We had made travel arrangements ourselves from Phoenix to
Orlando on SouthWest Airlines. Making our own arrangements worked
out to be about $500 cheaper than going through Carnival. The
flight was a little bumpy.if you ask my husband it was a lot bumpy.
It was raining in Orlando when we arrived and my husband promptly
announced when we landed that he would be taking a bus home. He's
afraid to fly but is usually a good sport about it. We rented a car
from Avis to make the drive to the Radisson in Port Canaveral. Once
we started to collect our luggage from baggage claim two of us, we
were two couples traveling together, went down stairs to the Avis
counter to get the car. We had about eight pieces of luggage and
they fit nicely into the SUV we rented. Once the ladies picked up
the car we drove back to the arrival area at the airport and picked
up the guys and the luggage. Very easy.
We made the drive from Orlando to Cape Canaveral and only got
lost once. Not lost really,
we just took the wrong freeway and it took us a little longer to
get to the hotel. My husband and I stayed at the Radisson and our
friends stayed at the Quality Inn. I'm only going to comment on the
Radisson. We had reserved the $99 suite with the whirlpool tub. The
room was very nice and having the tub was a lot of fun. Be careful
if you bring along bubble bath.it can get a little out of control
once you turn those jets on. We had a pre-cruise rendezvous with
some of CC friends but only Dan40 and his wife showed up. We had a
nice evening getting to know each other and talking about the
cruise. They have a nice bar area that is perfect to meet friends.
The music was a little loud but you get used to it.
Since Florida is a few hours a head of Arizona I had a little
trouble getting out of bed on Saturday morning. But once my husband
told my you could see the Pride from our window I was out of bed in
a flash. It was tiny and far away but it was my ship! We had
breakfast at the Radisson. They have a buffet. I would recommend
eating somewhere else if you have a car. The food was really bad.
They seemed rushed and short staffed and the food was not fresh.
Although they were making omelets and waffles..still not very
We had decided the night before to keep the car and drive over
to the terminal and drop the luggage off and then return the car
and take the Avis shuttle back. We didn't think all our luggage
would fit in the shuttle. But while checking out of the hotel we
were able to watch the shuttles come back from the ship. The
shuttle process seemed very organized. Both the Radisson and Avis
have several shuttles that are making the trip back and forth. So
we decided to return the car and take the shuttle over. Extremely
easy. The shuttle drops you off at the pier and there are Carnival
employees there to take your luggage and load them into the luggage
containers. No having to get a porter or drag your luggage to the
ship. I was very impressed at how easy this was.
Next we walked over to the pier to check-in. This was about
10:30. My husband and I had a Category 11 cabin and were able to
use the Skipper's Club. Our friends had a Category 4 and had to
check in normal. They beat us through the check-in process. All the
Skipper's Club did that was better than normal check in was we got
to sit down in chairs while they checked us in. Maybe the Skipper's
Club provides some advantage in speed later in the day but if you
go early there really is no advantage.
After checking in we had to wait in a line of chairs until they
allowed everyone to start boarding. They had five wedding parties
they need to get checked in and on the boat before they would let
everyone else on. Then about 11:30 they finally began general
boarding. This went very fast and before we knew it we were
crossing the gangway and beginning our trip!
The ship is beautiful. The atrium is very impressive with the
large mural over head and the clear red for the funnel. We headed
straight for the mermaid grill and some lunch. There are several
different stations spread out around the area. Each serves a
different type of food. This at first takes some getting use to,
but it really cuts down on the time you have to wait in line to get
something to eat. There is a specialty food everyday such as
Italian, Chinese etc. They have the burgers, hot dogs and chicken
out by the pool. Of course they have the pizza 24 hours a day!
There is a salad bar, a deli and a rotisserie as well. Lots of
choices and you'll always find something that sounds good. The ice
cream is outside by the aft pool. I already miss having so many
Next we went up to check out our room. Since it is my 40th
birthday year we splurged an pick a category 11 cabin. We were in
8268 which is one of the aft cabins that wrap around. I think this
was the best cabin on the ship! What a delight to behold. Once we
stepped inside the door we had a short halway that lead to our
"living room". This area contained a couch, chair and a table.
