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crisperjr

Pride 11/4/12 Review Grand Turk, HMC, Freeport

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My wife Linda and I sailed on the Pride for our 35th anniversary on Nov. 4th. Sailing to Grand Turk, Half Moon Cay, and Freeport.

 

This was our 2nd trip on the Pride. And we sailed with 3 other couples. We all had balcony cabins on deck 6. I booked this cruise more that 620 days prior to sailing in order to grab the elusive "bowling alley" balcony (#6232).

 

Just loved this balcony! We all had our dividers opened by Monday morning. This made for quite a long and un-obstructed walkway for all of us to walk from cabin to cabin. Loved it!

 

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We arrived at the port of Baltimore around 10:30am. Three of the four couples are from the Wash. DC area, some of us drove and parked at the cruise port, while myself & wife along with my brother & his wife were able to catch a ride to the port.

 

We were on board at 11:30am, yeah really! No, we are not VIP --- yet. So we headed to the customer service desk to request that balcony dividers be opened. They took our names, and assured us that they would be opened by the next morning. (They were)

 

From there I headed to the shore excursion desk. (I was flagged at check in and requested I go there when I boarded) Since I reserved a Cabana on HMC, they wanted to know our soda preferences, and swim fin sizes. After getting that info set up, we all headed to the Lido deck for lunch.

 

At 1:30, our cabins were ready, and even our bags were already there!

 

Muster drill was at 3:30, and we sailed away right at 4:30pm

 

 

To be continued...

 

Oliver

Edited by crisperjr

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It was a nice and sunny departure day in Baltimore. A little chilly, but not bad.

 

Most everyone was out on deck to watch us pass under the Key Bridge...

 

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We had anytime dining again for this cruise. But be warned, using ATD with 8 people will result in a long wait. We've always used ATD with 4 people, and have been very very happy with the service. But this trip, 8 people, it didn't work. So, after the first night, we opted to be seated as two "4's" and had no more than a 10 min wait on just a few nights.

 

I don't like to eat early (5:45) and the late seating is just to late. So after the first night, we arrived as two 4's at around 7pm, and everything worked OK from there on.

 

 

 

Oliver

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I am so happy to see another Pride review, we are doing this itinerary in May 2013 and can't wait to hear how the ports were and what you did. I am already counting down and can't wait to board the ship. Thanks.

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Monday and Tuesday are sea days as we head to Grand Turk. Around late Monday afternoon you could notice the temps getting a bit warmer. We left Baltimore with temps in the 50's, now, on Monday it's around 60.

 

But it was still cool enough that the roof was still closed over the mid ship pool.

 

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So we spent our sea days: enjoying our balconies, ordering room service, playing at the casino, checking out the bars, and just walking the ship.

 

 

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Next: Grand Turk

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We arrived at Grand Turk on Wednesday morning. I've never been here, so wasn't real sure what to expect. We had decided to avoid the crowds at Margaritaville and hopped a taxi to Cockburn Town. Wanted to walk around and see the local "flavor" Oh, by the way, it was HOT in Grand Turk! About 90 degrees in full sun. HOT!

 

We walked all along the road along the water. A lot of the vegetation had been killed off by the sea water serge during the hurricane, so a lot of the low lying plant life had died off. The road along the water is filled with local shops, and "businesses" like this one:

 

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I'd say the road to Cockburn Town is about 2 miles from the cruise port. And it's not an easy walk, so a taxi would be in order if you diecided to go there.

 

After walking for a while, the heat was getting to all of us, so we hopped another taxi (taxi's were easy to flag down) to Jacks Shack.......

 

 

Oliver

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Ahhh, this was nice! I had read about Jacks from CC, then visited his web site. We printed out the coupons for the free shots of rum before hand, and sat down for those, plus other "beverages"

 

Got to meet Jack himself, and his goofy dog "Toupher". And yes, Toupher really does some serious digging in the sand.

 

Since our stop on Grand Turk was short, we headed back to the ship around 12:30. (We sailed at 1:30) A little bummed that we were only there from 8am 'til 1:30.

 

You can walk the distance from Jacks Shack to the pier, but we took another cab, I did mention that it was really hot?

 

We were docked along side the Imagination.

 

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Had there been more time on Grand Turk, I probably would have booked a guided tour of the island. I like to see more of the "real" stuff, rather than the commercial area's built for the cruise ships.

