We have sailed once previously on the (Smoke-Free) Paradise to the Western Carribean before, so we had a general idea of how Carnival caters to the guests. When we arrived at 11:30 am, we seen the ship (which is considerably larger than the Paradise) for the first time up close, it was incredible. We pre-registered at the Queen Mary and got in line for the Fun Pass customers.
At about 12:30 pm, we flew right through the check-in and boarded. Our room was 8182 (extended balcony), and had plenty of space to put away everything. My only complaint was the fact the beds were considerably harder than on the Paradise (which made it difficult to sleep for the first couple of nights). Since it was our 15th Anniversary, I had sent a dozen roses to be waiting in the room for my wife, they were beautiful.
Overall, the ship was kept very clean by the staff, and almost everytime I passed a Carnival employee, they smiled, said good morning or good afternoon... etc. In the dining areas (Mermaids Grill, Normandie, Lido deck, David's Supper Club, etc...), the staff was very quick tobus the tables and keep the area clean.
For two days at sea, we spent some time in the casino. Many table games available, and plenty of slots & video poker. Having lived in Las Vegas, I would say the slots and video poker paid out about the same as a Vegas casino. We tried our hand at trivia several times with cruise hostess, Sara. She was lots of fun, always smiling, and very helpful.
Puerta Vallarta was as expected, friendly and warm. We took a cab to downtown from the port, shopped for a couple of hours, then headed back to get ready for our booked excursion, a Sunset sail. I would definately recommend this tous as long as you dont get seasick easily, as it is on a 60 foot sailboat. We were surrounded by dolphins for a while. It was open bar, and the snacks were cheese, crackers and ham. Then they served the chips and guacamole, that was some of the best guacamole I had ever had.
Mazaltlan, we hung out at Stone Island most of the day, lots of peddlers here, some with decent deals, but most selling the same thing as everywhere else.
In Cabo San Lucas, we were tendered in from the ship. We walked around most of the marina, checking out shops along the way. A friend told us we had to check out the Giggling Marlin for pictures, so after asking around, we stepped in, it was still early (11:30am), but asked if we could take pictures. A gentleman at the door said no problem, that there is no charge. They hung my wife by her ankles and took the photos for us (the background is that of a marlin holding up his catch), but as they were taking down my wife, I offered $3 each for their help as a tip. The gentleman at the door said we agreed to $20 each!!! An outright lie!!! Disappointed, I set down the $6, took back my camera and we walked out. I would definately avoid that place again. Next we walked across the street to Cabo Wabo, that was more like it, friendly waiters and a lively atmosphere. We had a couple of drinks before we set out exploring again. After some souveneir shopping, headed back to the ship.
I must say, the two things you cant mis are the "Newlywed / Not-So Newlywed game" and the "Up Close and Personal",where several members of the staff are available on-stage for the audience to ask questions. But be sure to stay after "Up Close and Personal" for the funniest thing ever (hope you have a video camera).
Debarkation was simple and easy. Overall, I would recommend this cruise to friends and family
I wanted to post a link to the pictures of our latest cruise on Carnival Pride, as well as a quick review of our cruise vacation.
The pictures are located at http://www.ernstech.com/gallery/cruise04 and contain pictures of both our stay in Puerto Vallarta and the cruise ship. Why both you ask? Read on.
To start off, I want to stress the following two points that all cruisers need to seriously consider: 1. Buy travel insurance. The headache of missing your ship and being out all that money is not worth the couple hundred you'd save not buying insurance. Then take into account any illness or accident while on vacation that the insurance would cover and it makes even more sense. 2. It is wise to travel to your port of call the day before you cruise sails. Not only is it less stressful when dealing with flight delays and such, but you get on the ship earlier and get to take advantage of the dining and activities of your ship the day of sailing. You've paid for it, might as well take advantage of it.
That being said, I'm sure you see where thisreview is heading. I had not purchased any sort of travel insurance, and I was flying the day the cruise was supposed to leave port. Our cruise on Carnival Pride left Long Beach at 4:00pm Sunday May 30th. Our airplane was scheduled to depart Tulsa at 7:48am Sunday morning and go through Dallas and onto Orange County. The flight out of Tulsa was delayed due to a mechanical problem, brakes didn't work. American airlines began the process of re-routing passengers on other flights and some on other airlines. When I got to the front of the line they put my family (wife, 3 year old daughter, and I) on a flight through Chicago which would arrive in Orange County at about 1:30pm, no problem there. The flight took off at 8:30am, Tulsa time.
The captain announced several times during the flight that we were probably going to be in a holding patter due to weather in Chicago, we started to get concerned. At about 1:00pm the captain of the plane announced that we were going to land in Des Moines Iowa to refuel. At this point I was very concerned. Upon landing I called Carnival, they were no help. I called our travel agent, BuyCruises.Com, and he immediately got American Airlines on the phone and started explaining the situation to them. Our only saving grace to all this was that the first leg of the flight was delayed due to a "mechanical", which is under the control of the airlines, weather is not. I had to part from this gripping "discussion" since we were getting ready to take off again. I told the travel agent I'd call him back as soon as we landed in Chicago to see what the verdict was.
After sitting on the runway another hour in Iowa, and after the short 45 minute to an hour flight to Chiago, we were finally there sometime around 3:30pm Central time. We had not eaten all day, the plane had no food (American doesn't even server peanuts to coach passengers), but luckily we had packed a few snacks for the 3 year old that the 3 of us shared. I call Todd our agent at BuyCruises.com and he had some good news and bad news. Bad news was we were going to miss the ship (we pretty much figured that already). Good new was that American agreed to pay for us to fly to Puerto Vallarta and meet the ship at its first port. The flight left early the next morning. The rep also made all arrangements with Carnival for us to board the ship in Puerto Vallarta.
