January 15, 2006
Critic Anne Campbell is right - this ship should be avoided by people who want a classy style of cruising. Welcome to Carnival - the WalMart of cruise lines, seeking the lowest common denominator for the masses. I have mixed emotions about the décor. Our balcony cabin was lovely, as was the dining room, but the rest of the ship is downright hideous, and I speak from the experience of 25 cruises.
Most public rooms are dark, and the ship seemed determined not to let you see the water unless you go to the top deck. There IS a promenade deck, but while the ship was at sea it was usually closed off because of cleaning, which may explain why there were no lounge chairs on that deck. Perhaps Carnival has an ulterior motive here - to keep you inside so that you will $pend more time in the vast casino.
Other than the daily programs and a deluge of ads for jewelry, etc., don't look for a New York Times Digest to be delivered to your room. Also, if you're a bridge player, or like to play card games, forget it - it's unsupervised and rarely scheduled.. Like to read? Bring your own reading material, because the ‚?olibrary‚?Ě is ridiculously small and only open one or two hours a day.
There were three production shows on our 7-night cruise, and they were excellent, except possibly one that was too loud and brassy. The dancers were great - some of the best I've seen. Our bathroom was adequate, and had loads of toiletries, even including Rolaids. Carnival Pride gained extra room by using a curtain as a shower wall, necessitating a mop up of the floor occasionally. The beds have a very heavy, and I mean HEAVY comforter.
The food was better than average, especially in the dining room. The buffet stations on the Lido deck are spaced somewhat far apart, requiring a little maneuvering in order to get the food you want The Pride has an extra fee ($30) supper club that is almost worth the money, but be warned - dinner will take at least 2¬Ĺ hours at a minimum.
As for the ports - in Puerto Vallarta, there are a number of lovely resort hotels on the beach just a few blocks from the dock, with Krystal the more outstanding. In Mazatlan, an enjoyable open-air cab ride can be had for $20 a person for a 2-hour tour of the city. Cabo San Lucas? Whatever appeals.