On Friday May the 17th my family flew from Allentown,Pa. to Orlando via the services of Northwest Airlines.We had an easy flight and connected in Detroit at the new Northwest Terminal there.
We rented a nice Lincoln LS from the Hertz Prestige collection and motored to Cocoa Beach for a pre-night stay at the Doubletree on Cocoa Beach. We paid less than $60.00 by using Priceline.Com and felt we got a super deal. Our experience with Hertz was great.The car was awesome and Keith the Manager in Cocoa beach gave us complimentary transportation to and from the pier with our reservations.Our cruise was off to a wonderful start as you can tell.
Embarkation was swift.I suggest you get to the check-in lines between 11:00 am and 11:30 am....The busses with passengers arriving the same day fill the place up by 11:30.Have your paperwork done in advance.You will also have to fill out a Bahamas Immigration form ...given in the check-in line.
We were on our ship by 12:30pm. We were greeted by several ship crew members at the gangway and then made our way to our room 6333 an aft balcony.SWEET CABIN !!!
The shipwas so Beautiful !! The Art on this ship was very nice and the theme was carried well throughout the ship.The staff chuckled at the youngsters laughing at some nudity... and of coarse the full "David" statue,but we found all of it tasteful.
I think the best way to sum up my review would be to tell you about what we thought was the best part of our trip and that would have to be the people onboard the ship that try every day to make your stay wonderful.While some try harder...I have a bunch of respect for the following people that made our CARNIVAL PRIDE trip GREAT !!!
First we met our Cabin Stewardess Diana.She was so warm friendly.We asked her if she could empty the mini bar fridge so we could store our carry-on beverages and wine.She did this with a smile and kept us stocked with Ice and Glasses all week.She also went the extra mile with my 3 year old Catie. She also informed us that she was one of the first women cabin stewardesses.The room was very nice and roomy.I like the new woodtones in the cabin.The balcony at the very middle back-end of the ship was nice...We watched the wake of the ship fizzle in the distance and privacy was never a problem. I liked that the life jackets are new and smaller than on any ship I've sailed.Muster drill was fast and painless.
Camp Carnival on the ship is in the nose of the ship.Its nice...video walls,crawling tubes and plenty of tables for activities for the kids.From what I saw ..the ratio was about 3 kids per counselor and the activities were fun for the kids.They gave out nice Captains Hats on the last night.The first night..parents and kids all went to the disco and played games.I thought I would crack up when the room was divided into Men Vs the Women games. While the men showed off singing "Who let the Dogs out " the Girls strutted to Brittney !!
Ok...it was funny that the week started like that with "Who let the dogs out"...because at the end of the week it was "YMCA" from the showlounge..to singing it on the airplane home with my daughter.
I met some very nice casino staff members/dealers .. and spent several hours there only to break about even for the week.Jean was the nicest dealer.Ivan the toughest $ killer !!
My favorite part of the cruise was getting to Golf (my favorite hobby) with the golf pro's Roger and Chip of Elite Golf. We played in St.Thomas and again in Nassau on Friday. Throughout the week we had putting contests that were different each time.They also shared their personal ship experiences that really was quite interesting.In Nassau we finished our 18 holes early and played another 9 holes for fun. Bonus Golf as I saw it !!
The Dining room was very nice.The Head Matrade' Ken entertained us every night with songs like" New York,New York" and Elvis "My way" . He has a great voice.
The wait staff was nice.and The food plentiful and although good...I didn't find it great. The seafood dished were coated with sauces that were a bit thick. I prefer to let the food stand on its own flavor. The best meal on the cruise was the grilled salmon. It was great. The lobster night was good too.They will bring as many as you can eat..but they were a bit tough and small. Overall I was happy with the food,but have had better on the Imagination and the Triumph.
I must give kudos' to the pool bar staff...especially Suwannee and Anna .. they took care of us all week.
The entertainment was AWSOME !!!! Justin the Illusionist was great.His shows were great and he had his family onboard, and we got to know each other at the kiddy-pool. The dancers seemed to be out and among the passenger events.We met several and had pictures made with them.......they were quite good..even on a few rocky sea nights.We also liked the cruise Director Todd Wittmer.He was funny and visible at several events.He greeted us at arrival and departure and personally thanked us.I thought the question and answer session with other crew members was outstanding and offered personal insight to their lives at sea.
So as you can see...the people make the difference.The ship was super ! I hope I didn't slight the ship.Its the nicest we've been on with Carnival .
Debarkation was just as easy. We were relaxing in the card room..and were called to debark at 9:45 am. We proceeded to the luggage area,collected our bags and found our Hertz courtesy van waiting just outside.We spent just one more night in Cocoa Beach at the Hilton Beachside before flying home on Sunday.The hotel was nice and had a good beach.We got our land legs back by staying that night.... and were refreshed for our journey home.
THANKS CARNIVAL for a wonderful time.
This is LONG. The reason I am making it this way is I tried to think of the type of review I would have wanted to read when I was scrounging for reviews during that long wait between booking and cruising! So here goes.
To give some background, this was our (my husband and myself) third cruise, all with Carnival. We've been on the Imagination (back when it was a 7-day ship in '96) and the Paradise in '99. I am 28 and my husband is 29. We both work 50-plus hours a week and don't get to spend as much time together as we'd like and have no children yet. We were celebrating our 4-year wedding anniversary. We both love to basically eat, drink and be merry while on vacation, and to relax as much as possible.
This might be a bit different than other reviews in that I won't describe the ship in great detail (Mary and Vincent Finelli's review is perfect for that). I will be completely honest about everything I saw/experienced, however. Remember it is only my opinion and my view of the week. Suffice it tosay, there were very few, if any, negatives. We absolutely loved this vacation
1. Booking: I originally booked with Carnival, found this board, and immediately called buycruises.com. We paid 2173.00 for the both of us, including all the port charges, fees, bus transfers, and trip insurance for a Category 8I guarantee.
