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Pride Review - New Year's 2015

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Hi everyone. I returned Sunday from the Pride and thought I'd add my comments, with a few photos too.

 

All my cruises have been on Carnival so I can't compare it to any other lines. And I'll admit to being a Carnival cheerleader. This was a great cruise. I had read the post dry-dock comments but in my opinion, the issues have been fixed.

 

Instead of going day by day, I'll group this by topic. I'll apologize up front for 2 things...this is my first review and it's taken 4 days to figure out how to size the pictures (some are big and some are small). Also, I took no pics on New Year's Eve which I have no excuse for.

 

Cruising was me, my husband, and our 2 kids (12 and 7).

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

After a 10 hour drive that should have taken about 8 (horrendous traffic on I-75 between Gainesville and the cut off to the Florida turnpike), we arrived at the Embassy Suites, Convention Center. The hotel itself was very nice except the air conditioning was out and the room was hot. Apparently whatever caused the A/C to go out also resulted in a fire alarm the night prior and the guests were outside for 2 hours. So, it could have been worse. There was a nice manager's reception and good breakfast the next morning.

There was a nice outdoor pool but my kids said it was too cold and only lasted about 20 minutes in it.

 

 

Our Embassy Suites room:

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View from our room:

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Saturday night I received the e-mail saying the ship was delayed due to a medical emergency. Sunday morning, we got an update saying the ship was due in around 9am and boarding would be between 1 and 3pm.

 

At 9am, I got a great view of the ship arriving into port.

 

We headed to the pier at 1130 but at that point they weren't letting any cars into the drop off area (only cabs ). I'm sure we could have parked and walked over with our bags, but we didn't want to lug 6 suitcases.

 

We took a drive along Bayshore Blvd admiring the beautiful homes and returned to the pier around 1230. Dropped off our bags, parked the car and walked across the street to the terminal, through security and the Ebola screening and straight to the check in desk as we had FTTF. By the time we got our cards, they were boarding zone 18, so FTTF didn't get us on the ship any quicker but we did bypass a long line of people waiting to to check in. I'm going to guess 30 minutes max from dropping our bags to being on the ship.

 

We went straight to our room and all our bags were there.

 

We were in room 7273, a standard balcony...

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with a new tv

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Tina was our room steward. She was fantastic. Everyday she put the extra bed back into the ceiling which made the room feel much bigger...first time in 6 cruises, the room steward has ever done that.

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SHIP DECOR

I thought the ship was decorated beautifully for the holidays.

Underneath the decorations, I didn't find the decor as unappealing as others think it is. But for the first 2 days, walking down the hallways, my 7 year old son did comment (more than once) on his dislike of all the women with no tops on:eek:

 

Some of the decorations (they were removed when we woke up on the last sea day):

 

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A couple of random thoughts...

 

CLEANLINESS

 

Some of the post drydock comments were on the cleanliness of the ship. Except for a few instances, I didn't find that to be an issue at all. It seemed like someone was always cleaning.

At the gym, someone was cleaning (at 6am). One night someone was cleaning little crevices on the stairwell. I was in the laundry room ironing one night and someone came in and literally shopvac'ed out the dryers. The lido deck at night was being constantly mopped (likely to keep it dry). And there was never an issue with finding clean tables at the buffet. Even at the busiest times, they quickly cleaned the tables.

 

One morning on my way to the gym, I walked by the smoking area on the lideo and the ashtrays were full. Those clearly hadn't been emptied the night prior. Also one of the stairwells had a bucket sitting under it for almost the entire cruise to catch a leak. Those were the only cleanliness or maintenance issues I noticed.

 

SPA

I did get a hot stone massage. Overpriced of course but it was a great massage. However, the treatment room seemed to be under some weight machines. There was about a 5 minute period where it sounded like someone was dropping weights on the ground above my head. And I could hear the fitness class going on nearby. So, some spa music would have been nice. Other than that, it was great. And absolutely not a word mentioned to buy any spa products when it was over.

 

CASINO

My husband spent a lot of time in the casino, playing slots. He said some people were cashing in, but in his case, he made a bunch of donations. We did get some nice comps (chocolate covered strawberries, fruit basket, dinner for 2 at the Steakhouse) but definetely ended up on the negative end of the deal.

