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
Sail Date: November 2011
This ship is nicely decorated and well laid out. Our party wanted to relax completely, so we skipped getting dressed up for anything, including the dining rooms and shows. Instead, we enjoyed hanging out with one another and eating the ... Read More
This ship is nicely decorated and well laid out. Our party wanted to relax completely, so we skipped getting dressed up for anything, including the dining rooms and shows. Instead, we enjoyed hanging out with one another and eating the above-average food in the Lido Deck Buffet. I was impressed with how well the traffic flows in that venue, even when crowded. Also, we appreciated the Early Embarkation Check-In process, and thought Disembarkation was also handled fairly well. That's the Good News. Now, the Bad News: First, there seem to be way too few public restrooms on this ship, and the restrooms that do exist are small, cramped, and really filthy - all the time. Disgusting! Second, there are nowhere near enough busers in the Lido Deck Buffet, and those who are there are slow, sloppy, and not well supervised or motivated. Given the number of passengers aboard, this restaurant needs to turn its tables over quickly and professionally, but the opposite is what actually happens - tables sit for long periods, piled with dirty dishes, while passengers search endlessly for a clean table. Passengers often ended up busing tables themselves, just to have a place to eat their now-cold food. Tables were also infrequently wiped clean, so surfaces felt sticky and unhealthy. Again, disgusting! Third, on this cruise there was no effort made by Carnival to alert passengers to the dangers of passing illnesses around or to instruct passengers to keep their hands well washed and to use the provided hand sanitizer. Fourth, the midships elevators were Out of Order throughout the cruise, causing jams at the fore and aft elevators (since the ship was reportedly Sold Out). Finally, the room temperatures were never properly adjusted for the unusually cold weather that prevailed throughout this cruise. Many passengers mentioned how uncomfortably chilly their staterooms were. Such details really do matter, even to "good sports." 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
Sail Date: November 2011
My DH and I arrived in Long Beach 2 days before our cruise began. We Pricelined a room at the Long Beach Hyatt ($65) and it was great. No problems. We took Prime Time Shuttle from SNA to the hotel. The first day we took Sunseeker ... Read More
My DH and I arrived in Long Beach 2 days before our cruise began. We Pricelined a room at the Long Beach Hyatt ($65) and it was great. No problems. We took Prime Time Shuttle from SNA to the hotel. The first day we took Sunseeker Tours for an all day LA tour. The tour was arranged by a fellow cruise critic friend. Alberto was our driver and we enjoyed the day very much. We then met a group of about 25 other cruise critic friends at the Queen Mary Hotel for dinner. Great times. On Embarkation day we took the free shuttle to the local Albertsons for cruise snacks and bottled water to take on-board then a short taxi ride ($10) took us to the port. Embarkation took exactly 1 hour door to state room. The lines moved quickly. We ate a quick lunch on the Lido deck and unpacked our bags - as we carried them on. Day 2: sea day - a meet and greet with our HUGE cruise critic group and relaxation. Day 3: Cab San Lucas: A tender port. Our tender number was called at 3:40pm. We would have been ashore about 1 hour then would have had to rush back. There were 3 other boats docked that day. Anyway - we decided it was not worth the anxiety of rushing ashore then immediately tendering back. Day 4: Puerto Vallarta: We took a taxi to The Malecon with some other passengers in a van ($3ea). We enjoyed seeing the renovations. It is beautiful. Then we took a taxi way up the hill and had lunch at Casa Isabella. It was wonderful! Up at the very top of the hill - beautiful view and great food. I had done some research in Trip Advisor. Day 5,6,7 were at sea. WONDERFUL RELAXING DAYS....... Day 8: Puntarenas, Costa Rica: We took a tour arranged by a cruise critic pal with Okey Dokey Tours. It was a day long tour. Our guide was Evelyn. We lots of interesting things - ate a local restaurant and stopped at a grocery store to buy souvenirs at the end of the tour. There are also some outdoor vendors at the cruise dock. Day 9: Panama Canal transit. We went out on deck at about 6am with the hoards of other crazy people who saved places along the rails by SLEEPING OUTSIDE! Is that crazy or what? After about 9am you could stand wherever you wanted. The naturalist that was brought on-board did a great job. It rained later in the day and we moved indoors to watch on deck 9. Ended up with a better view. Really cool day. Day 10: Cartagena, Columbia: We were lucky to have a friend meet us who lives in Cartagena meet us and take us around for the day. We went everywhere possible and then some. It was HOT!! Loved Cartagena and would like to go back some day! Day 11: another relaxing sea day (much needed) Day 12: Grand Cayman Island: We ended up on a tour with Native Way tours that was arranged by another CC pal to see the Stingrays and snorkel! We had a great lunch on Rum Point and had an absolutely great day. Day 13: our final day to relax on deck. Absolute Paradise! Day 14: In Tampa. :-( We had an absolutely lovely time. Met lots of great people. I played games with my new CC friends everyday at 4pm on sea days. Great times. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2011
Two friends and myself did a BFF weekend cruise on Paradise. I don't understand some of the negative posts about the ship, not that everything is perfect. We drove to port from NoCal and stayed at Hotel Maya using the CCL code, ... Read More
Two friends and myself did a BFF weekend cruise on Paradise. I don't understand some of the negative posts about the ship, not that everything is perfect. We drove to port from NoCal and stayed at Hotel Maya using the CCL code, great deal. One of my crew was platinum so we did VIP embarkation and I was the first on the ship! Pretty cool. I'll say that the staff in port and on the ship were friendly and provided good service. Even the CD announcements weren't too bad. Cabin/Steward: was very good, friendly,always called me by name even when not around the cabin area. I almost expected less service because this was a 3 day cruise but it was the opposite. Dining room, bars, photographers, cleaning staff, etc. were all friendly and helpful. Cabin was in good shape even though this was an older ship. Crew was always cleaning, polishing, doing maintainence, and it showed in overall condition. Only entertainment we did was a comedy show and it was good, better than some I've had on longer cruises. Dining: ate breakfast in MDR when we could and was better than Lido of course. I was impressed with eggs benedict, but my expectations were low. Have had on several other ships and this was the best. We did anytime dining which was slightly awkward compared to past. Sure, no cattle herding at entrance to DR but seemed like we were just getting served and crew was doing the dancing/show stuff which interrupted our service a bit. Overall, wait staff were friendly and great. When we were not even in their section the next day, they remembered our names and said hi. Another slight drawback was food might not have been as 'fresh' as with regular seatings. My prime rib was tasty but seemed to be not sliced soon before serving/overcooked by heatlamp? Made me think it has to be tough to get it right with the anytime dining. Next time, may just go with the cattle. Good weather on embarkation and day at sea. Capt. did a good job of finding calm seas and sunshine for the sun seekers. Even plenty of dolphins entertained us along the ship. Ensenada. Soon as we got off ship, started to rain but light. As day went on, began to rain heavy. Spirit was also in port that day so load of passengers was high. Been there several times and decided to just plant at a street bar with cover. Entertaining server kept my lady friends amused. We'll leave the rest of that story alone. On way back, laughing (may have been a bit buzzed) at our getting soaked from rain and bad directions from bar guy to find a bus. Found "Dollar" and Antonio who gave us a ride back to security gate at port, one of the fun parts of the day. Oveall, ship was in good shape, crew was attentive and friendly, food was good, weather was fun, and the rest was up to us to make it a good trip. Maybe those who are critical of this vessel or crew need to be more realistic? Read Less
Sail Date: November 2011
Panama Canal Cruise -- Carnival Paradise -- November 28-December 12, 2011 Overall, this was a wonderful 14-day cruise on the Paradise with a somewhat unique itinerary (for Carnival) of passing through the Panama Canal from the Pacific ... Read More
Panama Canal Cruise -- Carnival Paradise -- November 28-December 12, 2011 Overall, this was a wonderful 14-day cruise on the Paradise with a somewhat unique itinerary (for Carnival) of passing through the Panama Canal from the Pacific to the Atlantic. This was my 10th cruise, and the 6th time on a Carnival ship. THE SHIP: The Paradise was a medium-sized ship (Fantasy Class), but compared to the newer ships I've been on (e.g., Freedom, Splendor, Magic) it felt quite small. The ship was built in 1998 and carries 2,000 passengers and 900 crew. She is definitely showing her age and is slated for dry-dock in 2012 where hopefully she'll receive some upgrades, refurbishment, etc. Overall there was nothing wrong with the ship -- she is just worn out in places and doesn't have that sparkly new look that so many ships have nowadays. My Oceanview stateroom (Category 6A) was on the Riviera Deck, cabin R216. It was close to the back of the ship and on the 4th deck. The cabin was of a standard size (approx. 175 sq. ft.), with a large window which added light and a feeling of space to the cabin. It had a very comfortable king-sized bed (two twin beds pushed together) with lovely linens, etc. There was no sofa in this cabin, just a small easy chair for sitting. There was plenty of closet and storage space. The bathroom was a decent size (shower only; no tub) with lots of room to put away toiletries, etc. The towels were plush and the bathrobe was very comfortable. There was a desk/vanity and chair, an old fashioned tv and no refrigerator. There was only one electrical outlet in the room (above the desk) and one outlet in the bathroom (up high near the ceiling). Hairdryers are not standard issue in the cabins, although I believe you could request one from the Guest Services desk. All in all, it was a very comfortable cabin. Because it was closer to the back of the ship and on a lower deck, the noise and vibration from the engines/thrusters was quite evident. However, I actually found the noise, etc. worse up on Main and Upper decks. There was a small laundry area on two of the decks (mid-ship on Upper and near the bow on Empress) with coin operated washers and dryers and irons/ironing boards. The décor of the ship was fairly understated compared to some of the newer ships. The colour palate was mostly brown, gold, and blue. There was an atrium in the center of the ship that went all the way from Deck 7 to Deck 12. Decks 4 (Riviera), 5 (Main) and 6 (Upper) were only cabins (ocean-view, interior, a few port-hole cabins near the bow and 2 dozen balcony suites at mid-ship) with no public areas. Deck 7 (Empress) had mostly cabins and the Atrium Lobby was located mid-ship with the Guest Services desk, Shore Excursion desk, a bar, and a small computer/internet area with about 12 computers. There were no "hot spots" with computers set up throughout the ship (as was the case on the Magic - a great innovation). Deck 8 (Atlantic) has all public spaces -- the main level of the Normandie Show Lounge at the front of the ship, with shops, small library, Circle C Club, and piano bar located towards mid-ship. The dining room is split in two with the Elation Dining Room at mid-ship and the Destiny Dining