Carnival Pride - Mexican Riviera: Carnival Pride Cruise Review by Dave guest
Overall Member Rating
Carnival Pride - Mexican Riviera
Destination: Mexican Riviera
Embarkation: Los Angeles
Personal background: Mid 40s couple traveling with friends (left kids at home). Previous cruises: Royal Caribbean 2, Celebrity 1, first time on Carnival.
The Long Beach port is a nice one. Home to the Queen Mary, Long Beach is a picturesque port when compared to San Pedro. Public restrooms available outside in the area where passengers line up to clear security. Visiting the Queen Mary before a cruise is easily done. Shes now a hotel and you can stay there the night before or after your cruise if you wish. Its a quick walk from the Queen Mary to the dome that now serves as the cruise ship terminal.
The Long Beach airport is small, but very convenient, easy to get in and out of, and retains the charm of a 1960s airfield when it flying had some sort of romance attached to it. You can also arrive at LAX or Orange County, but they are a little farther away. More
Early check in is available at the Queen Mary until 11 a.m.. However, Carnival shut it down early for some reason so we had to stand in the long line to check in. Check in begins at 11:30 a.m. when they open the doors to the dome (former home of the Spruce Goose). Those able to get through the early check in at the Queen Mary are positioned at the front of the line, but not granted early admission to the Pride. You still have to wait for the doors to open at 11:30 (maybe later if the ship arrives late or clears customs late).
Early check in or not, plan on standing outside in line for at least an hour, maybe two. We were there at around 10:15 a.m. and waited in line until around 12:30 p.m. Im not complaining. Standing in the sun, under the palm trees in the winter is nothing to complain about. Food and drink carts are nearby as are the restrooms. Beer and wine is also available. If you forget a hat, bag or sunglasses, theres plenty of opportunity to pick something up outside the terminal.
88,000 tons or something like that. Its big. Its less than five years old, clean and well maintained. Decor is a little over the top. Lots of Baroque-style wall and ceiling panels with classical art and sculpture all around. Lots of nudes, but no more so than youd see in a museum. I prefer a little more elegant, simple decor, but thats just my opinion.
Many bars as youd expect. Piano bar, showroom, main dining room, buffet, internet cafe, casino (with slots, craps, roulette, blackjack, variations on blackjack, Caribbean stud poker, Pai Gow, and a poker room). Four pools, hot tubs, gym, mens and womens locker rooms with sauna and steam. Water slide is closed for the long term (appears to be some kind of safety issue).
We had a balcony cabin which is the only way to go. Id prefer a sliding exterior door as opposed to the swing-out variety, but Im sure they designed it that way for a reason. The bedding was very nice, although the mattresses were the typical cruise-ship futon-like racks which will never remind me of a decent hotel mattress. Plenty of storage space in the closets, but I wish they had drawers in there instead of shelves.
Minibar is locked until you have the cabin attendant open it. We removed the contents so we could use the refer for our own stuff. Returned everything before the last night of the cruise so we wouldnt be charged for it. The hair dryer is in a drawer in the vanity outside the bathroom. The cord is fixed so you cant move it. If you need to use a hair dryer in the bathroom, bring your own.
The TV was decent in size (19-20 inch). Im been on some cruises where the set is a 13-incher, which is too small. Not a lot of channels, but you get CNN, the ABC, NBC and CBS affiliates, Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network, Discovery and a free movie channel. Theres also pay-per-view movies. X-rated movies also available but the purser needs to unlock the option for you (if you must).
Surprisingly good. After sailing on RCCL and Celebrity, I was afraid Carnival would disappoint. They didnt. Like all cruise lines, Carnival puts most of its effort into food preparation for the main dining room. Filet Mignon was available every night for those who asked. Lobster, prime rib, Beef Wellington, Chateaubriand, escargot, were also featured at some point in the week. The food in the main dining room was very good not great and while a step below that served on Celebrity, it was comparable with Royal Caribbean. Very nice, but not super premium. But then Carnival is a budget cruise line not a super premium one at a super premium price. You get what you pay for. In this case, I thought it was a great value. Espresso and cappuccino were available in the dining room after dinner free of additional charge.
The Lido deck coffee was decent. The room service coffee was less so, but not terrible. There is a specialty coffee bar on board for an additional fee.
