Saturday, September 23, 2006 - my friend Rebeka & I met at Pearson International Airport at 8 am for our flight to Los Angeles. The flight was uneventful; however, I still find it weird to have to take my shoes off to go through flight security! Once at LAX, we took the "Super Shuttle" from the LAX airport to the Best Western Long Beach. The Super Shuttle was $17 per person, which was a darn sight cheaper than taking a taxi ($60!!), and quite efficient. Re: the hotel - the cliche of "you get what you paid for" is true - the hotel was approx $70 USD for the night (internet rate), however, it was in a less than stellar location. The room itself was quite clean (except for the blood stains on the sheets - yuck), but all the buildings in the immediate area had bars on the windows. The hotel was located at 17th Avenue and Long Beach Boulevard. Rebeka & I walked all the way down to 3rd Avenue to go to a great Seafood Restaurant - the return walk at about 6 pm was a bitscary, but we enjoyed stretching our legs. The afternoon front desk staff at the hotel was very nice & professional, however, the evening shift ignored us for at least 5 minutes while he chatted on a personal call - needless to say, we weren't favourably impressed!
Sunday, September 24, 2006 - we enjoyed the breakfast continental buffet at the hotel. The breakfast was high on carbs and low on protein, but it was cool to have "make your own waffles" available! Cream cruise on a bagel certainly isn't my favourite, nor my best breakfast, but it filled the hunger. The hotel had a complementary shuttle to the Long Beach pier, where the ship was docked, which we took at 11 am. We waited in line until approx noon when we were herded like sheep into the cruise check-in line. The lines were a bit frustrating, but overall, we were on the ship at about 1:30 pm. We headed up to the buffet and had a light lunch.
The Carnival Pride is an astoundingly beautiful ship!! The renaissance-style artwork was exceptionally classy and beautiful!! We checked out our cabin & were pleasantly surprised at how much cupboard & shelf space it had!! We were in a balcony cabin (we were upgraded 4 categories from what we paid for!), on the 7th deck (cabin 7210). The décor in the cabin was very pleasant golds, whites, creams, etc., and was very restful and calming. My suitcase came quickly, and Rebeka's suitcase & my "carry-on" arrived well before 6 pm. We enjoyed dinner & the first evening's show, and were asleep by 8 pm!! We were exhausted!
Monday, September 25 & Tuesday the 26th. These were the first two "sea days". Poor Rebeka broke one of her teeth on Monday morning on some Granola, so the poor lady was in extreme pain until she was able to get it attended to in Mazatlan (Thursday!!). I must admit that I spent my first morning in the Spa. I also must admit, that most of our time was spent resting, listening to the presentations, in the spa, eating, sitting in the hot-tubs, reading, socializing, etc., etc., etc. Both evening shows were pretty good, but not astounding.
Before I start discussing the ports, please realize that I have been to Mexico a number of times before, so I wasn't there for the ports nor the itinerary – I was there as part of the "Prescription for Success" conference!
Wednesday Sept 27 - Puerto Vallarta - Rebeka & I spent the day wandering around the shopping district of PV as we didn't want to stray too far from the ship because of her broken tooth. The shopping was pretty good, but I have to admit, it was pretty standard Mexican shopping faire... The weather was hot as hades & very humid. It started to pour rain at about 6 pm, so I'm glad we didn't go on land for the evening show!!
Thursday Sept 28 - Mazatlan - we took Rebeka to a local dentist that was recommeded by the ship. He took GREAT care of Rebeka. We spent most of our day again wandering around the shops.
Friday Sept 29 - Cabo San Lucas - we went on the Santa Maria Cove Sail & Snorkel tour. The snorkeling at this cove is probably one of the top 3 places i've snorkeled, and believe me when I say i've done ALOT of snorkeling in alot of locations (Great Barrier Reef, Grand Cayman, Cabo San Lucas, Aruba, Cozumel, Costa Maya, Jamaica, and a few other places).
Saturday Sept 30 - the last of the three at sea days! Lots of fun, great food, etc
Sunday Oct 1 - travel day home. Since our flight was leaving LAX at 3 pm, we were given priority disembarkation. The down side of this priority disembarkation meant that we were at the airport at 9:30 am and couldn't catch an earlier flight home! Let me tell you, spending 5-1/2 hours at the Los Angeles Airport was not my idea of fun! *sigh*. My wonderful hubby picked me up at the airport, and we were home by midnight.
Overall review of the Carnival Pride - I would cruise on the Carnival Cruise line again in a heartbeat!! The cabin was amazing, the food was amazing, the service was very, very good, the entertainment was mediocre (that was probably the only thing I was disappointed in), and overall, it was a FABULOUS vacation! It was DEFINITELY worth the money and I would whole-heartedly recommend it to anyone!
I am writing to ask for some recompense to compensate for two major events, which spoiled our holiday on board the Carnival Pride.
