Basics: My husband and I took our kids (8 and 11) for their first cruise. We had previously cruised on the Conquest which was just a downer all the way around for us. We had decided to give Carnival a second chance with the PRIDE out of Long Beach.
We stayed pre-cruise at the Hyatt Long Beach. Nice enough hotel, and cute little area to walk around shopping or eating, but lousy staff. Rude at the desk, rude at the coffee bar, rude at valet, etc...etc....
We barely cared at this point because we were excited to board the PRIDE.
We arrived at the Carnival Cruise Terminal WAY too early around 8:30. The Carnival staff lingering around were very friendly though and just asked us to step over toward the porters area for another hour. Even as the porters were very busy with deparking PRIDE customers, they still always greeted us and offered to come back and "get us" when it was time to start the embarking process. We had many offers and took the first one who grabbed our luggage. We then proceeded over to the Queen Mary for early check in. We were greeted with smiles the whole, short walk and through the check in process. We were very pleased already by this point since our experience on the Conquest out of New Orleans by embarking point was already a nightmare.
Early check in gave us Zone 1 passes and we went and lined up behind the sign. We were first in line. Long Beach is a very laid back, casual kind of embarking atmosphere. We were totally relaxed before we even boarded. People were even sleeping in the grass. Catching rays...etc....In comparison, the New Orleans port (when we cruised the Conquest) was filled with chaos and people yelling and Carnival employees making demands of you (no wonder everyone headed straight to the bar on that embarking process).
Back to Long Beach. These Carnival ladies and gents handling the embarking process were so helpful, but they also kept things organized in strong fashion! They meant business and I liked their style!
Hippity Hop.....on the ship in no time once things started rolling. No confusion, no problems......yes, they take lots of pictures and yes, of course Carnival is always trying to sell something the whole week long....but, it just doesnt bother me. That's what the words "no thanks" is for.
CD Greg Kneale is now retired and this was Steve Knisleys (sp?) first week as CD replacing Greg for now. Steve is hyper as heck (loved it). No skipping around and ho humming with this guy. He gets it out, says it all and gets you back on your way to having fun!! He did a great job and we really enjoyed him. WAY TO GO STEVE!!!!!!!!!!
One more thing in this Part I series.......as you board the ship and walk around, you are greeted by all staff and crew with genuine joy and smiles. Are they dying inside from exhaustion (probably) but I swear they never showed it.....not once our whole cruise with them.......AMAZING!!! Even in the Mermaid Grille where we ate most of the time, they were constantly assisting us and our kids.....with that everlasting smile!!!
Part II........soon! Questions? Just ask........
Carnival Legend 2011
Carnival Miracle 2007
Mariner of the Seas 2006
Carnival PRIDE 2005
Carnival CONQUEST 2003