We went on the 4 night Carnival Paradise out of Long Beach, CA R/T on Monday November 29, 2010.
Onboard were my daughter, age 4 1/2 and I, age 45, in a regular outside cabin E140.
We boarded fine since we are both platinum and went up to the Lido buffet since the cabins were not yet ready. We had fresh hot pizza and ice cream.
Then we went down to our cabin. Water pressure in shower was fine. They re did the tiles in the shower and I noticed that it would be difficult to hold the grab bar since it was now moved right up against the shampoo/ shower gel dispenser. The only way you would be able to hold it is with your left hand while you are in the shower. We did not have any rough seas so this was not a problem for us on this sailing. It could certainly be a problem for another cruiser on another sailing.
The T.V. was replaced with a flat "computer monitor" from View Sonic. It fits inside the opening where the old T.V. was. The base of the monitor keeps it back a way. They need to close up that opening and attach the monitor to the front. Some goofus is going to try to put some books in it and prop it higher and then it will fall out.
Cabin location is handy and quiet.
The first day of the cruise I was approached to do the Chefs Table by Sanjay. I have talked to him on previous cruises so I said yes. It is $75. Not having my husband onboard helped me to say yes. (This is not his kind of thing)
Sanjay told me it would be on the last night of the cruise at 7PM. That was fine because camp reopens for my daughter at 6PM every night. When I got the official invitation the night before the dinner it said to report at 6:25. I took a shower in record time and arrived last but not late.
The invitation says to wear closed toe shoes and no high heels. I wore my black dress and regular pumps fine. There are no stairs but it is a busy kitchen with a bit of water spilled. Also drains in some floors. No one in our group had trouble. You walk and stand for the first half hour in the kitchen.
Executive Chef Vikas Beri gathered us up at our meeting spot in the lobby bar at 6:25. He introduced himself and then took us up the curved lobby staircase to deck 8 to enter the front of the forward dining room. We traversed the dining room and went into a back side door of the kitchen. We did not go through the rotating doors. That would have been too risky since there were waiters with full trays.
We went into the kitchen to our first stop and had champagne or ginger ale. We also had tiny appetizers. I brought the menu home that we were given at the table:
Ahi Tuna Tartar, Wasabi Crip, Duck Pot Sticker, Steak Taco, Avocado Cheesecake. Each one of these were quite delicious and my favorite was the tiny steak taco. It was so cute. Plenty of champagne. We had a toast to the entire crew of the Carnival Paradise from captain on the bridge to the newest guy.
Next we went over to the dessert section and a couple of the women had a hand at making the famous chocolate melting cake. A lot of fun.
Then we saw the line of where the waiters pick up their entrees. Controlled bedlam. The next time my waiter takes an extra minute to get my dinner I am just going to say a little prayer for him.
Then we saw where they wash the dishes and make the salads. Smiles all around from all the crew.
We then made our way back out the door that we entered through and walked out and into the Blue Riband library. It was all set beautifully with Frette linens and Riedel crystal.
We had 11 people at the one table. Men on one side and women on the other. I being the odd man out I was on the end fine. Each setting had a place card.
First we had Evian water poured into our water glasses. Then our choice of white or red wine. I am sure some had both. I had the white and it was quite good. I am sorry I did not get the name of the wines served. I meant to.
Next we had the choice of about 4 different breads presented to us to choose from. Also there were beautiful servings of regular and pumpkin butter.
Then we really started to get down to business:
Beef Carpaccio: Beautifully presented. Chef Vikas took the time to explain each dish to us. Everything was good.
Fried Calamari: We had plates put in front of us with some sauces and then the wait staff went around and dished out the calamari. I can never eat calamari again at Red Robin or such. This was the best.
Fire Roasted Tomato and Poblano Chili Bisque:
We had a bowl set in front of us that had a little stack of roasted corn in 2 baby tomato halves. Then they poured the soup in. Just a great presentation. This was the spiciest item but was so very good.
Then we had a little break. We had a close up magician named Manas come and do tricks at our table. The guy next to me from El Segundo agreed with me that Manas has the potential to someday work at the Magic Castle.
Chopped Mediterranean Salad: This was served on a wedge of iceberg lettuce. Beautiful.
Fillet of Chilean Sea Bass: I had never had Sea Bass before but had heard about it. The best fish I have ever had.
Aged Filet Mignon:
On Wednesday night at dinner in the main dining room Chef Vikas came to my table and asked how I would like my filet mignon prepared for our dinner. I took his advice of medium and it was just perfect.
First they put a plate down in front of us with 3 different mustards set up like a traffic signal of red, yellow and green. Then Chef Vikas came around the table personally and placed his selections on the plates. Just perfect.
Lastly (we were all about to bust) was the Warm Chocolate Melting Cake. This was allegedly the one we had worked on in the kitchen. It was served out of a larger dish and then topped with ice cream. Beautiful and delicious.
The price for this was $75 per person with optional gratuity. For that we got a tour of the galley, plenty of champagne and wine, also an autographed copy of the Carnival Creations cookbook, 2 8x10 photos of our table and most importantly instruction and guidance from our chef and servers. Everything was delicious, hot and perfect. I think a lot of planning went into the dinner, service and menu.
Chef Vikas explained to us that our servers were really chefs but they did such a great job.
That is how they do it at the chefs table set up.
We had 1 birthday and 1 anniversary at the table. Nice cakes with candles.
At the end of the evening I went to leave. My wine was poured for me into a to-go wine glass. I guess they didn't want me traipsing around with an $85 stem and then they topped me off. If I had asked for one of the spare bottles they would have given it to me. Just a great evening.
Back to reality:
The cruise being in late November was a bit chilly. The last day at sea we just kind of were parked between a couple of islands. Saves gas.
Avalon was very windy. The tenders were working but I did not go ashore. They were having a bit of a tough go of it in the morning.
Ensenada was Ensenada.
Luda at Camp Carnival remembered us so sweetly.
Puji my cabin steward was fine.
I got a haircut onboard and I have to suggest that you ask the price before you sign up for anything in the spa.
Great bar service from Elliot, Noreen and others.
Great service in the dining room from Ramesh and Hector at the front desk.
I drove into the parking structure at 12:4 1PM on Monday and out at 9:30 AM on Friday. $60. Cash, MasterCard and Visa only.
The Carnival Paradise is a good 3 or 4 night cruise.