2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2014
Recently, my boyfriend and me took a Carnival cruise on the Paradise during December 22-27 , 2014 . I was thinking , it's would be a perfect little vacation getaway. Usually we book balcony cabin, but this time we had inside cabin( ... Read More
Recently, my boyfriend and me took a Carnival cruise on the Paradise during December 22-27 , 2014 . I was thinking , it's would be a perfect little vacation getaway. Usually we book balcony cabin, but this time we had inside cabin( booked cabin 2 weeks prior cruising) . Instead my boyfriend got very sick ( we think , from poor air circulation and mold ). We complained for 3 days, that it's very hot in the cabin, only on day 3 did the technician finally unscrewed the air vent, witch was full of mold and solid black in color. In fact, most everyone staying on the empress deck was sick and coughing like my boyfriend. With regard to what is supposed to be the reason we all cruise (the superb food) Carnival Paradise's food was simply awful. Specifically the eggs were not real (seemed to be made from powder), the coffee and tea were not brewed. They both were made from syrup and water and tasted horrible. The juices were not made from juice. They use Vitality which is more like a juice drink full of added sugar. The ship was dirty and proper sanitation procedures were not used. Servers not wearing gloves and taking dirty plates away and serving food right after without cleaning hands or wearing gloves. Needless to say we would not recommend the Carnival brands and will never book with them again. They want to charge full price and provide 2nd class service. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2013
Thanksgiving cruise that was a great break from the normal holiday bustle. PARADISEwas in very good shape for its' age and the service staff superb. Biggest disappointment was the cruise director Steve. He can plat a fiddle or violin, ... Read More
Thanksgiving cruise that was a great break from the normal holiday bustle. PARADISEwas in very good shape for its' age and the service staff superb. Biggest disappointment was the cruise director Steve. He can plat a fiddle or violin, but he should never be allowed to speak into microphone. He speaks to the audience in a Barney voice and acts as if he is speaking to 4-5 year olds. This was my 15th cruise and he was by far the worse cruise director I've seen. The male leader singer in the show production had a very weak voice, but the band and dancers made up for his shortcomings. Dining was good every night except the filet mignon on Thanksgiving night. I should definitely chosen the traditional turkey dinner. All other nights were great! Getting off and off the ship was very smooth. Took the Land and Sea Tour in Grand Caymen and would highly recommend it.   Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2013
I have sailed multiple ships in the Fantasy class, Paradise included (back in '03 when it was still no smoking). Due to this, I knew going in how this ship would compare to newer offerings from Carnival and competing lines. First of ... Read More
I have sailed multiple ships in the Fantasy class, Paradise included (back in '03 when it was still no smoking). Due to this, I knew going in how this ship would compare to newer offerings from Carnival and competing lines. First of all if you are capable of "making your own fun" you will probably have a good time on this boat. I started cruising in '95 (I was 21 then), so I'm familiar with the activities boats of this size typically offer. If you are content with the pool deck, casino, meals, comedians, and maybe a show or two you should be fine. If all you know is Carnival Fun Ship 2.0 (upgrade) boats (or RCCL for that matter) the Paradise may seem kind of boring. Cons: -Lido deck restaurants (outside or inside, including the deli and pizza) were always nuts. It seemed like 10 minute lines for at least an hour (sometimes more) during both breakfast and lunch. I only ate in the MDR during the day once (lunch), and it wasn't busy at all. It appears that the people on this boat prefer the buffet meals. Dinner (buffet) selection was very poor during the one evening I checked it out, although (again) this may be typical on this ship. -Yes the interior looks dated. No way to hide this given that you enter the boat and the first thing you see is the atrium (which looks as dated as anything on the boat). -Stateroom looked dated as well, and had a "yellowed" robe, but served its purpose as a comfy place to sleep. -MDR (we had my time dining) hostess didn't know the show schedule, as was surprised when they got crushed immediately after the show. Service was VERY slow that night. This was surprising as it isn't like they don't go through this every few days. -Seemed like the pool deck bars were understaffed. One bartender for a ~10 seat bar for extended periods of time. They were pushing buckets of beer hard, I assume this helps relieve the pressure some. -MDR food was average. Not necessarily a con, but as someone who has been on 9 Carnival cruises in 16 years the gradual decline is something I can't help but notice. -Stop with the bacon police. It only backs