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My family and I were on the Pride 5/30 sailing and had a fabulous time. We were so sad that it had to end. Rather than giving an exhaustive review (which has already been done quite nicely), I thought I would just list some of our highlights along with some things that fall in the category of "boy, I wish I would have known about that before." I thinking cruising is a great experience, and for me, I like not knowing too much beforehand because that kinda spoils some of the intrigue, excitement, and surprise that goes with the whole cruise experience. Anyway, if you have any questions feel free to ask.
We drove from our home in Phoenix to Long Beach on Saturday and arrived at about 2:00. We stayed at the Coast Long Beach, which we thought was an excellent hotel and it's right on the water. We paid $160 and that included tax, 2 free breakfasts, parking, and shuttle to and from the cruise terminal. The hotel overlooks the bay and you have a great view of the Queen Mary and the Pride. For best views, ask for a room in either building 2 or 3. We hung around the pool for a few hours and then walked over to check out the QM and terminal. There was a car show and tatoo show going on that day (quite a few scary people, I might add) and it was very crowded so we didn't stay long. We decided to grab an early dinner and took the free LB shuttle called the Roundabout to downtown LB and ate at Kings on Pine Street. If you do this, make sure you get on the right shuttle back (it's the "C" line) because we got on the wrong one and went about 5 blocks the wrong direction before we realized our mistake and had to double back!!
We took the hotel shuttle and arrived at the baggage station around 10:00. Early check-in at the QM was a breeze, but the rest was a pain. We waited in line for 2 1/2 hours - first in line, by the way! For those not familiar with the LB terminal, you have to stand in line outside the terminal. No seating inside like at San Pedro. We boarded at 12:30 and were on the ship 10-15 minutes later.
We were pleasantly surprised by the room - not only the decor and layout, but the size as well. We were in 6297 (balcony) and the kids were across the way in an inside room. Our room was the most spacious I have ever been in and very clean, new, and well-appointed. The balcony probably wasn't worth it because on this itinerary you don't get to use it too much, but most of the outside cabins are balconies anyway and that's better than an inside. Oh, by the way, I packed a 12-pack of beer in a checked bag and it was fine. I had the room steward open the refrigerator and I moved some of the mini-bar stuff to the closet and stocked the beer - worked great!
Sunday was a gorgeous day in Long Beach - sunny and high 70's. Monday at sea was cloudy and cool; Tuesday at sea was sunny and very nice. The ports were hot and humid, with PV being the most humid. Saturday at sea was very windy, cloudy, and cold. Being a shorts and t-shirt person (hey, I'm from Phoenix!) I wish I would have at least brought a sweatshirt for Saturday. Even inside on the ship it's kinda cool, plus you're always walking by doors that open out to the decks. So pack yourself a pair of jeans and a sweatshirt and you'll be glad you did.
First, let me just say that I am by no means a food conissiour (can't even spell it, probably!). I guess I eat for substance more that treating it as a social event. Still I have traveled enough that I can tell good food from bad and I would rate the Pride's food as above average - not great, but not awful either. We ate in the dining room every night and the Mermaids Grille for breakfast and lunch (and in between, of course.) My biggest complaint is the dining times in the dining room. 5:45 is too early, and 8:15 is too late. 6:30 would have been perfect. I know there is nothing they can do about this on the Pride, but I like the ships that have two separate dining rooms and can stagger two early and two late seatings. We didn't eat at David's - I can't see paying an extra $25/pp when you can eat in the dining room for free.