Sailing Date was 16 July 06 Long Beach to the Mexican Riviera Booking No. 9H 16T1 Cabin No. 5195
This was a belated Christmas cruise for the 18 members of my family who cruised with us. We have done this cruise for the family for several years with no problems.
Our first problem was in DAVID'S restaurant. Specifically what went wrong seemed to be a function of poor training of the wait staff and the kitchen staff. We had three tables for our party of 18. One table (mine) received their main course entrée in reasonable time but the other two tables had to wait 55 minutes after us. Repeated enquiries as to the status of their meal were told it was coming. Meanwhile our dirty dishes with food scraps were left in front of us for 45 minutes. In desperation two members of our party pleaded with the wait staff, which was standing around talking, to please remove the plates!
When the "late" meals finally arrived, the lobster twopeople had ordered was tough and dry. Obviously it had been cooked sometime before and had been standing in the kitchen. Rather than requesting a replacement and waiting for another hour we let it go.
DAVID'S - suggest one should allow 2 1/2_ hours for the meal. We arrived on time at 6.30 p.m. and left the restaurant at 9.45 p.m. Since we had all paid the exorbitant cover charge of $30.00 it was particularly galling to suffer poor service and lack of concern from the staff.
The problems seemed to center round: Poor training of the wait staff. Lack of supervision (we never could find out Who was in charge) The staff's difficulty with the English language
We were on the Pride In 2004 and had a great experience with DAVID'S Restaurant. But not this time!
I wrote a two-page letter on the day following our visit to DAVID'S to the Hotel Manager-Mr. Stephen Chastney, but he did not acknowledge or reply to my letter. Instead we got a form letter from the purser expressing their apologies.
A water pipe leaked under the carpet in our cabin creating an unpleasant odor and a soggy wet carpet. The engineers and steward tried to fix the problem but it took two days with the room stripped before the leak was fixed at great inconvenience to us. The purser said we would be able to move to an alternate cabin but that never happened!
This is one cruise my family and I will remember for a long time- the Fun Ship it was not!
I will look forward to hearing from you,
Critic Anne Campbell is right - this ship should be avoided by people who want a classy style of cruising. Welcome to Carnival - the WalMart of cruise lines, seeking the lowest common denominator for the masses. I have mixed emotions about the décor. Our balcony cabin was lovely, as was the dining room, but the rest of the ship is downright hideous, and I speak from the experience of 25 cruises.
Most public rooms are dark, and the ship seemed determined not to let you see the water unless you go to the top deck. There IS a promenade deck, but while the ship was at sea it was usually closed off because of cleaning, which may explain why there were no lounge chairs on that deck. Perhaps Carnival has an ulterior motive here - to keep you inside so that you will $pend more time in the vast casino.
Other than the daily programs and a deluge of ads for jewelry, etc., don't look for a New York Times Digest to be delivered to your room. Also, if you're a bridge player, or like to play card games, forget it- it's unsupervised and rarely scheduled.. Like to read? Bring your own reading material, because the â?olibraryâ? is ridiculously small and only open one or two hours a day.
There were three production shows on our 7-night cruise, and they were excellent, except possibly one that was too loud and brassy. The dancers were great - some of the best I've seen. Our bathroom was adequate, and had loads of toiletries, even including Rolaids. Carnival Pride gained extra room by using a curtain as a shower wall, necessitating a mop up of the floor occasionally. The beds have a very heavy, and I mean HEAVY comforter.
The food was better than average, especially in the dining room. The buffet stations on the Lido deck are spaced somewhat far apart, requiring a little maneuvering in order to get the food you want The Pride has an extra fee ($30) supper club that is almost worth the money, but be warned - dinner will take at least 2Â½ hours at a minimum.
As for the ports - in Puerto Vallarta, there are a number of lovely resort hotels on the beach just a few blocks from the dock, with Krystal the more outstanding. In Mazatlan, an enjoyable open-air cab ride can be had for $20 a person for a 2-hour tour of the city. Cabo San Lucas? Whatever appeals.
Getting on the ship- This went very smoothly and was well organized- Alot of reviews in the past said that it was a mess- this was not the case for us-it was a very fast and efficient process
The staff- can not say enough about the staff on the The Pride- they deffiently take "pride" in their job and we did not see one unprofessional staff member the entire trip. Our servers in the lower Normandie dining room were-Le, Ana, and Siriya and they were outstanding! Our Cruise Director was Jeff Bronson and he was alot of fun and very nice to all the folks on the ship.
The food- This was pretty good. We ate in the dining room every night for dinner and the food was fine but I would not say outstanding all the time. It was hit and miss- but the desserts were all good- the famous melting chocolate cake was the highlight for my hubby. He loved that!
