My sister and I (we're both in our early 50's) boarded the cruise in Baltimore after a 5-hour automobile trip from Northeastern New York. We arrived the day before the cruise and stayed overnight at Holiday Inn Express on Russell Street. We had free parking at the motel (which was basically the same price as parking at the pier) and were supposed to have shuttle service from the motel to the pier, but they were so far behind that we took a taxi both ways ($15 round-trip each way).
We arrived at the cruise terminal at approximately 11:00 a.m. Embarkation was very smooth, except there was an 1 1/2 hour wait to board due to de-embarkation of the previous passengers. Hot chocolate, beef broth, and water was provided by Carnival during the wait.
We had a balcony stateroom which was very nice and better laid out than other balcony cabins I've sailed in on other cruiselines. Lots of closet space and a full length couch which turned into a bed. Everything was clean and up to par. Our room steward Cici was very nice and accommodating.
We wound up having a great time and really enjoyed the Pride. Although it's any older ship, it's very clean and well kept. The staff were great -- bartenders in the Casino remembered our card numbers, Bennie -- a waiter in the Normandie Restaurant was awesome and the best dancer of all the waiters. The food was good -- at times it could have been hotter, but for the most part was good. Don't get the flank steak -- it's tough and I don't even think it's flank steak. We sat with two other young ladies at our table every night for dinner and no one had any complaints about the food. The carving station at the Mermaid Grill was great. The pizza which was available 24 hours a day could have been cooked more, as it was often raw dough tasting.
We saw a few shows which were okay. The hyponotist show was kind of strange and put everyone to sleep -- ??? They should hold the trivia games in a larger venue because there's not enough room for everyone who wants to participate. Karaoke was fun. The free sushi every day from 5 to 8 pm was great!
The people on the ship were very friendly and we made a lot of friends. Just regular people, most of them not trying to put on airs. We had great weather for our ports of call, 75 to 80 degrees each day and sunny. Getting off at the ports was easy and not time-consuming.
The decor of the ship is a little odd, what with all the nudity and renaissance type decor, but the layout of the ship was good and easy to find your way around. We only paid $449 each for a balcony cabin and it was definitely worth it. We waited and booked about 2 weeks before sailing when the price drops. I was pleasantly surprised by Carnival and would definitely go again.
We had quite a few bags and chose the regular disembarkation. We were off the ship around 10:45 a.m. Very organized, no problems. Customs was easy, and porters and taxis were waiting.