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PRIDE Review, 2/13 Sailing

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Carnival Pride, 2/13 Sailing

 

We sailed on the Elation in 1998 on this same itinerary, but because of a last minute opportunity, we booked again (with less than 25 days left) -- to our surprise, we got upgraded to an extended balcony (above the life boats) on Deck 6.

 

We live in Northern Nevada, so we drove to Long Beach mid week before the cruise, and stayed at the Best Western in San Pedro. We had a nice couple days going various places in the greater Long Beach area – but we’re not LA people, and hated the traffic. We went to the pier on Saturday and checked things out – so we could get the layout and logistics clear in our minds. Ok, I’m an engineer type – I like to know what’s up.

 

EARLY CHECK IN/EMBARKATION

 

We arrived at the pier at 9:15AM, and they were just beginning off loading the prior cruise. I dropped off the DW on the main floor of the parking structure and had to drive around several floors before finding an open spot. Once I got back down stairs, we moved our bags over near the disembarking passengers, and made contact with a Carnival agent. He got us new baggage tags (correct color for cabin upgrade), and got a porter to secure our bags. I followed him to be sure they got on the baggage "train", as things were a bit crowed with the disembarking passengers.

 

We walked the short ways over to the Queen Mary, and went inside for Early Check-in – it was barely 9:30AM. There were only 3 agents, but only one family group being served, so we got served right way. We’ve cruised before on Carnival, and so I recalled that you really only need the Credit Card form from the blue document book – wrong. She wanted the boarding pass for too. Oh well, she just printed off something, signed and stamped it. Anyway, 10 minutes top and we were on our way, Sail & Sign cards in hand.

 

You can get a discounted tour of the Queen Mary, but we opted to just go wait in line. (We did talk to some ladies that the Ghosts Tour took you down in the dark & damp part of the ship – where several in their party got sick later in the cruise from the moldy conditions.) The weather was on the cool side, but not bad. We sat on benches near the main doors (left side) and people watched till 11AM. At that point we moved right over by the door and the line quickly formed in behind us. Some time around Noon they let a wedding party (or two, and perhaps some VIP’s) in, and at 12:30 they started taking us. X-ray security scans 1st, Welcome Aboard photos next ,then Sail & Sign digital pictures. We’re walking on board by 12:45! I was eating a Ruben by 1:15!

 

CABIN/SHIP

 

We had Cabin 6220, port side aft of mid ship, Empress Deck 6. The balconies on these cabins are perhaps 6’deep, and are positioned above the row of life boats. Our cabin was the first in the series, so we had a solid wall on one side (forward) – resulting in a wind shield of sorts while at sea. Cabins are all pretty much the same – twin beds (separate or joined as oversize queen), sofa, 4 drawer dresser/vanity counter, 3 closets (mix of adjustable shelves or wardrobe), bathroom with shower/toilet/vanity sink. As others have noted – there is a hair dryer located in the top drawer of the cabin vanity/dresser. The mini bar fridge is locked, and we never asked for it to be unlocked, as we left our own water bottles (we carried on 6 in carry on's) un-chilled.

 

Our cabin Stewart Nur was very nice, but we have had more attentive ones. I present him with a 120 minute Phone Card at our initial meeting, and he was pleased – calling us by name all week. Carnival states that your Cabin staff is available only during certain hours – this may explain why some other reviewers said they didn’t get serviced as expected. We had a mixed bag, sometimes the room was made up by Noon, other times not. If we wanted to nap and the room wasn’t made up, we just hung the DO NOT DISTRUBE sign out, and left as is. Bathrobes and beach/deck towels we’re placed in room the 1st day for our use.

 

The ship is decorated in a Greek & Renaissance art style. Others have commented on the nude paintings and art work, so we weren’t surprised nor offended. This period art is not our thing, but it’s done nicely and in good taste (in our view). All modern cruise ships are decorated somewhat "over the top" in using vivid colors and lots of lights – the Pride is fairly typical. The ships generators are running full time and so are all the lights. We thought that the ship was especially clean – despite the wear and tear the Cabin hallways get. I saw repairs taking place on cracked floor tiles and nicks in walls – so they do try.

 

Decks 2 & 3 contain the shops, Purser Desk, the bulk of the lounges/bars and the main show lounge. The layout is typical, with a large mid-ship atrium area. The Dining room (Normandie Dining Room) is aft and is 2 floors – while the show lounge (Taj Mahal) is forward and covers 3 decks. The Casino on the Pride is the largest we’ve ever seen – and occupies the full width of the ship. Even though you have to walk through the casino, the open pathways is easy and obsticle free. Smoking is allowed in most of the public areas, but we were never aware of heavy smoke, except in Rapheal’s Jazz club (cigar lounge) just outside the dinning room on the 3rd floor.