To keep this story short, we then found out our luggage was lost and American gave us an 800 number to call. We got a room for the night in Chicago and went to eat, we were VERY hungry at that point. We later found out our luggage was in Orange County waiting on us. The baggage rep had the bags re-routed to Puerto Vallarta the next day and they arrived an hour after we did. The next morning we got up early, wearing the same clothes we had on the day before, hopped a plane to Puerto Vallarta. American was nice enough, after more heated discussion, to fly us first class from Dallas (our connecting city) to Puerto Vallarta because they had seats available.
We arrived in Puerto Vallarta and were greeted by a rep from the Marriott CasaMagna (booked the night before via expedia.com from the hotel in Chicago). We explained our situation with the baggage and the rep allowed us to sit in her office there at the airport and wait, avoiding the constant badgering from time-share salesmen the other travelers were enduring. When the bags arrived an hour later the rep handled all the details of getting them for us, getting the through customs and all that. Then put us on a transfer to the hotel.
We spent two nights at the hotel right on the beach in Puerto Vallarta. It was a wonderful hotel, and we all (especially my 3 year old daughter) enjoyed the pool and playing on the beach. We never left the hotel, as they had everything we needed right there. The swim up bar in the pool was my favorite.
Wednesday morning we got up, packed, and got a taxi to the ship. It was already there as I didn't account for the time differences. Port security hand searched our luggage, not a big deal as we understood the complications with getting on the boat in a foreign port. We got on the ship right in the middle of the crew life boat drill so it was a bit crazy at first. We were asked to leave our luggage there at the security station on the ship and it would be delivered. We went up to the Pursers desk to get our sail and sign cards. Everything went fine and we were up to our room in no time. We went and ate on board, and when we were done our bags were in our room.
The rest of the cruise went off without a hitch and we had a great time. After telling our story many times we came to the realization that we ended up having a better vacation than most people on the ship. Weather the first two days of the cruise wasn't that great, and swimming on the ship was out of the question most of the time. We were able to bask in the sun and swim for two days straight in a huge pool and on the beach.
To put the icing on the cake, on the flight home, American Airlines lost our stroller somewhere between Dallas and Tulsa. We gate checked it, but I don't think it ever made it on the plane. The next day we got a call and they delivered it to me at work. At that point I just had to laugh.
Now the review of the ship. This was our second cruise, the last was three years ago on Royal Caribbean Explorer of the Seas. We went into this knowing the ship was smaller, but that there were many things that Carnival did better than Royal (food, kids program, etc.). I went with the expectation that this would not be as nice of a ship as the Explorer, but I was there to have fun no matter what, and we all did. Carnival Pride is a very nice ship. Very modern, clean, and with all the amenities that most modern ships have. The décor was, as they say, very Vegas-like. Nothing wrong with that, it looked nice but was a bit over the top for me. We had a category 11 suite and it was very nice, but not as big as I had expected. I do not think that Carnival rooms are any bigger than similar class rooms on other lines, in fact I thin our suite (Cat C at the time) on the Explorer was bigger. But that's been 3 years, so I'm not positive.
My daughter loved the kids camp, they have wonderful people working there and lots of activities for the kids. She has already asked when our next cruise will be, so I think she's hooked already. Carnival does an excellent job with the kids in this respect.
My biggest complaints about Carnival are the availability of food and port days. We found it hard to find anywhere on the ship that served food outside the normal dining times. There were 2 or 3 hour blocks for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and midnight buffet, but out side that your only option was pizza. Don't get me wrong, the pizza is excellent, but you get real tired of pizza for snacks in between meals or at night. I remember on Royal that there was always part of the buffet open at all hours of the day. The other gripe was that when the ship was in port, everything on the ship shuts down. The buffet times were less, only one pool was open, slide was closed, etc. I even had a hard time finding an open bar one day. I understand that shops and casino would be closed, but everything else is was got me. We are not one to sail for the ports, as we don't enjoy the constant "no thank you , no thanks, no gracias" we have to spout while walking through town. This time we took our daughter, and I was very apprehensive about taking her ashore in these towns as well. We did shop a bit in Cabo, but only for about an hour.
One other thing I want to mention is the rocking motion on this ship. We had cabin 8266, furthest aft on the port side of the ship, top deck. There was a constant "cavitation" in the room, more so when we were at sea. The worst was on the last night at sea, this was the only night it actually kept me up for any amount of time. We got used to it, but it was a bit annoying at times. Also, the rocking of the ship was pretty bad. Good thing none of us are prone to sea-sickness. I don't remember the Explorer rocking except one evening while on the eastern side of the Caribbean island, where the ocean is typically rougher. On the Pride, anytime we were at sea, it was rocking, to the point you thought you were going to fall out of bed at night. One day at lunch the ketchup bottle was sliding back and forth on the table about an inch or two each way. It was funny to watch. The point I'm trying to make is that we NEVER felt this on the Explorer, so I'm not sure if it has to do with the size of the ship or what, but we definitely felt it. Needless to say, the two days after we got off the ship were quite amusing with the typical "why is my living room rocking" effect.
To compare the two ships (Explorer vs. Pride) is like comparing apples to oranges, it just wouldn't be fair. Both my wife and I agree though, that our time aboard the Explorer was a better vacation than on the Pride. Again, I want to stress that we hade a GREAT vacation this time, and I have no reservations about the trip at all, even with the problems to start the trip off with. It ended up making it a better trip anyway. I just think that for the same money, we got a bit more service and pampering from Royal Caribbean three years ago on that vacation. We also noted that when we disembarked the Explorer, the only thing that allowed us to get off that ship was that we missed our baby at home (9 months at the time), if we had her with us I would have probably paid to say on the ship another week. This time, with our "baby" with us, we were ready to come home at the end of the trip. I guess it just wasn't as "over the top" in excellence as the Explorer was. This is not to say we will never sail Carnival again, it all depends on what we are looking for at the time. Again, we had a great time on this ship, and 100% enjoyed our vacation.
