November 23 ~ 30, 2014
Port of Tampa, Florida
I arrived at the port around 10:00 AM. I went through the check in process without any major problems. Soon I was sitting in a holding area waiting for boarding to start. We were told that the ship arrived late and boarding will be delayed. I knew that was wrong as I saw the ship arrive at 7:30 AM on the webcam. Eventually we were allowed to board. I went to my room to drop my carry on luggage and freshen up. I had rented a scooter as my mobility is not as good as it used to be.
Soon I was on my way to get some lunch and take a look at the changes in this ship since my last cruise on her. She recently went in for her 2.0 upgrades. I saw the Red Frog Pub on deck 2 and thought I would visit at least once during the week. I was unable to keep that promise as I never found it open. I went to the main pool area and found "Guy's Burger Joint". A pleasantarea with little redwood picnic tables. It was busy here with many hungry cruisers. Next I saw the "Blue Iguana Cantina" also very busy as it was lunch time. The "Blue Iguana Tequila Bar" and the "Red Frog Rum Bar" were also busy and popular places in this pool area. Then there was the "Alchemy Bar" on deck 2 aft. I only saw it open twice.
I went into the Mermaid's Grille and looked around. The Deli offerings looked great as always. I looked around and found a salad bar and the Pizza Pirate and a buffet and Chef's Choice and Chopsticks which offered great Asian choices. I chose from the Buffet that day but throughout the week I tried most of the others. I admit I was at Chopstix three times during the week. I never went for the pizza since I discovered some time ago that the pizza from Pizza Pirate is tasteless. I am a big fan of the original pizza that was offered when Carnival first started offering pizza.
I continued on with my explorations and went looking for Muster Station "B" It was on deck 3 Port side. I was unable to get out there on my scooter as the base of the scooter was too low to clear the hump in the middle of the ramp. I saw a sign that also pointed out a place called "The Sunset Garden" as part of Muster Station "B". I went in there and found a pleasant little space with huge round windows and lovely hand painted tiles. I found a spot and waited there for the drill to begin. Once the drill was over I decided to finish checking out this pleasant place. I followed the hall way and it lead uphill and down hill and around curves. Eventually it came out on the other side of the hall from where I began. It was a clever way to use some space in the forward area that might have gone unused. I found myself in there several times during the week just to "get away from it all" for a little while.
My dining choice was as always "Your Time Dining" That was always served in The Normandie Restaurant upper level. This was on Deck 3 aft. The first night my dining companions were nice and very interesting people. We all decided to ask if we could sit at the same place with Eco as our server every night. It worked out well. For the most part the group remained the same every night.
I did not get to see anything in the Taj Mahal lounge. I found the "accessible" entrance to be difficult to maneuver on a scooter. They provided a ramp that lead up to the doors of Butterflies and to get into the Taj Mahal you had to make a sharp right turn in a narrow space. If you were not careful you could hit the post at the top of the ramp while making the turn. Also you had to be careful of not hitting the edge of the glass doors on the left. Someone had done this leaving a sharp and scary looking and dangerous edge on the door. This ramp made no sense at all as it made it easier to get into "Butterflies" but as you entered the doorway there it lead to stairs downward. On a scooter? Uh...... No thanks. I would have thought that to make a straight ramp up to the entrance of Taj Mahal would have made much more sense than an accessible ramp to a stairway but then..... what do I know? I went back there one more time to get to the VIFP party. I went early so I could safely make the turn to the Taj Mahal. I was safely up there and in a place where I could enter the Taj Mahal for the party. I was sitting there patiently waiting for time to go in. A blond man that was obviously staff came along and saw me sitting there waiting. He made a snide and hurtful remark about being there too early and went along inside. I was stunned and could not stop the tears. I made my way back down the ramp and left. I did not report him nor did I even try to maneuver my way up there again for anything.
This subject has never been discussed by me before but I think it is worthy of some discussion. As a person who has worked with and advocated for people with disabilities for a long time I am ashamed that I never noticed the lack of accessibility for them on cruise ships before. It took me having to be in that place myself to notice. As previously written in the last paragraph the accessibility ramp was a half hearted attempt at accommodating a population of people who need a bit of extra care. First we will start with tendering ports. We were scheduled for two on this cruise. I meekly accepted that I would have to stay aboard the ship at Belize and Grand Cayman. Why? Is it that hard to find tenders that would have a deck which is accessible to those with wheel chairs and scooters? Another thing that bothered me was there were NO excursions to accommodate people with mobility devices. If we are able to get off the ship we are left to explore just the areas around the ships. Usually these were shopping areas. Not a great thing for those of us that are just not into shopping. I can walk but I have to do so slowly and stop to rest and catch my breath a lot. I would never be able to make it to the pick up area for the excursion busses. We purchase tickets for cruises to foreign places and it would be nice if we could see those places. We want to see more than shopping areas at docks that are built to benefit the cruise line. If my opinion as a guest counts I think this is an area that demands quite a bit of improvement.