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FOOD

We had Anytime Dining. We usually went around 6:30 and never waited for a table. We ate in the MDR 4 times. The first 2 times took 2 hours which I thought was a bit excessive. The last 2 took about 1 1/2 hours.

We ate at the Steakhouse once which is always fantastic.

Towards the end of the cruise we ate at the Sushi restaurant. It was okay. Maybe because we went later in the week, the fish wasn't as fresh as I would have liked. My husband wasn't too happy because whatever they use to warm the sake wasn't working. So no hot sake for him.

I had a few Guys Burgers and a few Blue Iguana tacos which are my favorite.

 

ENTERTAINMENT

I did see all 4 Playlist Production shows. I enjoyed them. They are certainly not as elaborate as the full production shows but they are still entertaining. Most nights they had 2 shows. The new show played at 10:15 and the repeat show at 8:15. I thought the "80s' Pop and Rock" and "Getaway Island" were typical Playlist Productions with a lot of background graphics. "88 Keys" and "Heart of Soul" weren't quite as heavy on background videos.

I also watched a few Dive In movies. This cruise played:

Grown Ups

Ride Along

Other Woman

Fault in Our Stars (3x)

Mutant Ninja Turtles

Capt America

Divergent (2x)

Planet of the Apes

 

Even though the screen isn't real high, viewing the movies was fine. They could have used a lot more chairs (there was room for more chairs, just no chairs available). On our Magic cruise, you could check out blankets from the Towel Hut but that wasn't available. They did have popcorn, though.

 

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KIDS PROGRAMS

As always, my son loved Camp Carnival. He went most nights and a few times during the day.

This was my daughter's first time with Circle C. The first night I think she was a little surprised by the lack of organized activity (as compared to Camp Carnival where there is always something going on). By the 2nd night she had met some more friends and after that didn't spend much time in the cabin.

There were 600 kids on the cruise (2600 total passengers).

NEW YEAR'S EVE

From what I saw, most people dressed up, certainly more so than our first formal night. They had some special picture taking stations around the ship with NYE backgrounds. By 11:30 waiters were walking around with free champagne. There was a balloon drop in the Atrium. We went up to the Lido which was of course packed. There was a band that played for a while after the countdown, then the party moved to one of the lounges downstairs.

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COSTA MAYA

Our first port of call was Costa Maya. My son and I stayed at the port and swam in the pool. The pool area itself was somewhat crowded but there were lots of chairs available along the water front.

 

My husband and daughter did the Explore SCUBA excursion. My husband who is certified thought it was a good dive. Unfortunately my daughter brushed up against some coral almost as soon as she entered the water so she spent most of the excursion on the dive boat.

 

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BELIZE

Day 2 was Belize. The kids and I went cavetubing with cavetubing.bz.

 

Just before 8am we went to the Atrium for FTTF priority tendering. After 30 minutes, they finally made an announcement that tendering was delayed then we waited at least another 15 minutes before we moved. Once we did get moving, it was quick. They held some elevators for us and then we walked right on the tender.

 

Outside the terminal, we met up with a rep, they put us in a group of 13 and off we went in a minivan.

I loved this excursion. Once we arrived, we were given our lifejacket and helmet. It was about a 20 minute walk through beautiful jungle. We crossed the river three times, but it was an easy walk. We did see others carrying their tubes but not us.

 

The start of the walk:

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At the end of the path, we selected our tubes. They had standard tubes and one with a bottom and back rest. They tied all 13 together and into the river we went.

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Groups behind us getting ready to start:

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Inside the cave:

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Looking behind us as we exited the caves:

 

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I think we were in the caves about 20 minutes. Once we exited, we floated down the river for a bit longer. It was just beautiful.

 

After getting out of the river we returned to our van, dropped off 3 from our group who were going ziplining, then returned to the office which was about 10 minutes away for lunch. Lunch was chicken, rice and beans, and coleslaw with soda or rum punch. It was good and they seemed to bring you as much food as you wanted.

 

After lunch, we drove back to the port and had about an hour before the last tender.

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Thank you so much for the review and the pictures.

