We sailed 8/5/12- 8/12/12 with our 16 year old daughter and 18 year old son. This was our 3rd Carnival cruise. We have enjoyed past cruises on other lines including Princess, NCL, Celebrity, and RCI. We loved spending the time together as a family and enjoyed ourselves very much on the Pride.
We noticed RIGHT off the bat the desire from Carnival to spend $$$ on drinks. Everyone who passed wanted to sell us a drink when we boarded. About the 4Th encounter with yet another drink salesperson, I requested that the dirty dishes that sat at our lunch table from the previous people be cleared and the drink waiter got very vague and said someone would do that. No, I don't think so, but there were plenty more asking us about those drinks. We notices the drinking theme, jokes, and references to be much more so than on other cruises. Also they ask and ask you for drink orders especially outside, but then take a long time to come back with it. I would rather not be asked and just grab one quick when I wanted it at a bar.
That being said I enjoyed my share of drinks of the days and we enjoyed the nice variety of food choices on board. The meals in the Normadine Dinning room were excellent. We also enjoyed the made to order omelets and cooked eggs each morning in the buffet. There is a Sushi cart from 5-8 every night outside the casino. There were good sandwiches, and chocolate cake from room service too.
My daughter and I enjoyed attending the 3pm Tea. They offer this on sea days. It is held in the Normadine dinning room at the tables by the windows. They seat you with others and the conversation is nice. Tea is served and a cart of wonderful little sandwiches (smoke salmon, cucumber etc) and gourmet little sweets are wheeled around and a waitress will make a small plate up for you with your requests. There is no charge for this and I recommend you try it.
I had done galley tours before and encouraged my daughter to attend the one offered on the last sea day. It started early and only lasted about 5 minutes. They let you wander through the kitchen. It was odd as food was out. We peaked into big vats of sauce and soups. I thought that was kind of gross. On other tours most areas are roped off and staff is there working and demonstrating food prep. The good side of this is we still made it to tea time. We initially thought we would need to choose which event to attend since they were only 15 minutes apart.
We were not so impressed with the itinerary, but I knew that going in. We choose this cruise on price as we got a great deal on two balcony cabins. We would have paid more for interiors on other sailings. Bahamas is a little depressed. We were very impressed with Carnival in how they handled our shore excursion. We had booked a Catamaran & snorkel excursion in Nassau and it was thundering when it was time to leave. The representative gave us the choice to cancel if we wanted a full refund or go. If we went and they turned back she said they would also give a full refund! Pretty nice. We opted not to go and 5 minutes later it was a beautiful day! Our loss, but nice of Carnival.
We enjoyed the Comedy Club offerings. We wished they had more and better seating there. Get there at least 30 minutes early. One show a very large couple sat down next to me and had there 8 year old on there lap. That was awkward as they were way too close for my comfort. Lots of people at the shows standing in the back or turned away.
We attended many of the main shows, but noticed a major decline in the quality. The vocalists just were not that good and really only 2 sang. A white guy and girl.
The cruise Director did a great job and had a very casual approach. When disembarking the ship she was there to say goodbye in her jeans and pullover. She will be moving on to short cruises out of I think California. I think she did a great job.
One funny experience was with room service. I was alone and ordered tea and a danish. I was served two full plates (about 14) of danish!
Bingo really is a major rip off. We played one night as they do it as you wait for the shows to start. Paid $30 for one card and the winner only won $100. Our family could have played by ourselves pulled our $ and had a $120 jackpot! seriously that is robbery to have a theater full of people and only give away $100 when you charge $30!
We enjoyed the martini tasting. Give it a try. I think it was $16 and you get to choose 4 mini martinis. Then they give you a recipe card with an adorable little carnival charm on it. This is done at the one bar every night.
We were given as a thank you for sailing previously with Carnival a free drink coupon for up to $9. The catch was it was only good for breakfast or lunch in the dining room. Breakfast really??? My daughter ordered a non alcoholic frozen drink. They wouldn't let my husband have the same thing with alcohol even though a $8.75 cocktail was allowed (frozen alcohol drinks were $7.50) Kind of an odd gift.
Karaoke was offered a lot and was a major form of entertainment. We participated in a lot of the trivia type games for the first time as it was something we could do as a family. The ships on a stick they use as a prizes were running out. How hard is it to give away a Frisbee or t-shirt? My son and husband came in second in the Sci Fi challenge and won a postcard. We were unable to participate twice as there were no seats left.
Our cabins were lovely and well taken care of. This was our first Balcony and loved it! We went straight to the customer service desk when boarding to request to have the balcony divider opened between our cabins. They opened it the second day and closed it the last sea day. We loved going back and forth between the cabins and sitting out together. The one negative was that the divider folded across the railing not the cabin wall, so it blocked half the view of the one cabin, but still worth it. We were in cabins 7216 & 7218 right by the elevators with no noise problems. My husband was bothered by the vibrations as he is a light sleeper. I found it soothing.
Bathroom shower pressure good. Nice room safe, ice bucket, sofa area. TV is dated, but allows you to check your account balance, dinner menus, book excursions etc.
We didn't get comment cards at the close of the cruise for either cabin.
The ship was really pretty and well taken care of. I will give my 2 cents about the artwork. We all thought it was odd. Lots of nakedness. That in itself isn't too unusual, but lots of it is really really big. A naked "David" that is huge and the glass elevators look upwards into his privates. Many times little kids would mutter "oh yuck" when in the elevators. While it isn't offensive it is just a little yuck to see big lounging women with there hands placed between there legs or naked cherubs stacked on each other in every elevator. Then unfortunately someone had scraped off certain parts of many of the pictures in the elevators. Since some of it was famous works, I wished somewhere there was some information about the work. Maybe my kids would have learned something.
Dress is pretty casual. My daughter wore some sparkly short dresses from school dances and was one of the most dressed up people. Saw a few tuxes, lots of nice clothes and then quite a few backward baseball caps and t-shirts on elegant night. We got some awesome photos out on the deck taken with our own camera, lots nicer than the expensive ship ones. Just take a minute to step outside and ask someone to take one with your camera. You won't regret it.
We enjoyed cruising out of Baltimore. Very easy boarding process. We were on by 11:30. Parked right by the ship. We have cruised out of New York and found a lot of louder/pushier people. Baltimore's crowd on the Pride was more polite and laid back. A mix of white and black with a some Canadians. Most people seemed to be from Baltimore, Pittsburgh or Virginia.
Lastly we saw dolphins in the harbor in Cape Canaveral. Cute little baby ones too! So fun to watch them from the balcony!