May 2016 - Carnival Pride to Caribbean - Eastern
My husband and I had been on cruises a few times before, but this was our first time with our kids (4 years old). We all had a blast! They loved Camp Carnival (they asked to go to "school" every day) and were enthralled with the shows. The pool is great for kids this age, as there is a wading pool around the main deep pool, so they could play on their own while I sat there and watched them. Their only complaint was the bracelets that they had to wear the whole time. I wish they had better options that we could have paid for that were more comfortable. We will definitely do another cruise with them within the next few years.
As far as my husband and I go, we had a great time with the kids but we'll try a different boat next time. The shows at night were fun because we enjoyed watching their reactions, but the singing was up to par with a karaoke bar (but the dancing was good). We didn't get to go to any of the adult comedy shows because we didn't want top put the kids in the nighttime camp, but the one PG show that we went to was funny. Alchemy Bar was fantastic, and it was fun to watch them make drinks there. I paid extra to get filet mignon from the steakhouse in the dining room one night and it was phenomenal, whereas the filet that I got on the night that it was a menu choice was not good. Our dining room waiter wasn't nearly as friendly as on past cruises, but he was fine.
We didn't plan any excursions since anything that the kids could do was overpriced for what we would get for the 4 of us. The beach in Grand Turk was fine, but it was choppy and the kids didn't feel comfortable playing in it. I was impressed with the beach itself - until we got to Half Moon Cay. The beach and the water there was so amazing and gorgeous. Unfortunately one of my kids was sick so we had to go back to the boat immediately, but from what I saw it was amazing, and my husband and other daughter came back all smiles. There is a free water play area for kids (a fountain and a structure with some water slides and stuff), and my daughter loved it. The island is owned by Carnival, so you don't get the hard sell that you get from people on other islands. It was just very relaxing and peaceful, and the water was calm. In Freeport we just went to the area right off the port and it was boring and expensive. Every stall sold the same exact stuff, and it was a hard sell from everyone. We wouldn't go back unless there was an excursion we wanted to do, or if that was a required stop in cruises to Half Moon Cay (because I am dying to go back there!).
All in all, we really enjoyed ourselves. It was our first trip alone as a family, and my husband and I definitely realized that vacationing with kids is an entirely new experience. The staff on the boat was very friendly, and our kids got a lot of attention. I would recommend Carnival to anyone.