 

Oliver

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Oh, forgot to mention that Tuesday afternoon was the Past Guest party. This was held in the Butterflies lounge rather than the bigger Taj Mahal.

 

Always enjoy attending these, yeah mostly for the free drinks and finger food. Our CD, Kirk was entertaining as always, and we had some good interaction with the captain. One question from the audience was, "How much fuel does the ship burn". Captain answered, "8000 gallons an hour"

 

 

Kirk, our Cruise Director...

 

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Oliver

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:)Thanks for sharing your review and pictures, as I will be leaving out of Baltimore on the Pride for Christmas...so looking forward to it.

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We were docked along side the Imagination.

 

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Hey, how did Imagination end up in Grand Turk? I thought it only went to Key West, Cozumel, and Nassau. Was it rerouted there because of hurricane Sandy? Or is that going to be its new itinerary for quite some time? I sure wouldn't opposed to sailing on Imagination again if it went to Grand Turk (and also Half Moon Cay on the same trip).

Edited by LandlockedCruiser01

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Hey, how did Imagination end up in Grand Turk? I thought it only went to Key West, Cozumel, and Nassau. Was it rerouted there because of hurricane Sandy? Or is that going to be its new itinerary for quite some time? I sure wouldn't opposed to sailing on Imagination again if it went to Grand Turk (and also Half Moon Cay on the same trip).

 

I talked to one guy who was on the Imagination and it was a private charter Christian music cruise.

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I talked to one guy who was on the Imagination and it was a private charter Christian music cruise.

 

 

Is that what it was, huh? We talked to a young lady that we shared a taxi with and she also said that they were also going to HMC after us.

 

Oliver

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We sailed away from Grand Turk right at 1:30pm. So we took this opportunity to take in the Serenity Deck. Spent a lot of time in the pool, and even did the twisty slide --- twice!

 

It was very crowded on the Serenity, but manageable.

 

 

Serenity Deck, when it's not crowded....

 

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Also spent some time after sail away, down at the Atrium bar. Really like this place. You see so many different people pass thru here constantly.

 

Atrium, at a more quite time....

 

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Oh, also forgot to mention on Tuesday we got together for our Meet and Greet up on Serenity. It was real nice to meet those of us that had been communicating on our CC roll call for all these months.

 

David (guy wearing the Nationals shirt on the right) had this picture taken for us. Thanks for sending to me David! (I'm the white hair guy in the other Nationals shirt)

 

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We ate all our dinners in the main dining room. As I mentioned earlier, we always use any time dining, and after that first day fiasco, we had no problems getting seated as parties of 4.

 

Found the food very very good. Service was always good. Bar service was a little slow, but found that if I mentioned that I wanted to place a bar order, the bar guy came right over.

 

Enjoyed the Chateaubriand, Lobster, Prime Rib, and I even had the Eggplant one night. Always had a shrimp cocktail appetizer, but added frog legs, escargot, and pumpkin soup to try.

 

In the mornings, we always ate breakfast in the main dining room. Just like being waited on, and have found that I like the selections for breakfast just fine for me.

 

Lunch, well if we were hungry, we would call room service. Loved that Shrimp Salad! The Reuben's were good too! And the veggie tray's were great for our cocktail hour out on the balconies. (But order several of these, as they are quite small)

 

Over all, we found the room service staff, and dining room staff great! Better then some of our other Carnival cruises.

 

 

Next: Half Moon Cay

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Thursday we arrived at Half Moon Cay around 8am.

 

I reserved a cabana here (#14). I was told that I would get priority boarding on the first tender out this morning. We arrived at the Taj Mahal at the required time (8:30 I think) to get a sticker number for the tendering process. I was given # 3 -- for the 3rd tender out. When they started calling for the first tender, it was announced that Platinum, Diamond AND those with cabana's were to board the first tender. I was concerned that since I had a #3 sticker, I might run into so flack from other passengers, but none happened. Later on during the morning, the ship had to stop tendering so it could re-position itself. That held up folks who had already been waiting 1/2 hour or so, to wait another 1 hr to get to the island. I had heard from several folks that the scene in the Taj Mahal was not pretty.

 

Anyway, it was a very windy day, but sunny and somewhat warm. (About 72) Many of the other shore excersions (like snorkling) had been cancelled because of the wind and rough seas. But the seas were not bad enough to be a problem for tendering.

 

As I mentioned, I reserved Cabana #14. When we arrived, they were setting up the food for us. Fruit platter, veggie platter, chips, salsa, and a cooler full of 8 soda's. We paid $219 for the cabana, which I split with my brother. We really enjoyed this!