The activities- we went to a few trivia contests and they were OK but there was not alot of people at these so I think it would have madeit more fun it more people were involved. We played bingo and I won 150.00 - The cards were pretty spendy at 20.00 for one three card paper- it was half price this night so I played for 10.00 and it payed off with the win- They also did not have many games at each bingo event- The second to the last night they did have a 10 game bingo night at 100.00 a game payout and it there were alot of people at this so I think the jackpots could have been higher. The casino was big and they still had the old fashioned reall money pay out at the slots, instead of the paper so it brought back memories of old time vegas- I will say that people were winning at the casino- one lady won 1001.50 dollars on a .5 cent slot video poker machine. They had a 500.00 slot tornamount that we participated in. It was 20.00 for one 500.00 jackpot prize- I did make it to the final round and got a nice shirt for getting the top points on the first round but did not prevail at the end but still had a blast!!
Getting off the ship- This went well also- they have different colored tags for the luggage and they let people off in sections when your tag color is called so it was organized and no big clogged up lines to be in.
The people- We met a couple from Arizona that were in line next to us and we met up with them several times through out the cruise- We were both celebrating our anniversaries- 40th for them and 20th for us. It just so happened that they were in the room directly above us too! We had such a good time with them and we exchanged addresses to stay in touch- this was our first cruise and what we liked about the cruise it meeting new people which is harder to do when your just staying at a hotel somewhere. If your not into being with others and meeting new people then a cruise may not be for you.
Overall- I would give The Carnival Pride 2 thumbs up and would sail with them again. Our first experience with cruising exceeded our expectations and we will cruise again- Thanks Carnival and Staff for a truly wonderful time!!!
Embarkation in Long Beach is a mess. We walked over from the Queen Mary to the terminal next door. We were greeted at the door and told to take our luggage across the street to the parking garage. No porters to take it for us. We got there and had to find a porter to take it back across the street to the ship. After checking our luggage we went back to the terminal only to be directed to go out around the building and into the Queen Mary for early check in. This done we were sent back to the terminal to be lined up outside. VIP, Zone 1, Zone 2 and so on. So we stood forever in line.
Finally they started taking us inside VIP, Zone 1, Zone 2 and so on. Once inside we were lined up yet again to wait some more. Finally line by line we were lined up to get our pictures taken, no avoiding this, had to cross the set to get to the stairs to the ship. Pictures done, up we went on to the gangway to wait some more. Finallyslowly the line began to move again. Once inside the ship we had our security pictures taken and our cards punched in. Finally after nearly 2 hours of standing in lines we were aboard.The Ship
Carnival Pride is a lovely ship. The central theme is the Renaissance. The atrium has much renaissance art. A lot of nudes. Some may find it offensive, I did not. The colors were warm, dark woods, bronze tones with beige and gold.
The Taj Mahal lounge, this is the main show room. This room was light very pretty. Many pinpoint lights along the walls. The stage area was brightly lit. The Mermaids Grille and the Lido area. Bronze and blue are the central colors here, the room was comfortable with many tables for passengers to enjoy their meals while looking out.
The 3 pool areas were spacious, the central pool was for both adults and children. The forward pool was for just adults and the aft pool was for children. I was not impressed with the metal chairs at the tables. I found them uncomfortable.
The dining room was 2 levels with table sizes from 2 persons to 8 persons. The décor was light colors with comfortable chairs.
The Casino. This room was as always smoky. I sure wish Carnival would do something about that. I was impressed with the variety of slot machines in here. Many 2 cent, and nickel machines. Most of them had bonus games to play too. I found that I could play for hours for $20.00 on a nickel machine with bonus games. Made it much more fun to hit the combo needed to be eligible for the bonus round. Much more fun than mindlessly pulling the handle and watching the reels spin.
I really like the layout of the Spirit Class ships. Easy to get around . All the shops, The central lobby and the show room and casino are located on levels 2 and 3.
The cabins. As is usual on Carnival ships the cabins are larger than most cruise ship cabins. I had a nice ocean view. plenty of room for storage in closets and under beds. There were 2 large drawers under the couch. A large cabinet and plenty of drawer space. We had a refrigerator and of course a safe.Food and Service
Excellent is the word here. As always with Carnival they excel at food.. It was good and well presented. No complaints here. Much variety both in the dining room and the Lido buffet . The dining service was excellent also.
Cabin Stewards also rate an excellent. Our room was always cleaned and comfortable. Our cabin steward was a man with long service with Carnival and does a great job. If you ever get Franklin for your cabin steward consider yourself lucky.Entertainment
To be honest I was a bit disappointed here. On most Carnival ships I have found the dancers to be very talented. We went only to the first formal night production. It was a show called Vrooooooom. The music was good because I love the "oldies" I felt the dance team here was less than stellar. The male singer kept reaching for the high notes and missing. The best part of this show was the video that played between acts. It was an older "biker" named Wings talking about his trips. We did go to an afternoon show with the comedian and he was funny. We planned to go to a late show to see him do his "adult" comedy, we never made it. Too late for us old gals.The Ports
Puerto Vallarta I did not see a lot of this town. We took a tour on the water with snorkeling, kayaking, whale and dolphin watching. The day was windy but nice in the sun. A nice lunch was served onboard the boat. Cold cuts, cole slaw and potato salad and fruits. Complimentary beverages were also served. An enjoyable day that was worth the $79.
