The Cruise Guy is absolutely correct. They are almost carbon copies of each other. You won't go wrong with either IMO. I really like the "Spirit" class ships, and will pick them every time over the newer "Conquest" class. I'd take the one that has the iten I like, and which offers the best price.
Just got off the Spirit on Thursday and it was wonderful. It was a no brainer for us bc we live in San Diego. Totally convenient. I will say though, had I known that Acapulco was basically TJ I would have stayed on the boat. Loved the 8days versus the 7days that was offered on the Pride.
We just got back from taking our first cruse on Carnival Pride from Nov. 11 through the 18th. The ship is so beautiful. You feel like your in Las Vegas. Everything about the ship and crew was excellent. We were in stateroom 7260. We lucked out cause it is a handicap room and we dont know why we were assigned the room. It has an extended balcony and very large bathroom. The steward cleaned our room two times a day. What ever you do don't overpack like we did. We didn't use half of what be brought. The food was so delicious. If you have any questions just ask
This was my first cruise with Carnival, and while over all I had a pleasant time, I don't think I'll cruise with Carnival again.
There was a strange smell I couldn't get away from. The exhaust from the kitchen (and all the fryers) and the dry cleaners and who knows what else was on the deck above my cabin (#8237) and the greasy/chemical smell was ever present on our balcony and it even got inside through the air conditioner. My traveling companion aptly called it "The smell of gluttony".
Then that smell mixed with cigarettes, which made it even worse. Smoking is allowed pretty much everywhere except the dining rooms, which is extremely unpleasant. People walked through the halls with cigarettes and smoked next to me by the pool and I had no recourse. I just had to take it. I couldn't even get away from it on my balcony. All of my neighbors smoked. Why can't smoking be restriced to areas where it won't cause non-smokers to suffer?
The food was overall very good at dinner, but all other meals were just mediocre. The chocolate melting cake, always on the dinner dessert menu, was wonderful. I think I had it four times.
Our dinner waiter, his assistant, and our cabin steward were all wonderful. The good service was a bright spot. It didn't make up for the smell, though.
There was also no enforcement at all of the dress code. I went to the effort to dress up and was hoping for a little imaginary grandeur on the formal nights, but there were people who came the dining room in track suits and tennis shoes.
Acapulco and Manzanillo were dumps, but Zihuatanejo was lovely. It was a charming little village with narrow brick streets and relatively well kept buildings.
I've cruised on Princess before and had a much more pleasant experience. Everything about Princess, including the passengers, is just a little bit more refined. On Princess I felt like I went to a resort. On Carnival I felt like I spent a week at a frat party.
I still enjoyed myself, but that took effort and determination and frequent visits to the steam room to get that awful smell out of my sinuses.
We were on the Spirit for a fantastic Alaskan cruise and we loved every minute of it.
In our opinion, the food was great, the staff extraordinarily helpful and friendly, and the ship was spotless.
We don't smoke and never ran into any problems with other people smoking. Never saw anyone inside the ship smoking except at the casino and certainly not in the hallways.
As for people on the ship...we met lots of nice people (couples, singles, etc.) from all over the U.S. and Canada. While waiting for our excursion bus in Sitka, we started talking to a nice man in his thirties who was traveling with his grandfather on a Princess cruise. We asked them how they were enjoying the cruise. Both said the food was terrible and they described their cruise as the "Almost dead or newly wed" cruise. Boy were we glad we were on our beautiful Carnival ship.
We've never seen the "party" crowd on both of our Carnival cruises. We've seen some fun people having a great time but not crazy people.
As for dressing up for formal night. I've always seen women wearing beautiful dresses and men looking very handsome.
I'm sure Mexican Rivera cruises are less formal then Alaskan cruises which are more formal then Caribbean cruises. Crowds differ in each region but as for ship beauty and staff, the Carnival Spirit was great.
We have a 16 year old and consider ourselves not part of the "younger" crowd and certainly not part of the "older" crowd....we're kind of in the middle.
Renee - The better half of RobRen :-)
Carnival - Spirit: Alaska (August 8, 2007)
Carnival - Miracle: Exotic Western Caribbean (April 9, 2006)
Royal Caribbean - Explorer of the Seas: Eastern Caribbean (January 2005)
I have been cruising with Carnival since the early 80's. In those years there was a lot of the partying, almost enough to make me say never again. Over the years I have seen this line change from "party boats" atmosphere to a really nice family oriented atmosphere. I cruised twice this year on Carnival. First on the Pride and then on the Liberty. Both cruises were fun without the obnoxious drinking of the past. I am a non smoker and take care to avoid the smoking areas. I never have seen anyone smoking in the hallways. The only place inside I have seen smoking was the in the casino and a lot of the bars. I have also cruised the Spirit and loved that ship. The Spirit class is my favorite class with this line. I think that whichever ship you choose you cannot go wrong. Bot the Spirit and the Pride are lovely ships. Whichever ship you choose. Enjoy!
