311 Carnival Pride Mexican Riviera Cruise Reviews

We drove to the Port of Long Beach and found it easily. we (3 adults, 2 kids) were among the first batch to go through the embarkation process so the line was long but we managed. once we boarded our photos were taken and we were directed ... Read More
We drove to the Port of Long Beach and found it easily. we (3 adults, 2 kids) were among the first batch to go through the embarkation process so the line was long but we managed. once we boarded our photos were taken and we were directed up the elevators to the mermaid's Grill buffet on the Lido deck. I decided not to eat and we headed to our staterooms which were nice and roomy. The ship had a lot to offer and is very largeThe food at the Mermaid's grill was okay. all I ate were omelets, grilled Ham & Cheese sandwiches, and pizza. the only issue I had was once the man just made me a grilled cheese sandwich without the ham. Maybe he understood me, as many of the crew an barely speak English. The dinner service was TERRIBLE. at the start the waiter brought us water and bread and then gave us menus. I got the "Kids" menu, meaning I get this pretty colorful menu with basic meals like fires, chicken nuggets, hamburger, etc. as a bonus I also get a crayon to color the menu (I guess 14 yearolds are children to Carnival). soon after ordering they bring us our appetizers (or entrees whatever you call the meal before the main meal) everyone except me got fruit, I got fries. after 50 minutes they finally brought our ordered food. I got a cold, hard hamburger. my parents got some type of shrimp cocktail that they didn't like. we ate dinner in the buffet for the rest of the cruise.the activities for me were in Circle C which was deeply hidden at the front of the 4th deck. the director was nice and had an easy job since none of the teens participated in the activities, that's not Carnivals fault thothe ports of call were fun although the ship was better. I opted to stay onboard in Cabo and walked around the ship along with watched Juno in the butterfly lounge.Disembarkation was a long process with a very long line but we managed and got off the boat around 10PM. Read Less
Sail Date June 2009
We are from Canada, so we flew into LAX a few days early to look around Long Beach. If you can stay at the Queen Mary, it is wonderful and they treat you like a real cruise ship would. On Sunday we checked in early using the Queen Mary ... Read More
We are from Canada, so we flew into LAX a few days early to look around Long Beach. If you can stay at the Queen Mary, it is wonderful and they treat you like a real cruise ship would. On Sunday we checked in early using the Queen Mary check in site. Since we stayed on the QM we knew where to go and what to do. the bellhops even took our luggage for us and we never touched a thing. Embark took a while, but it was sunny and we loved just hanging out and seeing the people, and it gave me time to give my wife a foot massage. Since we where in row #1 we where almost the first ones on, very cool ship, but first thing was they didn't direct us to our room. we found the room finally and it was ready to go so we dumped our carry ons and headed above deck to see what was going on. Meals- breakfast staff was sort of rude to us, to the point where my wife complained, then things got a bit better. I hate to ask for OJ 3 times in one meal and never get it. Lunch staff was no better, so we just ate lunch on deck or in ports. Supper staff could not have been better, singing and dancing and always smiling. Pizza, burgers and buffets where good, loved the fresh fruit. Activities- lots of Bingo,but it costs money to play, shows where out of this world, loved the comedians and music was great. we did play a few audience games and had lots of fun. Davids Club- we loved everything about this experience and were very glad we booked two nights. service is outstanding if not a bit stifling but the food was 100% point on. we were very surprised at the chefs coming to your table and even special desserts, worth every penny bar none. excursions are very expensive but we had the times of our life on MOST of them. the shopping excursion was nothing but jewelry shops but a very kewl lunch after at Playa de Mazatlan. Swam with the dolphins was worth it, but the cost of the photos will make you choke, and they don't give enough time to eat after, you must be very quick. Sea Treks is a must for anyone, very kewl fish and the people who run it are very nice. disembark was a breeze, we had a very leisurely breakfast then sat in the forward hall until we where told to get off. total wait about 1/2 hour, and we where the last numbers to be called. we even had the comedian come on for a short while to entertain us while we waited. ship was a bit dirty, garbage did not get picked up and a few of the statues where nothing but garbage pits, but we still loved it. Overall not a bad cruise but we will try another line for our next trip. Pride is a good party boat if thats what you are in to, but if you are looking to be super pampered you might look elsewhere. Read Less
Sail Date March 2009
Embarkation was fine. The port area near Queen Mary is under construction and there was confusion on where to go and the lines were long when we arrived. There were plenty of staff around to direct us. We had priority, VIP, boarding and ... Read More
Embarkation was fine. The port area near Queen Mary is under construction and there was confusion on where to go and the lines were long when we arrived. There were plenty of staff around to direct us. We had priority, VIP, boarding and eventually were able to find the VIP line and check-in area. Once onboard we went right to our suite and left our carry-ons in the room and then headed upstairs to eat and look around the boat. It was beautiful. It has a "Renaissance" art look with many paintings. I agree with other reviewers that there are a number of nudes in the decor but nothing tasteless. My 13 year old son thought it was funny to see all the nude pics, but it was fine. The room was very nice. We were on the 6th floor in a balcony suite and were very impressed with the room and all its storage. We unpacked and tucked our suitcases under the bed for the week. Used the suitcases as our hamper as the week went on. Used the jacuzzi tub once. The food was fine. We ate in the buffet during breakfast and lunch and ate in the Normandy Room for dinner every night. My husband loves the Chocolate melting cake and so did the little girls sitting at the table next to us, as they ordered it every night too. All dinners were very good. Lemonade and Iced Tea available for free 24 hrs. Ice cream also available 24 hrs. The Carnival buffet area is a little hectic at times, but if you wait a little after key lunch hours, it is fine and no line-ups were necessary. We didn't try David's, but did the hamburger stand at the pool and it was all good. We went to the gym on the first day and it was packed. Ended up walking the promenade deck. Second day we went to the gym and it was empty, but was extremely warm, so we left to walk the promenade deck again. On the last day we went to gym, as it was cold and windy outside, and it wasn't crowded. The shows were very good. Watched the singers and dancers, along with two different comedians. All were well done. It was hard to find a deck chair to lay out in the sun on the second day. Most people had their stuff strewn on the chairs reserving their places. The main pool area was crowded. The ports are nice. We've been on two sailings of this same itinerary, so we didn't plan any excursions. Debarkation was great and fast. We had VIP debarkation and were off the ship by 08:20 and in our vehicle driving home at 08:30. I would highly recommend the Pride for future cruises. This was the Pride's last trip in Mexico and it was heading to Baltimore. I'm sure it won't disappoint people in that location either. Read Less
Sail Date March 2009
This is my 7th cruise with the Carnival company. It was the first time for us to be on Carnival cruise line. I must say that I have never seen so many badly behaved intoxicaated passengers. They certainly kept the crew busy! Ist night in ... Read More
This is my 7th cruise with the Carnival company. It was the first time for us to be on Carnival cruise line. I must say that I have never seen so many badly behaved intoxicaated passengers. They certainly kept the crew busy! Ist night in the Normandie Dining room, I had to request the group of 20 something guys not to cuss and swear loudly, unfortunately, they were so drunk that they kept swearing profusely with lots of sexual conversation loudly spoken by some of them. No staff came to tell them to watch their language. In the end, I had no choice but to alert this to the waiter who then told me that he couldn't do anything but he would informed the Maitre D. After that night, we had no bad languages from them anymore. 2nd night, I was woken up at 3 am by my neighbours who were screaming and shouting, they were having a party next door. I had to bang on the wall next to them to get them to keep quiet. The late night buffet was scary, adults were using their fingers to take the cookies even though the tongs were in their sight. Teenagers were using their finger to take french fries when the crew weren't watching. It was also quite clear to us that someone was serving alcohol to underage teenagers. We have seen them walking unsteadily with a bottle of beer in their hand and wearing 4 inch heels. It was a miracle that none of them fell off the ship or broke their noses when they fell. Parents were not minding their children's behaviour, one night in the piano bar, I actually witnessed a 8-9 year old girl poking the pianist in his back with her mother by her side! That was a very rude behaviour and it was unbelievable. I have seen a group of 8-9 year old chidren running around and activating the handicapped button for opening the washroom door. Parents were letting their children roll around the floor of the Beauties lounge obstructing the path and preventing other passengers from walking. I walked into the female washroom several times to find that someone letting the tap water running at full speed. The cruise fell on St Patrick Day and there were much festivities on the Lido Deck, it started out to be a fantastic night with lots of line dancing with my daughter in our team. The crew on stage were very good in leading the team into competing against one another (all in good fun). We ended up in a very long Congo line, my daughter and I had a blast, loved the Grease song with the handjives movement. When the festivities stop, that was the time when all hell broke loose! There was an exceptionally large intoxicated man who walked into the dining area on Lido deck and started verbally harassing a group of teenagers. One of the passenger witnessed it and call staff to call security to deal with this man who happened to be at least in his early 30's, the wife of the intoxicated person was trying to "pry" him away from the teenagers. Security responded very fast but the situation escalated with him loudly swearing extremely foul language at those poor teenagers. It was witnessed by both of my children. Finally, the security managed to convince the man to go back to his cabin to sleep it off. I took the opportunity to have a teachable moment with my children, it was then I found out that he had pushed one of my children when he entered the dining area. The security person were very helpful and took down our report, while he was taking care of us, there were several other incidents of disturbances among the passengers. Clearly it was an extremely busy night for security dealing with intoxicated passengers. It would appear the Carnival has a policy to sell as much liquor as possible regardless of the age or intoxication level of the drinker. In any state, this would be illegal. But, the Carnival ship is not registered in the US and they are in the international water, so they get away with it. Carnival should not be calling themnselves a "Fun Ship" instead they should call this cruise "A ship of drunkerd fools" We did not think this cruise was suppose to be for family. In reality, Carnival cruise in my view is really a "party ship". That is fine with us just don't tell us that it is a family orientated cruise when in reality it is not. The interior of the ship was supposed to be a Renaissance theme. Instead, it looked cheap and tacky. Embarkation was a nightmare, we were there at 12.30pm, we did not get to the ship until 3.30pm. By the time, we got to the ship, we were so exhausted. All together there were 5 lines that you have to queue for. 1. Check in - it was an extremely long line, their computer were down, therefore even if you dd your on-line "fun pass". It does not matter. Apparently, Carnival has never heard of a back-up system. Another problem is that on-line registration was extremely difficult to navigate. In the end, I asked our cruise consultant to do it for us. We finally got our sign and sail card 2. Immigration - Line up to have your bags go through the security scanning machine and your passport checked. Some passengers were line jumping and went into an empty line that was reserved for passenger with special need, no one stop them. 3. After immgration, there was another line up to get to the entrance of the ship, this was to ensure that the embarkation photos was taken. Even though we had specify that we do not want our pictures taken, they still insist that we stayed in the line up instead of letting us pass through this process. 4. Next line up was to get to the gangplank, they had to limit the number of people on the gangplank. they were afraid that the gangplank will give way. 5. The last line up was to the entrance of the ship. In our experiences once you are on board the ship, we go straight into the ship to enjoy it. The line up was slow because that is when they take your picture for your sign and sail card. In our previous cruises, the pictures are taken when you checked in and obtain your sign and sail card. Never in all my cruises have I experiences so many line up to embark a cruise ship. Read Less
Sail Date March 2009
Background information: This is my 7th cruise with the Carnival Company. It was the first time for us to be on Carnival cruise line. We have travelled with Holland America and Princess to Alaska and W. Caribbean. Ship : The ... Read More
Background information: This is my 7th cruise with the Carnival Company. It was the first time for us to be on Carnival cruise line. We have travelled with Holland America and Princess to Alaska and W. Caribbean. Ship : The interior of the ship was supposed to be a Renaissance theme. Instead, it looked cheap and tacky. I must say that the elevators were the fastest that I have been, which is a good thing. I am not sure how old the ship is but they had alot of plumbing problem. The poor crew was constantly on the go in fixing problems. Twice, we had to inform front desk that our toilet couldn't flush, they did fix the problem as fast as they can. The bathroom located in the common area had their fair share of problems, no running water from the tap, another is the toilet were not flushing. Needless to say, it was pretty gross. The wake up feature on the phone was not working, therefore we had to call room service and front desk to give us wake up calls. Extra workload for the staff but they were very polite and good about it. Thanks to CruiseCritic.com reviews again, I was warned about only 1 plug in the room and I came prepared with an extension plug, saved our lives as we had our C-PAP machines with us. Make sure you bring a wide-mouth water bottle, your cabin steward only fills your ice bucket once a day. On Lido deck, you can fill it with water, lemonade, or iced-tea filled with ice. Activities: Children activities were good, both my children and my son enjoyed their activities very much. There were much activities for adults, we like trivial games and there were many on the ship, just make sure you get there 5 minutes before the games. The crew starts them very promptly. Service: The service were good and staff were friendly, I have yet to witnessed any of them having any attitude (I have witnessed quite a few on Princess cruise). Even the crew who are not directly serving you will acknowledge you with a "hello", "nod", or "smile". Staff at all level were good. Absolutely no complaint, they worked very hard. That includes the security staffs on Pride Port and Shore Excursion: Thanks to the many CruiseCritic.com reviews, we only took short excursion with the local tourism board. In Puerto Vallarta, my husband was not feeling well, so the children and I went down to the market outside the port to look around. We went to the big grocery store, Suriana to get Gatorade and my mexican pure vanilla extract. We then went back to the ship where the children spend alot of time at the pool where it was quiet. Yes, I did see the huge Sam's Club, Wal-Mart, and the shopping mall. Mexico is definitely more Americanized than the port of calls in the Caribbean. Mazatlan: We took a local 3 hour tour for US$25 each and went to the old town of Mazatlan, visited a 130 year old Church, the interior architecture of the Church was fantastic. You definitely see the old and new standing beside each other as the new air-conditioned mall was opposite the Church. We saw the cliff diver in action. Then spend the last 1 hours at a beach along the Golden Zone. If you are going in March, be prepared for the cold water of the ocean. But since we were running away from the cold, the children did not mind the cold water at all. As reported by CruiseCritic.com members, the beach vendors are in your face. I finally put on my shades and pretend to read a book ignoring them. I did buy t-shirts from one, be prepare to bargain and slash the asking price by 50% or try a bulk in reduced price. Initially, they wanted to sell me the t-shirt 1 for USD$10. Yeah, right... I managed to get 3 for USD$15. Cabo San Lucas: We did not do any tour since it was such a short stop, totally agree with the many members of not understanding why it was such a short stop when it is quite a nicer place to visit. We headed straight to Medano Beach as highly recommended by our members. Took a cab and paid USD$10 for 4 of us. Stuff on Cabo is definitely more expensive. Medano beach was very crowded but huge enough for you to stay away from the main crowd to find a place. The beach is crowded with people and the water is crowded with water-taxi, ski-do, so be careful when you are in the water. Since Cabo was sandwiched between the Sea of Cortez and Pacific, we thought the water would be warmer, wrong! However, that did not stop the children. Again with the beach vendors, the phrase "No..Gracias" was implanted in my brain! There was no time-share people in your face in all the ports that we went. Maybe it was the economic recession? Still the price that they asked for the properties were ridiculous, especially in PV. Entertainment: The comedians were very good, especially Jerome (he was hilarious!) except for the ventriloquist with the "snake" on his waist. The shows by the Carnival Pride dancers and singers were exceptional, by far the best we have seen. We totally enjoyed the show. The other thing that I liked is the team spirit, it was an extremely good concept, depending on which floor you are on, you are part of that team. The teams are divided into Carnival's color: red, blue, and white. In some trivial games, passengers who did not know each other were thrown together to compete as a team against other team. The concept is brilliant. Dining: The food was alright, on lobster night, I was quite disappointed, they were tough and at times salty. Although the melting chocolate cake was excellent. Passengers: I must say that I have never seen so many badly behaved intoxicated passengers. They certainly kept the crew busy! Ist night in the Normandie Dining room, I had to request the group of 20 something guys not to cuss and swear loudly, unfortunately, they were so drunk that they kept swearing profusely with lots of sexual conversation loudly spoken by some of them. No staff came to tell them to watch their language. In the end, I had no choice but to alert this to the waiter who then told me that he couldn't do anything but he would informed the Maitre D. After that night, we had no bad languages from them anymore. 