There was also a TV and a VCR plus some glassware for wine and
drinks. Next was a small vanity room with a big lighted mirror and
a chair to sit on. Something I really loved for doing my make-up
and hair. The bathroom had double sinks and a whirlpool tub/shower
with glass sliding door. We became really spoiled by our walk-in
closet. Lots of room for storage. The bedroom contained a queen
size bed.actually two twin beds pushed together another TV and a
VCR. There was also a hall-way that connected the living room and
the bedroom. We had six floor to ceiling windows to view the world
around us. But the best part was the 41 foot balcony that we spent
a lot of time out on! What a great room. I told my husband that I
was spoiled and could never settle for anything less for future
I took time out in the room to call David's and make
reservations for dinner. We decided to go on Thursday which was the
second formal night. My husband does not own a jacket so we thought
he could just wear his Tuxedo again for dinner. This worked out
We had read in the Carnival Caper's that all deluxe treatments
in the spa were 15% off on Saturday so we walked down to the spa to
book some appointments. My husband and my girlfriend both booked
spa pedicure's. The girl at the counter told us the price was $55.
I asked if that included the 15% off. She said it would be deducted
when we paid. Please be careful about this. We were not given the
15% off and when I inquired about it later to the Spa manager she
said it only applied to "deluxe" treatments. I explained that
wouldn't a "spa" pedicure be the "deluxe" version of the regular
pedicure and she said no. She even tried to claim that the computer
system would not allow them to discount that treatment. She didn't
really even bother to apologize. She just said that she tried to
keep her staff informed but that some people forget. Oh well. Not
big deal..15% of 55 isn't really a lot of money when you think
about it...but it could have paid for a couple of drinks. More on
the lack of knowledge by spa personnel later.
Time for the sail-a-way and to meet our CC friends. We had about
30 people show up for our goodbye to Port Canaveral. We decided to
meet on the Sky Deck around the funnel. This was the perfect place
to meet. Small enough that you didn't have to look all over for
people and it overlooked the pool area so you could party with
everyone else. It was cold and windy has the sun started to go down
so we had to cut the party short. So everyone returned to their
rooms to get ready for dinner.
My husband Billy and my friend Michelle went off to have their
pedicures while Michelle's husband Darin and I sat on the balcony
and drank the sunset away. This was Billy's first pedicure and it
was nice that Michelle went with him for support. They both enjoyed
it, but Billy said he probably won't get another one. This turned
out to be a good idea for him since two days later the tops of his
toes were bruised and his feet were sore. I've never seen anything
like that. So first timers.be careful.
We had made arrangements in advance to sit with two other CC
couples. Linda and Bill from Ohio and Drew and Carolyn from NJ. For
some reason Drew and Carolyn's request to sit with us never made it
to the ship. No problem. We just told the matre 'd that we wanted a
table for eight instead of a table for six and he made it happen.
This worked out really well since the table for six was in a dark
corner away from all the action. In fact, two of the couples would
have had to look at a wall the whole cruise. We had a great group
for dinner and I really suggest getting a big table and meeting new
people. This really made the cruise for us.
After dinner we went to the comedian show and then to the
casino. I left the casino a few dollars ahead so it was a good
Returning to our room we found our first towel animal. We
thought it was some sort of snake, but we didn't find out until
days later that it was a dinosaur.
What a great first day!
Day 2 - Key West
Sleeping in what a grand thing! I usually have to get up a 5:00
to get ready to go to work. So this was a special treat. But when
we actually thought about it we really we're getting up about the
same time with the time zone differences. Oh well, at least I
thought I was sleeping in.
Upstairs we went for breakfast. Each of the hot food stations
serves the same thing. So just get in what ever line is shortest.
You can have eggs, bacon, sausage, ham, pancakes and French toast.
Just an FYI, the scrambled eggs and the eggs they use to make the
omelets are made from egg product.not real eggs. So if that creeps
you out like it does me just order two eggs over easy or whichever
way you like your eggs. That way they use real eggs. They also have
an area with pastries and cereal and fruit. By the end of the week
we were all very tired of eggs.
Then it was time to get off the ship to go into Key West. This
was not organized very well. We went down to deck 1 and started off
to the forward part of the ship. All of a sudden we ran into a line
in the hallway. This line was very long. The hallway was very warm.
