Yes, it's true what they say...the Carnival Pride has ample exposure to Renaissance nudes, mermaids on dolphins and a great surprise as you ride the glass elevator up to David's Steak House. Thank goodness the decor on the Pride is not why I chose to travel on this ship (but if you choose a ship by it's decor, you may want to pick another ship because you will not enjoy this one). If you can laugh about all the boobs on board (I mean the art, not the scantily clad bathing beauties around the pool area) you'll find amusement around every corner. That kind of thing doesn't bother us at all (we just got a kick out of it all week long). What did bother us about this ship is the LACK OF SIGNAGE! It's not easy to get around anyway (you have to go up a floor, walk a bit, and then down again to get to the kids area which is on the 4th or 5th floor but not accessible from that floor). But when I get off an elevator, I want to be able to look at the signs and know which direction to go and this isn't always the case. If you want to go to the gym--the ship's map (which only tells you what's on what floor) says it's on the 10th floor--but you actually have to enter through the Spa (and on the 9th floor by the spa there is NO SIGN TELLING YOU this). The ship is confusing and took us until the end of the 2nd day of cruising to really get the hang of it (and even then we found things on the last day that we didn't realize where there--like the putt putt golf course). Carnival should install interactive touch screens at the elevators--"I am here and want to get there--how do I do that?" like cruise ship GPS. One thing that helped us get our bearings was the Family Scavenger Hunt. I highly recommend them--you get to explore the ship and you get a bunch of pictures you might have otherwise missed out on capturing...and the kids had a blast running around (you can't use the elevators--I recommend you start at the bottom and work your way up because you don't want to do nine flights of stairs back up at the very end). We won a beautiful plastic golden ship on a stick for being one of 2 or 3 winners. (make sure you kid knows the counselor's names--it's a bonus question--and if you're looking for a red sock--check the entertainers--some of them wear them with their uniforms).
Speaking of kids-our girls didn't want to participate in the kids activities very often (one is really shy and the other is going into high school, but as a 14 year old, wasn't happy about being in the middle school aged group--12-14). But they did enjoy the things they went to, though. I wish the kids activities were also printed in the daily Fun Times, too because we had to keep cross referencing the Circle C, with the 9-11 schedule with the whole ship's schedule. There were 150 kids in the 9-11 year old category alone...so if you want to cruise carnival in July, expect there to be a ton of kids on board (I guess between 4-500 total). I'm not unhappy about our oldest not being old enough for the 15-17 year old group, though. My favorite joke from the Comedy Club on board was "I lost my virginity on a cruise when I was a teenager...my parents were at the R rated show..." So many teens on one small ship for one whole week...I can't imagine there wasn't some hanky panky going on for some of them...Ah...Young Lust...not helped by the decor, either... The other thing about the kids stuff...on Sunday (embarkation day)--if you have kids in different age groups, you won't make it to dinner in the dining room. They have the "welcome meetings" spread out just right that you won't have time...and if you are My-Time-Dining, make sure you learn before Monday's Cruise Elegant Dinner that you have to enter the dining room on the third floor (since we missed dinner there Sunday, we stood in line on the second floor Monday because we didn't realize we were in the wrong place--they should have had a SIGN to make sure people like us--who didn't realize that our sail n sign card actually did say we were 3rd floor seating...we're in vacation-la-la-land...not' catching the details). Anyway, the Kid's meeting should be held all at once in the Taj Mahal for ALL levels at once, and then break them up into their groups later in the night (say, 9p-after dinner but before the show) so they can meet each other. One thing I did really like was that the Comedy Clubs offered PG shows...since our kids DID want to spend time with US, this was perfect! The whole family is still talking about some of the comedians. Hey...did you know you can register your kids for their Camp Carnival/Circle C/Club O2 online more than 72 hours in advance? It's under "Plan Activities" all the way at the bottom under "youth programs" (weird...when you register your Fun Pass and it gets the kids ages, it should automatically ask if you want to sign them up. Anyway, there is NO LYING about their age...when our oldest reluctantly went to the Circle C gathering, another boy tried to get in and the camp counselor said he needed a passport to verify his age...guess parents tried to put him in the next group up...my daughter said the boy never came back). I recommend doing it online so you don't have to worry about it, but it wasn't a big hassle to do it there, either.
Sailing days...we enjoyed laying around the pool...but I recommend you get up early, grab your seats around the pool and eat at the mermaid grill because by 9:30, there are no seats around the pools (can't speak for the adults only pool though)...and there are only about 12 lounge chairs that can be in the shade, so if you aren't a big sun god/goddess, you need to be there by 8am to get those seats. Now I'm not saying to keep the chairs all to your self without being there (in fact, when the girls went off exploring or to lay in the cabin and nap, we gave up their chairs). One of the 2 hot tubs was closed one whole day Sailing day on the way back..that stank (why they didn't do whatever they were doing during a port day, I don't know).
Food...we really enjoyed everything! Mermaid grill is confusing, and there are different stations...and in the AM...one of the stations makes eggs/omelets to order (didn't realize that until the end of the week)...with egg Whites, too. My daughter and husband LOVED the Mozzarella/Foccia/Pesto sandwich (grilled, though).
The Mexican Buffet at Midnight one night was pretty good, too. (But I liked RCCL's midnight Chocolate Buffet better).
We had an interior cabin...nothing we didn't expect--yes it's small, but we packed appropriately (and while I took someone's advice and brought an over-the door shoe rack for bathroom stuff--it didn't work because the door is kinda small, and there are hooks on the inside...next time I'll just bring some over-the door hooks for all the towels and wet suits...I did bring one of those sets of hanging shelves for the closet which was FABULOUS because most of our clothes were shorts and t-shirts and of the three closets, one had shelves and the other two were for hanging clothes so it was essential that we had the extra shelf space). I thought there was plenty of shelf space in the bathroom for our toiletries, but not any in the shower for our shampoo, shower gel, so we just left all that on the floor of the shower.
The entertainment was good...LOVED THE COMEDY SHOWS (but wish they told you in the Fun Times which were repeats and when they'd have the encore performances so yo could plan better)...Get there early for the R shows or you won't get a seat (and maybe not even a place to stand). The ventriloquist was a lot of fun! The Carnival Pride Dancers were entertaining, too (though I wish they had 2 lead male and 2 lead female singers so you'd get some variety in their voices). The Wonderful World show started out like an episode of Lawrence Welk, but we soon found ourselves really into the singing and dancing.
Hubby and I were the middle couple in the Love and Marriage Show and that was fun (but the prize was only so-so...a bottle of champagne and a "capsule" massage for two...which hubby gave me so I just did it twice...it's like a lay-down-sauna for one that vibrates, has aroma therapy and colored lighting...fine for free but I wouldn't have paid for that). It's rated PG-13 which is appropriate.
Oh, the rings that were in the shops half price during the week...what was left over on the last day were $11.88 (I think they were this the fist sailing day, too...but in the middle of the week they were half price...not sure if the rings that were normally $70 or $80 made it down to the $11.88 table, though--so check them out the first day if you are interested...I know they're just cheap stuff, but that's all I like). And the Absolute 4 bottles for $44 was only on the first and last night of the cruise.
Hmmm...got to go, but will return with more...