2nd night, I was woken up at 3 am by my neighbors who were banging loudly,screaming and shouting, they were having a party next door. I had to bang on the wall next to them to get them to keep quiet. The late night buffet was scary; adults were using their fingers to take the cookies even though the tongs were in their sight. Teenagers were using their finger to take french fries when the crew weren't watching. It is a miracle that there was no Noro-virus outbreak. There were automatic dispenser at food station for your alcohol rub. Some of them were empty! No signage posted, reminding passengers to use the alcohol rub before they eat, no signage reminding passengers that they must use tongs to pick their food. I know that it is a no brainer however, having witnessed what some of the passengers were doing. I think they should be putting signage by the food station. It was also quite clear to us that someone was serving alcohol to underage teenagers. We have seen them walking unsteadily with a bottle of beer in their hand and wearing 4 inch heels. It was a miracle that none of them fell off the ship or broke their noses. Parents were not minding their children's behavior, one night in the piano bar; I actually witnessed an 8 or 9 year old girl poking the pianist in his back with her mother by her side! That was a very rude behavior and it was unbelievable. I have also seen a group of 8-9 year old children running around and activating the handicapped button for opening the washroom door. Parents were letting their children roll around the floor of the Beauties lounge obstructing the path and preventing other passengers from walking. I walked into the female washroom several times to find that someone had let the tap water on running at full speed. The cruise fell on St Patrick Day and there were many festivities on the Lido Deck, it started out to be a fantastic night with lots of line dancing with my daughter in our team. The crew on stage was very good in leading the team into competing against one another (all in good fun). We ended up in a very long Congo line, my daughter and I had a blast, loved the Grease song with the hand jives movement. When the festivities stop, that was the time when all hell broke loose! There was an exceptionally large intoxicated man who walked into the dining area on Lido deck and started verbally harassing a group of teenagers. One of the passengers witnessed it and call staff to call security to deal with this man who happened to be at least in his early 30's, the wife of the intoxicated person was trying to "pry" him away from the teenagers. Security responded very fast but the situation escalated with him loudly swearing extremely foul language at those poor teenagers. It was witnessed by both of my children. Finally, the security managed to convince the man to go back to his cabin to sleep it off. I took the opportunity to have a teachable moment with my children, it was then I found out that he had pushed one of my children when he entered the dining area. The security person were very helpful and took down our report, while he was taking care of us, there were several other incidents of disturbances among the passengers. Clearly it was an extremely busy night for security dealing with intoxicated passengers. Summary: It would appear the Carnival has a policy to sell as much liquor as possible regardless of the age or intoxication level of the drinker. In any state, this would be illegal. But, the Carnival ship is not registered in the US and they are in the international water, so they get away with it. Carnival should not be calling themselves a "Fun Ship" instead they should call this cruise "A ship of drunkard fools". We did not think this cruise was supposed to be for family. In reality, Carnival cruise in my view is really a "party ship". That is fine with us just don't tell us that it is a family orientated cruise when in reality it is not. I have to say the overall experience was good, but it would have been better if we did not have passengers who could not behave themselves. Embarkation: Embarkation was a nightmare, we were there at 12.30pm, we did not get to the ship until 3.30pm. By the time, we got to the ship, we were so exhausted. All together there were 5 lines that you have to queue for. 1. Check in - it was an extremely long line, their computer were down, therefore even if you dd your on-line "fun pass". It does not matter. Apparently, Carnival has never heard of a back-up system. Another problem is that on-line registration was extremely difficult to navigate. In the end, I asked our cruise consultant to do it for us. We finally got our sign and sail card 2. Immigration - Line up to have your bags go through the security scanning machine and your passport checked. Some passengers were line jumping and went into an empty line that was reserved for passenger with special need, no one stop them. 3. After immigration, there was another line up to get to the entrance of the ship; this was to ensure that the embarkation photos were taken. Even though we had specified that we do not want our pictures taken, they still insist that we stayed in the line up instead of letting us pass through this process. 4. Next line up was to get to the gangplank; they had to limit the number of people on the gangplank. They were afraid that the gangplank will give way. 5. The last line up was to the entrance of the ship. In our experiences once you are on board the ship, we go straight into the ship to enjoy it. The line up was slow because that is when they take your picture for your sign and sail card. In our previous cruises, the pictures are taken when you checked in and obtain your sign and sail card. Never in all my cruises have had had I experienced so many lines up to embark a cruise ship. Disembarkation: It was a breeze, I guess they wanted you to get off the ship quickly so that they can take the next set of passengers. Read Less
Sail Date March 2009
First time sailing out of Long Beach and honestly San Diego is still my favorite. We used www.redvans.com for shuttle service from LAX and this not only went smoothly but saved over CCL transfers. Once at the port, it was a fluster of ... Read More
First time sailing out of Long Beach and honestly San Diego is still my favorite. We used www.redvans.com for shuttle service from LAX and this not only went smoothly but saved over CCL transfers. Once at the port, it was a fluster of people, but Carnival did a great job funneling people on board. Once allowed to enter the terminal building, we were on board the ship in less than 15 min. Once on board we set out to explore this ship and compare to the other I have been recently. Although this was my first time on a Spirit Class ship, the layout is somewhat similar to others in the Carnival fleet. The decor was nice and nothing really stood out in a bad way. The ship was very clean as are everyone one of Carnivals I have been on. Muster drill was usual and went well, pretty organized actually. We were always able to find a deck chair, and really didn't notice things too crowded. The ship had several pools and hot tubs, and they were spaced out over the Lido deck. It offered a covered Lido that could be opened or closed as needed. The only draw back was the lack of a real entertainment spot on the lido like some of the other ships have, so if you wanted to hear some Caribbean music, you did have a big space to do it in. The CD on this trip was Mark Price. While he did an acceptable job, we had a hard time hearing him, as he seemed very soft spoken, additionally coupled with poor speakers around the ship made announcements like non-existent. The entertainment was good with the exception of a poor ventriloquist. I wont waste too much time on that, as I'm sure you are bound to get a bad act every now and again. The regular Carnival shows were amazing, and I highly recommend to catch them, and most notably Carnival Legends. The comedians were dang funny. Food lines were not too bad. The layout of the Mermaids restaurant was a bit scattered, which did help to avoid congestion in one area, but made for some trips around to get what you wanted or to make sure you didn't miss anything. We had the late seating dining in Normandy's. The food was okay, and came out cool, not hot at all, but still acceptable. I have seen a downtrend in food quality over the last year, but don't get me wrong its still great food, I really cant say anything too bad. Our waiters were poor, and not talkative. I am used to befriending our waiters over the cruise, but it was evident this was not going to happen here. Big not for Carnival, I think the Maitre D' should evaluate the staff and boot the ones not happy to be there. I think the dining room is where you want your outgoing friendly people. Ours this time was just down to business. We didn't want to make an issue and switch tables, because in the whole scope of things its probably not worth it anyways. Ports Puerto Vallarta. A great stop, with great weather. We did a snorkel excursion and loved it. Since the ship was staying till 10:00 PM when we got back from the snorkel, we went on board to shower than back off to do some shopping. We had a taxi take us to a shopping spot I think called Old Town? But was a very nice place, lots of fun shops, and lots our tourists, so you feel pretty safe there. We really had fun checking things out, and noticed more shops with unique things and even food, rather than the usual Mexican trinkets you see everywhere else. Mazatlan. Loved it!! Take the Stone Island tour and you wont be sorry. We went into it thinking Mazatlan would suck, mostly due to the lack of tours, but were we wrong. A short boat ride from the ship and we were at Stone Island. They took us via tractor to a beach area that had a whole host of activities from an Ultra Light ride, to ATV's and other beach stuff. They feed you lunch as part of the tour and also offer either horseback riding or a carriage ride as part of the package. Atv's were extra but cheap, Like $20. There were lots of cabanas and chairs to lounge in, it was truly a relaxing experience. I loved Mazatlan. Cabo San Lucas. This was my third time there, and still had a lot of fun. Cabo is a place that there are many people selling tours on the pier, so it does offer some choices if you chose to book there. We did a beginner Scuba tour with a company called Amigos Del Mar, and it was loads of fun, and best yet its good for everyone as you don't need to be certified. The pier offers lots of shops and restaurants as well as a few massage places to unwind and relax. the only bad thing about Cabo, due to being a tender port, the ship leaves early as the water tends to get choppy in the afternoon, so it does not leave a bunch of time there. Debarkation SUCKED! One because our vacation was over..LOL but also because it took forever. We did not get off until around 10:45-11:00 Were were told because all the crew had to exit and do something regarding their passports and visa with CBP. Regardless it was very poor communication, and made for a lousy debarkation. Overall it was a great cruise. My only complaints were marginal, so really not too bad. Carnival does a great job of getting everyone to have fun, and even with a quiet CD or other minor issues, we still had fun, and still love Carnival. I would sail the Pride again. Read Less
Sail Date March 2009
Mexican Riviera cruise review on Carnival Pride, Feb 22 - Mar 1. Ports of call, Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan and Cabo San Lucas. This cruise was planned for our kids to sail with us for the first time. Son age 14 and daughter age 17. ... Read More
Mexican Riviera cruise review on Carnival Pride, Feb 22 - Mar 1. Ports of call, Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan and Cabo San Lucas. This cruise was planned for our kids to sail with us for the first time. Son age 14 and daughter age 17. DH & I cruised twice before with the last trip on the Spirit (Pride's sister ship) last April. Daughter wasn't interested in cruising but wanted to swim with dolphins and son didn't want to get off the ship and complained when we "made" him swim with dolphins. Lol. This cruise was a lot of fun and a great memory for my kids. Some of my comments might seem critical but just explaining for people that are considering Carnival, the ship or the itinerary. Overall assessment is it was a great cruise, great value, with room for improvement. TEEN CLUBS: Well son had a great time on the ship and was in heaven. He met several kids from Circle C even though there were not many kids on our trip. We traveled during school so he said there weren't very many kids in the Circle C. When I'd see him in Circle C playing video games, I usually only saw about 5 or 6 kids. My daughter was at Club 02 meet & greet the first day and there were 3 teens in there just sitting around & talking. She didn't seem to want any part of it. She's very mature for 17 and most people thought she was 19 or 20. The teen director said there were 16 teens on the trip but only a few were involved in the club. She hung out with her father and I mostly but she did participate in a couple of the club activities toward the end when she got bored hanging out with her parents. Teen clubs were okay but I'm sure they would have been a lot better if we sailed when kids are out of school. Spring break or summer would be better for kids to enjoy the teen activities. Video arcade was expensive. About $1/game and they only had a few machines. Air hockey was $1.25/game. Free activities onboard are basketball, mini-golf and ping pong so kids seemed to do that the most. Circle C had dodgeball competitions and son really loved that. They also had Wii & Guitar Hero competitions. EMBARKATION @ LONG BEACH: The good, bad and ugly. Parking was wonderful. Covered parking garage right next to the loading zone so very easy. When we got there, around 9:30 am, we saw lots of people standing around so we assumed they were for the cruise. No signs anywhere directing us where to go. Turns out those people were departing the ship. After I couldn't stand much longer (bad back & muscular dystrophy) I asked for wheelchair to sit in when I saw a CCL employee next to a wheelchair. She was very friendly and directed me to the Queen Mary for early check in and showed me where to wait after checkin. She and another man said they would find me once our group was called to board to make sure I had a wheelchair to sit in. They said they needed the wheelchairs for the departing guests but assured me I would get one when the ship was unloaded. They never came and I was in quite a bit of pain from all the standing we had to do. After we checked in at Queen Mary, we were told to sit on the benches outside in our zone. Thankfully it wasn't raining on us even though the weather called for 30% chance of rain. It actually was a very nice cloudy day and we were onboard around noon. The part that really bothered me most was the fact that I had to stand a lot which was my biggest worry for embarkation. My TA conveyed to Carnival that I needed a wheelchair to sit in if chairs were not provided and they didn't have it for me. Once we left the outside waiting area, there was nowhere to sit. They made us stand thru a couple different waiting areas until we boarded so I had to stand about 45 minutes which is a killer on my back. Good thing we had zone one. I would hate to think how it would have been if we had zone 16 or whatever. Lesson learned for Long Beach in future cruises is wait to get to the pier until after 1pm after the dust settles on the early arrivers. I wanted to get lunch onboard and heard about the seating at the pier so I figured it would be better to get there early and have a seat instead of later and have nowhere to sit. Perhaps I should have waited. PRIDE SHIP: The ship was great. I love the Spirit class ships. Very easy to navigate and laid out really well. I personally like the dEcor on the Spirit better than the Pride but both were fine and elegant. LAUNDRY: There was a laundry room on our deck that I used. Only had 1 washer and 2 dryers, an ironing board and iron and vending for soap & softener. $2 to wash, $2 to dry, 1$ each for supplies. So basically $5/load. Jeans didn't dry completely on the $2 dry cycle but otherwise okay. They offered $15/bag service on the last 2 days but the bags were pretty small so I opted to do it myself. Usually don't do laundry on vacation but since we had 4 of us and of course didn't pack enough of the right stuff, we ran out of shirts and jeans. ROOM: Rooms were spacious and everything I imagined. I had a 5A category which was reclassified as 4F. Obstructed Ocean View room #4194 and it was between lifeboats so I had a view out the window/door. We could open the door to feel the temperature outside and get fresh air from time to time. The beds were a little worn. DD slept on the pulldown bed from the ceiling and she said it wasn't comfortable. DS slept on the sofabed and also said it wasn't comfy. My bed had an obvious dip in it from wear. You could see one side of the bed sunk in while the other was fine. It was not really uncomfortable though. I slept fine but sure appreciated my temperpedic when I got home. We all love the Carnival bedding. Sheets and comforter were awesome. Our room steward was pretty good. His name was Tomi and he was friendly and always took care of our room when we left. With 4 of us, it was sometimes hard for him to get in there to clean cuz someone always seemed to be in there. We would see him cleaning a cabin & would let him know everyone was out and he would clean our room while we were out. He cleaned a couple times while one of my kids was still in there. I know that is an extra burden for him. He wouldn't take away the contents of the wetbar so we had to remove the contents and stash them in a cabinet until the end of the cruise. That was different than our first CCL cruise but he did great other than that. We tipped him an extra $20. He probably deserved more but funds were tight since hubby's job took a 25% cut in pay 1 week before our cruise left. When he got back, there was a layoff notice and his name wasn't on the list - whew! FOOD: The food in the dining room was awesome as always. Even my kids ventured to try new things. I'm not sure I would say they are picky eaters but when they ask me whats for dinner and I say pot roast, they say "Ew, can I make mac & cheese?" Lol. DS had salmon, lobster and shrimp which surprised me. DD who stopped eating beef had steak almost every night. DS even tried the lobster bisque. He didn't eat it but he tried it and said it was edible but would rather have the mango cream I had instead. I love their chilled fruit soups. All the desserts were fabulous. DS ate chocolate melting cake every night and finished it. Yikes. I get halfway thru and it is yummy but too rich to finish. Their bitter n blanc is wonderful as is their grand marnier soufflE. Lobster was decent size. I ordered 2 and had a hard time finishing. Even when we were stuffed to the gills and couldn't eat another bite, our waitress insisted on bringing us something. She said oh you have to try this and plopped it front of us. Andari was her name and she was great. Buffet to me is not very good. The deli made some great grilled Rueben sandwiches. Kids said the pizza was good but the sauce could use something. Wasn't enough of it or flavorful enough but the crust & toppings was good. The grille was great and it should have been open longer. 