I had received a "free interior room" offer from Carnival. An unusually cold and snowy winter was taking it's toll, so I booked this cruise last minute - about two weeks before sailing. The price couldn't be beat, I just paid for taxes, port fees, and gratuities for the room. This was my second sailing on the Pride, the first was over four years ago in the fall of 2009 with a family group of 12. This time I traveled solo.
Yes, the ship is a little on the dark side with lots of Master's artwork reproductions. After you see the same pudgy naked lady painting a couple times, you stop noticing them. I went to Catholic elementary school and remember seeing the same artwork in the school art history books. I can see where some parents would want to shield their children form the naked ladies and the David statue, but most kids won't care after a the first day. It's classic art - get used to it. At a Q & A with the cruise director, he said he didn't know if the naked ladies would be part of the Fun2.0 remake of the ship scheduled for this winter.
Check in took one hour from when I got out of the car, to when I walked into my cabin. Carnival offers a F2TF program where you can pay $50.00 per cabin for priority check in. I didn't do it, but if you had a family with 2-3 antsy kids, it may be worth the $50.00 extra to no have to wait in line to board.
I bought the Cheers drink package. I'm not usually a big drinker, but figured I would get it since included soda too. (I would have bought the soda package, so adding the full Cheers package was justifiable.) It was nice to be able to get a drink whenever I felt like it and not worry about racking up a huge bar bill. I knew what I spent upfront. I ended up drinking enough throughout the week to make it Cheers package worth it. One thing to note - If you like to play in the casino. each of your receipts for "classic" drinks, either bought individually or though the Cheers program are good for a $5.00 Match Play in the casino for black jack or roulette. Take the receipt to the casino cashier to get the Match Play coupon. That can help offset the cost of the Cheers beverage price.
The casino was fun. Even though I never won much, I did see two people win $25,000 jackpots, and woman a $3,600. jackpot. A 20 something kid was the last person to qualify for the $500. black jack tournament - and then he won!
They have lots of bingo sessions throughout the week. I only played once, but didn't win. I did win a bingo raffle for a Carnival Beach Towel.
The Serenity adults only deck area had much nicer lounge chairs with padding and pillows.
I was signed up for My Time Dining. I was traveling alone and didn't want to eat alone in the dining room, so did the buffet for all my meals. The salad bar was nice to have for lunch and dinner. But I couldn't figure out the tomatoes - Some times they were that pink/green not even close to ripe kind, then the next day they were like tomatoes right out of your garden, bright red, and juicy. For the most part, I was OK with the buffet food, but I'm not hard to please. Sure there were things on the buffet that I didn't want to eat, but it was nice that they offered a wide variety of things to eat. My only complaints are that the desserts were often dry and bland, and that they ration out the bacon. Everything else is self serve, but they would often have someone serve you the bacon. I didn't know there was a bacon shortage and that it needed to be rationed. The pizza is really good - I just wish they would work on the production/serving of the pizza so they had some already in the oven instead of cooking to order during the lunch and dinner rush.
The entertainment in the Theater was OK. For the show on the first night, all the guys were wearing black mesh tank tops - not the best look for most of the guys that were a little on the plump side. They all danced well, but the outfit was a distraction. Solid shirts would have been better. All the girls were thin and build like dancers. Not so for the guys. Delisco, the performer with the one man show later in the week was very entertaining. Adding a little about his life in foster care as a kid was heartwarming.
I only went to the "Adult" comedy shows. Adult is an understatement. The first two comics were very audience focused. Basing their entire show on audience interaction. They were good about getting really close to, but never quite crossing the line to the point of actually picking on the audience member. They just used the audience members to enhance the topic. The second two comics used a script, telling jokes to the audience, rather that with and about the audience. Again, the shows are very "adult" in nature. Not for the easily offended.
Getting off the ship went OK. We docked at 10:00 and I was in the car by 11:45. I realize that you can't get 2,400 people off a ship and through customs all at the same time.