This was mine and my 15 year old son's first cruise and my boyfriend's second. We picked this cruise because we live in Maryland and wanted to try the convenience of leaving from Baltimore, and wanted to go on vacation when schools were out. Embarkation: Parked our vehicle at my workplace and took a cab from there as it's a few minutes away rather than pay the $15.00 a day at the Port to park(that's $105 bucks). We arrived at 3:30 to get on the ship and it was easy and quick.
The Pride was a clean ship and beautiful although you can tell it is an older ship by the decor. We had an inside stateroom with no windows, it wasn't too bad for the first time cruising. We had anytime dining, which I would recommend to anyone. We assumed big party families would only choose the scheduled time dining choices. The dining room food at dinner was always excellent, lunchtime- not so much. We ate in the dining room at lunch twice and were disappointed both times and just opted to eat at the buffets thereafter. I was extremely disappointed at the drinks on board. This may be a little long because I'm a little still upset: I started off with the Drink of the Day and after 2, realized it was a rip-off and did not buy them again. I am not a big drinker(limit 2)and I expected drinks to be weak...but I could not taste ANY alcohol and they filled the cup mostly with ice...so two sips and you are done. So I switched to wine as that is what I really enjoy...they watered down the wine too! So we tried to enjoy our alloted two bottle minimum while on board. I also had a Bailey's on the rocks and that tasted watered down as well. This really disppointed me all in all because the drinks were not cheap, more expensive than what you would expect to pay and smaller glasses to boot. The weather this time of year and probably the choice in Ports, was colder than what we expected. We only had two days throughout where we could wear our bathingsuits..once on the ship and once during our stay in Nassau.
Port Canaveral, my son stayed on board and we got off mainly to go to Ron Jon Surf Shop. We also were able to walk a block or two from there to Cocoa Beach but it was cold and rainy and mainly looked like the Jersey Shore to us.
Nassau: we did not do any excursions but planned to get off, and get the Jitney to Cable Beach where I heard was the nicest beach. Little taken back by the swarms of taxi drivers harassing you for a ride as soon as you get through the Port building there. But being originally from NY my boyfriend navigated pretty easily through that mess. We looked through the town there at the stores before getting a taxi out...jewelry stores galore that try to make you think they have some great deals but don't...I heard later that there is some nice Mall that the locals go to where all the deals are...the Port stores are set up to rip tourists off. So we went then to use the beach at the Shertaon, paid some beach patrol guy $10 each for the 3 of us and he gave us towels and left us alone. He told us the Sheraton charges $25 per person to use the beach...but I expect not because we walked right through the hotel and no one stopped us. $30 was a good deal I thought...they have to make money I guess. We used the Windham next doors pool because it had a slide...but the hotel was a mess...old and I would have been disappointed if I paid to stay there. We ate at their hut outside and food was awful...again...I would have been disappointed to stay there for a week! We headed back to the Port area to eat and/or drink before getting on the ship...and no one tells you the whole place closes down at like-I think it was 5:00pm on the DOT! I mean the place looks abandoned at 5:01 and you are standing there scared like you are in a horror movie scene because the store fronts pull down big metal grates to protect their stores, etc. This was definately not a place I would roam around without my boyfriend with me. Then we find out about a group of 10 tourists getting robbed by gun point few weeks prior on an excursion. No wonder! Something Carnival did not warn about during their excursion talk on the ship, LOL!
FreePort: Got off only to check out the straw market right at the Port...10 huts in all and sold junk...I bought a straw beach bag to use whenever we go to the beach again...and then we got back on the ship...took all of 20 minutes. Wasn't even a nice day to go to the beach, so we put clothes on and froze on deck reading all day! After the Ports, I just wanted to be home honestly.
The shows were okay, my boyfriend enjoyed the dancers (of course) but the performance you can tell was all written in the 80's and they haven't updated since. It just made the shows a little hokey but they really could update them and write some new material. Extra notes: We did not book any excursions through the ship, we thought they were expensive at best and if we really wanted to snorkel,etc we would have done something aside from the ship. We bought some liquor on board that was a deal and one liquor we were told you could not buy in the States, then we see it at our liquor store at home! The ship holds sales all cruise long and held a sale on watches...for $20.00...well it caused a mob that sort of reminded me of something you'd see at WalMart on Black Friday...two men almost started fighting...there were $20 watches on sale for $19.99...in very bad taste for Carnival. All the jewelry including expensive watches in the ship's store was not priced for sale as back home if not for more! Staff: the staff on the ship was what you would expect, no one besides our room steward stood out for me. Darma (our room steward) knew our names and remembered them throughout our stay, and we remebered him of course...we left him an extra tip and a bottle of rum from the Bahamas :)