Room at the back of the ship. Similar to most ships, the galley is situated between the two dining rooms and there is no way for the public to walk between the two dining rooms. To walk from mid-ship to the back of the ship on the Empress Deck you need to either go up one deck or down one deck and use the hallways on those decks. Both Dining Rooms were only one level and there were a few windows along each side. There was not a wide variety of table sizes in the Destiny Dining Room -- just 6, 8 or 10-tops. I believe there were smaller tables in the Elation Dining Room which had "anytime dining" as well as fixed seating. Deck 9 (Promenade) has the Queen Mary Lounge (small show lounge) at the back of the ship, bars with dance floor, casino (very smokey), coffee bar, sushi bar, Club O2 and photo gallery mid-ship and the upper level of the Normandie Show Lounge at the front of the ship. The Normandie Show Lounge was on the small size (but certainly big enough for this ship) and had fairly comfortable seating. Because of the smaller size it felt more intimate and the sight lines, sound, lighting, etc. were very good. The Normandie Show Lounge was used throughout the day for various events (i.e., port talks, bingo, etc.) and each evening there was a stage show. Deck 10 (Lido) was laid out a bit different than other ships. There was no aft pool -- the Lido Buffet took up the space from mid-ship to the back of the ship. It was not large, but, again, suitable for this size of ship. There were various stations set up on both sides of the Lido serving the usual hot choices, salads, desserts, deli area, pizza area, and a Mongolian grill and hamburger/hot dog grill near the mid-ship outdoor area. Mid-ship was a small pool with a deck area surrounding it and a waterslide and also a stage area (hopefully it is removed during renovations and a larger pool installed). Deck chairs in this area were fairly easy to come by (the chair hogs were not out in force on this cruise). Deck 11 (Verandah) had outdoor spaces with lounge chairs set up overlooking the mid-ship pool and a fairly quiet area at the back of the ship set up with lounge chairs. There was also a "Serenity" (adults only) area at the back of the ship on Deck 9 (you could get to it either by walking down the stairs from the Lido deck or by going through an unmarked door at the rear of the Queen Mary Lounge. Note that on Deck 11 at the very front of the ship there is a small outside deck overlooking the bow. Not many people knew about this deck, so it was a great place to get pictures during sail in/sail away. However, by the time we entered the Panama Canal it was packed and fights were breaking out over space, etc. On Deck 12 (Sports) at the front of the ship overlooking the bow was the spa/salon and gym area. The gym was quite small, but had treadmills, elliptical machines, weights, etc. and it was always quite busy (especially early in the morning and on sea days). The children's area (Camp Carnival) was also in this area. Deck 14 (Sun) was half a deck located above the gym. There was a cushioned jogging/walking track that encircled the mini-golf area (11 laps to the mile). Overall, the ship was easy to navigate and there were lots of elevators and staircases and wide hallways, etc. Therefore, it never felt overly crowded. For the able-bodied, the ship was great. For those with mobility issues, there seemed to be good access to all the public spaces, with room for wheelchairs, walkers, etc. There were some bottleneck areas near the elevators in the atrium, and also near the entrance to the dining rooms and to the Normandie Show Lounge. THE PASSENGERS: Not so typical of Carnival, the majority of passengers were older. There were only 20 children on board and a few honeymooners, etc., but the average age was at least 67. About 80% of the passengers were from the United States and 400 from Canada and elsewhere. I think there were about 2,000 passengers on board. Overall, I found the majority of people on board to be friendly and kind. CREW and CUISINE and ENTERTAINMENT: I found all the crew members I dealt with to be friendly and professional. My cabin steward (Bagus) was amazing. The Guest Services desk staff were always very helpful. As were the Shore Excursion desk staff. The dining room staff were terrific (Gusti and Ida) and overall my dining experience was great. I was seated at a table for 10 in the Destiny Dining Room. Our maitre d' was Ian, who "ran a tight ship" and was well-respected by the staff. About every second evening the waiters got up to dance, sing, etc.. It was entertaining and lots of fun. However, entertainment in the dining room is not eveyone's cup of tea and there were some complaints. Personally, I really enjoyed it. The cruise director (Jeff Bronson) was good and his staff (Shawn, Mike, Rollie, Chris) were fun and energetic. Carnival makes a point of hiring staff from around the world and I expect that there were at least 30 countries represented. I found the staff on this ship to be the friendliest of any cruise I've been on. That is a direct reflection on the management of the ship and I commend the Captain, Hotel Manager and Cruise Director for their great work. I thought the food on board the ship was very good. The presentation was good and the food was usually hot when it arrived at the table. The food in the Lido was also very good. I enjoyed all the variety of foods. I ate all of my breakfasts and most of my lunches in the Lido Buffet. I went to about half of the shows in the Normandie Show Lounge. The staff singers and dancers were very good and the 2 "production" shows that they put on were excellent. The rest of the shows were typical...comedians, jugglers, singers, etc. The orchestra was comprised of a very good group of musicians and they were excellent. There were good musicians performing in the various lounges. All in all, the entertainment was above par. PRE-CRUISE AND EMBARKATION: This cruise left from Long Beach, CA. I flew into Long Beach Airport the evening before the cruise and stayed at the Best Western on Long Beach Blvd. There was a free shuttle bus from the airport to the hotel. The hotel was clean, quiet and my room was very comfortable. Breakfast was included in the price and there was a free shuttle bus from the hotel to the pier. All-in-all, it was a very convenient place to stay. Embarkation was similar to what I've experienced in the past at other ports (although quite a bit longer). I had entered all my information online before hand, and it took about 1 hour to check in, clear security, etc. and then board the ship. The cabins were not available for occupancy until 1:30 pm, so most guests lingered in the Lido area having lunch, sitting beside the pool, etc. until that time. PORTS and SHORE EXCURSIONS: For this cruise I decided, for some ports of call, to book private shore excursions with some wonderful people who I had met on Cruise Critic prior to the cruise. Cabo San Lucas, Mexico Nothing planned -- just took the tender to shore and walked about the town for about 2 hours. Puerto Vallarta, Mexico Nothing planned -- just walked about the town for about 2 hours. Puntarenas, Costa Rica We had an all day excursion booked with Okey Dokey Tours. There were 12 of us in a large van and we drove along the coast and into the rain forest where we got to feed monkeys, see crocodiles, enjoy the great views, crush sugar cane to make juice, walk through the rain forest, learn about flora and fauna, etc. We had a very good lunch at a local hangout. All in all it was a fun day and a well-run excursion. Panama Canal Transit This was the highlight of the cruise. We spent 11 hours travelling from the Pacific to the Atlantic. People were up at 3:30 am putting out chairs, etc. to secure a place by the railings -- which led to fights, etc. in the morning. Other than that, the transit was fascinating. There was a local person on board who gave a running commentary throughout the day with lots of information regarding the history, building, operation of the canal. Cartagena, Colombia We had an excursion booked with Dora the Explorer. There was 22 of us split between to vans. We travelled up to the St. Augustin Monastery -- the road had been washed out and we were the only tour to make it up there that day. We also went to the old fort, walked through the old town, had a shopping stop, drove along the beaches, and had a very nice lunch at a local restaurant. Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands I did a Carnival excursion called "Grand Cayman by Land and Sea". It was o.k. -- but not great. We did the semi-submersible tour to the shipwrecks and reefs in the harbour area, drove to Hell, went to a rum cake factory and toured a turtle farm. We had 9 "sea days", which was quite different from most cruises. I found the sea days to be very relaxing. The weather was hot and sunny, so I was able to be out on deck quite a bit walking or just sitting and reading a book, etc. There were lots of activities planned throughout the day, so there was never any chance to become bored. Some favourite activities were the arts & crafts classes in the early morning, bridge instruction and games, ballroom dancing classes, and the trivia contests held throughout the day. DISEMBARKATION: Disembarkation was a bit of a hassle. I had to clear immigration in the Normandie Lounge at 6:45 am along with the 400 other foreigners on board. Once started, the process went quickly, but it was a long wait to get to that point. Because my flight was before noon I chose to do "self-assist". We had to be out of our cabins at 8 am and there never was an announcement saying the ship was clear and we could leave. I finally made my way to the gangway around 9:15 am and they were allowing people to leave at that time (I'm not sure when they got clearance, but I think it was only around 9 am or so). Once off the ship we only had to walk a short distance to the shuttle bus to the airport. It was so hard to say good-bye to the ship...I certainly wasn't prepared to leave. FINAL COMMENT: As stated at the beginning, I had a wonderful cruise vacation. The 14 days I was on board certainly lived up to all my expectations. Carnival is known for their short "fun ship" cruises and so this longer cruise on a route that they don't normally travel, was a real treat. Seeing and transiting the Panama Canal for the first time was a great experience. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2011
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 ... Read More
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. ROOMS: 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. SHIP: 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: Activities were varied and plentiful. Shows and entertainment were very good... especially the comedians! FOOD: 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. Costs: 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: 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. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2011
This was my seventh cruise, and my second with Carnival. This is a "Fun Ship," and everything had "fun" in its name. If you are familiar with the fun size Halloween candy, you know that "fun" is really code ... Read More
This was my seventh cruise, and my second with Carnival. This is a "Fun Ship," and everything had "fun" in its name. If you are familiar with the fun size Halloween candy, you know that "fun" is really code for "cheap" or "bare minimum," which is the context of fun on this cruise. We only paid $78.61 per person per day (including taxes and tips) for a 4-day mid-week Los Angeles, Catalina, and Ensenada cruise. That is a real bargain. I only mention the price because if I paid more, I'd be upset. The ship was large and fairly well maintained. More Formica than fine hardwoods. As for the clientele, it looked like they raided local DMVs, Greyhound bus stations, and maybe a homeless shelter. The staterooms were adequate with the bulletproof finishes found throughout the ship. The sheets and towels were rough and cheap, but clean. The chefs and dining staff did a good job with the HomeTown Buffet-style commodity food. The buffet felt more like a cafeteria, with low-end plastic dishware and cheap stamped silverware. The food quality was generally poor and well below that of Las Vegas buffets. Lobster was served one night in the dining room and was actually above average. The international staff was kind, professional, hard-working, and attentive. This wasn't an awful cruise, and I went in with very low expectations. It was, after all, a real bargain. That said, this will be my last Carnival Cruise. I prefer even a hint of luxury to fun/cheap. If you're young and want to go on a cruise with a large group of friends and drink yourself blind, then look no further, this is the cruise for you. If you want a nicer inexpensive Mexico cruise departing Los Angeles, I'd suggest a slightly longer and slightly more expensive Mexican Riveria cruise on Princess or Holland America. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2011
