Our family of five sailed the Paradise on 10/17/11 out of Long Beach for the 4-day cruise. Our last cruise was on the same ship/itinerary in 2008. Total cost was $220 each per person U.S. which an interior and a porthole room on lower Deck-5.
Embarkation out of Long Beach was very smooth. We arrived at 3:15 P.M. and the wait time was about 15 minutes to check in and obtain the room keys.
When the interior room door was opened, we were immediately greeted by a sewery rotten-egg odor. I notified the cabin steward who treated the drain with a formaldehyde-like solution that seemed to work for a day or two. I later learned that the ship's sewer smell could be detected in a good number of places on the ship, especially on outdoor decks. (Where it vents I presume)
The rooms were basic and comfortable, but the rooms were starting to show signs of wear. The mattresses were sagging in the middle and there was wear on cabinets and in bathrooms where repairs had been made, but all were functional.
Room steward service was excellent BTW. Friendly and attentive.
One of my favorite features of Paradise are the yellow leather seats that adorn the Promenade deck and the Queen Mary Lounge. They are plush and comfortable. The seats are incredibly well-designed along the windows on the promenade deck so one can tuck in seemingly privately along a window & sit and read a book while both watching people and the views outside.
Overall, the ship is starting to show signs of age with rust visible in some places and decks stained in food areas from the near constant barrage of food and drink spills. In summary, she could really use a renovation.
CHILD PROGRAMS: The teens didn't participate in Club-O, not much to draw them in.
11-year old used the game room once in CC. He also participated in the break- dancer instruction class with Circle-C and he enjoyed the program very much.
Activities were varied and plentiful. Shows and entertainment were very good... especially the comedians!
I rated the food in the dining room a 3 - just OK. The food variety and staffing seemed like it had been reduced. Service was obviously suffering, not just with our table but with others around it. Like with most businesses these days, I chalked it up to cost-reductions.
Lido deck 24 hour buffet style dining: Also rated it a 3 - About the same quality as Hometown Buffet - If you expect more, you'll be disappointed.
Expect many enticements on board from photos, duty free shopping, artwork, temporary tattoos, spa services, drinks etc. You are on vacation right?
But, carefully monitor expenditures on the sail & sign card so that you don't end up with a shockingly large bill at the end of your cruise. One couple was moaning about their $700 bill at the end of the cruise. One money-saving tip if you patronize the bar is to get the daily tropical drink special in a regular glass instead of the souvenir cup. $4.95 vs. $7.50.
Overall experience was good. The ship was full because the off-season price was attractive. It's called the Fun Ship and people seemed to be having fun. We will likely try a different line next time, but we will also expect to pay more. The price is commensurate with the quality overall.