11am to 10pm would have been perfect. My biggest gripe with their buffet is for the second formal/elegant night. Nothing appetizing & most stations were closed. That is the night that most people skip out on. They don't want to pack nice clothes due to airline weight restrictions or just don't want to get all gussied up when on vacation. One elegant night was enough for us but the buffet was un-appetizing to say the least. So while people in the dining room were eating Chateaubriand, we had deli sandwiches. We couldn't even get a burger cuz that closes late afternoon. ENTERTAINMENT: I didn't go to many of the shows or activities on the ship as I'm a karaoke fan so that usually took priority. We did attend the hypnotist show and thought that was lame. Mark Price, cruise director, was the hypnotist and he almost put me to sleep. Boring while he was trying to put people under the spell. A few people he released cuz it obviously didn't work for them. A couple other people seemed like they were "acting" hypnotized. Not fun. We were eating lunch on the lido deck when the hairy chest contest started. When I mentioned to the family that we should go, they all said no but since we were eating when it started, they stayed & watched and we all laughed a lot. Lots of fun. We also watched the ice carving at lido. We played a couple rounds of mini-golf which was a lot of fun. We enjoyed that for family time together. DH got into a basketball tournament. Son shot baskets with some friends a lot and he also had lots of dodgeball competitions among his new friends. KARAOKE: Fun but disappointing. Good singers but some of the people that tried out for the legends show were not good enough to be in it. A few were awesome. Lenka was our KJ and we enjoyed her and she knew what she was doing. Able to do key changes, large selection of songs, and she let me use my own CDG's after asking if they were "clean" songs. The part that disappointed me was that they ended wayyyy too early. It usually only lasted 90 minutes and ended most nights by 9:30 or 10:15. Second dinner seating were not able to participate cuz they were still eating dinner. I'm glad I had first seating or I would have missed it every night. Carnival will hear from me about this. I go to karaoke every night and prefer that over other entertainment shows. They definitely should have had late night karaoke. When I was on the Spirit ship, karaoke ended at midnight and that was only because some people complained of the noise in their cabins. The Pride has other activities scheduled in the Butterflies lounge at night so the karaoke had to end early enough for the hypnotist show etc. Bummer. PUERTO VALLARTA: Temp was about 85. Comfortably warm. I'm from Arizona so used to the heat. We had no plans there and didn't wander far from the ship. DS didn't even want to get off the ship but we made him. We walked to Walmart. The store wasn't anywhere near the condition that USA Walmart is. But we got our supplies we needed and souvenirs and walked back to the ship to drop off our stuff. We then got off the ship to walk to Krystals Resort. We weren't sure how to get there but asked someone how to get to the beach access and they pointed to a fence by one of the other resorts and walked along the beach passing different resorts. Found a bar and tried to order beer and they wouldn't sell to us since we were guests. I asked how to find Krystals and they pointed down the beach. We kept walking and found another beach side bar and asked if it was Krystals (not marked) and they said yes so we ordered our drinks. They let us use their pool which was really nice. Big pool with different activities going on like volleyball in the water. DD enjoyed watching these nice looking guys playing ball. Probably the highlight of her trip lol. That evening, the Osterdam was pulling out of port and we got into horn wars between the ships. That was fun and I got it on tape which was really cool. Then as the Osterdam passed the NCL Star that was anchored in the harbor, they got into a little battle. All fun. MAZATLAN: No excursions planned so we just took the tram to the little shopping area. DD & DS got a 15 minute massage. Didn't look very good but it was only $15 each I think. I found a necklace I wanted and tried to talk her down to $10 and she said no so I walked away. Found another one that interested me but I never asked how much but as I walked away he said two bucks - ears peaked so I turned around and said two bucks? Sold. DD saw a dress she liked and the lady was desperate and offered it to her for $5 but she didn't get it. When we went to Cabo, they were all $15 and not willing to negotiate. Skipped that so she never got her dress she liked. Should have got the $5 dress I guess. CABO SAN LUCAS: Kids swam with dolphins at Cabo Dolphins. I pre-booked the excursion thru the ship so it was paid for already. Well worth the money. DH & I did it there last April and loved it so we booked it for our kids. While DH & I sat in the viewing area, the kids were placed right in front of us instead of on the other side of the pool so I was really glad they were so close to us. DS hates getting water in his eyes and they wouldn't let him use his goggles so he didn't want to do much and turned his head everytime there was a splash. DD really enjoyed it and did everything. I bought the CD for $99 which normally includes 8 pictures but they let me select 10 images plus I got lots of other standard photo's that came free with the CD like pictures of all 7 dolphins dumping at once in formation, aerial photos of the facility etc. Well worth the $99. However, when I tried to develop the film at Walmart back in the USA, they refused to print professional photos without a release. I told them US laws don't work in Mexico but they refused. It was clear that the CD was sold to me from Cabo but they wouldn't reprint professionally. I sent an email to Cabo Dolphins and they emailed me back a release letter so I'll try it again. The swim included feeding him, dancing with him, dorsal fin ride, kiss on the cheek, plus he did all sorts of tricks for them too like bouncing a ball from his nose and ring around his nose like a hoola hoop. Very memorable. After the dolphin swim, we walked along the marina to various shops and a mall then back to the ship. PAST GUEST PARTY: Drinks were tasty that hostesses passed around. We drank 3 each during the hour. Not enough alcohol in them but they sure tasted yummy. They pushed the Seamiles credit card thing here and at lots of activities like the debarkation talk. They keep pushing it but I personally am very disappointed with the card and will likely cancel it without using the accumulated seamiles. I've got about 14K in seamiles and it just seems useless. I guess you need to be a big gambler and have lots of onboard charges to make it worth it. My sail & sign bill for the 4 of us was $545. That was after the $150 OBC plus an additional $60 they gave us for port credits. Considering half of that was gratuities, I think we did pretty good. Spent $120 on the photos, drinks every night at the karaoke club, DoD's and a couple souvenirs. Pretty good to walk away with only $545 owed. DEBARKATION: We got luggage tag #19 so we knew that would take forever to debark so we opted to do self assist so we could get off as soon as they announced deck 4. It took awhile for customs to clear the ship so we could start disembarking. Usually by 7:30 but it took until about 8:30 before they started announcing groups to leave. We got to get off the ship around 9:15am and we were on the road around 9:45am for our drive back home. End of our cruise and vacation over. Bummer. Sorry for such a long review but as you can see, we had a great cruise and Carnival is a great value. We got our moneys worth for sure. Read Less
Sail Date February 2009
Embarkation: We flew into LAX early Sunday Morning. I had arranged a car service to get us to Long Beach. Several Carnival meet-and-greet staff stopped us when they saw are Carnival luggage tags and asked if they could help, ... Read More
Embarkation: We flew into LAX early Sunday Morning. I had arranged a car service to get us to Long Beach. Several Carnival meet-and-greet staff stopped us when they saw are Carnival luggage tags and asked if they could help, although we did not need their services. We arrived at the Long Beach Cruise Terminal around 9:30am, and a porter took our luggage as soon as it hit the sidewalk. We followed directions and signs to the Early Check-in office on board the Queen Mary. No lines to check in, but we did get a trainee who was obviously very green and nervous. After swiping our credit card and passports about a dozen times, a supervisor finally came over and helped him. Sign and Sail cards in hand, we were directed to 'Zone 2'. This was the only point at which there was a little confusion. We were actually so early that nobody else was in Zone 2, so we weren't sure if we were in the right area. A Carnival employee arrived very shortly thereafter and assured us that we would be boarding the ship some time around 11:30. NOTE: If you arrive early, there are very few benches to sit on. You might end up standing for almost two hours, outside, in a non-covered area. This wasn't a problem for us, as we secured a bench and enjoyed a beautiful Southern California morning. When it was time for those of us in 'Zone 2' to board the ship, we were herded into the cruise terminal, through security, and into holding lines. After those passengers needing assistance and VIP cruisers were boarded, we made it on board. By 11:45a, we were having lunch on the Lido deck, drink in hand, ready to relax! We had been told repeatedly that rooms would not be accessible until 1:30p, and they were not kidding. The fire doors to our hallway were not opened until almost exactly 1:30. The Ship: The Pride is a beautiful, clean, easy-to-navigate ship. It seems we could always find a 'hidden' little place to hang out. (Don't miss the Sunset Garden. Most of the people we talked to on board never even knew it was there.) If artistic nudity offends you, you are going to HATE cruising on this ship. Paintings and statues of naked cherubs, women, and men are all over the place. You can't escape them. If this is going to bother you, seriously consider a different ship. The gym/spa area is great (and free). The buffet is the craziest, most inefficient layout I can ever remember on any ship. By the time I got what I wanted and got back to the table, the food was cold. I didn't dine there unless scheduling dictated. Our Cabin: This was our first Balcony cabin (we usually opt for an Ocean View). The balcony, while small, was fantastic, and I don't know if we'll ever be able to cruise again without one. The room itself had tons of storage and counter space (remember, this is all relative to other cabins we have had, not 'the real world'). The shower was actually big enough that the shower curtain didn't stick to me during the entire showering process. There is only one electrical outlet in the room, so bring a power strip if you are going to need to power more than one thing at a time. Also, our wakeup calls were a little spotty, so you might want to consider an alarm clock of some type. The Staff/Crew: Our cabin steward was fantastic, as was our dining room team. I can honestly say that every crew/staff member I encountered was friendly, professional, and polite. Mark Price, the cruise director, and his staff did a great job. The Food: I rated the dining room food as slightly better than most cruises I've been on, and quite a bit better than any Carnival cruise I have been on. The buffet food was on par with what I expect (but see my comment above about the buffet layout). Dinner at David's Steakhouse was fantastic, and very well worth the $30. Don't skip the cheese course! Disembarkation: We had a pre-2:00pm flight from LAX, so the purser's desk provided us with 'Group 2' tags. We did not self-assist off (Mom can't carry all her luggage down stairs), but we were in the second group off, breezed through customs, and walked straight to a waiting taxi. Carnival REALLY did it up right with this cruise, and I will no longer hesitate to sail with them in the future. Thanks! Read Less
Sail Date February 2009
Flew into Long Beach airport on Jet Blue. Quick $23 taxi to a hotel. We stayed for two nights at the Courtyard by Marriott prior to the cruise ($50/night on Priceline). Day of the cruise, we ambled to the supermarket within walking ... Read More
Flew into Long Beach airport on Jet Blue. Quick $23 taxi to a hotel. We stayed for two nights at the Courtyard by Marriott prior to the cruise ($50/night on Priceline). Day of the cruise, we ambled to the supermarket within walking distance of the hotel, picked up a few bottles of wine (deciding at last minute to not use our rum-runners though liquor was available at the supermarket), and hopped a cab to the port (another $30). Arrived at the port at 10:45am, had our luggage whisked away by two porters who were very happy to help ($5 tip). They pointed us toward the Queen Mary for check-in. We walked up to the counter in the Queen Mary with little-to no wait, and had our sign-and sail cards, and told to go to Zone 1 outside within minutes. When we walked to the area for Zone 1, we were told they had already left, and to head to the dome. After security screening (where our bottles of wine could have been bottles of booze easily), we were on the ship within 15 minutes. Either things have vastly improved since other reviewers... or people area really to sensitive. The ship decor is gorgeous. Dark and romantic. Depictions of great artwork is everywhere. People saying the ship is tacky or nudes are not tasteful are really ridiculous to me. It was elegant and classy feeling. The decor alone made us want to cruise on it again. (The giant painting across from the Glass Elevators made me want to ride them every time we needed to go anywhere mid-ship.) We took our bags up to Mermaids (Lido Buffet) and there we encountered just about the only line during the entire cruise (except for the last sea day, where again, the buffet was a little busy.) For the rest of the cruise, the Lido Buffet was fine. Breakfast was the same each day, but enough variety that you can enjoy yourself. Alsoseeing as how we ate room service a few days, dining room breakfast another day... its plenty of variety. Also, some of the best scrambled eggs I've had. (And I'm hard to please.) Our cabin was ready a little before 1:30pm, and lordy what a cabin it was. Cabin 8237, a 9A cabin. It was by far in the best location on the ship. Steps away from Mermaids, right next to the elevators (leading to the dining room directly below), adult pool right by. Simply fantastic. Hardwood floor entry, three chairs and a table on the balcony. Bathroom regular size, but all granite countertops and shower made it feel really nice, despite the normal size and no tub. (Do people really use a whirlpool tub on a cruise?) A large group (WorldPac) took up the entire second seatingso we had early seating. It turned out to be quite the nice surprise. Our table for 8 only had us, and one other couple. We (two guys) got along swimmingly with them (two guys) right away. We all compared notes about our entrees and days in port, etc. Great fun meeting strangers. Carnival magically seats like-minded people together! The first two days at sea were wonderful. We explored the whole ship, which was beautiful. Didn't win the Spa raffle, didn't win the jewels raffle, didn't win the art raffle, didn't win at bingo, or the slots, or blackjack. I did, however, win the Name That Show-Tune game (getting every single song correct, I might add). The sunsets on the way down to Puerto Vallarta were breathtaking. (Starboard side). I had brought a little pair of mini-speakers for my iPod. Played it quietly on our balcony as we watched the sunset and sipped champagne. We used an album by "Burning Sky"... great ambient native american music. A great soundtrack for this cruise itinerary especially. I don't think we said two words to each other for 30 minutes listening to the music and watching the sky turn fire-colored and sun dive into the sea... Great memory. First Port: Puerto Vallarta. We got off the ship after the crowd around 10:00am ship time. Faced the gauntlet of photographers putting birds on your shoulder and posing with people in "native" outfits. Walked to the Krystal Resort using the cobblestone street directions found on the board here. The guard let us in no questions asked. Got a great deal on massages we had booked in advance. They gave us a choice of inside or outsidewe opted for the massages in the bambo-covered tent on the beach. It was bliss. The construction was in the background, not bothersome. The sound of waves and clinking glasses at the nearby restaurant... Just bliss. The breeze and weather, just perfect. Had a cold beer at the bar after our massages, then head back for the ship to freshsen up for our evening excursion. That night we did Rhythms of the Night. It was, in short, the best shore excursion and most beautiful, romantic setting I could describe. The boat ride over (45 mins) was pleasant the crew great drinks tasty, and music and view appropriate (even saw a whale jump). The show was... not quite Cirque Du Soleil.. but impressive for an outdoor show during the daytime. As we left the theater, the sun was setting... and all of the candles and torches were lit. It was incredible. (The food was delicious too! Great fish, tortillas, chicken, salads, veggies, on and on. And Desert yummy too!) I run out of adjectives describing how pretty it was. We were sad we didn't have more time on the island to enjoy walking around and listening to the drums and crickets. On the boat ride back, the crew broke out the shots of tequila to soothe full stomachs (so they say)and honestly did a great job of keeping the mood up. We gave them a good tip on the way off the boat very much deserved. Second Port: Mazatlan: Dense fog moved in, delaying our arrival. We decided to stay on the boat and have a Spa and Gamble day. It had been a long day prior, and we just relaxed. I headed off to the spa. I got another massage (A aromatherapy hot stone massage... ohh so great.) Then enjoyed the steam room, the sauna, the jacuzzi, and the spa shower with 5 shower-heads. I returned to the stateroom, read more of my bookand drank wine, drank wine through dinner, drank wine after dinner.... ... and to bed early. We woke up the next day in Cabo invigorated and well rested. Last Port: Cabo San Lucas: Booked a whale watching excursion through the Pez Gato. Oh my! What another wonderful time. We wandered around the port for a little while, then hopped on the boat. Relaxing music, perfect weather. The crew was, again, fantastic. As we sailed around the Arch and Lovers Beach we couldn't help but feel like we were in some romantic movie. Just spectacularly relaxing, and yet thrilling, what with the whales. It was like a race once all the boats would see a whale. Saw lots and lots, some jumping, most just taking a breath or two and going back down. Thank god for sunscreenI even got burned even though I reapplied spf30 every 30 minutes... strong sun. Last Sea Day: I had rehearsal for Carnival Legends (see below). The way back, we had fog and the weather got much cooler. We put on comfy clothes sat on the balcony for a while staring into the creepy-mist. Then we rented a movie on the TV and ordered a ton of room service. Drank more wine, and snuggled in the comfy bed. A great day to rest before going back to the real world. That night, we said goodbye to our dinner table-mates, I sang in Carnival Legends, then had some last rounds of drinks and last pulls of the slot machines. The next morning, our luggage was gone from our door, we were called by 9:15am, and were off the ship and heading to the airport to battle our way onto a plane heading back to DC. Home in DC, snow had started to falland was starting to blanket our car in the parking lot as we packed our suitcases into the trunk, and headed toward home. Other highlights: - A woman walked up to the 2cent slot right after I finished playing, and she won the BMW (or $25k). - I had a lil' tequila shot courage, and auditioned for Carnival Legends when we got back from Rhythms of the Night in Puerto Vallarta... and I ended up being Frank Sinatra! So glad I did it though it was a lot of fun! The crew was great backstage. - Tea Time on sea days is lovely met great people there again too especially a couple from Minnesota. Twice we got chatting with the gals, and realized it was almost dinnertime! - Davids Steakhouse. We did it twice it was so good. Escargot to die for. - Elegant night photos. Somehow, a cruise-ship photographer was able to capture the best picture my partner and I have ever taken together. We bought the package and are sending pictures to our mothers THAT's how good. Read Less
Sail Date February 2009
This was our seventh cruise, but first on the west coast ... all others have been in the Caribbean. I read a lot of reviews prior to our cruise in an attempt to get a feel for what to expect, since we had never sailed out of Los Angeles ... Read More
