Jump to content
Cruise Critic Community

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

Sailfish

Review of the Pride: 11/21/04

Recommended Posts

Part One

Let me begin by saying we had a very enjoyable cruise, and would do this voyage again in a heart beat. However, if you are new to cruising or to Carnival, there may be things that catch you off guard, so I will address those issues and provide you with some helpful information so you can avoid some of the pitfalls that often accompany a cruise vacation. As with all reviews you read online, please take what others and I say with a grain of salt. This is but one reviewer’s opinion.

 

My husband and I reserved this cruise over a year in advance of the sail date mainly to lock in an early booking discount, which proved to be a smart thing to do. I booked this cruise using an online travel agency that gave me the best price, undercutting other online agents and the cruise line back in April 2003. I recommend you contact several travel agents and the cruise line and go with the best price. I have found booking early with Carnival to be most advantageous. Not necessarily the case with other cruise lines, but I have found that Carnival never refunds the difference in price when rates go down. As cruise pricing goes up one day and down the next, booking as far out as possible seems to insure one gets the lowest rate. If prices go up later, then down again, I tend to come out a head usually. It was $250pp to deposit the cruise; all monies paid into our booking were 100% refundable through 70 days prior to our departure. We had no reason to cancel this trip, however, it was nice to know there were no cancellation fees involved had it been necessary to do so.

 

As we reside in California, we drove to the pier. Check in began around 9am aboard the Queen Mary in Long Beach. We arrived at the Queen Mary check in counter around 10am. We dropped off our luggage, processed our cruise documentation and walked around the Queen Mary until noon, when it was time to line up for the cruise by the terminal. The check-in process was relatively painless, however, we waited in line outside in excess of 2 hours before being able to board the ship. Many people we spoke with in line had been there since 10am, assuming they could be on the ship by noon! Wrong! We were informed by crew later in the week that every so often there is a mandatory immigration check that delays embarkation. The entire process is very well orchestrated, but there is no denying that waiting in line outside for long periods of time is annoying, yet there seems nothing anyone can do. If you find yourself in this situation, I recommend you buy a Bloody Mary from a nearby kiosk and make friends with the people next to you! It made the wait a little more bearable.

 

Once on the ship, we proceeded to our stateroom, dropped off our carry-on's and went to lunch. Our first impressions of the ship were probably not as favorable as those taking a cruise for the first time, as we had sailed aboard the Navigator last year that was a much larger, more beautiful ship. But as we walked around, we came to appreciate the atrium and the ship's decor. Our stateroom and all public areas we visited were spotless, staff aboard the Pride were very friendly and our first visit to the Mermaid's Grill & Buffet impressed us enough that we ate both breakfast and lunch there every day.

 

Our Stateroom

 

We booked a category 4A inside stateroom guarantee and received a category 5 outside cabin with an obstructed view. Our upgraded cabin was very nice, located on deck 4. It had ceiling to floor French doors that could open like a balcony, but had a railing instead. There wasn't much to see, as there was a lifeboat blocking our view, but the windows provided lots of natural light which was great. There were two twin beds that were pushed together for us, lots of storage space with cabinets, shelving and even a small refrigerator with mini bar items (which you had to pay for). You can ask your room steward to remove its contents, however, the refrigerator never got cold enough for us to store our beer or soda, so we didn't have him remove its contents. It was best to keep our drinks from home on ice as needed.

 

All outside cabins come with robes (inside rooms do not). There was a basket of soap, toothpaste and shampoo samples on the counter in the bathroom, and some shampoo and body wash in pump dispensers in the shower. The basket is NOT refilled. The hair dryer was attached to a drawer in the vanity, and I found it very annoying to have to hold down the "on" button when in use. I would recommend you bring your own, but I suppose if you didn't have much hair to dry, the one in the room would probably be okay as well.

 

Our stateroom and bathroom were cleaned and picked up twice a day. The stateroom attendants have specific hours they are available, so it is important to contact your room steward with any special requests when he/she is available. It will do no good to request extra towels at 1pm, as he is available only from 7am -10am and 5pm-10pm! I found our room steward to be very pleasant and accommodating, but I have to admit, short of two small requests we had, we maybe saw him one other time.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Public Areas of the Ship

 

Like I said earlier, the "wow" factor, as we boarded the Pride, just wasn't there like it was when we boarded the Navigator the year before. The Pride was still very impressive, but it was dark, thanks in part to all the dark teakwood and mahogany trim everywhere. There were lots of Renaissance art reproductions all over the ship, which also added to the warm, "dark" feeling to the ship. You would have to see it to really understand what I am talking about. A friend who sailed on the Pride also described it as being dark, but it wasn't until we got on the ship did we understand what he meant.

