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Carnival Pride Cruise Review
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Copyright © 1995-2002 
Linda Coffman


Carnival Pride
Western Caribbean
April 13, 2002

by Kathy Bradley

Just returned from our cruise on the Pride. We stayed for two nights at the Radisson at the port; great hotel and would highly recommend it to anyone arriving a day or two early. The pool area is really nice with waterfalls, tiki bar, whirlpool, etc. We are a family of four and had the standard room for $59. It was plenty big enough. We had some in our group with the suite and it was very nice also. We ate at Flamingo's and the food was also great. The hotel offers free shuttles to the port but be sure to sign up for it when you check in.

We got to the ship around 10:30 and went quickly through check in. They did make everyone wait until 12:30 before they began boarding the ship. At 12:30 the lines were very long behind us but seemed to move smoothly. We were in our cabin by 12:45.

The ship was more toned down compared to other Carnival ships as far as the neon and glare go, although I still don't like the decor. It seemed very dark to me and still had the "over the top" style of Carnival.  I have never been a fan of Carnival's decor and this ship did nothing to change my mind. As has been stated, the nudes are everywhere—not offensive but there!!

The food was the best yet on any ship I have sailed including Royal Caribbean and Princess. The only thing we weren't impressed with it was the desserts. The rest of the menu was great. The dining room is wonderful and we loved the design of it. Ken sang most nights (he is very talented) and he is very personable and went out of his way to make our group happy—even giving our group the Captain's Table which was not to be used for first seating so we could be 12 together (3 families of 4) versus an 8 and a 4. The service was very good and we did not notice any difference in service with the new tipping policy in effect (in the dining room at least).

We ate one night at David's and the food was wonderful but we felt very rushed—spoke to head waiter and it was slowed down for coffee and desert. We sat at our table at 6:00 and were done eating our main course by 6:50!!!! We were told that others had complained about the service being too slow so they were trying to speed it up!! Also if you do eat here you may want to consider a later reservation as I think the atmosphere would be much nicer when it is dark outside (this was the only time our group could get). Would recommend trying David's to anyone.

We have sailed on many Carnival ships and found the crowd on the Pride to be much older—the majority of cruisers were over 50. We sail the same week each year (our April vacation) and it is usually packed with families and teens. There were 300 kids on board compared to 700-800 normally on Carnival. The 300 were mostly older teens and younger children—rarely saw any of them. So if you are looking for a ship with an older crowd this may be the ship for you. We were a little disappointed. We were with a group of 40 so we made our own fun but I would have been bored had we been alone on this ship. Extremely quiet at night. The lounges were empty at night except for Karaoke.  Sorry, but I don't see the attraction for this type of entertainment. The disco was empty every night along with all the other lounges. We spent every night hanging around the Lobby bar—very nice bar with a wonderful guitar player.

The casino slots were very TIGHT! Very few winners at all during the week—everyone was complaining. The black jack tables and craps seemed to be paying though. Didn't go to any shows so I can't comment on them.

The cabins seemed smaller compared to other Carnival ships. We had a category 8E. The balcony was good size with a small table, chair and two lounge chairs. Our cabin steward (first time I don't know our steward's name) was not very attentive—constantly had to ask for ice. We asked him on the first day to empty out the fridge for us. By the second time we asked, he did this but left all the contents on top of the desk/dresser. We asked him 3 times to remove this from the cabin and finally put it all in a green garbage bag and it was taken.

The new towel policy stinks and did nothing but cause people to feel Carnival is trying to make a buck!! We were 4 in our cabin and were only given 2 towels all week (we brought our own and didn't use Carnival's). By the last night the steward found us and said we were missing two towels and we were going to be charged $22 each for them. We explained that we were only given two all week and they sat on the deck. He said that was not true and he would have to charge us. We told him if and when the charge appeared on our Sail and Sign bill we would be removing his tip. He smiled and said he would find a way to "replace" the missing towels and that was the last we heard of it. Someone else in our group was charged for a towel but didn't notice until they were off the ship. Be sure to check your bill for these charges. This was the first time we considered not leaving a tip for our cabin steward but decided to leave it on the bill. Had we used the standard method of tipping with the envelope I am sure we would have left nothing but a token tip to him.

If Carnival instituted this towel policy to help eliminate the chair saving it is not working! The chair saving was in full swing and we witnessed 2 major fights on deck (we only had 2 days at sea). Not sure what the answer is to this problem although Royal Caribbean did have deck people removing stuff from saved chairs last year and this was a big help.

For the ports, we shopped and rented mopeds on Key West—great place and would love to spend a few days here—although very expensive. In Belize we went Cave Tubing with Reggie ($60 pp vs. Carnival's $79). It was great and would recommend it to others. Reggie was a lot of fun and it is much nicer to be in a small group versus the ship's tour of hundreds. In Cozumel we shopped. Most of our group went to Playa Sol and LOVED it—said they would have liked to spend more time there. In Progresso went to the open market which was fun and then walked to the beach. The beach area is beautiful and I think this will be a great place to visit in a few years. They are doing much building and development around the beach.


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