Dinner time Sunday evening. I went to the dining room and was escorted to a seat. I had delightful dining companions and really enjoyed my time with them. Eventually I looked at the windows and noticed that the lights were not moving past us. I thought this was odd as we were supposed to be moving down the channel to the gulf. I had not noticed that we had not even sail yet. We never got off until after 9:00 PM I was never able to learn why this was. In any case it did not affect the cruise for me at all. I went along enjoyed the ship and all it had to offer. We had no casino of course nor were the shops open but I managed to keep busy.
Monday we had a nice sunny day at sea. I enjoyed the pool area even though I did not swim. I also spent quite a bit of time in the Serenity area too and really relaxed out there just enjoying the quiet and the soothing music along with the sway of the ship over fairly calm water was better than a lullabye to a baby. Soon I drifted off to dreamland.
Tuesday dawned rainy and very windy. We were supposed to be in Belize that day. Upon arrival there we were told that it was too windy for transferring guests to the tenders and we would be sailing on towards our next stop at Mahogany Bay. So we had another sea day. I was unable to get off anyway because it was a tender port so I was unaffected by the change. I felt bad for those that were looking forward to this port. While I am thinking of this I wonder why people who cannot even get off the ship at certain ports are charged port taxes for that port at all.
While we were at Mahogany Bay it was raining and I decided to stay aboard even though I really wanted to see this port. I had never been there before. I just did not want to get soaked. So I spent the day keeping busy. At one point during the day it was announced that they secured a place for us at Costa Maya instead of Grand Cayman which was supposed to be our next stop. That was fine with me since I could not get off at Grand Cayman anyway. As we arrived at Costa Maya you guessed it, it began to rain again so I stayed aboard again.
I was enjoying my breakfast in the lido when we were in one of the ports. A family had stopped behind me to discuss their plans for the day. The boys who appeared to be around 9 and 10 years of age did not want to go ashore. The Mother told them it was okay they could stay aboard the ship. These kids were left loose on the ship all day and not in the care of Camp Carnival. I encountered these terrorists again when I was getting in the elevator on deck 9 and trying to get to deck one. One of them ran onto the elevator and pushed every button and ran out again. I was stuck stopping at every floor all the way to deck one.
I was saddened to see that the Renaissance decor was all but gone on this ship. When I was on this ship in 2007 I fell in love with the timeless artworks. Now just a few pieces remain.
Despite the fact that anything going on in Taj Mahal was difficult for me to get to and that Butterflies was impossible because of the stairs I did enjoy my cruise. It takes a lot for me not to enjoy being at sea. I do not understand why they have these places that are never or rarely used. I never saw the Red Frog Pub open at all during this cruise. Does it open just long enough to give the one free beer every day? The Taste Bar just what is it? I saw an empty cart that never had anyone or anything on it ever. The one thing that was open a lot was the photo shop. They were out and about poking cameras in our faces every chance they get. I always say no but they snap away anyway.
So we had rain and wind and some rough seas. So what? I never sweat the small stuff. Being at sea is what a cruise is all about for me. I put my faith in those that run the ship and of course the man upstairs to get us through safely to our destinations. I enjoyed the cruise and I will work on possibly getting a few things changed. I choose to take a few problems like accessibility and try to turn them into positives. Looking forward to my next cruise, possibly on the Liberty.
This was our fourth cruise with Carnival and it will unfortunately be our last. While the ship itself is wonderful, especially the flow between the public areas onboard, three specific issues presented a less wonderful cruise experience.
First, and most importantly, is that of smoking being permitted everywhere inside of the casino. Furthermore, for those passengers and children using Deck Two to reach or depart the forward theatre, or access the card room, travel through the poorly ventilated casino was mandatory.
Second, the newly introduced policy of punishing a passenger who purchased alcohol while ashore, and also arranged to have it delivered to the ship. Under the new policy, the passenger is now required to report to a specially designated area onboard the ship to reclaim their purchase at 8:30am on morning of departure. However, had we purchased the alcohol onboard in the shops, Carnival would have delivered the purchase to our room the last night and it could have been put inside our checked luggage before we put it ouside the cabin. In our situation, this change was particularly frustrating since we had to reclaim our luggage on the dock, and then hastilyand in full public view of security and customs officials, repack the 'liquids' in our checked luggage in order to board our flight home.
Third, and perhaps a minor issue to other passengers, is that of the table settings at dinner. I have sailed over twenty-five times and never has it been necessary to use the same cutlery for each of the different food courses delivered to our table. In our situation, whenever any member of my party of six left used cutlery in the respective dish being removed, the table staff would first ask the individual to place the dirty cutlery back on the table.
While I understand the cruise industry is hurting given the recent downturn in the economy, it is by way of the foregoing three examples that I am relieved to know that I can still choose to seek out other cruise lines who can, and apparently will, cater to my personal needs.
2010 Carnival Pride Cruise Age: 60 Occupation: Architect Number of Cruises: 5 Number with Carnival: 2
Background: We chose this cruise because we live in Northern Virginia and the Baltimore departure didn't require the additional expense of airfare. Our two daughters and their friends joined my wife and me on the cruise. We chose three obstructed view (lifeboats in your face) rooms so that all six of us would have adequate bathroom access. We were not disappointed.
Boarding: Embarkation was tedious; it seemed as though the Baltimore Port Authority was learning how to load a cruise ship for the first time. Directions for passengers were non-existent and a working process was not apparent. Once the gauntlet was passed, all was smooth sailing (so to speak). Ship: Overall, the ship is well maintained and meets the expectations of most experienced cruisers. I'm not sure how the haunted house décor supports the "fun ship" theme Carnival advertises; the interior of the Pride is dark and encrusted with "embellishments." By the end of the cruise I finally stopped trying to see if my fellow passengers had reflections in the mirrors on the ship.
Food: The Normandy DiningRoom was excellent for breakfast, lunch, and dinner; the food was varied, well-prepared, and professionally served. The Lido Grille was crowded, confusing, and crowded with aggressive feeders. We took all our meals in the dining room and were perfectly satisfied. Breakfast was the same each day, but lunch and dinner offered enough choices to keep any palette satisfied. Our evening wait staff were both friendly and professional (we were greeted with our names the first night), and the staff at other meals were uniformly courteous and efficient.
Entertainment: We enjoyed the production shows; dancing and singing were memorable. Comics, magicians, and jugglers are not "our cup of tea." New Year's Eve was great. Carnival provided several venues tailored to different tastes; we baby-boomers were treated to the sounds of the 70's to usher 2011; so we "danced the night away."
Sea Days: This itinerary is divided evenly between sea and port days (3 each). Sea days offer the opportunity to relax and enjoy the freedom of "doing nothing." Since most of the on-board activities are inane, we chose to "do nothing" and enjoy the relaxation. Unlike typical Caribbean cruises, the Baltimore departure positions the first and last day in the "not so temperate" weather of the mid-Atlantic. Our first day at sea was quite cold with high winds; passengers were restricted to indoor areas. As a result, the public areas were very crowded and our fellow passengers were not at their best.
Port Days: We booked itineraries through Carnival because we were on vacation and had no desire to worry about anything. At Port Canaveral we chose the Air Boat Excursion (with Coco Shopping) – the Air Boat was absolutely great; shopping kept the distaff members satisfied. Nassau brought Atlantis – the over-the-top water park and resort experience (Disney World for adults); everyone should try this at least once. In Freeport, we chose the kayak and nature hike – very enjoyable day with a small group paddling through mangroves, enjoying a beautiful, completely deserted beach, and seeing bizarre caves used by the ancients.
Experience: Great cruise for families and groups. Don't expect to meet interesting people; the typical Carnival cruiser is as interesting as white bread. The staff is cordial, friendly, and efficient; accommodations are well-suited for a week's vacation, and everything is geared to an effort-free holiday.
We had the worst vacation of our lives when taking our mentally and physically disabled daughter with us on the Carnival Pride this last summer. We took our issues to the help desk and they treated us like we had a disease. My daughter had a terribl;e time and thus so duid we all.
PLEASE NO NOT TRAVEL WITH THEM IOF YOU HAVE DISABILITIES. THEY DO NOT DESERVE YOUR BUSINESS AND WILL NOT ACCOMODATE YOU WELL.
Royal Caribbean was perfect in every way when we travelled on the Freedom of the Seas. This is the ship I highly recommend for families with disabled members.
Finally the day arrived. My friend and I drove to the port from Virginia. Get directions from Map Quest (simple). We got to the port and checked our luggage. We then went to the terminal to wait for check in. After check in, which was very smooth, we did Fun Pass. We had to wait until almost 2 o'clock to board the ship. I think this is the norm as passsengers are not rushed off the ship for debarkation.
The ship is beautiful. The public rooms are gorgeous. I had trouble navigating around the ship, but that is just me. We had an inside cabin on deck 7. Plenty of drawer space and a closet with shelves and two other closets for hanging clothes.
Our luggage fit under the bed. The bathroom was ample with a bowl full of toiletries. The bedding was nice and the bed was comfortable. We had two twin beds together. Yasa was our cabin stewart and was pleasant, efficient and called us by name. Our room was ready around 3:15.
