This was my first cruise but my husband was in the Navy, his first on a cruise ship. I researched and read reviews for a year. I am not sure why the reviews were negative but here is my take. I think those people who complained probably complain about everything.
Tips and gratuity!!
Leave the gratuities as is. It's 11.50 per day per person $80.00 for the week. There is a breakdown and when you see the breakdown you will understand it is not a lot since it is split between three people. Those who take off and say they give it to them in cash are probably lying and trying to be cheap. The room stewards are awesome and the wait staff awesome.
Still don't know why the bad reviews. The food was hot, good. But, I do not agree that food is available all the time. On the Pride they do have 24 hour pizza and ice cream bar. You really do have to look at your fun times that you get each evening for the next day to see what buffets are open and what time.
The decor is themed and people complained about the naked pics but you really don't see them too much unless you are standing there staring at them. It is a dark theme but not a problem for us.
We did the Alligator tour. I would highly recommend this. It was great, you get a tour, you may or may not see alligators but even if you don't it is still a great ride and great information. You also get to taste alligator and the non profit organization shares animals with you. You also get a lot of information about the lands, swamps etc.
It was great. We did not do a planned excursion. We paid $25.00 and a taxi with 6 other people drove us around for 3 hours and dropped us off to take pics. We saw so many things that we wouldn't have been able to see. We also stopped at Atlantis. There were so many complaintsby people who paid $159. for Atlantis. They said by the time they got off the ship then had to wait two hours for a ride they only had 2 hours to be at Atlantis. I am glad we did how we did it. When we got back it was a 10 minute walk to the free beach next to the ship. On the way back we stopped at Senor Frogs and then strolled passed the straw markets back to the ship. The straw markets, be aware they are relentless with trying to get people to buy stuff.
The excursions were canceled bc of the water. It is commercial, but they have a senor frogs and straw markets. You can take a 15 minute cab ride to town but we didn't bc you have to be back on the ship so early.
Nassau was the better deal for purchasing items.
Embarkation at Baltimore was smooth and fast.
Disembarkation- I wish I knew more. If you want to do self assist you get out quicker, we wanted to do this but could not. I didn't know if you had more than two bags you have to check your bags. We didn't get off until 12: 30pm. We loaned someone our car and they were there since 9 am.
Odds and ends
Soda package- cost $50.00 p/p, The cheers package $50.00 per person per room per night. It is a pilot program and this is how it works.
You pay 50.00 per person per night. Everyone in your room must purchase it even if they are not drinking age. It includes soda. There is a limit of 15 drinks per day. The cheaper price is on Monday if you leave Sunday. So don't buy the cheers package Sunday buy it by Monday. You are not able to buy it for a couple of days you must buy it for the entire week.
cruise director Kirk and Gumbie will not be on this ship for another 7 weeks. They got off with us on January 13 for their break so there is two other different people. They return in March.
Comedy shows are awesome
Dance shows are mediocre at best
The house band True Identity are awesome!!!!!!