12 Carnival Pride Panama Canal & Central America Cruise Reviews

Was on the Journey’s cruise 14 days from Tampa ending in Baltimore. This is my 8th cruise with Carnival and have been on NCL and RCCL. I have done a 15 day to Hawaii with Carnival so we kind of knew what to expected. Wife and I are late ... Read More
Was on the Journey’s cruise 14 days from Tampa ending in Baltimore. This is my 8th cruise with Carnival and have been on NCL and RCCL. I have done a 15 day to Hawaii with Carnival so we kind of knew what to expected. Wife and I are late 20’s, early 30’s. I think we only had a handful of people in our age group and almost no kids on this cruise. Most passengers 50+ or even 60+. Having some issues on past Carnival Cruises (missing Maui Twice) I do go into these longer ones with less expectation. I am happy to report most of my expectations were met or exceeded. Ship - The ship itself is 15 years old but in most cases it does not appear that old. The interior upkeep from both the common spaces to the cabins was above what I was expecting. Staff are always cleaning and they must be doing a good job upkeep the ship, it at least appeared so. We did have an extended balcony and I could comment the balcony could use a little refurb. The wood flooring was showing its wear. Also paint splatter everywhere…. But for the age, she is in good shape. Crew - Our Cabin steward Jessica was the best we ever had. Kept our cabin clean, towels fresh, etc. Thanks for taking care of us Jessica. Dining Room Staff, our Asst Waiters were excellent, our head waiter, blah, I found him disorganized and slow. If the head waiter let the asst waiters do more, I think we would have had better service. Saying that, the service was not bad, just slow. Overall all, all common area staff were friendly, including bars, lido buffet and elsewhere. Steve the cruise director was everywhere, not being my top pick CD, he did a good job. I should also say the Maitre’d Ken was excellent too, first time in 8 Carnival Cruises the Maitre’d talked to us younger cruises (and he did 3-4 times) Food – The Pride has the American Table menu. This is the first time I had American Table. I am happy to report, the food was good to even excellent. I have noticed an improvement from the last few ships. Breakfast at the Lido Buffet breakfast was better than Seaday Brunch/Dining Room breakfast. Lunch was either Guys Burgers or Taco/Burrito from Blue Iguana. All in all, I think Carnival is improving the food, or the staff on the Pride are at least doing a good job. Entertainment – This is one of the places Carnival has always failed and continues to fail. The playlist production singer/dancers are not good singers or dancers. I find the singing is usually out of key/tune or they are over singing. The dancing is also off sync most of the time. Also playing pre-recorded tracks is just plain awful, bring back the live band. The other issue is the shows are the same ship to ship. Since this was 14 days they bring on some headliners. Usually that’s exciting but I have seen them all before on another ship. Juggler, ventriloquist, sideshow guy, illusionist, I have seen ever single one of these acts within the last 3 years on Carnival and they were the exact same show. One act that Carnival needs to stop bring on the ships is Bobby Borgia illusionist, his act in my opinion is stale and has been the same for years. I love the Comedy on the Spirit class ships, as the do not clear the room. Your able to spend the entire night watching Comedy. That being said, first come, first serve. You have to make sure you are 30-45 mins before the first show, or you wont get a seat all night, you have been warned. Diane Ford is one of the best comics I have ever seen, Carnival needs to keep her coming back. Issues – We only had one issue which was rectified. We booked 14 months in advanced and had Confirmed 6pm (early sitting) dining. When I looked at our Sign and Sail card it was listed as YTD (Your time dining). The issue is with most people being over 60, everyone wanted to eat early. Not sure how I was bumped from confirmed to YTD. We like to eat at 6pm, see the main lounge show and spend the night at the comedy club. I went directly to the Maitre’d station. At first they said, nothing they can do but to be put on the waitlist. The next day in our mailbox, we got a table assigned via a letter from the Maitre’d. Overall this was a good cruise, a little boring for the 20/30 somethings. We like the brand new shinny ships. Would I go on a 14 days Journeys cruise again with partial Panama Canal? NO, I would not. As much as I love the Spirit Class ships, I will stick to larger, newer ships. I already have the Vista booked for December. One added detail, be prepared for a lot of Platinum and Diamond cruisers on these sailings. Over 50% were Platinum and Diamond and I never heard so many people yell out “ but I am priority”. I also found a lot of the guests were getting sick (colds) towards the end of the sailing. Tons of coughing and sneezing. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
We chose this cruise as going to the Panama Canal was on my bucket list. My great grandfather had actually worked building the original canal and I wanted to experience it for myself. There were 4 of us adults in an extended balcony ... Read More