We asked for a table for two, but got a table for six. We asked to havethis changed, but no tables for two were available. As luck would have it, we were the only couple who showed up except for one evening. We also ate in the Mermaid Grill 2 nights. Food overall was good to delicious. There was much variety and the desserts were divine. Our servers were slow to refill drinks. We usually had to ask. They did not remember our favorites or our names.
You can get delicious pizza 24/7 in the Mermaid Grill. We got room service for breakfast. It always came promptly at the time we asked for. You can get some things that are not on the menu. Just ask.
We saw three shows and we enjoyed them all. Very lively and colorful. The nude paintings blend in, I think. I don't think they stuck out (no pun intended) as some have implied. It's all about individual opinion.
I missed afternoon tea, which looked inviting. It's definitely on my list for next time. The average age group was older than I expected -- I would say it was around mid 50's and up. The children were well behaved and few in number. Generally fellow passengers were friendly.
The itinerary was not the best, but of course we knew that. I like the sea days and just relaxing. Even though we had lots of rain and clouds with wind, there were things to do if you wanted to.
This was my first Carnival cruise, but hopefully not the last. I was surprised and pleased with this cruise line. Overall we had a wonderful time.
Embarkation was fine. The port area near Queen Mary is under construction and there was confusion on where to go and the lines were long when we arrived. There were plenty of staff around to direct us. We had priority, VIP, boarding and eventually were able to find the VIP line and check-in area.
Once onboard we went right to our suite and left our carry-ons in the room and then headed upstairs to eat and look around the boat. It was beautiful. It has a "Renaissance" art look with many paintings. I agree with other reviewers that there are a number of nudes in the décor but nothing tasteless. My 13 year old son thought it was funny to see all the nude pics, but it was fine.
The room was very nice. We were on the 6th floor in a balcony suite and were very impressed with the room and all its storage. We unpacked and tucked our suitcases under the bed for the week. Used the suitcases as our hamper as the week went on. Used the jacuzzi tub once.
The food was fine. We ate in thebuffet during breakfast and lunch and ate in the Normandy Room for dinner every night. My husband loves the Chocolate melting cake and so did the little girls sitting at the table next to us, as they ordered it every night too. All dinners were very good.
The Carnival buffet area is a little hectic at times, but if you wait a little after key lunch hours, it is fine and no line-ups were necessary. We didn't try David's, but did the hamburger stand at the pool and it was all good.
We went to the gym on the first day and it was packed. Ended up walking the promendate deck. Second day we went to the gym and it was empty, but was extremely warm, so we left to walk the promenade deck again. On the last day we went to gym, as it was cold and windy outside, and it wasn't crowded.
The shows were very good. Watched the singers and dancers, along with two different comedians. All were well done.
It was hard to find a deck chair to lay out in the sun on the second day. Most people had their stuff strewn on the chairs reserving their places. The main pool area was crowded.
The ports are nice. We've been on two sailings of this same itinerary, so we didn't plan any excursions.
Debarkation was great and fast. We had VIP debarkation and were off the ship by 08:20 and in our vehicle driving home at 08:30.
I would highly recommend the Pride for future cruises. This was the Pride's last trip in Mexico and it was heading to Baltimore. I'm sure it won't disappoint people in that location either.
A few months ago I was doing my normal "cruise shopping" and came across a very good deal on the Carnival Pride for a Mexican Riviera cruise. With all the places I had sailed, the Mexican Riviera was an itinerary I had never done. Due to work commitments my wife was unable to cruise with me but, since I was paying, my daughter was more than willing to accompany me.
I had originally booked a Category 8I extended balcony but when the prices dropped again I upgraded to a Category 11 Suite, cabin number 5293. The larger cabin was great for the two of us, especially with the dressing area that could be used for a bit more privacy. The only negative was that the only 110v outlet was in the dressing room and not at the desk in the cabin. Only a 220v was located at that desk. We also had a large balcony that both of us loved, especially since the seas were like glass for most of the cruise. The only "rough" seas were on the last day and then it was only five to eight footswells.
Flight I booked our flights for the day of the cruise and we arrived at 11:05 a.m. I purchased cruise line transfers for the trip from the ship to the port of Long Beach. The roundtrip cost for two was $104. This was less than a cab or private car and the coaches were quick and relatively roomy for my 6' 2" frame. The transfer was about 40 minutes to the ship and only 20-25 minutes on the way back.