A group of 7 of us went on this last weekend and although we had a great time I truly think it was because of the company of each other rather then the cruise itself. I have been on may cruises from 3 days to 14 days and so I know what ... Read More
A group of 7 of us went on this last weekend and although we had a great time I truly think it was because of the company of each other rather then the cruise itself. I have been on may cruises from 3 days to 14 days and so I know what to expect and I got exactly that but a little less.... First off lets start when we were booking our cruise. There were 7 of us and so 3 people had to share a room (never again) When we told the lady on the phone we wanted to all be together she assured us that she had done so. Nope....we were all the same floor but we were everywhere. The room with 3 in was so so so small they should not make it a 3 people in room. The basically throw in a cot every night in the walkway. We never once met our room attendant and that's a first but the room was clean so I have nothing to complain about. oh....if you are reading this before going on this ship bring a electrical cord because there is only ONE outlet in the whole room! Now I have to say the food was the worst I have had on any cruise. Not too much to pick from, it is left out for long periods of times and some of it just had no flavor. I stuck with the sandwich bar and did the Mongolian BBQ once...actually the best eats on the deck but be prepared the line is long. The Dining room was actually pretty good. My group tried to eat in there for every meal so we could actually have good, hot food. Our waiter was GREAT. I wish I could remember his name but I can't but he was the so so so great...table 237. He knew our names within a half hour on the first night and what we liked to drink. You normally get that on a 7 or more day cruise but not on a 3 so it was a nice touch. They had a lot of silly things to do around the ship on the day at sea but nothing that is must do. You really do make the most of it and go to spend time with your friends. You get what you pay for. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2011
CARNIVAL PARADISE Overall experience of my 4 day cruise to Ensenada and Long Beach was just okay. Getting on the ship was fairly easy and did not take longer than 25 minutes. This was my second time on this same ship and when I was on ... Read More
CARNIVAL PARADISE Overall experience of my 4 day cruise to Ensenada and Long Beach was just okay. Getting on the ship was fairly easy and did not take longer than 25 minutes. This was my second time on this same ship and when I was on board the ship it was exactly the same as i saw it in 2008. SHIP - The ship is in deperate need of renovation. It was built in 1998 or 1999 but you can see the wear and tear it has had over the past years. The smell was horrible. The decks outside smelled like sewer and when we walked into our rooms a bad odor whiffed through our noses. ROOM - Overall the room we stayed in was very small but that was what i was expecting. Rooms were clean and comfy, there are alot of electrical outlets so you dont have to worry about that. Me, my friend, and my brother all stayed in one room. The room did not have any windows so we couldnt tell what time of day it wss! overall, i would rate the rooms a decent 4 out of 5. Remember it aint a grand suite FOOD - The buffet was terrible, no effort put into the food whatsoever. Mongolian barbecue was very bad. The dining food was good though. Waiters were very nice but took forever to get our food because of lacked employees. It was a total of almost and hour ande a half to nearly two hours at the dinner table. i would rate the food a 2 out of 5 ENTERTAINMENT - The entertainment on the ship was pretty good actually. They have the Punchliner Comedy CLub which was very funny. Families and children can go to watch this show until they start having the adults only comedy. The karaoke was awesome! It was fun to see kids and adults go up there and sing a song and get a laugh out of it. FOR THE TEENAGERS, ehh not so much. My son who is 16 did not feel that there was enought to do for teenagers. Of course, they have Club 02 and my son went in to apply and only about 7 teens were applied out of a total of 50 kids on the ship! I feel that Carnival really needs to bump up the activities to attract in more teenagers because that is not a good thing. Camp Carnival is always fun for the small children and have always enjoyed it. The musical on the ship was very good so entertainment for ADULTs 4 out of 5 enteretainment for TEENAGERS 2 out of 5.( alot of the time my son and his friend were in there room doing nothing because they did not enjoy Clun 02) SERVICE - The service on the ship was very nice. Our waiters were very nice but we barely saw them because they were so busy with other tables, our sir maid was very nice and greeted us as we entered our room. Employees were very nice and that was a plus. The cooks obviously dont care about there job or its Carnival who buys the cheap food and gives it to the chefs to put on there backs. OVERALL EXPERIENCE ON THE SHIP - My overall experience is a 3 out of 5. Its a cheap cruise so YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR. If you are looking for something extravagent, do not cruise on the paradise. It smells like sewer, food is bad, clubs for teens is bad, and needs a new renovation. Luckily though, the Carnival Paradise will be receiving the 2.0 update in 2015 for the Paradise. It is in desperate need of renovation. Carnival, I would seriously consider transporting the shipe to other locations because Ensenada is horendously terrible. It is ugly snd on every block I walked on in Ensenada i get bombarded by the people that live there and they want me to buy there products. One mexican put a necklace around my neck without asking and told me "it looked good on me so pay me the money". I would never cruise on the Carnival Paradise again. It is not outstanding and is not huge. The only pretty good thing on the ship was the entertainment. The entertainment though is not HAVE TO DO kind of activities. I did like Catalina though, it is pretty, beautiful, and a nice small little place to look and shop around. In conclusion, if you are looking at this review and planning to go on your first cruise, Carnival Paradise is an exception but as a second, it is not going to exceed your expectations. No wonder its that cheap. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2011
Oct 10-14 Cruise to Paradise Day 1 Embarkation We arrived at 11am & dropped off our friends, who booked a suite at the VIP lounge, then waited for check-in at the dome. Finally, someone said they were still doing early check in ... Read More
Oct 10-14 Cruise to Paradise Day 1 Embarkation We arrived at 11am & dropped off our friends, who booked a suite at the VIP lounge, then waited for check-in at the dome. Finally, someone said they were still doing early check in at the Queen Mary, so we rushed over there. There was a short line for the disabled. & we quickly got through, then back to the Dome to be first in line for disabled check in. They said first the VIPs would go in, and then we could. They gave us an 11:30AM check-in time. Soon after we got back, they told us that the time had changed to 11:45Am, so we waited. The Check-in attendants came out & let us know it was now set for 12:30Pm. Little did we know there was an inspection going on (they held us up on HAL for the same reason earlier this year). In the mean time, QM had shut down, and a third line had formed, this one for those who missed early check-in. We were told that THEY could not get in until our lines went through! Happy Happy, Joy Joy! Finally, we were checked in, our photos taken BEFORE we got to the door to the ship, saving crowding, & we were on the Paradise in no time. We met up with our friends at the Lido Deck Paris Lounge, where we were able to find a table close to the ice cream & yogurt. Chocolate & vanilla were the flavors of the day. I grabbed a copy of the Fun Times & saw no CC M&M no problem, probably too early. I took my carryon bag down to our cabin-- Adapted E116. The twin beds were put together, and my cot was pushed against the wall, not the way we had it on our last cruise. Our attendant used full sheets, so we decided to grin & bear it for this cruise. The TV stations were out of NYC (& San Juan PR), so everything was shown 3 hours earlier. At 3, I headed to the Normandie for the Fun on Board presentation with CD Jeff Bronson (Broonson). It was fun, even though I didnt win any of the raffle prizes! We were traveling with a group of 14 others (8 cabins in all), so we were assigned 2 long window tables next to each other. It was great to keep in touch. We met in the lobby lounge for drinks before dinner each night. All of our cabins, with the exception of our friends suite on the Upper deck (gorgeous!), were all in the same area as well. From our tables, we were able to watch the full moon rise, which took my breath away. After dinner, (I chose two appetizers --Duck & iceberg salad)& Warm Chocolate Melting Cake with sugar-free ice cream for dessert , I headed to the Theater for some Fun & Games. First we played TV Trivia, which was just Name that TV Theme Song. Then came Game Show Mania. I was determined to be chosen for Game Show Mania, and after two rounds, Chris finally chose me, with some assist from Sam, who was working the sound. Im an expert in Trivia, so I was able to quickly start my Ships on a Stick collection (on my last cruise, they were giving away medallions, & Ships were at a premium!). When I told them my name & where I was from, they also asked my occupation. I said I ran a Fan Club for Shirley Jones & David Cassidy, so my nickname was Mrs Partridge; and so I was known as that for the rest of the cruise! The opening show started at 10:15PM, & I had seen it before, so I went back to the cabin, after losing $40 at the Casino. A Towel Seal was waiting for us. There I went through a scavenger hunt of sorts, trying to find out where my parents had unpacked my PJs! About 11pm, scraping started on the roof above us! Turns out, we are right under the Empress DR! I could hear it through ear plugs & music on my I-pod. Luckily, it didnt last long. MOVIES:RIO, JANE EYRE, & LIKE WATER FOR ELEPHANTS Were rotated between the big screen & TV in the cabins. Thus ended my first night of Paradise. Day 2 Catalina After a night of smooth sailing, I Woke at 7, and went up for yogurt & a banana to absorb my morning vitamins. There were Several Trivia games were on the agenda, but still no M & M. I met two women for a full sit-down breakfast. Better than balancing trays (yes, they still have trays on the Paradise), so I had egg beaters, juice & toast & we chatted about the days plans. After breakfast, I went up to the Casino bar & found a cozy window seat to read while I waited for the Trivia game (80s Name That Tune of pop music that would be heard on VH-1). I won another ship. There were 3 other contests (Famous Places, Movies Theme songs of movies of the last 4 years, & Scattagories) which I allowed others to win! Between games, I stopped at the Lido for some pizza & cookies for a bedtime sack with frozen yogurt for desert (strawberry & chocolate today). We got ready for Cruise Elegant night, than met for a group photo. The stairs were taken up with an extended family, so our photographer used a flat & spent a lot of time getting us organized. We relaxed for a while, while my parents met with friends for drinks. The menu offered three of the best meat dishes on the same menu (lobster, ribs, & prime rib) which angered many in our party. I opted for the strawberry bisque, & lobster (and of course more WCMC!) Waiters entertainment was a conga line to Hot Hot Hot. After dinner, I took items from my friends who were coming to the show (EIGHT MORE SECONDS) & I Found a booth on the second level with a clear view of the stage. Most of the members of the group I traveled with participate in senior citizen performing groups, so they were very interested in the shows. I had seen the show before, but I love the music & didnt mind seeing it again. Back to the casino to lose more $$, a stop at the Lido for milk. We had a Towel Lamb greeting us in the cabin, and he watched Jay Leno with us.. Just another Day in Paradise. Day 3: Enscenada Breakfast with friends on in the Elation Dining Room began with a sliced banana (a full banana sliced in its open peel), Cold French Toast & Juice (the syrup was supposed to warm up the toast, but did a poor job. My friend had an equally cold Belgium Waffle, so be warned!). Then I headed back to my window seat to wait for Ready Set Draw (a version of Win Lose or Draw). No one showed, so Danielle, the Entertainment crew member in charge of the Trivia, & I just talked. She & the rest of the current crew will stay on the ship when it goes through the Panama Canal & the Inspiration comes through to the West Coast. I told her Id heard about the Flash mob performances on the Paradise but she indicated that nothing was planned for this cruise. Grabbed some more chocolate frozen yogurt (flavors still strawberry & chocolate), then came back to my window seat. Some Sea Lions were frolicking in the water outside the ship below the window & kept me entertained. General Trivia came next , & I won another trophy. Then came Mind twisters, and although Id had them on previous cruises, there were some I couldnt remember. I barely made it through Say What you See, where picture clues gave hints for a saying. Our group met at 5 to listen to the pianist, but he didnt show up! We asked at Guest Services, & were told that hed been there but they lost him. He finally showed up at 20 after, dressed very casually. Then the speakers were turned & we could barely hear what he was playing. Nothing looked appetizing on the main menu, so I got the grilled chicken from the everyday menu & the tropical fruit appetizer (melon, one blackberry, one raspberry, & mango balls I should have gotten the greens). The chicken was nice & moist. I topped it off with WCMC (see a pattern? My server did!) The departure time was 10pm, so there was only a deck party & Mexican Buffet on the Lido deck, neither of which I attended. I tried playing Flashback Music Trivia, but it was 70s FM music which I couldnt identify, & I could swear that they ran 2 or 3 songs together, because I didnt hear 3 clues. We were back in he cabin after that, greeted by a Towel Bulldog, & started watching Leno (honestly, I dont normally go to bed that early, but running around the ship is very exhausting! Almost Paradise! DAY 4 FUN DAY AT SEA (CIRCLING THE BAY) Breakfast with mom & eggbeaters, toast & juice. I wanted to do Name that Song, but was afraid I wouldnt be able to get from the Casino lounge to the 1st level of the Normandie for TV Trivia, so I just played some slots & went to the theater. The game was the same Name That Tune as on the first night & I got a few more right, but still didnt win. Went up to the Lido to grab some cookies, but they changed everything to more elegant deserts. I grabbed a chocolate/chocolate chip muffin for the evening & some frozen yogurt. Went back to the cabin & watched the pre-recorded Debarkation video. This was a change to the ones offered before, when you had to sit in the theater & watch it live. Jeff recorded it during a previous disembarkation, where guests could be seen in the background. I skipped Lunch in the Elation to play Trivia, which started with cartoon-mania. I havent watched cartoons since my niece & nephew started school (they are now in college), but there were a few from my childhood that some younger players didnt know! Motown music followed, and another girl & I tied for first place with perfect scores. Luckily, there were plenty of medallions to go around (my first of this cruise), so we each were presented with one. Commercial slogans followed, & I let someone else win. A friend came during the slogans contest & stayed for general Trivia. She was a great help & we ended up in a 3-way tie. They gave a tie breaker question: Which product guaranteed in its user guide that it would play dead immediately? As s child of the 70s, I came up with the answer-The Pet Rock! Neither of my opponents even knew what that was! (TOTAL PRIZES: 4 SOLID GOLD PLASTIC SHIPS ON A STICK & 1 MEDALLLION!) An elegant Tea was served in the America Bar, & I had 3 cucumber sandwiches (I skipped the Michael Jackson Trivia for it!) Then it was off to the cabin to get dressed for the Farewell Party in the Normandie Lounge. Its just tucked into the daily schedule & not highlighted, so the waiters were pressing drinks on us. The band played all sorts of music, including some that our friends, ball-room dancers, could dance to. Then they changed to music of the 1960s & the children, who had basically been invisible through most of the cruise, jumped on the stage & took over. They were enthusiastic & entertaining, but the adults just shook their heads. Our friends requested Tennessee Waltz & got a second dance in, but the children stayed on the stage. Our final meal & I decided to order a green salad & try the gourmet burger. I ordered it with bacon. The bun was tough, so I just cut it apart with a knife & fork. I ate a few of the string potatoes, but wanted to save my calories for my last WCMC. Our last song from our servers was Leaving on a Fun ship. My parents went to the cabin to organize for packing while I scouted a booth. The one we had on Tues was occupied, so I grabbed the one next to it & allowed the dancers to sit in the better seats while I sat on the floor. Shout was a high energy show, but I noticed they omitted a Beatles segment, which used huge paper mache heads & inflatable instruments. One of the ushers told me that the cruise-line is putting together a Beatles show, so that could be the reason. Got back to the cabin & my parents had laid out my clothes to pick. We decided to do self-disembark, so we just put our suitcases in the open closet. TWO TICKETS TO PARADISE-I DONT WANT TO PACK TONIGHT! Day 5 Disembarkation A beautiful day greeted us as we ate our last breakfast in the dining room. I asked for a banana, but they were out, so I had to make do with toast, juice & egg beaters. While we were eating, our decks were called, so we went back to the cabins & picked up our luggage & went to the lounge, which was set aside for passengers needing assistance. Finally, an attendant brought a chair for our friend. The system went very smoothly & we got to the parking lot right away, & were home by 9am. The day was reversed, with clear skies in the am & fog rolling in by the time the Paradise 3-day left at 5:30.! Read Less
Sail Date: October 2011
My wife and I are in our early 50s. We have cruised 9 times and love being on the boats. We booked this cruise last minute for a quick get a way after a very busy summer. Carnival is our choice of cruises. We flew from Minneapolis MN to ... Read More
My wife and I are in our early 50s. We have cruised 9 times and love being on the boats. We booked this cruise last minute for a quick get a way after a very busy summer. Carnival is our choice of cruises. We flew from Minneapolis MN to LAX, boarded the transfer bus and made it to the port in under 45 minutes. We got off the bus, dropped our luggage with the porters and headed to the cruise terminal. Security was a breeze and we walked right up to the counter. We boarded the boat in less than 20 minutes from the time we got off the bus to the time we swiped our Sail and Sign Card! Easy embarkation. We found our cabin, dropped our hand carried luggage on the bed and headed to the grill for a late lunch. The Hamburgers were great!! Not the Guy burgers yet, but they were still very good. We walked around the ship to familiarize ourselves with the layout and then headed to our cabin to unpack. Our luggage was waiting outside our cabin and we unpacked. This was the easiest Embark we have ever experienced. We booked Late Dining and went to meet our table mates. The menus were new since our cruise last Feb and I was just a bit disappointed that the Shrimp Cocktail was not on the everyday menu. I will not cruise Carnival again..... Until Feb 2012 at least. Hopefully, enough of us will suggest that Shrimp Cocktail gets back on the everyday menu. The new menu is great. Very diverse and I must say I tried two entrees at every meal. It was great! Our Waite team was excellent and had our table ready with drinks before we arrived. We sailed to Catalina the first day and enjoyed the port. The beaches were closed because of bacteria in the water, so we booked the Wild Dolphin excursion. I would recommend this to anyone who wants to see hundreds of Dolphins in the wild. They came so close to the boat that you could have reached out and touched them. On the trip we saw hundreds of Dolphins and Sea Lions feeding and playing in the wake of the boat. It was an awesome experience. Back to the boat and some relaxation with a N.A.P. meeting in our cabin. Dinner that night was again excellent and we ate absolutely too much again. Yes, I ate another Chocolate Melting Cake. The next day we pulled into Ensenada. I was not very impressed with this port. We booked an excursion to a Beach Party, but it was canceled when not enough people signed up for it. So we opted for the Resort Get A Way. We would not do this excursion again. We were supposed to have a tour of the museum, but the tour guide never showed up. We stood around for 45 minutes for him. We then went to the resort where we were supposed to be entertained by the resort staff with music and games. This did not happen either. We approached the tour operator and asked about a taxi back to the ship. We figured we could sit near the boat pool just as easy as we could at the resort and have free food and drinks (Soda). She told us that a taxi would cost about 60.00. But she called her boss, and he came to take us back to Ensenada. We really appreciated that and enjoyed the trip back. He dropped us off in the shopping district and we purchased a few things for our family back home. The people of Ensenada are very aggressive and we did not enjoy that very much either. So, back on the boat for a relaxing time by the pool and the Serenity area. Dinner again was excellent and yes, I ate another Chocolate Melting Cake. Thats 3 if your counting. The FUN Day as sea was fun. My wife likes to read and I like to watch people. It was a win - win for both of us. We even went to the Art Auction and enjoyed it very much. This is the first time that I have ever been on a ship that just stopped and floated on the FUN day at sea. It was kind of neat. We pulled into Long Beach on time in the morning and decided to do the Self Assist Debarkation. We were off the ship in no time and on the bus for the Airport. All in All it was a great time and we enjoyed ourselves even after the Ensenada debacle. Carnival did refund our Shore Excursion when we told them the reason we came back early. Cruising is what you make of it. You can let the little things ruin your cruise, or you can take them with a grain of salt and enjoy the time you have. Thanks Carnival for a great Get-A-Way! Read Less
Sail Date: October 2011
Pros: Very easy Check-in and out. No long lines. I suggest the self-assist when it comes to your on luggage's. It's much quicker! The Room we had which was R187 was very clean and spacious!!! The steward we had named Daman ... Read More