It took a long time to get to the end of the hallway only to
discover that we still had to go down a flight of stairs and then
off the ship. Here's where you are going to luck out by reading
this review. Whatever deck you are on go all the way to the front
of the ship on the port side.the last set of elevators. Take these
elevators down to deck A. This will take you right off the ship. No
waiting in line. This is one of the best-kept secrets on the ship.
Do this every time you need to get off and you'll avoid the lines.
This is also great for getting back on the ship. Just hang a left
once you pass through security and instead of going up the stairs
just go around the corner and get on the elevator. No waiting!
Once off the ship we had to wait in another line out in the hot
sun to get on the trolley to take us through the Navy Base and into
Key West. I'm not complaining about the heat..we're just from
Phoenix and the humidity was a little much for us. The trolley
drops you into the center of town. We opted to take the trolley
tour around town. It has nine stops and you could get off and on as
you wish. This was a great way to see the sights. We got off to see
the Southern most point and near Duvall Street. We had lunch at
Margarittaville and just walked around and looked in the shops.
Then it was time to take the trolley back to the boat.
We spent the rest of the afternoon out on the balcony until it
was time to get ready for dinner. The balcony was always a great
place to rest and have a few drinks before dinner.
After dinner a few more shows and, of course, the casino.
Day 3 - At Sea
Another great day to sleep in! We have discovered however, that
our room is noisy. The air conditioner is very loud. But you get
used to it. The ship also rocks side to side in the back. I like it
but you can feel it at times.
Off again to breakfast. We spent the day playing bingo and
hanging out in the casino. Not so good at bingo but I won some
money at the casino. This was also my day to have massage and
facial in the spa. If you go ask for Kimberley from New Zealand she
was wonderful! Then tell her Tamara from Arizona said hi!. I had a
special package that included both the massage and facial. It was
almost three hours of complete relaxation. It was about $215 but
well worth it.
This was also the first formal night. The had a cocktail party
before dinner with free drinks and appetizers. Go ahead and attend
it's a lot of fun and who could pass up free drinks! Not the best
in the world but fun trying all the different kinds. Here's another
helpful hint. Stand by the door to the Sports Bar.this is where the
waiters come out with the drinks. This way you don't have to fight
for a drink.
This is also the best night to walk around and get your picture
taken. Make sure you go to as many different spots as possible so
you have lots to choose from. I think most of the backgrounds look
terrible in pictures.really fake. The best ones were the formal
black and white and color pictures on the plain blue background. We
bought these and so did our friends.
This is the only night that they serve lobster so make sure to
have dinner in the dining room this night. Everyone at the table
had both the lobster and the prime rib. Not the best in the world
but still very yummy! We also find an inexpensive way to save on
drinks. We ordered a bottle of wine at night..about $25-30 dollars
and drank that. Sometimes the wine would last for two meals. This
works out real well for two people.
Then it was back to the casino. It was nice to watch all the
people dressed up.
Day 3 - Belize
We decided to do the cave tubing with Regi a private guide. This
was a fun trip! Regi had sent me an email stating to try to be on
the first tender off the ship so that everyone could get going
right away. Well, they started giving out tender tickets at 8:00. I
sent my husband down at 7:30 to get in line to get a ticket. He
came back with Tender #1 tickets. So far so good. At about 9:00 we
wandered down to see if we could get in line for the tender. The
girl guarding the door said we had to go upstairs and wait for our
tender number to be called. This made sense that they wouldn't want
everyone hanging around in the small area where you get off the
ship. On our way back up the stair case they called Tender #1 so
back down we went and we were the first ones in line!!!!! Then the
girl reminded us to make sure we had our sign and sail cards and
our id's. Guess who didn't have her id? Me! Spouse was not a happy
camper. They hadn't started letting people on the tender yet so I
quickly ran back to our room. Not a short trip since the area to
get on the tender's is on deck A forward and our room is on deck 8
on the aft end of the ship. By the time I got back the tender had
already left. L Spouse gave me a really ugly look. Good news we're
not first in line for the second tender. Except for one thing.for
the next 30-45 minutes all the tenders were for Carnival tours and
we just had to stand there. Finally there was a tender for us! The
ride to Belize was quick and Regi was waiting for us on the dock
just like he said. What a nice person. We only had two other people
to wait for. Then we were off to the van's for our 30 minute ride
to the caves. We had a couple of big people in our group so it was
a tight squeeze in the van. In fact, one girl had to sit on her
boyfriends lap. (Hi Drew and Caroline!) It was a long ride but you
got to see some of the city and the countryside. When we arrived at
the cave's the Carnival buses were already there and the people
were long gone. Regi got everyone organized and gave us our
headlamps and tubes. The our walk began. Don't get all excited the
first time you get to the water. This is just a crossing point. And
make sure you take advantage of the opportunity to get wet. It's a
long and hot walk to the river where you start. Again, I'm not used
to the humidity so I was really hot. The walk is not that hard. I
do recommend sturdy shoes. I bought a pair of surf shoes at Kmart
for $5 and they worked fine. After the trip I just threw them
Finally it was time to get in the river and start our journey.