Mazatlan . This town was dirty in the downtown areas. Somewhat better in the Golden Zone and the hotels area. We took a City tour that took us to see the cliff divers also. We went shopping in the Golden Zone. After shopping we attended a show that was somewhat interesting. Native Indians doing ritual dancing. They also did an act from high atop a pole and hanging from ropes while the pole rotated. The dancers were slowly lowered to the ground.
Cabo San Lucas I stayed aboard this day and enjoyed the emptiness of the ship. My friend went ashore. She said the town was nice and clean. She enjoyed her tour, Cabo by land and Sea.Disembarkation
This was slow of course because of having to clear immigration. The usual waiting for your color to be called seemed endless at the time. Since we were not traveling home until the next day we were in no hurry. It was orderly and seemed to go smoothly. Once off the ship we took a bus to LAX to call a shuttle to our hotel.
Here's our review of the Carnival Pride, sailing 7-nights roundtrip from Long Beach with a rerouted itinerary (due to the brief Hurricane Paul) to Ensenada, San Diego, and Catalina Island.
We flew into Los Angeles a day early on an uneventful flight on American Airlines. Thanks to one of our online friends, JR, who gave us a ride from LAX to Long Beach. We checked into the beautiful Coastal Hotel in Long Beach. This was a nice hotel in close proximity to the bay and the Passport shuttle, as well as a view of the Queen Mary. Another of our online friends, Stacey, had a larger room in Building 1 with high ceilings and a great view of the bay.
We all caught the Passport shuttle to the Yardhouse, where we had reserved the party room for our group of 34! The Passport shuttle picked us up right in the Coastal parking lot. The bus driver explained where we needed to change to another shuttle to reach our destination. We walked off one shuttle and right on the next one. This shuttle service was free and easy! Unfortunately, the Yardhouse wasn't prepared tohandle a group our size. Service was a disaster, and most of our group left this meal very unhappy. This would probably be an okay place to eat for individuals, but not a large group.
Several in our group were also staying at the Marriott, which they reported had excellent accommodations and also easy access to the Passport shuttle. Some of the group stayed on the Queen Mary, where there were reports of no air conditioning and dirty rooms.
Since our body clocks were still on Central time, we awoke early on Sunday morning and decided to go to the Coastal Hotel restaurant to watch the Carnival Pride arrive in port. The restaurant didn't officially open until 6 a.m., but the coffee was ready while they finished preparing for the breakfast crowd. We sipped coffee, checking our email on our wireless laptop, while watching for the ship to come in. We were so excited to see the Carnival Pride slipping into view in the fog from around the back of the Queen Mary about 6:15 a.m.
We all got ready and headed over to the Queen Mary for the early check-in. The porters were still helping the previous guests disembark when we arrived at 8:30 a.m., so they asked us to wait for about 15 minutes. They took our piles of luggage, and we all walked briefly over to the Queen Mary for the early check-in. We had a nice breakfast on the Queen Mary, where they had a nice breakfast buffet for about $10 per person. We stayed there visiting with our smaller group of about 12 until about 11 a.m., when we went to the ship terminal to prepare to board the ship.
One sign indicated the line for the VIP guests, and another sign indicated the line for the Group 1 folks who had done the early check-in at the Queen Mary. The wheelchair folks also entered with the VIP guests. There was very little shade, so remember your sunscreen, hat, and shades! But, we love waiting to board the ship, and we started meeting our fellow guests as we waited to board. A third line was also formed for the guests arriving who had not done early check-in. At about Noon, the VIP guests were escorted onboard, and then the wheelchairs folks were next. Our line of early check-in folks was next, and we were suddenly aboard the beautiful Carnival Pride.
After the muster drill, our group met up on the Lido aft Poseidon bar for sailaway. Along the way, a few others joined us as well. Several of the men in our group have shaved heads, and one of our new friends, Doug (& Stacy), chose to go immediately to the salon to shave his head as well!
We had booked an Inside 4A guarantee stateroom, and we were upgraded to a Inside 4D stateroom on the Verandah deck. We had plenty of room and storage space for the two of us, and we had brought a clock/radio to provide us with a little light at night as well as the time. Our cabin steward, Henri, kept our cabin in great shape!
We were booked for second seating dining, with a nice table in the center of the lower level. We had linked a group with several individual reservations for dining, but Carnival failed to get the individual reservations together for dining. Our maitre d', Yusef, arranged for these individuals to sit together at a nearby table.