 

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They are building new Cabana's on the island. Not sure whether they are special 2 level units or if you would share and entrance to the top level. I asked a few of the Carnival folks about it, but they had not details. Only that they just started building them at the end of October, and they were to be ready by May.

 

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Inside of our Cabana...

 

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View from the Cabana of the Pride...

 

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I visited the Pirate Ship bar a few times. If you do stop by there, take the stairs up to the top of it. It's a nice view of the beach, and of the lagoon behind it.

 

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Around 2:30pm the staff started coming around and collected our left over food, plates and snorkel gear. We were to be on board by 4pm, so about 3pm we gathered up our stuff and walked to the tendering area. BIG LONG line here, but not unexpected. Probably took 45 min to get aboard, but it was orderly, no problems.

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On to Freeport.....

 

We settled back to our balconies for some snacks from room service and a few beverages as we sailed away from HMC.

 

We saw A beautiful sunset.....

 

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No camera filters used in this. It's exactly as we saw it.

 

Tonight after dinner we skipped the show. (All of the shows we've seen before anyway) So I took a few night pictures around the ship.

 

View of the Atrium form the 10 deck...

 

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If you've been up to David's steakhouse during the day, you know that the funnel casts a red glow into the restaurant. But at night, the beams look like they are made of wood....

 

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Freeport.....

 

Not one of my favorite ports, as we have been here several times. But I noticed they've built a new Senior Frogs, so that was something worth looking into.

 

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So, while the wives walked around the trinket shops, brother and I sampled some of the beverages that Senior Frogs offers.

 

Brother decided to take the bartenders challenge of "Dance on the bar to YMCA, and get a free shot of Rum" (Brother is on the right)

 

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Another short stay in Freeport, as our departure time was 1:30pm.

 

We all played a round of goofy golf up on the sports deck. And, Hey Carnival, seriously, nothing to write down the scores? No pencils either? Seriously?

 

After golf, it was just about departure time. I love to watch the "Pier Runners". And yes, there were a few of them. However, one in particular seemed completely oblivious to the fact that she was not only 10 min past the 1:30 departure time, but was making NO attempt to hurry it up. Just sauntering along, as if to say "you're not leaving without me, so why should I hurry"

 

Getting ready to leave Freeport....

 

 

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While in Freeport we saw the Carnival Glory behind us in dry dock. we sailed her last October on a 7 day to New England & Canada. One of my most favorite cruises ever.

 

 

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As we began our return trip towards Baltimore we witnessed another cool sunset....

 

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I mentioned that we found all the crew and staff aboard the Pride friendly and courteous. One guy we especially enjoyed was Igor, the bar waiter.

 

Igor was everywhere! We found him in the MDR, Raphael's lounge, and while on HMC, we found him running up and down the beach ALL day with buckets of beer. And , oh yes some for us too!

 

Thanks Igor!

 

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Our return to Baltimore which was basically a day and a half of sea days was smooth with nice weather. Actually the entire cruise we had great weather.

 

Friday evening was our last elegant night (the other was Monday). The waiters took the time to sing "Happy Anniversary" to my wife and I (our 35th) even though it's corny, I liked it. Here I had the Eggplant as the main dish. It was good. I am a fan of eggplant, so I was not disappointed. Even though my table mates turned up their noses at this.

 

Saturday, I spent some time in the casino, played roulette, and came away with a whopping +$7 !! After that, I napped on my balcony. We packed that night, as we were doing the self assist the next morning.

 

Sunday morning, we docked in Baltimore about 9:15am. And thus began the longest debarkation I've ever heard about.

 

I did say "heard about". Because for whatever reason, since we chose the self assist option, we were off the ship at 10:15am We were also allowed to stay in our cabins (we had a GREAT attendant, Fernandes) He let us stay there until we were called down. But for those who chose to pick up their bags, many waited until after 12pm to finally get off the ship. Lots of folks told me after the fact of what a total disorganized process it was getting off.

 

So, for us, it was a great cruise! Really enjoyed sailing the Pride again. The ship looked great, well kept. The crew, as I've said were always smiling. Kirk, our CD was upbeat and funny.

 

A group picture of us on our balconies. (yes we were missing two people)

 

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Any questions?