Pros: Very easy Check-in and out. No long lines. I suggest the self-assist when it comes to your on luggage's. It's much quicker! The Room we had which was R187 was very clean and spacious!!! The steward we had named Daman was AWESOME. He was always helpful and friendly whenever we saw. He is really DA-Man! The Paris Restaurant-Buffet had different choices everyday from breakfast, lunch and dinner. The longest time I waited was probably 5 minutes, no big deal. It went pretty quick. They had lots and lots of desserts. The omelet station was quick and made to order. It's no 5 Star by all means. It is a Buffet! And it is VERY CASUAL! The Staff was always smiling and friendly. The Pizza Bar was really good for a late night snack after The Rex Club. I didn't even realize you could also order Calzone. Next Time. Mongolian, Rotisserie was great for back up if The Paris Restaurant was busy. The food there was either the same or different as The Paris. I would walk to both :-) and check it out. The Sushi Bar was great. You get 3 different samples every night, so you never know what your gonna get. The line wasn't so bad; you just needed to go at the right time. It was ALL YOU CAN EAT, even if you went back for 3rds :-) or 4ths. MDR Destiny AFT at 8:15pm Assigned Dining or should I say 8:20pm is PERFECT! The food was great, Especially Captain's Night. I ordered a Shrimp Cocktail/2 Lobster w/butter and garlic shrimp/1 Prime Rib/Caesar Salad and 2 DESSERTS plus more ice cream. This is the night YOU DON'T want to be shy! Frank and Buddi was Awesome! They were always at our service. Frank always remembered our names and always had my soy sauce for my rice. That was a huge PLUS :-) Room Service, OMG Take ADVANTAGE of it! NO Charge 24 hours. They were very Quick and handy after drinking soooo much. We must of ordered room service 3x a day. No matter who it was they were very fast. The Lido Deck layout was pretty good. The hot tub for adults was Great when it worked ;-) We met a lot of people there from different ages. It was VERY RELAXING on a nice sunny, breezy or overcast day. I suggest hot tub before going on the wet slide. The pool water doesn't seem to be too cold after you dropped in. The Calypso Jams music was nice to listen too, but I preferred the DJ music they put on while on break much better. It sounded better with the buzz I had all day, lol! The Serenity Area AKA "Adult Only" was very quite. The only pro about it is that it really is for adults only and we met a lot of people there from different ages. See Cons. The Fitness Center was very useful and lots of amenities to offer. The best time to workout would be after 8:45am if you don't want to miss out on any machines. They also had an outdoor track. It was very small. It is 11 times around to make a mile. The Promenade was a very nice area. There was a bar there and it was the center of everything. The Casino was fun if you have the extra cash to spend. Electronic poker is the way to play and the roulette table is great when it hits your number. We won $200 on Keno ;-) and won more on roulette. The Rex Club was Great! DJ Clyde played good music from Top 40 to 80's music. I LOVED the Decor. We had FUN TIMES in there every night. If you like dancing, especially Top 40's this is the Club. The Queen Mary Lounge had Comedy Nights on Tuesday & Thursday. Stanley was stale, it wasn't our kind of humor, but Jerome was HILARIOUS!!! Make time to see him for sure. The Live Music was all right every time we walked by it to go to Rex Club. The music didn't bring us in to dance. The Casino Bar had different music like DJ Clyde or The Top 40 Show band and there was JD who played some good country, he looked either lonely or sad :-( when he was singing. I think he should have had a partner to sing with. Maybe that would have perked him up every night. Day At Sea was our FAVORITE DAY to Relax and do NOTHING ;-) We enjoyed our last day of vacation to the fullest. FUN TIMES and Good Memories for sure!!! Cons: The Paradise Cruise was very Rocky! Fun Times but Rocky! Let's start with the Noises in the middle of the night that we heard in our cabin. Something kept clanging against the boat and once you woke up in the middle of the night you couldn't go back to sleep unless you were knocked out from drinking, which happened a few nights. Those were the nights I could sleep. There was a bad odor by The Paris Restaurant outdoor seating because of the lifeboats, so we never ate outdoors, but we did bring our food near the pool or the hot tub area. We noticed that the up keep of the boat in different areas needed attention, because they looked rusty, but they did keep the windows clean. One suggestion for the window washers, use a bigger bucket for the squeegee. The Serenity Hot Tubs both had issues with either not being hot enough, the jets not working or it had lots of bubbles. We did meet a lot of people there from different ages. People and their BATH ROBES, come on. OMG! They were aloud to wear their bath rob practically everywhere, anytime, to any show, breakfast, lunch and dinner. There is a time and place for wearing your BATH ROB. I know your on VACATION but so is everyone else ON THE SHIP. Come on now! Breakfast, to the pool or hot tub and nighttime snacks after midnight should only be aloud. Dinnertime at Destiny AFT was always rocking or vibrating. For being on the 8th floor you would think you couldn't feel anything on that deck. Don't get me wrong, it didn't affect dinner at all it still tasted great. The only issue was on the first night when we ordered the fish. It was too dry, but the swaying and vibration is forgotten after the 3rd night, lol. All and all The Paradise wasn't so bad after all. We had a great time! We can't wait till our next Cruise. We are hooked!!! Read Less
Sail Date: October 2011
My wife and I finally had a getaway without the kids. We are in our mid 50s, and this was my 10th Carnival cruise (finally Platinum) and her 9th. We also traveled with my wife's service dog, Duncan (his 4th cruise). We had a ... Read More
My wife and I finally had a getaway without the kids. We are in our mid 50s, and this was my 10th Carnival cruise (finally Platinum) and her 9th. We also traveled with my wife's service dog, Duncan (his 4th cruise). We had a FANTASTIC time on the cruise. We didn't meet 1 crew member who didn't do everything possible to make our cruise experience the best it could be. The food: We tried breakfast in both the dining room and on the Lido buffet. Both were good, but we preferred the Lido. In the dining room there seemed to be fewer choices, including the omelets which were plain, ham, cheese, or ham and cheese. Service was very good though. On the Lido there were more choices, and the made-to-order omelets were great. Lunch we only did on the Lido deck, and loved the food. We tried the Mongolian Wok, the Taste of the Nations (Caribbean and American), the Deli, the Grill, and the desserts. Everything was great, except the desserts which were hit-and-miss. Some were very good. We had dinner each night in the main dining room. Choices varied each night (along with the standard daily choices on the Everyday Menu), and we enjoyed all of the meals. Service again was great. Room service was always fast (less than 15 minutes), and the order was always correct. It always surprised them to see a dog in the room (a large doberman) when we opened to door! Guest Services couldn't have been friendlier. Any questions we had were handled promptly and professionally. Shows: We didn't go to either of the big shows, as we were on the same ship with the same shows 6 months ago. The previous time we did enjoy both of the shows, especially "Shout". We saw both comedians doing the family friendly shows (we don't usually enjoy the R-rated shows). Seth Buchwald did a great show, very family appropriate. The other comedian we didn't enjoy, and felt the language was bad for a "family friendly show". We're not prudes, but I'm glad our 11 and 12 year old daughters didn't hear this. Embarkation and Debarkation: Both were very smooth and organized. Of course, it helped that we were Platinum Members this cruise. All in all, it was a great weekend. Like any vacation, it is what you make it. The crew seemed nice to everyone. We may have been treated slightly better because my wife is disabled (as in offering to carry our trays to a table on the Lido Deck), or because we had a service dog with us which most of the crew were excited to see on the ship. Remember that the crew works around 6 months without time off, 7 days a week. If they seem a bit tired or off some days, a warm smile and a few kind words can really make their day. And we were surprised to see our room steward from 6 months before on the Paradise, Roy, who remembered us and even Duncan's name! Now that's service!! Read Less
Sail Date: September 2011
My wife and I took this cruise to get away for a few days and relax. My wife loves to dance and there aren't a lot of places where we live that have the music she enjoys dancing to. We had taken this cruise with our kids several ... Read More
My wife and I took this cruise to get away for a few days and relax. My wife loves to dance and there aren't a lot of places where we live that have the music she enjoys dancing to. We had taken this cruise with our kids several years ago and knew that they had places to dance on this ship. The Evening meal in the Elation Dining Room was very nice. Good portions with some very interesting variety that made dining there very enjoyable. The wait staff was excellent and the people we sat with at dinner were a lot of fun. The ports of call were relaxing as well. We didn't book any shore excursions through the boat but found a great zipline tour in Catalina. However!!! I'm not sure if I just wasn't noticing when we took our kids with us a few years ago but the food this time on Lido deck (Paris buffet and the Grill)was sup-par to say the least. I avoid McDonalds because of the bulk mentality of their food but by the end of this cruise I was craving the HUGE step up that McDonalds would be. (okay I'm being dramatic but it really was disappointing) The food was very generic, tasteless and in most cases stale. They have 2 main food lines inside and out and they pretty much served the exact same things for breakfast. Not to mention that for some reason the ship is setup so you have to stand in line for 5 minutes to get anything to eat. There were no original dishes, nothing that was in the least bit exciting, the ice-milk was just that. Definetely not Ice CREAM. They tried to pass some sort of wet spoungy material as cheese cake and it's the first time I've had hash-browns that I had to tear apart with my mouth like beef Jerky. I know this is quick getaway cruise that appears to be aimed at the population of Southern Cal but when I have gone on cruises in the past the food has been the highlight. Not so with the Paradise this trip. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2011
We did the 4 night cruise to Catalina and Ensenada. I am not sure about all these complaints. We had a really good time and there was nothing to complain about. Of course the decor is little outdated in some areas and the cabins could use ... Read More