One other thing I'd like to add, and kudos to Carnival for this one, Carnival gave us a voucher while onboard that was 50% of the unused portion of our cruise, good toward a future carnival cruise within the next 18 months. I thought that was very nice of them. Not sure if we'll use it or not, but the gesture was a nice one anyway.
Well, so much for "quick" wasn't it. I just wanted to tell you all of our excitement on this trip, and give a little info about the ship. Again, there's a link at the beginning of this for some pictures from the trip. I hope you all enjoy the pictures. Feel free to email me any questions about the trip, I will do my best to answer anything you send my way.
Have fun, Kurt
First off I must say Carnival is still our favorite cruise line!
We always fly into the port city the day before we cruise. That way we get a good rest and are ready to cruise. Los Angeles is not my favorite city. My first time there and not impressed at all. But The Pride was wonderful. The interior is beautiful. The art is great. The whole ship is perfect. Boarding was a little long. I heard that the ship was late coming in that morning. It was hot and we had to wait outside in that blistering heat. not much shade either. We are a group of 10 all family members. all cousins and our children all grown.. We finally got on the ship and went to our cabins and were very happy to see how nice they were. Dropped off our carry on's and went right up to the buffet line. Great lunch for us. Went out to the upper deck to see us pull away. Well we didn't leave for almost 2 hours later then scheduled. But hey we had nothing better to do then be onthe ship and relax. Okay with us all. The two days at sea were great. First day was a little cooler but we still went ut on deck and enjoyed ourselves. Then our stops. Puerto Vallarta was very nice. We did our own excursion. Well we have never been to the Pacific Ocean.
Needless to say it was way to rough for us. So we walked to the beach and didnt stay there very long because of the water being so rough. So we shopped at the shops on the docks. Had a great time with that. Next stop was Mazatlan .. Beautiful country for pictures. We went shopping there too. Best shopping we had of all three stops. Spent the rest of our days in port on the ship. Had a great time at the pools. Cabo we did a ship excursion. Took a catamaran to The Los Arcos. Great trip there too. Then did some more shopping. Prices were more pricely here in Cabo. But not to out of line.
Our room service was terriffic. Our cabin steward always greeted us by calling us by first names when he saw us in the hallways. His name was Ariel. He was so great. Our food servers were excellent also. Glean and Abe both from the Phillipines. Remembered our names and what we like to drink and our salad dressing preferences every night. Food was jsut as wonderful. We enjoyed it all. Every night we had the best food possible. all enjoyed it so much,, We had some great pictures taken and bought some of them also. I want to note that we were never bothered by waiters for drinks. Actually I was looking for some to come around more often so I didnt have to go to the bar myself for a drink. But i know sometimes people complain that they are bothered too much. Not the case on the Pride. Our embarkation was painless. Very easy. of course we didnt want to get off the ship. We all had the perfect vacation. We are all looking forward tot he next cruise. and are already planning for it. Carnival gets our business once again. They know how to treat the customer well. We recommend the Pride to anyone. Great ship great cruise. great vacation... Cant say enough about it. Happy cruising to all......... Char
I have to say this was our favorite cruise so far. We have cruised the western and southern Caribbean ports before. We had favorite port cities on each. But the Mexican Riviera ports were all beautiful. It was hard to choose a favorite. We started the trip by spending the night before the cruise on the Queen Mary. If you can, stay there. We had an outside, renovated, cabin. The dining rooms had excellent food, but beware you need to wear formal attire in 2 of the 3 restaurants. We opted for the more casual one and it was very nice. The food was good and reasonably priced. The view of Long Beach from the window was an added bonus. There was a very nice observation bar with entertainment also on the ship. After breakfast we took the $6 tour before embarkation. The embarkation line was very long when we got to it. We did an early check-in on the Queen Mary (as about ¾ of the passengers did also)! It does not save time. We were told to get in line around 12:30. Big mistake. By then the lineswere already long and winding. No personnel seemed to be able to tell us which line was for the passengers that had already checked in early. It seems both lines had these passengers in them and embarkation was no easier or shorter for them. Be sure to get in the line before 12 to save yourself a long and winding trip up to the front.
Everyone was correct about the 2 sea days being chilly. The first day was 66 and sunny. The second day was 68 and the sun went in and out. You could lay out both days in bathing suits, but don't count on getting too tan on these 2 days. It was ok, as you were able to get a slight base tan before Mexico. We spent the days at the aft pool as this pool area was for adults only. Because this was Easter week, there were over 800 kids on this cruise so this area was a blessing for us! Those families with kids don't have to worry though, as there were 3 other pool areas for children. The last day at sea was very windy and cool. It was too cold even with sweat suits on to sit outside on the deck. We decided to go on our balcony. The windshield below the handrail shielded us from the wind and the sun warmed us. We then decided to pack (boo-hoo). Since the shops were still open and most of the jewelry and clothes were now 40% to 50% off, my friend and I decided to "just look"! We ending up buying though, as a few pieces of jewelry caught are eye!
As I said all three ports were beautiful. Puerto Vallarta was so romantic with its palm trees, beaches, cobblestone roads and the Sierra Madres Mountains in then background. The prices for jewelry were best here. They got higher as we moved up the coast. Walk a block from the pier and take a taxi into town for $2 a person. We had drinks at the Zoo. The restaurant/bar overlooked the street, the Malecon and the ocean. My friends had a caricature drawn of them while we sat and had a few drinks. People walked by and looked at the caricature and then up at us and made comments. It was so funny. We talked to a lot of new people that day. We ate lunch at the Blue Shrimp. Excellent. Do this if you can. The shrimp were huge and delicious. We shopped and then went to the Krystal Hotel and used their pool. It was a warm and sunny day and the pool area was beautiful. The beach was rocky though and there was a riptide so we did not venture in. We headed back to the ship by 5. I am sorry we did not stay in town longer or do more exploring though. There is a Wal-Mart not too far from the cruise ship and we stopped there to buy some coke and pina colada mix to take back to the ship. If possible, skip dinner on the ship and stay in town. It is so lovely there. I would also take a shore excursion down past the Mismoyla Hotel.
