Saturday, September 23, 2006 - my friend Rebeka & I met at Pearson International Airport at 8 am for our flight to Los Angeles. The flight was uneventful; however, I still find it weird to have to take my shoes off to go through flight security! Once at LAX, we took the "Super Shuttle" from the LAX airport to the Best Western Long Beach. The Super Shuttle was $17 per person, which was a darn sight cheaper than taking a taxi ($60!!), and quite efficient. Re: the hotel - the cliche of "you get what you paid for" is true - the hotel was approx $70 USD for the night (internet rate), however, it was in a less than stellar location. The room itself was quite clean (except for the blood stains on the sheets - yuck), but all the buildings in the immediate area had bars on the windows. The hotel was located at 17th Avenue and Long Beach Boulevard. Rebeka & I walked all the way down to 3rd Avenue to go to a great Seafood Restaurant - the return walk at about 6 pm was a bit scary, but we enjoyed stretching our legs. The afternoon front desk staff at the hotel was very nice & professional, however, the evening shift ignored us for at least 5 minutes while he chatted on a personal call - needless to say, we weren't favorably impressed!
Sunday, September 24, 2006 - we enjoyed the breakfast continental buffet at the hotel. The breakfast was high on carbs and low on protein, but it was cool to have "make your own waffles" available! Cream cruise on a bagel certainly isn't my favorite, nor my best breakfast, but it filled the hunger. The hotel had a complementary shuttle to the Long Beach pier, where the ship was docked, which we took at 11 am. We waited in line until approx noon when we were herded like sheep into the cruise check-in line. The lines were a bit frustrating, but overall, we were on the ship at about 1:30 pm. We headed up to the buffet and had a light lunch.
The Carnival Pride is an astoundingly beautiful ship!! The renaissance-style artwork was exceptionally classy and beautiful!! We checked out our cabin & were pleasantly surprised at how much cupboard & shelf space it had!! We were in a balcony cabin (we were upgraded 4 categories from what we paid for!), on the 7th deck (cabin 7210). The dEcor in the cabin was very pleasant golds, whites, creams, etc., and was very restful and calming. My suitcase came quickly, and Rebeka's suitcase & my "carry-on" arrived well before 6 pm. We enjoyed dinner & the first evening's show, and were asleep by 8 pm!! We were exhausted!
Monday, September 25 & Tuesday the 26th. These were the first two "sea days". Poor Rebeka broke one of her teeth on Monday morning on some Granola, so the poor lady was in extreme pain until she was able to get it attended to in Mazatlan (Thursday!!). I must admit that I spent my first morning in the Spa. I also must admit, that most of our time was spent resting, listening to the presentations, in the spa, eating, sitting in the hot-tubs, reading, socializing, etc., etc., etc. Both evening shows were pretty good, but not astounding.
Before I start discussing the ports, please realize that I have been to Mexico a number of times before, so I wasn't there for the ports nor the itinerary - I was there as part of the Prescription for Success conference!
Wednesday Sept 27 - Puerto Vallarta - Rebeka & I spent the day wandering around the shopping district of PV as we didn't want to stray too far from the ship because of her broken tooth. The shopping was pretty good, but I have to admit, it was pretty standard Mexican shopping faire... The weather was hot as hades & very humid. It started to pour rain at about 6 pm, so I'm glad we didn't go on land for the evening show!!
Thursday Sept 28 - Mazatlan - we took Rebeka to a local dentist that was recommended by the ship. He took GREAT care of Rebeka. We spent most of our day again wandering around the shops.
Friday Sept 29 - Cabo San Lucas - we went on the Santa Maria Cove Sail & Snorkel tour. The snorkeling at this cove is probably one of the top 3 places i've snorkeled, and believe me when I say i've done ALOT of snorkeling in alot of locations (Great Barrier Reef, Grand Cayman, Cabo San Lucas, Aruba, Cozumel, Costa Maya, Jamaica, and a few other places).
Saturday Sept 30 - the last of the three at sea days! Lots of fun, great food, etc&
Sunday Oct 1 - travel day home. Since our flight was leaving LAX at 3 pm, we were given priority disembarkation. The down side of this priority disembarkation meant that we were at the airport at 9:30 am and couldn't catch an earlier flight home! Let me tell you, spending 5-1/2 hours at the Los Angeles Airport was not my idea of fun! *sigh*. My wonderful hubby picked me up at the airport, and we were home by midnight.
Overall review of the Carnival Pride - I would cruise on the Carnival Cruise line again in a heartbeat!! The cabin was amazing, the food was amazing, the service was very, very good, the entertainment was mediocre (that was probably the only thing I was disappointed in), and overall, it was a FABULOUS vacation! It was DEFINITELY worth the money and I would wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone!