3 Ensenada Carnival Paradise Cruise Reviews

We are not very experienced cruisers. All three times were short cruises. We just like to not have to drive for a few days of travel and actually spend a lot of time reading in our room and enjoying the rocking of the ship. I really have ... Read More
We are not very experienced cruisers. All three times were short cruises. We just like to not have to drive for a few days of travel and actually spend a lot of time reading in our room and enjoying the rocking of the ship. I really have no complaints because we got what we paid for at about $300/person for a 4 day cruise. I just am giving it all the info so people who read this know what they're paying for. COMFORT: There were not many kids on this cruise because of the time of year but there aren't many quiet placed to relax and read, so if there were a lot of kids and that's not your thing you might be disappointed. The "library" is very uncomfortable and loud because it's also the board-game room. I found the area near the coffee shop best for relaxing when there were no activities. FOOD: We ate in the Elation dining room. I liked the starter dishes best and toward the end it got so that I'd order soup, salad and another starter, skip the weird dinners and get a dessert. I'm not that picky but I we each had to send a dinner back with a chunk of fatty prime rib that shouldn't have ever come out of the kitchen. Other people at the table also returned food or didn't eat it. It seemed like a sad waste. On both of the carnival cruises we took the other people at our table, who had experience on other cruise ships, were really disappointed by both the food and the wait staff. The staff works hard, really hard, but seem overworked, under trained. When someone spilled a glass of water at our table they didn't do anything to clean it up, just let it run and continue until one person had to get up and move because she was getting wet. We asked twice for a clean-up and nothing was done. I don't think they had a clue how to clean it up. The staff was friendly and one had an especially positive personality. No one learned our name like they do on Royal Caribbean, but for $400 less that's okay with me. If it weren't for the fun of meeting other people I'd probably just eat at the buffet, but definitely don't expect superior service there. Many passengers were happy with the sandwich station. You can get better coffee at almost any major gas station chain these days. I'll bring Starbucks instant Via on the next cruise. Someone else mentioned the half-hearted dance routines and singalongs in the dining room. I agree. They were embarrassed to be doing it because they didn't know the moves. They really tried so hard. One of my tablemates wasn't happy that they seemed to perform to the "other half" of the dining room and it was true, they did. SHIP-SHAPE: I like the rooms because they're roomy compared to other cruise lines. The beds are comfortable and the shower is big. They're clean and we didn't care that they weren't stylish. Our steward was great. We never saw him and he noticed when we came and went and slipped in quietly. I don't care how many cruises I take, I will always enjoy the towel animals. No hairdryer, what a bummer. We didn't sleep as well as we did on a similar carnival ship. I think it was because we were on a party floor with lots of drunken yelling and we had a window right near the anchor so the first morning we woke up at 5 a.m. to the very loud anchor lowering. I swear the kid in the room above us brought a wii and was jumping around all night. I get grumpy without sleep so I was grumpy a lot. The ship has some maintenance issues. I have a feeling some of the elevators were down because we were always waiting for elevators. The arms on the seats in the Normandie showroom are falling off. I hope they know these can be re-covered every 15 or so years, but I don't think they do. The decor of the entire boat kind of looks like an aging casino but it's pretty clean except for the many sticky floors I noticed. PROCESSES and STUFF: Embarkation was a dream. It felt like we walked right on. I was so excited that they didn't make us bring our life jackets to the safety orientation, but then they added this new step of actually going from the muster station to the lifeboats, probably a good step but definitely felt like I was being herded and they didn't warn us about it so we didn't bring a jacket and it was cold. I know all this is required. I *think* they try to make it painless, but it isn't and it's hard to start enjoying ourselves until it's over. With debarkation they announced this new self-assist early debarkation. One of us took that option to get the rental car for us and thought it was definitely over-hyped as people with tons of luggage and strollers were in the way and she had to stand in line a really long time to disembark. The others of us waited to go through the regular process. It's better than it used to be but they still call each group way too early while the previous group is still in a 30 minute line. If they waited just a little longer the comfortable wait on the boat is so much nicer than standing in a customs line. We just waited until they kicked us off and it was painless. ENTERTAINMENT: Wow. I guess I must be picky. It was horrible. A "comedian" with some weird puppet making orgasming sounds actually got some laughs. I love comedy but this was not funny. I was sad part of my ticket paid for him. Everything in the Normandie lounge was too loud. The older people in our party found it painful. If you find the free Las Vegas shows entertaining you'll be happy but don't expect Broadway. Read Less
Sail Date February 2010
I must say this had to be the most ghetto cruise I've been on. My husband and I went with the travel agent we've used before. The trip was titled "Superbowl Cruise." We did not know until a couple of weeks prior to the ... Read More