We did the 4 night cruise to Catalina and Ensenada. I am not sure about all these complaints. We had a really good time and there was nothing to complain about. Of course the decor is little outdated in some areas and the cabins could use some facelift. However, for the price I don't think you can complain. I saw some complaints from so called seasoned cruisers how bad it is, etc. if you are a seasoned cruiser you should already know how to pick the cruise that suites you. I think Carnival Paradise is well worth the money you spent.  We had an Ocean view cabin on port side and it was little small, but it is enough for 3 people to stay comfortably. It does have a pull bed, so it is good for 3 people. We only have 2 yr old daughter, so we had enough room. Food was good. I am not saying it is the best lobster tail you are going to eat, but it could be the time that you ate most lobster tails at one sitting as you can order as many as you want. I didn't see anyone complaining about the food when they were eating. Lady who was sitting next to us pretty much ordered the entire menu. That was like 6 starters and 4 main courses and 2-3 deserts. I was like "wow". After she finished her food she did complain about some of them. I also saw some complain about the lines at the buffet, etc. It is mostly because people always want to do the same thing at the same time and eat the same thing. You are on a cruise, try new things and eat something else. I never had to wait in line, because if there is a line I would go to a different area and get some different food. Ship is clean and well maintained. Pool is not heated, but kid's pool was heated. Comedy show was good. They have adults only comedy and family. Comedian was actually funny. Adult's comedy is obviously explicit. So if you don't like HBO comedies at night don't go. There was another show called "showtime "which was also good. We liked Catalina better than Ensenada. Best thing to do is rent a golf cart and go around. Of course you cannot do that in Ensenada. But you can rent ATVs and ride them in the streets in Ensenada. I didn't do it, but saw some people were having lots of fun. We did some shopping in Ensenada. You should also enjoy tacos if you like them. Time ran out so quickly in 4 days and it seems like it was not enough. I would do this again and recommend it to anyone. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2011
We had an excellent time, albiet we really want to step things up a notch for our next cruise. The four night cruise out of Long Beach was a nice introduction to cruising for us and left us all wanting more, much more! Carnival ... Read More
We had an excellent time, albiet we really want to step things up a notch for our next cruise. The four night cruise out of Long Beach was a nice introduction to cruising for us and left us all wanting more, much more! Carnival delivered a nice cruise for a budget price. Everyone treated us very nicely, we enjoyed our cabin, the entertainment, and the food. There were some minor problems, but nothing worth complaining about. The best part for us was Camp Carnival, the staff were excellent and our children never wanted to leave. Our four year old has multiple special needs and they did a wonderful job of accomadating him and making it possible for my husband and myself to have a much needed break. If you are looking for a bargain get away and you are not overly picky then you will really enjoy the cruise. There is some truth to some of the negative reviews here, but I really feel that those few are nit-picking, you can find something wrong with everything or go with a positive attitude and have a lot of fun. We did not buy any extras other than the bubbles program, build a bear for our daughter, and about $100 worth of pictures. We did not feel pushed to spend extra money. We did not go to the excursions due to the medical needs of our son. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2011
My husband and I chose to cruise the 4-night Mexico cruise on Carnival Paradise to celebrate our upcoming anniversary. While the price for our Grand Suite was similar to that on the Carnival Splendor's 7-day cruise, we preferred the ... Read More
My husband and I chose to cruise the 4-night Mexico cruise on Carnival Paradise to celebrate our upcoming anniversary. While the price for our Grand Suite was similar to that on the Carnival Splendor's 7-day cruise, we preferred the itinerary to Catalina and Ensenada since we had not been to either of those ports. We had already visited Puerto Vallarta and Cabo on other cruises. Not sure why Carnival is now spending two days in Cabo, but it is definitely not a 2-day port, in our opinion. Overall, we really enjoyed our cruise on Carnival Paradise. I do want to share some of the things we did not like because as a frequent reader of Cruise Critic, it really helps to know what people like and do not like. It definitely helps manage your expectations! I also suspect that Carnival reads the reviews as well, and I am sure it is helpful for them to understand customer preferences and areas for performance improvement. The embarkation/disembarkation process from Long Beach was smooth with our VIP access. We arrived at the port earlier than expected since the crazy Los Angeles traffic took a break for the Labor Day holiday! Boarding began at approximately 11:45 a.m. Rooms were ready by 1:30 p.m. Our room was excellent. Our cabin steward was totally out of sight, although our room was always clean and refreshed. I particularly enjoyed the family of towel animals she created for us each evening. We enjoyed breakfast on our balcony each morning. Room service menu is really limited, but we were happy with coffee, fruit, and a croissant. Just fill out the room service request form, hang it on your door, and breakfast magically appears in the morning. NOTE: If you are a stickler for arrival time, be sure to note it on the form. On the first morning, we requested delivery between 7 and 7:15 a.m., but our breakfast arrived promptly at 6:40 a.m. We weren't out of bed yet, so there was a frantic moment to find a robe and tip. Next day, we were careful to write "not before 7 a.m." so our alarm could go off and we could be ready for coffee pot arrival. We took the Inside Adventure tour of Catalina Island. Our driver, Magdal (spelling?) was outstanding! We enjoyed hearing the history of the island and trip out the road to the airport. We saw several bison/buffalo, as well as other wildlife. The views from the top of the hill were just beautiful. Some of our dinner mates took the Scenes of Catalina tour, and they indicated our tour sounded better. Of note, the road is not an asphalt-paved highway. The trip is a bit like Mr. Toad's Wild Ride at Disneyland. If you are offended by potholes, this would not be a good trip for you. We enjoyed it so much, we would even considering doing it again. We appreciated learning about the great history of Catalina. In Ensenada, we took the Beach Resort tour. We really enjoyed our tour guide, Martha, who provided great narration and history of Ensenada on our way to and from Estero Beach Resort. We had an excellent relaxing day, and the weather was beautiful. The pool area was enjoyable, particularly the swim-up bar. They turned on the pool heater, which was much appreciated. I would have loved a floating mat, but they did not have any floatation available. A Mexican buffet lunch was included. The food was definitely what I would call "Americanized." Living in Southern California, we have easy access to authentic Mexican food. The buffet was fine, but we definitely would have preferred local cuisine, carne asada, tamales, etc. Would I consider the facility a resort? I was not expecting a Four Seasons, but this hotel was definitely not my idea of a "resort." If you go with reasonable expectations, you are sure to have a good time. I have read a lot of positive and negative comments about the Paradise. We found all of the staff to be extremely friendly. The food was hit or miss. We were surprised the dining room service was not of the same quality we experienced on Carnival Spirit. We had to ask for water refills, bread, etc. Even though all of the orders were taken at the same time, the food never came out at the same time for everyone at the table, which makes people feel uncomfortable as to whether or not it okay to start eating. Several times, the food delivered was different than what was ordered. It seemed like maybe our waiters had too many tables for them to handle efficiently. None of us really complained, but it was definitely a topic of discussion and a reason to compare service on different ships and cruise lines. I definitely agree with another review about the pool being too cold. In our opinion, it was ridiculously cold, but definitely fun to watch the kids come down the slide. On the At-Sea Day, they anchor up in the channel. Apparently, it consumes less fuel. I would still think the ship is generating enough power to bring the pool water to a reasonable temperature. In our opinion, the cruise director staff was definitely not at the same level we experienced on the Carnival Spirit. Danny and Laura, both of whom are very nice, were definitely not as interactive or enthusiastic as Stu and the "Bingo Dude." The show schedule seemed odd. First night no show, second night jammed with show and comedy, third night no show, fourth night again jammed with show and comedy. We did not enjoy the country-hoedown show. No offense to the singers and dancers, as they are great. We just did not like the theme or music. We found the comedy to be hilarious, and we particularly liked Jerome. We did not find the adult comedy to be offensive. While there is some adult language, we did not find it to be unreasonable. Just before I wrote this, I read in another review about an erroneous in-room charge. Interestingly, we experienced the same thing. We did not use anything in the room because we brought our own beverages. We had to take our room bill down to Guest Services to have the charge removed. They did not give us any problem about removing it, but it was definitely inconvenient. Overall, we enjoyed our time on the Carnival Paradise. We particularly liked meeting all of the other cruisers we encountered along the way. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2011
This was my 3rd cruise and by far the worst. I'd go as far to say that it was one of the worst vacations I've ever been on. First off, the cruise ship is severely out-dated. Second of all, the food was terrible. You can order as ... Read More
This was my 3rd cruise and by far the worst. I'd go as far to say that it was one of the worst vacations I've ever been on. First off, the cruise ship is severely out-dated. Second of all, the food was terrible. You can order as much as you'd like, but one serving is plenty. You won't want to go back for more. By day 3, I had sharp stomach pains that lasted for over 12 hours. The ship is much smaller than the other 2 ships I've been on, so you could really feel the rocking of the boat. It took me 4 days to fully recover from the swaying motion and the other girls who I traveled with also experienced this. One particularly annoying aspect of the cruise was that they try to extort money out of you during the entire cruise - from sparkling water at dinner, to shots from the chef, to raffles where you have to purchase something to enter to classes at the fitness center. We even had to pay $2 to take a shuttle bus from the port to downtown Ensenada(which was a total tourist trap). Save your $400 and go elsewhere, unless you want to eat Sizzler style food every night and spend 8 hours in Ensenada where every shop sells the same junk. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2011
Took a recent cruise we took on Carnival Paradise. We have been with carnival twice before, and on several other cruise lines. This time I took my entire family and they were so excited about the experience since we had talked it up. ... Read More
