So jealous you are going! 1). Our ports of Call were Port Canaveral, Nassau & Freeport - which is the pretty "normal" itinerary for the Pride in the late Fall/ Winter. Her itineraries do change once spring rolls around. I absolutely love the ship!. Carnival has different class ships, and I like this kind... Not too big & not too small! People need to remember that each Carnival ship is designed by a certain "theme". The Pride has a lot of Renaissance decor. Pictures, paintings, statues(some nude) all blend together & I have no issue with the design of the ship. The crew does an AMAZING job keeping things cleaned, polished, dusted, straightened up. Besides normal "wear" I didn't notice anything different than when I cruised after the ship came out of Dry Dock last time.
2.) I like Carnival because it is a FUN cruise line & meets my budget well. Royal Carribean is great too, but I seem to like the people that cruise w/ Carnival. Always found them quite easy to talk to & make conversation with. The interactive shows, events are a "hoot" because of the FUN people that cruise w/ Carnival :)
3).I don't have any children, and I like to avoid cruising when there are tons of them running around the ship. Just a personal preference so it's "quieter" - so we generally go during times when school's in session & not on breaks. I only noticed a handful of younger kids on our cruise & they were well behaved. The kid part of Carnival- "Camp Carnival" does a good job at keeping them entertained from what I've been told.
4.) We did purchase a few photos on-board. Little on the pricey side, but I tell you - take as many photos as you want throughout the cruise & look at them each day. If you don't like them, so be it - they'll recycle them. Since we're on a budget, I like to purchase a few of the photo coupons ahead of time that you can get on Carnival's website thru the Bon Voyage dept. They are $15 Photo coupon credits. The "formal" pictures, you must buy an 8x10, they are $21.99. If you want duplicates of that same pic, they are an additional $10 each. There are different packages, and other photos they offer so just be sure to read the info. Buying the photo coupons ahead makes me feel better to know we can get a few of the ones we like & not spend a huge fortune.
5). Never had any problems in any of the ports or on ship regarding safety & this is my second time on ship & to these ports. Just use common sense! I carried a cross-body purse w/ our passports, & very simple amount of items in them. I have some shorts/ capris w/ zip pockets which I used. No issues though. If you go to the welcome aboard show it helps reassure you of where you're going, and what to do. We also booked excursions thru Carnival for Port Canaveral (went to Cocoa Beach) & Nassau (Atlantis Beach Day), then did our own taxi in Freeport (to Port Lucaya Market). No issues any of the times. Then on-board, if they would have any type of problem. They have staff in uniform & out of uniform that is security, plus each ship has a holding cell (type area) on-board if worse comes to worse. So don't worry!
The cruise director, Kirk, is hilarious! Be sure to read & take your Fun Time schedule with you each day, even to ports! Go to the shows, the comedy shows (the Adult ones at night can be "edgey" but FUNNY!) & just have an open mind since it's your first time. I'm sure there may be little things that pop up and don't go the way you would like/ or plan, but don't let it ruin your vacation! A cruise is what you make of it. You can spend very little money, relax and have a great time, or you can go all out, spend boat loads & have a great time as well. Just have a good time & if you have any questions, ask customer service or one of the Team members. They always were willing to answer questions and make time for us! Any other questions, I'll help where I can :)