We just returned from the 7 night Port Canaveral-Nassau-Freeport Sailing. My husband and I (in our 30s) had a balcony room on deck 4 aft. While I heard a lot of wonderful things about the Pride, of course you read those not-so-wonderful things and get a little nervous. However, our cruise was amazing and I was very impressed with my first sailing on Carnival. Here are some highlights:
Embarkation: I couldn't believe how quickly this went. We arrived at the port around 11:20 AM, thinking we were in for a wait. However, we were on the ship no longer than 30 minutes! This was my third time leaving from Baltimore and one of the easiest boardings yet!
Activities: I have read many reviews stating there were not enough activities on the ship. I can't wrap my brain around those reviews because I feel like there was so many that I couldn't do them all lol. Bingo is a little pricey at 20.00 for three cards, but they offered a lot of 1/2 off games and it was still cheaper than RCCL. They had a lot of trivia games and pool games as well. The casino was a little smokey, but that's to be expected of any cruise ship - at least the ones I have been on. We didn't use the pools on mid Lido deck, but did go to Serenity a few times during the sea days. I have two complaints about this... the first, what you read about seat saving is spot on. We would go out right from breakfast and every seat had a towel on it. In fact, one lady bragged to a friend of ours that she put her towels down and went back to her cabin to go back to sleep. If you are planning to go to Serenity.. either get there by sunrise or wait until later in the afternoon. My other complaint isn't so much Carnival's fault, as it was some inconsiderate passengers who chose to make a day of having way too many in the pool. At one point they were acting downright disgusting, but nothing was done about them. That left a bad taste in our mouth.
Entertainment: We frequented the Ivory Piano Bar just to go watch Roger play. Unbelievable! Everything you read about him is true - please make sure you go see him if you are sailing on the Pride. The band in Starry Night Lounge was also great. Robin was a great cruise director.... and his sidekick Sassy was full energy. The production shows.. they did three shows. This was one of my favorite parts of the cruise. Hands down the best dancers/singers I have seen out of my four cruises - they were all so talented!
Service: Our room was always cleaned upon return from breakfast, port days and dinner.. with an awesome towel animal, a fun times for the next day (newsletter) and chocolates. No complaints here at all!
Food/Dining: The dining was great. We did the my time and did not have to wait at all - even during the busy times. The food was comparable to RCCL in my opinion. We ate at the Steakhouse on the first night. DELICIOUS!!!! I always hesitated to try these restaurants with the extra charge, but it was worth 35.00 dollars. The service and meals were incredible. My only complaint about the food was the buffet. I thought it was set up a little strange - some stations being on another side of a wall. Also, the lines were some of the longest I have encountered on all of the cruises I have been on. We also were disappointed with the hours of the buffet. We chose not to eat in the dining room one night, but the buffet didn't open until dining room time.. the hours seemed very limited, unless you wanted Pizza, Ice Cream or some other carb lol. It would be nice to have more access to the salad bar or something along those lines.
Ports: We did Cocoa Beach in Port Canaveral. Incredibly affordable and convenient. You can grab a shuttle for 6.00 right to the beach and back. In Nassau, we did the British Colonial Hilton Day Pass. This was 60.00 but you receive 40.00 back in food and drinks (including alcohol). It was within walking distance to the port, next to Senor Frogs. We were able to use their beach, pool, towels and other amenities. It was great... a fraction of the price of Atlantis and a lot less crowded. In Freeport, we booked a snorkeling trip to Paradise Cove though Deadman's Reef. This was 35.00 a person. Again, great choice. We were picked up at the port around 8am and brought to a beautiful part of the island for some amazing snorkeling. We were dropped off by 12:40pm and had enough time to relax before pulling out of Freeport (I do wish this stop was a little longer though).
Disembarkation: This took a little longer than we would have liked, but that's usually the way it goes the last day. We were one of the last zones, had to be out of our rooms by 8:30am, but didn't get off the ship until almost noon. Next time we will def. be taking part in the self-assist.
One final thought: CHEERS PACKAGE. We weighed the pros and cons so heavily on this before we boarded. We did sign up and were kicking ourselves by day 2. We barely broke even, and that's because we were forcing ourselves to have about 7-8 drinks a day a piece. We can hang with the best of them, but you have to account for your port days! We wish we did not shell out the 800.00 ... but live and learn!
We are already considering booking a spring cruise on the Pride in April after the dry dock to Grand Turk, Half Moon and Nassau. This Carnival Cruise has been the best of my four so far.. just a few little quirks that weren't major deal breakers!