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.“
I'm glad to hear you had better experiences with Carnival than I did. I really did want to love my cruise on the Carnival Spirit because Carnival usually has the best fares.
Carnival got so many things right. The service was wonderful, from the staff that I had regular contact with to the staff I only saw once. The ship was spotless and I didn't see a maintenance issue anywhere. Dinner was great every night and lunch was always at least good. Breakfast was good but repetetive. The morning menu never changed.
I should make a clarification about the issues I had with smoking. I never saw anyone smoking in the hallways around the staterooms, but I frequently saw people carrying lit cigarettes from one public area to another through the artium or the photo gallery or on the shopping boulevard (but never in the shops). The dinning rooms and theaters were completely smoke free, but everywhere else I felt like I was constantly dodging clouds of smoke hoping not to get any of it on me.
I didn't set foot in the casino. Well, I think it was a casino anyway - it sounded like one. I couldn't see through the fog to be sure. The cloud wafted out into the adjacent areas so I steered clear of it.
At least half of the time I wanted to use my balcony there were neighbors smoking on theirs so I went back inside. On the upper outdoor decks there was always random smoke smells wafting by from who knows where, or there was someone on the lounger next to me smoking. It was really a nuissance.
Then there was that greasy smell from the kitchen that was always present on my balcony and even came into the stateroom through the air conditioning. Mixed with the smoke I was frequently nauseated.
I was also dissapointed by the lax enforcement of the dress code. I wanted to pretend I was high society for an evening, but that was hard when the couple at the table next to me was wearing something I would have worn to the gym. On the second formal night they at least wore jeans.
I was hoping to find the experience equal to my first cruise on the Star Princess. I went with an open mind and lots of optimism, but I was still let down.
Maybe it's just the itinerary - Like RobRen said the Mexican Riviera cruises are just less formal by nature.
I still think your making a big mistake not considering the Carnival Pride. Everything about the ship, the crew and the food was excellent. Friends of mine just came back from a princess cruise and hated it. They said their room was cleaned 3 times in the week. Our room was cleaned twice a day and the steward was so friendly. Everyone seems to have good and bad opinions on every cruise. We met lots of nice people on the cruise. There was so much happening on board that couples, kids and even oldsters had a great time.
my wife and i went on our first cruise in Sept. We are a young couple and we found the cruise to be great. Not to many kids, lots of couples, some singles, but no "frat party" at all. I am going to assume that it was the time of the year that we went. Kids for the most part are back in school, colleges have started etc, so most of the people on board were adult couples.
So maybe the "frat" image is only certain times of the year and possibly other cruise lines work during the other times. We would cruise Carnival again, but we will also look at other lines to see how they are.
All in all, we were cruising and we were on vacation and if you can just put your mind in the vacation mode and just not worry about everything under the sun. Just have a good time!
I've cruised on Carnival 5 times Celebrity 1 time and Royal Caribbean 1 time. I will tell you, Iam no spring chicken, but I prefer Carnival to the others. I've never been on Princess probably because of the cost. However I admit that Carnival appears have a more relaxed atomosphere and to some may be conceived as a party ship. I have seen the spring break crowd and the over 70 crowd and believe for the most part that the older more "affluent " crowd acts as though the world ows them respect. I say you earn respect by you actions. One of our better cruises was during spring break and the younger individuals were much more pleasant than some of blue hairs I have cruised with. I believe a cruise is a chance to relax and unwind not an opportunity to become a demanding, pompass ass. Keep this in mind and a good time can be had by all. Either ship be fine.
2002 Celebrity " Galaxy"
2007" Explorer of the Seas
2011 " Pride"
2014 "Adventure of the Seas"
2015 "NCL Breakaway"
2015 Celebrity "Millennium" Alaska cruise tour
My husband and I just went on the Spirit on Nov 22. We've only been on one other cruise, so I don't have a lot to compare it with, but we were greatly disappointed in several areas. One was how our room smelled of cigarette smoke every day. The people next to us chained smoked (with two toddlers in their room) and our room filled with smoke. We went to the purser several times and although they put a machine in the room to clean the air, it was a temporary measure. We also had to leave our room during that, so twice late at night we were unable to go to bed because we had to wait for the machine to clear the smoke. The pursors desk refused to talk to the neighboring room because they "didn't want to upset a guest" My husband told them that we were also guests and we were very upset, besides having our health compromised.
The food was not nearly as good as it was on the other cruise we went on (monarch of the seas)....but, they did work with my food allergy by having me pick my food out the night before then altering ingredients to make it safe for me.
We were disappointed with Acapulco, and Manzinillo (although we did the resort excursion and that was beautiful and fun). I realize, however, that my disappointment in the ports has nothing to do with the ship or with Carnival. I just expected them to be prettier.
Also, the shows were horrible compared to Monarch of the Seas. The one saving grace on shift was Jordon Addison the piano bar entertainer and the comedian on the last late night show.
We did have a great time, but it was despite the spirit, not due to it.
Hope that helps your decision.