 

The ship has a warm, somewhat cozy feel to it, with many smaller intimate public areas. I hate to admit it, we constantly walked around the ship comparing it to our last cruise aboard the Navigator, which isn't a fair comparison.

 

Entertainment

 

There were several lounges with music and singers, but sadly, they were rather poor. Karaoke was "standing room only", however, as it was available just about every night, everyone seemed to get a chance to sing.

 

There was a nightly headliner show; sometimes it was a variety show, a comedy act, or a Las Vegas style revue. The performances were well attended, but I personally didn't care for the show girls and their dancing. Compared to performances you see in Tahoe or Las Vegas, the ship's performers were not all that good. But most folks, I'm sure, found them to be entertaining.

 

My biggest complaint, which may not be a bid deal to most people, is there seems to be a lack of things to do during the day. There are three full days at sea, which can prove to people looking to relax by the pool, a very positive thing. But I was bored, as were others. There are things like bingo, the casino, the spa, art auctions and shore talks that the Cruise Director encourages you to attend, but short of revenue generating activities, there was little else to do. As a seasoned cruiser, I know ALL cruise lines encourage you to go to these activities, but the Pride's loud speakers were constantly "reminding" you about these activities. The shore talks were by far the worse, as you're expecting to get practical advice on what to do while at the ports of call; however, it really is just a 60-90 minute sales pitch on the shops that pay Carnival to recommend them.

 

There were a couple of volleyball tournaments with mostly little kids who happened to be using the sports court, and there was always the gym. But I basically spent the first two days at sea out by the pool doing nothing. As the last day was so windy, I basically sat around inside much of the day playing cards with my husband or reading one of my magazines after an hour in the gym. I apologize for again comparing the Pride to the Navigator, but there was just so much more to do on the Navigator. I think if you go with a group, you're pretty much guaranteed to have a great time, as you won't be dependent on what the ship has to offer as far as activities go. Please don't get me wrong; there’s nothing wrong with the activities that were offered. It's just that Bingo and the other revenue generating activities are not my cup of tea. On past cruises, I have gone to the spa, participated in Bingo and attended the shore talks, so I knew what to expect. If this is your first cruise, you may wish to partake in all of this; I did once. But once was enough!

 

Cuisine

 

I was very pleasantly surprised how tasty everything was at dinner. It's presentation and variety was excellent. Not four star cuisine, mind you, but much better than anything we have had recently had on other cruise lines. We ate dinner in the formal dining room every night; breakfast and lunch up at the Mermaid's Buffet & Grill. The buffet was well stocked with lots of variety, including fresh pizza, sandwiches made to order, made to order burgers and fries, a carving station, Asian entrées including sushi at lunch time, an impressive salad bar and a desert bar. You name it, the buffet had it.

 

Ports of Call

 

We called on Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan and Cabo San Lucas. In Puerto Vallarta, we made arrangements via the Internet to go snorkeling with a Party Boat that made stops at two different beaches. The final stop included a hike or horse back ride up to a beautiful water fall. We paid $30pp for this all day shore excursion - the same trip booked on the ship would have been $70pp. You can get more information here:

 

http://www.mexonline.com/cruisevallarta.htm

 

In Mazatlan, we walked over to the stone island water taxi, which cost us $1 round trip to Stone Island. Most people come here to go horseback riding, but we came for the beautiful beach. There are several restaurants that serve the famous giant Stone Island shrimp right on the beach - by far the best I have ever had!

 

In Cabo San Lucas, we spent the day on the beach at Mango's, next to the "Office". As the "Office" does not have lounge chairs, we opted to spend the afternoon at Mango's.

 

Short of buying one bottle of alcohol on the ship, we didn't do go shopping at the ports of call.

 

Conclusion

 

Short of my complaints centering on daytime activities (the lack thereof) and the quality of some of the nighttime shows, I really can't say anything bad about our cruise. The ship is in great repair, despite the fact that a few weeks after our cruise, it was going in for it's annual dry dock refurbishment. The ship's public bathrooms were always clean; the carpets and floors were constantly being cleaned. I was very impressed with the service we received and with the crew. If you cruise often, like we do, you will miss some past guest perks that other cruise lines extend to their repeat customers. Unlike Princess, Celebrity or Royal Caribbean, Carnival does very little short of a free party a quarterly magazine. But that's a cruise line policy, not a ship issue.

