Hi everyone.........I've read every review I could find about the Pride...This will be our very first cruise....Me, my husband and 3 children..I am very excited to say the least.......June 21st......anyone else booked on that cruise?...............Thanks
Yes - we just got back last Saturday. Feel free to ask me any questions. Here is my review:
My husband Bryan (he is 31 and is a newspaper sportswriter) and I (34, I do publications for Medicaid) sailed on Carnival Pride May 10-17, 2003. This was our second cruise - our first was on RCCL’s Voyager of the Seas for our honeymoon in 2000.
We flew out of Raleigh, N.C., on Friday night. All the flights on Saturday were either too early or too late. We rented a car from Avis for $32 and a room at the Days Inn on McCoy Road (near Orlando airport) for $37. With the car we were able to go out to eat and pick up some bottled water and diet Dr. Pepper.
We had breakfast at the hotel and then headed for Port Canaveral around 10:00 a.m. The signs were very easy to follow. We dropped off our luggage at the port before returning the car. I had placed my bottled water in a trash bag and put a luggage tag on it - I also had used a magic marker to write our cabin number on the actual package just in case the bag was ripped. Returning the car was easy and so was catching the shuttle to the ship - no waiting at all.
We rode up the escalator in the terminal and Bryan said, "The lines aren’t too bad." I said, "Well, we don’t have to wait in any lines at all - we get to go to the Skippers Club!" We had received a free upgrade from an 8G to an 11 suite (midship) and I had kept it a secret from Bryan. We walked in and a nice lady greeted us, we sat down in comfy chairs and before we knew it we were waiting in line to board. From the time we got to the terminal til the time we boarded (11:20) was about 15 minutes. I had heard that you’re not supposed to go to your cabin until 12:30 but no one had told us that - I don’t know if it's because we had a suite or that the lady just forgot. So we decided to stop by and see if we could drop off our carry-on bag. The cabin was ready so we dropped our stuff and quickly checked it out. It was wonderful! Plenty of room, lots of storage, beautifully decorated, huge deck and even a VCR. We left to go grab some lunch from Mermaids - we enjoyed most of our lunches there throughout the week.
After lunch we explored the ship and took a tour of the spa. Then we stopped by the dining room to check out our table assignment. We had been assigned to a table for four so we asked if we could be switched. Someone told us to wait and we could meet with the maitre d. I have major TMJ (jaw) problems and I was worried that with a table of four I would feel like I had to talk, which would cause a lot of pain for me. We asked for a table for 2 but were also willing to have a table for 8 or more. We got our table for 2 and were very happy with it all week.
Then it was time to head back to the cabin - the Romance package that I had ordered was waiting on us. This was another surprise for my husband. It had champagne, glasses, visors, T-shirts, drink coupons, a photo coupon and a camera. It was well worth the $75. We put the champagne on ice, started unpacking and then it was time for the lifeboat drill. After the drill we sat on our balcony drinking our champagne as we sailed away. It was the perfect start to our vacation.
Our luggage arrived pretty early - but the water wasn’t with it. I was afraid they had confiscated it. But an hour later we heard a thump and when I opened the door there was my water.
Key West: We were excited to visit Key West since neither of us had ever been. As soon as we stepped off the ship we realized that it was incredibly hot. The heat and humidity were so high that we only lasted a couple of hours - long enough to call our Mothers since it was Mother's Day, get a piece of Key Lime pie and a couple frosty drinks and check out Duval Street. Then we headed back to the ship. Most of the people we talked to said they couldn’t stand it for long, either.
Belize: We booked cave tubing with Reggie’s. It was only $65 a person, which is a big savings over Carnivals price ($85). There were a few large groups that had also booked with Reggie so he took us on the old school bus that he uses. We really enjoyed hearing about the history and culture of Belize - since our guides were natives they knew everything. The cave tubing was a lot of fun - but it was work, too. We had to paddle ourselves most of the way down the river. We saw a few bats and no spiders. Since we were right behind the Carnival groups the Carnival photographer and video guy got us on tape, too. The lunch afterwards at JB’s was very good - stewed chicken, rice and beans, and fried plantains for $5. We got back to the ship about 30 minutes before the deadline. It was a long day but a good one.
Cozumel: We had several ideas of what we might do in Cozumel but we were still pretty tired from Belize. We had talked about Playa Sol but we just didn’t feel like dealing with it. We got off the ship and looked around at the shops then got back on the ship and enjoyed the adult pool which was deserted. We left the ship again for a late lunch at Fat Tuesday's. They have an open-air bar with swings you can sit in with a view of the ship. We had fajitas and frozen drinks and had a great time.
