Background: I traveled with my boyfriend and his family (three of us in our 30s, one mid-20s and one late-60s). Three of us (including me) were new to cruising and two had been on a few in the past. We chose the Pride because part of our group lives in New Jersey and the other part lives in VA so Baltimore was a good middle ground for us.
Food & Dining We did Anytime and as a group of 5, we were able to have our own table every night. I believe we had to wait for a table two nights, but not more than 20 minutes. We ate in the MDR six nights and the service on the first night was outstanding but unfortunately we did not have that group of waitstaff again. The others that we had were all fine, with the exception of one night where we seemed to have a waiter without a team so he had to do it all. All of the food was quite tasty, although it was generally not hot. I understand that with so many diners it can be difficult but of course I prefer to eat hot food over room More
temperature or slightly cold food. I particularly enjoyed the Indian vegetarian dinner, the grouper, corn & crab chowder, potato soup, and the bread pudding. I had a few lunches at the Lido buffet and I enjoyed the mozzarella & red pepper sandwich, chips & salsa, grilled chicken sandwich with mushrooms and onions and the chili. The room service breakfast was always delivered on time and was enjoyable. We had breakfast in the MDR twice and I enjoyed the omelet but could have passed on the French toast.
David's was a great experience. We often enjoy steakhouses like Ruth's Chris and Morton's and found this to be a comparable experience. I enjoyed the crab cake, spinach & bacon salad, filet mignon, baked potato and the spreads for the delicious brioche. The amuse bouche of corn and salmon chowder was also very nice.
We also enjoyed some of the drink tastings that were offered. We tried the sangria, martini, and mojito tastings.
I also liked the coffee from the specialty coffee shop.
Service/Room We were in a vista suite and tipped our steward in advance. He was generally very attentive to our needs and very friendly when we saw him in the halls. Our room was always cleaned quickly and we never had to wait for it. My only complaint would be that our mini bar was not restocked at all, despite the fact that we used all of the soft drinks in it. Our room was Deck 8 AFT and very quiet. I may have heard one deck chair move above us.
The bed and pillows were comfortable. We had plenty of storage and enjoyed the balcony. The bathroom was spacious and the jacuzzi tub was nice. We had plenty of room for our things.
I would recommend bringing your own hairdryer though. The one in the room was sufficient but it is the kind that requires holding the button down the whole time so if you have long hair, your thumb can get a bit sore.
The crew that we passed in the hallways was always friendly and said hello to us. The bartenders and servers at the buffet were friendly and polite as well.
Entertainment We didn't get too involved in the entertainment, although we did enjoy the piano medleys (especially some Christmas carols one afternoon) and the sing-a-long in the Ivory Bar. The acoustics in the pool area were awful so I think the band out there probably sounded much worse than they actually were. Poor guys!
Guest Services Left a bit to be desired. We needed to do a room swap and for the first 2 days every time we went down to the desk (or called down), their systems were down and they were unable to help us out. I understand that it isn't the fault of those working at the desk but it was still an annoyance. Then when we were getting off in Port Canaveral, one of the members of our group wasn't permitted off due to an invalid card. She went to the desk and had it corrected...then hours later when we went to get back on, we discovered that when they were "fixing" it, they managed to give her the card of another passenger. She was thankfully permitted to get back on but they were highly skeptical of the situation and seemed unable to accept that someone at the desk had made an error. We now realize that we should have checked the name on the card when it was returned but in all honestly, that is not something that we were thinking we would have to do.
Embarkation/Debarkation Smooth experiences. We had VIP debarkation so we were off shortly after 9.
Gym/Spa We hit the gym a few times and while it was crowded, there was never a wait for machines. It seems like the other passengers did a good job of adhering to the 30 minute limit. I had a spa package of a hot stone massage and an aromatherapy facial. The massage was great and the facial was pretty good as well. I was able to turn down the $120 worth of recommended eye creams too!
Ship/Decor I found the ship to be clean and well maintained. I had no issues with the artwork, decor, lighting or layout.
Ports Port Canaveral - we took a shuttle to the beach where we had lunch at Captain J's, which was very good. We also went to Ron Jon's but other than that, there isn't much to do. We got on the shuttle again and it went to Walmart and TJ Maxx...hmmm. We had hoped to get off the ship and find a lot of vendors offering various excursions but the shuttle was the only option. I recommend booking something in advance, either through Carnival or an outside vendor.
Nassau - we took a small tour around the city and did some shopping. We got back on to drop off our things and then got off again. We went to Arawak Cay/Fish Fry where we were able to buy some authentic Bahamian food from a little truck. It was excellent. We also had a few drinks and walked along the beach. It was a nice day with friendly people and nice weather. We felt safe the whole time.
Freeport - was unfortunately canceled due to high winds. Even though it was supposed to be a short stop (7am - 2pm), we were very disappointed since there were only 3 ports. We got a "Bonus Fun Day at Sea", which was really just a normal day at sea except that we were feeling ill in our rooms because of 35-50 knot winds and 10 foot waves.
I would probably take another cruise but it would have to be in warmer weather and something with more time in ports. 4+ days at sea was a bit much for me. Perhaps if we'd been able to be outside during that time, I may have felt differently. We were able to go to the pool on the second sea day but the first was too chilly and the third and fourth, the decks were closed due to the inclement weather. Less