 

 

Oliver

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Really enjoying your review. Thanks for sharing. We will be in Freeport in Feb. Never been there. I figure we might just stay on the ship. Have also heard of Lucaya Beach. Have you ever been there? Gorgeous sunsets you had!

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Loved your review. We'll be doing the same itinerary on the Fantasy. Thanks for taking the time to post such a positive review and photos. I'd like to cruise out of Baltimore some time too. The port is about 4 hours from our house.

Edited by the nurse
add info

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Really enjoying your review. Thanks for sharing. We will be in Freeport in Feb. Never been there. I figure we might just stay on the ship. Have also heard of Lucaya Beach. Have you ever been there? Gorgeous sunsets you had!

 

 

We've been to Port Lucaya many years ago. Some high end hotel's with casino's as well as more shopping. Remided me of Nassau. Nice beach there though, something you won't find at the Freeport pier.

 

Thanks for reading!

 

 

Oliver

Edited by crisperjr

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Loved your review. We'll be doing the same itinerary on the Fantasy. Thanks for taking the time to post such a positive review and photos. I'd like to cruise out of Baltimore some time too. The port is about 4 hours from our house.

 

 

I'll tell ya, Baltimore port has their stuff together. I've sailed out of NY, FT Lauderdale, Tampa, Miami, Port Canaveral, and others, and think Baltimore does it best.

 

Thanks for reading!

 

Oliver

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Thanks for the fantastic review. We got off the 2 day to nowhere the day you got on. We also did self-assist debark and left our cabins, went to the MDR for breakfast and got off and right to our cars at 10am...really easy. But, I will say that I was on a 7 day (same itin as you) in April with my mom. We put our bags out the night before debark and we sat in Rapheal's until around 11 before we were called and then had lines and disorganized craziness to get our bags and get to our car. I also experienced lines and slow grumpy port workers for both embarks. In April we got to port at 11 and were seated around 12:20 and then didn't get on the ship until 1:20 (they had some big customs clearance to do and embark was delayed). For the recent 2 day, we got to port at 2 and got on the ship around 3:20 (did not have to sit, could just walk right on the ship after we got our S&S cards from check in...but parking, security and check in lines were long and slow and the workers are less than enthused). For me, Port of Baltimore is the worst we've gone out of...we loved Port Canaveral and even port of NY.

 

I love your pics. Very nice...especially liked the HMC cabana shot with the ship in the background and that wicked sunset. The bar waiter you had a pic of, Igor, we had him on our 2 day. He was very good and friendly. We also were in a balcony on deck 6. We also had ATD with 10 of us and had to wait both nights to get a table, but we didn't mind. And we thought the food and service was good too.

 

I loved that itin you did and that we did in April...want to get my DH to agree to do that one of these days. Grand Turk and HMC are really nice and cheap beach days. My mom and I did the Margaritaville thing and had a great time. Freeport was a thumbs down...we didn't see a Senior Froggs or we may have gone there. We just shopped for a bit and then got back on the ship.

 

Thanks for posting. I love the Pride too and hopefully I'll get my DH to go back on her (he's not a fan of so many sea days or the fact that the price is higher than cruising out of FL).

Edited by laumicmah

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Oliver, really enjoyed your review. We've done this itinerary on Pride twice, and the only downside is the limited port time. I've enjoyed Freeport both times we visited; the first time we went to Paradise Cove for snorkeling (from the beach, and very easy) and the second time we did an excursion on the tall ship Alexander von Humboldt. I know a lot of people aren't crazy about Freeport, but as someone we met back in July said, there's shopping. There's music. There's food, but you can always just go back aboard the ship for lunch. And no one is bugging you for hair braiding or to buy drugs.

 

And I really appreciated your photo of Glory. Loved your review from last year, and we're looking forward to sailing on Glory again!

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Thanks for the fantastic review. We got off the 2 day to nowhere the day you got on. We also did self-assist debark and left our cabins, went to the MDR for breakfast and got off and right to our cars at 10am...really easy. But, I will say that I was on a 7 day (same itin as you) in April with my mom. We put our bags out the night before debark and we sat in Rapheal's until around 11 before we were called and then had lines and disorganized craziness to get our bags and get to our car. I also experienced lines and slow grumpy port workers for both embarks. In April we got to port at 11 and were seated around 12:20 and then didn't get on the ship until 1:20 (they had some big customs clearance to do and embark was delayed). For the recent 2 day, we got to port at 2 and got on the ship around 3:20 (did not have to sit, could just walk right on the ship after we got our S&S cards from check in...but parking, security and check in lines were long and slow and the workers are less than enthused). For me, Port of Baltimore is the worst we've gone out of...we loved Port Canaveral and even port of NY.