Although I have not read many glowing reviews of Mazaltan, we loved it there. We were awake in the morning as we came into port. The view of Mazaltan was awesome. We took a taxi (like an open air golf cart) for $10 into town. Make sure your driver takes you there by going along the coast. It is a very beautiful and scenic drive (about 10-15 minutes). We shopped and then went to the El Cid Hotel. We ate lunch there overlooking the water. It was very good and reasonable. The pool was gorgeous with waterfalls and bridges. It was another sunny and warm day. The beach there was ok, but it was swarmed with vendors. Be warned they tried to charge us over twice as much for the same items we saw in town. A ball cap with Mazaltan on it went for $14 and we saw them in town for $6. We stayed there until 4:30 and then headed back to the ship.
The view of Los Arcos in Cabo is spectacular. We could see it from our balcony. We were tendered into town here. We booked a snorkel and sail excursion at 10:15. The water was way too cold to snorkel and only a few brave souls stayed in the water. The boat sailed past Los Arcos and Lovers Beach and the view of the beach with the Sea of Cortez on one side and the Pacific on the other was neat. You take many pictures of Los Arcos, as it is quite spectacular. We saw sea lions on the rocks as well as dolphin swimming next to us. It was a lovely way to spend the morning. We then walked into town (take a left at the lighthouse). We stopped into Cabo Wabo (owned by Sammy Hagar) for t-shirts, but it was so crowded that we decided to eat at The Giggling Marlin for lunch. They had very good tacos, burritos, etc. We shopped and then had to catch the 3:00 tender back as the 3:30 tender was the last one. Too bad the ship does not stop longer here, as there is so much to see and do.
I was not really impressed with the décor of the Pride. I did not mind the nude paintings, but the interior had a cold feel to it. The layout was easy to get around. The photo areas, as well as the shops were on the 3rd deck. The Normandy Restaurant, the casino, the Taj Mahal and most of the bars were on the 2nd deck. There was a very good singer in the lobby lounge. We listened to her before and after dinner quite a few times. We were very lucky to have the band "Shaboom" as guests on this cruise. They played outside on the Lido deck two nights. We really enjoyed dancing and singing along with them. The cruise director was fair. Most of his humor was ho hum. We did not get to see Vroom and the first show, but had heard both were very good. We did get to see the juggler and he was very good as well as funny. The comedian was so, so.
I can't say enough about the food on this ship. We had Prime Rib, Filet Mignon, Chateaubriand, Tiger Prawns and very good Veal Parmesan in the Normandie. We asked for many of the pasta entrees as side dishes as they were also very good. Note: Carnival lets you bring on 3 bottles of wine per person. My husband and I and our friends each did this. We were able to bring our wine to dinner ever night including the night at David's Supper Club. They even held the wine for us for the next night when we were unable to finish it. They tell you there is a $10 cork charge, but we were never charged for it. Breakfasts and lunch on the Lido deck were very good also. I never had the same thing twice. I had a made to order omelet, French toast, banana pancakes, cereal, and eggs over easy when I ate breakfast there. We had 2 breakfasts in the Normandie. I had Eggs Benedict one morning and lox and bagels the other morning. When eating lunch on the Lido deck there were so many things to choose from. There was an Asian station (with Sushi), 24 hour pizza, a burger, steak sandwich and hotdog grill, deli station, salad bar area, and a buffet lunch area with several varieties. Ice cream was available 24 hours also. We also went to David's Supper Club Monday evening. It was romantic and a leisurely dinner was available. The beef is to die for. If you like steak, go there. We were so full after that we all had to go to our cabins and change from formal wear into clothes with elastic waists!!
This is a very long, drawn out process. You get up at 7 a.m. You have breakfast at 8 and then you wait and wait and wait until your color is called. My friends had a plane to catch at 2 and a car waiting for them at 10:30, but we all did not get off the ship until 12 noon! We were the last color to be called. They did not get to the airport until after 12:30. My husband and I were staying in Beverly Hills that night so we did not care, but if you have a flight at 2 or before I would make sure you had early debarkation times.
All in all, the trip was wonderful. Good company, good food and excellent ports all made this trip our favorite so far.
I was on the Pride from April 4th to April 11th (I wish I was still on it). She's a great ship, very well designed. I was very impressed by the comfort and features everywhere I went. The couch seating in the ship is so comfortable. The only thing I didn't like were the pools. There are three pools total, and one is an adults only pool. They aren't too big and the decks around the kids pools are very slippery. Not only around the pools but throughout the whole deck where the pools are located become very slippery. It is dangerous. I noted this on my comment card.
My review probably won't be very helpful in planning your trip but hopefully it will let you see the fun side of the cruise. It was my first time on a cruise so I can't compare it but I have no complaints with Carnival or The Pride. I didn't do any shore excursions, because I am into surfing and I had planned to surf in all ports.
I stayed in an interior stateroom with my girlfriend (no kids). There was plenty ofroom and closet space. Our steward was Noel, a very nice Jamaican man, he gave us very good service and I had him at the top of the list on my comment card. I personally like that the plumbing in the bathrooms was great (for some reason I enjoy good plumbing). Beds are decently comfortable, the rocking of the ship and the darkness of the interior stateroom made us sleep as though there was no such thing as daytime.