 

Does your husband recall the variety of slot machines? Both my mother and I are slot players (mostly the multi line video slots with bonus rounds).

 

Also, my mom is in a wheelchair - I expect that we'll want to watch a dive in movie (or two or three) when we're on the ship in March. In your opinion, is there a better spot to try for if she's in the wheelchair?

 

thanks.

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My husband thinks there were about 100 machines of different varieties. Very few of the old style slot machines with wheels, most were what I'd describe as digital, if that makes sense. I watched him play a few and I honestly could barely figure out what was a winning roll. Most were the penny machines where you could play up to $5 a roll for the max bet. There were some people winning around him, just not him so much.

 

For the movies, the screen is set up between the Blue Iguana Cantina and Guy's Burgers. I think there were about 4 rows of lounge chairs in front of the screen then one of the pools is behind the rows of chairs. On either side of the pool there were probably 4 more rows of chairs (but only 3-4 chairs in these rows). The one night I watched Divergent the lounge chairs were used up so I pulled over one of the seats from the Blue Iguana bar. I think if you sat next to the pool, you'd easily have room for a lounge chair and a wheelchair and have a great view.

A few nights there were a few kids in the pool during the movie, but they didn't seem to disturb anyone. The movie was loud enough to drown out any noise they were making.

The nights we watched the movies, we were always a bit late so I'm not sure how early you have to go to ensure a lounge chair.

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Thank you very much for your information. It's very helpful.

 

When we were on the Celebrity Equinox, at least half the machines were those old reel machines and it felt really limiting.

 

I love movies and am very excited to sit up on deck with popcorn and enjoy a movie while at sea.

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ROATAN

 

In Roatan we did the Zip and Dip tour with Victor Bodden. Our scheduled meeting time was 9am but we docked early and we were at the meeting place by 8:20. I think we were the only ones scheduled for this particular tour because they put us in a car and off we went so it ended up being a private tour.

 

We started at Victor Bodden's home and were the first ones on the ziplines for the day. I had never done it before so the first step off the platform was bit nerve racking but after that it was fine. It was very fun. And of course the kids loved it. The next few pics were taken by one of the guides. He had a camera and afterward, you could purchase the CD for $20.

 

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After the zipline we saw the animals:

 

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Including this one who surprised me by jumping on my head:

 

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ROATAN (cont)

 

A few more animal pictures

 

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After seeing the animals, we went on a tour of the West End then went to the West Bay to the beach. We went to the Bananarama beach resort. We had a lounge chair provided. There was food and drinks for purchase as well as snorkel gear to rent. They also had parasailing available. My kids just swam in the ocean. There were a lot of vendors walking around but they weren't pushy at all. We stayed about 1.5 hours. We could have stayed an additional hour but I wanted to get back with some time to shop at the pier. At Victor Bodden's there was a small gift shop with some mahogany items. Their prices were cheaper than the same item at the pier.

 

A view of the water at Bananarama. The brown thing beyond the boat is a dive platform that a bunch of people were jumping off of.

 

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After we finished at the beach we returned to the pier then back to the ship.

 

This pic I took from my balcony.

 

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I thought Roatan was beautiful and would have loved more time there.

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GRAND CAYMAN

Our last port was Grand Cayman where we rode horses with Pampered Ponies.

We were picked up near the pier and it was about a 20 minute drive to Pampered Ponies. Lori is the owner and she was wonderful to work with.

She has a beautiful piece of property:

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Some of the horses:

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There were 7 on our ride. We just did the beach ride. Our ride was about 1.5 hours along a beautiful beach. The other family with us did the ocean swim which was about 2 hours total.

 

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SHORE EXCURSIONS:

 

In Belize, Roatan and Grand Cayman, my husband did the 2 tank dives through Carnival. He enjoyed them all. On each trip, there were 18-20 divers per excursion.

 

 

LAST SEA DAY

On our last sea day, we did the Dr. Suess which was really cute. They had an 8:30 and a 9:45 seating and it was $5 per person. We were able to use our VIFP Free Drink coupons at this too.

