We cruised on the pride January 23-30th 2011. Cruisers were me, my 70 year old mom, my sister, my husband and six kids ages 4-14. We had three balcony staterooms. My husband and I shared one with my 4 year old son and 7 year old daughter, my mom shared with my eight and ten year old daughters, and my 30- something sister shared with my 12 and 14 year old daughters.
We chose this time of year to save money, and there are pluses and minuses to that. On the plus side Baltimore had a huge snowstorm while we were gone and our children ended up missing no school whatsoever. On the minus side, it was pretty chilly in the bahamas.
As far as the cruise, I only have a few negative comments:
The childrens programs were hard to find the first day. Registration was somewhat chaotic.
The muster drill was confusing and chaotic.
We were told at check in that we could get guest services onboard and they would allow all of our keys to open all three rooms. This turned out to be false. Instead they offered to open the partitions between the balconies. They didnt do this until late on the second day, after many phone calls, and then they tried to close the partitions the day before we got back to baltimore. We talked them out of it.
The buffet was pretty confusing and hard to navigate with our big family. We ended up settling for the chicken nugget/burger buffet by the pool becvause it was the only food we could agree on and the only place with enough seats for the ten of us.
Room service was VERY limited, basically just sandwiches.
Other than these few things, we thought the cruise was FANTASTIC. Some of the things we loved:
Kids programs. My kids were in all the levels: 2-5, 6-8, 9-12 and 12-14. They all LOVED it. The programs were really fun and creative, and the staff was excellent. My kids also loved the pool, mini golf and ice cream machines.
The dining room. We ate there a lot, because it was easier with our big group. The food was wonderful, service was quick, and my kids LOVED our servers, Roderick and Mamet. They were constantly at our table with jokes and magic tricks. The kids were very sad to say goodbye to them at the end.
Activities- my mom liked bingo, my sister and I liked the dance classes and karaoke, we all loved the shows (except my mom, who objected to the costumes).My husband and kids liked the family comedians.
The ship had lots of comfy places to sit. We all loved formal night and took lots of pictures.
Staterooms- these were basic, but comfortable even for four people. Once the balconies were open it felt even more spacious.
Getting on the boat was very fast and organized. Getting off the boat took a long time, but we sat and watched movies in the Taj Mahal until it was our turn, so that was really comfortable. Once they finally called our group getting off was swift and organized.
Ports- we went to the Magic Kingdom in Orlando. In Nassau we went to the Sheraton, which was very beautiful, but a little boring. My kids liked the free kayaks and paddle boats there. In Freeport we went snorkeling with Pat and Diane, which I highly recommend- the service was fantastic, and the reef very beautiful. We were pretty cold though. It was in the 60s on all our port days.
All in all, I think it was a wonderful cruise. The ship was beautiful, the service was excellent, we all had more fun things to do than we could find time for. I would go again in a heartbeat (but maybe on a warmer week)