The staff was excellent. I don't think anyone was an American, mostly English and people from the Phillipines. All were very polite and worked hard, most were friendly. Not too many had that scornful look that comes from dealing with whiny Americans all week long. A+ in my book.
The food in my opinion was excellent. I felt that the variety and quality was great. Me and my girlfriend are both vegetarians and we had about 1/5 the choices anyone else could have but we both were pleased with all dishes, it wasn't the toppings of other people's sandwiches in other words. We did miss lunch a couple of times and started to become unusually sick of pizza. You also get free apple juice, lemonade, and fruit punch in the Mermaide's Grill.
The entertainment is very good. A lot of choices, there's shows, bands, dancing and other things to do. The musicians on my cruise were very good, our favorites were the butterflies lounge band, the lead singers in the shows, the jazz band, and the singers in the Atruim lobby (didn't get to see Lou the piano player so he doesn't get on the list). The lead singers in the Taj Mahal shows were very very talented but the dancers were not as quite as exciting (probably not as easy to dance as it is to sing on a ship). I definately heard a lot of good music on the cruise. There were 2 comedy acts and one ventriloquist, both comedy acts were very funny but the ventriloquist wasn't a very good act. The cruise director speaks to the audience at the Taj Mahal shows and over the ship's intercom about entertainment throughout the whole week.
In Puerto Vallarta we rented a car. There was a dollar car rental right out in front when we got off the ship. Driving in Mexico is something I do not ever want to do again. I never thought I'd actually look forward to driving in Southern California again. Aside from the fear of getting pulled over by a Mexican police officer and being robbed, the driving is very disorganized and aggressive. In downtown there are a lot of intersections without stop signs, and no lane dividers in the streets. And on top of it all, the highway signs are in Spanish (it's not that Americanized amigo).
In Mazatlan we went over to Stone Island. It is a very long beach area with about 10 restraunts for the first half mile along it and then nothing but palm trees for miles. It's not developed, all there is to do is ride horses, play on the beach, and eat but it is a nice area, and it didn't seem like there would be too much else to do in Mazatlan.
Cabo was by far the prettiest port to visit. I took a bus over to San Jose Del Cabo which I actually liked better than Cabo as it was a bit less touristy. In Cabo there are a lot of American restraunts and shops so you can feel at home or you can feel the impact of American marketing, however you want to look at it.
Overall I'd say I had an absolutely wonderful time. I would go on this cruise on this ship again in a heartbeat. Although I think Carnival is a good company from this experience, I think I would be more partial to getting on a newer ship as opposed to a certain cruise line. The design and comfort of the ship were so good. The ports are neat places, but be somewhat careful with your money and how you treat people in Mexico. The excursions are a little bit overpriced but if you don't know Spanish and don't know too much about the cities it might be a good idea to book with Carnival.
We just came back from the best family vacation ever. We loved the Pride. It is truly a beautiful ship, very elegant. I was concerned about the decorating after reading some reviews but found the ship to be in good taste. After all, art is art.
We had wonderful service the entire time. Sunil, Fernando & Augusto are the best!! We were constantly met with smiling faces all over the boat.
I highly recommend the "Las Caletas" excursion. The snorkelling was unbelievable. There were so many fish and many different varieties. I have snorkelled in St. John were the water is crystal clear but very few fish. Here the water wasn't as clear but the fish more than made up for it. I would also recommend going to the flea market just off the dock at Puerto Vallarta to sharpen up on your bartering skills. My husband felt he should pay the people whatever they asked. But once he walked out the door and found the price dropped 50% the light went on and we were bartering for everything.
Matazlan is the place to shop for silver. I wish I had bought10 more bracelets ($2-$3) for gifts back home. Cabo San Lucas was the most beautiful port. I highly recommend Billigan's Island for the happy hour (12pm-7pm) and for their margaritas. Beware when you sit down. We felt like "fresh meat" and were swamped with vendors selling everything from silver to skirts to hair braiding to picture frames. We said "No gracias" many, many times to the same people over and over again. They are dear people and are trying to make a living. Back on the boat my 12 year old made friends so fast that I only saw her for dinner each night and when she came to bed and my 5 year old loved Camp Carnival each night after dinner. They are so kind to the kids. Cruise Director Jeff B., we will miss you. You made us laugh so hard we cried many times. Have fun on the Paradise. You will do well wherever you go. Awesome ship, awesome time, awesome memories.
Just returned yesterday from our 7 day trip on the Carnival Pride. In one word "Awsome"!!! This was the best vacation we have every been on, and I have got to give Carnival ten thumbs up!!!
Getting on was very short and easy. We arrived at Long Beach at 10:30 a.m. and were directed by more than one Carnival employee in port to proceed to the early check in at the Queen Mary. Aprox. 10 minutes in line and we had our Sail and Sign Cards.
The weather in Long Beach was in the mid-eighties and it was actually a nice wait to board the ship. Marguerita (one of the Carnival Employees)was very informative and patient with all of the passengers waiting to board the ship. Even though they requested that we not go to our cabins until 1:00 p.m. we found our room (very easily) and were able to drop off out carry on's with out a problem. (not to hard to find your room by yourself if you know your deck and cabin #)
After having a quick lunch on the lido deck, we were off to explore theship. What a beaufitul ship she is!!! I was a little worried by some of the other comments that I have heard about this ship being "dark", but did not find this the case at all. She is very tastefully decorated and was not in the least bit offended by the art work. It was simply beautiful.
Our Aft deck Panorama Deck Cabin (8268) was the best!!! Even though the weather was warm and sunny the entire trip (except the last day at sea) we got a break from any wind by being in the AFT.
Food in the dining room was wonderful, and we must mention Orlando and Sergeous, they were a great team!!! We did dine one night at Davis's Supper Club, and although a very nice atmosphere, we thought the food was equally impressive in the main dining room.