2. Traveling from Boston: In my opinion, booking your own air is definitely the way to go. For us, because we had United vouchers, it was a no-brainer. The fare for both of us combined, round-trip, was 200.00. We had no problems, made our connections without incident, and arrived in Orlando at 11:00 a.m. We used the transfers to get to the ship.
3. Embarkation: It takes 45 minutes or so to get to the ship, and it isn't the most scenic route in the world, so I slept (got up at 3:00 a.m. to get to the airport). When we got there, yes, there was quite a line at 12:00. However, it moved VERY quickly and I had no problem waiting. They did tell us as we entered the port that our carry-on bags might be too big. I explained that we got on the plane with no problems, and he told us to give it a try, but that "Carnival has tighter security restrictions than the airlines". Knowing this was laughable and totally untrue, I felt pretty confident they would fit (yes, they did with no problem). After 9/11, I sincerely doubt the airlines take their security situation lighter than a cruise ship. Anyway, the line was long and winding, but like I said, it moved quickly. As we stood in line, we envied those Skipper's Club people who walked right on! But alas, we were next up in no time.
It was then that I found out we COULD have used the Skipper's Club, as we were upgraded to a suite! Using Kelly's method, we were in 8222 (an 8I) every time I checked. When we boarded, we were told we were in 7345. I had no idea it was a suite until she wrote VIP on out S&S card envelope, and told us to bypass the next line (to take pictures and go through security-also not too long at all) and go right to the front. We were so excited. I have no idea why we were upgraded. Maybe it was because it was our 3rd cruise with Carnival. I didn't stick around to question it.
4. Entering the ship: Amazing. Totally different than other ships we've been on. It was all wood and paintings and gold. Very pretty and it felt much more upscale than the other ships we'd sailed. Of course, my husband kept jokingly saying it was a "very sexual ship" due to the female breasts that seemed to be everywhere. But art is art after all. It didn't bother me at all. A word to the wise.know where your stateroom is. For example, if you cabin is aft, you have to take the aft elevators. If you take the mid-ship elevator, as they say in Boston "Ya can't get theya from heya." You have to go back down to the Promenade deck (2), which runs the whole length of the ship, walk to where your room is (aft, fwd, mid), and take those elevators up. Maybe it's common sense, but we got lost at first. But the atrium is impressive, and that's what you see when you board.
5. The Suite: As I said, we were in Cabin 7345, Verandah Deck, Starboard side, Aft. Ours was right next door to the back end wrap-around balcony suite. We were floored when we walked in! Our bathroom had a double vanity sink, a tub with Jacuzzi jets (we didn't use it though), and a shower DOOR. Outside the bathroom is the closet/dressing area with another vanity where the hairdryer and drawers are. The bedroom part of the room had a king size bed, lots and lots of storage, another double closet, a couch, TV and VCR. Not to mention the wonderful balcony! I don't know how big it was, but it was big. On it were two lounge chairs and two tables. The balcony was one of the highlights of the experience and I HIGHLY recommend booking a room with one. We found ourselves wandering out there in the middle of the night and just looking at the moon, hearing the ocean, seeing the sun rise/set, etc. Not to mention you are completely shrouded in privacy, so if you want to air-dry after that shower, go right ahead! (Just keep in mind that while you can't see anyone, you CAN hear everything). We kept the door open all night, thanks to the bungee cord idea. Thanks for that one. Yes, the AC shut off when the door was open, but we never cared. My husband is ALWAYS complaining he is hot, and it never bothered him.
Our Cabin Steward was Marlin. I met him once. He was OUTSTANDING. I have heard countless people complain that the Cabin Steward was terrible because they never saw him. Folks, that's the point! We don't feel the need to form lifelong relationships with every crew member when we cruise. He opened our mini-bar, took my dresses to be pressed, cleaned the room immediately after we left it, always had ice in the room, made cute towel animals every night, etc. And no, I didn't "grease" or bribe him with extra cash at the beginning, he just did a great job. We tipped him extra at the end. (I'll get to the whole tipping thing later on in the novella).
6. The Dining Room: We were at table 280 (for 8) in the Captain's Club. This is just a separate room off the dining room that is usually used for big groups. The food was excellent. We always left stuffed and totally satisfied. Our waiter was Ion from Romania and his assistant was Ursula from Hungary. Both of them were wonderful. They were friendly and efficient, and there were heartfelt hugs and goodbyes when the week was over. We ate A LOT! Some nights, if there was lobster tail or prime rib, we just had both. (This happened a lot J.) We loved our tablemates and spent most nights with them after dinner at the bars and lounges.
Ken, the Maitre 'D was wonderful. He sang every night and came to our table twice (that was a first!). We talked a lot about our love for Frank Sinatra because he sings a lot of his songs, and we have the same taste in music. He then surprised me on the last night with his CD of all the songs he does at dinner. I thought it was so nice of him to do that and he really made an impression on me. The funny thing was, I tipped him BEFORE he gave me the CD. We really loved having him there every night.
7. David's: Yes, we went and it was great. It's just like dining at a fine steakhouse in New York or Boston. They give you several courses, and throw in some "surprises from the chef" as well. Everything is top shelf and the service is practically white glove. We were seated right at David's feet overlooking the glass staircase. Would I do it again? No. While it was wonderful, so was the dining room, and the service was just as impeccable with Ion and Ursula. But I'm glad we tried it and we weren't disappointed. It is a luxurious 2-plus hours. I know a lot of people on these boards balk at that, but I don't believe in shoveling my food in to get to the next buffet. I love dinnertime, even the hour and a half in the dining room. I also love getting dressed up every night for dinner, but that's just me.
