I don't cruise nearly as often as I'd like to, but will probably make more of an effort to do so more often, as I love it! This cruise was with my parents, husband and son. My parents cruise often, my husband had only been on one cruise, my son (16) on none.
The Carnival Pride was a nice ship decor-wise for my family. My husband is a fantasy artist, so of course his background has a strong Italian Renaissance influence.
Embarkation was relatively smooth. There was one issue with rooms, as my mother and husband had their rooms swapped, but this was handled at the check in with no problems. After that, it was just a matter of walking on board with no problems whatsoever.
We made our way to the Lido deck for a buffet, which was... well, a buffet. The food was tasty and well-cooked, but hey, buffets aren't generally inspiring. I have a strong preference for dining rooms. (More on that later).
We were slightly delayed departing due to a medical emergency, but I think it would have been better to go ahead and wait to make sure a passenger is okay than risk a medical emergency at sea.
The stateroom was what I expect out of a ship's stateroom. It was small, but it was clean and well-cared-for. It's not where I intend to spend my time on a cruise, so if it's clean, in good repair and comfortable, that's all I care about. The stewards were competent and attentive. I didn't need any special service, so I can say they did their jobs well, but I didn't give them any real opportunities for "above and beyond".
Now, the dining room was wonderful. The food was quite good, so I puzzle at some of the complaints. Our waiters were cheerful and attentive, and really added positively to the whole experience. We ate at the late sitting, and it worked out well in terms of making sure we could participate in activities. The menu was varied and I liked that they had opportunities to try dishes one might not ordinarily try. It was a nice feature.
The cruise director was competent and did organize fun activities, but I'm going to have to say I've never really seen such a laid-back cruise director before. Usually, the job calls for some serious high energy show-boating, but Brett wasn't like that.
The shows were pretty varied. While some were quite good (and the young lady who was the lead singer most nights was AMAZING) some seemed a bit disjointed and thrown-together, not using the talents of the performers as well as it could. The comics were quite funny.
My son chose not to participate in the O2 club, but he had a delightful time nonetheless. At least, he's eager to go on another cruise, so I think Carnival may have a future customer there. There were a LOT of teenagers on board, but weren't causing trouble, so clearly were kept busy enjoying themselves.
Ports of call were handled smoothly. The Freeport snorkling excursion was cancelled due to weather. Disappointing, but not too bad, as we were able to hop a taxi to Lucaya and enjoy the lovely beach.