This was my fourth Carnival Cruise, my first on the Pride and with this itinerary. Overall this vacation was great and one that I won't soon forget.
EMBARKATION - We arrived at the Long Beach Terminal about 12:00 p.m. We got off the bus that was provided by Carnival (transfer from LAX) and handed our luggage off to a porter. We then proceeded over to where the embarkation was to take place. I was terrified by reading the prior reviews of the horror story embarkations that other passengers seemed to have endured. I had small children traveling with us (2&8), and I was concerned the long lines and heat would cause them to become irritable. Well the heat was not an issue because the majority of the embarkation process took place inside that giant white orby thingy. The lines were long, and the entire process did take about 45 mins which was not bad compared to the hours that others have spent in line. Obtaining the fun pass in advance certainly does not save you ANY time and does not expedite any time in line. There is not even a specific line for fun pass holders although there is an arrow that says that it is. I think what happened is more people began obtaining the fun pass than what Carnival thought so the fun pass was longer than the non fun pass line. One tip, especially traveling with kids: Keep all your travel documents extremely handy during embarkation(passports, licenses, cruise documents, etc) as you will be asked for either about 100 times before you get on the ship. Put them somewhere where they will be accessible to you quickly. Once you get on board, a lot of passengers had purchased a lanyard to wear their sail and sign card around their neck. GREAT CHOICE!!! I was always digging for it in my purse and you're ALWAYS asked for that to get on and off the ship, for purchasing anything!! It's like your LIFE for seven days that darn card!! Anyway, back to embarkation. So that line moves fairly quickly and once that was done you take the ramp to the ship where you get a beautiful view of the Queen Mary. Great Photo Op!! Once aboard the ship, our rooms were not ready until 1:30 so we went up to the Lido Deck to eat.
STATEROOM - was a little on the small side but we made it. We had two beds pushed together for my husband and myself and my son slept on the couch that they make into a bed for you. Everything that the past reviewers have said about the comfort of these beds is true. I LOVED coming back to the room getting in these feather comfy beds with this wonderful bedding. Our room steward AGUS was the best. He knew all of our names the same day!! The room as ALWAYS immaculate and the towel animals each evening were one of the highlights of our cruise. We had a balcony room and I enjoyed it very much. This was my first balcony room and now is the only way to go for me!! We stayed next door to my sisters and we had them at the pursers desk open up the balconies so that we could share. That was amazing!! My two year old sat out there in the chair and just stared at the water and would say "OOOCEAN"!!!! It was great. I enjoyed waking up every morning we were in another port and watching the land come into view. For 3 days we woke up and were in a different part of Mexico, wow!! I was concerned at first about the balcony and my two year old, but it wasn't much of a problem because someone was always with him out there. He is a bit of a climber and I was scared he was climb up on the deck chair and try to get a better view of the ooooccean! LOL!! He never did, though. He was soooo in awe of the beautiful water he just sat and looked everytime.
Dining - Great!! I am a stay at home mommy that cooks meatloaf, sloppy joes, spaghetti and tacos all the time so I was determined to broaden my horizons as far as cuisine was concerned on this cruise. In the morning we always went up to the Lido Deck for breakfast. At sea days it is hard to find a seat around 9 or 10 so you have to go very early if you have a large party like we did. (There were 8 of us) I won't reiterate what they served because many of the reviewers have already done that, but I will add that in addition to the hot food, they also have danishes, muffins, croissants, and cold cereal which was a life saver for me and my picky 2 year old. For lunch there was sooo many choices!!!! I basically ate at whatever station looked good to me that day. Sometimes I would mix and match. I never really cared for the Asian station that much, but I enjoyed the Taste of the Worlds station that changed everyday. The gourmet pizza was not that great and neither was the sandwich station, but both are great for kids. DINNER DINNER DINNER was an experience every night. Fine dining at its best is what I call the Normadie Restaurant and the wait staff that works there!! Prime Rib, Lobster, grilled jumbo shrimp, filet mignon,fish entrees, chicken, excellent appetizers are all available. Plus the presentation is amazing!! Our waiter was Budayasa (Budda for short) and his assistant was Astrika. I wanted to take Budda home with me!!! He was sooo cute. The only down side to the dining was that was not quite as fast as the other cruises that I have been on. I don't know if they assigned them to more tables than in the past but there would be times that we would not see our waiters for a long time and there was a lot of time in between entrees and that was NEVER the case on previous cruises (Ecstasy, Sensation) Corrolla in the bar at dinner time took care of us, too!! She would always have our soft drinks waiting for us and dinner. She knew what we wanted and always remembered it. That was great too!!The dining room shows were fun. It was great to see Budda break it down!!
