I always like to read reviews from experienced vacationers. Because of that here is a brief history of our vacations. We have been married for 18 years and have been lucky enough to do a tropical vacation every January of our marriage. All ... Read More
I always like to read reviews from experienced vacationers. Because of that here is a brief history of our vacations. We have been married for 18 years and have been lucky enough to do a tropical vacation every January of our marriage. All have been to 4 or 5 star All Inclusive resorts except for 4 cruises including this one. Along with that we have done several other trips at other times of the year around the USA as well as Europe.
Now for the Pride of America
This food was in the bottom 2 or 3 of all our vacations. I have heard many people complain about cold food on a buffet, but in 18 years I have never once complained that the food was too cold. Sometimes not super hot but always warm enough to eat. Well not on the Pride of America. We did every breakfast, many lunches, and one Dinner at the buffet. I never once had any hot food and only a couple times had even somewhat warm food. On top of the buffet food never being warm it was almost always tasteless or of very poor taste. I am not a very picky eater and always find food I like at a vacation buffet. On the Pride I was just eating something to fill my stomach, not because it was good.
The main dinning rooms were no better. The food was hot but was not good. A couple of the soups were OK but nothing else was. On a cruise I usually have 2 or 3 entrees every night that I would like. This time I had a hard time finding 1 I wanted, and when I did get it I was sorry. I never went hungry but nothing was very good. The big attraction to cruising is usually the fantastic food. This was so disappointing I can't say enough about it. It is pretty sad when a cruise ship is getting blown out of the water, food wise, by an All Inclusive resort. That is the case with all AIs compared to this ship.
If you wanted something for a snack between meals there was never anything more than basic pizza or plain hotdogs and hamburgers.
A major problem I had was the extra charges for food. For dinner, any restaurant other than the main dining room were an extra charge, as well as many items on the menu in the main dinning room. Presumably this is were any of the decent food was. Well on a cruise I shouldn't have to pay extra for good food.
The ship is smaller than some of the monsters they are building now. Because of that there isn't the grand entry or the large open shopping/promenade down the center of the ship like you see in more modern ships. Not an issue at all for us, just different. Like most ships there are different bars and lounges that have different vibes where you can spend your evenings. Most will have different live music, DJ music, live game shows, comedian, ect.
One problem we had with the layout of the ship is the area for the buffet where everyone goes for breakfast is too small. Many times we had a very hard time finding a place to sit and eat. There were times we had to carry our food outside by the pool to eat breakfast.
The cabins were everything we have had on all other cruises. The cabins as well as the bathrooms are small but that is what is expected on cruise ships. This ship did have larger decks off the cabins than what we have had in the past. The cabins, bathrooms, and decks were all in good repair and we had no issues with anything there.
For the most part all the servers were very nice and professional and did a good job. Ben, one of the bartenders and was usually at the bar on the 5th level, was a great guy. There were a few servers in the main dinning room that seemed less than happy to be there and always had a sour look on their face. That is something I have never seen on any cruise or at any AI resort.
The Cruise Directors staff which organized events and games, mostly in the evenings, seemed inexperienced and didn't always know what to do or what to say. It was often uncomfortable watching them trying to figure out what to do next.
We had one comedian which did 2 different shows with completely different material on 2 different nights and was very good.
All the live music we heard either on the pool deck or in the bars in the evenings were of pretty poor quality. Not a lot of talent there and some times hard to listen to.
The main problem we had with the entertainment was the volume of the music on the pool deck. Now we are only in our mid 40s so you wouldn't think this would be a major issue. Well it was so obnoxious we couldn't take it. It was so loud that my wife and I would yell to each other and we still couldn't hear each other. The only day we tried to lay around the pool was the last day. When they were playing prerecorded music it was pretty loud but we were able to deal with it. It was kind of hard to have a conversation but we made the best of it. As soon as they started the live music we had to leave because it was so loud. I am talking hurt your ears loud. When they were getting the live music ready, tuning their instruments, people were yelling "It's too loud turn it down". When they started I went up to the assistant cruise director and asked her why it was so loud and could they turn it down. First of all she couldn't hear me and I was yelling. When I repeated it as loud as I could her response was that it was live music and that is how it is. We had to leave.
All in all this was a pretty bad experience. It was nice to see several of the islands but there are other and better ways to do that. Getting on and off the ship wasn't too bad but you do have to use a tender boat for one port. That is a major hassle and takes a LONG time both ways. I would definitely suggest to people to do a hotel a few days on each island. I think you would have more time to see things on the island, you would get a better feel for what the island is like, you could eat more local food which I know would be better than what is offered on the ship, and I think price wise it would be about the same. With the time spent cruising between ports and getting on and off the ship, it would be faster and more efficient to fly between islands and stay in hotels. That way you would have more time per island to do and see things.
This all comes from a pretty experienced vacationer. Read Less