We cruised 8/21-8/28 on the Carnival Pride. It was a GREAT vacation! I am 29 and my husband is 28 - it was just the 2 of us on this trip. This was his 1st cruise, my 2nd, but my 1st on Carnival. Here is my review and summary of our vacation:
Day 1 - Sunday: Got to the pier around 10:30 am - there was a porter immediately right there - took our bags and we tipped him a $1 per bag. This part was very organized - tons of people directing traffic. We proceeded to the Queen Mary for early check in - again very organized - at least a half a dozen people directing you where to go - and very friendly. There was barely any line - we flew right through in literally 1 minute! Then we had time to kill because we couldn't board until 12:30, so we hung around, shopped, watched people getting off the ship. Got in line around 11:30 - but after asking, realized we were in the wrong line - whoops! They need better signage here. So we switched lines - worked our way through the dome - the line took about 45 minutes. Only complaint here - they only had 1 screening area/metal detector...for all these people in our line! Not sure when the next group boarded - they seemed to space it out pretty well.
Got on the ship around 12:30 or 1:00 walked around, went to the Mermaid's Grill - absolutely amazing! It is HUGE and so pretty!! Went to our room - not done yet, so we walked around checking everything out. Very ornate dEcor - kind of borders on gaudy at 1st - but I ended up really liking it a lot. It really reminded me of the inside of many old San Francisco hotel I had been to - dark wood, brass rails, lots of artwork, etc.
Got to our room at 2 pm - we had a window view - no balcony. Very nice sized - my husband and I were pleasantly surprised! TONS of closet space. I had mine, my hubby had his, plus another closet with 4 or 5 deep shelves - perfect for t-shirts, shorts, bathing suits, etc. There was a really nice desk with 5 drawers that was perfect for underwear, my hair stuff, etc. Very comfy bed - all white! Wonderful down comforter - big fluffy pillows - very 1st class! The window was very big. So glad we bought the over the door shoe holder - by FAR one of the best things to bring - it was ideal for medicines, hair dryer, and all the misc. stuff you want to find easily but don't need on your bathroom counter. Another great thing we brought was our extension cord with 2 outlets on it - there is only 1 plus in the whole room! So this was perfect for plugging in my hair dryer, curling iron, etc. all at the same time. Also a night light - SO glad we brought this too. Did not get our luggage until 6 PM. In between snacked at Mermaid's - they have their buffet line set up in sections - I.e. salad, fresh fruit, desserts, etc. so you are never in a HUGE line. This whole cafe was HUGE and still on the last day I got turned around in it.
The ship left port around 4 or 4:30 - we didn't even realize it - until we looked outside! We showered and changes, and we went to the casino. My husband tried his poker skills out. We had late seating - dinner at 8:15 - stood in a LONG line waiting, but that was ok and expected. The Normandie Dining room was BEAUTIFUL and so elegant - we loved it! We ended up with our own table because our table mates got separated from their friends - so it worked out really well. Dinner was wonderful! We had no complaints! Our servers were great - at 1st a bit frustrating to communicate since they don't speak English well, but they were very nice, gracious, and great severs.
Later that night checked out the midnight buffet - yummy! That 24 pizzeria soon became a favorite for us!
Day 2 - Monday - Really overcast day - day at sea. Enjoyed sitting by a window and watching the ocean and reading - so relaxing! I found myself in the lobby a lot - they have a bar there but then along the sides near the window they have these small cozy areas for 4 or so people - it is like your own little "space" - very inviting during the day to read or write, etc. Tonight was formal night - had lobster tail at dinner - it was FABULOUS! After dinner, went to the show - "Wonderful Worlds" - it was so great - very entertaining - and very talented singers and dancers. The Taj Mahal theater is very impressive - 2 levels - and practically every seat is a good seat.
Day 3 - Tuesday - We were supposed to go to Cabo this day - but because of the hurricane had to spend another day at sea and changed out itinerary. This day was kind of rough for me - rough seas. Did not get sea sick - just didn't feel 100% - spent a lot of time up on the Lido deck getting fresh air. En the guy at the gift shop said this was the choppiest he had seen it in his 12 years at Carnival! Another great dinner - the portion sizes are perfect - and again you can order as many of an item as you like - no problem at all! After dinner went to the disco - "Beauties" (from 9-11 it is for 12-17 year olds) - after 11 it is for 18+ - we had SO much fun dancing! It was '70s/'80s night - really fun 2 story night club with rotating door, acrylic see through stairs, and a light up dance floor - very cool! Actually 1st we went into 1 of the lounges - live band with a dance floor - ended up leaving the band was really not that great and way too LOUD - they had their amps up a little too high.
Day 4 - Wednesday - LAND! We see land! We are in Puerto Vallarta - unfortunately very overcast - but SOOOOO HOT AND MUGGY - oh my gosh - did not expect that. Got off the ship - and the Mexican police are right there with rifles! Ok.... I feel safe! Ha! 1st thing I want to try to call home - but can't get the phone booths to work - so we go into a building right there where you can make international calls and they have an internet cafe. So we call home and leave a message for my parents. Call was 50 cents a minute. We took a taxi into downtown and went shopping - found tons of good deal - but you've got to bargain. Paul speaks Spanish somewhat so this helped TREMENDOUSLY. I bought a beautiful turquoise pendant and an opal pendant. We had lunch at Carlos and Brian's - co-owned by Senor Frogs - very good food - 2 for 1 Coronas. Kind of overpriced lunch - $42 - but very good food. Got back to the ship around 4 - took an awesome nap and then went out on the Lido deck to watch the ship leave - it actually backed into the port - the maneuvering on the HUGE ship was amazing! We left port at 10 PM. PV overall was very nice just very hot and humid. The beaches didn't seem so great - very rocky - but that was just where were at in downtown. Also, very funny - right off the ship is a Wal-Mart and Sam's Club - in fact it was the 1st thing I saw from my cabin window in the morning! Saw the 10:30 show with Fred Anderson - it was ok - but really geared for kids - so we left half way through. Oh! Also loving the towel animals - they are so cute! The last day we broke down and bought the towel animal book.
Day 5 - Thursday - Last night was scary we were in the middle of a lightening storm!! The lightening was amazing the whole sky was lit up - a bit scary - but we made it! We docked at Mazatlan - another overcast day. We were a bit worried because we ran out of cash - darn that casino! And they ATM was "out of service" on the ship - aka - NO MONEY! We went to the purser's desk and was very disappointed that we could not do a credit advance on our credit card, or cash check unless we had an AMEX card. That was very annoying and very poor service in my opinion. That being said, we decided to just ask a taxi driver to take us to a bank - so we did - he took us to a bank and we tipped him graciously. He charged us $10 for the ATM trip and then to The Golden Zone. Very nice but touristy area. The streets are paved here unlike PV where there are stone streets everywhere. We ate at El Captain - a recommendation from our taxi driver - it was AWESOME! I will never forget this lunch - it was RIGHT on the beach - very good shrimp plates, and so much to eat! Really wonderful lunch. Did some more shopping - more really good deals. Found out all the "nice" stores- I.E. Senor Frogs, Del Sol, have bathrooms to use. Still couldn't figure out our calling card so we called my parents collect - yikes! Hopefully that bill won't be too big! After shopping, went down to the beach to get our feet wet - the water was SOOOO warm - bathtub warm! The only SUPER annoying thing was the CONSTANT barrage of people asking you to buy things - AL THE TIME!! Argh! We took an open air taxi - and he offered us a tour for $20 - it was amazing! He took us through old town Mazatlan - told us about some of the old and historic buildings, churches, statutes, etc. Stopped several times so we could take pictures. I would only have done this "tour" with my husband who is 6'1 and 290 lbs. - I know he could protect us plus he speaks Spanish which seemed to gain respect from locals. It was a wonderful tour though. Got us back on the ship in time - took another nap. Show that night was "Pride Idol" - it was HILARIOUS and very entreating! P.s. Paul won $95 in poker!