Took a recent cruise we took on Carnival Paradise. We have been with carnival twice before, and on several other cruise lines. This time I took my entire family and they were so excited about the experience since we had talked it up. However, within an hour of being on the ship my brother asked me why the employees were treating us as if we were prisoners being transported. I did not have an answer for him and this was the first time I felt like it too. Not sure if it is an attitude difference between the pacific crew and the Caribbean crew. We take most our trips in the Caribbean and are always met with smiles, but not this time. Not only was the attitude horrible, there was also a lot of things physically wrong. Below are the ones I remember. Needless to say, we did not have a good time. It is truly unfortunate, I wanted to make sure my parents, my brother and his family had trusted me in selecting carnival and the whole thing made me look bad in front of them. • The TV in the room did not work. It took a trip from three different people over a four hour period to get it to work. That is a lot of wasted time on a 36 hour cruise • The vanity in our room was missing a mirror. My wife had to stand sideways to try to get ready for dinner so she can look in the half mirror available. It may be okay at home, but leaves a bad taste when the whole idea of a vacation is to have everything go right. • The pool was freezing cold. We went in and got out once and that was pretty much the extend of our use of it. The vacation includes the use of the pool, is it unreasonable to expect it to be reasonably warm so we can go in? • This was the worst of all of them. When I checked my bank account upon our return, there was a charge difference for 12.13 from the last statement I had received. Called customer service and they said it was for in-room beverage. We did not use any of the items that was in the room, and I ALWAYS make sure those things are exactly where they were when we got in before we leave. The bottle of water and six soda cans were intact in their original location when we left. Yet, I was charged and took half hour of my time to get my money back. This is sneaky and disgusting. The amazing thing was that the agent was so casual about it, as if it is routine that she gets these calls. Nice way to steal few more bucks off of the passenger even after they left the ship. Once again, I know some of these are petty items (not the sneaky charge though), but we did pay a substantial amount of money for a 36 hour cruise and we expect everything to be perfect. The sneaky part about adding the beverage to the bill is just really despicable. I wish I had the time and energy to follow up with past passengers and see if this is a common behavior for carnival and see if there is potential for a class action lawsuit. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2011
Carnival Paradise August 26, 2011 My sister, 41 and Milestone, and I, 57 and Platinum, were joined by two of our nephews who are in their twenties. My sister and I shared a cabin that had two portholes, R8, and the boys had a ... Read More
Carnival Paradise August 26, 2011 My sister, 41 and Milestone, and I, 57 and Platinum, were joined by two of our nephews who are in their twenties. My sister and I shared a cabin that had two portholes, R8, and the boys had a standard inside on the Upper deck. Our cabin was considerably larger than theirs. Embarkation was a breeze in Long Beach. Being Platinum, we had VIP service and were just about the only people in the VIP room. My nephews went through normal processing and it was also quick. Embarkation staff were very nice. Our cabin steward, Rai, was fantastic. He brought a hairdryer on request and called us both by name every time he saw us. Our cabin was always clean and shinny. Our cabin was very, very loud and quite shaky when we were docking or leaving a dock since we were very low and right above the forward side thrusters. Our cabin was so shaky while pulling away from Ensenada that a watch fell off of the desk and into the trashcan. Otherwise all was fine. All four of us had late dining in the Elation dining room, table 225. Our wait team, Armand and Milan, were fantastic. We shared a large table with three other guests. They were very nice and we were glad to have them as table mates. The food was very good. We were still on the old menu. Bar service was very good. I had a soft drink card and all the bartenders and servers were great about getting me a soda. We all took part in the Master the Martini at the Rotterdam Bar. We each took a booklet that lists eight mini martinis. Each person chooses four and they are poured into mini-martini glasses. We did this twice and enjoyed all of them. Cost is $17. One serving of four mini martinis could easily be shared by two people. Our alcohol service was very good. Only compliments. We didn't see much entertainment. I've seen the shows on previous cruises and went to one comedy show but had to leave to see if I won the slot tournament, I didn't. I'm not a big fan of the adult humor. I was very happy with the debarkation talk. It was only done on the television, there was no meeting in the show room. Doing it this way was so much better, I hope all the ships use this method. No more stupid jokes about putting all my clothes in my luggage and having to wear a towel off the ship. We all went on the Behind the Fun tour and enjoyed it. It cost $55 each since this is a three-day cruise. We spent over 2.5 hours on the tour and saw lots of things passengers would never see. We received a cap, a photo with the captain and lanyard as a gift. There were pastries and beverages waiting for us at the meeting area. We didn't know there would be food. It would have been nice to know since we met at 8:45am. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2011
The embarking process was easy and smooth. Once on the ship there was an awkward smell, but this went away in a matter of hours. The ship was pleasantly nice and clean. Very well kept. The staff was nice and helpful, they ... Read More
The embarking process was easy and smooth. Once on the ship there was an awkward smell, but this went away in a matter of hours. The ship was pleasantly nice and clean. Very well kept. The staff was nice and helpful, they were always asking if we needed anything as we walked around the ship. The food is okay depending what you are used to eating and the quality of service you are used to. For the most part the cafe was convenient on our first day. We did not eat at the restaurant the first night, we ate at the buffet. My husband seem to really love the Ice cream aboard the ship. The rooms were a nice size for two people. We had an ocean view, it was nice to have and worth paying extra for. Our room attendant Manuel was excellent, we did tip him extra, he earned it. Once in Ensenada Mexico, we did the beach excursion... Not really a lot to say about lying on the Beach, it was exactly that. The ride to the beach was very boring and the view of Ensenada was not clean, the bus smelled awful. The announcer Miguel was very knowledgeable, and funny. Papas and Bear is a nice club I would imagine at night, so if your looking for a party you will not find it during the day. We ate tacos and had a few Margarita, which were okay. Our driver recommend we only purchase goods from Fidel. Please do not.. we got tattoos that washed off immediately... $45 down the drain. There were lots of vendors trying to sell you stuff all day, after a while they left us a lone. The next day the ship stayed at sea. We hung out on the lido deck, there was entertainment, and contests, this was fun to watch. Later we ate at the resturant the food was good, not a huge portion, but you could order more than one dish at a time. Later that night we dance at the Rex Club. This was great, the music was great for all ages really. There were other clubs as well according to your taste. We took advantage of what all the ship had to offer us. We enjoyed our first cruise on the Carnival Paradise. We have decided to take our kids next summer. I highly recommend this cruise if it's your first time cruising. You will love it. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2011
For our one-year anniversary, my husband and I decided to take a cruise because we both love boat rides and were looking for an all-inclusive, stress-free trip. This was my second cruise (my first being over a decade ago) and this was his ... Read More
For our one-year anniversary, my husband and I decided to take a cruise because we both love boat rides and were looking for an all-inclusive, stress-free trip. This was my second cruise (my first being over a decade ago) and this was his first, so needless to say, we are not very experienced cruisers. We embarked at Long Beach, CA for the 4-night Catalina/Ensenada, Mexico cruise on the Carnival Paradise. Embarkation was similar to that of boarding a plane with all the lines you are required to stand in: check-in, security...oh, but there are a couple of differences, PHOTO lines! We have read several other reviews before the trip, so we went in with the expectation of potential long embarkation timeframes of up to 2 ½ hours. So, with that expectation, we were grateful for our 1-hour embarkation process. We definitely have to say the process was quite smooth and organized. Once onboard on the Main Deck, we immediately were hit with an unpleasant odor. It smelled like a restroom facility. The thought of getting used to that smell for an extended amount of time was not something we were looking forward to, but we were pleasantly surprised that our lower-level location (Riviera Deck) did not have any noticeable unpleasant smell. So, we were happy about that. We are both sensitive to smell, so you can imagine our relief to escape that rancid smell for the trip. We found our stateroom and were quite satisfied with the accommodations: spacious room and bathroom, great ocean view, great clean bedding, and lots of floor space and closet space for our luggage. We recommend for this particular 4-night cruise that you not only get an ocean view stateroom, but that you also get a stateroom located on the even-numbered side of the ship. We noticed that at all of the ports of call (including while in Long Beach) we had a great view of the land and not just the ocean. That was a definite plus (especially traveling as a couple who may actually want a little time in the room). ? The only negative thing we noticed in our room was that the bathroom shower drain system is not all that great and a pool of water collects outside of the shower each time it's used. I have seen this mentioned in other reviews, so I hope Carnival finally takes note of that. Other than that, the room was great. After checking out our room we explored the ship a bit and grabbed some food in the cafeteria. We recommend eating as soon as possible to avoid the growing food lines after embarkation because everyone seemed to have the same idea once onboard. The food was great, lots options: entre line, deli line, pizza line, etc. The ship is in good shape, however a bit dated; my husband said it reminded him of the Harrah's Hotel in Las Vegas. If you are new to cruising, like us, you will probably think it's pretty nice as you have no posh newer ships to compare it too. Dinner every evening in the assigned dining room was EXCELLENT! Our waiter was most attentive with a great personality. All the waiters and dining room staff appeared to be foreign, so that made things interesting and fun. Most nights they also entertained the room with a dance. We were seated with another couple, but as we later found out, the amenities of the ship (Casino) kept them busy, so we only saw them the first night. They were nice, but it was great getting our own table for most of the evenings. The food was actually GOURMET and sooo DELICIOUS! We had fun anticipating what the menu offered as it changed each night. Our first night onboard was our anniversary, so they sang for us and put a candle on our dessert. Sweet. ? We recommend ordering room service for at least one breakfast, it's great and included! Food is available at your whim 24-hours a day! This was probably one of our favorite cruise features. You may end up eating a 4th meal late at night, just because you can. ;-) The 2nd night onboard was the Elegant Evening, where everyone dresses up. We dressed up every evening for dinner, but this particular night, we stepped it up just a notch. It was nice to see mostly everyone in their finest. Before and after dinner there are several photo backdrops and photographers beckoning for you to get your picture taken. We took pictures at nearly every station and by the 3rd night we had 30 or more pictures to choose from. At $22/picture, there was no way we were purchasing all of them, so we finally narrowed down our choices and bought a few. We HIGHLY recommend you wait until at least the 3rd or even last night before you make your photo purchases because every day there are plenty of opportunities to take pictures and they aren't cheap, so you may want to wait to buy until you can choose from all of your photos at once. The entertainment was great the first night on the outside deck for the 4thof July celebration. We leisurely checked out the other entertainment onboard and found most of it to be entertaining. There's always something going on, so it was nice popping in here and there as we pleased. Catalina was our favorite port-of-call by far. We rented a tandem bike and rode all over Avalon. We made our own fun without trying out the excursions, we wish they gave you more time at this port. Being a bit cautious in Ensenada, we didn't venture out too far other than walking into town for bargain shopping. My previous cruise I went on the La Bufadora excursion and we didn't feel it was worth the money for us this time. After about an hour or so, we had enough and returned to the ship to miniature golf and eat. If we could choose, we would rather the time at Catalina be extended in place of Ensenada's all-day docking. Our day at sea was nice to just lounge around. Debarkation was smooth and easy. We did the Self-Assist option which panned out to be even quicker than we expected. We were out of the ship in less than 20 minutes. Overall, to conclude a lengthy review (we had to do this as we were so benefited from others' reviews), if you are looking for a reasonably-priced vacation that affords you the privilege of unlimited eating at any time of day or night (one of those meals being a gourmet meal each day), free entertainment, and lots of free-time to enjoy your spouse or travel companions, then the 4-night Catalina/Ensenada Carnival Paradise cruise may be perfect for you! Read Less