Progresso: We didn’t even get off the ship. We had heard there wasn’t much to see and since we had our couples massage at 11:45 there just wasn’t time.
Some people pick a cruise for the ship; others pick a cruise for the ports. We lean more towards picking it for the ship. We would probably love a cruise to nowhere.
We took a yoga class on Monday morning for $10 a person. I had always been curious about yoga so we thought it was a good opportunity. We felt a little awkward but overall enjoyed it.
We booked a couples massage for the day we were in Progresso - since Bryan had never had a massage I thought he would be more comfortable with me in the room. The treatments are cheaper on port days. They told us the rate was $99 a person but on port days it was 15% off. Then we got a "coupon" offering $30 off since we had taken a tour. The massage was great - we each had our own masseuse. Afterwards there was some confusion with the bill. The bill showed a price of $110 each and then they had taken the $30 off. This was still higher than we had estimated. Apparently they charged more, and took the $30 but not the port discount. They didn’t really have a good explanation why the price was different but Bryan finally got them to adjust it.
We ate most of our breakfasts in Mermaids. There were plenty of tables with great ocean views. The food was basically the same every day except they would alternate oatmeal/pancakes with grits/french toast. The eggs seemed to be the instant fake kind. The omelets were great and pretty fast. You could ask for just eggs to be cooked by the omelet guy, too. They were much better. One morning we had a continental breakfast from room service and ate it on our balcony. The last morning we ate in the Normandie and wished we had done that more often.
Lunch was always good. We always ate in Mermaids. They had pizza (yummy), a deli, an Asian corner and a rotisserie every day. Then they had a station that changed each day (Mexican, Indian, American, etc.). Outside by the pool they cooked hotdogs, chicken and hamburgers to order.
Dinners were overall very good. We loved our waiter, Arnosh and our assistant, Maria. We ordered three entrees every night - when we didn’t love our main entrée it was nice to have another option. I pigged out on rolls and butter. After the first two nights they started bringing us two dishes of butter. The last few nights (especially Thursday) the menu was not as good - we just didn’t like the options as much as we did earlier. Although the things we ordered turned out to be good. We didn’t go to David’s but if we were interested then Thursday would be the night. My favorite desserts were the crème brulee and the soufflé - and I enjoyed the free cappuccino every night. Bryan really liked something he had called Decadence of Chocolate. On the last night there was somewhat of an awkward moment. All of our tips were on our sail and sign - we had chosen not to change them because we felt they deserved them, although the amounts were higher than we normally leave. On the last night we noticed that all the tables around us were giving the waiters "a little something extra". We felt like we needed to do that too so we gave them about $7 each. We probably shouldn’t have felt pressured - it just really caught us off guard.
Room Service was incredibly fast. We ordered cookies, brownies and milk one night and they were knocking on our door three minutes later! We ordered some sandwiches one afternoon and they were there in five minutes.
The cookies that they always had in Mermaids and from room service were great - especially the shortbread with walnuts kind.
We spent most of our pool time at the adults-only pool. It was much quieter since there wasn’t a band playing and it was nice to not be splashed by the kids. The main pool was so loud - the band just seemed to be blasting. Of course some days the adult pool had noise - there was some repair work being done on the floorboards and the equipment they were using was loud.
Chair saving was bad on sea days as others have said. The first sea day I couldn’t find two chairs together. I finally found two pretty close together and then someone left so it worked out. Some of those chairs never had anyone in them. We took our own cheapo towels - we didn’t want to have to worry about Carnival's towels and it was easier to find our chairs since our towels were different.
The topless deck was apparently pretty popular. I didn’t go up there until the last day - there were just too many steps for me (I have a bad knee). Bryan went up there a few times and reported lots of interesting stories.
The casino was a favorite spot of ours. We were in there every day - usually several times. We both like blackjack and Bryan likes Let it Ride. The first night I won $110 but after that the luck was not as good. We are used to playing in Vegas and the majority of the people on the ship probably hadn’t played much before - it was painful to watch someone split a pair of 10s or not hit a 12 against a dealers 9. All the books say that it really doesn’t matter what the other players do but that’s not always easy to remember.
This was much easier than we expected. They had a talk with the cruise director on the last day but we didn’t stay the whole time - it was boring. We watched it on TV later that day while we were packing. They give you all the info in writing anyway. Our color was blue - and since it was also the color given to those taking post-cruise tours I thought we’d be off early. Sure enough while we were eating breakfast they called our color first. We took our time eating since our flight didn’t leave until 1 p.m. We walked off at 9 a.m. and since we were the last in our group we didn’t have to search for our luggage. We caught the Mears shuttle back to the airport with no problems.
