As a seasoned cruiser, I have been on Regent Seven seas, Holland America, NCL, Costa, Royal Caribbean, Homelines, Carnival before, celebrity and mostly Princess; 20 cruises in all. I love Holland America but can usually get a balcony cheaper on Princess because they have bigger ships with more balconies. So I am happy to report I have been spoiled by cruising.
My husband and I decided to take the Christmas cruise because we can afford to be away easily during the holiday week. We are so blessed now to have a cruise terminal in Baltimore, so we booked the Pride. I was so surprised that the ship is similar to the Crown, Ruby, Sapphire and Emerald of Princess. We decided to book an aft balcony cabin. We had been upgraded to one years ago and really enjoyed it. The one before was three times the size of ours on the Pride, but it was big enough. A great choice. Just know that 5297 and 5299 are regular size balconies, just off the back of the ship.
We were concerned about all the children that were to be on board. I found out later that there were 700, we never saw them after the first day. Carnival does a great job keeping them occupied.
Loved our cabin and it's location. The food in the diningroom was great but some nights there was nothing on the menu I cared for. We have always looked to the Lido to save us if we feel this way, but on the Pride, the hot food served on the Lido deck is the same as the diningroom. You do have the pizza cafe, the salad bar or the grill if you want a burger but was disappointed that we did not have more choices.
The first formal night we went to David's Steakhouse. The food and the service was excellent BUT they would not allow us to bring our left over steak back to our cabin to be eaten the next day. It had to be disposed of. Remember this so that you do not over order. It was a shame. However, I checked my refrigerator back in the cabin and found out that it did not keep things very cold. So I see theri point, however, I would like them to change this policy and give us mini frigs to hold our left overs. We also paid $30 each extra, so we felt we should be able to take our leftovers.
My husband and I are not big entertainment people. We like to read, gamble and turn in early. The casino was the best I have ever experienced on the high seas. I had a wonderful time. The servers in the casino are attentive and learn your name quickly.
Cabin steward was ok. I liked my towel surprises but he forgot lots of things like no glasses the first day with a full ice bucket. The cabin did not have a book that had info about the spa, etc. We requested one but it never appeared. He forgot to leave a breakfast menu twice and one time I made one up on a scrap of paper. His helpers were wonderful.Room service was awesome.
I did not think the people in the stores were very friendly. The ship had sent our a picture of the tee shirts that they were selling. I wanted two specifically. I went to the store and looked around but could not find the two designs advertised. When I asked about them, the young man told me I had to come back each day to see which ones they put out. He was so nasty. I did go back every day but I did not want to because I did not want to be treated that way again. The people in the jewelry store ignored you. They hung together talking and when you asked to see something in the case, they seemed annoyed. If you did not buy what you looked at the first day, they would hound you when you came in later about what you looked at before. Kept me from buying alot, so I saved money.
Other than these examples, the staff on board was top knotch. The service, food and ship itself was as good as all of he other cruise lines I have taken in the past, including Regent. I was just on that cruise in November. We did not take excursions, so I cannot discuss them but in most cases, we walk off the ship and find something to do ourselves unless we are far from what we want to see and have to book an excursion to get there.
Would I take this ship again, YOU BET!! It is in my back yard and the prices other than during the holidays are excellent. I now know the ship well and will be right at home when I return. I plan to do so soon.