The dining menus had changed since our last Carnival cruise. The Chocolate Melting cake was on the menu almost every night, and our group loved it! The Grand Marnier was wonderful! Our servers were Alex and Alvin from the Philippines, and they provided us with marvelous service with great personalities. The chef, Leonard, and Yusef stopped by our table almost every night.
Formal nights were Monday and Friday. Roger and I ate in David's Supper Club on Monday night. Roger had the Porterhouse, and I had the Surf ‘n Turf. The food and service was marvelous. The musicians playing in the Supper Club were pitiful!
Thursday night was the night designated for the Halloween celebration for our cruise, so our group decided to dress for dinner that night in togas (bedsheets from our stewards) and/or Carnival robes. It was great fun! Lots of folks had brought costumes from home, and others also dressed in togas. The photogs were set-up to take pictures, so we all posed for several Toga pictures!
We had a letter on our beds as we arrived in our staterooms, informing us that they were tracking Tropical Depression Paul and would advise us further if changes were necessary. So, Paul was hanging over us, and when Paul was upgraded to a hurricane and slowed down right in our path, the captain and officers made the decision to revise our itinerary from Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan, and Cabo San Lucas to Ensenada, San Diego, and Catalina Island. While we understood the need to revise our itinerary for our safety, the revised itinerary was not exciting. Lots of folks took advantage of Carnival's Vacation Guarantee, disembarking in Ensenada.
Everyone in our group stayed, and we made the best of it, enjoying the ship and visiting these ports. In Ensenada, we took a bus roundtrip from the ship to the town for $3 per person. We shopped and then enjoyed drinks and lunch at a local restaurant. In San Diego, we took free shuttle buses to the Seaport Village, then back to the ship, where we grabbed a great meal at Anthony's right next to the ship. In Catalina Island, we visited the stores, then had a nice Mexican lunch at Coyote Joe's.
Lots of folks used the Internet café this week, sending messages about the itinerary change and weather back home. The slide was a popular attraction. We enjoyed sunning on the aft Lido deck, but one day we had black soot falling on us from the funnels … that was a first!
We personally didn't enjoy the musicians or the comedians on this trip. The magician was humorous. We didn't make the Broadway shows. The karaoke was entertaining. The pianist and classical musicians were good, but we were looking for good dance music.
We enjoyed sushi every evening, but we had to go into the nearby Sports bar or the Casino bar for drink service, so we ended up taking our sushi to the casino bar each evening. We saw the set-up for high tea most days at 3 p.m., but we never joined it. We ate pizza in the buffet when we first boarded the ship, but never ate in the buffet the rest of the trip. We ate breakfast in the dining room every morning, with wonderful service, and interesting conversation with a variety of guests.
We were disappointed with the hors d'oeurves at both the Captain's Party on Monday evening and the past guest party. They were only serving a couple of items this time. However, friends who are members of the Carnival Vacation Club invited us to join them at a Vacation Club cocktail party where we had wonderful drinks and hors d'oeurves. This was also a much smaller group in a smaller venue, so many of the ship's officers joined us, and we had some wonderful visits.
Wee Jimmy is the cruise director of this ship until November 5th, then he's off to his next assignment. He's really an assistant cruise director, filling in for cruise directors in transit, until he gets the promotion. While I didn't love his style in the shows, we enjoyed a couple of wonderful visits with him in smaller groups, where we thoroughly enjoyed him. We hope he does well with Carnival!
Since we went through customs the morning we were in San Diego, we had a very easy disembarkation. An interesting change on this cruise was a comedy show from 8 to 10 a.m. on disembarkation morning in the Taj Mahal lounge. We had to get off early, so we didn't experience it. Many of our group had VIP disembarkation, and the rest of us got gray tags for early disembarkation. Unfortunately, many of the bags were put in with the colors of the deck where they were picked up, even though they had gray or VIP tags on them, so our group nervously waited as their bags were finally located almost an hour later!
We had reserved PrimeTime shuttles for our group to get back to LAX, where we were on standby, but ended up getting home at the time we had originally scheduled.
You can check out our pictures at this link shortly: http://community.webshots.com/user/judyjbest .
nobody mentioned that the 10$ per person per day gratuity is the only "salary" that the servers and room stewards receive,so my advice to you people is to think twice before you go to the pursers and ask for all or part of those money back,because theese people work all day long for you,every day,and it souldn't affect them if youhave a family of 5 or more and thik that 500$ won't hurt if they stayed in your pocket. Thank you.
This was our 13th cruise as a family and 22nd total ( some of us started while we were still single!)
Landed at LAX on time. Karmel Shuttle service from LAX was excellent and only $58.28 for 4 people with 6 pieces of luggage.
We stayed at the Holiday Inn Downtown because we had free points. Nice hotel, but not a great part of town. I would stay closer to the dock. They did shuttle us to the port for free.
