Wife and I set sail on the Pride from 2/9 thru the 16th. This was my 1st cruise, and my wife's 2nd, but 1st in over 20 years . Before cruising this was something she really wanted to do and I was "willing" to go along without much enthusiasm. I had the mindset that i woudl be trapped, cramped, uncomfortable, etc, etc,,,
We boarded with relative ease. There were lines, but that was to be expected. Eventually we were on, got some food at the buffet, which was pretty much what one would expect, and of good quality, for a buffet. Multiple stations, some change thru the week with more popular ones remaining thru the week, like the aisan station (chopstix) which usually had a long (but moving) line. Best bet for a quick bite i found to be the deli, which did some pretty decent sandwiches.
Then we found our room. The room was surprisingly functional, and not nearly as cramped as expected. The balcony (which 80% of the Pride's rooms have, as I am told) is also functional w a couple of chairs and a small table. We got the Bon Voyage pkg, 2 bottles (1 skyy, 1 schnapps) which is pricey, but for us it was a big saver. For our pace the bottles lasted thru the week and we even took a lil home. We might have bought 5 drinks thru the week, but going to the room with a tall glass and ice provided meant we had a good drink made to our liking (strength wise) anytime.
INFO FOR SMOKERS (all types) - Smoking areas (cigarettes) when you come on are limited to either the casino area (they will let you hang even tho machines are not on yet) or the cold Lido deck pool area, one side). You cannot smoke in your room. You can smoke on the balcony. What I found is if I had a cigarette and "accidentally" blew some smoke in the room, there was no issue. But if I "hit the bowl" in the room, I had a steward within a few minutes. So keep any of that on the balcony w the door closed. One last note, if you can, get a room as high up as possible (8th if you can) and snag a room on one of the corners (further back the better) that are more "out" vs the more inset ones. Allow me to reccomend, for example 8218 or 19. If you cant get the top floor, try to get that back corner, or as close as you can.
Back to the fun --- The food overall was good. We ate "my time' dining every night and enjoyed the heck out of it. Oh, I was under the weather one night and the staff down there prepared me a plate and had it sent to my room, most gracious. Thank you Mariia (the girl with a killer bond movie accent, hostess), Slokvana (i think?) and company :) The staff was fine to us, I wish I could remember more names (Shari, Jose come to mind). They let you order multiple apps, entrees and desserts, so portions are always fine. The quality for us most nights was great (cant hit a home run every time) with some flaws, but nothing too damning. One funny thing was despite it's chocolatey goodness, the chocolate lava cake each night would be a different consistency. It was never bad but sometimes it was more "cake" and other nights more "lava."
The ship we found to be very nice. Yes it's due an upgrade and that will be fantastic. If you like Italian decor, you will probably like it, if you don't, probably won't. there are some signs of wear, but overall, the staff keeps things pretty nice.
During the days, there is plenty to do, even when it's cold outside. If you don't do casinos, there are tons of trivia tourneys, which are free, and offer some trinkets if you win. There are plenty of places to lounge, tho they could use a little more daytime music outside of the party tunes at the pool. There are opportunities to learn more about cooking with the chefs, bingo, bars and other stuff like spas and art to admire. We actually learned a ton about art at the art auctions.
Night time brings on the comedy shows, dance clubs open and shows in the Taj Mahal lounge. We didnt do the dance clubs but people who did said they had fun. We caught 1 Taj Mahal show and it was about what you'd expect. If you do bigger time shows in vegas or new york you probably will put your nose up to their efforts but for a ship, they do a decent job.
