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Carnival Pride Cruise Review
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Copyright © 1995-2002 
Linda Coffman


Carnival Pride

by Tim Hickey

THE PRIDE OF CARNIVAL

As a veteran Cruiser (3 times on Carnival, 1 time on Celebrity & 1 time on Norwegian), I want to express my extreme pleasure with my past sailing aboard The "Pride." I had past poor experiences on two of Carnival's ships (The Celebration & The Ecstasy) and was apprehensive about another sailing with their cruise line. I am the type of person that not only complains to companies for poor performance but also send compliment letters for excellent service. That said, I have divided this into two parts, pros & cons.

THE VESSEL, THE "PRIDE"

Carnival PridePROS
The ship was nothing short of beautiful. It was easy to see that a lot of thought went into the design of this vessel. The rooms were spacious. There were enough elevators to allow access to many parts of the ship without having to walk to the other end of the ship to get somewhere. When the Captain decided to change the itinerary due to hurricane "Isadore," we were in approximately 8-10 ft. seas. There was no way of telling this though, the ship undertook these seas as if they were clear glass. The ride was SO smooth, I am now calling the Pride the "Limousine of the Seas"! There was absolutely no roll or rock during this cruise. All of the areas of the ship that I had visited were always very clean and well maintained.

CONS
The art onboard the ship was just a little overkill. The OVER-BLOWN negative comments I have read in the past are unjustified. Just as some of the art was tasteful, some was unnecessary. For instance, the full size, naked woman on the wall outside of the Normandie Restaurant with her hand over her crotch. It is difficult to explain to an 11 year old child that this is art, even when you yourself aren't sure! Many children will cruise aboard this ship; children do not need to see this type of art and the some of the pictures and statues are an insult to this beautiful ship. 

The deck area around all of the pools as well as the steps leading to the water slide in the aft part of the ship are VERY dangerous when wet. Some type of rubber, non-slip padding should be installed in these areas to prevent a future serious injury to a passenger.

THE STAFF

PROS
The majority of the staff aboard were VERY professional. In the past I encountered unhappy staff members
(as on the Celebration & the Ecstasy), which was a major reason to stop cruising with Carnival. I am happy to say that on the Pride, this WAS NOT the case. The staff went out of their way to make sure ALL of the areas of our cruise were covered. All of the time with a smile on their faces. The dining room staff was a pleasant surprise. They were a treat to see everyday. The were always happy to serve us. They were VERY attentive. After our first night, they knew what beverages we liked with our meals and made a point to have them on our table as soon as we entered the dining room. They also danced with my niece every night after dinner, which really impressed her. It was a pleasure to have "Sammy" & "Nok" (our dining room staff) as a part of our cruise.

CONS
Who was the maître d'? We know his name was Jerry, but that's ALL we know. He never came around to our table as has happened on past cruises on other ships (and he had a week to make his rounds in the dining room). I have always given the
maître d' a gratuity after the cruise, but in this case, I didn't know who to give it to! Sorry, Jerry... (whoever you are). Our room steward left much to be desired. He knew there were 3 people in our room but only supplied us with 2 beach towels until I asked him for a 3rd towel. He knew there was a child under 12 years old with us but never supplied us with a child's life vest. When I paged him to discuss this, he never returned my page. Maritime regulations require cruise lines to provide children under 12 years old with a child's life vest. Very unacceptable. On the morning of disembarkation, he knocked on our door at 7:15 am after we had just awakened and said he "would come back." It was as if he wanted us to clear the room that early. 

The band was acceptable, but I am partial to Steel Drum bands on a Caribbean cruise. The staff assigned to the "Baby Sitting Service" needs a wake-up call. My 11 year old niece sat at a computer with no supervision on what to do with it while 5 of the staff stood around and talked. I pulled her out of there 1 hour after dropping her off. She was so bored, I felt sorry for her. She received no attention from the staff at all.

PORTS OF CALL

PROS
Key West was a nice stop. Lot's of shopping to do at competitive prices. Cozumel was the BEST of the stops. The Fury Catamaran there was excellent and I would recommend it to everyone.

CONS
Belize City was a most UNNECESSARY stop. We took the Goff's Cay tour and it was the worst shore excursion I have EVER taken. No one on the ship told us to take towels with us and since we were under the impression that they weren't allowed off the ship, we had none for the tour. AND NEITHER DID THE TOUR!!! There was no place to sit there. We sat on the flippers that came with the snorkel set. The island was the size of my front yard. No guide stayed with us to instruct us on how to snorkel (they took volunteers out to deeper water to snorkel) and we were left to fend for ourselves. It was a waste of money to take this tour. You may want to rethink this tour as well as Belize City as a tour stop. My wife (who had a leg injury prior to this cruise) was forced to step off the tender to the island directly into the water (not to a dock) and she hurt her leg again due to the "Up & Over" method needed to get off the boat. The city was disgusting as well. If I ever take a ship that goes to this port again, I will be sure to stay onboard!! I would have rather stayed at sea one more day or in Cozumel for one more day than to have stopped here!! 

We went to Freeport (Port Lucaya) as opposed to Progresso/Merida due to hurricane "Isadore." I was not impressed (as I am NOT by the Eastern Caribbean as a whole). We went to the International Bazaar and it was just that "bizarre"!! All of the shops sold the same items. The only interesting thing was what I call the "Cruise Ship Graveyard." There were four old cruise ships at the port that had no power to them at all. Three Premier and one (I believe) Costa. They were just dead in the water. VERY sad to see. I wished there was a tour available on them. That would have been interesting.

All in all, my wife , niece, and I had a wonderful time on the "Pride." As I stated earlier, the "Pride" is a beautiful vessel!! I can say that I would strongly recommend this ship to everyone. It was a much better experience than my last two cruises with Carnival.


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Photos courtesy of Carnival Cruise Line & Tim Hickey


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