8. Ports of Call: I'll tell you, we didn't do a whole lot this week, as that was the plan. Key West is so much fun! We thought it was a bit like Martha's Vineyard, but very laid back. The shops were great, the bars plentiful, and I loved the freedom of being able to walk around the street with my drink. We ended up finding a great bar and stumbling back to the ship. We had a blast. Belize was the port we decided to stay on the ship for. We weren't up for hiking or tubing, so we relaxed on deck and it was wonderful. We had the pool to ourselves all day and it was really nice. In Cozumel we did the Playa Sol Beach Break and had a lot of fun. It was hotter than I remembered, but just a great time. In Progreso, we took the free shuttle into town and walked around a bit. We went to the beach and then to eat at Sol y Mar across the street. They have Superior beer, which you cannot get anywhere but the Merida area (believe me I've tried), so I enjoyed those! I have already been to Chichen Itza, so we weren't interested in climbing the ruins again. But those who went had a great time.
9. The Entertainment: We went to a few shows, but not the major ones. We saw the last show, the talent show, and all of the comedians. But while everyone was at the shows, we were at the other smaller bars. There was always something to do. We did hit the casino a few times, but we're not big gamblers. I did play a lot of bingo and lost. Karaoke was a lot of fun, and we saw some of the game shows and the Newlywed Game.
10. Sea days: The days at sea were relaxing. I will say that some of the reviews on this board had me so freaked out about deck chairs, I made sure I was up there by 8:00. Folks, that was not necessary! If you were up there by 9:00-9:30, you were fine for a chair by the pool. I did see someone save 4 chairs and leave for 4 hours. Finally a group just moved their stuff and sat down. When the ignorant original group showed up, there was a lot of huffing and puffing, but no incident. There are 3 pools and a children's pool. New to Carnival, they have a ledge in the pool that surrounds the actual pool that is about 3 inches deep. It is perfect for lying on. There were the usual pool games, ice sculpture demo, etc.
11. Tipping: We left the tips on the sail and sign and we also tipped extra at the end of the week. It was very convenient not having to set aside money for this. I did feel the need to tell the waiter, assistant waitress, and cabin steward that the cash tip was in addition to the S&S tip, just so they didn't have to wonder. We tipped Ken as well for a fantastic job.
12. Debarkation: This went fine. They called you by your luggage tag color and off you went. Of course, all the designated areas where you could wait to disembark were filled with smoke except for the Lido deck (far away from where you got off the ship), so that got nauseating. (Former chain-smoker here.the worst kind of non-smoker) But we found a nice quiet stairwell and were fine. Got on the bus and back to the airport by 10:55. Our flight was at 1:45. No problems coming home.
13. Miscellaneous: The cruise director was Todd. He was OK, but I have never been deeply affected by a cruise director as some of you seem to have been. To me, it seems like the same skinny, perky, blond guy from California on every ship with a name that starts with a T. It never crosses my mind to find out who my CD will be. We did end up singing a horribly off-key (on my part) and alcohol-induced duet at Karaoke together though, and he was really nice.
The staff was friendly and the bar waiters and bartenders were very nice and very efficient.
The ship was immaculate and someone was always cleaning something. We did notice it was an older crowd. Lots and lots of seniors. But it didn't affect us one way or another. In fact, I enjoyed talking to one couple that had been on 20 cruises and another who had been married 54 years. It gave me hope! There were 2400 on board and it never felt crowded. 400 of those were kids and I have got to hand it to Camp Carnival. We had no idea there were so many. No problems anywhere on the ship at any time with kids. There were some parents bringing babies into the hot tub, which I thought was irresponsible, but that's just me I guess.
There were some rude people, and people who rolled out of bed and into the dining room, but that it to be expected on any cruise, I'm sure. For the most part, everyone was nice to one another and just seemed happy to be there.
Well, sorry this is so long, but like I said, I was starved for info while I was waiting to sail, and I am sure there is someone out there like me! Let me know if you have any questions.
This cruise exceeded our expectations from Carnival. Our first cruise was on Royal Caribbean (Monarch of the Seas)that we just loved and I had heard the Carnival was the "fun" cruise line. We expected bunches of party people, children etc. We were surprised when everything, and I mean everything, was bigger, better, and more fun! We really liked the way most of the passengers really dressed up on formal night.
Ship: Yeah, it was a little gaudy but so is European Renaissance. The cherubs and naked women get old but hey, it's just art. We had a balcony cabin that was roomy and everything was very easy to access.
Food: What a treat! We did splurge and pay the "nominal fee" of $25 each for dinner in "David's Supper Club" but it was worth every penny, especially if you like a really genuine "dining experience". Otherwise, the dining room always had very good food and the presentation was fantastic.
Excursions: Key West is Key West - we just rented a scooter and trucked around.
The first real excursion we took was the Shark Alley snorkling trip in Belize. It was amazing and beat anysnorkling I had done in Florida, the Bahamas, or Southern Caribbean. We took an hour speed boat ride to the reef (second largest in the world). I could swim around the reef for a week. After snorkling, we were taken to San Pedro Island where we had time to walk around before they served us lunch. The town was very third world and had hardly any paved roads. I loved it. It's nice to visit a town with little or no American influence. It was then a boat ride back to the ship. We didn't go into the City of Belize so I can't comment but I certainly would do the snorkling trip again.
We went "shopping" in Cozomel and what a disappointment. We should have gone snorkling. Sure they had shopping, but everything you bought there could be purchased in Merida for at least 30% less! If you've ever been to to St. Thomas or the Bahamas, you'll be disappointed with the shopping.