Ice sculpture as you enter:

 

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Thing 1 and Thing 2, Cat in the Hat and Sam I Am walked around for pictures:

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DEBARKATION:

 

Debarkation was very smooth. Our zone was called at 9:20. We walked off the ship, got our luggage and went through customs quickly. The porter took the luggage all the way back to the parking garage. By 10:00 we were on I-275 headed back to the real world.

So that's the end of the review. Overall, we thought it was a great cruise. We didn't notice any real issues. I liked the size of the ship and all the new upgrades. The staff was always friendly and helpful. We would certainly cruise the Pride again.

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GRAND CAYMAN

Our last port was Grand Cayman where we rode horses with Pampered Ponies.

We were picked up near the pier and it was about a 20 minute drive to Pampered Ponies. Lori is the owner and she was wonderful to work with.

She has a beautiful piece of property:

 

How much was this excursion?

 

 

Sent from my iPad using Forums

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Because we were on for New Year's, our second formal night ended up being New Year's Eve (which was Belize for us). I think from what other's said, it's normally Thursday/Mahogany Bay.

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So that's the end of the review. Overall, we thought it was a great cruise. We didn't notice any real issues. I liked the size of the ship and all the new upgrades. The staff was always friendly and helpful. We would certainly cruise the Pride again.

 

Wonderful, detailed review, thanks! We leave in 6 days (!!). :)

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Excellent review. I was on the same sailing (and agree with all of your comments. Anyone reading negative reviews on the Pride should consider the problems to have been fixed. I really can't think of any complaints that we had.

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Great review - we will be on the pride for the 1st time on Jan. 25th - same itinenary.

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We have booked the cave tubing/ zip lining with Vitalino also. Our biggest fear is not making it back to the boat in time. Do you think that there is truly enough time to make it back to the boat in time?

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Was Belize the only port that you had to tender to?

 

I've been trying to figure out where to find that information, but have not been successful.

 

Great review, thanks for taking the time.

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Was Belize the only port that you had to tender to?

 

I've been trying to figure out where to find that information, but have not been successful.

 

Great review, thanks for taking the time.

 

According to the Carnival website in FAQ's, Belize, Caymans and sometimes Cozumel are tender ports

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We tendered in Belize and Grand Cayman.

 

I had read a lot of reviews on cavetubing.bz and never saw any comments about cutting it close with getting back to the ship on time. We were back with 1 hour until the last tender. And we had arrived into port that morning almost an hour late. If you arrive into port on time, you should have even more time to spare.

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Thank You so much for the review. We have been thinking of this itinerary on the Pride vs taking a 6 day Breeze itinerary and one of the biggest hurdles is ship condition. We live in Tampa so it is so much easier and an extra almost always wins!

 

I take it the difference is more decor than "run down" is that true?

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Thanks for the review. I was on the Pride in 2013 and can't wait to see the changes in October. So so glad to see that they have come into the 21st century and replaced those hideous tv's with flat screens. We couldn't see a thing last cruise, while I don't watch tv on a cruise I love to see where we are and the view from the bridge.

 

 

Sent using the Cruise Critic forums app

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Thanks for your review!!! Any pics of the new water park area

 

I'm sorry I didn't take any pictures of it. It's smaller than the Waterworks area on the Dream or the Magic. There are 2 big slides. A yellow spiral slide and the Green Thunder, which is the one where the bottom drops out. There are some smaller slides for kids and I think a dump bucket.

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Thank You so much for the review. We have been thinking of this itinerary on the Pride vs taking a 6 day Breeze itinerary and one of the biggest hurdles is ship condition. We live in Tampa so it is so much easier and an extra almost always wins!

 

I take it the difference is more decor than "run down" is that true?

 

I agree it's more in decor. I haven't been on the Breeze but from the pictures I've seen the decor on Pride is "heavy" and a bit darker, in some areas.

 

It's mainly in the atrium and the hallways to the cabins. The hallways are all filled with the same "art" just in different colors on each deck. Part of the art is a topless lady and one is a man with a fig leaf (hence the comments from my 7 year old). The atrium is full of what I call old European art (people with minimal clothing on).

 

The Lido buffet is a mermaid theme which I liked and the Dining Room is nicely done in light colors.

 

We had thought about the Breeze for New Year's but chose this for the extra day.

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