Wife & I live in Northern Virginia, have cruise several times. This was our 3rd Carnival cruise.
We chose the Pride for a number of reasons. Most important reason was no flying. My Father, who lives in Maryland, dropped us off at the pier around 12:30pm. Port entrance is easy to find, signs are on I-95 as well as off the actual exit. After entering the gates, we were pointed over to the drop off area, where we turned over our bags to the porters, and we entered the terminal. I'd say there were several hundred people already inside, even at this early arrival time. We did the health forms as well as the sign & sail passes in 15 min or so. Then found a seat. We were travelling with another couple who arrived at the terminal about 15 min after us. About 1:30 we were all on board!
We had the ladies head up to Lido deck to get some food & save us a seat while us men went to the pursers desk to arrange for our balcony dividers to be opened as soon as it was possible. BOTH parties must be present to sign off on having balcony dividers opened. They said that it would be sometime the next day when someone would open them. Joined the ladies for lunch, then toured the upper decks for a while, and by 3pm our cabins were ready. Our cabins were on deck 6, with an extended balcony towards the aft section starboard side. While we did have lifeboats below us, they did not restrict our view below too much. As for vibrations and motion, no vibrations to speak of. But we did feel some motion especially during the 2nd night. The rest of the cruise, we had pretty calm seas.
Our cabin steward was friendly, and hard working. He got to know our schedule by the 2nd day, and had our rooms done, ice bucket filled twice a day. We enjoyed the extended balconies. Having them opened was a big treat, as we spent every evening having drinks and snacks out there before dinner. We used room service several times to bring us vegetable trays, pretzels, and several buckets of beer.
Dinner: We all used Anytime Dinning and loved it. Now keep in mind that we were never in a hurry to eat, but we tried to keep to a 7-7:30 eating time schedule. Which would give us time for a relaxing meal, then time to see the late show. Anytime diners are seated on the 2nd level of the main dining room. If you do not have a wait staff preference then you most likely will be seated immediately. After our 2nd night's meal (first night was open seating) we chose to be seated at Kristian's station for the rest of the cruise. Kristain, and his staff were very efficient and quite entertaining. By the 3rd night they knew our drink preferences, but would always ask us first. Since we chose Kristain and his staff, we did have some wait times each night. Remember, we were not in a hurry, so this was no bother to us. The hostess gave us a pager, we stepped over to the adjacent bar, and waited about 15min most nights. One night however, we had to wait about 40 min. OK, kinda long, but not a deal breaker for us. The hostess told us upfront it would be a longer wait, even gave us the opportunity to be seated elsewhere, but we were fine with waiting. Later that night, Carnival sent us a dessert tray to our cabins, thanking us for be so patient. A nice touch.
Shows: Went to most of them. Liked the comedy shows, especially the late (11:30pm) adult show. The variety shows were fine. I have found that for us, the shows seem to be similar no matter what ship you sail on. But that's OK, we enjoy seeing them.
Ports: We've been to Nassau & Freeport before. Have done tours of Nassau twice, so this time we just walked around town, and visited the Queens Staircase (wife wanted to see this again). While at Nassau we had lunch at Senior Frogs. Was not impressed. Agree that this is probably more suited for a younger crowd (we are both in our mid 50's) But we wanted to try it. In Freeport, wish we had more time here (7am - 2pm) We would have ventured out into "town" But, as I said we've been to Freeport before, so we stayed close to the ship. In Port Canaveral, we rented a car from Avis and went to Epcot. Wife and I had left over tickets from Disney (Park Hopper Passes) that we didn't use from a previous trip with our kids (over 15 years ago) Folks at Epcot had no problem converting them to a current ticket, and in we went. We stayed at Epcot for about 5 hours. It's about a 65 min drive from the port to Disney. Avis picked us up at the port, and then drove up back to the ship.
Ship: This ship is dark. Lots of renaissance style paintings throughout. Much different looking from say, the Ecstasy which was neon & bright. (Well, it was back in 2000) But overall, we liked the ship a lot. Easy to get around, staff was very very friendly. Always smiling. Crew was always cleaning, or painting, so the ship never looked run down.
Embarkation: Needed to be out of the cabins by 9am. (We set our luggage out the night before) Waited in the library for about 1 ½ hours until our number was called. I called my father at that point. Went down and claimed our luggage, Father arrived about 15 min later, and we returned to the "real" world. I did a video of our trip and posted it on Youtube. It's 10 min and has lots of views of the ship. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D0kqM6W7I1A
Oliver Peters Leesburg VA