Embarkation Embarkation could have been better. Carnival is working on the cruise terminal at Long Beach and there is some confusion on where to go and the lines were extremely long when we arrived at 12:15 p.m. We had priority, VIP, boarding and were unable to find the VIP line and check-in area. After a few minutes I found a pier representative outside the complex and she told us just to go to the front of the line and the VIP check-in area was just inside the door. We did what we were told and though we met with quite a few dirty looks and a couple of people said a couple of four letter words to us, we entered the VIP check-in. Once we were in the VIP check-in room we received our cards and proceeded toward the ship in just a few minutes. The bad part is that you could not avoid the embarkation photo and everyone had to stop and have their picture taken. It really didn't matter because the bridge from the terminal to the ship was backed up and it took another twenty minutes to get across and onto the ship. I am happy that we had VIP check-in because we heard that many people stood in line for over an hour and half before they were onboard.
Once onboard we had to wait until 1:30 for the cabins to be available, so we went up to the Lido Buffet for a bite to eat. The buffet was extremely crowded and it was hard to find a seat. I asked one couple at a four top if we could sit with them and they said "No." That was a first. I was ready to just sit down but my daughter saw an open two top in the pool area and we proceeded there. At 1:45 we arrived at our cabin only to find that it had not been made up. There was only a bag full of sheets in front of the door and no cabin steward to be found. We dropped our carry-ons in a cabin closet and proceeded to explore the ship. Around 3:30 p.m. we returned and the cabin was still not done but our luggage was sitting outside. No sheets on the beds, no towels, no Capers or "stuff" in the bathroom. I then put a call into housekeeping to have our steward get there and make up the cabin. It took about ten minutes for one to show up and he made it clear that he was not our steward but would finish the cabin. At four it was "almost" complete. The beds were pushed together and I had requested them separate. I made another call and was assured they would be separated that evening when the cabin was made up for the night. All of these things were very unacceptable. Later that evening I did meet our steward and told him of my dismay of not having a cabin until 4:00 p.m. He apologized and said there was a mix up on who the main cabin attendant was for that cabin. I also made sure he separated the beds. After that discussion he couldn't do enough to please us.
I also asked him where the Bon Voyage gifts that I had ordered were. We had one bottle of champagne for sail away that had come and gone, a bottle of wine and a bottle of liquor. He said he would check on them.
The next morning (Monday) by 11:00 a.m. there was still nothing delivered to the cabin. I asked him the status and he said he had reported it but had heard nothing back. I then went down to the Purser's desk, receipts in hand, to enquire. They said they "Would check on it". At dinner time I went back to check the status and they then said they had to contact corporate to verify it. I was not too happy since they had the order number and everything else.
On Tuesday, at noon, still nothing had arrived. I then asked for the Purser and was informed they hadn't received the email back from corporate and I firmly told them that two days was excessive and offered to call the Bon Voyage department myself if they paid the fee. I was once again told it would be taken care of within a couple of hours. Guess what? It wasn't. Finally on Wednesday I cornered the Hotel Manager and quickly explained my issue and twenty minutes later I had a call from the front desk that the gifts had been delivered to my "original" stateroom and replacements were on the way. They arrived ten minutes later plus a basket of fruit and another bottle of wine with a note of apology. My mistake was not asking for the hotel manager earlier. In the end we brought back the bottle of liquor and a bottle of wine.
Now for the good stuff:
The ship is much nicer than I anticipated. While a little more "overboard" than I care for, it was quite decent. It has a "Renaissance" art look with many paintings and a bit less "gaudy" than other Carnival ships I had been on. There are a number of nudes in the décor but nothing tasteless. A couple of people complained that it was inappropriate for children. I guess if you are that worried about nude art then it isn't the ship for you. The atrium area is impressive and beautiful with a 10 deck open area and glass elevators.
The cabins are pretty much the standard, relatively spacious, Carnival cabin and our Cat 11 suite was very nice with more than enough storage for the two of us. Actually it was more than enough for four people.
The food, once again, exceeded my expectations. I only had one dish that disappointed me, and the rest of the table, and that was the Chateau Briand. It was tough and flavorless. However, just one mention of it to our EXCELLENT waiter, Augus, and all the dishes were replaced, in a matter of minutes, with something else. I was most impressed with the seafood dishes. All were flavorful and none were overcooked. I have to say the much talked about Chocolate melting cake was not my favorite. It was a bit too runny for my taste but there were many other excellent choices to choose from. Our tablemates did love the melting cake and ordered it and a fruit plate each night for dessert, and used the melting cake as "fondue" dip for the fruit. Good idea.
The Carnival buffet area is definitely my favorite of all cruise lines. The different stations, from the Deli, carving, Asian and other stations -- all were excellent. The outdoor grill had great hamburgers, hot dogs, fresh onion rings and good French fries. I was impressed to see that the fried items at the grill were cycled out if they had sat for too long.
David's, the alternative restaurant, was excellent but I have to say it was too much food. I felt like a bloated whale when I left. I guess no one forced me to eat everything but it was so good I had to give it my best shot.
