After reading some negative reviews of the Pride here, I had become concerned. I could not have been more surprised. I can say without a doubt that I will return to the Pride soon. Major public areas have been updated, the staff is wonderful (kuddos to Brandon, Cathy and Pablo), and the ports of call are a nice mix. I must say that dinner was better than I'd had on other Carnival cruises, and David's Steakhouse was world class. Dollar for dollar this was the best value cruise I've taken after cruising on 4 different ships.
3 out of 5
Embarkation took roughly 2 hours. We arrived at the port at 12:15. The line wrapped around the corner and made a right turn. While everyone was very pleasant, and we enjoyed chatting with our fellow cruisers, I don't recall waiting this long on other cruises. On a positive note, they had porters taking our luggage right off of the shuttle we took to get there. I later learned from someone on the ship that they arrived around 2 pm and were on board by 2:30. You may wish to arrive a little later in the afternoon and save those 2 hours for something else.
Food and Dining
5 out of 5
We thoroughly enjoyed all but one of our meals. This is our fourth cruise, and honestly Carnival has stepped it up a notch. All meals were delicious and well prepared. Our favorite was the lobster tail, which was the best I've ever had. The service was very good and the portions were plentiful. Our one negative experience was the brunch at sea the second time we tried it. They got our order wrong, they didn't bring out our entire order and we couldn't get anyone's attention because they were too busy setting up tables. Otherwise all was outstanding.
4 out of 5
Although we typically spend a lot of our morning at the Serenity area (which was very nice) on this trip we really enjoyed the Lido Pool. There was music always playing, a lively atmosphere, food readily available and a minimum of kids. Most of the kids hung out on the forward pool. We also took in some of the games, although they were usually scheduled in the late morning. We found a hole of activity on this ship in the afternoon around 3 pm. Otherwise it was excellent
4 out of 5
We love the shows. The singers and dancers are outstanding and very talented. The best show was the 80s Show, not just because we liked the music. It featured pyrotechnics, a great light show and lots of popular songs to sing along too. The embarkation show has too much chatter and not enough pop, although it also was good. The only show we actually left early was the final show. It was a rhythm and blues show that lacked the attraction and production value of the 80s show. That and the fact that often the music was Motown and R & B on other nights at other venues. We LOVED the Punchliner. The comedians were excellent and varied. We watched almost every adult show. Randy Andy the host is also hysterical. We also enjoyed the Red Frog Pub and the Surfin Bird Band.
We had no children with us.
Service and Staff
5 out of 5
Our room was spotless. They cleaned in the morning then came back and spiffed up in the afternoon. I asked for ice the first day and they kept the bucket full all the time after that. Extremely friendly. And how do they remember every name?
4 out of 5
There are many reasons why the Pride deserves high scores. It has three pools, which (although not written in stone) leads to a kiddy area, an adults having fun area and an adults enjoying quiet. This changed the dynamic for us. We hadn't been on a ship this size in some time. We spent hours at the Lido Pool. It was awesome. While the reviews that focus on the fact that the ship is older, it is very well maintained. Updates were made throughout the public areas and it shows. It appears much newer than it actually is. My only complaint is that in order to get to the forward section of Deck 3 where much of the nightlife occurs, you have to walk through the smoking casino. The smoke is so strong, at first it feels as though you aren't going to be able to breathe. Otherwise it was awesome.
Cabin / Stateroom
3 out of 5
Carnival has not updated the cabins on the Pride. While nothing was torn or broken, the couch was very dingy and tired looking. The bathroom was roomier than I remember. The balcony should have been listed as partially obstructed but we paid for an extended balcony which was marginal at best. There was also a nasty rust mark on the wall near the balcony. I don't recall ever having a fridge in the room, but this room has one.
If you don't have kids, don't bother with the PG comedy show (unless you are easily offended--then go for it). Get early to the comedy show for the 10:15 show and find a seat. You can stay for the 11:15 show without leaving. It was standing room only by show time.
I recommend arriving a day early and booking the Stay and Cruise package at the Best Western Plus. It's about $160 and includes the room, breakfast, parking for the week, and transport to and from the port. We also used their free shuttle to go to the Inner Harbor. We had not been here in a few years and were pleasantly surprised at how nice it was. Baltimore has had some bad press recently, but this area was safe and vibrant. We enjoyed Ripley's, which was really much cooler than one would think. We also enjoyed drinks and appetizers outdoors at Dick's Last Resort.
Margaritaville was awesome! A DJ entertained the crowd with Buffett and other music throughout our stay. They also played games and kept it lively. Drinks were about the same as on the ship pricewise, but were a notch above. My wife enjoyed the Havanas with Bananas served in a blender cup. We ordered an appetizer platter for $28, but it was more food than the two of us could eat. It was also excellent. The crystalline pool meanders throughout the whole place, and even when a second ship arrived an hour or two later, there were plenty of lounges for everyone. After lunch we spent about an hour at the beach. Grand Turk advertises free lounge chairs and clam shells, but there are a couple of guys trying to strong arm people to pay for them. I didn't pay and they stopped bothering me. The beach isn't quite as nice as it appears in most pictures. It's crystal clear, but has quite a bit of seaweed in it that turned my wife off. I recommend staying in the pool. Don't bother with a tour of the island. There is really nothing outside the port area.
I have visited hundreds of beaches on most continents. This ranks at near the top of the list for best beaches in the world. The water was super clear, the sand felt like flour or powdered sugar. The beach area even had a snorkeling area with tons of fish. In addition, Carnival gives you a great buffet BBQ. If you like quiet stay immediately at the beach near the debarkation. If you prefer a more fun area get on the courtesy shuttle and get off at the BBQ area and find the Captain Morgan which is a bar shaped like a ship. They also have a DJ and some of the crew hang out and play games there. DO NOT MISS THIS PORT. It's the best of the three.
The Pride arrives way too early to this port. I spoke to a woman from Bahamas Tourism and she said that they have been trying to get Carnival to shift the timing to 9 a.m., but Carnival is not interested. This being said, it makes it challenging to enjoy an excursion. We had planned to spend the day at a local hotel with a day pass. After docking and having breakfast it was 8:30 before we were ready. We opted to stay at the port. it has grown and improved since we were there last time. Lots of shops and eateries now populate the port. In particular Senor Frogs was a blast. We had visited Senor Frogs 10 years ago in Puerto Rico and felt a little old, but at Freeport it's kind of the only show in town so the age was more mixed and we felt very comfortable. I noted how much the staff enjoyed working there. We ordered appetizers and drinks and found it plentiful and delicious.
2 out of 5
We docked at 8 am and were not allowed off the ship until about 12. This was unacceptable. In New York on a sister ship ten years ago we disembarked within 2 hours of arrival.
*Cruiseline.com is not a booking agent or travel agency,
and does not charge any service fees to users of our site. Our partners
(travel agencies and cruise lines) provide prices, which we list for our
users' convenience. Cruiseline.com does not guarantee any specific rates or
prices. While prices are updated daily, please check with the booking site
for the exact amount. Cruiseline.com is not responsible for content on
external web sites.
Need help from a personal vacation planner?
Find the perfect cruise with weekly tips and cruise deals for as little as $30/night!
Sign up for weekly cruise deals
Join other subscribers and get the best
cruise deals of the week in your inbox every Thursday.