Progresso/Merida: The ship pulled up to a pier that is 4 1/2 miles long. My fiance' went on an excursion to the Mayan Ruins. The bus ride was 2 1/2 hours each way. The bus was supposed to be air-conditioned - he found out later that he needed to sit in the front of the bus for it. He had approximately one hour at the ruins which was not enough time. You really need to see the Mayan ruins but there are lots of sights and I would try not to waste an entire day riding on a bus.
I, on the other hand, paid $8 for a round trip ride to Merida - Capital of the Yucatan. This is a big developed Mexican city. They said it take 25 minutes to get there - it took 50 minutes. So I thought I would be smart and leave 1 1/2 hours before the boat left to make sure I had time. It took two hours to get back as it was not direct. They make stops to pick up and to let off locals. Luckily I wasn't the only passenger that was late! Yes, you could bargain - I paid about 1/2 of the original asking price for most of the items I purchased.
Overall, I would rate this cruise 4.5 - not a 5 because I don't believe anything is perfect and I had to pay for it. The security thing always causes lines but I don't mind when you think about the alternative.
The cruise ship was more than I expected, I could not believe how big it really was. This was my first cruise and I plan on taking future cruises with Carnival. The food was delicious, and our headwaiter (Beta) and waitress (Nickolette) was very friendly, they provided my party (10 women) with entertainment as we enjoyed our dinner. We enjoyed Beauties dance club, the Butterfly Lounge. The Taj Mahal was unique and the nightly shows were awesome. Our cruise director (Todd) was quite a character himself, and then we meet Malcolm, he was one of the Pride staff members, he was quite a comedian, he had us laughing from the time we got on the ship till the time we got off on our last day.
My cabin (4216,) was very nice and we have the private balcony, the bathrooms were small for 3 women sharing but we managed. The Lido deck was nice with the band going. Anyone up for Pizza, well we were up eating at 1:00 in the morning, and then visiting the gym next morning, which was nice. The ports we visited were Half Moon Cay, St.Thomas, St. John's, and St. Maarten, they were very beautiful, and we enjoyed shopping at each, and the snorkeling was nice. The overall average, I would rate the ship with a perfect 10. I would recommend the Pride to anyone that was planning a cruise.
My thanks go out to the staff of the Carnival Pride for making my first cruise a memorable experience. Virginia
Just returned from our cruise on the Pride - 4/13/02. We stayed for two nights at the Radisson at the port - great hotel and would highly recommend it to anyone arriving a day or two early. The pool area is really nice with waterfalls, tiki bar, whirlpool, etc. We are a family of four and had the standard room for $59 - it was plenty big enough. We had some in our group with the suite and it was very nice also. We ate at Flamingo's and the food was also great. The hotel offers free shuttles to the port but be sure to sign up for it when you check in.
We got to the ship around 10:30 and went quickly through check in - they did make everyone wait until 12:30 before they began boarding the ship. At 12:30 the lines were very long behind us but seemed to move smoothly. We were in our cabin by 12:45.
The ship was more toned down compared to other Carnival ships as far as the neon and glare go - although I still don't like the decor. It seemedvery dark to me and still had the "over the top" style of Carnival. I have never been a fan of Carnival's decor and this ship did nothing to change my mind. As has been stated, the nudes are everywhere - not offensive but there!!
The food was the best yet on any ship I have sailed including Royal Caribbean and Princess. The only thing we weren't impressed with it was the desserts. The rest of the menu was great. The dining room is wonderful and we loved the design of it. Ken sang most nights (he is very talented) and he is very personable and went out of his way to make our group happy. Even giving our group the Captain's Table which was not to be used for first seating so we could be 12 together (3 families of 4) versus an 8 and a 4. The service was very good and we did not notice any difference in service with the new tipping policy in effect (in the dining room at least).
We ate one night at David's and the food was wonderful but we felt very rushed -spoke to head waiter and it was slowed down for coffee and desert. We sat at our table at 6:00 and were done eating our mail course by 6:50!!!! We were told that others had complained about the service being too slow so they were trying to speed it up!! Also if you do eat here you may want to consider a later reservation as I think the atmosphere would be much nicer when it is dark outside (this was the only time our group could get). Would recommend trying David's to anyone.
We have sailed on many Carnival ships and found the crowd on the Pride to be much older - the majority of cruisers were over 50. We sail the same week each year (our April vacation) and it is usually packed with families and teens - there were 300 kids on board compared to 700-800 normally on Carnival. The 300 were mostly older teens and younger children - rarely saw any of them. So if you are looking for a ship with an older crowd this may be the ship for you. We were a little disappointed. We were with a group of 40 so we made our own fun but I would have been bored had we been alone on this ship. Extremely quiet at night. The lounges were empty at night except for Karokee (sp)???? Sorry, but I don't see the attraction for this type of entertainment. The disco was empty every night along with all the other lounges. We spent every night hanging around the Lobby bar - very nice bar with a wonderful guitar player.
The casino slots were very TIGHT! Very few winners at all during the week - everyone was complaining. The black jack tables and craps seemed to be paying though. Didn't go to any shows so I can't comment on them.
The cabins seemed smaller compared to other Carnival ships - could be just. We had a category 8E. The balcony was good size with a small table, chair and two lounge chairs. Our cabin steward (first time I don't know our steward's name) was not very attentative - constantly had to ask for ice. We asked him on the first day to empty out the fridge for us - by the second time we asked he did this but left all the contents on top of the desk/dresser. We asked him 3 times to remove this from the cabin and finally put it all in a green garbage bag and it was taken.
