My wife and I booked a seven day cruise from Baltimore on the Carnival Pride as a couples getaway from the kids, jobs and the daily grind. I'd done some research on the ship here on Cruise Critic and selected an aft suite with the extended balcony, which was fantastic. I also had a good idea from this site on what to expect of the itinerary and ship-board activities.
My wife and I live in Maryland so the travel to the terminal and the embarkation experience were a breeze. Our cabin got us VIP treatment at the terminal so it was literally an hour from home to the poolside bar. Our cabin was ready before 3 and the ship was underway on time and without problems.
We found the ship to be generally excellent. The cabin was very well maintained and the bed was very comfortable. The ship was easy to navigate and the staff friendly and helpful. Everything was open at some point during the cruise, including the water slide. We enjoyed the Serenity deck and the gym and spa were first rate.
No complaints about the food quality, drink pours or what few activities we availed ourselves of while aboard. The cruise director Kirk and the maitre d were hard working and did an excellent job. We asked for a table for two instead of group seating and were accommodated with no problem. Kirk and his lovely assistant Jaime were hard-working and very pleasant, even with the big issue I'll mention below. Also not to be left out: our two cabin stewards were on the job and kept our cabin ship-shape the entire cruise.
The only negatives for us were more from personal preferences and not from the operation or efforts of the crew. The coffee was terrible. The food at David's was excellent but the service was not up to par with it. Too many waiters and attendants hovering about.
We found the wealth of smoking areas to be a bit much, even for two ex-smokers. And I'm not sure if it's a good idea to get your money's worth out of a cruise by eating 10,000 calories a day as we witnessed most days with a lot of our fellow passengers. It was like a scary exhibit on the obesity epidemic in the US. Truly no such thing as a free lunch.
Of course the big issue on the cruise was the ship getting blown off her moorings in Port Canaveral. I was up on the bow at the time the storm hit and it was a a big blast. Folks who went to Disney World and other later excursions were could not get back on the ship for several hours, and of course we missed our departure window for Nassau.
Needless to say there were a lot of unhappy folks aboard and I'm sure a lot of disappointment over Nassau. Freeport was a lousy substitute in my opinion. But it was sad to see how many people were willing to ruin their vacations over what happened by trying to get some kind of refund for the cruise. The ship refunded all Nassau excursions so I don't know why so many passengers thought they were liable for more than that. But it was almost universal on the ship that some form of consideration get paid.
For my own perspective, I'm just glad no one was hurt or killed when the ship separated from the gangway. Or that the ship was damaged in anyway, which was a miracle in some ways given the wind and proximity to land. If that had happened I don't think we would have ever gotten out of Port Canaveral, and it probably would've been the end of the cruise.
Aside from that adventure in port, everything else went well and we returned on time and in good weather for the return to Baltimore. Given the convenience of sailing out of Baltimore we will probably do the cruise again with our children in a year or two.
I recommend the Pride and if anyone has any questions please feel free to ask away.