Day 6 - Friday - We knew we wanted to get up early - because we knew we had a short day in Cabo. It was finally a GORGEOUS day! We had to take tenders into port which was fine - no problems. This was our favorite port - much more resort feel to it. We walked for a while from the pier checking out restaurants and hotels. Still people trying to sell stuff, but not as bad as PV or Maz. Walked to Cabo Wabo - and really not that impressed. It was nice - food was good. But wished we had eaten somewhere with an ocean view. Figured our Paul was dehydrated - and drank 3 HUGE bottles of water just at lunch alone!! We order chips and salsa and guacamole for $10! Way overpriced. But it was still fun. We wanted to just lay out and have a relaxing day - so we took a water taxi to the beach - very fun to try to watch me get off this thing in the middle of the water! They sort if just pushed and pulled me out probably thinking "stupid American!" Laid out on the beach for 2 hours - just long enough to get a really bad sunburn - ouch!! Went swimming a little but were worried because we saw lots of jelly fish! Ordered a pina colada - again 2 for 1 - not bad! But again people selling stuff constantly. If we had snorkel stuff we would have gone to Lover's Beach - that sounded like really great snorkeling area. But the beach we went to was real nice - lots of people and shade, music, restaurants, etc. Then we rented a wave runner, Got the price from $85 down to $40 for a half hour - had a BLAST! Very sore the next day - but lots of fun. Took another water taxi back to the pier - took the tender to the shore right in time and left at 4 PM. Gorgeous day! Oh and the water - oh my gosh it was the blue-ist turquoise I have ever seen - so pretty. Missed formal night that night - ph well - we just too tired to get dressed up. Went to Mermaids for dinner then saw "Vroom" the 10:30 show - so good! Songs from the '50s through the '90s - really entertaining
Day 7 - Saturday - Last Day
Wished we had 2 at sea days at the end - but oh well... just spent a relaxing day the pool, gambled a little, went to the debarkation talk at 11 - Chris the cruise director is awesome by the way - so funny and just really seems like a great guy who loves his job. After diner there was a funny ventriloquist - very DIFFERENT but funny! At dinner, we made sure to take down the names of all of our servers so we could list them on the comment card and give them a really good recommendation (along with our room steward). At the end of dinner - they played "Hot hot hot" and we formed a huge conga line around the dining room - it was so much fun! We them got on the list for early debarkation because all flights before 2 have to be on the list. We went to our room - packed up just about everything - put our stuff outside the door by 11 PM. After dinner went to the 10: 30 show - saw a magician/comedian... really great show and great way to end the trip.
Sunday - Got up at 6 -had top be in the Taj Mahal buy 7:45 - packed up last minute items - left a thank you not for our room steward with a cigar we bought him. Left a bunch of random things in our room we did not want - and told him to please rake anything we left if he needed it. Had breakfast at Mermaids. Got to the Taj at 7:40 - and right on schedule at 7:45 they had us line up to get off the ship. Had to have our passport or birth certificate ready, sign and sail card, and customs card ready. Got off the ship in about 10 minutes. Walked to the dome spent about 15 minutes in line for customs - no problems at all. Got our bags right away - lesson learned - I would definitely do early debarkation again - not too many people and got off fast - and found our bags quick - I would hate to sit around on the ship with nothing to do until 10 or 11 am! Got on to the bus for LAX (paid for the day before at the purser's desk - $19 per person to LAX) at 9 am. Our flight was not until 1:30 but for an extra $38 per person on Southwest, we got bumped to an 11 am flight!
Couple extra thoughts.... We were SO glad we brought these items: * over the door shoe holder * extension cord * refillable water bottles - great for Mexico * beach bag and backpack * aloe!! * lint roller * small pair of scissors (make sure you pack in your checked luggage * travel alarm clock - there is NO clock in the room * Ziploc bags - so handy!!! * clothespins
Wished we had brought - * More tank tops - it was SOOO hot!!
Finally, it was a wonderful vacation - and we went into it with high expectations - very friendly crew and staff - excellent food and service. Did not try David's, or the spa, or Camp Carnival (no kids) so can't comment on that. Did the free room service almost every day - limited menu - but great sandwiches - my hubby loved the BLT. Quick and friendly service. One thing I loved was the variety of lounges/bars they had with a variety of music from jazz, to a funny piano man, big bands, guitar player, disco, reggae/fun band at the pool, everything you could want. One other thing they constantly replay the previous days shows on your TV - very fun to watch if you missed them - especially the Newlywed Game! Only annoying thing on TV was "shopping Linda" - yikes! She went on and on about all the "Carnival recommended" shops - i.e. Diamonds International, etc. Had to change the channel - hahah. All in all like a said - great trip. I would definitely go back on Carnival!