up the buffet lines even more. I'm sorry that people waste a bunch of food (sad really), but add $1-2 to everyone's fare and let people grab their own bacon. Deserts I get (they are separate anyway), but the primary buffet lines really need to move faster. Pros: -Less than $90/person/day (family of 3, not including tips). Cons aside, I felt that I got what I paid for. -Serenity deck + waterslide are a nice touch for this older boat. -Pool deck (pools, deck, chairs), while worn, was in good shape. -Bed was really comfy. In my opinion, if you have complained about Carnival in the past you will likely do so again if you sail on this ship. In addition, if you are familiar with the Fantasy class ships nothing on this boat should surprise you. If all you care about is some food, the casino, the pool, alcohol, a few ports here and there, this boat will do. If you want more, you need to pay more. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2012
We went on our first Christmas Cruise in December, 2012. We left on Christmas Eve from Tampa, and returned 5 days later. Since we live in Tampa, we drove to the port. We arrived at about 11:30AM. This seems to be the perfect time to ... Read More
We went on our first Christmas Cruise in December, 2012. We left on Christmas Eve from Tampa, and returned 5 days later. Since we live in Tampa, we drove to the port. We arrived at about 11:30AM. This seems to be the perfect time to arrive at the port, TSA security was less than 5 minutes, and check in took nearly no time at all. We were on board by 11:50. Note that you board this ship in Tampa on level 7 (Empress deck). With the exception of a few cabins on the Veranda deck, this is the highest level with rooms. Above us was a conference room. Cabin: E240. This is an aft cabin on Empress deck. The window had a 2 foot shelf before it, which was very useful as a place to store "stuff". A great extra. The room did not have a refrigerator, something we have never experienced on a cruise ship. In addition, in the corner of the room, there was a 3 foot by 3 foot by 3 foot box, which held the life jackets. To get out of the bed on one side, one had to crawl over the "box" to get out. I don't know why the life jackets aren't kept under the bed, or in the closet. The room also had 2 small end tables, and a single chair. No sofa. It had a large screen TV. The shower was a full size shower, the largest I've ever seen at sea. I mean a real shower. We had no trouble with water temperature variation when taking a shower. Storage drawers in the room were limited, as was the number of hangers. Adequate for a 5 night cruise, if you don't pack to heavily. The room was tired, but clean. Our steward operated in the background, and did a great job. The room was quiet, we heard no one. We generally try to be under something that doesn't have a lot of night time activity, and were successful.Food: This is a cruise, lots of food, of generally OK quality. I'm on a low carb diet, and they were unable to offer me food with low carbs. They simply brought the carbs, and told me not to eat them. For example, I don't eat potatoes. I couldn't successfully request to "hold the potato, substitute additional veggies". They simply brought the extra veggies. A waste. Our wait staff made the extra effort to get to know our preferences (decaff coffee) and the like, and were quietly efficient. We had the early seating, and everything went smoothly. Note that one member at our table was on a gluten free diet, and had arranged for this special diet ahead of time. This need continued to mystify the wait staff, I don't believe any meals were served without some sort of problem. Lido deck food was good, lines were never bad if the peak time was avoided. Cruise Director: Steve Cassel was the best cruise director we have ever had the pleasure of sailing with. He was excellent! He also plays a mean fiddle! I'm not sure what he is doing on a small ship like the Paradise, but he was everywhere on the ship, doing his best to make everything fun. Entertainment - Main Shows - Excellent. We were on the Carnival Freedom in September, these shows were better. The performers seemed to be having fun, which came through on the performances. The Cruise Director also played the fiddle in one of the shows, adding another dimension to the entertainment. Entertainment - Comedy. we went to only the adult comedy, both performers were sub-par compared to what we had seen on previous ships. Funny and "R" rated is OK, but just "R" rated is just dumb. Maybe we hit them in the wrong mood, normally we really enjoy the comedy. Entertainment - Live Karaoke - Absolutely terrific. This is a must see. Karaoke with the house band playing instead of a CD. The band was great, and the singer was excellent. One of our table mate performed, and the band got into it. This is a really good time. Casino - We never went. Other Entertainment - My only grip is that things seemed to be clustered together. Shows and comedy were on the same night. We did not go to the guest talent show, I cringe at Karaoke taken to the next level. Ports - Grand Cayman - A great port. We snorkeled at Eden Rock, a 5 minute walk from the tender port. $5.00 for a locker (we bring