 

The Lido Deck 9 has the Mermaid Grill - buffet type eatery. It isn’t really a buffet line, but rather a series of specialty areas. A Deli, a salad bar, a "Taste of Nations" counter (each day had different international themed dishes), dessert area, grill area, etc. Things moved along as well as can be expected with 1000+ people milling about with trays & drinks in hand. The wait staff does a great job cleaning off tables and making tables available. We never lost our spots while we went off in search of another goody – but you might want to leave someone behind during the real busy times. Other reviews have commented on the availability of soda cards and the free drinks, but I was surprised by the nice plastic mugs/cups used for all the drinks. While they might look cheap, they served the need and I thought fit the bill.

 

The pools/spa/deck areas on Lido are typical – get their early if you want a deck lounger. Others have commented on the wet/slick floors – and we would agree. The staff is constantly on mop patrol – I would think a non-skid floor would have been a better fit. We did miss the deck chairs/loungers on the open Promenade walking deck that other ships have. The pool slide on the Pride isn’t -- it begins on the 11 Sun deck and goes down to 10, but not into a pool. Kids didn’t seam to mind, and did help eliminate crowding around the pools. We had intended to use the hot tub/spa’s, but we never really had time. The Bar staff in/around the pools is excellent, and we never saw anyone miss an opportunity to get what they wanted.

 

DINING

 

We had Late Seating (8:15) – although we had ask for Early (5:45). We left it at Late so we could see how that worked (all previous cruises we’d had early). We were seated at a round table (238) for 6, toward the rear of the main floor. This worked out perfect, as we could view all the activities, plus had excellent service by Goran & Victoria! We were blessed with terrific table partners David & Aurora! Overall the food was excellent. Some nights the DW had trouble, as the menu didn’t have anything she really enjoyed – but we never went without. Portions are reasonable – so dieting aside, you won’t get over stuffed. The DW and I would order different desserts, then share – that way we got something extra every night. We thought it odd that they didn’t have a Mexician meal option at least once during the week. Others have mentioned the Matri D, a mix of Jesse Ventura, Governor Arnold and the voice of "Old Blue Eyes" – very entertaining.

 

The Mermaid Grill - Lido Deck 10, was very good – with interesting daily variations. The famous Ruben & pizza is a fact, plus their burgers & steak sandwiches aren’t half bad either! The self serve ice cream is nice, albeit typical frozen mix quality. We never used David’s alternative dining room – and from the comments we heard, it was a mixed bag. I suspect it’s like any fancy restaurnt, it’s a mater of personal choice. I will say I participated in a wine class in David’s, and the Wine Steward was very knowledgeable. You have to try the glass stair case up into David’s – it hangs out over the open atrium – WOO!

 

LOUNGE/BARS

 

We didn’t do the famous Pride Pub Crawl, but did manage to have a drink in most all of the lounge areas over the course of the cruise. Here again, I think it’s personal tastes that make for a great experience. We enjoyed Paul in the Atrium Bar area, followed by the Jazz Trio in Rapheal’s on Deck 3 outside the dining room. It’s odd, but there were piano’s all over the ship, but few were ever used (not even the autoCD play). We thought that perhaps with late seating dinner, we’d get more lounge/music time – but this wasn’t the case. The schedule between 6 and 8 was pretty much dead – so much for a little drink & dance before dinner. The other odd Lounge area was Butterfly’s, deck 1 forward (under the Taj Mahal show theater). There was a M/F vocal couple (Dale & Patti) scheduled in there, but the 3-4 times we stopped by, the place was either empty, or they we playing to perhaps 1-2 couples. I trust it was just a timing thing on our part. Nice big dance area however.

 

EVENING SHOWS

 

We always enjoy the productions shows, and we weren’t too disappointed – but not overly impressed either. The dancers were all very good, the 2 lead vocalists VERY good – but overall the themes of the production were only so so. Perhaps we’ve just been on enough cruises to be a little tired of Vegas reviews. There were a couple comedic acts, and those were entertaining as well – although fairly predictable. We didn’t attend the Mexican Folkloric show, as we’ve seen/heard enough of them over the years – but understand it was very good.

 

Now I’ll have to say, we don’t typically attend the Talent Shows – but we knew from reading here, that Greg does his Bedtime Story afterwards, so we went. The talent was surprisingly good. I think Greg could make anyone at ease on stage, and his Bedtime story is proof positive. I won’t spoil it for those of you who haven’t seen it – but believe you me, we roared with laughter for 30+ minutes. Greg (who I hope reads this), it was great – and we loved the"grotchets"! The "STOP or I’ll SH_T !" was to die for! The PRIDE has been fortunate to have such a great Cruise Director – and his shoes will be hard to fill. Greg, all the best in retirement in PV – and don’t be a stranger here on CC. Let us know when you write that book!

