November 16, 2002
Just returned from the Pride sailing 11/16 to the Eastern Caribbean. I so enjoyed and appreciated all the previous reviews, so here is mine and my opinions only.
Embarkation was a breeze, we drove to Port Canaveral from Orlando and arrived at 10:30am. They opened the ship at 11:30am and we walked on and went to the Mermaid Grill for a quick bite. You could not go to your cabin until 12:30pm.
First impression of the ships atrium (and remember I had read everything and seen every photo I could lay my eyes on) was dismay. It is dark, gloomy and very tasteless. Decor aside, I did like that fact that having a bar in this area, created a central hub of the ship and it was nice to see an atrium of a ship actually having a purpose other than just housing the pursers desk.
The deck hallways decor is also (in my opinion) dull and unimaginative. Brown and teal or brown & orange, depending which deck you are on. Throughout the ship there are some very nice glass works & art, however with all enormous amount of renaissance art all over the place my senses were in overdrive and everything just blended together in a weird mass, giving no time for any real appreciation.
Our cabin was very adequate, bathroom was very room and well appointed with razors, Tylenol, shampoo, body soap. We had a quad room, and there was enough room for us (2 adults, 1 7yr old). Not enough storage room however, for us. Enough hanging space in the 1st two closets the 3rd closet only had two shelves which was not enough. However, our tablemates mentioned they had 4. The bedspreads were VERY dirty and I asked the cabin steward to remove them, which he did with a smile and brought clean ones the next morning.
Normandie Restaurant - lovely decor. Major problem with this restaurant - we were a party of 3 and we requested a table of 6 or 8. We did this because part of our enjoyment of cruising is meeting fellow passengers. This is very difficult on the Pride. The majority of tables on the upper level are for 2 or 4. Larger tables are reserved for those traveling in groups. The Maitre D did manage to change us to a table for 6 on the second night, but there were loads of people most unhappy with the situation. The food selection and quality were very good. We have cruised Celebrity on our previous two cruises and I have no hesitation in saying that Carnival beats Celebrity in the food dept.
Mermaid Grill - the buffet stations are great, as they cut down on the lines, however it can be difficult to find out what is available at all stations. The international selection each day and the Asian buffet were terrific.
Entertainment - very poor. 1st night - no show, 2nd night - the production show was average, 3rd night - Illusionist was very good, but the singer Tia Thompson was a very accomplished act, but spent almost the entire time, making fun of audience members. 4rd night - no show, the social hosts did Game Show Trivia in the Taj Mahal, very 3rd rate. 5th night - production show Vroom - good show, the male signer is not good. 6th night - no show, just a balancing act at 10:30pm.
Camp Carnival - my daughter enjoyed her time in the Fun Club, however what was odd, was that parents were not encouraged to enter the actual play area, you had to stand behind a gate and wait until they called your child - so I have no idea if the pictures or the 360degree tour on the web actually resembles the area. The activities were plentiful, but I was not overly impressed with the Consellors themselves.
The slide is a bit of a white elephant as it was hardly ever open. One of the Counselors said it was because they were short staffed. It is seldom open on the days at sea as it is too windy.
The rest of the lounges on board were nicely decorated but there seemed to be too many lounges with not a whole lot going on in any of them.
The country western singer in the Starry Night Lounge played to perhaps 30 people at any one time.
The calypso band on the Lido deck were o.k. but did not start playing until noon each day so there was no atmosphere.
Salt Cay - a 45 minute tender ride to the island. Swimming on the island is limited to a very small area with swift currents.
St. Thomas - we did the Trunk Bay Beach & Snorkel tour. You can snorkel or just enjoy the beach. Terrific beach, however there is not enough time to spend on the beach. The tour is 4½ hours duration, with only 1 hour & 50 minutes at the actual beach.
St. Marten - we did our own thing here, shopping in town. The new dock area is very nice.
Overall we had a great vacation, however this is not a fun ship unless you are in a large group making your own fun. Interesting mix of people, young, large groups and tons of old people.