We sailed on the Pride to the Mexican Riviera on Sunday, October 19, 2008. Overall, the one-week cruise was a very good experience, and one that we would take again.
Embarkation - Boarding the ship was smooth. We arrived at the Long Beach port early, before 11:00 a.m., and were directed to the Queen Mary for an early check-in. We waited in the early check-in group until about 11:30, when we were taken to the ship for boarding. The process was well-organized. Once aboard, about 11:45, we found our stateroom to be made up and ready for occupancy. We then ate lunch on the Lido deck 9.
The Ship - The Pride is a beautiful ship. It has a much different (and I think more elegant) decorative scheme than the Carnival Miracle or the Costa Atlantica which share the same floor plan. Public areas are beautiful , especially the main dining areas. The artwork on the ship, includes some nudity, but this is tastefully presented and was not offensive to us. This particular cruise drew a lot of children. For the most part they were well-behaved, but totally dominated the main pools and hot-tubs, making it nearly impossible for adults to use the pools comfortably. Adults had a pool and hot-tub on the far-aft end of the ship and a hot -tub in the spa they could use. The large number of children sometimes also contributed to longer lines in the buffet areas.
Entertainment - We enjoyed the entertainment. The ships singers and dancers produced outstanding shows on a number of occasions. The outside entertainers, such as comedians, jugglers, etc. were just o.k. as far a quality goes. The Cruse Director and his staff were o.k., but not outstanding. The Cruise Director spends too much time and energy in showcasing his last name (Bronson), which he emphasized with a French tone to my annoyance several times during the cruise.
Ports of Call - We very much enjoyed all three ports. We hired van drivers in Puerto Vallarta and Mazatlan and were treated to excellent tours of the cities and surrounding areas. In Cabo San Lucas we enjoyed a boat tour and did some shopping near the port and enjoyed ourselves.
Dining - The food service in all areas was excellent. The staff is very friendly and nearly every one of them addresses you by name! The menus in the main dining room were varied and the food was generally very good, but not excellent. The waiters in the dining room only offered bread to us once each meal. We did not try David's, the specialty restaurant. Food in the Mermaid buffet area on the Lido deck was average to slightly above average. The desserts were much improved from previous Carnival cruises we have taken, and some I could even classify in the excellent category. We were assigned to a four-person booth-type table in the main dining room and enjoyed the arrangement very much.
Debarkation- The debarkation process went as smoothly as I have ever experienced. People who chose to take their own luggage off the ship early were taken off by floor number and this avoided a huge rush at the gangway. Other passengers left the ship by colors, but left in a very orderly fashion with no extremely long lines or delays. Kudos to Carnival! One year ago, aboard the Miracle we experienced a very long and unorganized debarkation in Fort Lauderdale....much different from the experience on the Pride.