The new towel policy stinks and did nothing but cause people to feel Carnival is trying to make a buck!! We were 4 in our cabin and were only given 2 towels all week (we had brought our own and didn't use Carnival's). by the last night the steward found us and said we were missing two towels and we were going to be charged $22 each for them. We explained that we were only given two all week and they sat on the deck. He said that was not true and he would have to charge us. We told him if and when the charge appeared on our Sail and Sign bill we would be removing his tip. He smiled and said he would find a way to "replace" the missing towels and this was the last we heard of it. Someone else in our group was charged for a towel but didn't notice until they were off the ship. Be sure to check your bill for these charges. This was the first time we considered not leaving a tip for our cabin steward but decided to leave it on the bill - had we used the standard method of tipping with the envelope I am sure we would have left nothing but a token tip to him.
If Carnival instituted this towel policy to help eliminate the chair saving it is not working! The chair saving was in full swing and we witnessed 2 major fights on deck (we only had 2 days at sea). Not sure what the answer is to this problem although Royal Caribbean did have deck people removing stuff from saved chairs last year and this was a big help.
For the ports we shopped and rented mopeds on Key West - great place and would love to spend a few days here - although very expensive. In Belize we went Cave Tubing with Reggie ($60 pp vs Carnival's $79) - it was great and would recommend it to others. Reggie was a lot of fun and it is much nicer to be in a small group versus the ship's tour of hundreds. In Cozumel we shopped. Most of our group went to Playa Sol and LOVED it - said they would have liked to spend more time there. In Progresso went to the open market which was fun and then walked to the beach. The beach area is beautiful and I think this will be a great place to visit in a few years - they are doing much building and development around the beach.
If anyone has any questions let me know.
My 3-2-02 Western Caribbean Pride cruise review: Well, not sure where to begin!!!!!! So will start from the beginning. Back in Oct, 2000 during the Cruise Critic Bingo bash I started planning this group cruise. I ended up with 52 cruisers & some tag a longs (you know who you are!!!! LOL). After more than a year of planning we finally met at the Radisson in Port Canaveral, (this was a big highlight of my entire trip, from the very beginning, I felt like I had known everyone for years.)
Our flight into Orlando was great, we had a Tiffany Town car waiting for us, the cost was $70.00 + tip. When we arrived at the Radisson Thurs. night, it was great walking in & recognizing some of the group from pictures (Dennis, Denise, Ron & Lyn thanks for the great welcome). Then while we were still visiting, Moonie, Ann & Dee showed up, so got to bed late. The next morning was the delayed Shuttle launch, so we set our alarms to get up @ 6 AM to watch the launch, boy were we glad we did, it wasan amazing sight to see, well worth it. During the day we rented a taxi to take us to the liquor store, cost was $10.00, we just packed the bottles securely in our checked luggage to take on the ship the next day.
That evening we had our Pre cruise cocktail party @ the Radisson, I highly recommend this motel. The Radisson also had a tennis court in the middle of the complex & a small work out room with a treadmill & bike. We really didn't have a lot of time there, wish we could have spent more time around the pool & hot tub. Also if you get a suite you will have a very nice Jacuzzi tub in the room.
The next morning we walked next door & had breakfast @ Zachary's, then caught the Radisson shuttle to the port. Embarkation was a breeze, since I was able to use the Skippers Club. Within 1/2 hr. of arriving we had the sail n sign cards, our picture taken & had found our cabin.
As everyone has stated before, this ship is just beautiful. We never felt crowded & could always find a quiet spot to have a drink. Be sure to check out the Sunset Garden, it is very romantic. We then headed to the Lido deck for our 1st drink of the day & grabbed a light lunch from the Mermaid grill. The muster drill went as usual & then returned to the aft Lido deck for sail a way gathering with many of the posters from the Cruise Critic board & the group. We thought the food @ the grill was much better on this ship than the others we'd been on. There was a lot of variety to chose from & at each station was a menu of what was being served. We opted not to go to David's Supper Club, since the food & service in the dining room more than meets our expectations, but heard only good comments throughout the week. Our waitress, Dianna & her assistant Nicholi both from Romania were the absolute best. Ken the Maitre'D deserved more than the recommended tips as well,(even though he brought me those shots of tequila on the last night, real funny group LOL). He has an amazing voice & you can purchase one of his CD's if you want a souvenir. For the most part all of the food in the dining room was very tasty & to our satisfaction.
As for our cabin, we were on Deck 5, cat. 11-5266 corner aft, oversized balcony. I personally would not spend the money again for this type of cabin, I would be fine & just as happy with a cat 8 - balcony cabin guarantee & if upgraded that would be the bonus. This particular suite, the cabin size is a little smaller than the other mid ship suite we looked at, but the balcony was larger, the wrap around is kind of a joke & we did notice the black ash at times on the lawn chairs, also the plexi glass is at an angle so all of the balcony under the top of the rail is wasted as well, we had some garbage from the upper decks at time collect under the railing section & when they washed off the upper decks you better be ready for a shower, the water pours off the eves, luckily we never got drenched. There were 2 lounge chairs, 2 regular chairs & a small end table, but I feel that for 2 people there is no need to have such a large balcony, a lot of wasted space in my opinion, although it was nice when entertaining or visiting with our new friends from the group & that was one of the reasons for booking that particular cabin & balcony. The bathroom was very nice, no need for clothespins since we had a sliding door instead of a shower curtain, did not use the Jacuzzi tub, the double sinks were nice as well as all of the storage shelves on either side of the big mirror. There was a shampoo & shower gel dispenser mounted on the wall that was always full & a retractable clothesline to hang your wet clothes which we used. There was more closet space in the cat. 8's than in this room which seemed odd, but upon entering the cabin there is a long hallway which again in my opinion was just more wasted space, I would have rather had more closet space since we had to remove the bottom closet rod in order to have enough space to hang my longer dresses & by doing this the closet was too full. The one thing we did every night was bungee cord the balcony door open & could lay in bed & look out at the stars, this did shut off the air conditioner, but we preferred not having the cold air blowing on us, we also enjoyed the sound of the ocean & at any time during the night could just step out side & enjoy the fresh air. We also did notice the vibration that others had mentioned in this cabin location, especially upon entering & leaving ports.