our own equipment) for some of the best snorkeling in the area. If you are a first timer, Stingray City is a must visit. We have done that multiple times. Grand Cayman is a clean, safe place to wander around and explore. We were only there from 8AM to 3PM, a bit short. Ports - Cozumel - We arrived at 11AM and left at 8PM, a bit strange. We went snorkeling with Mystic Divers, and Rosie arranged for us to snorkel the Columbia and Palancar reefs. We have been to Cozumel many times, and the snorkeling from the shore isn't very good The best we have found is at the Money Bar, that is OK at best. The the offshore reefs were fantastic. Lots of large fish, and very beautiful. For $70.00 each we received a small boat tour. From Carnival a similar tour was available for about the same price, but there were close to 200 folks on the boat. We had 2 people. The Carnival tour included booze, Rosie's did not. Fitness Room - Tired. Everything worked but it was old equipment. It was clean. Ship - When we get on and off the ship,there is rust streaming down from the portholes. This concerned me, as it indicates a lack of maintenance. Our cabin window was also filthy (from the outside). It seems like they are saving money on the little things, kind of sad since the cruise was so nice. Conclusion - This cruise was fun, and well worth the money! Read Less
Sail Date: December 2012
We sailed out of Tampa on Dec. 29th on Carnival Paradise. We had an oceanview cabin, and it was bigger than we expected. It was very clean, and well stocked with fresh towels and water all of the time. The rest of the ship was in very ... Read More
We sailed out of Tampa on Dec. 29th on Carnival Paradise. We had an oceanview cabin, and it was bigger than we expected. It was very clean, and well stocked with fresh towels and water all of the time. The rest of the ship was in very good shape, although it could use some updating. We traveled to Grand Caymen on Dec. 31st which was simply beautiful and amazing. We did a snorkel/stingray city excursion. It was fantastic! The water was a little choppy, but all in all we had a great time. New Years Eve aboard Paradise was AMAZING!!!!! By 10:30 p.m. most guests made their way to the Lido deck for a great party. The band was very good, and there was a lot of dancing and celebrating. It was about 80 degrees, and the champagne was flowing! The following day we went to Cozumel. We did the "GO JEEP" excursion which was AWFUL!!!!! I would not recommend this excursion to anyone. The brochure promised an exciting "through the jungle" off road experience with tequila tasting,and 1.5 hours on a great beach. It was a two-hour ride, back and fourth, on a highway to nowhere in the most broken down jeep. The tastings occurred in small roadside places which were "sketchy" and scary. We were on a beach for about a half hour, and it was horrible. The beach was dirty and smelly. The restaurant was very overpriced, and the food was well below par. Many other passengers paid only $20 for an all inclusive beach tour and were very pleased with those excursions. Beside the "Go Jeep" excursion, another complaint would be that the food on Paradise was not as good as other cruise lines. It was compatible to Bob Evans or Cracker Barrel. If your looking for gourmet top-chef prepared meals, you would be disappointed. The only time lobster was available was on New Years Eve. The desserts were amazing, though. Another complaint would be the lounge savers on board. You literally have to get up at 7:00 a.m., get a towel, and "save" your lounge chair. Some guests saved lounges for their entire group, or family,even if they never showed up. Some "saved" chairs would be vacant for most of the day. Also, we were not able to enter Tampa Bat until 3:00 p.m. on our day of departure due to fog, causing us to miss our flight. Luckily, we had a travel agent who was able to make all of our arrangements for a hotel and new flight. It did cost quite a bit to get a new flight for three the next day, and a hotel room. If you are cruising in December or January, I would recommend flying in a day before, and out the day after, the cruise. You would only have to pay for a hotel room, and not have to worry about making arrangements from the ship.At times, it was difficult to get a free line out. All and all, we had a great time. New Years Eve was worth all of the other little problems. And, hey, you're in 80 degree sunny weather, swimming in the ocean, in January!!!!! Read Less
Sail Date: December 2011
I can honestly say that this was one of, if not THE, best cruise that we have taken in about 20 years of cruising. For us, this cruise brought us many firsts, including our first out of LA/Long Beach, our first along the Mexican Riviera, ... Read More
