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Robert Normand

Age: 52

Occupation:Quality Manager

Number of Cruises: 1

Cruise Line: Carnival

Ship: Carnival Pride

Sailing Date: April 1st, 2007

Itinerary: Mexican Riviera

Carnival Cruise Lines
Carnival Pride Cruise Review
Mexican Riviera

Robert Normand

My son (19), his girlfriend (18), and I left from Sacramento on the day before the cruise in my car. We arrived at the Coast Hotel, which is within walking distance of the cruise terminal, at about 3pm Saturday. The ship was due to embark at 4:30PM on Sunday. We were told by the front desk at the hotel that if we did not want to do a lot of standing around in the sun, we should not leave for the cruise port until around 12 noon as they (Carnival) will not start boarding until 130pm. We took their advice and left for the port at noon (the hotel has a courtesy shuttle that drops you off right at the port). This hotel has a package, park and sail, which is not a bad deal. They let you park your vehicle at their hotel while you are on the cruise. Not a bad hotel and the price was fair. We arrived at the terminal at about 1215pm and gave our luggage to the curbside porters to transfer on to the ship. You should tip these guys a dollar for each piece of luggage they transfer for you. We kept are carry-on's with us and headed over to the Queen Mary where they do early registration. It took us about 15 minutes total to get registered and receive our sail and sign cards. We returned to the cruise terminal (the Queen Mary and the cruise terminal are side by side) with our line designation (they break everyone up into several lines), our line was number 3. We were the first ones to arrive at the number 3 marker for our line. We waited about 30 minutes as our line grew and grew. It turned out that there was 3 lines, ours being the last to form from the people who registered early. They way it looked was that if you showed up after about 1230pm they were not doing the early register at the Queen Mary. The rest of the late arrivals made another line. It was not long after that our line started moving and the whole process to get on the ship took about another 20 minutes. Not bad at all.

We immediately went to our cabin (deck 8 balcony) and checked it out. My first impression was that it was a little narrow. I was impressed with the balcony, probably about 4 feet deep by 9 feet wide. The bathroom was a little small but very well done with nice features. All in all, the room turned out to be just fine and we had a great location. Right near the elevator and stairs which takes you one floor up to the Mermaid Cafe.

The Mermaid Cafe was very nice. A buffet style place with lot's of seating and six different lines having different types of food. The food was almost always really good. They had gourmet sandwiches that you tell them what to put on, a different carved meat each day, Prime Rib, Leg of Lamb, etc. For Breakfast they had omelets, made to your taste as you watched, French toast, pancakes, scrambled eggs, pastries, just everything you can think of. Probably the only thing they had there that I did not like was the Pizza. It is a 24 hour Pizza station that has some of the worst Pizza I ever tasted.

They also have the formal dining room, The Normandie, which was quite nice. My son was not to keen to it because it was pretty fancy with small portions done elegantly. He was looking for volume. We did eat there a couple of nights and the food was top notch.

The room service was a little disappointing. We only did it twice, probably because the buffet was so close to our room, we actually were getting plates of food and taking them back to our room. The list of food for room service is not that impressive. Plus, the girl who delivered it both times (same girl) seemed to be expecting a tip. I was told to tip up front on my credit card and that is the way it was going to be.

The ship is pretty awesome with so many things to do. We watched several comedy shows and a couple of Las Vegas style shows in the Taj Mahal theater. Very impressive theater that also hosted bingo and other people participating games.

The casino was a lot of fun and I actually won a little money there.

The weather turned very warm once we got down around the ports we were to visit.

Our first stop was at Puerto Vallarta and the first thing you see when you look out from your balcony is a Wal-Mart. It did not look very impressive from the ship. We got a late start (we did not buy a Carnival land excursion in any of the ports) and left the ship around noon. It was very hot and most people had already left the ship for their pre bought excursions. We wondered around by the ship (there are some small shops and stalls where people are there trying to sell excursions) and found this guy selling trips around PV. We talked to the guy for awhile till we got the price we wanted and agreed to a ATV/Canopy combo adventure for about half the price of what you can get on the ship. It seemed a little shady and I was not sure if it was legit but we took a chance anyways. The guy gave us a map and told us to take a taxi to the spot about 5 miles away he marked on the map. He said that is where the trip will begin. We got in the taxi and told the driver to take us to the spot on the map. He dropped us off along one of the busy streets where there was a lot of businesses. Everything including the buildings looked like it was straight out of the fifties. We stood and looked at each other for a couple of minutes and this guy came running across the street asking us if we were doing an ATV adventure. We told him yes and showed him our receipt and he led us to a little business across the street. The lady behind the desk told us to wait for about an hour and the trip will begin. We walked up the street to a little sidewalk eatery and had some beers and tacos. The tacos were very good. We went back to the place where the adventure begins and there was two guys from Washington DC who were also going to do this trip. We started to feel better about this. Well, it turned out that this trip was legit. We got on these 350cc Honda ATV's and drove them for about an hour through town and wound are way up into the Sierra Madres. It was a total blast. We got to this little restaurant over lookingthe city down below. There we were greeted by some other guys who showed us how to do the zip line from tree to tree (Canopy). After that we took the ATV's back down the mountain to the starting place. It was a well worth it, money well spent adventure. We took a taxi back to the ship and had drinks at a restaurant near by and did a little shopping before boarding the ship again.

The next day we landed in Mazatlan. Woke up and went out on the balcony and there across the bay was all of these colorful little adobe houses. It looked a lot nicer than the stop at PV. We took a taxi in to the Golden Zone, where all of the shops are and walked around. We ended up at Senor Frogs, a well known restaurant. We ordered lunch, which was quite good, and watched the excitement all around us. They have guys that go around giving free shots of tequila plus they shake your head too. Everyone was standing in their seats dancing and having a great time. We went back to the ship after that.

The next day was in Cabo San Lucas. This place is 10 times better than the first two stops. They have to take you by small boats over to the land as there is not a dock at this port.

We wondered around the shops and stopped at a restaurant for lunch and drinks. We ended up going to Cabo Wabo, which is Sammy Hagar's place. The rock star who played in the band Van Halen in case you did not know. I bought a fifth of Sammy's finest tequila. I was a little shocked at the location for his famous hideout. It is basically a block off the main street in the middle of town. I thought it would be over looking this awesome port or somewhere all by it self. No, it was packed right in with other businesses. It looked like a cool place to hang out. If we had more time I would have liked to spend some quality time there.

We left that afternoon for the tip back up the coast. It immediately started getting cold again and nobody was hanging out by the pools. Oh yeah, the pools and hot tubs are all saltwater. I was not expecting that.

We ended up back in Long Beach after another day at sea. It took us about 30 minutes to get off the ship after we had breakfast.

I will tell you this. I have heard nothing but horror stories of how bad everyone had it getting on the ship in Long Beach and getting off of it when the cruise was over. Maybe I was just lucky but we had no problems at all and it was well organized.

All in all, this was a great cruise. We had so much fun and must of gained ten pounds from all of the food we ate. I would do this cruise again, no doubt about it. However, I think my next cruise will be up to Alaska, I hear that is a nice one.


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