We chose this cruise as going to the Panama Canal was on my bucket list. My great grandfather had actually worked building the original canal and I wanted to experience it for myself. There were 4 of us adults in an extended balcony cabin on deck 7. The cabin itself was fine; plenty of storage for the 4 of us as I have come to expect with a Carnival ship. There were some dents and scratches but the cabin itself was very clean and the room steward was great; another think I have come to expect from Carnival. Embarkation in Tampa was fine. We had FTTF and were on the ship by noon. However, our luggage did not arrive until 8 pm! Here I will comment on the reported over 1,000 Diamond and Platinum members on the ship. I believe the staff overall during the 14 days were so overwhelmed with serving the perks of the Diamond and Platinum members, that the rest of us lowly Gold, Red and Blue card members got overlooked. We had YTD, but because there were so many people who requested early dining that could not be accommodated, it was practically impossible to eat before 8 pm in YTD without having to wait 45 minutes for a table. Therefore, we only ate in YTD I believe 3 times on our 14 day cruise. We were hungry before we could get a table so we just ate on Lido for dinner, since the menu was almost the same. Upon debarkation, the FTTF people were held along with the suite people in a private area of the ship, but were not told to debark until after luggage tag 5 was called. We weren't actually told to debark even though we had luggage tag #2, but someone heard #5 called and we all left. The person in charge of us royally goofed. Anyway, the actually debark in Baltimore was fine, except there were absolutely no taxis available by the time we got off the ship. It was in the 20's that morning and we waited probably 45 minutes for a taxi. So, debark in Baltimore was not very good for sure. Anyway, the fact that Carnival sold FTTF spaces with that many Diamond and Platinum guests was a big mistake, IMHO and I believe it was a waste of money. All of the ports were great! Weather was perfect in Cozumel, Costa Rica, going through the Panama Canal, Aruba, Bonaire and St. Maarten. We just took a cab to Paradise Beach in Cozumel, had a private tour in Costa Rica (awesome), took a cab to the Butterfly Garden in Aruba, shopped and went on the sunset cruise in the afternoon (awesome), rented a golf cart in Bonaire and went on a 2 beach private tour in St. Maarten. I will say that besides the Panama Canal being a highlight, we wish that Costa Rica would have been a longer stop. There was also an issue with getting off the ship in Costa Rica because everybody wanted to get off at once because of the short day. We had a wonderful tour, but with the ship being in port only from 11 am to 5 pm made it a very rushed day and it is such a beautiful country! It was very windy in all ports except for Costa Rica and excursions in Aruba and St. Maarten were cancelled. Since we only ate in the dining room 2 or 3 times, I cannot comment on the wait staff really. The food on Lido was just OK and we always could find something to eat, but the Chinese food was pretty bad and there were none of those boneless breaded chicken fingers to be found anywhere on the Pride. We even asked the chef, who told us in no uncertain terms that they would not be served on Lido ever and we were told to go to the MDR. So, we went to the MDR and were told they only had the chicken strips but we had to order them a day ahead of time. We did this a couple of times and made them a take out order, but they were very small and I think had a Panko crust that was very thin. I never heard so many people complaining about the food choices on a cruise for dinner as on this cruise. Many guests called them "weird food" and I would agree that there were some strange things on the menu. Lots of pork dishes, lamb, very little pasta, dry seafood, beef dishes were generally tough and very little chicken. I only saw turkey one night and it wasn't the night of the American Feast. Thank goodness for guys burgers, salads and fresh fruit! There was a noticeable lack of bar staff wandering around the Lido except for embarkation day. It was always easy to find a deck chair except for Serenity. The wait staff in the bars was pretty good, but it didn't seem like this was a drinking crowd because the bars were rarely full. The entertainment in the Taj Mahal was pretty dismal. The Playlist Productions were not good. We have seen these productions on other ships and on the Pride they did not met my expectations. The special acts they brought on because it was a Journeys cruise were great. Adam in the Piano bar was OK. The other singers around the ship were OK, but the young woman who sang like Joni Mitchell and played the guitar really got on my nerves. It seemed wherever I went, she was there singing. They had her and another singer on the Serenity Deck for a few hours a day also. It's supposed to be quiet on Serenity, IMHO. Nice string duo playing around the ship. Overall the Pride seems tired. It was very clean, but it is showing wear. Examples, there were many floor tiles loose in the Lido area that were not fixed, worn carpets, scratches and dents in various areas of the ships. The CD, Steve from Canada also seemed tired. The Fun Shops didn't have much of a variety of merchandise and it seemed like a lot of wasted space. We love the layout and different areas of the Spirit Class, but the Pride needs an update. The one shining spot for the Journeys cruise was the Academy of Fun classes run by Tom Parks. Very informative, and we learned a lot from him Tom is also very approachable and if you had a question or wanted further information, he was always around to talk to. The 80's throwback day was also fun. Overall, we had a great time and were not disappointed with the itinerary, which is generally why we choose a cruise. The other passengers were very friendly to us, but there were grumblings among them about the food, entertainment, condition of the ship and some were very rude to the staff. We would take the Pride again since it is only a 6 hour drive for us, but the normal itineraries out of Baltimore are not very great and it needs an update. We rate this cruise very good, mostly because of the itinerary. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