The comedy shows we did regularly. The 1st half of the trip had 2 good comedians. 1 I cant remember his name (no offense) and Michael Macy. Both were very funny and very nice post show, gladhanding and talking to the people. The 2nd stretch of the cruise had 2 different comedians, Diane Ford, who I had seen previously, but missed on the ship (she is usually quite good) and Bill Barr. Bill Barr was about the worst comedian I had seen in over 30 years of going to comedy shows. He was bad by open mic standards. And he seemed to have a penchant for blurting out "how much he hates his job being on this ship / etc" at regular intervals. He also was checking his time in between punch lines. It was CLEAR he had no interest in being there except to collect a check. After the show, instead of being social, he stood on the spiral stairs leading out of the club, nose in the air, arm around who I assume is his girl, also nose in the air as the crowd exited. Might have been the 1st time I went to a free show and felt I didnt get my money's worth. But aside from him, I highly recommend the comedy club as a great way to spend an evening. Of course, you will have to decide whether the "Family" shows or "adult" shows are more your style. We are "adult" show types.
Excursions - Port Canaveral. Since we have done Disney several times, we did the Universal trip. Offseason, weekday ,,, YEAH!!!! We rode every ride open, sans 1 + did everything else we wanted to do (and previewed a pilot and got paid for it) in the time alloted (about 7, 7.5hrs). I wouldn't reccomend this excursion in July, but in Feb, it rocks.
Nassau - We went over to paradise island but refused to pay the atlantis price and opted for the "free" beach next door (actually a couple blocks down, and it's not easy to find). Great beach, friendly locals (watch your wallet, they can hustle) and despite a lil rain, a great time.
Freeport - The dock time is too short, unless you shop, and we didnt really feel like shopping. So we stayed on ship for this excursion. Great relaxing morning.
On the ride back, we started hitting the backend of the storm hitting the northeast at the time. It caused this 3 football field long and 15 story high ship to bob and weave until the captain decided to set it on a list, ... a pitch to the starboard side. so walking in one direction became slightly "uphill" and of course down in the other direction. Despite the rough seas, the captain did a great job making the ship as stable and comfy as it could be. He should be commended. Great job!
Some notable staff (and I apologise for missing some in advance, really everyone was fine) ... Mariia, the other russian girls in the 3rd floor dining area, shari, jose and the wait / bus staff did right by us. Werent slow or rude ever. Also went the extra mile when i was cabin bound one evening. Kirk the cruise director is fantastic. A very 'jimmy kimmel" approach and personality, imho, and this was perfect for the cruise. Assistant director Paulie V made a great sidekick and I noticed him doing some good work all week. Their morning show is entertaining and a great way to get your day started. (Love your show!). Darnell the comedy club manager is also spot on in his job. Rhianna (from canada) and haley (i think? young peppy type of girl) did most of the trivia and did a bang up job. Some of the games themselves need a little refining, and that "blow up dice' needs to be replaced wit hone without a hole, but with the tools they were given, they did fine and the "community" of the events made them all just a good time. I met 2 great couples (older black couples and im so sorry im blanking on the name) and they teamed up with me in the super trivia competition thru the week where we did great (2nd place).
Our steward Ronald was fine, but slow. ... room service we found to be the one thing that was annoyingly slow. 2 hours for a bucket of ice was more normal than the exception. Our excursion day continental breakfast arrived 2 hours late when we were leaving the room. And we for the most part weren't trying to get things 'at peak times.""
Overall, I left this ship totally turned around on cruising. I had a GREAT time. It was a very "customizable" vacation. If you wanted to chill and relax, you could. If you wanted action, it was there. I was amazed at how much literall "stuff" there was on this ship, I was surprised it could float. Impressive engineering indeed. I wasnt nearly as cramped in the rooms as I thought i would be. The bathroom, tho small, was highly efficient and functional, just as the room itself was. We had no sewage issues, tho a cpl times i smelled some foulness in the halls, it wasnt regular and I am a practical person who realizes that things happen beyond anyone's control.
A couple of other notes... The art auction again is a good time. Go for the free champagne, stay to learn a few things about fine art. Also, a special shout out to the aisan band playing in one of the side lounges. They were really good, and put out a great effort. Unfortunately no one was ever watching them it seemed, and that was a shame.
We are now seriously considering going back after the upgrade for our 20th anniversary to see the "2.0" upgrades. Thank you Carnival and especially the Pride Staff from Kirk to #filipinocleanupcrew.