Check in: We arrived at the terminal around 11:30. By 12:30 we were through security and check in and on the ship. We had to make a stop at the shore excursion desk and then just hung out on the Lido deck until our room was ready at 1:30.
We opted for an extended balcony room on deck 8. The room has plenty of space. There are 3 closets and even the largest suitcase will store under the bed. The beds are firm and extremely comfortable. The bathroom is roomier than some other ships that we've been on. The balcony is great. There's 2 lounge chairs and a table on the balcony.
What can I say, but these guys are fantastic. We had Wayan and Baktik. My wife asked for an extra pillow and next time we entered the room there were 8 pillows. They always greeted us by name and were very pleasant. They did a fantastic job all week. I certainly hope people tip them more than what Carnival recommends. They work very hard and go out of their way to make sure everything is perfect.
The food on the Pride is not 5 star. It's good, but if you're looking for the gourmet experience, you won't find it. We only ate in the Normandie the first night. The rest of the cruise we just grabbed something on the Lido deck when we wanted to. Everything was good and they do have a good selection. Room service has changed since last we sailed on the Pride. The menu is greatly reduced and I have to say that if you get what you order, consider yourself lucky. Where you will find 5 star food is at the Chef's Table dinner. They have it on Wednesday and Friday and it is limited to 12 guests. We were met at the Lobby bar by the bar manager and he took us back to Raphaels where we met Ramesh, the executive chef on the pride. Ramesh took us down into the Galley for a tour. We were served sparkling wine and treated to some incredible appetizers. We got a demonstration of how to make the Warm Chocolate Melting cake (Hope the wife paid attention). We toured the rest of the galley and then went to our table which was setup on the dance floor of one of the closed lounges. From there it was a 7 course meal unlike any I have had before. Ramesh explained each dish and its preparation as we went. We were treated to a private show with a mentalist. He was quite entertaining and my wife is still trying to figure out how he did some of his tricks. If you have the chance, I highly recommend the Chef's Table dinner.
Here is where the Pride shines. Like every cruise there are trivia games and such throughout the day. We thoroughly enjoyed many of those games. Saul and Lisa were great hosts. Saul is hilarious. Ask him to play Scatergories and watch him run away. I fear we may have scarred him for life. The "Sing Along with Mike" in the Piano Bar was fun. I can't believe anyone could know that many songs. We had a blast there. My only complaint is that the Ivory Bar is always so hot. We're not really into the production shows. We were pleasantly surprised to find that Carnival now offers an alternative. The Punchliners Comedy Club was the best part of the cruise. There were 4 comedians and each did 2 or 3 shows a day. The first shows (6:30pm and 8:30pm) are "family friendly" shows. The 9:45, 10:45, and 11:45 shows are adults only. We had a great time at all the comedy shows.
Ports of call:
Our first port was Grand Turk. The weather was perfect. We opted to just stay at Margaritaville and had rented a poolside cabana. The cabana was great and thankfully air-conditioned. The pool there is HUGE. I really enjoyed watching people try the FlowRider. The Conch Fritters at Margaritaville rival the best in the Keys, they are a must try. The only thing I didn't like about Grand Turk was the short amount of time we spent there. I would prefer a much longer visit. Our next port was Half Moon Cay. I'm not a beach person, but I must say this was the nicest I have ever seen. We rented a 2 story villa for the day. My wife loves snorkeling (Carnival provided the gear with the villa) so I just lounged in the private hot tub in the villa. The upstairs of the villa was air-conditioned and we were grateful for that. The villa was definitely worth the $500. The next port was Freeport. Not a lot to say about Freeport. Been there twice now and still don't know why they bother stopping there. We did try the Glass Bottom Boat tour this time. It was fun and well worth the money. I did enjoy feeding the sharks. Freeport was a short stop too. We had to be back onboard at 1pm. They have added a Senor Frogs at the cruise terminal in Freeport. Anytime I can get a Frog Buster is a good time, love that drink.
We had a great time on the Pride. We relaxed when we wanted to and enjoyed ourselves. I read all the other reviews and see people criticizing little things here and there. My philosophy is "I'm on Vacation" I don't pay much attention to trivial things and just enjoy myself. I think if more people did that, they'd have a much better time.