Cruised before on the Pride, usually doing the Eastern Caribbean. The ship is a medium size ship that hold approximately 2,700 passengers. The ship was renovated in 2014 with Carnivals 2.0 upgrades. The older art that was on the ship ... Read More
Cruised before on the Pride, usually doing the Eastern Caribbean. The ship is a medium size ship that hold approximately 2,700 passengers. The ship was renovated in 2014 with Carnivals 2.0 upgrades. The older art that was on the ship was replaced with a more modern try of décor. Guys burger join, Iguana cantina, Red frog bar, Alcoy bar and a sushi restaurant were added. The ship was clean and easy to maneuver. You can walk from one end of the ship to the other on the same deck. The only problem with this ship is that the Casino can become very smoky. This cruise went to Grand Turk which is a nice place to relax on the beach right by the cruise pier. The next port was Amber Cove. This was the first time to visit this port. Carnival has a nice port with shops, pools similar to Grand Turk, restaurants and bars, a sky bar with outstanding views and a zip line that is above the swimming pools. Next port was Cartagena, Columbia. This was a beautiful city with modern high rises and the old walled city. The walled city had houses, shops and restaurants similar to San Juan. Our next stop was a trip through the Panama Canal where we anchored and then traveled through the canal a few hours later back into the Caribbean. The passage was very informative and unique to see the ship and other ships being raised in the locks to a higher level to enter Gatun lake and then lowered when returned to enter the Caribbean. Our next port was Limon, Costa Rica. This port is full of different adventures. We chose to go zip lining and a boat exploring the canals. The zip lining had twelve different lines and was a great adventure. On the canal tour we were able to see different birds, howler monkeys, spider monkeys, sloths, an alligator and a cayman. The next port was Cozumel, Mexico. This port also had many excursions. The port area was loaded with shops, bars and restaurants. The only problem was that there were nine ships in port and the area was crowded. Our last stop was where the ship was repositioned in Tampa. Great cruise, but would have been better if the ship had sailed back to Baltimore. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
We chose this cruise for the journey experience and was not disappointed. This was a great cruise, good locations to visit . This was also the best Carnival Crew I have ever had. From my room steward, Veronica, Head waiter Bajon, and ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the journey experience and was not disappointed. This was a great cruise, good locations to visit . This was also the best Carnival Crew I have ever had. From my room steward, Veronica, Head waiter Bajon, and Bartenderes Jo Ann (piano bar) and Maria at alcameny, they were the best. The panamal canal experience was wonderful. Had done before but it is amazing what goes on to get a boat in and out of the locks. Entertainment was OK. Really enjoyed the lounge singers, especially the Musical Nomads and Acoustical Brad. In the piano bar, Brad was great, just watch out for the late night if you are easily offended. The selections in the Main dining room were delicious. Good choices and the regional foods made it difficult to select some nights. The Main dining room staff for dine on your own time were great. Bajon, Awa were attentive and set the tone for both of their teams. All in all a good time. Met some good people, visited some good ports and saw beautiful sun sets. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
we took this journey one-way 13 day cruise from Baltimore to Tampa because of it's itinerary, what a great choice. we had been on the Pride abt 8 yrs before and remembered what a not-too-big ship it was. great improvements, small ... Read More
we took this journey one-way 13 day cruise from Baltimore to Tampa because of it's itinerary, what a great choice. we had been on the Pride abt 8 yrs before and remembered what a not-too-big ship it was. great improvements, small size (2100 guests). all stops were good. save maybe Cozumel. only because of the irritatingly-narrow gift shop you had to walk thru both ways) and the crowds because there were so many other ships there too (saw 9). our favorite excursion was power snorkeling at amber cove. really lazy, and fun too. food was maybe the best of many cruises. tasty; good choices; well presented. servers in main dining were so good and fun to kid with. What a nice person Damir, our main server, was. and his assistants Robi and I Wayan. all made dinner a joy. Our cabin steward, I ketut, always kept our cabin nice. we had an extended balcony stateroom, which has it's good and less-good parts. on plus side, bigger balcony was nice (not really needed tho except to maybe keep out of a wind sometimes). on neg side, extended balcony cabin is recessed so you cant see directly down the length of the ship(no big deal mostly). as usual, trivia games were fun. we missed the magician, but heard he was good. Pride layout good. pirate pizza not quick sometimes, but personally made and yummy. we wish the Pride went to more different places. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