Clarence, our room steward was AWSOME!!! He attended our every request. (ie: extra bed cushion; extra pillows and extra Ice every day)
We have not been to the Mexican Rivera in several years, and found that all of the ports were truly improved and a pleasure to visit.
One tour I must mention, is Randi, of Randi's Happy Horses, which is a private excersion we took in Matzalan. Her tour was a blast, and her crew was excptional. My husband Terry did not even feel confortable on a horse until this trip, and now he can't wait to ride again!!!
All in all we had a great trip, and will definately sail with Carnival again!
This was my third Carnival Cruise and I came as part of the promotional member reunion cruise. We were to receive several bonus items and coupons for discounts on board...as well as special parties and events.
The gifts never materialized due to shipping error, and the coupons came late and were not anywhere near the advertised $300 worth, especially for a non drinker non golfer. We are supposed to receive them by mail and also a $100 credit on account for a future cruise. In my opinion they should have credited us with that this time.
Embarkation at Long Beach was long and confusing.Although promised a special check in line for filling out information on line this line was no faster than all the others. Upon boarding the ship there was no one to give directions or escort you to your cabin. They gave you a map and I guess assumed that you knew where to go. Of course they answered questions but in a very hurried manner.
My previous Carnival cruises had had great service, very good food, fun people, and I would rate them 4 star easily. This one was not inthe same category. They were understaffed and undermanned and with the exception of the Cruise/entertainment director and his staff and the Purser staff the service was very poor. Breakfast buffets were also poor, but lunch and evening were quite good. Dining room service was average to poor and the food was good, but not exceptional. There was only one meet and greet party and it was overcrowded and smoky.
The weather was cool which didnt make for the greatest beach or pool time, but was perfect for deck walking and excersise.
In Puerto Vallarta I took the sailing yacht whale watching and it was worth the price as we spent the morning with 2 Mama's and their babies. The crew was great on this boat and also fun. They were very respectful of the whales as well.
In Mazatlan we went into the Sierra Madre...had a great tour guide and that was also fun but a long day.
In Cabo I just walked and shopped...I enjoy just watching the yachts and people in Cabo and shopping is fair.
Entertainment on the ship was sporadic. The dancers were only average but the special effects and costumes were fantastic. Singers were good but not exceptional.
From previous reviews from the Caribbean Pride trips I believe that it is either the area or something else that was wrong on this cruise. It just seemed "snake bit" from the beginning.
Most of the ship maps do not show the laundromats. They are located in the very rear of each floor and are nice new machines...however it works out to about $4 per load.
The public rooms seemed dark and there was a lot of "renaissance" art...which could cause interesting conversations for people with kids!!...the best art I saw on this ship was art glass in cases by the staircases.
The casino was excellent, slots were loose and many people were pleased with their winnings. I met several who had at least not lost anything, and a lady who won $3200.
I would be reluctant to spend my dollars on Carnival again in the near future until I hear that they are doing their previous excellent job. I will be writing them as well. There are just too many choices out there and personally I prefer RCCL and Holland America and there is not that much of a price difference.
This might be long. I may have to submit 2! Well her goes.
The Pride was late getting in on Sunday. We waited 1 hour to get on our transfer to the terminal. ( 30 min drive ) Looonngg line at the terminal but all went smoothly. Just gotta be patient. Come to the cruise dressed in whatever you will wear for dinner. You may not get your luggage until about 7pm. We were lucky and got ours earlier.
We were in cabin 7190. With extended balcony. We totally enjoyed this balcony. We were out there every day, coffee in the am, watched several sunrises and sunsets. Moonlight on the ocean , nothing compares! It was breath taking. Very much worth the extra $. Plenty of storage for my Husband and I. Good water pressure. Had only 1 complaint re: water. Around day 3 or 4, our water turned green. Apparently, they have to switch the tanks when this happens. Just call the reception desk and they will handle the switch. Cabin steward was fine, room was made up everyday, no problems. Helpful steward.
Every evening you'll receive Carnival Capers. Telling youall the activites availbale for the next day. Here's some of what we did. Bingo, BJ and slot tournamant, art auction, Shows, bands, emailed, Crystal card room for cards, informational talks, shuffle board, and lots more. Plenty of silly stuff and more outdoorsy stuff too.
For weather go to weather.com and get a 10 day forcast. Ours was great. Hot everywhere. Humid in PV and MAZ. Super in Cabo. As to exscusions we did the tequila and city tour in PV, and the city and coastal tours in Mazatlan and Cabo San Lucas. We wanted to get a feel for each city. These were good tours. We highly recommend them. Great tour guides too.
The food in the Normandie Restaurant was superb. We loved it. 2 starter, salad. main dish, dessert, and cappicino or esspresso every night! Our waiters were wonderful, level 2 Sergei and Kamen. The sung and danced for us it was great. Bring the video and camera. The Mermaids Grille was okay. Breakfast was ....breakfast. Lunch and dinner were better. Plenty of choices. The 24 hour pizza bar ( La Rustica ) was fabulous. David's Supper club was really nice. $25 each. We slow danced after the meal. Was very romantic. In regards to pictures. Bring extra money to purchase these. I waited til the lst day, bought a bunch and made a deal with the person selling them to me. I got $10 to $15 dollars off. Pictures taken on formal nights, at port , leaving the ship and thoughout. You'll have plenty to choose from.
Plan ahead. We had plenty of extra expenses. IE: Pictures, art, tips, gaming, tips, shopping, tips..tips.. it never ends. :)
As to mucic , there is music throughtout the ship. In the Capers there is always a listing as to who is playing where. We especially liked the 70's stuff in the Starry Night Louge by Rised Up. They were great, dance floor too.
As to crew everyone was great, and friendly. The late night Puser, a gal named Roshni was very nice.