I can honestly say that this was one of, if not THE, best cruise that we have taken in about 20 years of cruising. For us, this cruise brought us many firsts, including our first out of LA/Long Beach, our first along the Mexican Riviera, first through the Panama Canal, and first 14-day sailing. We have cruised The Carnival Paradise several times when it sailed out of Miami into the Caribbean and have always enjoyed this class of ship. As expected, we were amongst the minority on this sailing, that is to say that we are not yet retired and still "work-to-cruise". I can also say that we made some great friends on this sailing and hope to cruise with them again in the future (both through CCritic and people that we met on the ship). While the Carnival Paradise is an older ship and will be going into dry dock in early 2012, everything worked as expected, hot water was hot, cold air was cold, and everything was clean and neat for a ship of her age. What I would really like to point out are the officers, crew, and staff, of the ship. They were in one word amazing. From the officers to the maintenance workers, they all had smiles and seemed sincerely glad that we (and even they) were on the sailing. Maybe it was the change from 3 and 5 days party cruises to the 14-day canal transit or maybe it was that Carnival is going to great lengths to put customer service into everything that they say and do. I suspect that it might be a little of both. It did not matter if the crew members were assigned to our MDR table, our stateroom, or if we saw them daily, they all truly seemed to enjoy what they were doing and it showed in how they talked with us in the halls, on the lido, the bars, or anywhere. The Paradise is using the new Carnival MDR menus and the food was always hot and exactly as ordered; I like my beef rare (almost moo-ing) and that was never a problem. We had 6 (three couples) of us at a table for 8 and the wait staff were attentive and friendly throughout the sailing. One night we did the Chef's Table (as this ship has no private restaurant/steak house/etc) which I would highly recommend anyone who would like a fantastic 4-hour meal and discussion with the ship's head chef and several members of his staff, it was well worth the cost. The food in the lido was as expected and the lines were never a real problem for us, even during the busiest times of the day. Then again, we seldom let lines or such bother us when we cruise. On entertainment - we are very limited here given our enjoyment. We did the comedy club once or twice and it was great both nights. The selected comics were on target with their bits and the audience that they had that night. I can not say anything about the shows since this is just not something that we tend to watch. We are Piano Bar Flies and on this cruise - we closed the place down most nights - although often we and one or two other couples were the only ones there. I think that part of the issue here was the age of the cruisers, most nights by 12mid, the ship would be very quiet everywhere including the PB. We had a great time with the piano player who is a local from Florida and who we hope to see again - or a ship, in a band, or walking the beach in sandals. I know that there is much more that I should be writing and am sure that my wife would add a lot as well. If anyone has specific questions, they can find me on the cruise line boards and I'll be glad to offer more. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2011
Carnival Paradise One disappointing thing to note which was totally out of the cruise lines control was the weather, we left an unusually warm London for an equally unusual cold and wet LA. This may have had an impact on some of our ... Read More
Carnival Paradise One disappointing thing to note which was totally out of the cruise lines control was the weather, we left an unusually warm London for an equally unusual cold and wet LA. This may have had an impact on some of our thoughts about the cruise. Embarkation The check in process in Long beach was quick and efficient. The lady who check us in was really friendly and worth mentioning. Wish we had taken her name down. We do question some of the security checks and the attention of the people operating the metal detectors, we noticed a person in front of us trigger the lights on the machine, but the operator was busy with someone else in front and the trigger went unnoticed by security staff. Food Our first food experience was the Paris Buffet and its very dated decor. The servers on every occasion were friendly and helpful. The food was average and to be fair was not bad for the price we paid for the cruise. On some visits to the Buffet (we ate here on all but one occasion) not all the advertised dishes were available at the start of the service. Dinning space was constantly at a premium and the crew were slow to clear the tables. The gulls were most amusing and I have the feeling they stayed with the ship throughout the Trip. We ate only once in one of the main dining room. The food was excellent. The Matre'd was very helpful and due to our jet lag managed to fit us in with the any time dinning instead of our late dinning option. The Idea of Mongolian BBQ on deck is a great addition, but speed of service needs to be looked at. It took over 30 mins on one occasion and it was a quiet time. Cabin Our luggage was delivered quickly and by the time we made it to the cabin. We were greeted by our friendly stewardess. This was the only time we met or spoke. The cabin itself was dated and showed signs of wear. At all times the cabin was kept clean. I could be wrong, but did Carnival used to give a nice Chocolate at