We chose this cruise because it was on the Pride which is a Spirit-class ship. We love these ships because of the great layout and their smaller size: only about 2000 passengers. We also loved the itinerary because of the visit to ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it was on the Pride which is a Spirit-class ship. We love these ships because of the great layout and their smaller size: only about 2000 passengers. We also loved the itinerary because of the visit to Cartagena and the partial transit of the Panama Canal. The Cruise Director was Steve and he was great, providing us information that we had never gotten before even though we are frequent cruisers. We loved his delivery and comedic timing as well. The food was Carnival food: very good with lots of options. Since the Pride is a 2.0 ship it has our favorites: Guys, Blue Iguana and the Sushi Bar. All are great! We also tried David's Steakhouse and it was fantastic! For me, the highlight of the cruise was the ports of call. We got to visit several of our favorites such as Grand Turk and Cozumel, but the big draw was the ports new to us. Cartagena, Limon and the partial transit of the Panama Canal. The Panama Canal transit was awesome! It was incredible to finally see the canal after reading about it all my life. There was an onboard narrator telling us about the transit, but since we were on Deck 3 we couldn't hear it. Didn't matter...it was a wonderment even without narration! The only issue I had on the trip was the WiFi. It was wonderful from 4:00 to 6:00 AM, but after that it was very slow. Seems like they need to restrict Live videos or something to help ease the load on the network. We truly loved this cruise and would love a repeat with the same crew, ship and ports! Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
When we decided to go to the Panama Canal (bucket list thing) Carnival didn't have an itinerary that included the canal so we booked on another line. When we saw that the Pride would be making the trip, we changed our reservations ... Read More
When we decided to go to the Panama Canal (bucket list thing) Carnival didn't have an itinerary that included the canal so we booked on another line. When we saw that the Pride would be making the trip, we changed our reservations for three families to Carnival. We are Carnival people! The staff on the pride were GREAT!. Really enjoyed the extra things that come with a "Journeys" cruise like the seminars on varying subjects and the "Port of Call" food items added to the menu. The trip through the canal was AWESOME! Having the award winning photographer, Radu Ursu, filming from a helicopter as we traversed the canal was a real plus. We will treasure the photos we were able to purchase. The only negative was the rough ride. This was our 25th cruise and for sure our bumpiest! We have had to skip ports because of seas to rough to tender in and yet they were not as bumpy as was the Pride. All in all this was a terrific vacation. Thank you Carnival and the staff of the Pride for a most memorable experience. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
We chose this cruise for a Panama Canal experience,& the other ports looked quite interesting. Being interested in art,we were challenged by the decor,displayed on the sight. Heard good reviews about "Journey" cruising ,so ... Read More
We chose this cruise for a Panama Canal experience,& the other ports looked quite interesting. Being interested in art,we were challenged by the decor,displayed on the sight. Heard good reviews about "Journey" cruising ,so decided to give it a go and we were not disappointed!! We like copper as a embellishment , so we just loved all the copper accents around the ship & the Sea Theme was wonderful, therefore causing us to be "Happy Cruisers". Our room steward "Randy" & his helper were excellent at keeping our cabin in great shape.. They were wonderful with helping me with my husband, who has walking issues. We decided to eat @ the 8:15 sitting, which was quieter for us "oldies"(haha).Our table staff were a lot of fun & made dining a wonderful experience.Thank you,Joy, Mario & Lu Hputu. We had a small disappointment with a few shore excursions cancelling on us as they found someone with a wheelchair too risky, but no problem ....the guy at Shore Excursions helped us find others that suited us much better and we enjoyed ourselves thoroughly. We were not too impressed with the Serenity area....too noisy,too crowded & didn't want to wait 1hour for a lounge.We went to Deck 10 & believe me ,it was a totally relaxation experience. The meals were delicious & the entertainment was exceptional,except for a conflict with Achemy Bar & the Disco,but the ship was working out a solution when we left. The embarkation was crowded,noisy & long(1 1/2 hrs)& we had FTF,as did 1/2 the ship or so it seemed...no problem .We were sitting next to a Diamond & took the opportunity to glean information from his travels... .Disembarkation was smooth & efficient. We found the Playlist Productions greatly improved & the Dive In had excellent movies. Would we travel Carnival Pride again ? YES !! Would we recommend it to others ? YES Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
We chose this cruise for its itinerary and were not disappointed with that. However found the Pride was the worst of any ship on our 14 cruises. 2 nights had nothing appealing to 4 of the 6 at our table. The other couple were first ... Read More
We chose this cruise for its itinerary and were not disappointed with that. However found the Pride was the worst of any ship on our 14 cruises. 2 nights had nothing appealing to 4 of the 6 at our table. The other couple were first timers so had nothing to compare to. Room steward was great Jomel met our every need. However, our room balcony had paint splatter all over the lacquered railing glass, floor and seats. Then when they washed the balcony down there were floating paint chips that stuck to everything. We have sailed on the Pride previously and had a great experience. This time not so much. Female entertainer was off key every time she performed. The only good singer was Marcus Anthony who came on board at 1 port. Shows were quite amateurish from other cruises. Dining we requested to sit with 6 cotravellers and asked 4 weeks in advance and could not be accommodated. Met new friends but watched our party of 6 at every dinner. Matree'd was of no help. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