 

I'll be the first to say, I used to avoid Carnival like the plague. Unlike other cruise lines who have cut the quality in their product, Carnival actually has taken steps to improve theirs. Better ships, better accommodations, better food are attracting lots of new passengers who in the past have avoided Carnival. I would still recommend you avoid Carnival's older ships, but ships like the Pride compare favorably to other similar sized ships in competing cruise line's fleets.

 

So here are some tips:

 

1. Book Early to get the best rates. Last minute discounted rates are harder to find.

 

2. Check-in Early at the Queen Mary.

 

3. Bring cool weather clothing for the last day at sea.

 

4. Research the Ports of Call on web.

 

5. Pack some flavored Rum or Vodka to mix with free Punch and Lemonade on ship - yum! Buy one drink in souvenir glass for in room mixed drinks.

 

6. Purchase shipboard credit in advance of sailing to help budget for the cruise. Call 1-800-CARNIVAL for more information.

 

7. Don't go to Shore Talks.

 

8. Bring a good book.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Would it be possible for you to put your font in at least a size 12? I wear a very minimal corrective lense and went cross eyed reading it. Thanks.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Good point wwakla. I did a cut, copy, paste into word with a size 12 font. I have pretty decent vision, but could not read the 7.5 font.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sorry about that! I'll try reposting it, but that's how it came up when I cut and pasted the document from word. At this point I am unable to edit it. So I will repost it - I'll indicate something in the title that it's in a larger font.:)

 

Suzi

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sailfish- I beg to differ with you re price drops- we book our cruises with a pvp at Carnival. SOme cruises we book a year ahead, some are "last minute" as we live close to the ports.

Everytime the price had dropped- even when we have paid in full- we have received an onboard credit- once it was 420.00!!! Now it's true it's not a refund back to yur credit card, but an onboard credit is great! So I dont know who told you your information. Once we got a credit 5 days before sailing----

The Pride is our favorite ship- we love the Spirit class- I think it's much more classy and elegant than the Glory or Miracle--to each his own, that's just my opinion. I'm so sad she moved to Calif---

Rock clibing walls and ice skating rink and the "mall" area on RCL just turn me off, I dont need to see that on a ship.

Glad you enjoyed your cruise though---our fridge ws always cold and we loved the balcony.....

Thanks for the review.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sailfish- I beg to differ with you re price drops- we book our cruises with a pvp at Carnival. SOme cruises we book a year ahead, some are "last minute" as we live close to the ports.

Everytime the price had dropped- even when we have paid in full- we have received an onboard credit- once it was 420.00!!! Now it's true it's not a refund back to yur credit card, but an onboard credit is great! So I dont know who told you your information.

Thank you for your comments.

 

You are aboslutely correct about the shipboard credit - no one gave me incorrect informaiton. But shipboard credit is NOT a refund. It's okay, but it's not the same as getting the difference credited back to your credit card. I take issue with people who say it's the same...it is not!

 

This was our 10th cruise with Carnival. The last time we sailed with Carnival was aboard the Holiday in 1994. We are not particularly loyal to one line or another. Like with food and service, what someone prefers is very subjective. I know we are in the minority when it comes to activities. I was simply pointing out in my review what I liked about our cruise and what I didn't. I personally think reviews open a window as to who people are. If you can't identify with me (and I realize here at Cruise Critic many won't) then you can take from the the review the more general aspects and ignore my personal preferences. That's what I do with reviews I read. I enjoy reviews, even though I know to take what people say with a grain of salt. The nice thing about Cruise Critic is people can comment on reviews and give opposing opinions, so readers can see both sides of an issue.

 

Please do not misunderstand me. We had a good time. I'll probably cruise with Carnival again. But I have come to realize that a more port intensive itinerary is best for us. Ship activities matter more than I initially thought. People cruise for different reasons. I enjoy visiting new ports of call and staying active. Being on the ship is okay, but I prefer being in port during the day and on the ship in the evening. Lots of people feel just the opposite, and that's okay too.