 

I love your pics. Very nice...especially liked the HMC cabana shot with the ship in the background and that wicked sunset. The bar waiter you had a pic of, Igor, we had him on our 2 day. He was very good and friendly. We also were in a balcony on deck 6. We also had ATD with 10 of us and had to wait both nights to get a table, but we didn't mind. And we thought the food and service was good too.

 

I loved that itin you did and that we did in April...want to get my DH to agree to do that one of these days. Grand Turk and HMC are really nice and cheap beach days. My mom and I did the Margaritaville thing and had a great time. Freeport was a thumbs down...we didn't see a Senior Froggs or we may have gone there. We just shopped for a bit and then got back on the ship.

 

Thanks for posting. I love the Pride too and hopefully I'll get my DH to go back on her (he's not a fan of so many sea days or the fact that the price is higher than cruising out of FL).

 

 

I may have a somewhat slanted view of the port of Baltimore. I've never had to park there, or wait in lines to park. I've either been dropped off (several times) or dropped off people (twice). In each case, I was met by efficient "traffic people" who correctly directed me to the right locations.

 

However, I have heard from others who have experienced less than helpful port employees. But for us, we've been quite happy with Baltimore.

 

Oliver

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Oliver, really enjoyed your review. We've done this itinerary on Pride twice, and the only downside is the limited port time. I've enjoyed Freeport both times we visited; the first time we went to Paradise Cove for snorkeling (from the beach, and very easy) and the second time we did an excursion on the tall ship Alexander von Humboldt. I know a lot of people aren't crazy about Freeport, but as someone we met back in July said, there's shopping. There's music. There's food, but you can always just go back aboard the ship for lunch. And no one is bugging you for hair braiding or to buy drugs.

 

And I really appreciated your photo of Glory. Loved your review from last year, and we're looking forward to sailing on Glory again!

 

 

Thanks Kathy.

 

When are you going on the Glory again? Wife and I were just talking about that tonight. That we'd love to go back to Canada again. Maybe in 2014, as we have a trip planned on Freedom next October.

 

 

Oliver

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I may have a somewhat slanted view of the port of Baltimore. I've never had to park there, or wait in lines to park. I've either been dropped off (several times) or dropped off people (twice). In each case, I was met by efficient "traffic people" who correctly directed me to the right locations.

 

However, I have heard from others who have experienced less than helpful port employees. But for us, we've been quite happy with Baltimore.

 

Oliver

We live about 25 mins from port and may just have to get dropped off if we cruise the Pride again...which I hope we do.

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I've created a short (11 1/2 min) video of our cruise on the Pride and posted it up on YouTube.

 

If anyone is interested in watching:

 

 

Oliver

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Really enjoying your review. Thanks for sharing. We will be in Freeport in Feb. Never been there. I figure we might just stay on the ship. Have also heard of Lucaya Beach. Have you ever been there? Gorgeous sunsets you had!

 

 

We had a great time last year in freeport, We will be back in 60 days lol

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Great review, Oliver! We have sailed on the Pride once, and will make our second voyage in March 2013. We had an awesome time and excited to get onboard again soon! I loved your pictures of Cabana #14 at Half Moon Cay... that was the one we had when we sailed on the Destiny July 2009. I thought this cabana was perfect and we soaked up every minute on this beautiful island! :) Happy Anniversary! I hope I can celebrate my 35th anniversary at sea!

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Great review, Oliver! We have sailed on the Pride once, and will make our second voyage in March 2013. We had an awesome time and excited to get onboard again soon! I loved your pictures of Cabana #14 at Half Moon Cay... that was the one we had when we sailed on the Destiny July 2009. I thought this cabana was perfect and we soaked up every minute on this beautiful island! :) Happy Anniversary! I hope I can celebrate my 35th anniversary at sea!

 

 

 

Thank You!

 

 

 

Oliver

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I've created a short (11 1/2 min) video of our cruise on the Pride and posted it up on YouTube.

 

If anyone is interested in watching:

 

 

Oliver

 

Very much enjoyed your video...one of the best I've ever seen on this board! We did that same itin this past Aug and it (and the Pride) was fabulous! Going again in Aug 2013...can't wait! Loved your sunset shots!!:) Thanks for posting this.

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