We sailed on the 14 night repositioning cruise from Tampa to Baltimore with stops in Grand Cayman, Costa Rica, Panama, Aruba, Bonaire and St Maarten. The ship with the new Funship 2.0 upgrades is well maintained with lots of new ... Read More
We sailed on the 14 night repositioning cruise from Tampa to Baltimore with stops in Grand Cayman, Costa Rica, Panama, Aruba, Bonaire and St Maarten. The ship with the new Funship 2.0 upgrades is well maintained with lots of new additions. Embarkation in Tampa was easy once it started (there was a bit of delay and they didn’t allow us to drop off until after 11am). Debarkation in Baltimore was a long, drawn out process but I put that down to a long cruise and the first time back at that port in 7 months. We had late dining and experienced great service from our 3 member team. Food was good to very good. The Pride still had the “old” menus so there were the standard 7 menus plus 7 more unique ones. Beef was consistently served medium rare or medium well as requested. Soups served ranged from just warm to piping hot as did most appetizers. Entrees were consistently served hot. Warm chocolate melting cake was spot on most nights with only 2 times it being a bit on the soupy side. On the long voyage they offered the Sea Day Brunch 2 days and the remainder of the sea days, the dining room offered separate breakfast and lunch menus. The casual food places (buffet, Guy’s Burgers, Blue Iguana, Pizza Pirate, and the Deli) offered good choices. The fries at Guy’s are fantastic and highly recommended even if you’re not craving a burger. The chicken tacos at Blue Iguana are some of the best, especially when the watermelon and jicama salsa is added. They also had watermelon slices on the condiment bar at Blue Iguana which made for a tasty side to the tacos. Breakfast burritos were always good and fresh made with whatever you wanted. The Deli workers were flexible with making sandwiches not technically on the menu as long as it used the available ingredients (for example, a turkey Rueben or a tuna melt). Pirate pizza didn’t really allow for too many changes but were okay with requests for extra cheese or half a pizza of one type and half a pizza of another type (there were 3 of us and we couldn’t always agree on what kind of pizza). We ate in the buffet for dinner 3 of the 14 nights to catch the Dive In Movies and found the food to be hot and fresh. They prepare only small pans which are replenished often so the food was not sitting around. The dinner buffet selections were always off the dining room menu, and there was always a carved meat. They offered a pretty extensive salad bar with a few prepared salads along with the traditional lettuce, etc salad offerings. They also had a selection of cheese cubes (3 kinds) and deli meats out each night. Breakfast in the buffet was pretty standard offerings, with lots of choices so you could enjoy something different each day (cereal, yogurt, eggs, toast, bacon, ham, sausage, eggs benedict, pancakes, French toast, waffles, omelets, various fruits, Danish, muffins and other pastries) along with the made to order breakfast burritos from Blue Iguana. There were a number of day time activities offered including dance lessons, arts and crafts (though it was at 9am so no sleeping in if you wanted to attend), multiple trivia sessions each day (each afternoon they would offer a knowledge trivia followed by the associated music trivia – for example, 80’s trivia followed by 80’s music guess that song trivia, Broadway trivia followed by Broadway guess that song trivia, etc). Evenings found a variety of options like the playlist productions, 2 different comics, ventriloquist, Wild West show, and of course Dive in movies. The one issue we experienced is that a number of the evening activities coincided with late dining (it seemed that the majority of cruisers had either early dining or anytime dining – there was a long line for anytime dining between 5:45 and 6:30pm every night). The Hasbro game show was done twice during the cruise, both times at 8:15pm. Dive in movies were often shown at 7pm and 9:30 pm so on nights were we wanted to see one of them, we had to skip our assigned dining time and chose the buffet instead. The port stops were great – a few more unique, less visited places. We did a private taxi tour of Colon, Panama which took us around the city, to the Atlantic side of the canal and we got to see the construction of the new canal locks. Did a private tour in Aruba as well, nice air conditioned mini van which took us to all of the major sites (and many minor sites) of the island. I highly recommend smaller, private tours. Each tour was $100 total for the 3 of us (plus tip) and we got to spend as much (or as little) time at each site as we wanted. The rooms were well appointed. The beds were a little firm but the bedding was soft and fluffy. No clamshells in the bathrooms but multiple bars of soap were provided and the dispensers of shampoo and bath gel were kept full. Maybe because it was a long cruise but we found multiple boxes of tissues and multiple rolls of toilet paper stored in the bathrooms so supplies were always at hand. Lots of storage space, hanging closets, shelving and drawers. We had two cabins – one had a newer flat screen tv and one had the older, bulky kind. Fridges worked very well and kept sodas and water we ordered from Bon Voyage very cold. I received a notice on St Maarten port day that my room’s carpet was being cleaned and I had to be out of the cabin from 9:30 to 1pm. Came back to a large, industrial fan finishing drying the carpet – it’s clear that they are maintaining the ship well. There were maybe a few scuff marks here or there but certainly nothing major. There are companion/wheelchair washrooms on deck 2 (between the alchemy bar and