Not the Best But Worth the Money: Carnival Paradise Cruise Review by SA_Traveller
Overall Member Rating
Not the Best But Worth the Money
Destination: Mexican Riviera
Embarkation: Los Angeles
Let's start with my only serious complaint, which is the embarkation process. By far and away this was the worst embarkation I have experienced in the four times I've cruised. On my previous three cruises I've averaged about 50 to 60 minutes from getting the luggage out of the car to walking into my stateroom on the ship. With the Carnival Paradise, the embarkation took two hours and fifteen minutes. It was ridiculous! I would have taken a picture of how long the line is, but "for security reasons" Carnival doesn't want those pictures to exist. Suffice it to say, you are waiting a long time. First you are in a long line for security. You are then corralled into a waiting area, where you wait for 20-30 minutes to get the privilege to stand in the next long line for check-in. The worst part of embarkation is that the Carnival staff at embarkation were not More friendly at all. I'm a criminal defense attorney and I see more smiles visiting clients in jail than I saw from the embarkation staff. People were barking out orders as to where you needed to stand. Finally, after all that waiting, they force you to stand in line and wait for other people to take your picture. I told the Carnival employee that I don't want a picture and asked if I cross through, but was told (without an apology) that I had to wait in line and then tell the photographer that I didn't want a picture.
Embarkation aside, my room was comfortable. The rooms there are standard cruise industry rooms. My only minor complaint about the room is that it was too cold and the air conditioner really dries out the air in the cabin. If you go on this cruise, be sure to tell your cabin steward to leave the air conditioner off, otherwise he will turn it on every time he makes your room up.
The food was excellent. The wait staff was very good as well. The head waiter accommodated my request to change to seating times. Good service and great food made for enjoyable meals on the ship.
The entertainment on the ship was mixed. I thought the ship had very good acts everywhere except the main lounge. Comedy acts in the small lounge were great. Karaoke was fun. But the main lounge singers and dancers were mediocre at best. The other guests I talked to about the entertainment agreed.
The common areas of the ship were very nice. Everything was very clean. The decor was typical of other cruise ships. I enjoyed walking around and exploring the decks.
This cruise had two ports of call. Catalina was our first port. I really enjoyed Catalina, but others did not. I think Catalina is great if you like nature or exploring a small town. Catalina is not so great if you like to drink and party. To each his own I suppose. The ship tenders in Catalina and you have to wait about a half hour in line to tender to shore (if you go during the post-breakfast rush). I would recommend waiting till late morning or after lunch, then going ashore for a couple of hours to beat the long tendering line.
The second port of call was Ensenada, Mexico. I was not impressed with this port of call at all. I had heard from other cruisers not to expect much from the town, so as long as you go in to it with low expectations, it's ok. I spent the day exploring downtown. You can get some cheap beers and a good meal. There are massage parlors and the typical street vendors. If I went back to Ensenada, I might consider just staying on the ship.
Overall, I had a great cruise because I love to be on vacation regardless. I think this is a great cruise for the money. I think if Carnival could find a way to speed up the embarkation process I would consider going on this cruise again. Less