This was our seventh cruise, but first on the west coast ... all others have been in the Caribbean. I read a lot of reviews prior to our cruise in an attempt to get a feel for what to expect, since we had never sailed out of Los Angeles (Port of Long Beach). EMBARKATION We arrived in LA the day before our cruise and we stayed on the Queen Mary. This was SO convenient ... right next to the Carnival cruise terminal. We registered for the early check-in at 9:30 a.m. and then hung around for an hour or so. We got into our zone for pre-boarding around 10:30, and by 11:30 we were on Lido deck having lunch. It was by far the fastest embarkation of our seven cruises. After reading alot of message boards I was concerned about the "Art" onboard the Pride. My preference would be that Carnival would not expose children to that kind of "Art", but all in all, it wasn't as bad as some people made it sound on these message boards. However it's not like it went unnoticed. There were plenty of people talking about it, including the comedian. My wife and I would prefer a different decor. PORTS OF CALL It was unseasonably cool in the Los Angeles area, and cool & windy all the way to Puerto Vallarta, however, this is no fault of Carnival ... just Mother Nature. Once we arrived in PV the weather was beautiful. We walked a few blocks to the Krystal Resort. To our surprise they let us in for free (we had planned to purchase day passes, but the gentleman that met us outside said the resort was free for cruise guests). They offered parasailing, jet ski rentals, and other water sports on the beach. My son and I tried parasailing when we visited St Thomas last year and we loved it, so we thought we'd give it another try. Great time, and much less expensive than in St Thomas (very favorable exchange rate right now between the US dollar and the Mexican peso ... approx 13:1). By the way I did learn a lesson on this cruise. I suggest you pack cold medicines even if you don't think you'll need them. My son came down with a bad cold the weekend of our cruise. We ran out of cold medicine so I went to the gift shop onboard the Pride. A small (4 ounce) bottle of DayQuil normally sells for around $4 on land cost $14 onboard. But what can you do ... I had to buy it, but I learned my lesson and re-stocked our meds once we got to Puerto Vallarta. Mazatlan was nice, but be prepared for extreme pressure from the timeshare people. Just say no and keep walking. I really enjoyed practicing my Spanish. I had a pretty good conversation (and a few laughs) with our taxi driver on the way to the Golden Zone. Cabo was by far the prettiest port to sail into. We tendered right next to Los Arcos, which was beautiful. We booked the Lands End boat tour through Carnival, which was nice (big catamaran) but we wished we could have gotten closer, and perhaps even gone onto the beach (as some other excursions were doing). But it was a really nice, relaxing excursion ... great photo ops. DINING Our waiters (Michael and Avito) were fantastic, especially given the fact that we had a very high maintenance table right next to ours. My family is pretty low key, but the family next to us was so demanding ... the husband was the biggest complainer we've ever seen, and it didn't have to be anything major; he would complain about ANYTHING! Considering the attention that our neighbors required, Michael and Avito did a tremendous job keeping the rest of us happy. ENTERTAINMENT The dancers and singers are very good! On the 2nd night they performed a show called "Wonderful World", which is supposed to be an award winner. I thought it was a yawner ... too many slow songs, and many people were visibly tired. "Vroom" was by far the best show of the week, but it was late in the week (6th night). The comedian was great. His name is JeRome, and he will make sure you won't forget it. ? Barry Van Wie also performed on the same night as JeRome; he was great ... incredibly talented musician and singer. Days at sea were much cooler than we are used to. In the Caribbean there was always a warm breeze on the sea days, but on this cruise, especially after leaving Cabo, it was really cold and windy ... so windy that they closed the upper deck, which meant no more mini-golf. Which reminds me, after seven cruises I finally won my first Ship-On-A-Stick by winning one of the mini-golf competitions! It was great because my son won his first Ship-On-A-Stick last year, also by winning a mini-golf tournament. It was another fantastic cruise by Carnival. The other 2600 passengers did much less partying on this cruise than my previous six cruises, which was nice. There were plenty of people having a good time, just not totally loaded. Looking forward to number eight, which will most likely be back in the Caribbean ... or the Mediterranean. Read Less
Sail Date February 2009
Well this was my second cruise with carnival. Was on the Carnival Paradise 4 years ago with the family. This trip was just me and my Girlfriend. We decided to fly in the morning of despite what most people recommended. Arrived around noon ... Read More
Well this was my second cruise with carnival. Was on the Carnival Paradise 4 years ago with the family. This trip was just me and my Girlfriend. We decided to fly in the morning of despite what most people recommended. Arrived around noon at LAX to SuperShuttle to the dock and got to the post around 12:30. EMBARKATION: Now everyone I read said that this would take anywhere from 30 mins to a few hours. From the time we walked thru the first door to the time we were on the boat free to walk around took us less then 10 mins. The staff in my opinion were surprisingly friendly and very helpful. I was very pleased with the ease and speed of this process. Nice work carnival. Since my girlfriend booked the cruise she accidently booked on SuperBowl sunday. Not a problem at all. The delayed Muster drill tell the next morning and showed the game on the Projection screen in the Taj Mahal. hundreds of people watching the game at once was the best time I have had watching the game. I would have no problem going on a cruise on superbowl sunday again. CABIN: We had a small inside cabin on the 8th floor due to money saving. Loved the room. It wasn't very big but from what I could see from other peoples rooms was they had about the same size just they paid a fortune more for a balcony. The room steward was not seen until the second day, but his service was excellent despite the fact we rarely ever saw him. THE SHIP: Now a lot of people complained about the decor of the ship. From my experience as long as you aren't trying to find what you don't like about it you won't even really notice any of it. Only major thing you'll probably notice is going up in the glass elevators if you look up there is David and his manhood right in plain sight. Besides that the decor is not a problem. The boat was in great shape. No major wear and tear that was noticeable. Only problem was the layout took a little while to get used to. Got lost a few times. STAFF: Excellent!! I was very pleased with the overall service on the ship everywhere. Mark Price the cruise director was fantastic. Very funny and a very big people person. Only had one problem with a waitress the last night who claimed my soda card wasn't valid for that day. Put up a 2 min discussion then decided to just get it from another waiter so no worries. I was on the cruise to have fun so I didn't let that bother me. SHOWS:Overall the shows were wonderful. however that being said I do not recommend going to see the Ventriloquist (however that is spelled) I have no problems with crude of perverse humor but this guy was just horrible. His puppet was strange to begin with and then he kept making his puppet make this orgasm sounding noise that didn't even have anything to do with what he was making a joke about. He had a few occasional funny jokes but he thought it more entertaining to talk really fast and show off his talent rather then entertain. I would not go see another show of his again. VROOM. was a great show. Having had a little experience in high school with drama and knowing the time and effort that is needed to pull off a good show I was very impressed. Excellent transitions between singers and dancers, good use of backdrops and props. Loved it. only question was what exactly did the old guy have to do with anything. the other show by the singers and dancers, around the world, I think it was called was also well done. Both shows are really worth going to if anyone had second doubts. Comedians. first comedian was somewhat funny but most of his jokes were using stuff people would yell at him rather then original comedy he made up. Jerome however was awesome. I was crying and my side hurt the entire time he was up. He was excellent, even his family shows were clean and funny but I enjoyed the adult show he did. and finally the Hypnotist show done by Mark Price, the cruise director. Again I came out wiping off my face and holding my side. Hilarious. PORTS OF CALL: first stop in Puerto Vallarta was a quality stop. First off I would recommend to everyone to go to the first presentation that is done talking about the various excursions and port activities. Very informative and they do give away some nice prizes. I was even lucky enough to win one of them. It was a discount off of a shore excursion. With that we went to the excursion desk and booked the Yelepa Beach Snorkeling tour. EXCELLENT. Highly recommend this tour to anyone that wants to relax, enjoy the beautiful weather and view and get your moneys worth. it was about an 8 hour tour which seems like forever but really wasn't. We get on the boat along with about 25 people and head out of the port. It's a beautiful trip, very peaceful and relaxing. The hour and 45 min trip does not seem to take that long with everything there is to see on the trip. Then we get to a very secluded snorkeling section. we got almost an hour there to swim around. the guide caught a puffer fish and brought it around to hold, very neat, and my girlfriend was able to spot an octopus that the guide spent the next 20 mins trying to catch. then it was off to lunch at a very beautiful beach with only boat access. The food was pretty good but the beach was amazing.after some time to eat and swim a little bit it was back out to see. On the trip back we made several side journeys to watch the Whales. Excellent. we had whales breaching 10-20 feet off our boat. Amazing. the whale tours were twice the price and didn't guarantee seeing anything so we got a good deal. On the journey back is an open bar. and it is exactly that. Nice strong drinks as much as we want. They have beer as well but between the 2 of us we probably drank at least $80 worth of alcohol. We got back to the port a little intoxicated and still had plenty of time to see some of the city. Mazatlan. we did not get off the boat this stop cause she was starting to get a cold so we opted to sleep in and relax. Cabo San Lucas. decided not to do a tour this stop as money and time didn't really allow for a decent tour. We just decided to walk the city. Passed by Cabo Wabo just to see what everyone was always talking about. then went to the beach to swim a little. Then on the way back passed by all the vendors and little shops. It was a good stop. I would have wished we took more time to stop and eat at any of the tons of shops to eat along the bay. CASINO: Much bigger then I was expecting. always very busy like a real casino. A little displeased with the knowledge of the games some of the dealers had but nothing major plus they were all very friendly so not a big deal. I recommend "Fun 21" played with the same 4 people for over an hour and it was a good time. Just like anywhere else the money slowly goes away but it was true casino experience in the middle of the ocean. OVERALL: in all it was an excellent trip. Smooth sailing until the last day, excellent service, good food, and well worth the money spent. If anyone has any questions feel free to ask away. Read Less
Sail Date February 2009
Embarkation was quicker than we'd expected - less than an hour after we first got in line at Long Beach (around 11:30), we were aboard the ship, filling our plates on the Lido deck! Our rooms were actually a nice surprise. We'd ... Read More
Embarkation was quicker than we'd expected - less than an hour after we first got in line at Long Beach (around 11:30), we were aboard the ship, filling our plates on the Lido deck! Our rooms were actually a nice surprise. We'd booked inside cabins to make traveling with so many affordable. Much was my delight to discover that the curtain in the room actually hid a balcony-sized door that opened to the fresh ocean air and... a lifeboat! Well, you can't have everything! We had a little view of the ocean, and certainly the sounds and fresh air as well - all for the price of an inside! My MIL had spent big $$$ and got a balcony suite nearby: aft starboard corner. The balcony was HUGE, and the suite was very nice - fairly roomy, with a jetted bathtub. Still, for the price, I think I'd be as happy with a regular balcony. All in all, the interior of the ship was very pleasant, well kept up, no real signs of wear and tear that we've seen on other ships. The prints of classic art were a little over the top sometimes, and my MIL was offended by the many nudes depicted, but I don't think my kids even noticed. We enrolled the youngest in their respective Camp Carnival groups, but they didn't participate in very many activities. There seemed to be lots of fun things planned, but my kids don't get out a lot. My 15 year old daughter, quite a bit more social, spent a lot of time with her group. Not much adult supervision, though. My older daughters and I partook of the gym experience quite a bit. The gym itself is great, lots of cardio and weight machines, very clean and bright. The Pilates classes with Draggan were a blast! He's a great motivator and VERY flexible! We spoke with him the first day, and he remembered us throughout the cruise every time he saw us. We did a couple of combo spa treatments which were very luxurious and a fairly good value, I thought. Dining was, as expected, a delight! Our waiters, Promma and Phillip were awesome - always attentive, courteous, and friendly. By the end of the cruise, Promma would have my youngest son's dessert (warm chocolate melting cake, what else?) ready before he ordered it. The food in the dining room was always delicious and beautifully presented, the service impeccable. Last but not least, our room steward, Noli, was exceptional! Of course, we got the highly-anticipated towel animals every night, but also everything else he could do to make us happy. He kept our ice bucket full, kept our cabin fresh and clean, and ALWAYS greeted us with a big smile and "how was your day?" when we saw him in the hallways. If we wanted it, he got it for us quickly and cheerfully. Disembarkation was extremely quick. We opted to carry our own luggage out, so we not only had everything we needed up to the last minute, but were off the ship before everyone else, basically no lines to wait in, maybe ten minutes from when we left our rooms until we were through customs and in the parking garage. This was probably my favorite cruise. The ship exceeded our expectations, service and food were better than prior cruises, and just FUN to be with the family. The perfect venue - as much time together or separate as we wanted, relaxed atmosphere, everyone could eat whatever they wanted and I didn't have to cook! Read Less
Sail Date January 2009
First off, we have cruised 3 other times and I don't remember ever the embarking or debarking process to be so fast and efficient...Things have really changed for the better! The ship was always clean, the staff was always polite and ... Read More
First off, we have cruised 3 other times and I don't remember ever the embarking or debarking process to be so fast and efficient...Things have really changed for the better! The ship was always clean, the staff was always polite and helpful but in my opinion I prefer less sea days and more ports...The food was ok but I must add (you may not want to read this) On 2 separate occasions, we were served food with hair cooked INTO it:((( The first time I said no big deal. They are in a hurry and well, stuff happens...The second time, I thought can we be the ONLY ones??? Then when we did the galley tour, lo and behold there is a plate of food for viewing with hair in it:(((On the first instance someone came up and apologized and the second time they brought us chocolate covered strawberries.. But really, your appetite is gone by then...I would definitely give the food a thumbs down but the waiters we had were excellent and funny. Our rooms were great with port side cabins and a terrific steward who was nice and friendly as could be...The production shows left a lot to be desired if you are used to seeing high quality entertainment, just skip the shows and find something else.. The passengers on the boat were more talented. I was kind of embarrassed for them and did notice many people leaving during the shows......It really is amateur entertainment at its best. However, if you don't regularly go to broadway productions, the theatre and such then you may not notice? I just felt like it was a high school talent show everytime the singers and dancers performed..The comedians were great especially the first one , he was top notch entertainment at its best...We did visit the spa on one occasion and it was great as well as the gym. As for the ports the first one is Puerto Vallarta and we spent the day at the Krystal (5 star resort) and had a couples 4 hand massages that was positively the best we had ever had...Mazatlan, we did the city tour with Mazatlan Frank and Gingers Bilingual horses...Frank offered us a customized tour for the family and we saw so much.. Hes a very nice guy. Gingers Bilingual Horses was I think the best excursion of our trip. She has 8 horses, so its not a 30 plus person nose to tail ride. You get her at Playa Del Bruja I believe, and you horseback ride on the beach going as fast or slow as you prefer, in the water or out, and relatively inexpensive..It was beautiful riding along the beach, through a coconut plantation and back to the beach again...I highly recommend her and the horses were absolutely amazing. They were so well trained that they would do anything with ease..Of course we saw the cliff divers, markets,and Cathedral and our guide took us to an exclusive area that celebrities live in. Its very nice to have the excursion planned and a tour guide waiting for you when you get off the ship. Then it was on to Cabo San Lucas. This was by far the most Americanized and beautiful port by far. I could have stayed there for a week. We got off the boat and found a glass bottom boat to take us the arches and Lovers beach. Along the way we saw a sea lion colony up close and personal. The water here is crystal clear so if you like to snorkel this is THE place. I should add that I had read about the water taxis being dangerous and have read horror stories. Well,when we went to get off, my husband was thrown out the boat (by a big wave) it was a little scary and our camera got submerged so we we lost all our pix not mention our new camera. Thankfully the rest of us got out ok...But it is a little scary and at least he didn't hit a rock like so many others have....I can see how people get hurt!If you have children or elderly with you be forewarned! After we left there we went to the dolphin exhibit, and Cabo Wabo which was really cool. We walked around the town and everyone was quite helpful. On the way leaving Cabo, we saw a family of dolphins swimming next to the boat which was pretty to see. We did have kids enrolled in the Circle C program which is basically Camp Carnival...I know I have said everytime I cruise that its not impressive.It really isn't! The kids can check themselves in and out:(( which is frightening with all that happens on cruise ships these days. On many occasions, when we followed their capers of kid activities, they were not where the paper said they were or there was just kids running amuck with no supervision at all...I don't like that all. And any good activities seemed to be happening when we were at dinner??? Do they not realize there are two dinners and not everyone eats early?I was Not impressed with the kids programs at all unless they are infants or toddlers...All in all it was a great trip that I wish would have lasted longer:) it did have some downsides (the food, Camp Carnival) along with pluses (the waiters, stewards, ports, cleanliness)but it was still a fun and memorable trip!!! I just wish that for our next cruise from Long Beach we have more port days.... ... Read Less
Sail Date January 2009
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 ... Read More
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. Read Less
Sail Date January 2009
This is my first review and second ever cruise. So here goes: Carnival Pride, set out from Long Beach, Los Angeles in late January 2009, right around the Chinese New Year. CABIN At first we grouched about being on deck 7, assuming more ... Read More