When we got out of the shuttle, there were no clear signs where to take your luggage to give it to a baggage handler (like we are used to at other ports.) If you will look at the entrance of the garage, you will find a Carnival representative. She grabbed a baggage porter (with an empty cart) headed to the ship. We gave him our luggage and tipped him and were on our way.
VIP Check In is great. Do use the early check in at the REAR of the Queen Mary. You get your room keys and they punch in your Sail and Sign Credit Card information. There arelots of kiosk with stuff to look at, while you wait to board. But be aware that at this port, you wait outside, standing in a line. (even the VIP) Hopefully, the song is true that it never rains in Southern California, because there is little cover. There is a parking garage that you could hold up in if necessary should bad weather hit.
While I have read about getting on as early as 11AM, we did not get on until 12:30pm because of late debarking passengers. But we were in the first 10 on board (after they took some travel agents on board for a tour for a day). At 12:30pm, all we had to do was go through security, take the embarkation picture, get our picture on our Sail and Sign and we were on board. Remember early check in is for everyone (not just VIP) although they have a VIP line for early check in as well.
Dropped our carry on luggage (although our room was ready) and went to grab lunch. Andrew (an AV manager) was standing in the middle of our room playing with our TV when we got there. He said the early guest had reported TV problems…but he could not make the TV act up Said to call him if there was a problem and he would get it replaced toot sweet. On the second day, it did indeed start blacking out. We called Andrew and he had us a brand new one out of the box "toot sweet" as promised.
Since we were just on the Spirit in July, we knew our way around the Pride. We found her clean, well maintained and very pretty. I liked the dark wood and the art all around was just that...art. There was a smell of glue or varnish occasionally, since they were constantly trying to re-glue some "rope" accents in the elevators that kids or idiots (drunk or sober) kept pulling off the walls.
I went to the Atrium from 2:30 until 3:30 with the "Terrible Towel" and met several folks whom we had talked with online. Slineberry is an absolute doll. We spent some time during the cruise and she was a delight to cruise with. We had the obligatory Muster Drill at 4:00pm and it was fast and painless. Our luggage was to the room shortly thereafter and I changed for our 5:45pm dinner seating. We were blessed with a booth for 4 on the lower floor and our wait staff were great. Alexandro (assistant) and Lorento were professional and personable. Our bar staff was "Patty" (for short because we could not pronounce her name) and she was excellent. After the first night, she had our son's coke waiting on him without having to ask and constantly refilled it.
FOOD: The beef was not as good as on some ships, but better than the Spirit. The sirloin the first night was tough and dry (as it has been on the past 11 ships) but since all I eat is beef...I always get it. To be fair, I do eat mine well done and it was ok, but nothing to write home about. The Beef Wellington was good. The Prime Rib and Chateau were just ok this trip. Hubby enjoyed all his seafood selections as did my sons. LOVED the deli. I ate lunch there several days. The Lido food that I tried was good and lots of variety. The pizza was good as were the hamburgers. Since I used room service for my breakfast every morning, I did not eat breakfast on Lido. I did try the eggs once....big mistake. Hubby had the omelets several times and they were good every time. Sons enjoyed the pancakes, french toast and fruit. The bacon is not done enough and the sausage was not very good according to them. I don't recall any huge lines on Lido, but that may just be because of our timing. I ate lunch in the formal dining room twice. Both times it was very good. Captain Volpi dropped by for a visit during our lunch one day and it was nice to chat with him again. We have sailed with him many times. Overall, I would give the food a B+ for the entire week.
I did notice a higher than usual number of jeans in the dining room at night. (Even on formal night.) There were a couple of guys with jeans and a pull over shirt that did not quite make it to the jeans level in front, so we got a nice view of their huge belly. Not very attractive in the formal dining room.
ENTERTAINMENT: Hubby enjoyed all the shows. My limited voice held up for our days of karaoke. There towards the end I was really struggling to continue to sing. I only did a couple of songs the last night and one song the last afternoon session. Our karaoke host was really sweet, but she was a fill in and did not have a clue about pitch control ... so several songs I tried were in the wrong key. I took my own cds and I have them marked up 3 or down 2 etc. Sometimes she got it and sometimes she didn't.
I did participate in Pride Idol at Midnight one night and had a blast. The regular "talent show" has been replaced with a Legends Show where folks compete at karaoke every night for different slots. Elvis, Elton John, Madonna etc. There are about 10 spots. The karaoke host did do a great job of stopping it from being a popularity contest. Just because someone was there with a huge group of friends did not mean they won if they were not the best performer. Doug in the piano bar was fabulous!!!!! So talented and so nice. I could not stay in there much because of the smoke. (since I was already dealing with a stranded voice) but what I did hear was super. Best Sellers was playing in the Butterfly lounge and they were terrific as well. Not only talented, but full of energy !!!
I did not go into the Disco...except to peek in to see what it looked like.