 

Suzi

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

After we had paid for our cruise in full, I noticed that the price had gone down. I called our online TA and she in turn called Carnival and I actually did get the $100 difference credited back to my credit card. :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you so much for the Pride review. We havent seen a review in a long time in seems.

 

I am curious as to what the Navigator had during the day that kept you occupied and pleased?

 

We sail the Pride in March.....looking forward to it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We weren't lucky enough to have our cruise price go down, but I did ask our TA about what happens when rates drop, as it's been a while since we sailed with Carnival. I was told only shipboard credit or an upgrade would be issued.

 

When the price of our Royal Caribbean cruise aboard the Navigator last year fell at the last minute, we got the difference credited back to our credit card. I believe you when you say you got your money back, but based on what I was told and what I have been reading here and elsewhere regarding this subject, it's not the norm for Carnival to do so. But I am no expert on Carnival.

 

Suzi

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I am curious as to what the Navigator had during the day that kept you occupied and pleased?

 

We sail the Pride in March.....looking forward to it.

Besides being a much larger ship, one aspect of the Navigator was more sports activities readily available during the day. There was the rock climbing wall, the sports court with volleyball and basketball, an 18 hole miniature golf course, an inline skating track and an ice rink. There were sports competitions all day long for both adults and kids. But there were other acitivities like a wine tasting seminars, movies on a large screen, and lectures with interesting guest speakers on nature and finances. The Navigator also had the usual bingo, and other stuff all ships have, but there were far fewer annoying PA "reminders". Also, we had one fewer day at sea, which in my opinion, was a big issue. I never had time on the Navigator to be board. But finding interesting or active stuff to do on the Pride, by the third day at sea proved to be a challenge.

 

Just remember, I am in the minority, as it appears most people love bingo and art auctions; I hate them! I find them a waste of my time. But like others here have said, many people do enjoy these typical "cruise" activities. There is nothing wrong with them. It's just not what I like to do while on vacation.

 

Now, had our cruise scheduled one or two less days at sea, you probably wouldn't see me complaining about this as much.

 

Suzi

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sailfish,

We are scheduled for the same kind of room on the Pride in Jan. . Can you open the French doors?

Bev

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Suzi,

 

 

Thanks for the review, it's helpful since we are considering booking the Pride for 2006.

 

We like active cruises too (Pride of Aloha spent all seven days in Hawaiian ports), but we are also looking forward to our three full sea day on our upcoming cruise on Triumph.

 

Thanks again for the detailed review!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sailfish,

We are scheduled for the same kind of room on the Pride in Jan. . Can you open the French doors?

Bev

Yes.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Originally Posted by Sneakermom

Sailfish,

We are scheduled for the same kind of room on the Pride in Jan. . Can you open the French doors?

Bev

Yes, you can open the french doors, but they will not remain open on their own. But I can't see why anyone would want to. I can't vouch for ALL of these obstructed view rooms, but our's had no view to speak of. The locks on these doors is quite tricky; another reason why I would recommend you NOT open your doors. There are workers walking along the catwalk constantly, who could easily sneak in.

With that said, our room was very large, compared to our other cruises, including our balcony cabin aboard the Navigator last year. The room's design (with the exception of the bathroom) was very well laid out, with more storage space than we needed. The bathroom on the Navigator had a sliding shower door instead of a shower curtain, like that on the Pride. I thought the Navigator's bathroom was a little better. In our stateroom, we had three closets; two where you can hang your garments, and one with shelves. There were several cabinets with lots of storage space and the room itself had a pull out love seat that could easily sleep two people. All in all, it was more room than the two of us were accustomed to on a ship. Like usual, we didn't spend much time there. But a family of three could also be comfortable in our room!

Despite not having a view, I really appreciated the natural light. I am certain you will find your room very comfortable.

Suzi

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Forum Jump
    • Categories
      • SAIL-AWAY GIVEAWAY - Enter for a chance to win a $3,000 Norwegian Cruise Line Gift Card
      • Forum Assistance
      • New Cruisers
      • Cruise Lines “A – O”
      • Cruise Lines “P – Z”
      • River Cruising
      • ROLL CALLS
      • Digital Photography & Cruise Technology
      • Member Cruise Reviews
      • Special Interest Cruising
      • Cruise Discussion Topics
      • UK Cruising
      • Australia & New Zealand Cruisers
      • North American Homeports
      • Ports of Call
      • Cruise Conversations
×
×
  • Create New...