As to the ships decor, everything was beautiful and decorated for Christmas as well. But it is Renaissance style. Lots of nude paintings and drawings of people. For kids 6 and up you might have some explaning to do. But otherwise very nice.
The formals we did were the 2 in the Normandie Monday, Captains dinner and The Fri, Farwell Gala.
Also, we went to Davids on Tuesday which is formal, jacket required for the men.
I do recommend the patch or pills for seasickness. Out of 2100 there was 800 kids due to Thanksgiving. But it never bothered us. This ship is really big. Debarkation was fine. We played cards in the card room until our color was called.
It was no problem. Our flight was at 2:30pm. We got to the airport by 11:30. At lunch , played some more cards then went home.
This experience was awesome. The views at sea incredible. Would do this again in a heartbeat. We had lots of fun with the activites and the ports. We also enjoyed our time of relaxation. 7 days was great and the Pride was wonderful. Good luck to all of you going soon. I hope you get a balcony!! Email me for any questions. This trip was a dream come true!
Pre-cruise: We flew into LAX on Saturday before the cruise. Took Primetime Shuttle service to our hotel in Long Beach for $30, we had made reservations on the internet. We had made reservations at the Holiday Inn Downtown Long Beach but when we arrived we found that they had overbooked the hotel badly and we were sent to the Holiday Inn San Pedro hotel for the night, complimentary. I would not suggest pre-paying if you plan to stay at the Holiday Inn Downtown, we had booked an Orbitz supersaver rate which requires payment at time of booking for the low fare. We have not yet received our refund and with the attitude of the manager on duty I highly doubt we will see that money ever refunded. We had dinner at a local brewery type restaurant in Long Beach that was very nice, I wish I remembered the name but it was right by the pier (not the ship dock there is a fishing type pier in Long Beach). The area around both hotels looks very iffy, but go a mile in the right direction and it becomes very affluentand nice. In the morning we took the hotel's free shuttle service to the cruise ship pier. Make sure to ask when you check in because the shuttle is just a minivan and does fill up fast, it is free but reservations are required if you want to go at a popular time.
Check-in and embarkation: We arrived at the pier area around 10:30am. People were still getting off the ship from the previous sailing. But we found a porter and handed over our luggage and then walked to the Queen Mary to check in. The check-in took about 3 minutes, they have quite a few agents there and they move quickly. After checking in we opted to take the self guided tour of the Queen Mary for $6.00 each, normal fare is $25+. It was very interesting and kept us occupied until we were allowed to board the Pride at noon. When you line up to board the Pride make sure you are in the correct line, there are two different ones. One line is for those who have checked in at the Queen Mary and the other is for those who have not checked in yet. Both seemed to move pretty fast. We were on the Pride by 12:30pm and headed up to the Lido deck for lunch. We checked out our room and it wasn't ready yet, not supposed to be until 1pm but we wanted to check and see what type of room we had got (guarantee status until checking our luggage). Very, very painless embarkation compared to other experiences.
We were very impressed with the Pride. The interior was very elegant; yes there are lots of nude paintings on the ship but nothing overly obscene. We had a 5A room, on the main deck and it was comfortable for the week. The crew seemed to be very friendly; there was a smile everywhere we turned. I'm sure you can find loads of interior pictures on various websites so I won't go into deep detail.
Food: Formal nights are Monday (at sea) and Friday (Cabo). The food on this ship was superior to any of the other ships we have been on, and we thoroughly enjoyed that food too. The Normandie Restaurant is two level and has 2 seatings, 5:45 and 8:15pm. The Lido deck buffet is set up differently then the other ships we have been on. It is set up with a station concept. There are eight separate stations each with a different type of food. This station design really helps keep the lines minimal. They have serving trays to carry your plate(s) from station to station and to your table. They had the grill, the pizzeria, salad and fruit bar, dessert station, deli, asian cuisine, a taste of nations which changed daily and a rotisserie station. We had dinner at David's restaurant for our anniversary and found it to be a wonderful dining experience that was well worth the $25 surcharge. Jackets are required for the men and that is strictly enforced, we saw them turn a couple away when they showed up without a jacket. The menu is available for preview before you make a reservation and they will inform you if anything is not available that week, for example the veal wasn't available on our sailing because the quality of the shipment they got for our cruise was not up to their standards and they had king crab instead of snow crab because of the time of year.
Spa: We decided to splurge and treat each other to a spa treatment as anniversary gifts. I had the spa sampler and my husband had a massage and facial. Both treatments were excellent and the products were not pushed on us at all as some others report. We were given a list of the products they used and told they were available for purchase in the spa if we wanted any of them. We had our treatments on the first night of the cruise and saved 20% off the list price, they also have specials for port days.
Entertainment: This ship had three different Vegas style shows, on both of the formal nights and again on Tuesday. We didn't go to the first show as my husband had to watch the Packer game on Monday Night Football. We did go to the other two shows and enjoyed them. Seating was not a problem in the Taj Majhal show room. It is three levels with much more seating then any of the other ships. It is all row type seating on the first floor, no more of those semi-circle table/couches that take up so much room and don't seat many. We arrived only 10 minutes prior to the show on formal night and had no trouble getting an excellent seat for the show. There is a Mexican folklore show the night you are in Puerto Vallerta which is very nice. There are several young dancers, maybe about 14-16 yrs old, and they are very talented that dance to a mariachi band
Weather: The weather in Long Beach was overcast and cool, low 70's maybe. The first day at sea was also overcast and cool until late in the afternoon. Second day at sea was sunny and warm. All the days in Mexico were sunny and HOT. The temps seemed to be in the 90's with very high humidity. This is still the hot time of year for that part of Mexico so be warned if you plan on doing something strenuous bring lots of safe water along or you will get dehydrated quickly. Our last day at sea returning to CA was very windy. The very top open decks were closed due to the windy conditions.