Turn Down? If so they don't any more! The rooms were noisy and the loud neighbours who were seemingly deaf thought it acceptable to shout out conversations along with other "Young" Neighbours who felt it necessary to shout at all hours of the day and night, clearly under the influence of alcohol. Entertainment Throughout the most disappointing element of the cruise was the "Entertainment". We did enjoy the comedians and the one production show we got to see. What we did not like was the fact the cruise director tended to speak at a very fast pace and was difficult to understand. In addition to this the lack of Entertainment on the evening of the Esanada. There was no entertainment in the main showroom! The entertainment was also fairly nonexistent on the sea day, the odd quiz and an ice carving demo. Memories of Carnival a few years ago seem to show a general decline in the standard of entertainment. Disembarkation We chose the self assist process and found this much faster and convenient than the standard disembarkation process. It was also great for the Non -â€"US immigration channel was much faster than the US Channel for a change. General The level of hard sell seems to have been dramatically reduced ( and greatly appreciated) on board. The public toilets in the ship were consistently in a disgusting condition, but this seemed more due to our fellow shipmates rather than poor management by the crew. BE AWARE: The system Carnival use for Charging its guests on its sail and sign card has some down sides. All though the charges were all correct and present, we noticed that not only do Carnival "Block" a deposit against your credit card, each time you charge to your sail and sign card an additional amount is also Blocked, then once you leave the ship the full amount of charges is taken from your credit card but all the "Blocks" remain on the card for over a week. I could imagine this could cause some embarrassment for some. We also noticed that Carnival also credit back cash deposits to the customer as cheques. How does this work if you are from the UK? Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2009
> My husband, myself and eight of our friends went on a Carnival cruise from 24 December 09 to 28 December 09. In order for all five cabins to get the lowest price, which is the military rate, CF, a Carnival travel agent, suggested and ... Read More
> My husband, myself and eight of our friends went on a Carnival cruise from 24 December 09 to 28 December 09. In order for all five cabins to get the lowest price, which is the military rate, CF, a Carnival travel agent, suggested and approved the following change: Since both myself and my husband are military veterans, and our cruise friends Kand D (mother and daughter) were not veterans, we changed the names of the cabin occupants to show that one veteran would be in each of those two cabins, in name only, for the sole purpose of the reservation, so that I would share my cabin with D, and my husband would share a cabin with K. All four of us were told by CF that making changes to cabin occupants is a common practice to get the lowest possible price, and that changing the cabin assignments once onboard would not be a problem. Just to explain, we changed travel agents from Carnival's CF to an online agency because Carnival's agent lied to us about group rates for ten people. When all four of us boarded the cruise ship, we went together to Guest Services to change the cabin occupant names. We were all told by the Carnival employee at Guest Services, that first hour on board, that Carnival would change the occupant names so that My husband and I were now together in one cabin, and K and D were in another cabin. Guest services also told us that our key cards, which are used to open our cabin doors, used as identification, and also to make purchases on board, were corrected to represent the changes made by Carnival Guest Services. As we boarded the ship, our photograph was taken to make sure that all the other information, including credit or debit card information, was matched to the correct guest and to the correct cabin. At least once, sometimes 4 times every single day on this four-day cruise, either I or K went to the Guest Services desk to correct information about cabin occupants or on board charges that had been applied incorrectly. Each time we went to Guest Services, together or individually, Guest Services told us that they corrected the information, but in fact, they did not. One time, three of the four names were listed as being in one cabin, while the fourth person was listed as being alone in her cabin, onboard purchases were all incorrectly applied to the other cabin's account. What was so frustrating and upsetting was that in each instance, the Carnival employee at Guest Services insisted that they had corrected everything. All 4 of us went over all the details of cabin occupants and credit card or debit card owners and numbers several times with Guest Services in that four-day period. I find the negligence on the part of Carnival's Guest Services to be unprofessional, at best. Even on the last morning, when we were waiting to leave the ship, we all went to Guest Services because our print