Carnival Pride - Mexican Riviera: Carnival Pride Cruise Review by ExaRolf

Carnival Pride 4
Member Since 2006
183 Forum Posts

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Carnival Pride - Mexican Riviera

Sail Date: April 2006
Destination: Mexican Riviera
Embarkation: Los Angeles
Just off the Pride  had a great trip  heres our take.

Embarkation: Fast and efficient  did the early check-in thing, and we were on the boat around 1PM& We took two cars due to all the luggage, and found out afterward that was a mistake due to parking costs (its like $12/day each car  anyone know of cheaper parking? Can you park at the Queen Mary hotel and walk?).

We have 3 kids (girls 12,11 and a boy 6), and we were traveling with the grandparents  ended up with 3 staterooms with balconies. Grandparents have cruised all over the world (30+ times  never on Carnival).

Staterooms were pleasant  we all had refrigerators which were emptied to make room for libations. The kids stocked theirs with milk and soda. We brought 2 beach chairs which came in very handy as the balconies did not have enough chairs (ours had one chair, and one recliner, so we ended up with 2 reclining chairs  this also allowed the kids to have 3 recliners on the balcony). More

Meals: Breakfast - All the adults were somewhat disappointed with the buffet breakfast. As a rule, Id prefer Dennys than the breakfast buffet. The pastries were very good, as were the croissants,, and you can get an omelet custom made. There are like 6 stations serving  so if you have a line, try a different one. I dont get why they dont do one station with an international flavor (???  like Mexican one day, Asian the next etc). Breakfast does not change at all day-to-day.

Lunch  Pizza was a big hit all around. The buffet was OK  some international meals, and enough variety to satisfy most. Quality was pretty average. The Deli (opens at 12) was nice. Good tuna melts. The roast beef was below average in flavor . Corned beef and pastrami were fatty, oily and just not worth even discussing. They can make grilled cheese  though the cheese doesnt really melt. Grill  again, OK food  the burgers were not the best  the bread was somewhat stale and dry. French Fries were very good.

Dinner: We never tried the buffet Normandie dinning room  first day we requested BEarnaise and shrimp cocktails  they could not do it that night, but had it for us every other night. Our server was not the best  his backup had more character, and worked harder. He did not show the last two nights (???)  so the backup was running the show  and he was *clearly* overwhelmed,. Contrary to what others have reported, soda is not free in the dining room. The food was hit and miss  some better than others. Wife and me typically ordered different things so we could sample. Kids did the kids menu  the pizza comes out a little soft and mushy  but the fries kept their crunch. Desserts we pretty good, I avoided the average coffee, and just got triple espresso (a coffee cup filled with espresso)  this was very nice. GPs found it funny how few formally dressed people there were (formal = Tux for GPs) Davids: This is a tale of two stories  ours and the grandparents (ate different nights). The grandparents had a horrible experience, we had an excellent experience. The GPs ordered Caesar salad which came soft and mushy. Ours was prepared tableside and was fabulous. The GPs had a server that did not seem to grasp English well  we had an ESL server  but she took care of everything perfectly. The GPs had their order butchered (steak overcooked  they ordered med rare  got closer to well done, they ordered veggie sides for each of them  which didnt come  after requesting them again, they came out much later  and only brought them for one  they gave up ordering more). Our order was perfect! I got the filet (medium rare  perfectly cooked  a steak that you could mistake for one from Ruth Chris), she got the lobster (again perfectly cooked). The veggies and bEarnaise were amazing (the sauce was better than the dining rooms????). Dessert was nice  wife liked it better  but I thought it was OK  espresso coffee. Of course the GPs could not get off that easy  grandma had dessert spilled on her dress!!! So while we had an *amazing* meal far exceeding our expectations  they had the opposite experience.

Boat: Everyone had fun  the waterslide has been *removed* - all that is left is the tower and some rigging. Kids loved the pool  we stayed on the side with no band so as not to torture the GPs. Liked the casino, and did well there J - there seemed to be a lot of people doing well at the blackjack tables. The shows were enjoyed by the kids, we found them very mediocre at best. We did camp carnival the 6th night  they had some sleep over kind of thing  they basically played from 10AM till being escorted home at 4AM! They loved it. Piano bar was a real highlight - the guy had an amazing voice!!! Found a new sport  we all have Heelys (shoes with wheels)  when on top deck, going 20MPH into a 40MPH headwind, there is 60MPH apparent wind. Wed start at one end, just stretch out our arms, and the wind pushes you nicely from one end of the ship to the other.

Excursions: Puerto Vallarta  other GPs have house, so we just rented a car ($40 including insurance etc etc), and drove to the house (near downtown on hill)  then went to Chicos Paradise (about a 40 minute drive south of downtown). Chicos has great food  but the real highlight is the river with nature made water slides, diving pools etc etc. This is also where the canopy tours go (people going across the river on zip lines etc etc). There was what looked like a Carnival tour there when we arrived. Ive been to PV maybe 100 times over the years, and this is always very fun. We did dinner at the Westin (Nikkies Beach)  Nikkies is great food and drinks  can be a fun place to just hang for the day (as long as you buy, they give you towels and you have pool/beach access at the Westin). You can sit on mattresses and eat and drink. Getting back on the boat they Xrayed our bag, and saw two bottles  sent us to secondary to check it. I only gave them the non-alcoholic mix.

Mazatlan  Did Randis Happy Horses  she had a nice sign for us when we got off the boat and through immigration. The horses were in amazing shape  they were happy to run on the beach. The food at the restaurant was great  try the coconut shrimp!!!

Cabo  We did the Carnival excursion beach club/boat tour. The boat tour basically just went to the arches which you see when entering and leaving the harbor anyway, and around to the Pacific side to view houses from a distance. The beach club was just a nice spot on the beach with bar nice chairs and a little swimming area. The free drink was a 6 oz pony Corona  get the Pacifico  its 12oz. If I was to do it again, Id taxi to the beach, and then you can go to any of the restaurants/beach clubs  including the one Carnival takes you to. Or go to one of the nice hotels and interlope.

Disembarkation: Simply put - a MESS. We had early disembark due to Easter services - No one knew what was going on in Taj lounge - no one was there to explain - and when you found someone - they didn't know where to go. Story ended up happy as we found the VIP line to get off boat. I'd scope this out clearly a day before - including clear times...

Overall, we had a nice family vacation. It isnt Disney, but we knew that going into it  the food is average  but again  I think thats common knowledge from reading this board& The staff was friendly and courteous. I doubt we'll do Carnival again any time soon - and that *does not* mean we had a bad time - we had a great time.

Please no flames - these are just our observations - I'm sure yours are different.

Of note: Spirit has waterslide not yet dismantled (blue) - Pride has just the white towers remaining. Less

Published 04/29/06

Cabin review: 8F7161 Balcony

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