Probably our biggest complaint was the itinerary times, leaving all of the ports way too early. If it wasn't for all the great people in the group, this would have made for very long & boring days, we're not much for laying around in the sun, we don't gamble, watch TV or read, so we ended up drinking & visiting more. LOL
The day at Key West, we took a bus parked outside the terminal into town & was dropped off near the Market area, found our way to Duvall street & did some shopping along the way for souvenirs, while finding all of the well known pubs. (The stars & stripes T-back in the window display at one of the stores ended up on Moonie (who we had somehow nicknamed flossy!!!! HEHE ) & made for a great many laughs throughout the cruise, much better than the dental floss one she was wearing at the Radisson. LOL) We ate lunch at Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville & had their famous margarita followed by a Key Lime Shooter( very tasty), then on to Sloppy Joe's & Fat Tuesdays, we ended up at Hog's breath Saloon & before we knew it, it was time to catch the trolley back to the port, had to stop at the Naval search area to show your picture ID & sail n sign card, then again at the ship.
Next stop was going to be Belize, but had to skip this port due to bad weather, we were very disappointed mainly because our tour that Ken (Bigdog) had worked so hard to co-ordinate was also canceled. We were 100% reimbursed for our tour excursion & had $20.00 pp added to our sail n sign card, you could check your balance at any time on the TV in your cabin, which was nice, also could order excursions on the TV. So with missing the day at Belize we had another day at sea, with high waves & the ship rocking, many on board were feeling sea sick & was it was too cold to really enjoy the lido deck for very long, the gift shop sold a lot of sweatshirts this day. It was a day to rest.
Cozumel was a hot day, did our shopping early on, took a taxi from the port to the downtown area. We ended up at Carlos & Charlies. It was a big surprise when the waiter offered us a shot & we accepted, then the whistle started blowing & oh my goodness, what happened next was pretty funny. The margaritas were strong & the place is loud, the photographer is right there with his camera & with a frame it will cost you $23.00 for an 8 X 10 photo. We tried to organize a group picture, ended up we don't know half the people in the picture, LOL, but we're all having fun anyway. Will try to scan it & post later. Stopped by the duty free shops on the way back to the ship & got my vanilla & rum cakes. Also had some smaller bottles of tequila that the store clerk had wrapped in brown paper that was tucked among my souvenirs & everything made it through x-ray without any trouble.
In Progresso, once we got off the ship, did not want to wait in line with everyone to fill the buses, so we walked up & got a taxi, it was $6.00, their was 6 of us, so very cheap & fast. The pier is very long & lots of remodeling going on. The taxi dropped us off at the plaza market place where there were lots of places to buy souvenirs; we priced the hammocks & decided to wait until we were ready to leave to buy anything. Then we took off walking & found a lot of old run down small shops, the people were quiet & didn't pay much attention to us, we found this walk to be very interesting. There were some armed police officers on a few of the street corners, but I never felt afraid. We ended up at the beach front, which is postcard beautiful, I'm sure it won't be long & this area will be all built up for the tourists, there was a lot of remodeling going on along this part of town. We also walked by a school, all of the children ran up to the iron bars & peaked through to see us. They were all dressed in uniforms & very polite, but curious. Some of the children who were not in school were peddling jewelry & other goods around the beach, they did not barter as much as the adults. We had stopped at a bar/restaurant for a drink & the waiter brought us a huge tray of appetizers, they said "on the house" I was leery at first to eat them, but did anyway, had no problems later so that's a good sign, we then paid for our drinks & walked across the street to the beach, was visiting with part of our group when the same waiter came over to me with a glass & blender full of margaritas & asked " more?" I nodded yes & he poured my drink & also gave me the blender!!, motioned to keep it & bring it back when I was finished, LOL very trusting, so as we were leaving, he met us half way in the street with a big smile & thank you, needless to say we found this port to be very interesting. Also ended up with 3 wonderful hammock chairs of the highest quality & vibrant colors, paying only $20.00 apiece. The trip back to the port we just got another taxi, but again not enough time here.
While on the ship, we spent a few nights in the piano bar, not as much fun as on the Victory, but the groupies who hung out there loved it when the piano man sang Lucille, they had there own chorus to sing each time, LOL I didn't like the layout of the piano as much either. We really enjoyed the Starry night lounge, the music by "Music Society" was great. Never made it to the Butterflies lounge much, did attend both shows in the Taj Mahal, had seen Vroom before, but was just as good the 2nd time around. Watched the talent show, but they only had 6 acts, would like to have seen more talent & less talking by the CD, Troy. Oh yes, as far as the Starry night lounge, wished it would have stayed open longer for those of us wanting to dance, the only other place to go after they closed was the disco. There were a lot of the songs played in the disco that "no one" could dance to, but we gave it our best. LOL, if you want to do any visiting it will be very hard to do while in the disco. Also, if you wear heels be very careful when you walk downstairs to the dance floor, there was a lot of drinks that got spilled there & very slippery (Oh yea that reminds me, the Lido deck was also extremely slippery, saw a few people slip & fall.) I did attend the Lido deck party, it was a lot of fun watching the lipsync contest, even more fun since I had met some of the contestants. Congratulations to CraZchic (Sarah) for her win, You girls from Michigan really do "Just want to have fun" LOL.
