Carnival Reviews - Cruise Ship reviews by Cruisemates Readers
Carnival Cruise Lines

Carnival Pride
by Steve
Mexico
September 4, 2005

My wife and I sailed on the Carnival Pride from 9/4 to 9/11, from Long Beach, to Cabo, Mazatlan, and Puerto Vallarta. We had a suite on the Panorama deck, room 8266.

The suite was good size - and a nice balcony. Hardwood floor entry. Two sinks in the bathroom. Marble sink, and nice tile floors. It had a bathtub (could be used as a jacuzzi tub) and a nice (high pressure) showerhead. I always sleep great on cruises and this was no exception. Very dark room. The rocking motion is great when sleeping. The bedding was very soft and comfy. The pillows were great, and I never woke up in the middle of the night.

The toilet was a bit old, and there were some dirty spots in the shower that could have been cleaner, but all in all the room was very nice. On the same token, the hallways were a bit run down, some dirty carpet, some odd smells on occasion throughout the ship (sometimes near the frozen yogurt machine..sometimes near the bars....just the occasional whiff of an unpleasant sewage like odor), but for the most part the ship was kept up similar to how an average holiday inn would be kept up. Not run down, but not the Ritz.

The food wasn't so great, especially in the buffet. We rarely found anything that good in the buffet. We sailed before on Royal Caribbean's Serenade of the Seas and found that buffet to be very high quality. This buffet reminded me of a bad day at Hometown Buffet or Sizzler. Cold, greasy food, and poor desserts. The pizza bar was good (not great) pizza, and the salad bar was good, and the grilled cheeseburgers were good - but everything else about this buffet was mediocre at best.

The dining room was also hit and miss. Some of the food was a B or B+, most of it was a C. There were lots of reviews about how great the food was on this ship, and I just didn't agree.

David's supper club was also hit and miss. I went on Monday night and had an excellent meal, and great service. Went back on Friday night, had a mediocre meal, and very VERY slow service (about 2.5 hours from start to finish, and there was almost nobody else in the restaurant). I believe it had to do with where you sat. If you sat downstairs, service seemed to be much better. I'd recommend going here, as the first night it was well worth the $30. Just be sure to get "regular tap water". Don't let them talk you into bottled water.

Room service was limited, but always fast and fairly good.

The ambiance could have been different than normal, because I learned I was on a ship with 800 country radio listeners from a redneck town in california - so that could have made for a slightly different onboard experience. But I felt this to be lower class, younger, rowdy people who like to drink and sleep in until noon. There were also lots of young kids. I'm only 30 but the kids drove me insane.

There were plenty of onboard activities, however. Great casino. Bingo was fun (though they were kind of cheap with their prizes - pay $20 to win $110 in bingo doesn't seem quite right, when there are hundreds of people playing). Also, the blackjack tournament was booked for 3 hours, at $20 per entry, and the winner only got $500. They probably made $20,000 on this tournament. But in any event, they were fun. There were 4 art auctions. And everything you'd expect from a cruise -- seminars, etc.

The spa / gym was very nice, and had an indoor hottub that was quite hot. The pool area was extremely crowded, so I didn't go there very often. People crammed into the water like sardines.

The cruise director tried hard, and was nice, and worked crazy hours, but got to be a bit annoying. Something about the phonyness - always trying to be so cheerful and happy - mixed with the british accent...annoyed me.

Entertainment was good, for the most part. The first night there was a comedian/magician named Cameron who wasn't funny at all. However, the last night a guy named Jerome was hysterically funny. There was also a great Swing Music show, and I heard a show called Vroom was outstanding (though I missed it). The talent show (pride idol) was very entertaining as well.

There was also an amazing piano bar. The guy named Barry played the piano and sang, which sounds kind of dull..but lots of improvisation, humor, and making things up as he went along. Some name that tune, lots of drinking and fun. This was arguably the most enjoyable evening for me, and I strongly recommend you do this. It seemed to get going around midnight.

All of the lounges and bars were very nice. My biggest complaint here is that they didn't seem to flow very well. The floorplan is a bit choppy, and many people didn't even know half of the bars existed. They werent promoted very well, and didn't seem to flow with the rest of the ship. Perhaps some "branding" issues here. It was almost like random rooms throughout the ship, but they were quite nice - including a cool sports bar.

I loved Puerto Vallarta. But all 3 ports were HOT. September is NOT the time to take this cruise - as we learned. Cabo was about 110 and miserable - most people didnt walk around for more than an hour, then got back on the ship. We snorkled in Cabo (was alright - but better snorkling in hawaii). Went to Stone Island at Mazatlan (this was fun, and a nice place to spend the day, once you get used to the vendors selling jewlery). But Puerto Vallarta we took a private city tour, which was really cool. It's great to see how people really live - where they work, go to school, eat, etc. Then, we went to a place called Paradise Village Resort and spent the day at the beach and by the pool. This was a very nice place to spend a few hours.

Overall I had a good but not great time on this cruise. There were many positive things, which I didn't list, because others already have listed these things. I just wanted to add some of the negatives that I experienced.

Some tips:
1) Don't buy a soda card (it's cheaper to buy them inidividulaly, and you get better service buying them individually)
2) Eat downstairs at David's
3) Don't eat at the buffet unless you want pizzas, salad, or burgers. The rest is crap
4) Order the Grand Marinier Souffle in the dining room - this was by far the best dessert of the cruise
5) In Puerto Vallarta, go to a restaurant called Agave Grill - it's amazingly good food, and you can get away from the tourists.
6) Try to relax. There's way too much going on here, so resist the urge or temptation to take part in everything. It's much more enjoyable to relax.
7) Do not go in September. It's way too hot.
8) Definately do the Piano bar
9) Try to avoid the internet cafe, as it's still way too slow to be worthwhile - seemed slower than dialup
10) Rent a cell phone that works in mexico prior to going. It will only cost you $1.99 per minute, instead of the $7 per minute that carnival charges to use their phones.
11) Bring your own iron, as they don't provide them in the rooms, and force you to go to a communal laundry room if you want to iron (or, if you prefer, use their laundry service).
12) Resist the urge to shop - most of the stuff in their gift shop is junk (inch of gold, watches, jewelry, towels, chocolates....just say no!)

If you have questions email me at sdnewman21 @ aol . com