the atrium) and deck 3 (near the piano bar and shops) for anyone who needs them (we were travelling with a full time wheelchair user so these were well used by us). The shops have the standard stuff – the duty free with the alcohol and cigarettes, the jewelry, watches, and other high end stuff and then the shop with the souvenirs. There were a few sales going on (some $1 magnets and key chains and key lime or pina colada coconut patties 50% off) but most of the items were what you’d expect to pay on vacation. Bar service around the ship, including the casino was good. Not pushy but usually around somewhere when you wanted a drink. Service in general was great – lots of smiling, happy people (or workers who fake it very well). The social staff were upbeat and showed enthusiasm for the events they hosted. They were also very generous with the coveted Ships on a Stick and the medals for those participating in activities. The CD, Jase (Jason Apps) was good, a few announcements each day and was pretty present around the ship. Could do without the “Bye-e-e-e-e” but it’s just a minor annoyance and I’m sure he’s just trying to find a niche saying (like Malcom Burns “whoo-hoo”). All around it was a great 14 day voyage – great service, great cabin, great food, and great fun. I’ve sailed Disney, Royal Caribbean, Celebrity and Carnival. I’ll never be loyal to one line but I will say that Carnival offers a great product for a great price and is at the top of its game with the longer cruises.   Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
This was a wonderful cruise and we want to take this same trip again, with Carnival, and on one of the Pride's sister ships. We booked the cruise during our travel agent's January 2008 winter cruise sale immediately after we ... Read More
This was a wonderful cruise and we want to take this same trip again, with Carnival, and on one of the Pride's sister ships. We booked the cruise during our travel agent's January 2008 winter cruise sale immediately after we learned about it during the Carnival presentation. We were pleasantly surprised to find that a Cruise Critic roll call already had been established during December 2007. We followed this awesome roll call over 14+ months and it ultimately exceeded 1,000 pages and thousands of posts. It was a lot of fun to read the roll call posts. We flew into Los Angeles from Kansas City on Midwest Airlines. Although the price of fuel had dropped since we made our reservations, we were charged $25 for each of the 4 bags we checked. The flight was an early flight and we had planned to purchase a breakfast onboard but they did not have enough breakfast meals or snacks. I am still confused over the attendants' logic because we weren't offered either one. They just skipped us - I guess they didn't think we looked hungry. We arrived in LA on time, and took the red shuttle to Long Beach. The other passengers on the shuttle were dropped off at San Pedro to board the Diamond Princess. We saw no lines there. The charge for the shuttle was $16 per person plus tip. Our hotel reservations were at the Marriott Courtyard - our room had a view of the Queen Mary and we were able to watch the Pride arrive the next morning. Service at the Marriott was excellent; it was very clean and conveniently located. We had dinner at Bubba Gump's that evening and coincidentally, the couple sitting across the aisle from us would be our dinner tablemates throughout the cruise. Embarkation - Sunday morning we left the Marriott at noon (cab fare $15) dropped off our bags and got in line. During 3 previous cruises, embarkation at Long Beach was a disaster, but this time Carnival got it right. We were on the ship shortly after 1pm. Our bags arrived before muster drill, the muster drill seemed to go by very quickly, and we were on our way. Demographics - the age of the average passenger was probably a little older than a typical Carnival cruise, and there were very few children on board - probably no more than 25-40. As I understand it, all the cabins on the ship were booked, but the ship was approximately 400 under its maximum capacity for passengers meaning (I think) that the number of passengers per cabin for this cruise was below average. There were also about 90 passengers that had spent 42 days on the Splendor as it made its way around South America to Long Beach. The ship never felt crowded and finding deck chairs on the sun deck was never a problem. Cabin - Our cabin was 5118 on the upper deck. This cabin is a Category 8G and has an extended balcony. It is conveniently located near the forward elevators and the Taj Mahal theater. There are 12 of these cabins located on the upper deck forward on the port and starboard sides. Our cabin steward, Isnan, and his assistant, Gusti were the best team we've had on any Carnival cruise. They quickly learned our schedule and provided exceptional service. Water in the dining room - the water did have a distinct taste to it, probably a result of the purification process. This was the first time I ever recall waiters offering bottled water for sale in the dining room. I drank the water and after 2 or 3 days, I didn't notice the taste any longer. Bacon - the crew served bacon in the buffet. Dining - We were seated in the upstairs area of the dining room during the late seating. There were more vacant tables than what we normally see - many booths and tables for 2 were vacant the entire cruise. Our table wasn't the best in the dining room, but our tablemates were great, so we didn't request a change. Our waiters, Ricardo and Anthony were good and the food was good. We had planned on having dinner at David's, but we checked the dinner menu every morning and never failed to see something interesting. The food in the buffet was also good. I honestly don't know how anyone can complain about the food. Entertainment - Mark