My husband and I are in our mid 30's and this is our third cruise with Carnival. This was an adult family cruise that included an 80 year old grandmother. We chose to leave from Baltimore because we would not have to take a flight and we could park at the Locust Point Parking Terminal. Being as though my husband and I had cruised before and the other family members were first time cruiser, we wanted to make sure that the trip went smoothly. EmbarkationThis is Carnival's 2nd voyage from Baltimore after relocating to this port in April 2009. The day we left it was raining heavily and it was about 60 degrees. This immediately put a damper on the trip because we were hoping for better weather. The weather made me reconsider ever leaving from Baltimore before the month of June because the weather is so unpredictable. The down side to leaving after June is the hurricane season. When we first pulled into the port we waited in line for a parking spot for 90 minutes. The daily rate to park was $15 and it was due upfront on the first day. They had 1 booth collecting cash and credit card transactions. We later learned that the credit card machine was down and this malfunction held up the line. Baltimore needs a better system for parking for this reason I suggest being dropped off. After waiting to park, we still had to wait in a security check line, the registration line, and a line to board the actual ship. In all it took us 3 hours from the time we arrived to the time we actually boarded the ship. This was very frustrating with the bad weather and all.CabinThe Pride is a beautiful ship. It was well kept. We had a balcony cabin on deck 7. The view was nice and the room was very clean as well. Our cabin steward was very friendly and responded quickly to any request we made. Some of my family shared a balcony cabin with three guest and they had plenty of storage room with the closets.Public AreasThere is a quaint little coffee bar on deck 2 that sold espressos and desserts. My husband and I loved the strawberry cheesecake, carrot cake, and fudge chocolate cake. It stays open pretty late. The Beauties Dance Club stayed empty. We liked to dance and mingle so that was a little disappointing. The D.J. played a mix of new & old music. He was open to request as well. The adult only whirlpool stayed crowded. We used the whirlpool in the spa most often. It was the least crowded and most secluded. There was plenty of lounge chairs on the deck and the area was not overcrowded. We had no problem finding a table during lunch. Karaoke was held at the Starry Nights Bar and they kept a pretty good crowd. The host of that show was really lively and upbeat. She kept everyone involved.EntertainmentThe dancers were mediocre. The costumes were elaborate and very colorful. I found myself leaving the dance performances early because they couldn't hold my attention. The sound system went out on the first nights performance. I give kudos to the singers and dancers because they kept the show going without any sound. One night there was a hypnotism show that truly intrigued the audience. The show had everyone guessing whether or not the hypnosis was real. The comedian was funny during the midnight comedy show. The highlight of the entertainment was the table artist that performed magic during dinner. He captured our attention every night with his illusions. We would spend hours trying to figure out some of the tricks.DiningThe food was okay not great. We had the late seating in the Normandie Dining Room. The food in the dining room was better that what was served during lunch on the lido deck. At dinner, we enjoyed the baby back ribs, lobster, and tenderloin beef. The sandwiches and the burgers were good during lunch. The breakfast needs work. The only item from breakfast I liked was the made to order omelets. Our waiter was nice and quickly learned what each person liked each night dinner. If someone was not pleased with their meal, he would bring them something else in its place.
Port Canaveral did not have a lot of sites to see. We were more interested in shopping so we went to Cocoa Village. This area had more specialty shops then souvenir shops. If you are looking for a bargain, this would not be the place. However, there was a great bath shop that sold various natural bath & spa products. There was also a home-made ice cream shop that sold a variety a flavors. Be careful when taking a taxi. We were told that the ride to Cocoa Village would be a flat $20 fee and the cab driver actually turned on the meter and we ended up paying $27 each way.
Nassau was very crowded. If you have someone in a wheelchair, be mindful that the side streets do not accomodate wheelchairs easily. A lot of t-shirt and souvenir shops at bargain prices. The Del Sol t-shirt shop is really cool. The items in this store will all turn pretty vibrant colors when exposed to sunlight. I bought a couple of shirts and got a free canvas bag. Don't forget to visit the Tortuga Rum Cake Shop. They have samples of various types of rum cake. There is also a number of high end designer purse and jewelry stores.
Freeport is clean and less congested then other parts of the Bahamas. The shops are setup in a flea-market style where you are free to move from both to both to find the best deals. There is isn't a whole lot to chose from, but the locals tend to work with you on the price when you do find something you like. They tend to have a lot of hand crafted jewelry and purses.