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Claire

Age: 58

Occupation:Manager

Number of Cruises: 1

Cruise Line: Carnival

Ship: Carnival Pride

Sailing Date: December 16th, 2007

Itinerary: Mexican Riviera

Carnival Cruise Lines
Carnival Pride Cruise Review
Mexican Riviera

Claire

We weren’t sure we were cruiser types but wanted to get away and be pampered where it would be warm.  We had heard that Carnival is the Wal-Mart of cruises, that the food wasn’t very good and that most people gain about 10 lbs.  I was determined that wouldn’t happen.  Also, we don’t smoke, drink much or party and I’d heard that Carnival was a party boat.  In spite of all this, we were excited to try this new experience.

The shuttle from our motel dropped us right at a curb with a porter who took our bags then directed us to the terminal.  We tipped $1 per bag.  Check-in was easy and we stood inside in line for about 30 minutes.  We noticed that our dinner time was 8:15 and were disappointed since we had wanted the main seating at 5:45.  I had read that you can make this change on the first day. 

As soon as we were on board, we headed to our stateroom, oohed and awed, dropped our carry ons and headed for the dining room.  We arrived about 1 pm when it opened for table changes.  We were the second people there.  We were able to get the earlier seating and a table for two which was our original choice.  We were quite happy with our table (#412) on the upper level overlooking the downstairs for great people watching.

We went back to our room and sat on the balcony for awhile, looked everything over and were very impressed.  After that we went on a tour of the ship.  I wish we had known sooner that there is a little card sized booklet with the layout of the ship that was easy to carry around.  Get one of those right away.  They’re at the purser’s desk.  Before we found that we got lost a lot!

One rule I made for us was no elevators.  We took the stairs all the time except on formal nights when my shoes just wouldn’t have made it.  We were located on the Veranda Deck room 7236 and we loved it but it was 5 flights to the dining room.  We also walked for an hour every morning and watched the sunrise.  We decided to eat in the dining room for every meal that we could and I ordered the spa menu almost always.  These are the dishes that are lower in calories, fat and sugar.  I must say, everything was delicious.  My husband ordered what he wanted including lobster, filet mignon, etc.  We each had dessert after both lunch and dinner but mine was off the spa menu.  It’s open seating for breakfast and lunch so you are put at large tables with other people.  That was hit or miss.  We met some really interesting people and some not so interesting people.  We found out that you can request a window seat and/or a table for two.  We went with the table for two.

Three of the days we ate lunch in the Mermaid Grill because the dining room was closed for lunch when we were in port.  Even there it was easy to find healthy, delicious food.  I had a turkey wrap that was custom made for me with whatever I wanted on it.  All the food in the Mermaid grill was fresh and there were at least 4 different stations staffed by people who served the food.  I indulged in the frozen yogurt several times and one day had a salad from the salad bar and a slice of pizza.  The pizza was the only thing I ever had that wasn’t up to par.  We had room service for breakfast twice and really enjoyed breakfast in the dining room.  The good news is that I actually lost a pound and my husband only gained a pound.  Amazing!  We did put on a lot of miles walking that ship but we also relaxed a lot.  We sat in the hot tubs, did a lot of reading and went to the shows in the Taj Mahal lounge.  We were quite amazed that with 2400 passengers and 920 crew there were still plenty of places where you could actually be alone or where it was very quiet.  The Sunset Garden was really nice for just sitting and reading or looking out the giant portholes.  I did a walk through the ship one evening by myself and found classical music in one lounge leading to jazz in another leading to blues in another.  Plus, there was dancing in the Butterfly Lounge, bingo almost constantly, the casino going like mad (where all the cigarette smoke was).  The kids were either well behaved or spending their time at Camp Carnival.  There was also an adults only pool and hot tub and there were always lounges available. Cigarette smoke was never an issue except on our balcony.  We had a pipe smoker on one side and cigarette smokers on the other.  I do wish they had one side of the ship smoke free.  I wasn’t able to sit out there as often as I would have liked.  Another annoyance was that one or the other person on either side would inevitably leave their balcony light on all night which made it impossible for us to sleep with the curtains open and the balcony door open.  I’m not sure why they did it except perhaps to use as a night light.  We left the bathroom light on and the door open a tiny crack and that worked fine.  There is no place to put a night light in the bathroom and we didn’t want one in the room.

The room was really amazing.  Tons of storage.  3 large closets and quite a few drawers.  We didn’t even use all the drawers.  Plenty of space for our bags under the bed.  We brought an over-the-door shoe holder and never used it.  We loved having our bed turned down and the towel animals (I even took a towel animal class) and everything was very clean and pleasant.  All the public restrooms were also very nice and clean.

We did the jungle hike in Puerto Vallarta.  It was just OK.  I do a lot of hiking and I’ve been on far better hikes at home.  However, we wanted to see some of the area.  We had to take a bus for about 45 minutes past Wal-Mart, Sam’s Club, Dominos pizza, etc.  Not what we were expecting.  We also were expecting a more humid, rain forest kind of jungle but it was dry and dusty.  The weather was perfect, probably low eighties.  We had a good time and talked with other people on the hike and that was fun.  We soaked in a natural hot springs for awhile (we wore out swim suits under our shorts) then crossed a river.  Glad we had waterproof shoes but wish they’d mentioned it.  One couple came completely unprepared—street shoes and suede boots.  We had chosen the early hike and were back on the ship by 1 pm for lunch and lounging with the ship even less busy.  That was nice.

We took a cab to downtown in Mazatlan.  We could have walked but didn’t really know the way.  We wandered around for awhile, went to some shops, didn’t buy anything (you can find all the same stuff at Cost Plus) then made it to the beach where we walked around then walked back to the ship and once again saved about $40 on lunch by eating on the ship.  Prices were very high.

Cabo San Lucas was the most beautiful but very expensive.  We walked around the harbor over to the beach where construction was going on for the constant building of high-rise condos and time shares.  I asked a couple of women how they were able to score a couple of lounges and they said you just have to buy a drink.  So, we grabbed a couple at a beach bar and grill and very quickly a waiter came and took our order.  We ordered two Tecate’s.  Apparently it was 2 for 1 and it was $10.  We got a bucket with ice and limes and 4 beers.  It was very nice and there was a swimming area right in front of us. I used their restroom (another plus for grabbing a lounge) and checked out the lunch menu.  $14 for nachos and many other items were even higher.   We decided to eat on board.  The people trying to see t-shirts, junk jewelry, etc. were constant.  Also, lots of diesel smell from the boats and plenty of noise.  We stayed a couple of hours then walked back to the ship.  If we had it to do over again we would not go into any of these ports.  Staying on the ship is pretty great when everyone is gone, in spite of the fact that it isn’t crowded even when everyone is on board.  I guess I’d say the ports are the Wal-Mart's but pricey.

Our final sea day got quite windy and I was very glad I had a fleece jacket.  In fact, I wore long pants and the fleece jacket more than I had expected.  It gets pretty breezy on deck and the air conditioning in some of the rooms really got to me.

I would highly recommend this cruise.  Our waiter was really fantastic and all the service was exceptional and friendly.  There is plenty to do and you don’t have to gain weight or spend a fortune to have a good time.  We’re still wishing we could be back in that fantasy land of meals prepared and served, fresh towels and sheets, bed made, constant relaxing or entertainment.  After talking to a number of people, we will do an Alaskan cruise next.











 

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