Price was the CD and he assembled the most talented entertainers we have seen on a ship. Mark also put on an outstanding hypnosis show. Our favorites were Doug Cameron (jazz violinist), Tom Block (impressions), and Jamilla (vocalist). There were some technical problems during some of the production shows, and Vrooom was cancelled and rescheduled for the same reasons. Shows for late seating passengers were scheduled at 7pm. This was convenient and the shows were well attended. Jerome was missed. Activities - During the day we spent most of our time on the Sun Deck either walking or lying in the sun. We attended nearly all of the shows, took naps, used the gym regularly, but sadly, didn't find time to attend any of the cruise critic activities. One note about the Sun Deck - although there is a sports deck with a track, most prefer to walk on the sun deck. The crew's schedule for cleaning the Sun Deck is evidently 6am and 6pm and they seem determined to adhere to that schedule regardless of how many passengers might be walking at those times. They mop and close off portions as they see fit. The composite surface can be very slippery when wet. Weather - there were seven sea days and the weather was nearly perfect. The first sea day out of Long Beach is normally windy and cool, but it was warm. It was very hot after the second sea day and didn't cool off until we left Columbia for Jamaica when the breeze picked up. The winds were strong enough for the sport deck and forward area of the sun deck to be closed on the way to Jamaica. Manzanillo - We did not leave the ship. Our original plans were to visit a beach club but decided to just lie by the pool and enjoy the ship. Manzanillo reminds me of Mazatlan although I think it is even more of an industrial port. There is also a railroad yard at the port. We heard positive comments about excursions . Puntarenas, Costa Rico - Costa Rica is beautiful. We took the horseback riding excursion and it was a nice long challenging ride through the forest. The advertised tropical fruit buffet was a disappointment - it consisted of some bananas and a local fruit. We did see howler monkeys and the forest was beautiful. We would like to return here and take a tour further inland into the mountains. Panama Canal Transit - we went to the sun deck at 6am for our morning walk, and already the forward viewing areas were taken for the entrance into the locks. We spent most of the transit on our balcony in the shade. We remained in the second lock for several hours -a railway crane derailed, turned over and blocked the lock. We heard that somehow it became entangled with the ship ahead of us. The technical aspects of the canal are interesting, more interesting that I thought they would be. Our favorite part of the transit was the 30 miles or so spent cruising in the lake. It was beautiful. Cartagena, Columbia is a large, modern, and relatively clean city. We took the Cartagena by Land and Sea tour, and it was a good tour. We had a very knowledgeable tour guide -his name was Pedro. Ocho Rios, Jamaica - We took the Bob Marley tour and it is now down as one of our all time favorites. It consists of a one hour bus ride (listening to reggae) to the Bob Marley cultural center, museum, and mausoleum. It is cooler in the mountains, very scenic, and clean there. Our tour guide at the center was an interesting character named Fuzzy who may or may not be Bob's cousin. The center is surrounded by a wall, and there is a sliding window on one wall where local entrepreneurs offer ganja for sale (for medicinal purposes only I assume), and a picnic table area that visitors use for smoking. The tour includes an excellent Jamaican jerk lunch at a very clean outdoor restaurant. We really enjoyed this tour and the opportunity to see a different less-commercialized side of Jamaica. Grand Cayman Island - We have been here several times, and our original plan was to spend the day at 7 Mile Beach, but we decided to stay on the ship and enjoy the pool. Final Fun Day at Sea Fiasco - the gift shop cashier told me my card had been de-activated and to go to the information desk. Carnival had billed (I think the technical term is reserving credit) my credit card on a regular basis, but had not received approval for that day's charges ($28), so they de-activated my card without notifying me. I called my credit card company and they told me that no charges had been denied and there were no problems with my card. I returned to the information desk two more times and finally, a very helpful and knowledgeable young lady told me everything was fine with my card but had no explanation and no apology for several hours of lost vacation. The information desk alibi was that I was responsible because I had not notified my bank I would be out of the country. This alibi overlooks the fact that this wasn't a problem for 13 days, and these things just don't happen with the card that you don't leave home without. Debarkation - We had early debarkation priority because we had a 12:15 flight out of Fort Lauderdale. When we were called we walked down to deck three right off the ship. When we reached customs, there were only two people in front of us. I don't think anyone wanted to leave the ship. We were off the ship at 9:20am, and immediately found 1 piece of luggage, but the other 3 did not appear until 10:40am. The Port of Miami had baggage issues that day, and there were many Carnival representatives there assisting passengers. We had Carnival transfers, but since the bus would not leave until it was full, we took a cab to Fort Lauderdale, arriving just in time to catch our flight. Our flight home was uneventful - I vaguely remember hearing the pilot say the weather in Kansas City was 32 degrees with snow flurries. I will say it again - this was a wonderful cruise - almost perfect. Read Less
Sail Date March 2009