They whole trip took about 1 ½ hours. The water was low in
some places so we had to watch out bottoms. Regi said that in the
rainy season the whole trip takes about 30 minutes. So we got the
leisure float version. It was really fun, but crowded at times. We
caught up with the Carnival group in some of the slower section's
which didn't make it very fun. I may have to say that I would just
do this trip in the rainy season..on a scale of 1 to 10 I may just
give it a 5. I think it was just the time of year. After the trip
ended there was a bathroom to change out of your wet clothes and
then we took the van back to the ship. There was no time for lunch
or shopping. However, Belize didn't look like a place where you
want to wonder around and shop so I would really recommend staying
or the ship or going to an organized tour in this port.
Get a tender back to the boat was no problem.
Another sail-a-way was spent on our balcony with friends new and
old, drinking and watching the sunset.
Then it was on to dinner and to shows and gambling.
Day 4 - Cozumel
Lots of cruise ships here today. There were actually nine ships
in port. They estimated that added an additional 18,000 people to
the cities population. There were three Carnival ships, two
Celebrity, Disney, RCCL, Holland and a ship that had the My Travel
web site on the side.not sure who's that was.
This is the day I allowed my husband to drink as much as he
wanted without me getting mad. We had read on the CC boards about a
mini-golf place in Cozumel so we decided to try it out. This was a
great time! We took a cab from the pier to the mini-golf place.
Only $6 for the cab for four people. Sally and her dog Sunshine
were great hosts. The course is lush and refreshing on a hot
Cozumel day. The best part was that you get walkie-talkies to take
with you so you can order drinks while you played golf. We didn't
make it to the second hole before we were ordering more drinks. It
is an 18 hole course and I think it was one of best parts of our
trip! We had a great time. Sally even allows you to pick music to
play while you're there.
After we were finished with golf we walked to Carlos and
Charlies. We decided to get a table and have some lunch instead of
hanging out in the bar area. The ladies had big drinks and the men
had big beers. It was a great time. I would defianetly recommend
finishing up your day here.
After Carlos and Charlies we did a little shopping. We bought a
litre of Coke to mix with the Vodka that we snuck on board in our
luggage. And we stopped at Del Sols to get T-shirts that change
color in the sun. Then it was back onto the boat. This was a huge
line to get on, but a real party atmosphere since everyone was in a
"happy" mood. I wish we would have been able to send more time
here. The Pride was the first ship to leave.
I had some real issues of the timing in our ports. We seemed to
leave everything to early. We left Belize at 4:00 and it was only
250 miles approximately to Cozumel. And then we leave Cozumel to go
to Progresso and I'm sure that was a short distance as well. I
would have like to have more time in all the ports.
Day 5 - Progresso
This is the day we decided to go to Chitzen Itza. We decided to
take the Carnival tour do to the time constraints. It was tough
getting up after our day at Carlos and Charlies to make our 7:45
rendezvous time for our tour. But we did it.