The games were the same as they have been on past cruises. They did have more trivia almost every day (even on port days on Lido)...which was an excellent addition because it can entertain a large number of people. I don't gamble so I can't rate the casino. We did use our free $20 slots tournament Platinum perk, but did not win.
Cruise Director was Chris Jefferson. He was at a Cruise Director conference the week before and Noonan filled in for him....but just for that week. That is why we were getting conflicting reports on who the CD was. We have sailed with Chris when he was a Social Host and he is charming. Noonan was a very special gift that will take him far when he makes CD. He truly listens. He makes you feel like you are visiting with an old friend, even though he just met you. We did the Pride Idol together and had a ton of fun. The Social hosts, Gary (a real cutie), Peter (funny) and Michael (a true entertainer) were all a lot of fun and they all work together really well and play off one another.
Room: Our cabin steward was Rudy. He was very efficient but stayed mainly behind the scenes. He always smiled and spoke when we saw him. We tried a 5A for the first time. It had 2 lifeboats with a view of the ocean between them and French doors that opened, but no balcony. It was an interesting compromise between interior (which hubby always wants) and a balcony (which I always want). The cabin was plenty roomy for a family of four. The couch was comfortable and we had one pull down bed.
Ports: PV: (docked) Hubby and oldest son did the Los Des Vernos Canopy Tour which is an independent. It was excellent. The taxi was $3 per person one way to their office. Internet rate was $71.00 a person. And then the taxi ride back was $3 a person. Some taxis were charging $4 a person to come back, because they knew you had to use them. Youngest son and I walked to Krystal resort, but the beach was the broken shell kind and the water was rough...so we only stayed an hour. We bought one drink and one water then went back to the ship for some pool time. We did not so any shopping since there really wasn't anything we wanted or needed.
Mazatlan: (docked) All four of us did Randi's horses. (another independent excursion) Our friends ( a family of 3) was allowed to join us at the last minute. We took the free tram from the ship (through the industrial area) to the little shops where Randi met us with the pink sign. She got us right on a truck to the water taxis and then over to Stone Island where we were picked up but a wagon pulled by a tractor. Tony's Dad matched us up with our horses and we were off. We rode a little over an hour. There were two groups on this day so the ride wasn't a full 2 hours...but it was plenty long. But sure to wear long pants. We rode through the mango and the mostly on the beach. If you wanted to gallop you could. If you just wanted to walk, you could. A guide lead two horses with my youngest son and a little girl the entire way. They had absolutely no problems. My youngest son has a form of autism and has never ridden and he did just fine. We got off the horses and walked over to Victors where we bought our lunch and paid Randi the $45 a person. Randi is from San Francisco and has been in Mazatlan for 14 years. She has been doing these excursions for 9 years and does an excellent job. It truly does not feel like an excursion. She makes you feel like you have come to visit an old friend for the afternoon. We were back at the ship by 1:30pm and some folks went shopping in Town. We just went back to the ship, since again there wasn't anything we were shopping for.
Cabo: (tendered) We did not have to go get tender numbers since we had Platinum cards. We grabbed a water taxi for $2 a person and went to Mango's. I found the waiter and asked for 3 (our oldest son just stayed on the ship and slept) lounges in the shade. We were having frozen marq by 9AM. They do not charge for the use of their lounge chairs. The drinks were $6 each, french toast was $7 and nachos were around $6. We were there until 11:30am and I think our tab was $60 including tip. We grabbed a water taxi back to the dock for $2 a person. They are constantly running, so don't worry about not being able to catch one. There are lots of shops around there but again, we aren't big shoppers so we were back on the ship in time for lunch.
Now for a review of the new Platinum perks.
Perk 1: VIP Check In - We had the Holiday Inn shuttle drop us off at the parking garage, where you see all the big buses coming in. At this point, there are no signs of what to do with your luggage. At every other port, the porters are the first guys you see. That was not the case with us. We got out of the shuttle, drug out our luggage and stood there looking puzzled. If you look at the entrance of the parking garage, you will find a Carnival rep. She was wonderful. She snagged a porter who was actually coming back from taking some bags to the garage and we loaded him down, tipped him and were on our way.
Then (with all the kiosk and buildings) it looks a little confusing to find exactly where to walk to the Queen Mary. Eventually you see a sign "early check in" and you see the Queen Mary. Go to the rear, not the lobby.
Even though we did not have VIP Check In on our documents, all I said was we are Platinum and we were directed to the VIP line at the Early Check In at the REAR of the Queen Mary. There was no on in line and we walked right up to the counter and within minutes had our Sail and Sign cards in hand and were walking back out.
At this port, there is no Skipper's Club room....there is only a Skipper's Club line. While there is some covered areas, I can't imagine what they would do in case of rain. Everyone stands outside until they start the boarding process.
