This was my second cruise on the Pride and third cruise with Carnival. I have been on approximately 15 cruises total. I chose this cruise because it was inexpensive and left from Baltimore. The ship was clean, but it is definitey starting to show wear and needs a major facelift.
Leaving out of the port of Baltimore is easy. We were on the ship having lunch at 2:15pm. Lunch is served on deck 9 at the buffet. The Pride has stations such as pizza, wok, deli and chef's choice. You have to stand in each line to get your food. Tables were hard to get because of the number of people immediately heading to eat. After the first day, when people started doing activities and settling into their routine, tables were much easier to get.
Our room was clean, but needed some repair and cosmetic work. A picture frame over the bed was coming apart. The sheer curtains were torn with large holes and the heavier drapes were spotted and stained. The bathroom was average. The toilet seat was clean, but was rough and showed much wear. The room could have used a good housekeeping job in regards to the moldings in the room and bathroom and the dust around the television and refrigerator vents. The television was an older model and had a volume issue. It was either too loud or too soft (I guess the volume was worn out). The bed was firm, but good. The pillows are very soft. Morning room service was great!
The dining room seemed a little chaotic. We had our waiter for 2 nights and then he disappeared. We asked where he was and we were told that he was getting off the ship. We never really knew the next 5 nights who our waiter was or if we really had one. It seemed as though many people were waiting on our table. I will say that the service was poor. There seemed to be a lack of help. The waiters were almost running at times to get the food out. There was never a relaxing minute to chit chat with the staff. In the past on the majority of cruise ships, the waiter would clear the table for dessert and reorganize your flatware, but they never did this on the Pride. It was just too much of a rush! Talking with the others in our party, we came to the conclusion that since we prepay the tip the staff does not work has hard to please you. Also, beware of the sweet and sour shrimp and the panko crusted shrimp. The menu does not tell you that they are minced and formed shrimp (sort of the chicken nuggets of shrimp). They are approximately 4" long and have tail. Very very greasy. Loved the pizza! Thin crust with great toppings baked in a HOT oven. Service a little slow, but well worth it. All in all the food was good and the desserts were delicious.
There were times that there was absolutely nothing to do on the ship. Just dead time with no activities. It might be different in the summer when it is warm and you can swim and spend time out on the deck. For a cruise ship, the casino slots seem to have paid off fairly well. When you accumulate 1500 points in the casino you get free drinks! Great deal, but I got my 1500 points on the last day. The shows were very similar to the ones of the previous Carnival cruises I was on. The comedy shows were funny, but beware that the late night shows are extremely vulgar.
New to this Carnival cruise is the Brunch menu. We really liked it! Delicious food with a mix of breakfast and lunch items. Served on at sea days.
We went to the Bailmore Beach private island that was offered on the ship. It is a gorgeous beach that furnishes chairs and umbrellas. There is also a nice pool. Beware that the drinks are $12.50 each and are smaller than the ones on the ship. The people running the drink area did not appear to be Carnival employees. They were rude and they were also drinking alcohol while working. We heard them say that they had made a mistake on an order and they get to drink the mistakes. The boat ride to and from the island allows you to see a lot of sites. It takes approximately 30 minutes each way. We experienced one problem with this excursion that we were not told about up front. We left from the a wharf very close to our ship and walked down a ladder into the boat with ease. On the return trip, the boat docked (it took 3 attempts) at a cement wall in the town. All passengers had to jump onto a 24" sidewalk. The boat was approximately 6-8" above the sidewalk and when the waves were moving the boat, there was a gap of up to two foot that you needed to jump across. There were MANY elderly people and children on the boat. I was very unhappy to have to do this because of a knee issue. This was a very dangerous situation. I wondered why they kept telling us to buy conch shells from the boy at the dock (must have been their relative). Sure enough, where we were let off the boat there was a boy selling shells!
Here is a tip. If you are a drinker, get off at the Freeport stop and go to one of the little drink huts that you will see as you get off the ship. They had frozen drinks as good or better as the ship for about 1/3 the price! Also, I highly recommend the Culinary experience in Freeport. You learn to make conch salad and fritters. Lots of fun with really nice people who appreciate you for choosing their tour.
Debarkation was organized and flowed well. We were able to enjoy breakfast in the dining room and then a little lunch from the buffet before we left the ship. Our zone number was the last to be called and we were off the ship by 12:30pm.
A cruise is what you make it. I believe it was a great value for the money. I enjoyed myself and came home relaxed. To me that is a great vacation!