It was our first cruise together! His 3rd on Carnival and my 1st! For those who never been on a cruise before, Carnival Paradise is a fantastic ship to go on.
We arrived in Long Beach early enough to watch the ship roll in that morning. It was very easy to jump in line for early check-in aboard the Queen Mary. We stood in line at the dome terminal until 1:00pm. When boarding started, security was a little tight but easy to get thru. By 1:15 we were walking across the gangplank to enter the ship. Once on board, we found it easy and helpful to get to our cabin. the inside cabin we had was a little small, but cosy for two people.
After settling in the cabin we headed up to the Lido deck to the Paris restaurant where we got a quick bite to eat. The food was cafe style but great anyway. After eating we toured around the ship, it was very easy to get around. as a suggestion we recommend walking the stairs around the ship, it was very easy to locate and are much quicker then the elevators -- besides after eating so much, walking stairs is a good workout. The Carnival Paradise is an extremely beautiful ship.
After doing the lifeboat drill, we made it above deck for departure. Our first night out to sea was fun filled with hitting the casino, (machines were a little tight but we came out ahead anyway). The welcome aboard party was okay, but lasted a bit too long. I loved it but my boyfriend thought it was just okay. After the show, we got a bite to eat and toured the ship some more.
After circling the island overnight, my boyfriend woke up early and watched as we rolled into Avalon Bay. We went to the dining room and had an excellent first breakfast at Destiny restaurant (the breakfast and service was tops in out book). After breakfast we were one of the 1st boats to the island, we decided not to buy one of Carnival's high price tours, but instead we went on foot around the city of Avalon and near by attractions. After being in Catalina for 4 hours we headed back to the ship for more activities.
2nd night of the cruise was formal night. some of the pluses and minuses were: the captain's party was very entertaining and the free cocktails and dancing made it even better. The only minus of the whole night was the ship's photographers. They were a little pushy about taking pictures but once they understood what type of picture you wanted they were very good in directing you to the right person.
The selection of our dining room table was not good. It was small and the people we had at our table were not very kind. So during the cruise we rarely ate in our assigned table, however, we had the pleasure meeting a family of 3 from the beggaring of the trip so ended up eating with them for a good part of the cruise(meeting the right people on a cruise makes all the difference in the world). After getting out of our fancy clothes, we met up with our friends at piano bar and enjoyed the bar entertainment for the night.
Again my boyfriend woke up early to enjoy a sunrise arrival into Ensenada. we got with our friends after a 2nd excellent breakfast and toured Ensenada for the afternoon. The good parts of Ensenada was their downtown shopping area. The only thing we recommend is DON'T GIVE IN TO THE CHILDREN ON THE STREETS.
Our last day on the cruise was " a fun day at sea" were we enjoyed the pool and hot tub. We enjoyed watching the poolside entertainment of the ice carving and hairy chest contest. The hardest thing about the about the cruise was leaving the ship.
Overall, our review of the Carnival Paradise is that once again if that ship is your 1st cruise the value is worth it all the way. Service aboard the ship from the room serve attendants/ the waiters and staff was above and beyond our expectations. The photographers/bartenders and retail clerks were a bit pushy in their sell sell sell attitudes but by simply walking away or ignoring their calls it was easy to forget them being pushy. If you want to go on a trip and shop and drink till you drop, you can do that but if you are planning to go on a limited budget it is very easy to stay within your means and make it a very memorable experience. For my first time on a Carnival cruise line, I had a blast.