Background: We sailed on January 4th.
We're veteran cruisers. We've sailed on 2 other Carnival ships, as well as Norwegian and Royal Caribbean. We'd done some reading ahead of time, so we were looking forward to sailing on one of Carnival's larger ships.
It seems to us like Carnival went out of their way to make this cruise totally forgettable...
Having cruised Carnival several times before, sailing out of both Florida and California, we knew that we could save time at embarkation if we got online and pre-registered for our "Fun Pass". In the past, this has always allowed us to move into a faster, shorter line.
Not at Long Beach. At Long Beach, they simply don't care who you are or if you did your pre-registration like they asked you to. Everyone gets in the same line. Everyone. Oh, they tell you "It's for your benefit." Sure it is.
Let's back up a step here... our taxi dropped us off at the terminal. We looked around no signage pointing the way, no clear indication as to where we should leave our luggage. We saw several families walking towards the ship area dragging all their luggage, so we thought, "Maybe they know where the heck they're going. Let's just follow them."
We later found out that there was a place back by the dropoff to leave your luggage. A sign would have been helpful.
OK, so now we enter the big white dome that once housed Howard Hughes' H-4 flying boat the "Spruce Goose". That's where we discover that it didn't matter if we had a FunPass or not they didn't care. OK, so that's 2 bad omens....
Our first reaction upon boarding the Pride was that the decor was dark, heavy, almost overbearing. Old-world Venice may be to some people's taste, but not ours. We much prefer the happy, colorful ships. We also noticed that everywhere you looked, the walls were covered with reproductions of Old Master paintings, primarily featuring naked women and naked cherubs, with the occasional naked guy thrown in for good measure.
Don't get me wrong we've got nothing against nudes. Have several in our art collection at home. I'm completely a fan of naked chicks. However, this was a cruise with a significant amount of children... and I heard plenty of awkward questions being asked of shocked parents as families wandered the ship. And if you go up to the premium steak house at the top, there's a replica of Michelangelo's "David" in all of his naked glory watching you while you eat.
Our cabin was fine pretty standard Carnival cabin. We met our cabin steward, and he seemed nice enough. I have sleep apnea and travel with a CPAP machine, and the way the bed was placed meant that I either needed an extension cord or needed to sleep backwards on the bed. Our steward arranged for an extension cord for me. Thanks.
Then we went to dinner. I had to laugh when I read the other negative review by a cruiser who sat at Table 105 we sat at Table 105, second seating, and our experiences mirrored the other cruiser's exactly. Right off the bat, our servers appeared to be bored and disorganized. Nobody seemed to know exactly who we needed to talk to to order a beverage. Finally, we all got our orders in.
That's when the fun began. In the past, we all received our courses in a well-choreographed manner. Plus the food has always been excellent.
Let's put the emphasis on "in the past".
Half of us got appetizers, half didn't. Then some of us got our salads, some of the appetizer no-shows finally showed up. The waiters then attempted to deliver our entrees.
Not once did we all get A) What we ordered and B) At the same time. Often, we'd just give up and eat what they brought so we didn't starve. One girl was still waiting for her appetizer when the rest of us were finishing dessert. And the food was mostly cold and/or tasteless.
We hoped it was simply first-night jitters, but it didn't improve at all the entire 7 days.
In the past, we've considered the premium restaurants once in a while, since they're usually only $10 a person more, and you get very good food.
Here, if you wanted to eat at David's, it was an extra $30 per person and from what we heard, you basically got the same food as the dining room. No thanks.
Does anyone know why they killed the midnight food show and buffet? Nobody on the ship could explain it.
On past Carnival cruises, the people at Camp Carnival did an excellent job creating a "shadow cruise" for the kids you really didn't see them until dinner time or debarkation. Not on the Pride. They were running everywhere, and the hot tubs out on the main deck pretty much ended up being jam-packed kiddie pools the entire cruise. I thought it was bad medical ju-ju to put an 6-year-old kid in a hot tub?
The ports and the friends we were traveling with were the only saving graces on this cruise. Bad food, bad service, amateurish entertainment, oppressive decor....
We won't sail on the Pride again. In fact, we'll probably try NCL again for our next cruise.