Baltimore Port and Debarkation: A breeze. One of the best in industry for speed and ease of checking in to the ship. Whether VIP or not, and from here we have checked in under both, its just really fast and very convenient.
Rooms: We splurged on a Grand Suite. Extremely nice room, but not worth the additional cost over an Ocean Suite. Our steward Adolph, was terrific, as was his assistant. Very friendly staff in all the room areas...always saying good morning, good afternoon and smiling.
Dining: This is where the fall-off over past reviews we have done on Carnival, and the Pride specifically, make the difference. The food was always prepared just right, and the temperature was always warm or hot. And, the food was spicy enough, not bland as suggested by other reviews. Our main point in downgrading our past reviews is that the choices at Carnival, or at least for the PRIDE, have definetly fallen off what we used to consider outstanding. Appetizer choices not as high-end. Their main course selections now seems less focused on being impressive and are now more so an industry norm at dinner. Its hard to please a couple of thousand folks on any cruise, but Carnival had previously set a bar very high, and now seems to be falling to become part of the crowd along with the other cruise lines. Example: At dinner, serving a cheeseburger and/or fried chicken (on the menu in the dining room every night) is not a past practice. If folks wanted this kind of selection at dinner, they simply have to go to the Lido deck buffet. Dinner should be an occassion, like a night out, not an experience I can get on Deck 9 or at a local fast food restaurant. The service was very good...our waiter Carlos and his assistants did a fantastic job each night. The buffets on the Lido deck are full of choices, and we found something we liked every day. Be sure to visit the Carving station and Chop Sticks (chinese wok prepared foods) on the buffet....you just can't go wrong. But if you like salds, paninis, subs, pizza, burgers, etc, you will find it all there.
Port Canaveral: Choices are to go to one of the major parks in Orlando, Cocoa beach in the local area, or just go surf shop hopping. We had been to the Canaveral and Melbourne area on many occasions, some work related. So we rented a car and drove to Melbourne FL. We had lunch a Megs - a local "icon" Irish pub with great food, went to a couple of great surf shops and found somethings at local stores we forgot to pack. This is a nice area with options for everyone.
Nassau: Spend some time at Atlantis resort. Its impressive. But do not go for the waterpark at $150+ per person. We did, and found that the water park has less than what advertising presents, and the free lunch with the package is not really worth the time (the ship has much better food on the Lido deck buffet at Lunch). Also, don't buy into any thing written that you never have to leave the water to get to a slide - that just didn't pan-out for us..we walked a lot from place to place.
Freeport: Don't get why Carnival bothers stopping here. Two Days in Nassau, or one day at Half Moon Cay and One day at Nassau, would be a much better idea.
Just not much in Freeport, island shop and store hours differ greatly than ship in-port hours, and shops have nothing that really appeals to most shoppers (at least on our ship). We will likely avoid future cruises that stop here, or maybe just simply view this port as an on-board day at the pool.
Casino was good. Good selection of slots, video games and tables, and the bar staff there among the very best, most friendly we have ever met.
Pool: Never had a problem getting a chair in good locations before 10:00 am. We normally got to the pool each day between 8:45 am and 9:00 am. After 10:00 am, things get tight. At 11:00 am, just get what you can (which might be nothing by that time). Alert: Families or gatherings of 4, 6 or 8 people must be at the pool prior to 10:00 am to find places where you can all sit together. But, be cautious of saving chairs with towels or other items. There is a trend now that you won't find those items there after an hour or so...the staff must respond to complaints by others when "empty" chairs are going unused. The best rule of thumb to use is .. if you want a chair by or near the pool, then get there early and sit it in. For those without children, the Serenity deck on the back is really great, with its own pool. The only complaint we heard about that area is that it doesn't allow smoking anywhere. The gist here is that its an adult only area, and if smoking is allowed anywhere on the ship, it should be in an areas reserved for adults and only in the open areas on the starboard side of the ship (same rule used everywhere else on Deck 9).
Shows: All were just OK, not impressive by any means.
Gift Shops: If you have been on a cruise before, you won't find anything here that you didn't already buy somewhere else.
Debarkation: Arrived in Baltimore at 8:00 am and was in our car at 10:00 am driving away. Not bad at all....
Overall: A good second cruise on the PRIDE. For those living within or around the MD, PA, NJ, VA area, its a very convenient option, and it serves a great first cruise for those in the area wanting to experiment with cruising.