We sailed out of Baltimore on the Carnival Pride on October 31, 2010. My wife and I had been on 28 cruises and were sailing with three other couples who had all sailed on at least six cruises. The ship is beautiful, friendly staff, and lots of activities. Let me hit the two negative points first because they were significant.
Carnival's "Your Time" dining leaves a lot to be desired. Regardless of what they tell you and how they advertise it, it is terrible. Carnival has no reservation system. If you plan to eat between about 6:45 and 8:15, you can count of a waiting time of 45 minutes to an hour. We finally got the maitre d' to assign us a set time at the late seating. Norwegian and Princess both have outstanding reservation systems and it wouldn't take much for Carnival to implement a similar system.
The second negative point was the return to Baltimore. The Pride simply cannot make it back to Baltimore in the day and a half they have allocated from Freeport, More
Bahamas. Our original schedule identified an arrival time of 9:00 AM. Three months before the cruise they changed it to 10:00 AM. We arrived back at 11:15. We were driving so it did not affect us, but I suspect there were quite a few cruisers who had trouble with their plane reservations. We waited two hours to embark because the previous cruise got in late and, talking to the staff in the terminal, this is a standard occurrence. Peolple were still disembarking at 1:00 PM.
Having got the negative aspects out of my system, The Pride is a beautiful ship, the crew outstanding, the entertainment excellent, and the staterooms roomy and well-equipped.
Our embarkation was delayed because the previous cruise got in late and people were still disembarking well after we were supposed to be on board. However, the embarking process was efficient and orderly.
Our cabin was quite large with more than sufficient hanging and drawer space. The bathroom was good sized and chairs and sofas more than adequate. The balcony was quite large, but there was quite a bit of rust. This was an incongruity since the rest of the ship was absolutely beautiful.
The food was very good although not quite to the standards of Princess and Celebrity. The "Your Time" dining was a fiasco as previously stated. The buffet (Lido) was usually crowded with considerable waiting times.
The entertainment was as good as we have seen on other ships. The singers and dancers were first rate and there were a variety of other entertainers who were also very good. The one exception was the piano/guitar player in the Ivory Piano Bar who, unfortunately, also tried to sing.
Carnival prides themselves on training their crew to be "people oriented" and it works. Our room steward was outstanding and friendly. Our dining room steward made a valiant effort to remember all eight of our names -- and succeeded even though we sat at two adjoining tables and kept rotating. The maitre d' stopped by every evening to chat and see how we were doing.
We stopped at three ports and, since my wife and I had been to all three, we only got off the ship once. We took the ship's excursion to the Atlantis Resort in Nassau and it was well worthwhile.
Overall, it was a great cruise once we got out of the "Your Time" dining. Less