My daughter became a regular at the spa and really enjoyed the massages, acupuncture and workouts. She did Pilates each day and we also worked out on the treadmills and elliptical each day.
I have to admit that I only attended one show but it was pretty good for a production show. Good music, decent singers and basically a fun show. I really enjoyed Jerome the comedian. He did both a family show and an R rated show and I personally found his family show more humorous and laughed quite a bit.
I enjoyed the large casino and the friendly staff. Carnival has a mixture of automatic shuffle machines and regular shoes at their blackjack tables. The regular shoes are at their "Fun 21" table where you have more surrender, double down and all Queens are removed from the decks. I actually did fairly well playing this and I have to admit it was "fun" and I don't usually like any gimmick games, but this one wasn't too gimmicky.
There was never a problem finding a deck chair to lay out in the sun, especially at the aft, adults only, pool. The main pool area was crowded, especially during the band hours and when the contests and games were occurring.
This was my first cruise to the Mexican Riviera and with what others had written I had some concern about the ports. My concerns were unfounded. I loved them. You could do shopping in the main areas and then get away from the main parts of town and find some gorgeous beaches and beautiful scenery.
In Puerto Vallarta I took one of the few ship's excursions I had done in years. It was the Las Caletas beach getaway. It was a great day. It started with a 45 minute catamaran trip, complete with open bar, entertaining crew and we even saw whales and dolphins. Once we arrived at Las Caletas I was impressed with the beach and the set-up. It isn't something I would recommend for people with mobility issues, because of the steps and beach, but it is a beautiful beach and excellent food and dining areas. Again there was an open bar and beach service. You could also take out kayaks, snorkel or just relax on the beach. The snorkeling, while nothing like Columbia or Palancar reefs in Cozumel, was fun and easy and there were a number of fish near the rocks. I guess I can no longer say: "I've never met a ship's excursion I liked."
In Mazatlan we had the most fun. We had booked horseback riding with Ginger's Bi-lingual horses. It was recommended to me by someone who had stayed in Mazatlan for a land vacation. My daughter is a vet and she was very happy to find well trained, well fed horses and I was even happier to find a gorgeous beach to ride on. It was Play Bruja beach and it is not only gorgeous but secluded. We rode for over an hour and then just kicked back on the beach for a couple more. This was much nicer than the "happy horse excursion" our tablemates did.
Our final stop in Cabo San Lucas was just a short one. I was not feeling too well early in the morning so we didn't make it off the ship until after 10:00 a.m. and had to be back on by 3:00 p.m. so we just did some shopping (and haggling) at the marketplace and then took a water taxi to the beach and laid out for an hour. The beach was nice but it did have the standard vendors bugging you, but a wave of the hand and most didn't bother. There were a few pushy ones but a stern "No Gracias" or "No" stopped them. If you do not like this, or have a problem with vendors, then I recommend you go to a private beach in Cabo. We did not do any of the bars in any of the ports but did eat at a few small food stalls in the marketplaces and at a local restaurant in Mazatlan. All had excellent food and were packed with locals.
Debarkation was a breeze. We had VIP debarkation and were off the ship, almost too early, at 7:45 a.m. and arrived at the airport at 8:30 a.m. This could have been a problem since our flight did not leave until 5:00 p.m. I put our names on the stand-by list and we were able to fly out on the 12:15 flight. I'm glad we didn't have to wait five more hours.
There were many positives about this cruise and they FAR outweighed the negatives. Those positives were:Food Waitstaff Bar Service Casino Staff Buffet selection and quality Ports
The negatives were:Purser's staff and desk. Initial problems with steward, but improved after the second day.
I will be taking this cruise again. I have to because after we returned and told my wife about it, she demanded that I go and take her. Gee: I guess she doesn't have to twist my arm too hard.
This was a very good cruise and an excellent bargain and I would recommend it to anyone. The Mexican Riviera may not have the "shopping" complexes that the Caribbean has, but I believe it's a destination everyone should try, especially if you can get outside the tourist areas and enjoy yourself.
If anyone has any questions please feel free to ask.
This was our first time on this cruise line and we were really looking forward to it. The embarkation and debarkation were both very easy and quick. The cabin was 6259 and it was really very nice. We did have two days where the glasses had lipstick on them but they were quickly replaced. My wife does not wear lipstick at all. The room attendant was good and always had a great smile on his face.
The food in the dining room and at the buffet looked good but were ALWAYS served warm, never hot. The food may have been good quality but we never really had a chance to find out.
We did go to David's twice and that was very good to great service and very good food.
Really the best part of the entire cruise was the service given by the people. They were very friendly and always were willing to help.
If you go on any shore excursions try the Rhythms of the Night in Puerto Vallarta. It was great and really ask for boat 3 with Richard as the host.
