the kids have fall break and there are fewer kids on a Carnival Cruise ship in Europe during those months, which is nice for Ethan and Aiden since they have the whole ship to themselves.
  • You may have noticed an inflatable pool in the background in some of our travel. The blow-up pool is something we have used a lot when traveling with kids younger than 2. We usually buy one for each new trip we take. It can serve as a bathing option for our youngest kids and as a fun play-pool in port at the beach or wherever.

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