The ship tour is a two hour bus ride to the ruins. The guide
gives a nice overview of the city and the ruins.if you can
understand him. The bus ride is a nice time to take a nap if you
didn't get enough sleep the night before! About 1 mile before the
entrance to the park you get a sales pitch from the tour guide to
purchase a Myan calender for a special birthday or anniversary. The
price is $25. We decided to get it for our anniversary date. I
would only recommend this for a birthday. The sheet they give you
with the descriptions really on works for birthdays. I would
recommend you just skip it. You also have to make the mandatory
shopping stop and bathroom break. There is an area where the buses
stop that has shopping but there were also a lot of local people
trying to sell stuff. These individuals were kept behind a roped
area but you could walk up to them. They are all screaming "One
dollar" and holding up trinkets. We decided to go for it. I walked
over and tried to by something for a dollar only to be told it was
$5. So I started to walk away and magically it suddenly became $2.
I would recommend you buy your cheap Myan souvenirs from these
local people. Be warned though the items that look like wood
aren't. But this is a cheep way to get things for friends and
family back home.
The tour itself took about 1 hour. Really not enough time to
spend at this site. We were so afraid that we wouldn't get a chance
to climb the main ruin that we broke off from the tour group to do
Then it was back onto the bus for the long ride back. They do
provide you with a lunch when you get on the bus. Sandwiches,
chips, granola bar and some other stuff I can't think of. You also
get a juice box after you get back on the bus from the ruins.
We did not have any time to spend in Progresso. I did see a nice
beach at the end of the pier that looked like a good place to hang
All in all, for the money, I probably would not recommend this
tour. I'm glad I went, but it's mostly time just sitting on a
This was also the second formal night. We decided to eat at
David's. There was hardly anyone in the restaurant that evening.
The food and service were very good. Every one but my husband had
the filets. My husband had the porterhouse steak. All items were
really good. You could have as many appetizers and salads and side
items you wanted. But if you wanted an additional entrée it
would have been and additional $25 on top of the $25 you had
already paid. For dessert two people had the crème brulee
and I had the flourless chocolate cake. Go for the cake it was
They have live music and dancing if you like. The music was a
nice accompaniment to our evening's meal. We sat down to eat at
about 7:30 and were done by 9:30. So plan on a nice romantic
evening. This is well worth the extra $25.
Day 6 - Sea Day
Sleeping in is good! Last day is bad! Spent the day in the
casino and by the aft pool bar. My girlfriend and I decided to get
one last massage. Very nice! After our message's we went to get
pizza and drinks and then sit out on the balcony. As we walked
outside it seemed like it was raining. In actuality they were
washing off the lido deck above us. All of a sudden the water came
down on us in buckets. I sent my husband upstairs to make them
stop. We also called the purser's desk and complained. We felt that
they could have let us know that they would be cleaning and to not
use our balcony during that time. We had received letters on two
previous days saying they would be doing work on our balcony so it
only made sense that they could let us know about the cleaning.
The purser called back a little later to apologize and say the
cleaning had stopped. The good news is we got a "surprise" from
Carnival to apply to our next cruise. So remember when complaining
always be nice and you'll never know what you'll get.
Day 7 - Disembarkation
We were allowed to stay in our rooms until 9:00. So of course we
did! We went up to get breakfast about 8:00 and it was so crowded
we just took our food back to our room and ate out on the balcony.
A very nice ending to an excellent cruise. About 8:30 we finally
left our beautiful room and started wondering around our deck
peaking in rooms. We were trying to see what the 9A and the Cat 12
looked like. The people in the 9A room had not left and while we
were working out way down to the Cat 12 rooms the called our
luggage tag number so off we went. We were the third luggage tag
number called. Once off the ship we were in the area with all the
luggage. If you have a lot of luggage you can get a porter to help
you with it. Make sure to go to the door where the porters are
coming in.this is the only way to get one. We found all our
luggage.very easy since the put all the luggage together by tag
number. The porter took our customs sheets and walked us right by
customs. It didn't look like they were checking anyone since the
porter just threw the form in a box. Then it was onto the bus. We
decided to take the Mears shuttle back to the airport rather than
rent the car. We were in our seats on the bus by 9:15.
The bus drops you off in a bad spot. You are actually on the
wrong level and have to make your way with your luggage to the
level with the ticket counters on it.
Final hint, if you get to the airport 4 hours or more before
your flight they will not let you check in. So don't even bother
standing in line. There are no signs to tell you this and the
people at the counter were kind of rude to our traveling
companions. They had to sit around for two hours with their luggage
before they could check in.
All in all it was a fabulous trip and I hope all you future
Pride cruisers have as much fun as we did!