The buffet was decent, but not spectacular. There was always something to satisfy your taste, but eating in the main dining room was a better experience. The buffet is the only thing open after you board the ship in Long Beach.
The 24-hour pizza was actually quite good. Many different varieties, usually fresh out of the oven. There was also 24-hour soft-serve ice cream and frozen yogurt which was very good as well.
Sushi was served nightly (5-8 or so) in the center of the ship just off one of the lounges. It was also very good and a great snack before the late dinner seating after ending a long shore excursion.
Room service was OK. No hot food (except coffee and tea). But the pastries, muffins, cereal, fruit, yogurt, bagels and salmon were acceptable for breakfast. The 24-hour room service menu consisted of decent sandwiches, but no burgers or pizza and you couldnt order off the dinner menu and have it delivered to your stateroom.
Carnivals wine policy is excellent. They allow you to bring on board as much as you wish. If you take it to the dining room, they charge a reasonable $10 corkage fee. Bringing hard liquor and beer on board is still prohibited, but if you pack it in your checked bags, you shouldnt have a problem.
I like the Vegas-style revues my wife doesnt. But this isnt Vegas, so dont expect the same quality. They work hard, put on a good show, and it doesnt cost anything (additional). So why not go?
I liked the midnight R-rated comedy shows (two of them). These arent big-name comedians, and the comedy is full of fart jokes and F-bombs, but its still pretty funny. If youre sensibilities are at a high level, just dont go.
Belly flop contests and hairy chest contests dont do much for me, but they have them. And theres bingo, horse races, pool-side live band the usual cruise ship stuff.
I wish they had more classes, clinics and demos during the at-sea days. Some cruise lines have cooking classes and ice carving workshops and things like that. Carnival was lacking in that kind of activity.
We chose not to take any excursions offered by the ship. They tend to be overpriced and too restricted for me. And there just wasnt anything on the list that struck me as a must see. We took a Mediterranean cruise last summer where you could visit the Roman Coliseum, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, the Vatican, Tuscany, the Isle of Capri, the ruins of Pompeii, etc. There was nothing of that nature on this itinerary. But all I really wanted was some sun and a little warm weather and I got that. So no complaints.
Puerto Vallarta: We left the ship and walked to the Krystal Hotel. We pre-arranged a couples massage (75 minutes for $75 total great deal). Nice beach, nice pool with swim-up bar, good food. The hotel charges $20 to use their facilities, but they give you $20 credit to use on food and drink.
After we finished up there, we took a cab to the shopping area further down the waterfront. Shopping doesnt do much for me, so I walked along the beach and throughout the town while the women purchased cheap crap.
Mazatlan: We booked a Stone Island tour online ($40 ships price was $70). It included a boat ride around the harbor, open bar on the beach, lunch and a choice of activities (which included a horseback ride, banana boat ride, snorkeling, carriage tour of the town, kayaking). We got our $40s worth, but this was hardly a highlight. The horseback ride was 15 minutes long, down a short road and back. The other activities were difficult to do because they conflicted with each other. The open bar served all the drinks you wanted, but the margaritas were tequila and Fresca (Frescaritas), the Sex on the Beach were rum and Fanta (Fantasex on the Beach). Lunch was authentically awful Mexican cuisine. I wish now that we had booked the ships fishing excursion. Neither Mazatlan or Puerto Vallarta are places that Id choose to return to. Not horrible experiences, but nothing terribly inspiring either.
Cabo San Lucas: By far, the best stop on the trip and also the shortest. You had to catch the last tender to the Pride by 3:30 p.m. A buddy and I chartered a fishing boat for the short day ($400). We just didnt have enough time to do any serious fishing and caught nothing, but it was a good trip all the same. We had time to take a quick walk through the town, which was modern, clean and fun. I would definitely return here and wished we had more time in port.
We had an early flight out of Long Beach (11:20 a.m.). Self assist was not available, but the pursers desk gave us special luggage tags and instructed us to meet in the showroom at 7:30 a.m. We were the first group off the ship at around 8:30 and after going through customs and retrieving our bags, we headed to the airport and were there by 10 a.m. From my experience, making a flight that departs earlier than 11 a.m. would be real tough. And much tougher if you're flying out of LAX or Orange County. I wouldn't schedule a flight out of Long Beach any earlier than 10:45 a.m. Less
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