SUPPER CLUB - I didn't think that it could dining could get any finer than the Normadie on the boat, but boy did it get better. My husband and I left the kids with the family Tuesday night and celebrated our 11th anniversary in David's Supper Club. One word to describe the entire evening A M A Z I N G!! First of all, it is located on the tenth floor right under the funnel which is a very romantic location. We made reservations for 6:00 and were seated at a great table next to the window where we got a wonderful view of the ocean. Then we got another surprise, we got to see the sunset. I almost cried it was so beautiful. They bring a tray of raw meat to the table to show you what they serve and explain each cut. They had filet mignon, porterhouse, lobstertail, prime rib chop, etc. Each excellent cuts of meat. First the chef sent us out his recommendation for a starter. I had chilled tomato soup (WONDERFUL) and my husband had some type of fish roll. After that I had Baked french onion soup and I forgot what my husband had. Then we had warm chicken salad with blue cheese and some other fancy stuff that was divine. They came and fixed my husbands caesar salad tableside. The best salad I ever tasted. I ordered the porterhouse and my husband had the rib chop. Simply the best we've ever had. The desert was amazing as well, cheesecake!!! It is an additional $30 per person but it is well worth it, especially if you are celebrating a special occasion.
FUN FOUNTAIN CARD- Don't buy it unless you are a heavy soft drink consumer. I drink pop from time to time but decided to buy it because the water on board is so "fishy"tasting to me. I knew ahead of time that they had lemonade but assumed that they would use the water to make the lemonade, but surprisingly the lemonade was delicious, so I found myself making myself drink soda to make my card worthwhile. (This is a really long review, huh?)
CAMP CARNIVAL - Although I signed both my 8 year old and my 2 year old up, I only sent my 8 year old and that was just a few times. They have a Carnival Caper set aside just with their activities on it and we picked and chose which ones he wanted to do. I was not allowed to stay with my 2 year old so I chose not to send him. I am the type of parent that does not feel comfortable leaving my children with others that they don't know unless I have to because they are not old enough to tell me what is happening. So I kept him most of the cruise. My 8 year old LOVED it! He made new friends, and will have those memories for a lifetime. Next cruise I will send him more.
ACTIVITIES - Oh the people on the ship will keep you busy!! There are 15,000 things to do all day long so you are never bored!!
SERVICE - Everyone was VERY helpful and nice. Never had any problems with any of the employees on board.
PORTS OF CALL - Basically the ports got better as we went along. P.V. appears to be a poor city. People were bathing in the rivers and lots of houses had no doors or windows. Streets very narrow. We only did the bus tours in most ports because it was easier for us with the kids. MAZATLAN was a little better than P.V. Our bus tour guide, Maria, has been a tour guide for 30 years so she was very knowledgeable about the city. Mazatlan is more of an industrial city, as you see factories and things when you get off the ship. They had a beautiful church there we were allowed to get off the bus and view and we were also allowed to do some shopping for a few hours. The prices in P.V. and Mazatlan are cheap as far as street vendors. You can forget about in Cabo. I bought a tote bag in Mazatlan for 7 dollars, the same size was $15 in Cabo! CABO was by far the most spectacular port of them all. This place is unreal it's so pretty. We did the Semi Sub Tour where you go down into a sub to view the fish for the first part of the tour and then go up on top to see the Cabo arch and the sea lions. It's simply gorgeous. The semi sub is a good tour to do for kids, but watch and hold them up on top because they can fall through the protective ropes.
ENTERTAINMENT - The shows were overall okay! The show teaser the first night I would skip. It's just a little intro of what you will get all week. We went to the all around the world show which was just okay. The ventriloquist (don't know how to spell) was funny. My favorite show was Vroom!! It takes you through the 60's, 70's and 80's of music. It has wonderful special effects and props. The Legends show was very entertaining and good fun
DISEMBARKATION - Must be out of your room by 8:30 in the morning. Tip: Go in the dining room for breakfast as it may be quicker on disembarkation morning to avoid lines. We were #12 and were off the ship by 10:00 a.m. Everything was fine. It was easier getting off the ship than getting on!!! No problems there!!
SUMMARY- GREAT GREAT GREAT Vacation!! Looking to do it again next year!!