This is my first review and second ever cruise. So here goes: Carnival Pride, set out from Long Beach, Los Angeles in late January 2009, right around the Chinese New Year. CABIN At first we grouched about being on deck 7, assuming more spacious accommodations on deck 8, but realized we didn't have to deal with the band music and lawn chairs moved about every day on Lido deck. It was spacious, had a balcony, but only one outlet for all our electronics and oddly, the bathroom smelled faintly like sewage the entire trip. Horrid. Note that others wrote, the staff seemed burned out, and so it was. The balcony was not well swept, and we had to request soap/shower liquid although the bins were clearly empty. The phone direct call lines hardly worked, and the on board television entertainment system was clunky to navigate. So the biggest gripe was the sewage/pee smell, at least through Mazatlan. Yikes. DINING Generally the meals in Normandie were quite good. Not super spectacular, but considering how many meals are served in a limited space, and it's quite impressive. The wait staff however was ... not quite right in the head. Perhaps they saw how much wine we had at the table and decided to go with slower service, but it was SUPER SLOW. I asked for the service to be accelerated. It was and then degenerated. Our server simply didn't care, I think. The rolls were not fully baked (kitchen issue), he refused to cork the bottles on the table unless specifically told to do so, he repeatedly "forgot" tea and coffee or would bring some for one or two persons, and neglect the remainder of the table. Often, we'd be one of the last tables to be served, so that all the lights would go on as they tried to shuffle us out, only two minutes after bringing us dessert. Ug. We noted this to the organizer but it barely made a difference. The buffet was always kinda so so, as mass food always is. I did it for breakfast and lunch, and always kinda regretted it. LOVED the grill that served burgers and fries (but only during high traffic hours), and the grill that serves hot/cold sandwiches. We really liked stopping in on the sushi station in the late afternoons for an appetizer since we had late seating; unfortunately, he started mixing too much vinegar with the rice and it got a bit sticky at the end. Finally, we missed the midnight buffet repeatedly but was told it was stopped? Probably due to budgetary cutbacks in light of the economic situation. No big deal. Kinda sorry we missed the chocolate fountain extravaganza at the end. Full disclosure we stayed away from soft drinks generally and stuck with lemonade with iced tea, and treated ourselves to the occasional Americano or espresso. Don't think free coffee had much caffeine in it, really. ENTERTAINMENT I quite liked the dancers, musicians, singers, pianists and entertainers on board. Wish we had spent more time with the piano guys. Our group had brought a band on board, but they were only so-so in comparison, although the Butterfly Lounge had an excellent setup circular stage, dance floor and stadium seating for quite a few, bar in the back. PORTS OF CALL Chico's Paradise is an outdoorsy Disneyland. Great when the weather permits, with zip lines and hikes, iguanas and great view. But it takes 45 minutes to get there, and you miss all of the great old Puerto Vallarta, which is mostly cobblestone streets, low key art houses, bars and shops, and great cheap local fare. In contrast, we ended up in new PV along the beach strip where most of the beat up bars and restaurants are, and charge full fare of the endless stream of tourists. Definitely visit old PV, Roberto's for serious salsa on Fri and/or Sat nights, and the little roads. Wish we had more time there! Mazatlan, in contrast, is much rougher, with incomplete and decaying properties all along an incredibly endless coastline. The taxi's all get commission to take tourists to some garishly decorated place called Costa Marinara, right on the beach. Maybe the food is OK, but you'll have to deal with the Mariachi band for long stretches, and the dark interior. For our part, we just didn't want to get sick, and felt less adventurous. So we settled on, you guessed it, the Shrimp Factory. SO SO SUPER overpriced, but the food was good. Esp loved the guacamole, which is served in separate parts mashed guac, limes, tomato salsa, and hot sauce, so you can adjust the flavor to your liking. Sweeeeeeet. Be prepared for lots of noise, everything sports a noise. The taxis, the restaurants, bars, the roaming circus animals (tigers, lions, camels, buffalo and giraffe) with crazy meringue blasted out of the front vehicle. Totally nuts. BTW, I tried bargaining for jewelry in Mazatlan but the vendors didn't seem amenable. Not sure if it's bec/ other tourists largely paid full fare, or bec/ their own rents were quite high. All I know is, a lot of the stuff might have been made in China, and the prices there are rock bottom. So they didn't give a whole lot, and I ended up with nothing, and so did they. Go figure. Cabo San Lucas is nearest the US and oozes money. We didn't find the water to be nearly as clear or beautiful as the Caribbean and opted OUT of all beach and water sports. So we only got off the ship for lunch, at Los Deseos based on one reviewer's pics. Turns out they had great guac, steak tacos, and Pacifico. Totally would go back. Problem is that after disembarking you walk through the marina area and the "zone" with restaurants and bars (including Hooters) all the way to the beach. It's quite nice, but about 45 minutes and you have to withstand the gauntlet of entrepreneurial sales persons. Never quite made it to the beach, but loved Los Deseos. OVERALL I still think cruises as a form of vacation is a little odd. Seems extremely passive, but it is nice to be waited on and served! Hence, I place a premium on service. But this is a family cruise, so perhaps there is a bit of dulling on the edges. I am lucky to have gone on the trip. Be careful of all the extra charges to your sail and sign card gratuity is automatic; drinks via wait staff is all charged; wine and all alcohol is charged; any liquor not retail is held until you disembark at the end of the week; and the crazy prices on the photos they sell. Hope you enjoy your cruise. Read Less
Sail Date January 2009
We booked this trip for our 20th wedding anniversary. This was our 2nd cruise. Our first was on the NCL Star back in 2007 to Alaska. We are in our early 40's. We live in Southern Oregon so we flew in the day before our cruise. Our ... Read More
We booked this trip for our 20th wedding anniversary. This was our 2nd cruise. Our first was on the NCL Star back in 2007 to Alaska. We are in our early 40's. We live in Southern Oregon so we flew in the day before our cruise. Our flight left at 7:00am so got to the airport around 5am. By 5:05am we had our luggage checked and our passes ready. There was no one else in line. We were suppose to board at 6:40am but the plane was not there yet. Luckily at 6:50am our plane landed and since it was empty we got to board immediately. After de-icing the wings we were on our way by 7:10am. We ended up landing in L.A. right on time. Next to collect our luggage then off to catch the shuttle to our hotel in Long Beach. After waiting for a bit my DH called the hotel to discover they do not offer hotel shuttle service. When I made the reservations I asked about getting from LAX to Long Beach and they told me they had a shuttle. So we were stranded at the airport. No biggie. We were just excited to be there. So we jumped into a taxi and headed to Long Beach. Got stuck in some traffic but finally got to the hotel. Hotel Info pre cruise-We booked a room at the Hyatt Regency Long Beach. The hotel was beautiful. The best part was waking up Sunday morning and looking out the window and see the ship waiting for us. The only minus about the hotel was we had to pay for internet. We paid over $200 a night to stay there and was surprised that if we wanted to use the internet it was an additional $9.95. We checked into the hotel around 10:30am and after having breakfast went to take a much needed nap. After our nap we went out and explored the harbor area. We did find a great spot that offered a bucket of beer(5) for $10. Sunday morning we woke up to beautiful blue sky. After breakfast we made a quick trip to Wal-Mart for last minute supplies and snacks. Back to the hotel to gather our stuff and checked out of the hotel. No service to the cruise terminal either, so we took a cab to the terminal which was about $6.50. As soon as we opened the doors to the cab the luggage porters were waiting. Even thought our luggage was put into the same cart to be loaded onto the ship mine arrived shortly after the rooms were ready and my DH came several hours later. We got in line at 11:30am and were on the ship by noon. There was hundreds of people in line. We booked a category 11 suite which gave us VIP boarding so we got to skip several of the lines. Stateroom-Since this was our 20th wedding anniversary we splurged and got a category 11 room with a wrap about deck. Cabin #7347. The cabin was beautiful. The bedroom was entirely enclosed. The bathroom was big and spacious with 2 sinks. The only thing bad about the bathroom was they had no outlets to plug anything into too. The hair dryer was located in the desk drawer. There was only one additional outlet available on the desk. The room also had 2 tv's. The wrap around balcony was wonderful. We spent every night out there watching the stars. The only bad thing about the balcony was people from the higher decks would flick their ashes overboard and land on our chairs and balcony. So we had to put towels on the chairs so we could sit and not get ashes on our clothes. Our room servant was very nice and kept the room clean. At night they would turn down the bed and leave a new towel animal every night. Sunday night we had to set our clocks ahead one hour. And Friday night we had to set the clocks back one hour. The Pride was a very beautiful ship. The crew worked very hard every day to keep her clean. The artwork located throughout the ship was just wonderful. The ship had miniature gold and a volley ball game area. Plus there was a ping pong table and a giant chess set. On sea days the pools on the Lido deck were very crowded. Never a vacant lounge chair in sight. There is a adult pool and spa. Luggage was still being loaded at 3:30pm. Sail away was set for 4pm. The mandatory life boat drill was held right at 4pm also. We thought the drill should have been ½ hour earlier so we could watch the sail away with drink in hand. I thought the drill was a joke. Very unorganized. Nobody was listening to what was being said. And everyone was talking to each other. Plus there was a Pirate ship that was sailing in the harbor and would shoot off a canon. Then everyone would "ooh" and "ahh" over the ship. Our favorite night spot ended up being Starry Night. It was a wonderful place to hand out and enjoy a drink. But the bank that played their every night was way too loud. We had a hard time talking to the bartender. The bartenders name was Ross and he was very great. We booked our cruise almost a year out and our only option was late seating at 8:15pm. We don't really like to eat that late so we never saw the dining room. We had all our meals at the Mermaids' Grille. The food was excellent and there was new choices every day. The pizza was made fresh as you waited. Hamburgers and Hotdogs were available for lunch every day by the pool on the Lido deck. There was always a long line but the wait was worth it. I found the coffee to be very strong. And I really like coffee.. The lemonade and ice tea was really good also. On the night of our Anniversary we had made reservations for David's Supper Club. It was $30 per person. I ordered a glass of champagne and my DH order a glass of wine. Was very surprised to find they were $10 for each glass. The reservation was for 6:30pm and we didn't end up leaving until 8:45pm. They do say the dinner will take about 2 ½ hours. In my option the restaurant was way too fancy for me. Someone was always coming to the table to ask how things were going. I even moved my silverware around on the table and someone came over and rearranged it back to the way it was suppose to go.. There is a Sushi Bar on board. It is only open from 5:30pm-8:30pm. We went to Butterflies Lounge on Monday night to see the comedy show. Derrick Eason was a very funny comedian, and the show was rated "R". The place was packed and there was lots of people standing in the back. He really should have been in the Taj Majal. Lots more seating. The ice carving demonstration is a must see. In 15 minutes he turned the block of ice into 2 birds kissing with a heart around them. There was also a Hairy Chest Contest. There was a laundry special during the week. All you can fit into the paper bag for $15. You set it out in the morning by 11am and it returns later that evening nicely folded. Port & Shore Excursions-We went down to the shore excursion desk to book our excursions. They told us to go back to our rooms and book them on the tv. Which we did. It was a very easy process. Our first port was Puerto Vallarta. We were there from 8am-10pm. When we arrived in the morning the NCL Star was already docked. Was a beautiful day. Sunny and a high of 83 degrees. Once the ship cleared customs we were free to get off. This was the only port where you could not take any fruit off. They were stopping everyone and making them throw the fruit away. They were not checking bags just asking. So you could of smuggled some off if you really wanted to. For this port we choose the 4 X 4 Tropical Safari which was 7 hours long. We had a wonderful time. Your limo for the day was a Mercedes Benz all-terrain vehicle. It is open and can get very windy at times. So don't spend too much time on your hair. First they take you to a small Mexican town so you can wonder around and explore. Then they take you off road to the rain forest for a hike. The guide was always looking under rock for critters to show us. It is about a 45 minutes hike. Lots of plants and flowers. Then you are off to a very secluded beach for lunch and some beach time. Also included was a open bar. They drop you off at the pier around 5pm. It was very busy by the pier so we didn't really wonder anywhere else. Sail away was right at 10pm. Our second stop was Mazatlan. We were there from 9am to 6pm. Again sunny and high of 83 degrees. For this port we choose the Stone Island tour. We were the only cruise ship in port that day. There was a container ship docked behind us that was unloading containers. We met the tour guide on the pier then we walked to our waiting pontoon boat. We were given a tour of the harbor and past the new ship terminal that was being built. Finally we arrived at Stone Island. We loaded up into another open air limo that took us thru town on our way to the beach. Included in the tour was either a carriage ride or a horseback ride thru the island village. Also included was lunch and a open bar. Right at the end of the tour was a piñata for the kids. That was very cute. There was a trolley that took you to some nearby shopping for souvenirs. We were scheduled to leave at 6pm. And 4 people were still not on board. The captain blew his horn about 5 times. Finally at 5 minutes to 6 the 4 people came running to the ship. And shortly after that we were on our way... Our last stop was Cabo San Lucas. We were there from 7am - 4pm. Another clear, sunny day. This was a tender port. All the early excursions had to meet in the Taj Majal lounge. We were a little late getting cleared from customs. For this port we choose the Cabo by Land and Sea tour. 4 ½ hours long. First you take the tenders to the pier. Lots of tenders, never any waiting. Then you board a beautiful catamaran for a 40 minute tour. You stop in front of the rock formations and have you picture taken, which they try and sell to you later. Then you board a very nice motor coach that takes you to the other side of town. You will stop at a cliff top restaurant for a free drink, then you are taken to the glass blowing factory. Then to a small town called San Jose del Cabo. You have about 40 minutes to wonder around and shop. The last stop is the Cacti Mundo. Over 750 species of catus. We had a really nice time on the tour. The tour guide used to be a 3rd grade teacher so I thought she talked/treated us like we were 3rd graders. Once back on the tender pier there was lots of shopping. The ship left at 4pm so the last tender boat back to the ship was 3:30pm. Disembarkation-Since we were vip boarding we got luggage tag number 1. Since we were staying the day and night in Long Beach we were in no hurry to get off the ship. We set our luggage out the night before. We woke up about Sunday about 7:45am and was back in Long Beach. No one was getting off the ship yet. We went up to the Mermaid's Grille for our last breakfast. Very crowded. We had to end up eating outside. Finally the ship was cleared and people started to get off the ship. After breakfast we went to our room to get the rest of our stuff and headed to the gangway. My DH forgot his hat so he ran back to the room. I was left with the luggage in the lobby. I was amazed how many people did not know where they were supposed to go. The line was pretty long by the time we got there but if flowed very smoothly and we were off the ship in about 15 minutes. Summary-We had a fantastic week. Can't believe it's over. The Pride is a beautiful ship. Sad to hear she is moving to a different port. But the Splendor is a much bigger ship to explore. It is time to book our next cruise. Probably on the Splendor back to the Mexican Riviera. There is so much to see and do. The sea was just perfect the whole time. I guess on Friday night heading home the ship encountered some pretty strong wind the captain moved the ship out into calmer seas. Read Less
Sail Date January 2009
We just completed a 7 day Mexican Riviera cruise, January 18, 2009, leaving from Long Beach - ports of call - Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan, and Cabo San Lucas. We had previously sailed on the Carnival Imagination (2 times), and this was our ... Read More
We just completed a 7 day Mexican Riviera cruise, January 18, 2009, leaving from Long Beach - ports of call - Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan, and Cabo San Lucas. We had previously sailed on the Carnival Imagination (2 times), and this was our first Mexican cruise and first experience with the Pride. I had spent a lot of time researching everything, so was prepared for the good and bad. Was very pleasantly surprised with all of our choices and experiences. EMBARKATION: We arrived in Long Beach the day before our cruise. We rented a car from Budget at John Wayne Airport. Drove to Long Beach, and stayed at the Hyatt. Very nice hotel, although we didn't use the pool or coffee shop, just a nice place to stay, great view and service. We found everything we needed close by - found a store to get water and soda pop to take on board, found a lot of shopping and restaurants close by. Drove to the Queen Mary and had a milkshake and did a self tour. The next morning we did a tour of the Russian Submarine, and then we dropped luggage off, and the kids and I stayed and walked around the Queen Mary while my husband returned the car. He took a taxi back to the terminal, took about 20 minutes total. When then got in line for embarkation around noon, and walked right on after short security line. There was a line outside around 11-12 a.m., so not sure the early waiting would have been worth it. We were onboard by 12:30. Lido deck was open for lunch, rooms weren't ready yet. It was hard to find a table, but we finally did and had lunch until room was ready. SHIP: I loved the art and decor. It felt classier and more retro than my previous experience on the Imagination which has a lot of neon. Layout was a little confusing on Lido deck - food scattered around, which made it hard to gather lunch for all 4 of us, but we got used to it. Clubs were nice, theatre area was beautiful, very impressed overall. Food - had no complaints - breakfast and lunch on Lido - lots of choices for everyone. Dinner in dining room every night - waiters kept kids very happy, knew what they wanted every night. Food in dining room was good, son enjoyed chilled soups, I had a the chile relleno one night which was very spicy, husband enjoyed all the beef dishes and 2 lobsters on first formal night. No complaints at all. I had heard water was terrible, so we brought a case, but I didn't really mind it at all. They may have been serving bottled water in the dining room - we saw asst. waiter empty large bottle of water into pitcher. It did taste better in the dining room than Lido, but even Lido wasn't that terrible. We saved our bottled water for port days. SERVICE: Steward was very accommodating, made 2 towel animals each day upon request so each kid would have one, always had 2 buckets of ice for us after asking 1 time, room kept nice, knew our schedule, very helpful. Waiters at dinner - Kris and Arnold - very gracious, my daughter cried when she had to say goodbye to them! It was a very nice experience. Camp Carnival - kids loved it as always. Staff seemed very friendly and more accommodating to parents than I had seen before. Younger son (4) begged every night to get to Camp, so I would take him down before dessert time at dinner. The late night parties had 2-11 year olds together, so then my 2 kids were together for them, and they were also together for late night babysitting after 10 p.m. We participated in the family scavenger hunt and won the Ship on a Stick! (Gold plastic ship). Very proud moment!! SHOWS: The Pride dancers and singers seemed more polished than the Imagination - again, I was pleasantly surprised. They were professional and talented. We enjoyed the first comedian a lot. We skipped the Legends show, as we have seen one before. There was also a very large group of 20somethings on board, and they were filling a lot of the spots for the Legends show - not sure if they were with a group - but there was a lot of them on this particular sailing. The Vroom show was very good also. Cruise director was about the same as I remember any cruise director being, kept us informed of everything. ROOM: We had an extended balcony, Room 5130, right by Camp Carnival. This was a huge plus for us, as the kids were always coming and going from Camp. We had always had rooms on the other side of the ship, and it is a long walk with sleeping kids at the end of the night. Will definitely pick future rooms by Camp location. The room was larger than we had before in oceanview. Couch turned into bed, and bunk overtop and then our king bed. Bathroom had a lot of storage spaces which was nice. We had plenty of room for our belongings. Enjoyed the balcony, however there was not a lock high on top for childproofing like I expected. The kids were told the rules of not going out without adult, not standing on chairs, etc., The door was actually so heavy they couldn't open it anyway, but would have liked a high lock. We sat on our balcony when we left Cabo and saw a lot of whales and dolphins. The dolphins came right up to the ship, and the whales were even close enough at one point to see a tail splash! GAMBLING: We played bingo one time, scratch tickets one time and Blackjack one time. Not successful at any of these, but it was entertaining. Casino was always busy - busiest night time spot on the ship. POOLS: Lots of pool choices - on the last sea day it was chilly and windy and they closed the roof on one pool, so kids got to enjoy swimming. Hot tubs weren't very hot, but we didn't try the one in the spa area. We didn't use the spa at all, although it looked nice. Mostly kids in pool and hot tubs in main area - never went to adult deck, so maybe that is where they all were. Water was cold in pools, but kids didn't mind. PICTURES: We bought a few pictures. It would be nice if they could make these digital and you could view them in your room or at a computer kiosk or something and then order sizes and quantities that you wanted. Spent too much time searching for pictures. Seems like a lot of wasted ink and paper. DEBARKATION: Very fast, got up, went to Lido for breakfast, and were called off at the ship by 9:30 a.m. We were zone 17. I was surprised it was that fast. Our luggage was very easy to find, marked by zone in areas. Husband went to pick up rental car while I waited with kids, he was back in 20 minutes. We had several hours until our flight, so didn't want to shuttle to the airport and hang out. We went to Downtown Disney and walked around for a while, then back to airport. Very easy process. Flew back to Denver - to a snowstorm and below zero weather!! OVERALL: We enjoyed this cruise very much, we enjoyed 7 days much more than the 5 days we have taken before, much more time to enjoy the ship. Still feel there was a lot we didn't see or do, but didn't feel as rushed either. Biggest complaint - layout of the Lido deck food areas (hard when traveling with kids to gather food), biggest surprise - water wasn't too bad, and service was excellent all around. We would like to cruise the Pride again out of Baltimore next time. Read Less
