We sailed on the pride from Dec 14th to 21st. We reached Long beach on Saturday evening. I was quite surprised with the Long beach airport. It is very small, has no aerobridge and the baggage claim area is outside in the open !!
Embarkation: Next day morning we reached the Long beach cruise terminal at around 11 am. We went to Queen Mary and got zone 2 as our boarding zone. The carnival agents at the embarkation counters are not the friendliest for some strange reason. We stood in five different lines before finally boarding the ship at 1 pm. The embarkation process is a real mess at Long beach. We had sunny weather while departing and it was okay to just lie on the grass and wait for the process to start. I can only imagine how it would be if it is raining or not a pleasant day to wait around.
The Ship: Pride is a beautiful ship with a grand atrium and a classy interior. There is nudity but it gels well with the decor. The taj mahal theater, normandie dining room and the various lounges are well done and very appealing. The fun shops are impressive too. The library was the only one that seemed inadequate.
Activities: There are a lot of activities on the ship. There are trivia games all through the day, miniature golf, hairy chest contest, newly wed game, water games, ping pong tournaments etc kept us busy during the sea days. The entertainment crew tried really hard to ensure everyone had a good time. Justin, Jamie and others were enthusiastic about the various events. The sports trivia contests were held in the Perfect game bar which is a smoking bar. The folks that came to play sports trivia had to endure second hand smoking and it was nauseating at times. Needless to say I did not go back to play sports trivia even though I was interested. The deck party was held on Tuesday night and it was fun. However this was the only family dancing event. The beauties club was 18+ and again a smoking avenue. I felt that the butterflies and Raphael lounges were under utilized as location for events. The show "Vroom" was the best of the lot and both the stand up comedians were very good. They had operational issues on the one of the shows at the Taj Mahal and it was canceled abruptly within 15 minutes.
Food: The quality was really good. The buffet food at Mermaid Grille had a lot of variety while still maintaining good quality. The island concept of segregating food was frustrating as the islands are far apart and it is not easy to navigate. Also on certain days a particular island would generate a lot of interest and the Qs would be quite long. One day I stood in line at the Asian island for over 20 minutes. Not acceptable. The "taste of nations" island changed cuisine daily and provided ample variety. It was Italian, Mediterranean, Indian, French, Caribbean, Mexican and American in that order. The dining experience was always exceptional at the Normandie room. The wait staff paid tremendous attention to detail and were on the ball every time. The melting chocolate dessert is to die for. I went six nights in a row on that thing.
PV: As you step out of the ship there is a tourism of mexico desk and they provide all the services. We booked a 4 hour city tour and got to see most of PV. This is a beautiful town with rustic charm, a nice boardwalk and nature at its best. Louis, our guide was fantastic and had a terrific sense of humor.
Mazatlan: This place too had the tourism desk and we booked the city tour. The city center church and market are a must see. The golden zone is the shopping and commercial part of the town.
Cabo: I did not see a tourism desk here and we got suckered into a timeshare conversation here. We lost precious time dealing with these creeps. We hired a glass bottom boat and got a tour of the arches, lovers beach etc. This was neat.
For the shore excursions we saved quite a bit by not booking through Carnival. In all the cases the child was free with outside vendors but Carnival charged full price.
Disembarkation: This was much better organized than embarkation and we were out of the ship by 10:30 am. We probably waited in Q less than 15 minutes.
Overall we had a great time on the trip and were sad to see it end.