Cruise Director - Okay, here's where I might step on some toes but please bear with me. For the first few days, we were not very impressed with the CD. While I don't think it appropriate to criticize someone in a public forum such as this, let me just say that INITIALLY he did not meet our expectations (based on past cruises) of a CD: someone with a lot of enthusiasm, very gregarious, and exciting personality. HOWEVER, as the cruise went on we became more and more enamored with him as his true personality started coming out at some of the shows and acitivites. By the end of the curise, we thought he was one of the best Cruise Directors we have ever had!! So my point in bringing all of this up is give him a chance and don't judge him too early, and don't miss any of his activities and fun events....especially the Mary and Lido deck bits!! We skipped the Talent Show (who wants to see a bunch of ametures perform) and unfortunately missed Greg do his famous bed time story. We did catch it on tv reruns and it was hilarious. In fact, at breakfast the following morning we sat with a couple and the wife attended the show (the husband skipped it, too) and she said it was the funniest thing she had ever seen. She said that she woke up in the middle of the night still laughing about it!
Overall, the entertainment was excellent - appropriate for all ages (except for Jerome's R-rated late night show), and there were plenty of activities going on daily; more than any other cruise we have been on. For me, having fun on ship is just as important as doing fun things in port. And the Pide ranks at the top in fun activities and entertainment. Heck, I even made it to the finals of the blackjack tournament!!
We did Las Caletas in PV and it was excellent. However, be forewarned that the boat ride over can be a little rough. We saw several people have the big spit!!! In Mazatlan, we did King David's Stone Island Tour and that was also very good. The kids loved the horse riding. For Cabo, we were originally booked for the pirate ship (Sunderland), but is was canceled because the ship was in dry dock for reparirs. So we just walked around Cabo, shopped, and drank some beers in the outdoor bars.
We were the second baggage color called (after the early flight people and VIPs) and were off the ship by 8:30 - an all-time first!! Usually you have to wait around forever, but this time we got lucky. We were still in our rooms finishing getting dressed when they called our color. Amazing! It took about 30 minutes to get through immigration and customs. I called the hotel shuttle (they gave us a card with their direct number when they dropped us off) on my cell as soon as we exited the terminal and the guy picked us up in the parking garage area within 10 minutes. We were in our car and on the way back home by 9:40.
Nice review! We are also staying at the Coast Long Beach the night before and I am happy to read that it is a nice hotel. We have booked a corner room with a pullout couch. What type of room did you have?
What kind of restaurant is Kings? What else, besides the sweatshirt, would you make sure you packed for another cruise to the Riviera? Anything special for the stateroom?? Did you take a camera, if so what type (digital or film)?
Sorry for so many questions, but just getting prepared for our cruise in September. We are also from Arizona, so the sweatshirt thing kinda made me laugh.
Our room at the Coast was a bay view. We had two queen beds in the room and there was a table with chairs and a desk. Nothing elaborate, but roomy and comfortable. Also, the bay view rooms have balconies and so that was really nice. Make sure you request a room in building 2 or 3 because those have the best views.
Kings is a seafood restaurant on Pine Street just off Ocean Blvd. I had fried shrimp which was very good, but they also have beef and chicken dishes. Kids had hamburgers probably.
September may be warmer weather on the cruise down to the Riveria than what we had, but I'm not sure. I think the weather is pretty much the same year around. The cool parts are along the coast of California until you get about half-way down the baja.
We had a digital camera and took about a hundred pictures. Oh, the joys of digital! Again, you will be pleasantly surprised with your stateroom (if you have a balcony), it was the best we have ever had - very roomy. I took a bungee cord (as recommended by previous posters) to hold the balcony door opened and that worked out well. Didn't use the balcony alot because it was either too cold (or too humid) or we were in port or on the ship doing some kind of activity.
Great review, SunDevil. Glad to hear Greg grew on you. He really is a great CD!
And I can speak from experience about that boat ride over to Las Caletas. We did that Rhythms of the Night tour over there in the evening (as a replacement for the cancelled Sunsent Pirate Ship Cruise, in drydock as you mentioned, in Puerto Vallarta though.) That boat ride is downright dangerous if you're in any way susceptible to seasickness and didn't prepare for it. I NEVER get seasick, but boy - that boat ride killed that whole evening for me.
Thanks again for all the great information! Glad you had a good time.
