Carnival Paradise: Carnival Paradise Cruise Review by dougemt123
Overall Member Rating
Destination: Europe - Eastern Mediterranean
Embarkation: Los Angeles
We flew down one day early to avoid any problems with flight delays etc. and stayed at the Comfort Inn and Suites in Long Beach. A modern hotel with nice rooms and a helpful staff, but in a rougher area of Long Beach.
Embarkation - We completed the Fun Pass online and as a result had a very smooth embarkation. My wife was driving a mobility scooter so we were given preferential treatment and whisked through the line-up. We boarded the ship too early for our stateroom to be ready, so we headed up to the Lido deck for a bite to eat.
Stateroom - We had a class 4B inside stateroom that was wheelchair accessible (wider doorway and open shower). The room met our expectations with the exception of the shower drain plugging on the last day More and flooding the bathroom. The room was fairly clean and we had no complaints apart from the constant low hum and vibration of the ship's engines.
Ship info - This was a very ornate ship, as are all of Carnival's fleet, and has a nautical theme for all of it's public rooms. A little difficult to find your way around at first, but with a ship map from the pursers desk and some exploring, you are able to find your way around by the second day.
Dining - My favorite part of cruising - The Paradise has 2 dining rooms with an early (5:45pm) and a late (8:00pm) seating time for supper. Dress is more formal as shorts and t-shirts are frowned upon. We had the early seating which suited us just fine. We enjoy fine dining so the menus were very much to our liking, although we had two couples at our table of 10 who looked at the menu and said they preferred simpler food so they went up to the Lido deck. Selection was very good each night. The food was cooked to your liking and if you had trouble deciding, they had no problem bringing you more then one selection. The Lido deck offered a pizzeria, a deli, and buffet (featuring food from a different country each day). There was also a sushi bar (which was only open for a couple of hours each day), and a coffee bar on promenade deck. All the food we sampled was cooked well and very tasty. No big announcements were made about the Grand Gala Buffet so if they had one, I guess we missed it!
Entertainment - All of the your basic cruise entertainment was represented such as: hairy chest contest, line dancing, comedian, magician, ice carving demo, art auction, and wonderful musicals to name a few.
Public rooms This is the one section where I was disappointed in Carnival. At one point in time the Paradise was a non-smoking ship, however, that is definitely not so now! The piano bar, which we were looking forward to enjoying, was so thick with cigarette smoke we couldnt even stay for one song! The casino as well as one other bar that I know of, also allowed smoking and was clouded with smoke the entire cruise. We did not attend the other bars as the music was a little too heavy for us. We did attend several functions in the Queen Mary lounge that was non-smoking, however, you had to walk through a smoking bar to get to it.
Service The service was very good all over the ship. The cabin crew was practically invisible, as they are supposed to be, but the cabins were always made up for you when you returned to your room. Service in the Queen Mary lounge as well as the Normandy lounge was a little spotty. You sometimes had to flag down the drink staff and usually waited a while if you ordered a drink.
Shore excursions Catalina The tender boat was not the ideal situation for my wife, who has less mobility, but the short boat ride to the island was uneventful for the most part. We booked a scenic tour of the city of Avalon from a private company on the island that was quite enjoyable and informative. It was also cheaper than what the cruise ship was offering. The tour lasted about 45 minutes by trolley and it took you high into the hills of Avalon with many picture opportunities to be had. We ate lunch at a ocean-view restaurant and returned to the ship about 2:30 pm. The return tender ride was quite choppy due to the wind and waves that day so some people got wet!
Ensenada - We didnt book any excursions here, probably should have as you can only get harassed by the locals so many times before it gets old!
Debarkation Two options here, they encourage you to take the self-assist option where you carry all of your baggage off the ship yourself. If you choose this, be prepared to leave the ship early. Self-assist people debarked from 7:00 7:45am and the people who checked their luggage followed. If you have an early flight, this is a good option but the restaurants dont even open till 7:00 am, so you may have to go without breakfast. They also dont tell you that the self-assist people have a very short time to leave the ship. We rushed out so fast we forgot some souvenirs in our stateroom!
Summary Overall it was a very enjoyable cruise, apart from the smoking issues! I dont think we would choose to go to Ensenada again but Catalina was beautiful. The ship itself was impressive and almost everything met with or exceeded our expectations. Less
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Don't pay full rates
From an Ex Princess Bartender ...