Sail Date January 2009
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 !! ... Read More
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. Read Less
Sail Date December 2008
We left on December 14, 2008 on our cruise. We were married on the Queen Mary the day before - were both in our med 30's and combined two families, so we took all 6 kids and many family members and friends on our cruise with us. ... Read More
We left on December 14, 2008 on our cruise. We were married on the Queen Mary the day before - were both in our med 30's and combined two families, so we took all 6 kids and many family members and friends on our cruise with us. Because of this I want to stress the most important thing that I am surprised I didn't read on any of the reviews. If you are going on a cruise with more than 2 people, bring walkie talkies. Like the small cheap one you can find at Wal-Mart or somewhere. We had a large group but the ship was so big we could hardly find our kids when we needed them. we saw other people with the walkie talkies and thought it was a great idea. The embarkation wasn't very good the day we left, we happened to leave on the day that customs checks the crew and there was also a broken elevator and the held us up, but it was no ones fault and we finally made it on to the ship. The only bad thing was, because of all of the delays we didn't get our luggage till 8 pm. Everyone on the ship was looking for their luggage, there were piles of luggage throughout the halls. It was a mess, but I felt bad the the employees on the Pride, they were trying very hard to get everyones luggage to them. We enjoyed the food very much. The kids were at a separate table and were taken very good care of by their waiter Chris. We had a great waiter also, his name was Jim. He took good care of us and his assistant Victor brought us Cappuccinos every night after dinner. We went to David Supper Club one night without the kids, it was so nice and so worth the $30 per person. We tipped our waited extra because they took good care of us. The creme brulee that was served on the first night was so good, get two of them because they don't serve it again! For breakfast you can east at the Normandie or at the Mermaids Grills where it is more like Cafeteria style. We ate at the Normandie every morning, it is quiet and nicer and you can relax while you eat. We had a hard time finding a hot tub to get into during the cruise. All of them were always full, even the adults only and the hot tub in the spa. That was kind if a disappointment since we wanted to relax. We saw many dolphins and it was amazing, if you watch close they sometimes follow the ship, that was a highlight of the trip. We did meet people who saw wales but we did not see them. EXCURSIONS: In Puerto Vallarta we did some shopping and took our kids to Sea Life Park, it is a nice family place to go. They have a lot of waterslides and pools and a lazy river. There are also dolphin and sea lion shows. After this we asked a taxi to take us to a nice restaurant, he drove us to a neighborhood that was out of the way to a great restaurant that we spent the rest of the night at. Watch our for the cab rides, you feel like you are not going to survive, but somehow we did :) In Mazatlan we did Tandys Happy Horses which you can look up on the internet, it was a good ride and worth it, we ended up at Victor Restaurant where I had the best food I have ever eaten, it is no joke that it is more food than you can imagine, if you love coconut Shrimp, this place is for you. Our total for the day was $100 for the food and drinks, we had 8 people to pay for - it was very much worth it. The only problem at Victors, we peddlers are relentless, we bought a few things because we wanted some jewelry, but they didn't stop coming up without a break for the entire time. It was almost too much. In Cabo we got off the ship and were attacked again by peddlers, they follow you and so do the time share people. We made our way to the mall where we walked through and then walked to Medano Beach where we hung out at Billygans. It was a fun time. Again people selling things one after another...you can sit and relax and have a drink here, it was very busy and a party atmosphere. You can rent sea doos and swim in the very clear water. You can get a good deal on snorkeling from someone on the beach, my sister paid $20 to be taken across the way to snorkel for a couple of hours. Also, if you go to Billygans you can tip a man to wash and rub your feet, it was heaven - I think he works for the restaurant. (Be careful if you have teenagers and you don't want them to drink, they will give them alcohol, no matter how old they are - as long as they say their 18) There was a lot to do on the ship, although as many kids as we had, none of them went to Camp Carnival. Our teenagers went to the O2 Club and loved it. Another highlight of the cruise is the waiters singing, they are adorable and do such a great job. I didn't enjoy the comedian show too much, but the show VROOM was ok. This was our first cruise and I was pretty pleased that I didn't get sea sick at all. We got the patches that go behind your ear and we were fine. The ship is beautiful inside and well kept. Be careful on the Lido Deck, it is very slippery as other reviews say. Also, if you have time get a spa treatment, it was worth it! Read Less
Sail Date December 2008
This was our 2nd cruise with Carnival. The first was on the Conquest. Compared to the Conquest, the Pride is a bit smaller in size. Despite the size difference the amenities seemed mostly the same. We arrived at the port early (before ... Read More
This was our 2nd cruise with Carnival. The first was on the Conquest. Compared to the Conquest, the Pride is a bit smaller in size. Despite the size difference the amenities seemed mostly the same. We arrived at the port early (before 11am), and were able to par-take in the early check-in process. I highly recommended that anyone traveling on a cruise try and get in on the early check-in as it reduces the stress of getting on-board. On our first cruise we did not check-in early and waited in a line to check in for over 2 hours. So, with the early check-in there were no lines. We got our Sail and Sign cards right away. There was a short wait (till 12 noon) before we could board. Other than that it was clear sailing (pun intended) to get onboard. Since the rooms were not ready till 1:30 we hung out on the Lido deck and enjoyed the free sparkling wine until our room was ready. For this cruise we had a Oceanview Balcony room about mid-ship. Room was what we expected, other than the hair we found on the bed spreads. Guess they were in a hurry to make the rooms, and did not take the extra care to make sure the bed spreads were clear of any debris. The cabin steward did take care of the issue, but it make us leery of what else was not changed out. We did not find anything else wrong with the room. Departure from shore was late due to late flight arrivals. Carnival held the ship up to allow the people arriving on the late flights to get on-board. Once we set sail, the seas were calm and we were off to our first port. We had 2 full days at sea before reaching Port (Puerto Vallarta). Kids enjoyed their time with the Camp Carnival group. Traveling with a 3 and 9 year-old (both Girls). The kids were always asking to go to the camp instead of spending time with us. We were more than happy to accommodate their request, which gave us some time alone, and time to go spend time with other adults. Dining room staff (Thomas and Libor) were fantastic. They treated us well, and took care of us. The kids really liked them. Some of the Casino staff were excellent. They would chat with you and get to know you. Other members of the staff were very stiff and impersonal. Being this was a Christmas Cruise, I was hoping to see more Christmas related items. While there were some, I was expecting more. Will not be taking another cruise Xmas week. Read Less
Sail Date December 2008
Carnival Pride Cruise Dec 07 to 14 This was my second cruise (both with Carnival). My first cruise was a 4 day cruise on the Carnival Paradise in Jan 08. My girlfriend has cruised in the past, but got sea-sick. She said she would never ... Read More
Carnival Pride Cruise Dec 07 to 14 This was my second cruise (both with Carnival). My first cruise was a 4 day cruise on the Carnival Paradise in Jan 08. My girlfriend has cruised in the past, but got sea-sick. She said she would never cruise again. I told her that I would guarantee that she wouldn't get sick, and she didn't. In fact she enjoyed herself so much, she couldn't wait to go on another cruise!! To guarantee that she wouldn't get sick all it took was Ginger pills that can be purchased at any health food store (Thanks to Myth Busters!!). On this trip she also took the ginger pills and once again didn't get sick in spite of a couple of rough days at sea. The nice thing about ginger is that it's non-drowsy and all natural. If you're prone to sea-sickness, you may want to look into this. After reading reviews here, we brought a few things with us. One of the things we had found on the Paradise was that water and soft drinks were VERY expensive compared to what one pays in town. So, one of the tips I picked up here was to bring our own water (24 bottles) and soft drinks (2 - 12 can cases) on a wheeled, collapsible dolly. This also came in handy for some other items as well. We had gotten a few looks from some of the other cruisers who I think thought we would have it confiscated, but were surprised to see us able to take all this on board. Also, when you get on board and the shops opens, purchase a Carnival pouch on a rope. This pouch will hold things like your sail and sign card and ID. The back of this pouch has a clear plastic area that holds the tear-out timings list from the Carnival Caper and makes checking timings real easy to read. I purchased one when I was on the Paradise and my girlfriends purchased one this time. A highlighter also comes in handy to mark times of events you wish too attend. The staff of the Pride was great!! The Cruise Director, Mark Price was also great! This was his last cruise as he was heading home for a Christmas break. The ship, as stated in other reviews, has some period nudity but it was ALL very tasteful and beautiful, and if someone has a problem with this, they need to give their head a shake!! What is on display is art! NOT like the pictures one might pick up at a corner store wrapped in cellophane!! I would have had no problem showing and explaining the art and history to my kids. Embarkation After my first cruise, I discovered Cruise Critic and learned a LOT! For starters, using the early check-in on the Queen Mary. We arrived at 10:00 (probably a bit on the early side) and after dropping off our luggage with the porters, we preceded to the Queen Mary and within 5 minutes we were done. We were assigned Zone 1 and started boarding the Pride at approx 11:30 (about 1 to 2 hours before those that didn't use the early check-in). We had to wait inside the terminal for another 35 minutes but we were on board at 12:20 and eating in the Mermaids grill a short time later. Our room wasn't ready until 14:30, but that gave us more time to relax and start to explore the ship. We didn't opt for anything big to eat, just burger and fries. Both of our fries were cold and tasted a bit on the old side. At 14:20ish we went to our room and found that it was ready and very large compared to the interior room we had on the Paradise. We had an extended balcony and it was worth it!! Our balcony had 3 chairs (2 that reclined) and a small table. Reviews that I had read her in the past helped to equip us with all the right things. That included a Belkin 3 outlet mini surge suppressor (model BZ103050-TVL) with USB ports and a dollar store 3 outlet power bar that we plugged into the surge suppressor. The suites only have one plug, and if you have any powered devices, you will find that one plug just doesn't cut it. We also brought bungee cords (for drying towels and bathing suites on the balcony), FRS radios to keep in contact when we were separated and exploring the ship and a few other things. The muster drill was very fast and well organized when compared to what we went through on the Paradise. I can only hope that all our future cruises are as fast and well organized! As a "Past Guest" of carnival, we had a couple of surprises. The first was some free category upgrades when we booked our cruise. The other was a past guest reception that was held on night 3, night 2 was the Captains Cocktail party (both are the only times you get free drinks). The Captains Cocktail party was the first of 2 formal nights. The food in the Normandy Dinning room was great every night, and this night was no exception. The food was always done just the way we liked it. Thomas and Libor, our waiters, were great!! We changed our seating arrangements the first night to a table for 2 as we wanted a more intimate setting. The maitre de was able to accommodate us with no problem. We spent the first 2 days at sea. There was always something to do. From on-board shopping to all kinds of events held through out the day. There were talks about the 3 ports and the activities that take place in the ports. When we traveled on the Paradise, we did a shore excursion, but this time we decided to go and do our own thing. For the most part, that meant shopping in the 3 ports of call. Puerto Vallarta We arrived early in port and we found that there were 3 other ships in port with us. We didn't have to tender in as we were dock-side. We went ashore and did a lot of shopping! My girlfriend got right into the whole bartering thing. By the end of the whole trip, she was able to "beat up" the vendors on price with the best of them! We left PV at approx 11:00 I was able to video the departure of 2 of the 3 ships that were on our side of the ship. It was a treat to watch a ship move sideways for several hundred of meters before moving forward. Mazatlan Again we arrived fairly early and was able to watch as our ship do a 180 before sliding sideways to the dock (those Azipods can make this ship spin on a dime!). Again we opted to stay close to the ship and just take in some shopping near the pier. Once again the girlfriend was having a blast working the deals! Cabo San Lucas My favorite stop!! It turns out that it is also the favorite amongst the staff. It's too bad that it's also the shortest. We arrived at approx 07:00 but departed at 16:00. I had arranged a Spa treatment for my girlfriend that morning as an early Christmas gift. However, it also prevented her from enjoying the sun and the ocean. She was advised to avoid the direct sun and from swimming for the day. I felt bad, but she made the best of it and shopped tilled she almost dropped! I rented a Jet Ski and had a blast in the bay. I even "buzzed" the pride! All too soon, the fun was over and we had to go back to the ship. I had heard from some of the crew that Carnival was looking at changing the itinerary to allow more time in Cabo. This is both good and bad. The good part about being the only ship in port was that the port was not crowded. I was talking to one of the vendors (they are all over the place, just say a polite "no" and they will leave you alone) and just one day earlier there were a total of 5 ships in port! That's a lot of people in port! Tip: When you're told that the last tender leaves at 15:30 for a ship departure time of 16:00 make sure you're on board by 15:30! There were 2 tenders that showed up late. One at 15:45 and the other at 16: 10! The ship was already transitioning to leave the port and these tenders had to race to catch the ship. I was up on the top deck with others who watched the ship pull out of the bay as these late arrivals, arrived and they were given a very vocal "welcome back". The trip back to Long Beach had the ship go at full speed. This made it a real challenge for the dolphins to try to ride the ships bow wave. I was able to video several of them "playing" with the ship and even witnessed a whale slap it's tail down. The last fun day at sea was also the second formal night, and a sad realization that the cruise was almost done... It all seemed to go so fast. This will not be my last trip. The Pride is slated to be replaced in early 09 with the newest member of the Carnival fleet, the Carnival Splendor. After 2 cruises in the Mexican Riviera, my girlfriend wants to look at other itineraries (like Hawaii or the Caribbean). I would like to cruise this itinerary on the Splendor, but I may have to wait a few years. I just hope that the Splendor will still be there... The only real complaint I have was on the morning of our arrival. I was woken up before 05:00 to a VERY loud noise and shuddering. We arrived back at Long beach and the ship did a 180 and then turned the Azipods outboard to move us along side the dock. The problem is I think that who ever was manning the controls had the "pedal to the metal". When I went out onto the balcony to see what was going on, I wasn't alone. Many others were also woken up (and I think also less then impressed). This didn't happen when we were on the Paradise in spite of the fact that the Paradise uses Azipods for propulsion too. I am already looking forward at our next cruise!! Read Less
Sail Date December 2008
We went on the Carnival Pride on Dec 7th, 2008 for our honeymoon. I was amazed! I had been on a cruise about 10 years ago, and it was a low priced internet deal. The cruise about 10 years ago really had a budget feel, and overall it ... Read More