I must say this had to be the most ghetto cruise I've been on. My husband and I went with the travel agent we've used before. The trip was titled "Superbowl Cruise." We did not know until a couple of weeks prior to the trip that there were only 80 people in our group. That meant the rest of the ship would have passengers not of our group. This was okay. I requested that we have a room higher than the Riviera Deck, but was not afforded that luxury. As a suggestion to all, never get a cabin on the last deck. I don't care what you read on this website, they are not desirable. You can hear everything. Clanging, banging knocking and even the smell of either paint or engine fumes and marijuana. Yes, I said marijuana. The halls reeked of it. I was extremely surprised that the ship even allowed smoking in the rooms. You can even hear noises overhead. The cabins were $600, so I guess I got what I paid for. The first night was very cool as the temperature was only around 55 degrees. My husband and I walked around the ship a bit. We could not believe the number of young people on the ship. I mean young. 30 and under. These people had absolutely no idea of what resort wear is. The long white T-Shirts and the sloppy hanging jeans. The women must of thought there was going to be snow on the ship as I saw so many of them wearing boots. I think just about every woman had a purse on her shoulder. I'm thinking you can pay for anything with money, so why are you carrying a big heavy purse. Oh well! My husband and I mulled around until the fireboat drill which was another wild observation of mine. There was so much loud talking during the drill, we could hardly hear the instructions over the loudspeaker. I have been on many ships and there was absolutely no talking during the fireboat drill. I could not believe this was allowed to continue throughout the entire drill. My husband and I sat outside for a while until the crowd disbursed. We made our way to our cabin to rest while waiting for our luggage. The luggage arrived quickly. We headed up for pizza and later retired to our cabin. During the later hours there were people talking loudly in the halls and knocking loudly on the cabin doors. The shower curtains are still too short. I recommended longer curtains years ago, but then again, I don't think they read those comment forms anyway. Saturday announcements were being made but outside in the halls. We could not hear any of the announcements without opening the cabin door. We made our way up to the Lido Deck for breakfast. The deck had dirt and grime in the corners near the tables. And this was not the best place to have breakfast. The ship had docked in Ensenada, the weather was cool, breezy and sunny. So the pancakes, toast and ham were not very hot. This was the only time I would see the plate covers displayed. I never saw them anymore during the cruise. Women were wearing pajamas and were not told to leave the public dining areas. We did not leave the ship. I'd brought my notebook so we watched movies in the cabin. This night was also the Captain's Ball night. We'd planned to take pictures all dressed up. There was no line as I don't think the younger people really knew what "formal night" meant. They were dressed in jeans, the huge white T-Shirts and they all wore the most drab dark colors. My husband was probably one out of ten men who sported a tux. Again, the trip up to take the pictures did not leave out the fact that we had to trek through marijuana smoke-filled hallways. This was the only night my husband and I ate in the formal dining room. The service was usual, but the staff seemed distant. The cruise is so short, I guess they really didn't have time to get to know any of the passengers and visa versa. The food was very good. We retired for the evening. Sunday morning, Superbowl Sunday. The pajama crew was in full force in the breakfast line. There were even two scantily dressed women sitting at the first table, as we walked into the dining room. One the women had on the robe from her cabin, the other had draped the robe on back of her seat and wore a small bra-like top with pajama bottoms. After a while a crewmember came to escort the women out of the dining room. I don't know if other passengers were offended, but they needed to haul their asses out of there. My husband and I got a ring-side seat near the buffet line. I've never seen so many women wearing pajamas and even had their hair tied up in scarves. My husband, unfortunately cannot whisper and said, "I wonder if these women washed their asses this morning? How can you come to eat in a public place with pajamas on?" A woman who was getting coffee over at the machine stopped at our table, leaned over and whispered, "I was thinking the same exact thing." Now I cannot believe that the ship would allow people to wear pajamas in the dining room. This is a very nasty (unclean) practice. After the show we walked around to sort of pick out where we were going to watch the game. We decided on one of the auditoriums. We retired to our cabin. Almost game time and we made our way down to the auditorium but there were plenty of seats being held. There were no greeters to seat people. I was amazed that this was allowed to happen. On other ships there have been "no holding seats" policies in place and you are assisted in finding a seat. We left and headed back to our cabin to watch the Superbowl. Our cabin steward "Rio" was personable and attentive. My husband and I spent a little time in the casino. Made our way back to the cabin to ensure getting our luggage out in a timely fashion. Around 11:30 we were amazed that there was hardly any luggage out. Little did we realize that the next morning was going to be the show of all shows. I have never seen so many people hauling luggage off of the ship before. I think half the ship carried off luggage. We also noticed the purser's office had a line out of this world. I guess guests were settling their accounts. And standing in the line with luggage in tow. My husband and I were laughing because there was a guy trying to get off the ship without settling his account. They sent him back to the purser's office. This was an absolutely ghetto cruise! Read Less
Sail Date February 2008
This was the 2nd cruise for both me and husband, our 1st with Carnival. We are in our mid 40's and were traveling alone. I will be brief on some subjects and detailed on others. Embarkation went well and it was our first indicator ... Read More
