Stateroom - We upgraded to a suite with a balcony which was our first mistake. The room was nice but we were used to a big sliding glass door to the balcony. This room had a small door with no window leading to the balcony. This would have been o.k. but the weather wasn't really warm enough to really use the balcony like we had hoped. Otherwise the room was fine. Our steward was great. He did an outstanding job.
Ship - The paradise is almost 14 years old and it shows. It has a poor design and a very strange layout. Everything felt very small for a 2000+ passenger ship. The public rooms were nice and the theatres were very cool.
Dining - This is where we were most disappointed. Breakfast in the buffet was always lukewarm. 2 toasters for 2000 people led to big bottlenecks if you wanted a bagel. Had oatmeal most mornings and it was borderline cold. Ate breakfast in the Elation dining room one morning and it was only o.k. Lunch was better but only due to the Mongolian grill. It is only open from 11-2 each day and they are very very slow so there is always a huge line. The 2 times we got it we loved it. We ate on shore the other 2 days. Dinner was a big downer. The appetizers were usually good but the main entree was only good once. Pork chop was dry as a bone. Steak was cold. Pasta was dry and old. lasagna was awful, turkey was chewy and don't even ask about the lobster. Dessert was the saving grace. The warm chocolate cake was to die for when it was warm, which was only twice after we asked for it to be warmed up. My wife loved the apple pie but other than that the desserts were pretty bland.
Entertainment - Terrible. My wife likened it to a couple of drunk frat boys trying to put on a show. I really felt bad for the cruise staff. They were trying but they were given no training, no props or equipment. The cruise director, Jeff Brrronson, was rarely seen which is not the norm on other cruise lines. The comedians on adult night were pretty good.
Ports - Catalina is cute but small. Ensenada is a waste of time. Nothing to do if you don't want to get drunk at some crappy bar.
Fellow Passengers - Well I'll do my best to keep this politically correct. Let's just say you get what you pay for. I am far from a snob but hanging out with people who want to get hammered drunk daily, then show up to dinner in sweats and a tee shirt isn't for me. One lady was so drunk at the muster drill she had to run into the bathroom and throw up. I was raised by a very proper mom. When you go to a nice dinner you dress appropriately. I am not talking about a suit each night but a pair of slacks and a Tommy Bahama shirt is fine. People were coming in in sweats, football jerseys, basketball shorts and sweaty tee shirts and more. My opinion if you want to dress like a slob then go to the buffet. Again - what do you expect on the Burger King of cruise lines?
Embarkation and debark were quick and painless but we were given special access because we were in a suite.
Summary - If you want a dirt cheap cruise with the riff Raff than this is your trip. Wife and me will stick to Royal or Princess.