5/9/04 Pride Cruise - 1st Cruise!
Click here for links to The Review
We are from sunny Chandler, Arizona and we are going on the Pride October 10th. We booked a 7A cabin (partially obstructed view) to save a little money. I was considering a change to an unobstructed balcony, but it sounds as if you are not in your room to much. I do not think I could do an inside cabin, so I am glad that we decided on the 7A. Any advice for a better cruise would be great. We are first timers. Thanks.
We too were on the Pride 5/30 and we are almost 100% in agreement with you. We were in 6200 and had the balcony door open almost the entire time in good weather sailing and always in port. We do like the fresh air, or in some cases, the option... If you do get a balcony, make sure to bring a bungee cord to keep it open.
We also agree on Greg. It took some time for him to really "shine" and he was among the things we missed when we left - besides a major carb withdrawal!
We were expecting a "ho-hum amateur boring but kinda funny" talent show and were amazed that the cruisers chosen were absolutely outstanding (in our opinion...). One person wrote lyrics and music is a dedication, the country western singer bordered on professional, and the female in the rap duo (hardly our kind of music...) could probably get a gig on her own.
MarkLodi's review gave us so much information we were almost on overload, but everytime we turned around he was right - with one exception - the Countryside Adventure. Perhaps if we had Sergio for a guide and stopped at a different restaurant... It is well worth the reading - not just for the Pride but for experiencing a cruise on any ship (too well written for a MIS type Mark - but if you say so)
We did horsebackriding with Randi in Mazatlan and can't recommend her highly enough. Tried a waverunner in Cabo but the wind created too choppy seas and had to quit early.
We too stayed at the Coast Hotel and it is the only way to go if you need to stay in Long Beach before a cruise. Not a five-star, but clean, decent food, and only a 10 minute walk to the terminal. If we had to do it all over, we'd stay there again.
We are still missing the Pride - a great ship - and the "Prowlers"
Pukka (& Noodles)
Nordic Prince 4/89
Galaxy 6/99 (Married aboard ship)
Regal Princess 9/02
Pride 5/04 (5th Anniversary of our "Trip"
Sorry about the Countryside Adventure; I hope I didn't mislead you there. We really did have a great time. It's definitely more "countryside" than "adventure", but being our first time to Mexico, we loved it. Really sorry it didn't turn out better for you.
But I'm very happy the rest of the cruise was great for you! We're desparately trying to figure out how to get back on the Pride again soon - maybe even later this year.
5/9/04 Pride Cruise - 1st Cruise!
Click here for links to The Review
I live in Southern California and it should be a lot warmer on day one and day six sea days on the Pride in September. The spring tends to bring us June gloom along the coast. Which occurs in May and June. September should be warm and great. It will be very muggy with possible thundershowers as you sail south. I'm sure September and October will be great. We are on the pride in September.
I live in So Cal too and I'm very familiar with our June gloom. I've sailed out of Long Beach to Enseneda on the Ecstasy in September and that time of the year, the weather was stil lousy as far south as Ensenada. I think you need to get south of Cabo before you really notice a change in the weather and where you get more sun.
Cruise with Mom- Early 80th birthday celebration!!
Since our 5/30/04 sailing on the Pride in aft cabin 4228!
Thanks for your post...we are sailing (driving from Wichita KS) 5/29/05...I've been concerned about the weather as we want it very warm for tanning on deck every day including the day we leave....So, I'm not sure about this date...Also looked at someones posted caper papers and saw the kids stuff called out ages 12 -15 nothing for 16 - 18...the elation had group stuff for 16 -18 (3 boys 16, 16 & 18 at 5/30/05)....also noted that the karote singing was adult only on 3 nights,..my kids like that nd I have gifted son with a good voice...So, what I'm trying to say is that I think I want to cancel and go out of New Orleans (hate to go on the elation because we've been on it, but had a blast!)...oh well, would like to hear your feedback...