GENERAL OVERVIEW We have sailed NCL, Celebrity, Royal Caribbean, Princess and toured HAL and Cunard so were looking forward to this first Carnival cruise on the 14 day full transit cruise. Carnival did not disappoint with its "Fun ... Read More
GENERAL OVERVIEW We have sailed NCL, Celebrity, Royal Caribbean, Princess and toured HAL and Cunard so were looking forward to this first Carnival cruise on the 14 day full transit cruise. Carnival did not disappoint with its "Fun Ship" programming. Far more activities, trivia contests, wacky contests like(best hairy chest-all male competitors!) than any other ship we have sailed. Food was in general very good, excellent service. David's Supper Club did disappoint somewhat, but had excellent food presentation. Main course was cooler than it should have. We wrote feedback to the hotel manager, but received no feedback. Evening entertainment shows were excellent, better than other lines, except for the new Freedom class ships with their large stages and theatre features. Our balcony stateroom was very nice, bed very comfortable, larger shower than expected, nice to get some free amenities (shavers, toothpaste samples, antacid and shower soap/shampoo) Room needs a bit of updating in the staterooms and like the ship overall. For a 8 year old ship, she looked very good. The Renaissance theme throughout, with extensive painting and decorating I think is as departure from the normal bright and lively Carnival design. The 10 ft. statue of David in the supper club was a real classy touch. Staff in general did not greet us as often as other lines, feedback was also given to Carnival ship management staff: they need some improvement here. An excessive amount of daily announcements on ship events is unfortunate, with many who don't approve, but likely Miami requires maximum revenue to be generated on each sailing, like Bingo, photo sales, duty free etc. Our captain, Vito Giacalone, was always visible, even dressed casually going for a swim, exercising, going ashore. We have never seen this in a Captain and it was real nice. Cruise Director, Mark Price was the best we have ever had, a fine British fellow with 13 yrs experience, was an expert hypnotist and did a show to be remembered. Mark had married one of the Fun Patrol staff from Karaoke a few months back and it was nice to see this couple throughout the ship. This ship of 2200 passengers, was not a typical Carnival cruise demographic, Average age was 65, where normally it is around 40. only 25 youths were present, whereas the next cruise for Easter week, had a crowd of children was 600. A lot of bars and dance venues were very quiet in the evening, the casino looked empty, but most $ were spent on shore excursions. Would recommend Carnival to anyone, as great value, a fine vacation. Ships entertainment: Bars had some excellent piano players and guitar. Dance and song shows were outstanding with great staging, sound, props and professional performers. Show band played elsewhere on the ship and were tight. Evening shows were even rescheduled due to some computer glitch. One note: the dancers wore the skimpiest Vegas revealing outfits we have seen. Had Edge a great juggler/comedian, impressionist Ken Block, Mark's Hypnosis show was hilarious, getting about 10 people truly hypnotized. Jamila-songstress, Doug Cameron (great violinist)guest talent show, real funny Tommy Drake. motown Marcus Anthony-fantastic, staff/guest traditional Legend's ending show, moved to the pm to allow for the rescheduled end show. Restaurants: Normandie dining room, was great, still have one lobster night, 2 elegant (formal) evenings, the award winning warm chocolate cake was available every night. Never had so much dancing in the dining room before, entertaining. Lido buffet, good variety, but very much spread out. A few things we missed: printed mini newspapers (we heard these were available in Europe on Carnival, a better library, more trivia/suduku puzzles (they did have daily events to make up)no future cruise booking desk, not even a Carnival travel flyer, no future deposit, onboard credit promo available, no anytime dining (being rolled out right now) Panama Canal; transit was incredible. ship showed a PBS video the day before the transit, to an overpacked theatre-then replayed. Would have been nice to have an expert give a few lectures on this marvel and other Caribbean topics. Get up early to get your chair on the forward deck of the ship, some were there at 5 am. Also if coming from the Pacific, also get up early around 7 to be part of the interesting ship sailing under the Bridge of the Americas and Panama City on your right. We flew into Long Beach, a much nicer, smaller airport (only 5 airlines) than LAX. stayed at the LB Marriott, very nice, drove with friends to the San Diego Zoo pre-cruise, worth the visit. Embarkation was a very long delay, and not sure why, only 2 metal detectors I think. Carnival cruiser are very loyal, so be careful when comparing with other lines. On this ship out of 2200, 1500 were past passengers, the loyalty party was packed. Carnival somehow does not have a name for its loyalty program and does not publicize it enough on its website or on the ship. Platinum (10 cruises) is what everyone was aiming for. Had an aft balcony on Deck 8, learned something about the Azipod propulsion system that most newer ships have. With certain wave heights and cross winds, there is a lot of vibration felt all up the ship. They call it cavitation and nothing can be done. Forward on the ship, there is a lot of side to side motion with the winds and waves and the bow bulb plowing through the water, they call it tail wagging the dog. So midship and low is best for the motion challenged customer. Read Less
Sail Date March 2009
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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