 

ACTIVITIES

 

The Pride does an above average job of presenting activities to fill the day. Things like the Pub Crawl, Red/White/Blue Teams and Signature Hunt make Greg and his staff stand out. Tori was a bundle of energy! While we never won at BINGO or scored big in the Casino, there’s plenty to do. Now some people have commented about all the "commercials" being announced – from art auctions and vacation deals to credit cards and gold jewelry sales – it’s a fact of life on a cruise ship. Actually, we were pleased to realize these announcements weren’t broadcast into our cabin (so nap time was great!) Besides, this is our vacation time – and we don’t have to do anything! Just relax and enjoy.

 

PORTS

 

We didn’t do much as far as excursions, so I won’t bore you with my sunburnt feet/snorkling trip story. I will say that since we were last on this itinerary in 1998 these ports of call have matured and grown to become really fine stops. Downtown PV wasn’t to be recognized by us. Very clean and the shops are really become more upscale. From everyone we visited with, the excursions were all enjoyable. It is nice having full days in port, that allows you more options. We enjoy a meal downtown in PV, but didn’t do the wild and crazy in Mazatlan or Cabo – we left that to the 30–something crowd.

 

CRUISERS

 

Carnival is the "Fun Ship" cruise line, and there is nothing bad or wrong about that! Consequently, the age profile was more 30-50’s, a few older, and quit a few younger. We thought perhaps there would be fewer children on a Valentine’s Cruise, but there was 200 or so – generally well behaved. The past cruiser party was full, so Carnival is doing good with repeat cruisers (this was our 3rd on Carnival, 6th overall).

 

We are people watchers, be it by the Lido pool or in the lounge areas. It’s always a kick to see how people behave – and dress! For those of you 1st time cruisers, don’t fret about what to wear – as you’ll see everything there is. We do however enjoy formal nights, and would encourage everyone to get dressed up for at least one of the 2 formal nights – and stay dressed for the evening. It is great to see the ladies dressed to kill and a handsome guy in tow! We try and cruise over Valentines Day, as it brings out the romantics among us, and this cruise was no exception. We did a fun door decoration, complete with scratch-off romance cards (that got all taken by Valentine’s evening….. hummmmmmmmmm).

 

OVERALL

 

This was easily the most relaxing cruise we’ve taken. You have lots of choices when you plan a cruise vacation, and for us – this one fit our desires. You will hear people complain about this and that on a cruise – but for us it’s more about being with each other, relaxing, enjoying the luxury and service that the Staff provides. The Pride is a great ship, and we will return to her someday.

 

We would be happy to answer any questions any of you might have. Contact us at ccNVcpl@yahoo.com Ken & Sue Jones

 

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What an excellent review! That bedtime story was something wasn't it? And Crotch-it-ing... Hilarious! I cant wait to go again!!! Thank you!

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My family and I were also on the Pride that week. Just starting to get rid of my sea legs. I'm wondering if your comment about a family group at the your 9:45 check time at the Queen Mary was Us? It was about the time we checked in and their was 7 of us. It was great , no line.

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Thanks for the great review. I am sailing on the Pride in April and wonder if you can tell me which nights are the Formal nights and do you know if it is always the same nights on each cruise?

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Monday Captain Cocktail Party.

 

Friday Farewell Party.

 

Those nights are the same on the Pride

each cruise because of port days and

because you have to pack on Sat.

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Great pictures! Question..... Is the Krystal walking distance from the ship or did you need to take a taxi? Also, were you able to just walk into the pool area or did you need a day pass?? TIA!

 

Linda

87 days to PRIDE!

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Great pictures! Question..... Is the Krystal walking distance from the ship or did you need to take a taxi? Also, were you able to just walk into the pool area or did you need a day pass?? TIA!

 

Linda

87 days to PRIDE!

 

It is a 5 to 10 minute walk. No you do not need a pass. Just walk in. The employees will welcome you. You may see ship personel there as they like the massages.

We hung out and ordered drinks so we wouldn't feel so bad about using the beautiful facilities.

If you do not like street/beach vendors then stay away from the side of the pool next to the beach. The pool area is very large and you do not have to be anywhere near them.

Have a blast and come back with a review...

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wwakla,

 

Thanks for the info and the tip about the pool/beach side. I think I may just have to check it out. Will be sure to post review upon my return.

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9 days till we board the PRIDE!!!!!!!!!

 

Thank you so much for the review!

 

ciship

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Thanks for the great review of the ship and your experiences! The information you've shared it very helpfyul!

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Thanks for the review, my wife and I and 20 or so 40-50 somethings are going in July, I am sooo looking forward to it. Our 4th cruise and 1st on CCL. Thanks again!

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