I had a great vacation getting to meet all of my new friends, but next time I will research the itinerary a little better & that will be my 1st priority for choosing another cruise, the Pride is a gorgeous ship & I'm glad I got to sail on it, but most likely will not go the Western Itinerary again. If you have any further questions, feel free to email me @ firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks and Just remember your cruise is what you make of it, a bad day on vacation is better than no vacation at all. Kirbi aka Cheryl
Kirbi Montreal, Canada
Carnival Pride, Exotic Caribbeans March 2, 2002, Group cruise - Kirbi and the cruisers This was my 13th cruise, 10th with Carnival
I did my own flight arrangements and arrived in Orlando on Thursday afternoon. I made arrangements with Carnival to take the shuttle down to the port (the Fantasy was leaving on that day) and called the Radisson to pick me up in Port Canaveral. The Radisson at the Port is a very nice resort; beautiful pool, great rates. I booked a one bedroom jacuzzi suite for 119$ - AAA rate.
On Friday morning, I watched the launch of the Columbia shuttle right from the hotel parking lot. It was a great sight and also the occasion to meet with a few Kirbi cruisers. I spent most of Friday with Monnie, Dee and Ann; we went to Wal Mart, Ron Jons and had lunch in Cocoa Beach. We then got ready for our pre-cruise party which was a lot of fun and very organized by Kirbi.
On Saturday morning, after breakfast, we took the shuttle bus to the port at around 10:45am. As a Canadian citizen, I was spoiled with aseparate check-in line for non-US citizens; there was nobody waiting... Check-in was extremely efficient as far as I am concerned. They proceeded to boarding the ship at noon, starting with the skipper's club guests. I had booked a category 1A guaranteed - traveling solo.. - and was assigned exactly what I paid for. My cabin - 1257 - was located aft on Riviera deck and was actually larger than the 4G I was assigned on the Spirit last year. The cabin was just perfect and I found it was very well located. I hung my door decoration (we had a group contest) and went for lunch at the mermaid grill. Selection was very good, no big line ups; but still a big cafeteria. I had most breakfasts in the dinning room but had lunches at the grill.
I found the Pride to be much nicer than the Spirit; I preferred the decor and themes. Staff was very nice and friendly. Unfortunately, I was not able to enjoy this cruise as much as I wanted since I got sick on Sunday with a sore throat which changed into a cold for the rest of the week. So I didn't do much at night interms of shows, lounges & bars but tried to enjoy as much as I could daytime activities as well as the presence of all the Kirbi cruisers on the ship.
We had a great dinning room table located next the Captain's. Our waiter Franjo was efficient and our assistant waiter, Martina was very professional and friendly. Food was very good to excellent. I found the menus a little disappointing on a few nights, but you could always find something interesting. I found that food presentation had improved since last cruise. Ken the Maitre D' was of course outstanding, I had the pleasure of spending a 16 day cruise previously with him as a Maitre D' and he truly is the best at sea! Waiters did their usual entertainment; we had prime seats location at table 232! It's always funny to watch an Indonesian Austin Power replica dancing on the table next to you! We had a few birthday celebration within our group during this cruise and waiters and Ken himself gladly sang the famous "hoppy boysday" to each of our jubilees!
I decided to give the supper club another chance after a bad experience on the Spirit and must say they have just gained my heart back. We had a terrific meal, great company and excellent service. As already mentioned.. Don't miss the flour less chocolate cake.
The boat drill was fast and easy and sail away was well.. We almost flew away! It was extremely windy and the ocean was a little choppy.
My cabin steward, Diogo and his assistant were so nice and very efficient. I had the whole zoo in my cabin by the end of the week... there were animals everywhere! On the mini-fridge, on the vanity on the second bed - he must have made over 12 of them during the week!
The Cruise Director, Troy Linton did a good job and had a good team of social hosts. The Captain's cocktail party was nice; held in the starry lounge and along deck 2; drinks and hot appetizers were served. There were several occasions and setting for formal pictures and the photographers did a good job.
The past guest cocktail party was held on Tuesday in the Taj Mahal lounge; there was a party for each dinner seating. The lounge was crowded
Key West: Did a pub crawl... Margarittaville, Sloppy Joe & Hog's Breath Saloon and meet with different Kirbi Cruisers at each stop!.
Cozumel: This is my favorite island and I knew exactly what I wanted to do; Along with Moonie, Ann & Dee, we spent the morning at Mr. Sancho's beach club ($12/cab) and went back to town ($17/cab) for our stop at the "new" Carlos & Charlies located by the new pier.. Well the place is very nice but I kind of miss the old small C&C.. It now looks like a Cancun C&C and it is located within a new plaza with upscale stores and boutiques; it is a lot more commercial.. But the fun is still there! We then took a cab back to the pier for a last stop at Fat Tuesdays. There is a new bar/restaurant opened across Fat Tuesdays which seemed interesting. Leaving Cozumel at 4pm is way too early!
Belize: We missed that stop due to bad weather making tendering to shore too dangerous.
Progresso: I had been there last November and liked walking the streets and spending some time by the ocean but this time, I needed to rest and opted to stay on the ship at the aft pool with my kleenex boxes and cherry halls cough drops! Debarkation:
As a non-US citizen, I was asked to be at the Starry Lounge by 6:45 to through immigration. The process was so smooth and efficient; much better than in Miami. My cabin steward told me I could relax in my cabin until they call my color (peach) but since I wanted to see a few Kirbi cruisers before leaving the ship I declined his offer and went up at the Mermaid Grill where I did find a few of them. Peach was called second and I was off the ship by 8:50am. I took the Carnival transfer to the airport and then Mears transportation to the Sheraton Studio City on International Drive in Orlando. I spent my last day visiting and shopping and flew back the next day to Montreal.
An very good cruise despite the fact I missed half of it because I was sick.. But I tried to make the most out of it. The highlight of this trip was to meet all the Kirbi cruisers with whom I have been in contact for almost a full year. I feel so fortunate to have new friends all over the USA and hope we will have the opportunity to meet again. For the time being we are still in contact through our group board.. Until we decide where to go next!!
