Let me start with background. This cruise was the 5th for my husband and I, (late 30s-early 40s) and the first for my 21 year old daughter. It was a college graduation present to her. My husband and I previously sailed on the Pride in January of 2010 with the same itinerary. We chose this cruise again because Baltimore is our home port and because of the great price.
We spent Saturday night in Baltimore. We ate dinner and went to the James Joyce Irish pub for cocktails and to watch playoffs. Always a great time there!
Embarkation was smooth as always at Baltimore port. We were on the ship by 12:30ish and in the sports bar for the start of the Ravens game. Did I mention I Strongly dislike the Ravens? Met up with cruise critic roll call people while there and enjoyed our first bucket of beer while watching the game.
Went to our cabin after the game and retrieved our luggage. Only one suitcase hadn't made it at that point and of course it would be my daughter's. It arrived later and all was well. Had a balcony on deck 6 and surprisingly my daughter and I could fit all of our clothing with a little room left for the hubby. Met our cabin steward, Henry, and from that point on he referred to each of by name throughout the rest of the cruise! Our room was well taken care of and service was great!
We chose My time dining and I have to say it worked out great for us. Yes, you loose the comradery you would have by having the same wait staff every night, but not being stuck to a certain time to dine was great. Night 1 was come as you are and we did!! The food throughout the cruise in the main dining room was pretty good to very good. Always enjoy the lobster on formal night and my husband and daughter really enjoyed the prime rib later in the cruise. We also ate at David's steakhouse and once again had a fabulous meal and service! A must try for last night of the cruise is the bacon mac and cheese!! The buffet food was as it usually is and we always found something we wanted and never had to wait for seating. The coffee and chocolate covered strawberries at the coffee shop are good.
As far as entertainment goes we didn't catch any of the musical shows in the main theater. We did catch most of the comedians and really enjoyed them all. We participated in most of the trivia contests throughout the week as well as the scavenger hunt. We also enjoyed the wondering magician, Tim, his card tricks were impressive!
We joined a group for the Quest and came in 3rd place so our team won a bottle of wine. My daughter participated in the gender revenge game at the end of the cruise and of course the women won and she got the coveted 24 carat gold plastic ship on a stick! We caught the karaoke sessions a few times and my husband sang a song or 2.
By far the most entertaining venue on the ship was the piano bar! Roger was the entertainer on our previous cruise on the Pride and we were so happy he was still there! He played and sang everything from the Beatles to Lady Ga Ga to Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody! The place was always full with people from 21 to 81! My daughter loved it and we stopped in for a little while every night!
We spent some time in the casino with my husband teaching my daughter how to play craps. Surprisingly, they both came out rather well at the end! The casino bartenders were the best on the ship. Sadia and Jittima were so friendly and helpful! The crew is what really makes a cruise experience stand out and the crew of this ship made this trip Great! We had a server, name sounds like Alibaba, that remembered us throughout the cruise and quickly became our favorite! We enjoyed interacting with him.
In Port Canaveral we took the bus trip to Disney World as my daughter and I had never been. It was a nice day overall and I can now cross it off of my bucket list, although I don't think I will go back! In Nassau we went to Atlantis. My daughter did the dolphin excursion and my hubby and I did the Aquaventure, love the not so lazy river! Third time at Atlantis and still didn't see everything! Went back to ship, changed and headed to Senor Frogs for dinner and a yard. We did the jeep excursion in Freeport with stops at Junkanoo beach and Garden of the Groves. Would recommend all of these excursions!
My husband did the behind the scenes tour and really enjoyed seeing parts of the ship that most guests don't get to see. He met the captain and galley crew and got pictures with them. Only a few people get to do this so I recommend signing up the first day at the guest services desk.
Of course everything wasn't perfect, but it was pretty darn good. We never really got to hang out at the Serenity area because on days that were warm it was packed and we didn't get to use the pools because it was too cold or packed when warm, but we knew that going in. My husband and daughter did go down the slide and were both smiling when they were done.
Would I recommend this cruise? Absolutely!