Hey all! I just returned from a week on the Pride (4/7-14) and I have to tell you that I was disappointed in how much the quality has gone done since we sailed in December 2012. I know they won't fix what I and the people who sailed on the April 7, 2013 trip had issues with but be aware that things have changed.
The embarking and debarking/disembarking process was very smooth. Please make sure you tip your wheelchair person if you have to be pushed on and off the boat.
The quality of food has changed, the service in public areas is not what it was in November 2012 and December 2012 and even less than Sept 2011. I'm sad that this will be my sister's first cruise and I will have to explain to her things aren't usually this bad.
This trip DH and I were considering the Cheers program, however, based on the difficulty in finding 1. an open bar and/or 2. finding a waiter offering bar service I'm glad that we didn't spend the $50/pp/per day that this works out to for our drinks. BTW all persons in the cabin have to purchase the Cheers program if one person wants it, so for us to add $700 to our trip would have been ridiculous. DH ended up with a drink card to be used only in the casino, however, and only when seated, playing at a table or active slot machine, not at the bar itself.
To the smokers: Starboard side Lido (deck 9) only the first two tables forward are smoking, in the casino when it's open. The tables that use to be on the same side as the bar tables are now NON-SMOKING and the smoking tables have been switched to the other side. Smoking is no longer allowed in the Starry Night Lounge when the casino is closed. There is a small spot on Starboard fwd deck 3 (no seating) and if you have a balcony, you can still go out there to smoke.
On sea days the MDR has Sea Day Brunch (SDB). We went once. If you want regular breakfast, go on port days. The SDB does not have any options for how eggs are prepared (sunny side up with the whites still floating and burnt on the bottom is how ours arrived) and none of the regular breakfast staples. I just got up early to get to the buffet to get eggs done the way I want.
The overall service has noticeably declined from our trip in December 2012 and I had noted that it had declined somewhat from our trip in November 2012 as well as our first trip in Sept 2011. Bar service was nearly non-existent on this trip and only because we befriended one server were we able to get somewhat regular service.
Beverage service (water, tea) in the MDR was inconsistent. Several times our table sat for 15 minutes with no beverages, other nights the glasses were filled often. We wanted 4 tomato juice and they brought 2 because the waiter didn't think we actually meant 4 (the glasses are super small).
Our room steward we saw exactly 3 times on this trip and ice is not automatically put into your room now. The one time they made this change and didn't tell us and I needed the ice daily to ice my foot.
We used morning room service often and if you don't list every single thing you need - sweetener, extra creamer, cups, spoons, you won't get them. Now we were just over the kitchen so that our room service orders came quickly but the items were inconsistent. One order of vegetables with dip was carrots, celery and another was almost exclusively zucchini. One service of shrimp salad was a small scoop, another was twice the size.
I was in an air-cast and on crutches on this cruise because I'd broken my foot the week before we sailed. I was appalled at the number of children that would try to beat me through a doorway and their parents said nothing. I am a parent and I get that children are impatient but this was dangerous for both them and me. What if they accidentally tripped on the tip of the crutch? or their brushing past me resulted in me falling down? Crutches on land are hard enough and while we had relatively smooth seas, there were a couple of days that I needed to go slower because of the boat movement. What I don't get is why staff who were in the area of the buffet seemed to disappear when I would need assistance to get my plate to a table. It was very difficult to get around on the boat and I was told there were no wheelchairs on board for regular use so I did not get off in any port.
Carnival has become ridiculously cheap to sail on and I suspect the pounding that the brand has taken in the last year or so with the Costa Concordia, Triumph, Dream and Legend impacts the ability to maintain the high standards that we've seen in cruises past.