Feel free to email for specifics!Élise
This was our 11th cruise (third in a year) but very first time on Carnival. We have sailed with Celebrity, Royal Caribbean and Princess on primarily new ships built since 1993.
The Pride was beautiful, elegantly decorated with subdued decor in the cabins. All of the arrangements made by Carnival were great. Yes there is a lot of annoying vibration but we only felt it at the stern in the rear of the dining room when the ship is moving at 22 knots or more. If the speed was reduced to about 12 knots, no vibration. I spoke with a structural engineer on board (a fellow cruiser) and he explained that the narrowness at the point of the Apizoids (propulsion system) would cause the vibrations. Glasses, silverware and plates would clink together during our whole dining time. We were right there smack dab in the middle at the stern.
The ship, our cabin (Category 8i #8149), and the Mermaid's Lido buffet was fabulous with so much variety especially at lunch time and available a lot longer than other ships during the day. The gym and spa including jacuzzi were wonderful, thepools were great. The food was fine with plenty of selections in the main dining room. We really enjoyed the Mermaid's lido buffet area as it had numerous stations for different luncheon options or even fresh cooked omelets or eggs for breakfast. There was always something to eat in this area. The numerous pool areas were a nice option and we never had a problem finding a chair. The weather was not so good, but we made the most of it.
We went to Atlantis on Paradise Island, Nassau which was beautiful to explore; $4 taxi ride per person each way which included the toll. Even with all the security at Atlantis, I explored the majority of the property even out to the pyramid to take pictures of the water slides. The tour of the dig ($25 pp) was very informative and I did find the section of the hotel where we spent our 25th anniversary. None of the staff knew of this special "concierge section" where Merv Griffin used to have his penthouse. I found it! It was rainy at St. Thomas, so we just took a 3 hr.tour by taxi, which I wanted to do anyway of Drakes Seat and Mountain Top, and then shopped. It was nice on St. Martin and we spent a couple of hours at Dawn Beach where we had vacationed just before the last hurricane had devastated the island and demolished the resort where we stayed.
Entertainment was just OK. I have seen better shows and heard better entertainers on board ships. Some of the lounge acts had changed last week and they were not the greatest or the venue was put on at the wrong lounge at the wrong time. They had a nice classical music group playing before dinner at Raphael's lounge. That was the smoking room, which was right outside the main dining room. It got very congested and smoky and was not the correct atmosphere for this type of lovely music. You could hardly hear them play over the loud roar of the many people who congregated at this lounge/bar area. Most musical options were after dinner, so we did not have a lot of chance to enjoy them, as we would go to a show then retire. We did enjoy the Karaoke as it was actually good. Also, we enjoyed the Talent Show. It was not a competition but 6 talented guests who performed and then were interviewed by the CD, Troy Linton. That part of the show was really funny.
Carnival sent us a bottle of Champagne and chocolate covered strawberries were awaiting us in our cabin upon arrival. They also gave us an Inaugural copy of the Pride's hard cover book. Travel and all arrangements, which were made through Carnival by our TA were great. I would definitely do another Carnival cruise on a similar type of ship. The decor was beautiful, cabin bigger than others of the same type we have had, the buffet, pools, and gym/spa area was spectacular. There were lots of variety of lounges, just the musical venues were not great or timing the best. I did not notice a lot of country music only in the Atrium lounge. However, I noticed that there were limited musical/dancing opportunities before the 8:15 seating. Florentine, Starry night and Ivory Bar were good spots if the band or piano player was good, but usually they didn't have music before our seating. As mentioned, one extremely tall piano player could not carry a tune and he had his piano bar patron sounding even worse than he did. There was another piano player at the Ivory bar on the last night and he was very good.
The only negative was our dining room service. It was poor in comparison to all other cruises we have been on. Our servers were veteran experienced gentlemen, too. I have never felt so rushed in all of our 11 cruises and they were very impersonal. I even had a dish removed from in front of me when I was not finished! At lunch, when we dined in the Normandie, the assistant waiter was on duty (who had no other customers since you sit at your assigned tables at lunch on sea days), took our complete luncheon order including desert right away. I had to ask another server for some iced tea. Budi never returned or even asked my DH what he wanted to drink or if everything was OK during this lunch service. He would serve hot coffee from left to right in front of 2 people when he had plenty of room to move to the person's right as normal polite and safe service should be at a round table. We did not let that affect our total cruise at all. We really thought the ship was great. I would definitely try another similar class ship on Carnival someday. Of course, we had no control over the weather and made the best of each port.
I had no idea that there were over 300 kids on board. The Camp Carnival staff really kept them busy. Previously for the family, we would have chosen RCI. I think Carnival equals RCI's great family and children's program. You can rent walkie-talkies and they even are renting strollers on the new Pride. I always recommend that parents bring along those umbrella style strollers for those kids 4 and under, but now for just a mere $25 a week they can be rented. I truly think people of all ages and from all demographics will have a wonderful vacation experience on Carnival's new Pride.
The Carnival Pride is truly a beautiful ship....The service was excellent...(Pursers office a bit hasty, trying to read your mind before you ask the question.)Overall great food and service...It is so sad that we had bad weather and could not enjoy Salt Cay or St. Thomas...Therefore it only left St. Maarten's to enjoy and that we did...the rest of the itenerary was sailing...sailing.. sailing...
One, would think ,because of the disappointing weather changing things , at least one drink would be complementary...or a half day at Salt Cay on our return would have been nice..unlike other cruise ships, no free drink was offered...there is special need to be given consideration of 2 out of 3 port days, weather was a problem...RAIN...and cruise lines should make an alternative port schedule for a make-up day when weather is great the following days.