Carnival Pride - Mexican Riviera: Carnival Pride Cruise Review by ExaRolf
Overall Member Rating
Carnival Pride - Mexican Riviera
Destination: Mexican Riviera
Embarkation: Los Angeles
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
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