We really enjoyed this cruise. We’d cruise Carnival again. There are some things Carnival does better and some things that Royal Caribbean does better. The food was better on Royal, the staff was better on Carnival. The types of people are pretty different too - but that makes it fun. Carnival is definitely cheaper. I was all ready to book another cruise for next year - until we added up all the costs. It really can add up. Our sail-and-sign bill was very small. But when you add in the airfare, sail and sign, gambling, souvenirs, excursions, etc. it’s kind of scary! Maybe the year after next we’ll get to go again.
Thanks for you response!.....I have lots of questions being that this is our first cruise, but I am drawing a blank right now.Your review was great....covered just about everything.........I can't wait!!.........when did you find out that your cabin had been upgraded?...and how soon before the cruise did you recieve your tickets and info?..........Thanks, and I appreciate any cruise tips you my have or more info on the pride
Re: Re: Anyone been or going on the Carnival Pride?
We got our docs about 2-3 weeks before the cruise. We got the upgrade because I sent an email to Bob Dickinson (carnival president) when our cabin dropped $500 and Carnival wouldnt give us a credit or anything. Our TA gave us his email and suggested we write him. So I did - in my email I said that I knew Carnival didnt have to do anything but I didnt think it was fair that I was being penalized for booking early instead of being rewarded. And that I had convinced my husband to try Carnival and didnt want to have to tell him that while Royal Carribean gave us a refund when the price dropped that Carnival wouldnt do anything. I also said that if we got an upgrade we wanted 9A or higher because we didnt like 8H or 8I. I was very nice. The next day I got an email from TA saying we had received the 11 upgrade. And when our docs arrived we noticed that we had also received a $100 credit.
One tip for you - all the cabins have safes in them. They tell you to use a credit card to lock and unlock the safes. This isnt necessary - all you need is any card with a magnetic strip on the back. We used our grocery store discount card, others used their insurance cards.
Also, a lot of people suggest taking clothespins - if you're not in a suite they come in handy on the shower curtain (you clip them on the bottom and it keeps the curtain from sticking to you). We used them for holding our bathing suits and towels to the balcony chairs (so they could dry and not blow away). We also took several sizes of ziplock bags. They came in handy for holding wet bathing suits and suntan lotion that leaked.
If you plan to do excursions, I would try and decide before you board and then when you board book them as soon as possible on the t.v. in your cabin. And if you plan to eat in Davids go by there soon after boarding to make reservations - it filled up fast. Choose Thursday night, the regular dining room has the worst menu that night. If you plan to get a massage go on the tour they offer the first day - you'll get a $30 discount coupon a few days later.
If you are particular about who you dine with and what kind of table go by the dining room soon after boarding. They can tell you where you are sitting and how many people you are sitting with. If you dont like the arrangements you can asked to be moved.
Thats about all I can think of. Feel free to email me with further questions.
Re: Re: Anyone been or going on the Carnival Pride?
Your review is great, lots of details. We are going on the Pride soon and I still have a couple of questions. Our catagory is also 11 and I was wondering if the fridge has a freezer department, and if yes how large? My other question is, what kind of chairs are on the balcony? We have two children 5 and 7 and wonder how safe it is with the balcony. Last, can you rent any movies? How much does it cost, and how is the variety? Thanks in advance for your info
The chairs on our balcony were a full size lounge chair, a regular chair, and a low-to-the-ground chair that you could put the back down on. Ive heard that you can tip your cabin steward to bring you another lounge chair.
They have free movies that play but I never saw the option to rent any. Since the cabin has a VCR if I were you I would take some movies for the kids.
The balcony railing was pretty high and goes all the way to the floor. I think its very safe. It would be very difficult for someone to fall off - they'd have to climb on a chair to get high enough to fall.
I just remembered another tip - the cabin only has one obvious electrical outlet (with room for two plugs) and its in the dressing area. We discovered that the one the tv is plugged in can be used if you carefully move the tv (we had to move the plug to the top outlet in order to get our digital camera dock to plug in).
Bring along a 3-way plug. There is an outlet next to the vanity. Also, bring along a bungee cord or two. The balcony doors are auto-closing and if you want the seabreeze in your room you'll need to keep the door tied open to the balcony railing. When the door is open though, the air conditioning system is automatically off.
I am a 15 year old guy and will be on the pride with like 3 other families June 14-21. Was there a lot of stuff for kids to do?? Also my mom said our family (Dad, mom, and I) were all going to Davids one night, is that good food? This is my 3rd carnival cruise but my mom said this ship isnt really like the other ones style-wise. Anyways, thanks a lot
Neecy, where are yall staying before the cruise? Were staying in Orlando, which is about an hour away. Were going up there June 12 for our cruise June 14. Our travel agent in bringing our documents by in a few hours for our last meeting!!! Can't wait