There were some local travel agents taking a day tour who went aboard. Then the lady came out to our VIP sign and had us form two lines (one line was for those who had done the early check in and the other line was for those who had not) She called us her "Skippies". We did not see any weddings on this ship. We did board before the wheelchairs. If I had to guess, I would say we were among the first 10 folks on board. We walked in and ran our bags through security. They did pull and open our pilot bag that had 2 / 12 packs of cokes...said that was ok and we went on our merry way. I guess they were checking for beer???
Then we had our embarkation picture made and then on to have our picture put on our Sail and Sign before entering the ship!
The VIP was nice. I don't know when the cruise after us boarded because we were late getting back to Long Beach. We lost a generator, which reduced our power. It was fixed some hours later, which made us get back around 8am ish instead of 6 -6:30pm.
Perk 2: We had a letter waiting in our cabin (which has been posted on these boards) detailing all our goodies for the week and giving us the phone number for our "concierge".
Perk 3: The free wash and fold. We used this service twice and they did an wonderful job. I did tip our cabin steward each time he delivered our laundry load. (Mainly blue jeans, shorts, t-shirts and men's underwear)
Perk 4: Free $20 entry fee into the Slots or Blackjack tournament. We did the Slots because we don't gamble and that was the easiest one to do. You do not get to use the fees for your children if they are under the gambling age. So our 2 sons just lost that perk.
Perk 5: Canapes and Petit Fours delivered one night each.
Perk 6: Four cloth beach bags with Carnival Concierge Club on them. We have 2 of them to our best friends traveling with us. We really did not need 4.
Perk 7: ooohhhs and aauuuhhs. It is still in the early stage and there aren't to many of us. There were only 22 Platinum members on board this cruise and 4 of them were us. Our 14 year old son was the youngest. There was one couple who had 26 and 24 (I think) and then hubby with 22 and then myself, our sons ...and the rest had 11 cruises or had just made Platinum on this cruise. There was a list at the Casino that was marked off as each person got their free entry fee for slots or blackjack. The number of previous Carnival cruises was next to each name.
Past guest party was fun for hubby because the couple with 26 and 24 were not there, so he was the most cruised in the room. Even though he did not get anything, he did get recognized.
Perk 8: The behind the scenes tour (in this case) was disappointing. It was just of the galley which we have already seen a dozen times. Although we did get to meet the head chef, which was nice.
I have probably forgotten some perks, but again, we got everything on the list that has been posted on these boards.
STAFF: They were excellent. The Purser’s desk and Security had their hands full with some idiots (who were probably experiencing their first beer) trying to break into the bar at the Piano Bar one night. And some unsupervised kids trying to break "open" the locked karaoke machine, dragging out the microphones and cords that the karaoke host should have put up, horse playing on the stage and knocking into the portable tv monitor. I saw one of the Purser’s staff get on-sight quickly, along with security to stop the destruction of the karaoke equipment. We did not see the ill mannered (poorly parented brats) in there again. One only needs to watch a few episodes of "Airline" to see the lack of quality of today’s travelers. Unfortunately, Carnival (I would imagine due to the low cost of cruising) gets more than their share of ignorant "bubbas" (and ignorant bubba parents). Security did a wonderful job of being "johnny on the spot" the few times I saw they were needed. Some infer that Carnival cruise lines has no class. That is also an ignorant statement, because "class" is a human element….not a characteristic of any type of travel. Every Carnival cruise line that I have been on has had class, because I brought mine with me when I came. If someone else’s cruise was not "classy", it is because the people who were sailing (and complaining about the lack of it) did not possess it to begin with. So be aware that with Carnival, you will get a higher proportion of "bubbas", but that has nothing to do with the fine service, food and fun that Carnival provides. This is why I do avoid 3 day cruises and try to avoid 4 day cruises if at all possible, because they are more of a "party til you are ill" atmosphere. I am not into that.
CAMP CARNIVAL: Our oldest son is 17 and participated in the Teen Scene. He had a great time and made many friends that he is now emailing and calling. Our youngest son is 14 and did not do any Camp Carnival things this time. He looked over the schedule and decided to just hang with Mom and Dad. Funship Freddie still freaks him out due to his autism and he knows that Funship Freddie comes from "Camp Carnival". I think he was avoiding Funship Freddie more than not interested in the activities.
Overall, I would say the Spirit class ships do provide a more subdued atmosphere. There was a wonderful instrumental trio that played during tea time and in the atrium. The art on the Pride is historically European. This makes for an excellent time to discuss art your children in bits and pieces, so that they are learning without even knowing it. The lounges are spaced so that there isn’t a constant "party flow", but the Pride retains the usual fun Carnival atmosphere. I find it to be a very good balance. This cruise (as with the other 21 in the past) was a good value for the money. I write reviews so that people who are considering a cruise on a ship can make an honest, informed decision if this is the right "product" for them. I would sail on this ship again any time.