outs were incorrect yet again! At that point, for reasons I will explain later, my husband and I decided that the employees of Carnival did not earn nor did they deserve the $80.00 service gratuity per cabin, that was automatically added to our Sail and Sign Statement. I spoke with a female Guest Services employee from South Africa, who told me that she would refund the $80.00. Obviously, she did not do as she promised, and that charge remains on our credit card account today. On 30 December 09, I received a frantic call from my friend K, telling me that Carnival had taken $473.93 out of her checking account, which would cause her to bounce checks and create insufficient funds charges from her bank when they automatically withdrew her mortgage payment on 1 January 2010. That $473.93 was the amount stated on our Sail and Sign statement, which included the $80.00 automatic gratuity the woman from South Africa promised to remove. In other words, Carnival not only ignored our demand to refund to us the service gratuity of $80.00, but they also took the incorrect amount out of the wrong bank account! Both K and myself called Carnival that day to straighten out the mess, and to ask that the Carnival accounting department rush the correction before K's mortgage payment and checks began bouncing. We both talked to T, a female employee of Carnival who was not willing to rush the correction nor even pretend to be interested in solving the problem. Carnival took several days to refund the Olson family the amount of $473.93, and apply that charge to the correct credit card account. But now they still have charged us the wrong amount! It is supposed to be $393.93, which is the charged amount of $473.93, minus the $80.00 automatic gratuity we are disputing. I called Carnival on 8 January 2010 in a good faith effort to resolve the dispute with Carnival after the $473.93 charge appeared on our credit card. I talked to T at Carnival, and asked again that the $80.00 be refunded. I explained some of the more disturbing problems we encountered on the Carnival cruise. Tiffany told me that because she saw no documentation of any complaints during the cruise, and that now the cruise is over, she would not refund any charges. Of course, guests cannot force Carnival employees to document complaints, and Carnival employees probably know that the best way to deter or prevent guests from denying them gratuities is to just smile, nod, and fail to document anything. > We flew on Southwest Airlines to SNA, and stayed with a friend overnight before we embarked on the cruise. Embarkation was very smooth. Our stateroom on the Carnival Paradise was sold to us as being wheelchair accessible, which I need because I use a wheelchair. I can walk but not very far, and I have constant pain. It was simply impossible to get my wheelchair into the bathroom or shower because it was way too small of an area. Only the smallest infant wheelchair would fit inside. There was only one electrical outlet in the whole room. The bedsheets were dirty. We complained but the problem was never resolved. The guest services employees simply nodded, smiled, but did nothing to resolve our complaints.Our cabin steward never cleaned the room as he should have done: the drinking glasses he left in our cabin had someone's lipstick on them. The bed sheets had someone's pubic hair all over them. The towels had fresh, dirty footprints on them, and the shower was simply never cleaned at all. There was someone else's hair in the bathroom sink, and someone's bobby pins and used nose tissue paper on the floor. This was more than sloppy service, but a serious health hazard. Yes, we complained. Daily. I asked Guest Services to ask to supervisor of Housekeeping to come to meet us at our cabin so we could show him what the cabin looked like. He never showed up, so we called Guest Services to ask the Housekeeping supervisor to call us when we were in our cabin. He never called us or left any message on our phone. We never spoke to him or met him. We did leave messages for the Housekeeping supervisor at the Guest Services desk, but we don't know if he ever received them. The buffet areas had a nice choice of food, but it was hard to find an open table because the staff only cleared tables once per mealtime. There were dirty tables and chairs everywhere, with stacks of dirty dishes on them where guests had cleared their own tables to make room for themselves. The tables were never disinfected. Even between meals, there were crumbs and greasy areas on tables, and chairs were used as stairs for the children to climb on the tables and jump off. At dinner, we received dirty dishes, dirty silverware and questionable glassware. When we complained, our items were replaced. The steaks were very good, and there were many choices of entrees. Other problems include dirty dishes and used silverware in the supposedly clean stack of dishes at the entrance of the buffet line in the dining rooms, dishes and silverware with dried food on them in the restaurant, dirty glasses in the restaurant, and I saw a bar server take a used straw out of one drink and place it in another drink before he served that drink to a guest. Other members of our group