We went on the Carnival Pride on Dec 7th, 2008 for our honeymoon. I was amazed! I had been on a cruise about 10 years ago, and it was a low priced internet deal. The cruise about 10 years ago really had a budget feel, and overall it wasn't that good. The Carnival Pride however, was amazing. The ship was very new, very well taken care of, attractive and comfortable, and the ocean view rooms were a good size. I had the obstructed ocean view room, and at first was a little cautious because I thought a boat was going to be smack dab in the middle of the view, but there are two boats outside of your deck at about floor level. It blocks a very small portion of the bottom of your view, but there is about 85% of the view that is NOT blocked! I actually think it wouldn't be worth paying more for an unobstructed ocean view when obstructed ocean view is perfectly fine. Me and my wife had fun lounging in our chairs on the deck, just looking at the waves or eating a meal there. For the food, the quality is good, but they try to make fancy foods even at the casual buffets. I thought the effort and quality was very good, but the taste is okay at the buffets. For the formal restaurant, and the top pay formal restaurant, the taste is very good. I got the duck dinner, the filet mignon and braised shortrib dinner, and various lunches at the nice normandie restaurant. They taste very good, even the burgers are pretty good. I would say only go out of your way to get the prize dinners at normandie, such as ribs, filet mignon, etc. The pizza bar was excellent (I thought the best taste out of all of the ships food), and they also had free ice cream and non fat yogurt machines with bowls and ice cream cones all over the ship. Those were great:) For the entertainment and things to do on the ship, they keep you very busy (if you want to be) with many activities and things going on all the time. The main stage is really nice where they have all of their main shows. For the crew, the service is exceptional, I have never gone anywhere where everyone went out of their way to be so nice. The people cleaning our room (there were two) remembered us by name, and every night they made us animals out of towels on our bed. The waiter at normandie restaurant was outstanding, and probably one of the best waiters we have ever had...ever. The service at the buffet was very efficient, they made sure all of the food was fully stocked and properly prepared during serving hours. The picture stations they have are very nice that they have on the ship, but the pictures are a rip off. Full size pictures are $21.99, and medium are like $8.99. I would suggest only buying some of these. Lastly, we went on the dolphin excursion in Mazatlan, and it was fantastic, but the pictures are one for $25, or 8 for $99, and you are not allowed to take pictures, so watch for that. I highly recommend this cruise! Read Less
Sail Date December 2008
A little background info: My small traveling group consisted of my parents(50's & 60's) and my boyfriend and I in our late 20's. It was my 4th cruise, and my parent's first. No special occasion needed, we just all ... Read More
A little background info: My small traveling group consisted of my parents(50's & 60's) and my boyfriend and I in our late 20's. It was my 4th cruise, and my parent's first. No special occasion needed, we just all wanted a fun filled vacation...and that's exactly what we got. Pre-Cruise: My bf and I drove into Long Beach the night before, and picked up my parents at the airport the morning of the cruise. We were at the cruise ship terminal by 9:30 and did early check-in on the Queen Mary. The whole process took about 5 minutes and we were told to line up near zone 1 at 11:30. We took that time to explore the Queen Mary and have a light breakfast. Boarding began at 11:45, and we were on the ship by noon. It was an absolutely painless experience. We grabbed some lunch on the lido deck and ordered our first drink of the day. At 1:30pm on the dot, we were allowed access to our cabins. Cabin: We had room 5164 which was an obstructed view balcony. The life boats came almost up to the railing on the balcony, so while you couldn't look straight down and see the water, you had a perfect view of the horizon - and the having access to fresh air is unbeatable. Otherwise the room was just fine, a standard cabin with plenty of storage space, comfy bed, and good water pressure in the shower. My only complaint with the room is that the TV could use an upgrade, it was very dark and grainy. Service: Service throughout the week was wonderful. Our cabin steward was always on top of it. Though we didn't see her a whole lot, when we did - we were always addressed by our names, our cabin was made up twice a day, a towel animal with turndown service and our ice bucket remained full the entire week. All the other employees encountered were friendly and helpful. Dining: We had a table for 4 people during the late seating with the best head waiter we've ever had. "Mr. Red" and his assistant could not have done a better job. The food was consistently good, all of the soups I tried were excellent. The lobster wasn't even tough like I remembered on previous cruises, it was small though - so be sure to order two! The buffet had a good variety of food for lunch, the hamburgers from the grill were tasty as were the sandwiches from the deli. The pizza could have used some improvement in my opinion, but there were people gobbling it up all week - so it might just be me. Breakfast did get a bit tedious, though the made to order omelettes were great and you could order eggs over easy there as well. We only used room service once, the order took about 20 minutes. Entertainment: In the main showroom there were a few Vegas style shows, a few comedians, and on the last night a Carnival Legends show where your fellow cruisers were the impersonators. It was a lot of fun, and there happened to be quite a few talented people on our ship! Other entertainment was pretty standard - casino, bingo, hairy chest contest, karaoke, trivia, board games, mini golf, etc...we were never bored. If we weren't doing something, it was because of choice, not a lack of activities. One thing not to miss is the Galley Tour. The kitchen is nearly as big as the dining room! Ports: In Puerto Vallarta we did the Tequila Factories Tour through Carnival. We had an excellent tour guide, Raul. There were two factories on the tour, one was a small family owned business, and the other a larger scale operation. Both had delicious tequilas and were generous with the tastings. In Mazatlan my boyfriend and I decided to wing it while my parents went on the city and shopping tour. We met up with another couple that was taking a taxi to the El Cid resort, so we tagged along. The taxi was a lot of fun, open air - sort of like a golf cart with a bigger engine. Not for the faint of heart. The El Cid Marina Resort was beautiful, management didn't seem to mind us being there as we ordered a couple drinks by the pool. We heard from some guests of the hotel that there is a free shuttle to their sister property El Cid Moro on the beach, so gave it a try. This resort was directly on the beach. We had lunch there, and spent some time playing in the ocean. The water temp was over 80 degrees and felt wonderful! I've been to Cabo San Lucas several times on my own before, so I was able to play the tour guide for my parents. We only had to wait about 10 minutes for a tender. We walked all along the marina and downtown to show them Cabo Wabo, the Gigglin Marlin, etc... we made it to the Mango Deck and set up camp there for a while. It was extremely hot that day, so we ran back and forth between the ocean and the beach umbrella. Again, the water was perfect, though the under toe was much stronger than I remember it. Overall: It was the smoothest, best cruise I've been on. I would recommend this ship and itinerary to everyone. Read Less
Sail Date November 2008
ABOUT US: We are local Southern Californians who loved to cruise and take advantage of having 3 cruise ports within 100 miles of home!! Since my DH served in the Army, we qualify for the Military rate, which offers us a great discount! ... Read More
ABOUT US: We are local Southern Californians who loved to cruise and take advantage of having 3 cruise ports within 100 miles of home!! Since my DH served in the Army, we qualify for the Military rate, which offers us a great discount! Using the annual Military Friends and Family Discount, we were able to extend this same discount to our friends who always cruise with us. We got side by side balcony cabins (4171 and 4173) for an exceptional rate. We love Carnival for being so supportive of anyone who served in the military. Unlike all of the other cruise lines, with Carnival, you only have had to serve and be honorably discharged. It is nice that Carnival, in this way, supports those that served in early times and earlier wars! Kudos to Carnival!! This was our 5th Carnival cruise, my 8th cruise overall and somewhere around DH's 18th overall (he has lost count). This cruise review is based on 4 adults who have cruised multiple times before. Our cruise was Sunday Nov. 16-23, 2008 CHAPTER 1 - EARLY CHECK-IN We arrived at the Queen Mary for Early Check-In at 10:00 am. There were many of the passengers that had just come off the ship standing along the parking garage entrance, waiting for their rides. There was also a lot of traffic in the garage but fortunately, most of it was caused by people that had just come off the ship and not people arriving. We were directed to a pull-over area to drop our bags. We were immediately greeted by a Porter who took our bags. He was very friendly and started our vacation off in a very nice way!! We tipped him $20 for our 5 bags so he was even happier when he walked away!! We parked on the 2nd floor of the garage and made our way over to the Queen Mary. We were very impressed with the Early Check-In process in the Queen Mary! There were many signs directing you to the proper area inside the Queen Mary and we were able to walk right up to the Check-In counter. The lady checking us in was very friendly and took care of everything quickly. We had completed all of the documents and Fun Pass online so that sped up the process greatly. In no time at all, we had our Sail and Sign card in hand and were ready to go cruising!! CHAPTER 2 - EMBARKATION After checking in, we went outside to wait for Zone 1 to begin boarding. We were having abnormally hot weather for November here in Southern California so it was a hot morning. Also there was a smoky smell in the air due to the wild fires burning nearby so everyone was even more anxious to board the ship. At 10:45 am, they began to board the Wedding Parties, the VIPs and the Handicapped people. Zone 1 was called pretty soon afterwards. Since there is some construction going on, we had to walk in the road leading to the garage to get to the back entrance to the Dome (this is where Howard Hughes' Spruce Goose used to be housed). Upon entering the Dome, we were lined up in 4 separate rows, so that those that were there earliest entered the ship first. At 11:30 we were allowed onto the ship. After a slight glitch with the Sign and Sail picture taking machine, we were finally aboard the Carnival Pride. CHAPTER 3 - FIRST IMPRESSIONS The Pride is a spectacularly beautiful ship! We entered the ship in the Lobby so our first glimpse of the ship was fabulous! We noticed that the Pride is not as glitzy as other cruise ships and had a feel of elegance to her. As often discussed on these boards, there is artistic paintings and statues everywhere. Of course, much of the art is of nudes, but in very good taste! I loved how the art is incorporated in all aspects of the ship. We have sailed on the Pride's sister ship The Spirit in the past, so we felt very comfortable with the layout of the ship. However, our friends who had not sailed on the Spirit also found the Pride to be easily maneuvered and quickly learned the lay of the ship. CHAPTER 4 - ONBOARD We made our way up to the Lido Deck to begin our 7 days of gluttony! The dEcor was marine life and had mermaid statues along the ceiling and statues of boys riding dolphins on the waves. Being familiar with the Deli Grill from the Spirit and the Liberty, I headed directly there! I was pleasantly surprised to find there was not a line and immediately ordered my standard Ruben with extra sauerkraut! It was as tasty as I had remembered! My DH had a turkey on hard roll and our friends had salad from the salad bar. It was especially nice that there weren't many people onboard yet so we nearly had the Lido Deck to ourselves! After lunch, we toured the ship. Even though the Pride is several years old, she is in excellent condition. Of course, everything was clean and shiny and the pools were filled and ready for the first swimmers. Chapter 5: Our Cabins Cabin - At 1:30, the doors to the cabins were opened and we made our way to our cabins. We had reserved cabin #4171 and our friends were next door in #4173. These are balcony cabins and we had gone to the Purser's desk and requested that door between our balconies be opened, which was done early on Monday morning. The rooms are nice size and plenty big enough for 2 adults. It contains a desk, sofa, small table, and a king sized bed. The balcony windows are floor to ceiling and the door opens out. The pictures in our room were very nice with an autumn theme (pumpkins, golden leaves etc). Bathroom- small but very functional. We were given 4 large thick bath towels, 2 hand towels and 2 wash cloths. In a little bowl on the sink was 2 razors (she and he), samples of indigestion tables and gum. In the shower is a shampoo and bath gel dispenser. There is a hairdryer in the desk drawer in the main room of the cabin. It is a good idea to take a large rubber band to wrap around the hairdryer as the button needs to be held for the dryer to work, which can be annoying. Closets - large and contain a sufficient number of hangers. There are two hanging closets and one with 4 large shelves. In addition there are 3 drawers in the desk that can be used for clothing items. There are also two large drawers under the sofa for storage. Safe - The safe is small but plenty large enough to hold money, passports and jewelry. Be sure to bring a credit card or any type of card with an electronic strip. We used our Game Stop card but you could also use a hotel key card you may have. Balcony - We had the standard balcony which is 40 sq ft. There were 2 nice size chairs and a small table on the balcony and not a lot of extra room. We had the door that separates our balcony from our friends next door, opened. Unlike other ships, this door is the entire separator and opens completely. Since our balcony was on the left, the opened door blocked half of our view but extended our combined balcony to 80 sq ft. Location - Our room was directly above the Lobby so we had one of the atrium windows directly across from our cabin door. It was neat to walk outside our door and look down into the lobby and hear the piano music. Luggage - Our luggage arrived by 3:30 and we were able to unpack before the Muster Drill. Muster Drill - On past Carnival cruises, we were disappointed to discover the ship began to move while we were still in Muster, which took some of the fun away from Sail Away. Carnival must have heard all of the complaints because this was the fastest muster I have even seen! We were back in our room, out on our balcony with time to spare for Sail Away! The Gym - A nice selection of machines including six elliptical machines, six treadmills and at two stair-steppers. On the upper levels were various weigh resistant machines and a Jacuzzi. There was also a capsule type machine but I really don't know what it did. The locker rooms were clean and had a sufficient number of lockers. We didn't go into the Sauna or the Steam room so I can't report on those. The Spa - All of the typical treatments are available, including massages, facials, acupuncture, baths etc. They were also offering personal evaluations and classes on health topics. The Casino - Since we knew we would be spending lots of time and money here, we were anxious to check it out! There is a nice supply of slot machines, video poker and coin slide machines. The denominations go from penny machines to dollar machines. It is possible there were some higher stake machines but I didn't notice them. Of course, there are Poker tables, Craps tables and even a video Texas Hold-um table that was very popular! The Casino name is the Winner's Club and has a horse racing theme. The dEcor was fun but I think the dEcor of the Carnival Liberty is much prettier. The Ivory Piano Bar - We thoroughly enjoy the Piano Bars on cruises and looked forward to seeing the one on the Pride. The theme is ivory and thus, the Piano Bar was understated. It was of normal size and showcased the revolving piano behind a circular bar. Once again, I preferred the dEcor of the Liberty Piano bar but it was still very pretty. Rafael's Lounge - This lounge is an open area and has a beautiful waterfall and spiral staircase in the center. There are many comfortable chairs with small tables. Starry Nights Lounge - Larger lounge with Vincent Van Goh theme Taj Mahal Lounge - The theater is moderately large and laid out very nicely. It has an Indian theme (as the name suggests) and is beautiful. You can access the theater from decks 2, 3 and 4. The Atrium Lobby - The lobby is beautiful! There are 3 glass elevators on two sides of the lobby and climb up the open 10 deck atrium. The Lobby Bar has an elevated section behind the bottles of liquor containing a grand piano. The floors above the lobby all contain windows so that you are able to look down into the lobby from any deck. The Pursers Desk and the Excursion Desk are located in the lobby area. Chapter 6: Sea Days and Entertainment The Casino - Since we are members of the Ocean Players Club, we get emails before the cruise offering us a free drink from the Casino Host on our upcoming cruise. Precious, the Casino Host was wonderful! In all of the cruises we have taken, we have never even seen the Casino Host, much less actually met him/her. When we tried to present our letter to the Casino Host on the Liberty, we were told he wasn't there. Precious, on the other hand was very visible every evening and took the time to talk to the gamblers and wish them good luck. She gave us several drinks on the house and encouraged us to participate in the tournaments, which we did. She always remembered our names and was very personable and friendly at all times. We are hoping she is still there when we cruise on the Pride again in March. Piano Bar - We were pleasantly surprised to see Duane was our Piano Man! We had sailed with Duane on the Elation last year and had so much fun in the Piano Bar with him. This time was no exception. I stayed up later than I should have several nights, singing in the Piano Bar with Duane!! Once again, we hope he is still there when we return in March! Games: We enjoy the Trivia contests and group games while on cruises. On Monday, we participated in a Win, Lose or Draw game. We were divided up according to sex and the Girls whooped the Guys butts!!! I have a Ship on a Stick (Carnival's trophy for winners) to prove it! It was lots of fun and promotes guests to interact. We also participated in several trivia games but didn't win any other Ships on a Stick. Shows that we attended - Welcome Aboard Show on Sunday night. It is the same show we saw in January aboard the Liberty but it was done well and I didn't mind seeing it again. The dance numbers were well choreographed and the music was great! "Vrooom" on Friday night. This was a fun show with music throughout the decades 50 - 90s. I especially enjoyed the section showcasing the Beatles! Carnival Legends Show on Saturday night. We typically don't attend the legends but we went to this show because we had met a fellow passenger that was singing in the show and we wanted to see him. (Celeste, if you are reading this, let Steve know we loved his performance!!!). The show was fun! They filled in with comedic performance by Mark the CD and other dancers when they didn't have a passenger to impersonate a famous singer. They did this with Sonny and Cher and Dolly Parton and they were great! The passengers that performed went from not so good to magnificent! The gentleman that performed as Frank Sinatra was fabulous!! He had a great voice and his stage presence was perfect! We also enjoyed the guy who was Elton John! Another great performance. And of course, Steve who performed as a Filipino Ricky Martin did a great job! He also had a great voice and seemed to be very comfortable on stage, with the four beautiful dancers!!! It was a very good show but we are disappointed that Carnival changed the passenger show to the new format. We think it was a better show when they allowed all passengers to audition with whatever talent they had. We saw such interesting acts and talented people in past cruises, including singers, comedians, magic acts etc. Now, if they aren't able to impersonate a particular famous person, they