The food was very good and the showwas just the right amount of time. This one really was woth it.
The ship was kept very clean and if you can get some good neighbors that understand how to maintain a noise level that is below a yell you will have a good time.
In 2001, I went on my first Carnival Cruise on board the "Jubilee" -- I swore "Never again!"
It was bad and when I say bad, I mean really bad. The ship was noisy, cleanliness left a lot to be desired and the food was appalling. -- The atmosphere on board was party, party, party.
Some seven years later, having heard that things had changed within the Carnival Cruise Line, I chose a seven-day Mexican Riviera Cruise on board the Carnival Pride and my, I certainly was not disappointed.
Check-in at Long Beach was efficient and professional. Unfortunately on the day of sailing, there was heavy rain and gale force winds. The distance from the terminal building to the ship is considerable and is reached by a walkway. Whilst there is a roof covering, the sides of the walkway are open to the elements. Most guests were absolutely soaked by the time that they had reached the ship.
On entering the ship, the first thing that one notices, is the décor, which can only be described as unusual. No flashing neon lights, no thump, thump, thump of music, completely different to what I expectedCarnival to be with their modern ships. I was told that the Pride is completely different in that regard from the rest of the fleet. Colours are dark, many murals meet the eye -- there is much use made of plastic and metal.
Another thing that one notices is the cleanliness of the ship and this remained to be the case throughout the cruise.
For this cruise we had chosen a balcony cabin on deck 5. This was an excellent choice. The cabin was well equipped and spacious and had a light and airy feel to it. The bed was one of the most comfortable that I had ever slept in. The bathroom too seemed larger than similar cabins of other cruise lines. Good quality toiletries were provided, together with ample supplies of towels, though these were rather rough and lacked fluffiness. Piping hot water was available throughout the cruise.
The balcony was furnished with two metallic chairs, one of which reclined and a small table -- no plastic here. The one great thing about this balcony was that it was glass fronted, which meant, being on a lower level, we were able to lie in bed and watch the ocean as the ship sailed along the ocean -- truly relaxing, especially first thing in the morning.
There is a limited Room Service Menu, which is free and available 24 hours a day. A gratuity is expected on delivery.
This was the first cruise where we never once received loads of "junk mail" indicating the best buys in the spa or shops -- in fact we never received any. All such advertising is via means of the Interactive Stateroom television. Though on occasions, the information provided on the television was different from that which was advertised in the daily Carnival Capers.
The cabin too was kept spotless and serviced twice a day.
Luggage was delivered within 2 hours of embarkation.
Throughout the ship, lounges and bars are well appointed. All are designed to be revenue productive for Carnival. All are reasonably comfortable, though I found it difficult to find a corner with large comfy sofas or armchairs where one could just read. There is not a spare inch of space wasted anywhere on board.
In saying that, whilst all cabins were occupied on this cruise and there were just over 2200 guests on board, the ship did not feel crowded. Perhaps this may be different if all berths are occupied.
The entertainment programme was excellent especially the production shows. In the evening there was music to suit all tastes in all areas of the ship. Programmes were varied and activities run from early morning to well late into the night. The Carnival Capers -- the ship's daily information paper is well designed and easy to follow.
There was always something to do.
The main dining room, the Normandie Dining Room, offers open seating for breakfast and lunch and two seatings for dinner with assigned tables. There were many tables for two. Some tables for four were in types of alcoves that made proper service difficult. Service by the waiters was good but could not be described as being "finesse."
The variety and quality of the food, especially the beef, was outstanding, The deserts were delicious as was the quality of the fresh fruits.
The selection of breads and cheese was poor. The water served by the waiters was woeful. Thankfully a good quality fruit punch was available and this was free.
There are no Wine Waiters, and orders for wine are taken and the wine is served by the food waiter. This in my mind distracts him/her from the primary duties of serving the food.
There are two formal nights on board, when dress or lounge suits are suggested. Regretfully, the majority of guests' interpretation of formal seemed to be jeans, a jacket, an open necked shirt and a baseball cap. However whilst disappointing, it did not detract from the overall excellent dining experience on these evenings.
For informal dining, the Lido Buffet provides an excellent alternative. This restaurant is well designed, organised and the numerous service outlets provide a relaxed dining experience. Food was well presented, of good quality, and hot food was always hot. The choices available were adequate, the number of dishes available was less than on other cruise lines but the quality was first class. Unfortunately the choice of fruit, breads and cheeses were poor. The desert buffet was outstanding.
Coffee, tea and fruit drinks are available here, 24 hours a day free of charge.
The Speciality Restaurant -- David's, for which there is an additional cover charge of $30.00 USD, is a truly remarkable dining experience and should be tried on at least one occasion.