Pools and Open Deck Spaces: There are several pools and hot-tubs on this ship, the open outdoor spaces were planned very well. We had no trouble finding a lounge chair close to the pools on the days at sea and in port. Chair saving didn't seem to be a problem. I did some sun worshiping our second day at sea and had no trouble finding a quite space and open chair even though I didn't go out until after lunch. The rear pool on the Lido deck is adults only but there were some kids in it occasionally. Yes there were kids in the hot-tubs but they were just sitting in them for the most part. The children on our sailing seemed to be very well behaved as a group.
Puerto Vallarta: We took Carnival's Tequila Factory Tour. It took us to two different tequila factories, one that was a small family-run operation and one that was a modern operation. Both explained their processes and gave out samples. We had time at both locations to shop in their souvenir shops which had decent prices. The bus driver gave a guided tour of the area and lots of info on the ride to and from the factories. After the tour is over you have the option to be dropped off at the ship or to take the bus down to the downtown shopping area. We got off at the ship and never made it downtown. There is a bit of shopping right off the pier in a smaller flea market type setup. We went to the small Del Sol shop there and got a shirt for a friend's child and got back on the ship. I would recommend this tour to others.
Mazatlan: We took Carnival's Sierra Madre tour. This is an all day tour, 7+ hours. You are taken to several different locations and get to see Mexico outside of the main tourist areas. At each stop we made there were people trying to sell us stuff but that is pretty much expected in Mexico. We went to an adobe brick making location, a hand made furniture factory, an old town with a big church and bakery and then to another old town with a very old church. There was more walking on this tour then we expected on uneven surfaces. It was very hot and humid and the a/c on the bus was marginal. If you do this make sure to bring at least one bottle of water for each person. Lunch is provided at the last stop on this tour. It is supposed to be a "safe" restaurant but my husband and I both traced our Montezuma's revenge back to eating there so beware. After lunch it is about an hour ride back to Mazatlan where you are dropped in the Golden Zone for an hour of shopping and then taken back to the ship. We got some vanilla in the Golden Zone and browsed. If you go into the various jewelry stores and browse actively you can get a cold beverage for free which really hit the spot at that point, bottled water or soda. I wouldn't recommend this tour to anyone with children or to people who are unstable on their feet. We had both on our tour and they had a hard time. I wouldn't do this tour again personally, but I just don't really want to go on vacation to look at old churches.
Cabo San Lucas: We took Carnival's Santa Maria Snorkeling trip. Since Cabo is a tender port our tour met on the ship at 7am and then we were taken off on one of the first tenders to the marina. There was a catamaran type boat waiting for us just steps from the tender landing area. Before you start snorkeling you are taken on a quick tour of the Cabo bay area which is pretty. We saw several seals, Los Archos and Lover's beach before moving on to the snorkeling area. Snorkel equipment is provided but we had our own. You have about an hour to snorkel in a small cove off the main bay area. The snorkeling is okay but nothing like the Caribbean. The coral was mostly dead and the water was very stirred up. We did see quite a few large fish while snorkeling but not much else. We ended up getting back on the boat before our snorkeling time was up because the current and waves were strong and tiring, I am pregnant and get tired easily. Once back on the ship there is an open bar with both tequila drinks and non alcoholic drinks. Hubby said the tequila drinks were good and the soda and bottled water was fine for me. They also had fresh made salsa, guacamole, and chips which were excellent. After returning to the marina we walked to the short distance to the downtown area and visited Cabo Wabo. My husband was a Sammy Haggar fan and wanted to see the place. It was completely packed that day because Sammy was in town and giving a birthday show that night (along with the fact there were 3 ships in port that day). We sat at the bar area and hubby had a drink, the waborita, and then bought a t-shirt. We window shopped as we walked back to the tender area. There is a small crafts type market right off the tender stop where we got our small souvenir. We were back on the ship and had a late lunch there. With the Pride sailing this route now you are in Cabo until 4pm, when the Elation was doing the route she had to leave at 11:30am since she is a slower ship.
Debarkation: This was the easiest debarkation we have ever experienced while cruising. The first tag color was called about 8:30am. We were in the fifth or so color called and just walked right off the ship. People actually listened and didn't crowd the staircases or hallways. No line what so ever getting off the ship. Upon entering the terminal building you are directed to a customs line, there are 2 lines for those who have passports and then several lines for those without passports. We were in the passport line and had 2 people in front of us; the birth certificate lines were much longer. The customs guy stamped our form and passports and sent us on to the luggage area. Our luggage actually was sitting all together in a group, all three pieces right next to each other so we grabbed them and left that area. After getting your luggage you walk towards the exit and hand the stamped customs form to the person at the door and head out. We had bought Carnival's transfers to the airport, $19/each, after seeing the craziness when we arrived at the port. The buses were ready and waiting and we were directed to a bus based on our airline. The bus took off about 5 minutes after we boarded it for the ride to LAX. We were unloading at LAX by 10:00am which must be a record.
Post Cruise: Since our flight didn't leave until midnight we had made reservations via Priceline at the Hilton LAX for $33. So we took our luggage and went down to the arrivals level of the airport and caught the free shuttle from the airport to the hotel. We were able to check in at the hotel when we arrived, about 10:45am, without a problem even though official check in doesn't start until 3pm. The hotel was beautiful. We had a king room on the sixth level. We spent the rest of the day at the hotel relaxing and watching football. Final thoughts: We had a wonderful time on this cruise. The Pride is definitely my favorite ship. It is well laid out and beautiful. The Mexican Riviera is not my favorite set of ports, I much prefer the Caribbean but we had wanted to try something new. Feel free to e-mail me if you have any questions but make sure to put something in the subject line about the cruise I delete e-mails without subjects from those I don't know (don't want to risk a virus).