aren't eligible for the show. I think this was not the best decision on Carnival's part. JeRome - Comedian. We had seen his family show and decided to check out his 18 & above show. It was great! He had some good lines about the art on the Pride! He did get a bit spicy but I don't think anyone was offended as I saw some senior citizens laughing as loud as everyone else! Hypnosis Comedy Show - Mark Price, the CD is a Registered Hypnotherapist and put on a comedic hypnotist show. He chose 12 people from the audience and put them under hypnosis and then gave them funny suggestions. It was a good show but not as funny as the Hypnotist that performs at the OC County Fair each year. The Love & Marriage Show - This is always a funny show and this one was no exception. My only suggestion would be that the questions be less structured (giving them a choice of answers) and make it more open ended. That way, the couples will have more imaginative answers and that can be very funny. Shows that we didn't attend - Wonderful World on Monday night featuring music, songs & dances from around the world Kyle Wayne - A fun, crazy upbeat show for entire family Mexican Folkloric Show - Featuring Puerto Vallarta top International Dance Troupe. Fred Anderson - A fun, crazy upbeat show for entire family Chapter 7 - Dining Mermaid Grille - Asian Bar - A nice selection of several Asian dishes that changed daily. Deli Grill - Rubens, Turkey on Roll, Pastrami, Smoked Salmon on bagel. I had the Ruben and it was excellent! Fruit and Salad Bar - Sandwich Bar Meat and Veggie Bar - Fresh meat carved per your request. Some choices I noticed were ham, lamb, beef, turkey Dessert Bar - Cookies, cheesecake, cake - The cookies were very good but the cheesecake was typical buffet quality. Normandy Restaurant We were at table 194 on the first floor of the restaurant, which was a booth for four. The second floor encircled the restaurant loft-like and had many tables for two. Sunday night - I had the Sweet & Sour Shrimp and it was great! Lightly breaded and quick fried shrimp, covered with a sweet & sour sauce. It was very good! Some of the other choices were Tilapia and NY Steak. My DH and our friends had the steak and said it was good. Pizza Station My DH had the pizza and was disappointed in the flavor. He said it was bland and had no flavor. Needless to say, we avoided the pizza for the rest of the cruise. I was surprised that the pizza wasn't good as we have had pizza in the past on Carnival cruises and thought it was very good. Burger Grill The burgers and grilled chicken were very good. I was even able to get a Philly Cheese Steak which was pretty good. The French fries and Onion rings were very good also. There was a fixings bar that had a nice selection. David's Steakhouse - Beautiful!!!! An elegant restaurant with a beautiful reproduction of the statue David in the center of the restaurant. The restaurant is two levels and has a large dance floor and live music provided by a Pianist, Violinist and a female singer, who had a spectacular voice! We make reservations for Saturday night to celebrate DH's birthday. We were able to get a 6:00 pm reservation with a window table on the upper floor. The food was delicious and much better than that served in the Normandie Dining Room. Two of us had the Surf and Turf which consisted of Lobster and Filet Mignon. DH had the full sized Filet Mignon, which he could not finish and DF had the full lobster tail. The presentation was beautiful and the food was wonderful!!!! I wish I could eat there every night! We left there after 2 hours and unable to eat another bite of food!! Read Less
Sail Date November 2008
Carnival Pride Mexican Riviera November 2, 2008 We are in our early 40's, not married and have no kids. We have been on 20 previous cruises most of which were to the Caribbean; 7 RCCL, 4 NCL, 3 Princess, 5 Carnival and 1 Celebrity. ... Read More
Carnival Pride Mexican Riviera November 2, 2008 We are in our early 40's, not married and have no kids. We have been on 20 previous cruises most of which were to the Caribbean; 7 RCCL, 4 NCL, 3 Princess, 5 Carnival and 1 Celebrity. Please keep in mind this is my opinion based on my experience. Like most of the cruises we take we chose this cruise based on a combination of the ship and itinerary. Having cruised the Carnival Spirit once and the Carnival Miracle twice before we were familiar with the ship layout. I really like this size of ship, not too big and not too small. The itinerary was entirely new for us and it was also my first time to California. This was also our first experience as part of a group cruise. Since we enjoy Walt Disney World in Florida so much we decided to fly to California a couple days early and check out Disneyland. We flew nonstop via Northwest Airlines from Minneapolis to LAX. Since we booked the airfare back in January we could each check two bags for free. Normally we each check a suitcase and a garment bag. We decided to take the opportunity to start consolidating and brought only one garment bag. The flight was on time and uneventful and arrived at 11AM. We collected our luggage and followed the signs to the shared ride pick up area. I had booked a ride with Prime Time Shuttle for $30. We waited for a few minutes for the van and only circled the airport a couple times looking for more passengers. Then we were on our way to Anaheim and Disneyland. We used timeshare points to book a room at the Grand Californian at Disneyland. We were surprised to find that our driver did not know where our hotel was and had to stop several times for directions. GRAND CALIFORNIAN HOTEL & DISNEYLAND We finally made it to the Grand Californian Hotel at Disneyland by 1PM; our room was ready right away! We had a room on the fifth floor right next to the elevator; our balcony looked out to a courtyard with the monorail track going through it. I had bought two-day park tickets online before leaving home. There is a gate into the California Adventure directly from our hotel. We were ready to go have fun in the parks. We spent a few hours at the California Adventure during the afternoon since it would close early for the special admission Halloween event. We went to the bar at the hotel and had a flatbread pizza at the bar. After refueling we went to Disneyland Park for a couple more rides and the night time parade. Because of the time change we were up bright and early the next morning. We went back to Disneyland Park at opening; we had accomplished all the rides we planned to do by lunch time. On the way back to the hotel we stopped at a pizza place at Downtown Disney for lunch, Naples. Then we spent some time at the pool. Later that evening we sampled a few martinis until it was time for the fireworks. Our Disney tickets were used up, so our last morning we watched the heartbreaking loss of our college football team at the ESPN Sports Cafe in Downtown Disney. We enjoyed Disneyland; there are many of the same favorite attractions found at Disney World but also many surprises. QUEEN MARY We booked a ride from the Grand Californian to the Queen Mary at 1PM with Karmel Shuttle for $55. The van arrived a little early. Upon arriving at the Queen Mary we were able to get our room right away. The experience of staying on the Queen Mary was great. Our room was really nice with a lot of the original wood work. The main hallways on the Queen Mary are a lot wider than on contemporary cruise ships. All the rooms seemed to be set back from the hallway by a tiny corridor. We spent some time in the Observation Bar, which has an art deco dEcor and a nice atmosphere. We ate dinner and the breakfast buffet at the Promenade Restaurant. Both were positive experiences. We were able to spend some time with friends from a previous cruise while at the Queen Mary. They gave us a ride over the bridge to Long Beach for supplies. For those without local connections, there is a free shuttle bus over to the Long Beach area available to those staying at the Queen Mary. We met up with most of our cruise group while at the Queen Mary. The next morning we were able to do the early check in located at the Queen Mary and then dropped our bags with the porters. I will definitely stay at the Queen Mary again when sailing from Long Beach in the future. We were on board Carnival Pride before noon. We went up to the aft pool for our first drink. We hung out there until we could get into our room at 1:30. OUR ROOM We had an outside room on deck four with French doors behind a life boat #4153. The room itself is just like balcony room without the balcony. It has French doors that open in so they hit the bed and don't open all the way. There is a sign on the door that says "FOR SAFETY REASONS THIS DOOR MUST BE ALWAYS KEPT CLOSED" which makes me wonder why put a door there, why not just a picture window. Our room was conveniently located near the midship elevators. This was the first room we have had whose cooling system was totally inadequate. Our room was always too hot, which forced us to keep the curtains over the useless doors closed all the time. The first day I stopped at the pursers desk to complain about the temperature of the room, she said they would send someone while the room steward was cleaning, but we never experienced an improvement. Our room attendant did a great job keeping our room clean. But I do have one complaint. I'm used to my room being cleaned and turned down while I'm at dinner. On the first formal night we went back to the room to shower and dress and they were cleaning our room. Another night they finished cleaning before we went back to dress for dinner. I had to start leaving the DO NOT DISTURB sign out until we left for dinner. DINING ROOM Our group was seated in the room off to the side of the main dining room. At first I was disappointed to be out of the mix of the main dining room. But then I was glad not to have to be a part of the singing and dancing in the dining room. I don't like it when the servers have to stop serving and sing and dance. They have stretched the wait staff in the dining room way too thin and service has suffered. On several nights not all ordered courses were served or were served to the wrong people. Coffee was always requested with dessert but often not served. Most of the food was delicious, but often lacking, such as chateaubriand with bEarnaise but the bEarnaise was absent. MICHAELS Most of our group ate at Michaels Dinner Club the second sea day. We were split into three groups of ten. We were seated at a large round table for ten. The food was fabulous. I had the rib eye steak and it was cooked perfectly. I also had the French onion soup as an appetizer. The soup was also fabulous, but it was so hot that it burned the roof of my mouth and the rest of dinner my mouth was blistering and peeling. Although we had made reservations in advance it seemed as though they were not properly staffed. There was about a 20-30 minute gap between each course. Dinner was four hours long. SEA DAYS We had two sea days at the beginning of the cruise and one at the end. I had heard that the first and last days could be cool. Being from Minnesota I found the first and last sea days to be very nice. It was warm enough to spend the day at the pool, although it wasn't as crowded as the second sea day that was warmer. Having most of my previous cruises in the Caribbean it was different to see land on sea days. At about 3:00 in the afternoon on the second day we passed Cabo San Lucas and had a good view of our last port. We spent our sea days at the aft pool. This pool has more room and fewer obstructions than the midship pools. The aft pool is also designated as adult only, so there weren't any kids running and splashing around. The best access to the water is from the aft pool, we enjoyed the water on the first two sea days. PUERTO VALLARTA It was very hot and humid the day we were in Puerto Vallarta. We had a private tour with many in our group set up for 1:00PM. In the morning we walked off the ship and wandered around some stores and stands next to the pier. I found nothing of interest and the people were very pushy. Some of our group went to the Krystal resort for a massage and some time by their pool. They enjoyed their massages. We met our tour guide, Alberto, at the appointed time and place. The tour had been arranged through Mazatlan Frank and cost us $40 per person. There were 13 of us. Alberto had a van that sat three to a bench and one in the front. The air conditioning in Alberto's van did not work very well at all and those of us in the back of the van were very hot and uncomfortable. First Alberto drove us through town along the waterfront so we could view the many statues and the arches. Then he drove us to a scenic overlook to take pictures. We were thirsty so we asked for a stop for a quick drink. He dropped us at El Set, where we ordered margaritas, beers and chips and cheese. Later we were sorry when the bill arrived and after conversion the bills was $170! I thought Mexico was cheap?? After our outrageously expensive snack we went to a tequila factory. At the tequila factory we saw the blue agave plants and learned how the plants were boiled mashed and distilled into tequila. After the demonstration it was time for our free samples. The samples turned into another disappointment, they were very small and most were of a flavored tequila liqueur rather than tequila. Then they wanted us to spend $50 for a very small bottle of tequila. Right next door was a place called Mr. Tequila, most of us decided to stop by there and sample some more tequila. Again the samples were rather small, but there was more to sample. The tequila here also cost only half as much for a bigger bottle as the first place, so we bought some tequila to bring home. Although we had already stopped for a snack and had asked to skip the stop in the rain forest Alberto brought us to a restaurant up in the hills of the rain forest close to where Predator was filmed. We were polite and ordered beers, but were not interested in food. Then after looking up in the branches not far over head we spotted several very large spiders which prompted us to pile back into the warm and stuffy van. Throughout the tour Alberto was very informative about the goings on of Elizabeth Taylor when she spent time in Puerto Vallarta with Richard Burton umpteen million years ago. Alberto offered to drop us off in town for a walk around, but we were hot and broke so we asked to go back to the ship. Needless to say I don't recommend Alberto or Mazatlan Frank. The ship was in port until 10:00PM, but we stayed on the ship the rest of the time. MAZATLAN The weather in Mazatlan was great, not quite as hot and humid as Puerto Vallarta. Several in our group were going on another privately arranged tour, but we decided to book a tour through the ship here. I had read that it was quite a distance from where the ship docks to the gate out of the pier area and was leery of that distance. It turns out that there are free shuttles that take all guests from the ship through the port. We booked a tour called Shopping, Beach & Lunch for $49 per person. This is what they called an unescorted tour. We were informed of the time of the events and provided transportation and then were able to go on our own or in small groups. Round trip transportation was provided in the form of taxis. First we went to a performance of the Papantla Flyers who are Totonac Indians. The outdoor theater where the show was performed was warm, but there was free Tequate Beer provided. I had low expectations for the show and I was surprised that it was entertaining and interesting. It wasn't very long either, only 15-20 minutes. After the show you are free to shop around. It is about two blocks from the show to the resort where lunch was served. There were many shopping options in the area. We were not in the mood to shop so we went straight to the resort and enjoyed a tasty Mexican buffet lunch and two complementary beers or margaritas. The buffet included; chips, salsa, guacamole, chicken, tamales, enchiladas, rice, beans, fruit and flan. It was very good and we went back for a second time through the line. Then we were free to enjoy the facilities of the resort, Playa Mazatlan, towels and a changing room was provided. We spent time at two different pools. When it was time to go back to the ship we were put in a prepaid taxi back to the port. Since there were a couple hours until we had to be back on board we shopped at the stands in the port area and had a few buckets of beer while we waited for others to return from their tour. The flea market building just outside the port area had some good deals; you could get a knock-off Rolex for about $15. I like to find small souvenirs that I can use for Christmas ornaments; I found a couple fancy mini sombreros that work good as ornaments. We sailed from Mazatlan at 6PM. CABO SAN LUCAS Since our time in this port wasn't very long we didn't book a tour in Cabo. Instead we went ashore and wandered on our own. Cabo is a tender port. On the dock off to the left of where you get off the tender is another flea market building that has a lot of different items for sale. Also while you walk along the marina area there are plenty of street vendors offering to sell you their wares. We were thirsty by the time we reached the first bar so we stopped for a couple buckets of beers at Captain Tony's. This turned out to be one of the best deals of the trip a bucket of 5 beers and chips and salsa was included for only $10. Captain Tony's is right next to the spillway that we had heard was a good short cut to downtown. So when we left we walked up the spillway to downtown and eventually found Cabo Wabo, where we stopped for a drink. Then we walked a few more blocks and stopped at Hard Rock for a couple souvenirs, then on to the Harley Davidson shop for a couple shirts. We were shopped out now and wanted to check out the bars on the beach. We missed the short cut and ended up walking the long way around and after a long trudge (Batan Death March) we ended up at Billigan's. We were hot and thirsty so once again buckets of beer were in order. This time they weren't as cheap, but tasted great after that long walk. After catching our breath we decided we were hungry, so we ordered some chicken quesadillas. They were very good and hit the spot. Instead of backtracking the way we had come we decided to take a water taxi back to the tender dock. This cost $8 since there were only two of us, then a couple more for the guys helping us out of the boat on the other side. We made another souvenir stop at the flea market and made a purchase at the dock side tequila stand. Then we tendered back to the ship in time for our early departure at 4PM. GROUP CRUISE EXPERIENCE This was my first experience as part of a group and the travel agent traveled with us also. Our group consisted of 36 cruisers in 19 rooms. Some we had cruised with before and others we met for the first time. I don't mind the on board credit and other treats provided to the group. But I can do without traveling with the travel agent, which made for some tense moments and clashes of personalities. I did not experience any additional perks by having my travel agent with me. I do think that it may be advantageous for inexperienced cruisers to travel with a group and the booking travel agent. Since we are experienced cruisers we can take care of any issues that may arise on our own. DEBARKATION The debarkation process started a little late, but seemed to very orderly; customs and immigration was a breeze with hardly a glance at my declaration form. We even left a little earlier than our official number, but we were able to get to our luggage just fine. We paid $26 per person for the Carnival transfer to LAX which was okay. But we could have hired a car service for about $20 more and been a lot more comfortable. I think that is what I will do in the future. I was kind of hoping that Carnival would offer one or two tours that would drop us at the airport like they do in Florida, but only transfers were offered. CONCLUSION This was our first time doing the Mexican Riviera itinerary but it will definitely not be the last. I would like to visit all the ports again and try something different. I will wait for the Carnival Splendor to start the itinerary and then try it again on a new ship! When I return I will again spend one night pre-cruise on the Queen Mary, it is a nice place to stay and experience a taste of the old time cruising era and it is very convenient to the pier. Read Less
Sail Date November 2008
Carnival Pride Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.4
Dining 4.0 3.9
Entertainment 4.0 3.7
Public Rooms 4.0 4.2
Fitness Recreation 4.0 4.0
Family 5.0 4.0
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.8
Enrichment 3.0 3.5
Service 4.5 4.3
Value For Money 5.0 4.0
Rates N/A 4.2

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