There is a full and comprehensive programme on board for children and teenagers. There is an Adults Only deck as well.
Drinks on board were reasonably priced; these were full of flavour and well presented.
Carnival has a very strict and enforced policy of bringing on board alcohol for private consumption. You don't bring it on board -- if you try, it will be stored for you until the end of the cruise. Alcohol purchased ashore will be stored for you until the end of the cruise as well. A similar policy is enforced in respect to guests bringing on board large quantities of soft drinks.
There is a full and varied shore excursion programme for each of the ports of call. I did find that these were quite expensive.
At ports where a tender service is operated, Carnival does not have you go to a lounge to collect a tender ticket and wait until your tender is available. You simply go directly to the tender embarkation waiting area and assemble there. This worked well during our cruise and we experienced absolutely no delays.
As required by law, Muster Drill is exercised prior to sailing. Guests should note on the Carnival Pride that Muster Stations are on the open deck -- so bring a coat or a jacket with you.
Carnival Cruise Ships are known as "The fun ships." The emphasis on these cruises is to have fun. Whilst "party" is a most descriptive word, we observed no drunkenness or loutish behaviour. The ship's Security Officers are present and highly visible and stand for no nonsense.
The age range on board was varied, from babies in prams to very active seniors -- and how the seniors know how to enjoy themselves.
I spoke to many Americans on board and asked them their views on Carnival. Most indicated that Carnival is the "economy cruise line" within America and offers a reasonably good value vacation for the price paid. I agree with this. The prices charged for cruise only or fly/cruises are very reasonable, compared to the price of land based holidays.
Most certainly go on a Carnival cruise, but go with no pre-conceived ideas. They offer a down to earth vacation, with excellent food, entertainment and comfort without the frills. If you have been on any of the other main cruise lines where more attention is given to the quality of service and variety of food offered, and you make comparisons in this regard, you will be disappointed.
Would I go on another Carnival Cruise? Yes, without a doubt.
I've been on dozens of cruises on various lines, and my only goal for this cruise was to enjoy some time away. My cruise was booked within 10 days of departure, so my selection was quite limited.
Embarkation at Long Beach was the worst I've ever experienced. Highly unorganized, however, the line up did move smoothly and only took approximately 1 hour until onboard. Being that I am Canadian, the final line up was to my benefit since non-US citizens were directed to a much shorter final line to the left. You will note that the Carnival literature both in their brochure and on your cruise vouchers state that you are able to bring onboard your own luggage (if you wish), however, this is not the case and they have yet to update their information. You cannot bring any bag onboard that does not fit through the screener (similar to being screened at the airport). Having had my luggage lost and misplaced on several trips before, I had intended to wheel-on my suitcase, but was not allowed. It was fun chatting to others in various line ups, as we were all directedfrom one line to another line to yet another line, never knowing when the lines would end since they all seemed to be in different rooms at this port. Aside from the staff who provide you your sail and sign card upon finally reaching the registration counter, the other Carnival staff in the terminal building come across angry and rude. Don't let them ruin the start of your vacation, even if you are waiting forever in lines.
All Carnival staff were amazingly friendly once onboard. I was on the Carnival Spirit in March so knew my way around the Pride and easily found my cabin and the Lido deck.
The dining room staff and room steward were amazing! They seriously deserve more than the recommended gratuity and I tipped accordingly.
The food on this particular cruise was superb! I've been on other Carnival cruises and the food was good, but this one was outstanding. I was hoping they still had the melting chocolate cake for dessert in the dining room and they did! Simply amazing and a must for all to try.
The wear and tear on the ship was showing, and I later found out that it was heading to a 2-week dry dock once our cruise was over.
The onboard bar entertainment/live musician was great. Lobby bar especially. However, the lead singers on the production shows need to learn how to carry a tune rather than just yell a song. The highlight of the cruise was the Legends show at the end. Other than that, I pretty much avoided the shows.
I cannot comment on the excursions as I did not book any since I've been to these ports before. My goal was to read a few books and relax -- which I gladly did.
In the end, Carnival exceeded my expectations in every aspect, excluding evening show entertainment. The staff are wonderful, friendly, eager to go above and beyond, and genuine. The food outstanding -- even the Lido deck buffets were great.
Disembarkation was a nightmare. The passengers were only allowed the first tags off the ship if they could prove they had a flight leaving prior to 3pm and not a minute after 3pm. This didn't go over well since generally disembarkation didn't even commence until 10:30am (when usually all passengers were off by that time) and was not even half way done by noon.
Carnival is what it is -- a casual cruise line. If you are expecting 5-star entertainment, then avoid this liner. If you are looking for a fun or relaxing cruise with awesome service and amazing meals, then book your Carnival Cruise today.