Hi, we are first time cruisers but I am going to give you an honest review of what I thought. I will post a real review with pics soon. (I took 544 pics)! We are from Ontario Canada, so we left Saturday morning around 10:00 am. We got to the buffalo border crossing around 12:30. Note. I had just plugged my GPS in and it wouldn't come on. ( the daughter had it in her car for the past 2 months...go figure) anyway I did print a mapquest backup but it was from a different entry point into the states so we were on our own ! Man how much I have depended on technology and didn't even know!! Anyway after a few turn arounds and getting directions thanks to the peo
ple at the toll booths we did eventually get to Baltimore about 11:30 pm that night. Yup long drive, but it was shorter on the way home. We stayed at the holiday inn express at the stadiums. I was happy with the hotel, nice rooms and a great breakfast in the morning. Because we got to the hotel so late all the early shuttles to the port were booked. We got the 11:30 a.m shuttle. Well that shuttle didn't show up until 11:50 and by the time they got everyones luggage loaded and left it was noon. We got to the port of Maryland about 15 mins later, prob only 10 min drive but it just seemed longer. The Embarkation was a breeze, from the time we got to the port until we got on the ship was only 15 mins. Amazing. Of course the rooms were not ready but we went and found out where ours was and asked if we could leave our carry on in the room. They said no problem so we didnt have to lug around our baggage until the rooms were actually ready !! We went to the lido and got.....wait for it.....no not food...we got our first drinks! Which was pretty much all we did until sail away. We were in our rooms by 2:45 and I have to tell you I was impressed. They were bigger than I thought they would be. We had a balcony room # 8250 in the aft of the ship. It turned out to be awesome as we only had to come out of our room and walk up one flight of stairs and we were in the mermaids grlle. and no we never heard noise from up there or chairs shuffling or anything from our balcony and I spent alot of time out there. We did have the Clampetts next door who always left their balcony light on and whose kid bought a conch shell at one of the ports and continued to blow through it and yell through it and sing through it seems everytime I was on the balcony. Kind of funny now, but at the time I was getting pissed! Anyway I digress. We did the muster drill which was actually kind of fun, could be that I was already feeling the few DOD's that I had. When that was over we finally sailed away about 5:15 pm. We hung around the Lido deck (venus pool) and listened to the calypso band and met new people. We then got ready for our 8:15 dinner seating. I know people bitch about the set times, but I thought it was excellent. I did not want the earlier seating cause I didnt want to have to rush to dinner if we were at port etc... This worked out and I always brought wine from my room that we took on board, and oh ya we sneaked a 4 litre bag of wine in our luggage. I found the service prompt and excellent. Our waiter was fantastic, and made our eating experiences all the better. WHenever I ordered something he would say do you want 4 or five of them, and I would always say no just one. ( didnt want to ruin the booze buzz!)Having said this, if I was waiting for the bar steward to order booze from, they were infrequent and sometimes never saw them at all. Glad I was only a floor from my room so I could always go and fill back up.
Sorry, I realize this is long and we are only on our first night! Anyway after dinner we went to the karaoke, and ya lots hate it and lots like it. I loved it, met great people and had lots of fun. About 1:30 a.m I was in bed.
I got up at 6:30 to take pics of the sunrise on our first Sea day. Beautiful. My wife went to the lido deck around 7:30 to secure some lounge chairs but it started to rain so she just came back to the room. We had ordered room service to be at our room every day at 7:00 a.m It was just coffee, croissants, fresh fruit and cereal. It was awesome to wake up to room service and then eat on the balcony everymorning. We did have breakfast in the Mermaids Grill only once after room service. Having said that, I did always have a afternoon snack of a cheeseburger and fries and chilli from the buffett and evereynight before bed I always grabbed a pizza slice and a calzone from the pizzeria and it was always awesome. Ya blew my diet on this cruise!
That day we spent on the lido enjoying the nice weather, bands and hairy chest contest. We went to dinner, I am sure it was awesome but cant remember. I know I ate sea food every night except one which I had turkey and stuffing, mmm good. I did eat off the DIDJA ever menu, and tried alligator fritters (deliscious), frogs legs (deliscious), escargot...BARF! Anyway I really enjoyed all my meals. I did superstar karaoke to a live band that night and it was alot of fun. We then went to the Ivory Lounge Piano Bar. James is the Piano Player and Oliver is the waiter in the bar. It was like a Lewis and Martin movie. They were great and played off each other so well. I ended up being there every night for the rest of the cruise.
Tues was also sea day which was pretty much a repeat of the day before which is noted above. The only exception is that during the day I won a trivia contest and got a ship on a stick ! Yea! That night I also won Elvis for the Legends concert on the last night of the cruise at Karaoke.
