Background - There were nine of us on this cruise. It was myself, my husband and our three year-old son. My parents, my husband's parents, my sister and her husband also cruised with us. This was the sixth cruise for DH and I (second with Carnival) and the first cruise with our son. Although Baltimore is a ten hour drive for DH and I, it was rather close for everyone else we were travelling with so that is why we chose Baltimore.
To sum this up, we had a great time on the Pride. Although there were a few things we weren't too crazy about, it was nothing that would ruin a vacation and we would definitely sail on the Pride again.
Embarkation - This went smoothly and there were not much issues here. We took on two bottles of wine and several bottles of bottled water and Gatorade. After reading several posts about trying to smuggle alcohol, we were expecting them to check our water/gatorade to see if it was water or not. No one checked our water or juice. They did look at our wine bottles but that was it. Perhaps we could have filled a few water bottles with something else.
Ship - There is the decor which has been mentioned several times. It did not bother us and really didn't seem to be over the top or anything. There have also been reviews that the ship is not clean or aging. We found her to be clean and the signs of aging were not that obvious. I did not care for the layout of the ship though. On decks two and three you can only walk on one side of the ship. Also the deck on deck three seemed like it was closed a good bit of the time. The sports bar is hard to handle if you don't like smoke. There was smoking in the casino but it wasn't as bad as in the sports bar. For the most part, the ship was pretty nice.
Rooms - We had four rooms between the nine of us. We were all in interior rooms. My in-laws and sister were on deck 1. Their rooms were identical. My parents were on deck 7. I never thought there would be much difference to the interior rooms since they are all the same square footage, but my parents room (although the same size) had much more storage space than the other interior rooms. DH and I booked the interior room with the french door since it had the sofa bed. We wanted our son to sleep on a sofa bed rather than a bunk. Our room had doors that opened to a lifeboat. If you bent down and looked under the life boat, you could see the water. We had about the same amount of storage as they had on deck 1 in our room on deck 4. All four rooms had great room stewards.
Dining - We did the anytime dining for dinner. I was a little nervous that we wouldn't be able to sit together since I had read reviews that stated there were no tables larger than 8 for anytime dining. We had no trouble getting the nine of us seated together and did not have to wait. There were larger tables at the back of the restaurant and that is usually were they sat us, which was nice as we had a view of the rear of the ship. We ended up with the same servers every night but one because of this. On Tuesday everyone in our group except me and my son went to David's. I do not like steak and it would have been a waste of money for me. The consensus of our group was that it was the best food ever but the meal took too long. Their reservations were at 7PM and they did not get done until after 10PM. And that was with getting the desert to go.
The food in the MDR was good. I did not find any of my dinners to be cold.
We went to the MDR for lunch once (good) and for breakfast four times. The breakfast was also good, but a few of those times I did experience the food not being so hot.
I didn't care for the buffet that much. I hated the layout and there were long lines depending on the time of day that you were there. We are early risers so we usually are eating breakfast around 8. The lines were not bad then, but by around 10AM, the lines start to grow. I did like the pizza and the food from the grill (also usually a long line). I ate in the buffet for dinner with my son the night everyone else went to David's. I did not like the dinner at all. There did not seem to be many options.
We also ordered room service once. The food arrived very quickly and was pretty good.
My sister and her husband eat sushi and they tried the sushi bar. They said it was good, but they were only given three pieces of sushi and did not get to pick what they wanted.
So apart from the buffet the food was pretty good.
Entertainment - We did not go to any of the shows. DH and I are not into singing and dancing. I was hoping that they would have some sort of magician/illusionist or some sort of entertainment like that, but they did not. We did go to some of the trivia and we went to some of the game show type shows. They were all pretty good. We also don't care for stand-up comedy but my parents and my sister went to a few of the comedians. They said they were very crowded and you needed to get there about 45 minutes early to get a good seat.
DH and my sister's husband won a ship on a stick for playing in the bean bag toss. We gave it to my sister and her husband. My father-in-law asked one of the carnival employees if he could have a ship-on-a-stick to give to my son and they gave him one. So that is how easy it is to get a ship-on-a-stick, you just ask for it. So now we have a ship on a stick and did nothing to earn it.
Pool - We spent some time by the pool. As we are early risers we were able to get chairs. There were still plenty of chairs by 8:30 which is when we went out, but by 10:00 there are not hardly any available. There was some chair-hogging going on as well.
Casino - We also spent alot of time in the casino. If you get 1500 points you get free drinks in the casino for the duration of the cruise. DH got his 1500 points on Thursday night and my father-in-law got his on Friday night. I noticed by Saturday there were many players with free drink cards and there were many intoxicated people in the casino on that day. I prefer table games so I was nowhere near 1500 points. Although we did win a few times, we ended up losing overall. Bummer.
Camp Carnival - Our son loved Camp Carnival and kept asking to go there. They did call us to get him twice. Once he was a little fevered and the second time he kept asking for me. Overall we were very pleased with the camp and glad that he enjoyed it.
Ports - We went to Port Canaveral, Nassau and Freeport.
Port Canaveral - We went to Cocoa Beach. The free shuttle that we had read about is no longer free, but is $6 a person (we did not have to pay for our son though). Still far cheaper than the cruise. When we got to Cocoa Beach it was raining. We checked out the shops for a bit until it stopped and then we headed to the beach. Cocoa Beach was very nice. The beach was not crowded (that could have been because of the rain though) and the surf was low enough for our son to play in. We had a good time at Cocoa Beach.
Nassau - We went to Atlantis. DH and I had been to Atlantis back in 2004. They didn't have day passes back then so it was far less crowded back in 2004 and they also didn't have the new waterpark. We purchased day passes for $120 each. We did not have to pay for our son. We checked out the aquariums and did the waterpark thing. We had a good time at Atlantis.
Freeport - We went to Port Lucaya. We took a taxi to Port Lucaya and then walked to the free beach. The beach was beautiful but not a good beach for a three year old. There was not much of a "beach" area for him to play in and the water was a little rough for a young child. There was a lot to do there for adults/older children though. They had a restaurant/bar and many different water activities. We didn't stay here very long though since there wasn't much for our son to do. We did stop and so some shopping at Port Lucaya and and the pier.
Debarkation - We chose the self-assist. We had gotten a paper that said deck 1 self assist would be the first group off and they would be debarking at 9:15AM. Deck 4 (our deck) was the third group and we were supposed to debark at 10:15AM. I don't know what time they called the first two decks, but they called deck 4 self assist at 8:30 AM which was a lot earlier that we expected. We were fine with that though as we were ready to get on the road.
Overall we had a great time. It was a great ship and we would do it again in a heartbeat.