We sailed on the Carnival Pride over Thanksgiving week (November 18th -- 25th) in cabin 7264 (extended balcony)
First let's talk about the Good.
David's Steakhouse: Phenomenal Meal with excellent service. We went twice and think it is well worth the additional $35.00 charge per person.
Port Canaveral: The cruise ship excursions to the Orlando area are very expensive. Just outside the terminal there are shuttles that will pick you up and take you to car rental locations (make reservations in advance) -- it's a 1 hour drive to the Disney Area. We did this and 5 of us went to Disney's Blizzard Beach for the day. Including the car this cost about 1/3 the cost the cruise ship was charging.
Nassau: We took a cruise ship sponsored powered snorkel excursion -- we had a blast. I highly recommend it.
Dinning Room: Food was just okay and rarely served even warm. Service was inconsistent at best and the constant vibrations when the ship was in motion were quite unnerving. I was travelling in a party of 5 and we decided to move our dinner to the late seating of 8:15 -- when we were escorted to our table we found that we were assigned a table for 4 and there was already another couple there? The other couple was actually asked to move and they pulled up another chair for the 5th person in our group. After asking for the Maitre' de we were finally moved to a table meant to seat at least 8 people.
Children: I do not dislike children but being this was Thanksgiving week there were a large amount of kids on the ship and for some reason parents get on a cruise ship and think they do not need to mind their children. We had issues with children running up and down the hallway knocking on cabin doors and running away. Calls to guest services were ignored. I finally caught a child in the act and once he told me what cabin they were in I spoke to his parents. The mother's response was; "My child would never do that." -- Really? Should I believe you or my lying eyes? It was impossible to get access to the hot tubs since they were crowed with no less than 20 children at a time. Children were running around the pool, throwing toys and splashing unsuspecting people as they walk by. Parents -- just because you are on a cruise does not mean you children should be allowed to run rampant all over the ship.
Cabin Steward: The mark of a good cabin steward is one you never see. I have taken over a dozen cruises on several different cruise lines and this is the first time I had an issue with the cabin steward. We would leave our room at 8:30 -- go to breakfast and then usually to the pool till around 12:30 when we would go back to our rooms to change for lunch. You have had 4 hours to tidy the cabin why are you just getting started at 12:45 when we come back to change for lunch?
Very Aggressive Bar Service:
I visited the casino several times and you are virtually accosted by every bar server in the place. On other cruises they are in the background walking around politely offering "bar service." On the Pride they are very aggressive, I was not sitting down 15 minutes before I have 10 offers for drinks. They are not casually in the background. They are literally asking every patron if they want a drink and they will stare at you until you answer them. It was very frustrating!
Freeport: I really don't know why cruise ships even stop here. Especially when they make us all get back on board by 1:00 -- there is nothing here and it is a huge waste of time. We got off the ship at 8:30 and were back on board by 9:15 -- why tourists are willing to spend $20:00 for a child sized tee shirt I have no idea and the vendors would not bargain at all.
Getting Back on board the ship in Nassau:
For the most part the weather in Nassau was okay but as it got later in the day some showers moved in. On most cruise ships I have been on there are multiple entrances and exits to the ship. The Pride had 2 but 1 was only for crew and the other was for passengers. Getting back on board the ship we were waiting in line (a common occurrence on this ship. Last November I was on the Allure of the Seas with 6000 passengers and never experienced these kinds of lines) when the sky opened up and it began to pour down rain. I got soaked waiting in line and some of the other passengers even attempted to leave the line and head over to the crew entrance only to be turned away. Why would you leave your passengers in the rain while your crew entrance had no line and no waiting at all?
The day before we were scheduled to leave we received an email saying the ship is going to be delayed arriving into port and not to arrive at the port until 2:00 -- well those pesky airlines didn't want to delay the flights so we arrived in Baltimore at 11:30 -- I figured I would have to kill time for 2 hours but I then got another email saying they were further delayed and not to arrive at the port until at least 5:00. We rented a car and went to a mall, saw a movie, had lunch etc. We arrived at the port at 5:30 to mass chaos. Apparently every passenger arrived at the same time. The terminal employees were very rude, likely because they thought their day would be over by then. After waiting in line for over 2 hours we finally made it onto the ship at about 8:00. We were immediately called to muster and since everyone missed their dinner 2000 passengers descended on the buffet for dinner. More mass chaos.
As I said previously I have been on at least a dozen cruises and Carnival really needs to improve this process. It's the last impression people have of you before they get off the ship. Our ship was also delayed getting into port on our arrival back in Baltimore. We were supposed to dock at 8:30 and did not arrive until 10:00am. Since we had flight scheduled we were told to proceed to the lobby at 9:00 for priority debarkation. We arrived in the lobby and were told to proceed to a separate room not far from the lobby and someone would come to escort us off the ship. I watched from this room as hundreds of people were getting off the ship and at 10:30 this person arrives to tell me that it is now time to leave. As we are walking to the lobby is hear the Assistant Cruise Director telling a co-worker that there were too many people in the casino so they had to let them off the ship. So I follow the rules yet you still let the passengers who didn't get off the ship first. Luckily I still made my flight. I was also disappointed to be waiting in line for immigration to see our Cruise Director get off the ship with his luggage and cut all the passengers in line. Why wouldn't you remain on board to ensure your passengers got off the ship before you made your escape? It just seems tacky.
There have been many posts about the artwork on the ship and the fact that there is some nudity. My advice.... Lighten up -- it is by no means crude or inappropriate.
Conclusion: I think considering all the options you have when cruising, it's worth the few extra dollars to cruise with the other lines that have better service and amenities. I am done with Carnival.