This will be a long review - I know sometimes people say that and it's only a few paragraphs.... grab a cup of tea and a piece of chocolate cake before you get started.
This was the Pride's last 8 night cruise out of Baltimore, hopefully just for this season. We sailed to Grand Turk, HMC, Nassau and Freeport.
We left from Seattle on Friday night at 11:00 p.m., had a lay over in Cleveland and arrived at the Baltimore port at 10:25 est. Yes, we were exhausted! It's true when they say not to get there until later in the day, unlike other ports the ship really doesn't get in until 10, not 6 or 7 a.m. We got on board after 1:00, rooms weren't ready so we had lunch then took a little nap on the lido deck! After muster drill we had sail away - it was a beautiful night as we sailed past Fort McHenry and were given bon voyages by a number of people on boats cruising by.
Sunday was a day at sea... we had breakfast in the Mermaid Grill then relaxed in the sun. We enjoyed the caribbean band, but wish they'd have had real instruments instead of taped music to sing to. The casino was open and we played the quarter toss machine (I'm sure there is a real name for it!). We met our cruisecritic friends at 2:00 on the aft of the lido deck. What a great turn out, I'm sure there were at least 20 of us and we ran into each other through out the cruise. It was the first formal night and the Captains party where we took advantage of the free cocktails before our lobster and tiger shrimp dinner. We had had the cherries jubilee and banana gateau for dessert (no I can't remember what the gateau was!) Didn't make it to the first nights show.
Monday was another relaxing at sea day, a perfect way to go from 'normal' life to vacation mode. We played music quote trivia and my dh won the ship on a stick - got 20 out of 20! We enjoyed tea time, a bit of time in the casino and then went to the Captains welcome back party. Yes, more free drinks! Decided to check out the ventriliquist show - what a great idea since DH got to be the 'dummy' - oh, gosh I haven't laughed so hard in a long time. And got a laugh out of people stopping him throughout the cruise to comment on the show!! We went up the mexican deck party and enjoyed the festivities and the great food (wish I would have had more of the mango salsa and the ceviche).
Tuesday was Grand Turk. We were off the ship pretty quickly and had the beach almost to ourselves since there was a lightening storm building up pretty close. We snorkeled in the roped off area near the ship (to the right when you are walking down the pier). The water was very clear and we saw a number of fish and sea urchins. When we were finished a torrential rain storm came rushing through. We got drenched but it was fun (we are, after all from Seattle), we went back to ship and changed before checking out Margaritaville and walked down the beach as someone on cruise critic had suggested. I did a load of laundry when we got back (we had packed light), had dinner then went to the show. Wasn't crazy about the female lead singer but did enjoy the choreography.
Wednesday, Half Moon Cay. We got our tender pass and were on one of the first tenders of the day. It started to rain as soon as we got to the island, but only for a few minutes. We walked down the beach and set up 'camp'. The beach and water are so beautiful, can't describe what a beautiful island this is. We snorkeled in clear blue water, it was so calm. Wish we could have been here for two days, it was just so.... perfect. They had a nice bbq lunch. We walked a bit further down after lunch and found hammocks - just after cabin 13. We stayed as long as we could, really could have stayed forever. Had my favorite appetizer tonight - a wilted spinach salad with marinated portabellos topped with blue cheese and walnuts. That recipe I'd like to find!
Thursday, Nassau. I've always wanted to go to Atlantis. We took a cab/van over and walked around the hotel. We went to the lobby and stayed for quite a while enjoying the view of the aquarium. I can't imagine how big the actual aquarium is with what you can see from the lobby area. The casino was quick to take our 'donation', but we won it back on the ship! We walked through the marina and saw a number of yachts on our way to grab a cab to the Queens Stairs. Well, this wasn't exactly as advertised, luckily the cab driver waited for us and took us to the shopping area. We took the number 10 bus for $1.25 to Arawak Cay for conch at Goldies. We enjoyed talking to our waiter and loved the fresh cracked conch. Fort Charlotte is across the street so we walked around the cricket field and up (up, up) the hill. It was very interesting to see and walk through. We took the bus back to Bay street and found a burger king to get a soda from before heading back to the ship. We went up to the sun deck and watched sail away, enjoyed dinner (favorite tonight was the fried thai shrimp and the warm apple pie ala mode. We watched karaoke before heading to bed.
Friday - Freeport. We had prebooked Captain Tony's Sand Dollar cruise catamaran trip. What a perfect morning. We docked at 7 and were off the ship by 7:30, shared the cab with a couple who were also going on this excursion, which made the trip even better. The catamaran ride was smooth sailing, it was just a beautiful way to spend the day. We got out to the open ocean and anchored. The water was a bit choppy but as long as you had your head down to snorkel it felt smooth. It was incredibily clear and there were so many fish and a lot of coral to see. The crew threw crackers in the water which brought over many fish. We all saw a barracuda under the boat. It was a great day. After we all boarded we stopped at another area where we could find sand dollars to keep and conch and star fish to look at. It started to thunder and lightening so everyone had to get out of the water but it was I think the highlight of our entire cruise. We did a bit of shopping dockside when we returned to the ship. We went back to our room to relax - lo and behold we slept for four hours!!! It was the last formal night so we got dressed for dinner. (I want to say we had anytime dining and it worked out wonderfully for us, the front desk in the upper dining room was staffed by great people who were friendly and professional and really added to our cruise experience).
Saturday was an at sea day. We laid out in the aft area of the lido deck, it was a beautiful morning. We went to the ships Q and A session, it was 'okay'. Not 100% crazy about the cruise director but he was fine. They had 'american' for lunch today - the lines were so long because it was food everyone really wanted, they'd had italian, indian, french, asian but today was a real hit. Fried chicken, potatoes, gravy were a few of the items offered. After dinner we had the cappucino pie for dessert - may have been the best dessert we had.
We did self disembarkation on Sunday, we were at the train station by 10:45 to start the second leg of our adventure, a trip to Washington DC.
I have other information - mini bar prices, room service menu - if anyone is interested.
We had a great time on this cruise and hope they offer the same itinerary next summer. Any questions, please ask.
Room was close to front of ship so we often had laundry (sheets etc) piled by our door - this was unappealing. Our room, 1401, was spacious and always clean. We thought it would be noisy since it was so close to Butterflies but once our door was closed we didn't hear a thing.
We took advantage of the advice we had read on cruise critic and walked left through and out of the shopping area to get to the beach area. It was a beautiful walk where we saw so many conch shells. If the weather had been better perhaps we would have enjoyed Margartaville more but our snorkeling and walk made for a great day.