saw and experienced similar sickening behavior from Carnival staff. We took this cruise with a large group so we spent most of our time with them. There were no children in our group, so I can't speak of the quality of children's activities. I observed that of the 500 children on this cruise, the large majority, even children wearing diapers, were unsupervised, screaming, running in the public areas, leaving half-eaten food on the floors and on any public holiday decoration that they could find, and generally behaving like wild animals. As far as the entertainment, we really enjoyed the comedian, but not the singing and dancing shows. The movies available were for the children, since this was a holiday cruise. We did not buy any shore excursions from Carnival, but instead left the ship and hired locals to take us to the same sites promoted by Carnival, at a substantial savings. Disembarkation was the smoothest I have ever seen. If there is one thing Carnival knows how to do right, it's how to get people off the ship quickly. The bottom line is that we as guests feel that we determine how much gratuity is to be given, just like in any other restaurant, hotel, or other merchant that provides a service. Carnival can suggest a gratuity amount, but they can not force guests to pay a gratuity that we determine was certainly not deserved. We found the entire cruise to be sub-standard, unprofessional and Carnival's business practices unethical. Our cruise experience was, and remains, negative. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2008
My fiancee and I went on our very first cruise on 12/29/2008 en route to Catalina and Ensenada. We've never been to either of the cities. A bit of background: We're from the Bay Area, in our mid-20s and both working ... Read More
My fiancee and I went on our very first cruise on 12/29/2008 en route to Catalina and Ensenada. We've never been to either of the cities. A bit of background: We're from the Bay Area, in our mid-20s and both working professionals. We cruised out of Long Beach on Monday, would return on Friday. We wanted to do something fun and different for New Year's, so we figured we'd go on a cruise. My family lives in Southern California, so we decided to cruise after visiting them for the holidays. Embarkation: Handed off our two big pieces of luggage to the porters, handed him $4 for his trouble. Carried on meds (I have type-I diabetes) and electronics. The embarkation was not as smooth as it could have been, but this was not a personnel issue; it was a passenger issue, with several people bottlenecking by acting as if they have never been through security checkpoints. Lots of people taking a generous amount of time putting their items through the metal detector. Lots of kids in line as well. Initially, we both thought there would be lots of young adults our age on the cruise, but this was not the case. There were lots of families and a 40+ crowd. Guards won't even let you bring bottled water into the lines. They were chewing out people on cell phones as well. A little bit antsy for my liking. I had done the FunPass option online, so checking in was easy once past the security checkpoint. However, our dinner time was changed to 8:15 p.m. instead of 6 p.m. as was requested and confirmed (better for my diabetes), and the registration clerk told me to check in with the maitre'd on the ship. I didn't really like having to seek out another person on a place I've never been on it would have been much more convenient to have the clerk punch my request in the computer and the maitre'd could accommodate the request that way. However, I didn't complain one bit and we got ready to get on the ship. After waiting in a few more lines, and taking really bad forced pictures, we got on the ship. After walking around a bit, I found the maitre'd area and he said we would know later if he could change the meal time. So now I had gone through two Carnival employees to change a meal time that was switched unknowingly to me and still did not have an answer. I didn't play my diabetes card, but I was close to doing so. A few hours later, a card was put in my room letting me know that I would be able to eat at the time I requested. Thanks guys. The ship itself is a bit confusing walking around. I think it took us around 3 days to get the lay of the land. Some floors stop mid-ship and you have to go up a set of stairs in the room area to reach the next level; was very confusing. The rooms: So the whole ship feels like a 1970s Vegas hotel, and the rooms do as well. The bed is quite comfortable felt like a king size. Pillows were good as well. However, the rocking off the boat felt in our room (on the Riviera (bottom floor) toward the rear) was unbearable at times. I would highly recommend to anyone to stay midship if possible and away from the lower floors. In speaking with my travel agent, he said I would not really feel the rocking on the lower floor, but he was false in his assessment. There is a safe in the room, but mine was buggy. It worked initially, but then locked me out. Had to get Carnival personnel to fix it, which they promptly took care of decided to not use safe after that. As others have said before, there is