This was the 2nd cruise for both me and husband, our 1st with Carnival. We are in our mid 40's and were traveling alone. I will be brief on some subjects and detailed on others. Embarkation went well and it was our first indicator that CCL has the mass production process down. We arrived in line around 2PM and were on the ship within 30 mins. The ship was immaculate and though not modern, held up her age very well. CCL did not have staff member(s) there to greet and direct us to our room. This would've been a great help because there is no obvious way to find your way around the ship. I would strongly recommend carrying around the little pocket ship guide (it will save you hours trying to find your way). It was obvious many folks already knew the ship well but it took us days close to the end to navigate her. We noticed this with other folks too. CCL offers non-stop activities, you can tear off the daily activities guide and carry it with you to pick and choose. We avoided most activities since we wanted a quiet week. We did pop in on Bingo, broadway style shows and some lounge shows they were all fine. As i said before the ship was very clean. We were able to find places to meet all our needs whether it was to be alone, listen to Caribbean music from afar or to be in the mix with everyone. There weren't many children on board (I suppose it's the time of year). Most age range seemed to be 30-40 y/o. Now to the food... When i previously read about the quality of the food i decided to weigh the reviews along with my own experience onboard. It should be noted that i am not a picky or finicky eater at all. Applebee's restaurant level dining is fine with me. Well, sadly i have to tell you the food was almost unbearable. Most food service is presented in the Paris restaurant & Lido deck. It's served buffet style (no objection here). The layout (location) of the food is well thought out. Fruits, veggies, desserts, pizza are all located in the center, back of the restaurant allowing a good flow of the crowd. The presentation of the actual food is nice too BUT the taste and quality of the food was sub par. I would suggest staying away from the warm breakfast and creating meals on your own. Ordered sandwiches, omelets, self serve salad and fruit bar were better quality. The warm buffet in the Paris restaurant and the Lido decks equate to the quality of a upscale High School cafeteria. I wanted to give a good review but by the end of the 2nd day i was unable to eat their hot foods at either place. The dining room food was o.k. The service was awesome and the food was a few notches higher than the afore mentioned. I will briefly mention the night club scene on board... It appeared the clubs were hopping for the teen set and i noticed a large number of crew members having fun in the clubs once they were off their shift. Most of the clubs had from a small to large number of people having fun inside. The clubs onboard seemed very successful. Nothing too cheesy for the teens. Regarding our shore excursions...We have both been to Catalina Island 3 times and decided to pick something different to do. We took the Eco-excursion. Our Zodiac captain Carrie was wonderful. She took the 2 of us along with 2 other ladies (45ish) along the Catalina coast in search of bald eagles, dolphins, seals and more. We found all and more than we were looking for. I have to say we all agreed this made our cruise. The dolphins played under and around our Zodiac up close for about 20 minutes. We also stumbled upon 2 sun fish. They are the strangest looking fish, appearing like giant silver dollars, the size of a big-rig tire. This adventure was well worth the cost. It also gave us plenty of time to shop and snorkel on our own. It should be noted that snorkeling and diving in Catalina provides plenty sealife to see. Now on to Ensenada...We were undecided what to do there but left the ship around 10 am. Soon as we exited the tiny mall at the port there were airport style shuttle buses lined up waiting to whisk off passengers. It was instant and in your face, we believed these shuttles were CCL shuttles. I want to sum up without expressing my total anger over this day. DO NOT TAKE A TRIP UNLESS IT IS CCL BOOKED. My husband is a fluent spanish speaker and we were still fooled. Once in this very american like shuttle, we were strongly encouraged to pay more to go farther. The driver told how we would be ripped off if we shopped in town and were basically shuttled straight into a funnel of biting dogs. We chose to go to La Boufadora on this shuttle with a total round trip in the end costing $18 each. The cost is irrelevant except for the fact that you were corralled without choices of your own to a place that was identical to the Monterey Bay Coast in central CA. It wasn't special enough. I had to hide behind a parking lot to avoid these nipping vendor dogs. My husband told the guide we would not spend money unless he backed them off of us. We spent no money. I saw folks from the ship tucking their heads down and running as fast as possible through the gauntlet of shop vendors. I felt sorry for women alone because the vendors were grabbing at their sleeves to pull them in. I am sorry CCL has Ensenada on it's stop, it's not a place worth visiting. You will find trinkets and cheap flea market items that can be bought at home. Again i want to encourage all to avoid any shuttle or trip that is not booked off the ship for Ensenada. BTW- 2 ladies from our cruise took the CCL excursion to Kayak there and said it was fabulous. Our shuttle was all white and had a red, white and blue star on the outside - avoid, avoid, avoid. Back on board i had a head, neck, shoulder massage that was wonderful for $29 (what a deal). The gym was fantastic, any workout enthusiast will be thrilled with what they find. The view is all ocean from the treadmills! Overall i can recommend this cruise but will not return until Ensenada no longer a stop. Have fun and enjoy the sun. Read Less
Sail Date September 2007
Carnival Paradise Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 3.0 3.9
Dining 4.0 3.7
Entertainment 4.5 3.7
Public Rooms 3.5 3.9
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.7
Family 4.0 3.7
Shore Excursion 4.5 3.8
Enrichment 4.0 3.3
Service 4.5 4.2
Value For Money 4.0 3.8
Rates 3.0 4.2

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