I have found great tips and reviews on cruise critic so when we booked this cruise, about a year ago, I started to read Carnival Pride reviews. They were mixed so we hoped for the best and I have to say we had a great time!
Embarking went well; we live 45 minutes from Baltimore and arrived about 12:30. We went through the process without too many issues. Once we were on the ship and going to the buffet we remembered how crazy it always is on this first day, no different than what we found on our 3 previous cruise sailings, crowded, tough to find seats and this all resolves itself in future days. Very friendly fellow cruisers; lots of Ravens fans which works great with a ship sailing out of Baltimore!
The overall decor is a little darker than previous ships we have sailed; my daughter said it reminded her of a Las Vegas version of a cruise ship. As previous reviews have said...Disney's Haunted Mansion came to mind at times. However, we also paid less than we have for previous cruises so I was satisfied that we had good value for our money.
We had gone with a balcony guarantee to save some $$ and when our room was finally assigned learned it would be a partially obstructed view due to the lifeboats. I fault our travel agent for not making this clear but in the end it wasn't a big deal; we still had the open feeling everyone likes. Our room was very, very clean and well maintained. The cabin steward did an excellent job, too. There was a small wet bar and we used that to keep some of our own waters cold. One warning; there was only one outlet in the vanity area. The one in the bathroom would work for some razors but not the ones brought by my husband or son. Also, they cleaned our balcony one day and we lost the use of it for several hours. We were warned the evening before but did not anticipate the amount of time it would take.
We were disappointed and surprised to find that the Pride only sells canned sodas and many of them tasted stale or out of date. I would recommend bringing some of your own cans with you; I saw someone carrying a 12 pack over his shoulder as we registered to board. I was longing for a fountain diet coke by the time we returned. My husband did not like the coffee but we all liked the iced tea.
Also, the water was good at the beginning of the cruise but began to have a fishy odor at the end. I would recommend bringing some packets of crystal light or other lemonade mixes to add some flavor. Iced tea was not always available at the Mermaid Grill for lunch. The grill was very good and who can go wrong with 24 hour ice cream? The hot deli sandwiches were also good.
We found the overall food quality to be great. Of course, with seven days of meals there is going to be an occasional issue but again it was as good or better than Royal Caribbean in our opinions. We had late dining. Service wasn't great for a few days but improved by the end of the cruise.
We only went to the dining room for lunch one time and wished we had gone earlier to enjoy the change from the buffet. My husband fell in love with the Warm Chocolate Melting Cake at dinner; it reminded him of Chocolate Pudding Cake from the Culinary Institute of America.
Debarking went smoothly and ahead of schedule. We found our bags easily and no one else seemed to have any issues.
I would happily sail on the Pride again!