So you know. This is my fourth cruise, first with Carnival. The first three were with Royal Caribbean, twice to the caribbean and once to Alaska. I am 46, my wife is 41 and my son is 13.
Well we had a lot of fun. Embarkation and debarkation were the only negatives, but no more negative then another time I have gone through them. I guess we got there early (noon) but that really did not help. Too many lines to wait in. The ship inside does remind you of Las Vegas in the decor. If it is raining, bring an umbrella since most of the waiting happened outdoors for us.
We had a table for just the three of us. Food was pretty good, but then I am not very picky. Portions are smaller than restaurants I am used to, but this is good, since it leaves you more room to try stuff. The Mermaid Grill is a kind of buffet line, except that there are various stations that open and close on a schedule I could not describe to you.
After dinner we signed our son up for the 12-14 year old program. Frankly he loved running around with his friends. The only time I saw him was at dinner, bed time and shore excursions.
I really liked the shows. I thought the Las Vegas type stuff was better than I remember at RCI. The comedian was so/so, but the ventriloquist was great. The magician I missed, but the juggler was also great. They had a a duo called 2Slick in one of the lounges, that were just great, don't miss them if you can. The ship's band is excellent at its expertise of big band stuff. Did some Karaoke, some dancing to '50s and '60s (stuff I never do anywhere else).
The cabin was pretty good. It had a balcony that was pretty big, with two plastic chairs (one an adirondack type) and a small table. The bathroom was well laid out with shelving. The shower seemed larger with excellent water pressure. The TV got NBC, ABC and CBS (the last station only on the first and last full days of the cruise). The TV had the usual movies you could buy, a few that were free and the ability to interactively review your bill and reserve shore excursions. Unfortunately we were on the floor just beneath where the Calypso band played on the Lido deck and sometimes they played till 12:30 a.m. (the base makes it through the ceiling).
One thing about going Thanksgiving week is that there are an inordinate amount of children. I have one, so it did not bother me, except when they ran up and down the the halls in the middle of the night. I never heard the people next door talking, but I did hear them and everyone else on the ship adjusting their balcony furniture and closing their balcony doors (they don't slide they open out and bang shut).
The exercise area is two stories high, with a spa inside. It had a lot of exercise equipment and all the bells and whistles including massages, facials, steam rooms, showers and exercise classes ($10 extra for the classes). Their are two main pools, neither covered. There are three spas one of which is for adults only at the back. There is a water slide that actually does not end in a pool (strange). A basketball court, shuffle boards, golf clinic, indoor ping pong, and a topless bathing deck!
The ports were great. We did the dolphin swim in Puerto Vallarta, and that was a hoot (although expensive at $160 a piece). The shopping was the same in every port, fun if you like that like my wife does. In Mazatlan we did the hotel beach club thing, and that proved a nice respite from touring since we bathed in warm Pacific waters and my son and I did the Jet Ski (It was $50 for the two of us on on Jet Ski for 1/2 hour otherwise $40 for one). In Cabo we took a boat tour out to see the arch, but the boat was too big to get close, so next time we will just hire a water taxi and have them take us out closer and drop us off at Lovers Beach for a picnic. Cabo has a huge mall, as nice as any in the U.S. with a lot of upscale stuff. Otherwise the street shops were the same. We also bathed in Cabo, at Beach Club, but the water there has quite a bit of undertow unlike Mazatlan. Overall I liked Cabo the best because it reminds me more of the U.S.
All in all it was excellent and we would recommend it. Let me compare RCI with Carnival for you. Embarkation, debarkation is the same. Quality of rooms is the pretty much the same, with the edge to Carnival for the shower and TV variety and the edge to RCI for quiet balcony. The pools go to RCI -- they had a covered one. The exercise area to Carnival, much bigger. The food is even I think, although I liked the buffet line at RCI better. My son gives Carnival the win on the children's program. Even though the decor is nicer on the Pride, the amount of windows on RCI's new ships is very nice. Take your pick and have a good time.