Wed morning I woke up as we were approaching Grand Turk about 6:30 in the morning. Took lots of great pics of the Island covered in darkness as we approached. The pics I took of the sunrise over that Island are awesome. Anyway we got off the ship around 8:00 a.m and headed to Margaritaville. I had to see the Grand Turk Splashdown first as I am a space junkie. ( it was a John Glenn tribute as he was the first American to orbit the earth and splashed down at Grand Turk). Anyway it was cool then headed to Margaritaville and bought some souvenirs and also at Ron Jons. Then we staked our spot at the Amazing pool at Margartitaville and I went to the swim up bar at 9:00 a.m and ordered our first drinks. ( really 9:00 a.m) lol, never drank that early before! SO about 45 mins later it started to rain, and then it poured and rained hard for about 45 mins. I went to the tiki bar and hid in there and met some great people. We then decided to head down the beach to a place called Local Village Bar. We were originally gonna head to Jacks shack, but the Local Village Bar caught our attention with there free and empty beach lounges and their awesome music. Beer was 3.50. There COnch fritters were great. We met and spoke with the owner, a really great guy. So we spent the rest of the day in the ocean next to the ship (the pics look awesome) and drank beer. We would come out to buy buckets which were half the price of Margaritaville.
So the ship horn blows (which I love) and it was time to head back to the pride. It was then that I went to the Fun Shops and bought some souvenirs. Note: if you wait until the last sea day to do this the place is lined up outside the door the whole day. Was glad I went early. and yes they do advertise a watch sale for 19.99 for a watch gift set which also includes a wallet and money holder for the men and a watch and necklace or bracelet for the ladies and earings. This is a one hour sale on the last sea day. I went and trust me the sets looked like something you could buy at the dollar store so I didnt buy anything.
That night went to the piano bar and live Karaoke and had a great time.
Next morning woke up as we were pulling into Half Moon Cay. Hands down the most beautiful beach I have ever seen. We didn't take the tender until about 10:00 a.m and we just walked on. Apparently before that you had to go to the Taj Mahal to get a colored sticker which they would call for boarding. Large lineups. We didn't have an excursion booked so no need. The tender took about 10 mins to get to the dock. It was rough and if I had to stay on that much longer I am not sure how long I would have lasted! Anyway once on the Island it was hard to find a lounge chair, but after walking along the beach we found a bunch on the water no problem. It looked like it was going to rain so we went and got our lunch, and headed to the Pirate Ship bar which I loved. We ate our lunch there and had a few drinks. It really is a cool atomosphere and you need to check it out. WE spent the rest of the day in the Ocean with a few coctails, and then tendered back to the ship. Note: don;t wait until the last tender or you will be lined up forever !
That evening had more great food and not cold, at the Normandie, and then to the piano bar. I also threw 40 bucks in the slot machines and doubled my money in 15 mins. I was happy.
Just another note, we also always went to the atrium bar each night before supper and listened to the guitar player there. It is so elegant and I really loved doing that.
So next morning I woke up as we were pulling into Freeport. The way they turned the ship 180 degrees and backed into the dock was really amazing. We got off the ship around 9:30 toured a bit of the market there (which is big), and got a taxi van into our Lucaya beach. Our van driver was Grace. It was 5 bucks a person and about a 15 min drive. She gave us her card which said Amazing Grace, (which I kept on calling her) and told us she would pick us up at the casino at 1:00pm. We toured the market and bought more souveniers. Yes barganing is encouraged,. All the shops are pretty much the same, although great prices on rum and other booze. If you buy their beer (Kalik or Sun) they give you a paper bag and you can walk around drinking your beers which were 2 bucks each.
We then went to the public beach. It is beside the police station just down from the casino. Walking the path was a little sketchy and I wouldnt want to do it at night. Having said that, as soon as we reached the beach there were guys selling t shirts etc.... I even got offered pot after 2 seconds of being there. Anyway declined, and there is a beach bar right there. It was great, rustic and right on the ocean.I think it was called Joes but I cant remember. it is right off the path and to the right. The beach it is beautiful ( brochure type pictures)Go to the right of the beach and you are in brochure heaven! Note: we did walk out of the casino before heading here and walked to the guard shack at Raddison Grand Bahama resort. They wanted 20 dollars per person which did not even include a beach towel. We would have thought about it but by then we only had 2 hours left in port. Anyway I was really happy with where we ended up and with beer in hand headed back to the casino to catch the van back to the ship. I did buy a few bottles of coconut rum, and mango rum for 11 buck a bottle. the brand name is CRUZAN and it it very good. We then got back to the market by the ship, bought a couple more beer and listened to the Calypso band. It was also great. We then boarded the ship. We were delayed about 2 hours from leaving port and I am not sure why, but we spent the time on our balcony looking over the market where we had been and just loved the day.
That night same routine, Normandie dining room, then Piano bar. Good time. Sat was Sea day, spent the day at the Lido deck and it was for sure cooler. Spent alot of time in the ship, this was when all the shops were packed ! We packed that night, and set our bags out for pick up. We had zone 6 for debarkation. Had I known what I know now I probably would have picked self debarkation as they were off the ship early although they were lined up. We did not get called until 11:00 a.m and then were off the ship within 10 mins. Customs was a breeze although because we are Canadian we had a different line and it was fast. Still had the 11 hour drive home though!
SO overall impression of this trip was FANTASTIC. People complain about the decor of the ship, I thought it was awesome and elegant. The staff was cleaning all the time and I never thought the ship was dirty or outdated. It really is immaculate. The staff are excellent and go out of their way to please you. I cannot say enough about the Pride. In fact we loved it so much we have booked another cruise on her for January 29th. I realize that everything is subjective, but if you go with an open mind, and just want to have a great vacation....you have picked the right place....Have fun..... Kevin