This was our 8th cruise, 2nd with Carnival, (2 with Royal & 4 with Celebrity) so we pretty much have it down pat as what to expect and thus, there were no real surprises.
Embarkation went smooth. We received a ride & was arrived at the port around 1:30pm. It took 45 minutes to move through the security & the line to receive our Sale and Sign cards. Once on the boat, we were directed to our room which was ready. It should be noted the vehicle operation at the port is very efficient. When you get off I-95 & into the port area, they give you sheet of paper stating parking or drop-off. You place it on your dash and the other attendants direct you accordingly.
We had a balcony stateroom on the 6th deck forward starboard side. Ample closet and drawer space & the bed was high enough to slide a large suitcase underneath. Have been on ships where this was not possible.
Overall the Pride was fine. As many others have mentioned the dEcor, nudes, etc. is different and in our own opinion it would look more in place for a Mediterranean cruise.
Carnival made the Super Bowl a party for everyone by having a screen in the Taj Mahal Theater. It was the entire size of the curtain, 20' by 40' or so. They had football type food hot dogs, etc. for those who went. The best part is everyone who wore their colors respected each other & I didn't see any problems. People had a good time watching the game together. Needless to say, Steeler fans far outnumbered the Packer Backers.
We went to the Normandie dining room for breakfast & dinners most days. Never had a problem. Our tablemates at dinner were very friendly & I believe Carnival attempts to match up people in the same age range. I've 2 grandchildren, but on a cruise, I don't want to sit with other people's children. Breakfast was the usual fill a table system which turned out well & was a good change of pace from dinner. The quality of the food at dinner was equal to Celebrity (which we feel is better than Royal) & much better than a previous Carnival cruise on Splendor. Breakfast was breakfast. I don't eat eggs so can't attest to the quality of omelets, etc. Service was always prompt. One morning we chose to stay in for breakfast & calling at 7:30am, room service delivered within 30 minutes.
The Mermaid Grill on the Lido Deck worked out fine. Never long lines & always a table available. It has many tables for 6 & some complained there was no place to sit. But they chose not to sit with someone else even though there were only 2 people sitting at the larger table. The system we used was first find a table. I'd sit while the wife got her food & then it was my turn. She would first walk around to see what was the bill of fare for the day, then go to the station she wanted & get her tray and food. However, she would first get any cold food before getting her hot food. She'd then tell me what was what & I'd go accordingly. Pizza was OK. It's not going to be Tony's or Sal's Pizza from back home. Walked around once at breakfast and they have multiple food stations with the same items which moved things along.
Activities were the usual trivia, bingo, etc. There was never overcrowding at any of the venues. The casino as mentioned by others was smoky. It is what it is & I'm not a smoker. Would a better exhaust system help? Of course. But until the ship gets a major overall, it will be smoky in the casino. As a side note to those who complain in reviews, I have to assume they've read other reviews on Cruise Critic or they wouldn't be even on this site writing one. That being the case, why are people shocked at finding out the casino is smoked filled?
Service was fine. Personally, our servers & stateroom attendants were pleasant & professional. Mid-cruise we both got sick in the middle of the night & they sent 2 people within 30 minutes after the call to Guest Services to take care of things. In addition, the next morning Guest Services called to ask how we were doing. That was a nice touch. All other staff members were polite and treated us in a courteous manner.
Cruise Directors Kirk & Jamie did what cruise directors are supposed to do. Make you laugh & help you enjoy your vacation. Port information & disembarkation sessions were good. I was impressed how they specialized the disembarkation presentation for Baltimore & provided timing information for the flights out of BWI & DC airports.
The cast for the review shows was by far the best I've seen on a cruise ship & I'm usually not that thrilled by the shows. The comedians were OK but the good thing was they had both family & adult comedy shows. Thus, you could still get a laugh at the family show if the adult version was offending. The Stargazer show on the final night was a lot of fun with fellow cruise members performing. The good part was these people were just average "Joe's" who had somewhat more talent than the average bear.
Since we've been to most of the Caribbean islands on multiple occasions, including Nassau, we chose just to get off the ship to stretch our legs and walk around on our own. Port Canaveral was the usual beach town, Nassau is no different than other island port stops and Freeport's port area is small. However, at that point in time, it sufficed especially since the ship departed at 2pm.
Disembarking went smooth. We self-assisted and all those who did got off the boat before those who left their luggage outside their room the night before to picked up in the terminal. To avoid congestion, they called self-assist by deck number with Deck 1 being first. As expected, about 1/3 of all self-assist people became "Honorary Deck 1" people which caused it to go slow at the outset. We sat back, watched those who needed "hurry up and wait" & got off with no problems.
Would I take another Carnival cruise again, the answer is yes. While the value for the money was very good, the positive overall experience is what counts in the end.