This was our third cruise with Carnival. We would have preferred to depart from a warmer port (Tampa or Miami), but in an effort to save money, we chose the Pride because getting to Baltimore was easy and inexpensive.
Our family of five left March 23 and, as we expected, the first two days at sea were chilly. We spent another unusually chilly day at Port Canaveral and the Kennedy Space Center. We spent the next two days at Nassau (Balmoral Island) and Freeport (Taino Beach Resort). Sadly for us, those days were unusually chilly and very breezy, so the time at the beach wasn't particularly enjoyable. While the weather was disappointing (albeit a little expected), the rest of the cruise was great. As always, we had amazing service from our cabin steward and from the dining room staff. We continue to be so impressed with how hard these people work to give us a good vacation. With the exception of one vegetarian entree, our meals were excellent, too. We took advantage of the anytime dining program and were seated immediately each night. My 13-year-old daughter spent some time at the pool on our final day at sea. Other than that, we didn't use the pool at all. But we took advantage of the basketball court, putt-putt course, fitness center, spa, evening shows, daily games, trivia contests, cruise director Q&A session and many of the other activities offered onboard.
Overall, we love cruising with Carnival, but next time we will leave from a warmer port.
We took a very comfortable bus ride with an entertaining and informative driver to the Taino Beach Resort, where we spent about three hours trying to enjoy the beach and the resort pool despite the clouds, wind and cool temperatures. If it had been warmer and less windy, we would have loved this beach. It was lovely and off the beaten path - not very crowded and very family friendly. We liked being part of the resort because we got to use their chairs and enjoy their pool and lazy river.
We took a very rickety, crowded boat on very rough waters to Balmoral Island. I really did not feel safe in that boat, but after 40 minutes we arrived at the island. The beach is relatively small, but it was nice. We were disappointed, though, by the weather. It was partly cloudy and very breezy, which in turn made the water seem unusually cold. So it wasn't a particularly great beach day. I'm sure if the weather had been more cooperative, we would have enjoyed ourselves a lot more. Guests can conveniently use their sail & sign cards to pay for a limited selection of food on the island, but the food is expensive. We did not do the stingray or dolphin excursion, just the beach. But you pass the dolphin pool as you get off the boat. Everyone in my family was very bothered by the relatively small and shallow pool where the dolphins are kept. That sight definitely put a damper on the outing.
My husband and I enjoyed the Kennedy Space Center much more than our teenage kids did. We think it's because we lived through so much of the space history - the first walk on the moon, the orbits around the earth, the shuttle programs, the Challenger disaster, etc. So the Space Center is much more relevant to us than it is to our kids. But we all agreed it was interesting trip and we were glad we went.