only one electrical outlet, so bring one of those one-to-three outlet plug-ins; don't bring a surge protector as that is too bulky to pack and you won't need it. Also, bring a battery-powered alarm clock, as there is no clock in the room. There is no fridge in the room, but they do put soda and water on the table (water was $4 for a liter size, soda was $2/can) The ports: Catalina was very nice. We were recommended to rent a golf cart and ride around town by several past cruisers. Carnival doesn't offer this excursion, but it's simple enough to rent one. There are two places that rent the carts for $40/hour with a $40 deposit. The cart renters may try to push a buy two hours ($80), get one hour free, but you don't need this. One hour is plenty to drive around and see most of the scenery. Only do the two hours if you want to stop at Wrigley, etc. and visit. Otherwise, just get the hour. Trying to walk all of Catalina (with the hills, etc.) would be lengthy rent the cart. Ensenada is fine despite what I had heard. I felt more unsafe in places like downtown Berkeley, San Jose and San Francisco. If you go to the shopping area, there are lots of taxis/shuttles that will take you for $2 per person each way. The distance from the ship to the shopping area is 2 miles, so the shuttle/taxi is worth it. There are lots of people who will try and sell you stuff, but they are not pushy. Just say, "No gracias" and they will be on there way. Unlike many parts of the states, these people are trying to earn your money, rather than look for handouts. We went on a winery tour, which took us to two wineries in the countryside about 40 miles away from the ship. Cost was $40/person. We left around 11:30 a.m. and got back about 3:30 p.m. (You don't get lunch, but there is bread at the wineries, I recommend eating a brunch beforehand so you do not starve.) The bus was in good condition with a bathroom on board. The tour guide was very friendly and spoke good English. She gave a history of some of the parts of Ensenada, so not only did we get to try wine, we were getting a tour of the town and countryside as well. Food on the ship: Good food, but as not as great as many people claim. Dinner rotates every night, and you can of course order food not on the menu if something does not tickle your fancy. We had a good table of people (8 people per table) and had some good cordial conversation every night. People watching at the buffet may make your hurl. Many purge themselves with plates of fries, ice cream and dip every food item in either syrup or butter and top with bacon. People eat pile 1,900 calories on the plates at 3:30 p.m. and will go eat another one at 6 p.m. And then be back at 9 p.m. for more "snacks" and then come at 11:30 p.m. for two slices of pizza. Absolutely disgusting. Entertainment: Pretty good live music by a couple of different acts: one cover band, one acoustic guitar playing guy, a pianist and one swing band. There is a main show offered every night and it is put on twice a night. Usually it's a song and dance production, but one night they had comedy and a magician. The comedians do a PG routine, and then will offer R-rated shows later that night or the next nights. Our comedians weren't very funny trying really hard to get laughs, but hey, they are cruise ship comedians. The singers were pretty good, but there were only 3 singers; the rest of the cast was forbidden from singing and only lip-synced and danced. That was weird. Basically every passenger wants to go to these shows, so if you don't come at least 15 minutes early, your seat will suck. Also, there are columns in several places that can block your view. Sign-and sail cards: A very convenient feature so you don't have to carry cash. Doubles as your room key and on-board credit card. Tips are included in prices of alcohol and soda. Beer is $5 for a 16 oz bottle. Soda is $2 can. (Tip is 15 percent, excluded in my figures) Annoyances: Biggest one were the drink servers in the lounge areas. You will get no fewer than three of these people coming to you every 7 minutes asking if you want a drink. Will prepare you well for Ensenada. Disembarkation: Do the self-assist one and you will be off the ship within 20 minutes after you are called. If you do the other traditional disembarkation, you have to leave your bags out the night before, and must wait until after all self-assist passengers are off. You can also get off when they call the first floor, despite what floor you may be on. (Carnival has no way of telling the difference of what floor you are on.) Homeland Security took our declaration forms but did not check baggage; was very prompt. Overall, a good time despite some of my nits. Would like to see more of Mexico in the future, so a 7-day may be on the horizon. Would want to do this in better sunnier weather so we could spend more time on the deck and pool area. Read Less
Carnival Paradise Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 3.0 0.0
Dining 4.0 0.0
Entertainment 4.5 0.0
Public Rooms 3.5 0.0
Fitness Recreation 4.0 0.0
Family 4.0 0.0
Shore Excursion 4.5 0.0
Enrichment 4.0 0.0
Service 4.5 0.0
Value For Money 4.0 0.0
Rates 3.0 0.0

Find a Carnival Paradise Cruise

Email me when prices drop