Sail Date: July 2011
I just returned yesterday but felt a need to get up and write my review immediately!! We returned yesterday from a 4night, 5day cruise on Paradise(July 4-8), stopping in Catalina and Ensenada. We traveled with our two girls, ages 12 and 9, ... Read More
I just returned yesterday but felt a need to get up and write my review immediately!! We returned yesterday from a 4night, 5day cruise on Paradise(July 4-8), stopping in Catalina and Ensenada. We traveled with our two girls, ages 12 and 9, their aunt and uncle, and friends with two girls, ages 15 and 11. I highly suggest arriving early to take advantage of the pre-boarding. It was super easy and was great relaxing on the ship's deck for a few hours without the crowds . By 2pm, our bags were delivered to our rooms and our kids were able to start swimming. Our stateroom was amazing!! I was a little concerned about the amount of room we would have but it was plenty. The configuration was perfect and the stewards were so attentive, timely and efficient in cleaning and tidying our rooms mid-morning and at night before we turned in. The beds were SUPER comfy, showers hot and amenities more than sufficient. SUPER IMPRESSED!! We had early dining which worked out fine with our families. The meals were great and more than filling. Our kids LOVED having the ice cream machine in the buffet available at all hours of the day!! Omellete bar was a hit for our family for breakfast and the lunch buffets offered a great variety. We didn't take adavantage of the shore excursions offered by the ship so I can't speak to that. We did sign our girls up to parasail on Catalina and that was the highlight of their trip, highly recommend it!! It was easier for us to schedule it off the ship so we wouldn't have to be on a time schedule. Because you have to take a ferry to Catalina, I would suggest getting up early to disembark the ship if you don't want to stand in long gangway lines. It took us a good 45 minutes to an hour just to stand in line and get to Catalina (we got in line about 11a). Because we didn't have an agenda, that worked fine for us but you'll need to plan ahead if you have multiple excursions planned. Getting back to the ship was super fast and easy though. We enjoyed walking around the shops on Catalina and enjoying the beautiful weather. Day 3 was in Ensenada, and once again we had no excursions planned(felt that was safer in Mexico this year). We walked around and shopped for 2-3 hours, letting our girls experience the "hustling" from the merchants. It was fun and we came away with some fun buys. We returned to the ship for an afternoon of swimming and working out. The gym facilities are to die for!! That evening we enjoyed a comedy show and karaoke. Other evenings they had shows by the pool but by night 3 they became a little repetitive(too much electric slide and same 'ol, same 'ol!!) They definitely need to add some variety and improve the employees' dancing abilities so that participants can follow along. All staff was very enthusiastic and energetic so I can't complain too much. My girls didn't participate too much in Camp Carnival, found most of the activities a little boring and juvenille(9-11 year-olds). Most of what they wanted to participate in was after 10pm and was an additonal charge so we opted to not participate. The 15 year old friend found her clubs entertaining and spent most late evenings there(there's no charge for teen late-night clubs). Our 12 year old enjoyed Camp magic show and karaoke. She probably would have participated in more activities had she befriended someone. Quite frankly, our girls had a blast roaming the cruise ship(always in pairs, at least), swimming, playing miniature golf, ping pong, eating ice cream or just goofing around. They had their own room keys and felt very safe and independent. It was very relaxing for us too!! Last day was at sea so we got up early and saved chaise lounges out by deck 10 so we could enjoy the music and entertainment all day. We had fun lounging, playing on the waterslide and drinking. The first day we had picked our bar waiter, Evanston, and only bought drinks from him so he took great care of us. The evening had less entertainment as everyone was organizing their bags and getting ready to disembark the next day. Disembarkation was easy and fast and we were headed home in no time. Overall, I was blown away by the service, hospitality and facilities that Carnival had to offer for such a great price!! Read Less
Sail Date: July 2011
Our travel party consisted of my husband, and another couple, our good friends. We left our kids at home for a "weekend getaway". I had heard the "booze cruise" is a party ship, and that is right! It is! I would NOT ... Read More
Our travel party consisted of my husband, and another couple, our good friends. We left our kids at home for a "weekend getaway". I had heard the "booze cruise" is a party ship, and that is right! It is! I would NOT bring my kids on this 3 day weekend cruise, though lot's of people did. It was a really fun crowd. Lot's of young people (as opposed to my previous cruising experiences) and a very fun crowd. I am looking forward to doing the 4 night version of this cruise, during the week next year and bringing my kids and parents. Embarkation: Smooth and easy! We drove from Las Vegas. We parked in the parking garage, which was extremely easy to find: drive to the end of the 710 and follow the signs! I had not put my luggage tag on my bag because I was planning on carrying it on. At the dock I was advised my bag might be too big to carry on. But, they had plenty of tags to give me and this took no time at all. We were quickly checked in, boarded and at the Buffet drinking a DOD (Drink of the Day!) By the time we went back to our room, our bags had been delivered, and we were easily unpacked before Muster. Public Rooms: Gorgeous! What a pretty ship. Very clean and well kept! Serenity is perfect! Definitely our fav spot on the ship. Love the lounge and Normandy showroom. The curtain in Normandy is gorgeous. My only "complaint" about the public rooms is that there is not a "wrap around" deck where you can walk, as I enjoy that. Cabin: We booked an inside cabin. We got the trip for "free" using my husbands credit card points, so we booked an inside guarantee, to use as little points as possible. Excellent call on our part, as they assigned us a great room, and we spent no time in our room at all. The cabin was really well appointed. Great shower, not tiny when compared to the other cruise ships I've been on. LOL - we laughed that there is plenty of room with just two people in the room. Usually, our kids are along and the quarters are cramped. Our cabin steward was amazing. Don't know how he could possibly remember our names, but he did. He made us towel animals every day. The robes in the room and such a nice touch! I didn't bring my hair drier and our room didn't have one in it. Of course, I discovered this 15 minutes before dinner on formal night. Our steward snagged me one right away! Such great service! I also really liked the light up ship picture in the corner of the room. Nice night-light! Fitness & Recreation: Took yoga, Pilate's and spin in the gym. Great classes. Actually worked up a little sweat! The gym is in a great location, on top of the ship. It was very busy! Much busier than I expected. I think it is because it was such a young crowd on the ship! The pool was great, cold, but great. I went down the water slide twice, so fun! Haven't been on a ship with that before! As I said previously, the Serenity deck was our favorite. We spent Saturday and Sunday there! Perfect Days...lying on a comfy lounge chair reading a book....a bar and the lido restaurant just above use to take care of every need! LOL - This is the best place on the ship, if you don't bring your kids! My husband went down at 8AM on Sunday and snagged us the chairs under the umbrella's. My friend and I got their after Pilate's, about 9AM - Perfect Day! Enrichment: Not sure what this is. Don't think I did any! Rates: We booked using Credit card points, so I really can't say. Dining: Again, I heard horrible things about Carnival food. Truly, I don't think those people and I were on the same cruise. I thought the food was great! The Paris restaurant was great! Pizza was OK, great after a day/night of drinking. The grill was good. Made to order omelets were great, and the wait was surprisingly not very long. Really enjoyed the deserts, all of them, Paris and Dining room! LOL, The best were the homemade chips on the outside grill line - Also not to be missed was the cook to order stir fry on the outside grill line: healthy and yummy. We did set dining, early. This was my first experience with this. I loved it! We ate with two other parties. It was really fun to meet other people and have the same servers every night. Our servers were outstanding: so friendly, and accommodating. I LOVED the dancing in the dining room every night, (Yes, "shorty" did indeed get Low! LOL) It really "worked" on this ship/cruise. It did not on HAL, but was super fun here! The food in the dining room was good, not great, but honestly, how many restaurants have you been too where everything is great? I'd say the buffet was on par with HAL, and the dining room just one notch below, which is quite a compliment to Carnival, in my opinion. Also, in the buffet do not miss the outdoor seating area, behind the bar and pizza at the back of the boat. Our group referred to this area as "VIP" because it was such a great area to sit in and never crowded! Entertainment: Loved the bands, calypso by the pool, revolver in one of the bars, also loved the piano players. Loved Rex, wished for a little more current music, a little less Michael Jackson. Very, very good. The comedians were also really funny. Quite enjoyable. Also liked the fact they "switched" them, meaning, we went to the 10PM show both nights and saw different comedians. The production shows, however, were just a little odd. Saturday night was 8 Seconds, a country show. Pretty good overall, nice theme, it worked. Sunday night was something called "Shout". It was such an odd show. It seemed as if someone said, "we have these sets and these costumes, what can we do with it?" It was a little bit like watching something my 13 year old daughter and her friends would put together. Not bad, entirely, just odd! The male singer was stronger than the female. Loved the fact they used a live band for the show. Service: As noted previously, service was just outstanding. Everyone was extremely friendly, saying hello in the halls even. Shore excursions: Did not partake. Value for Money: This was the most fun weekend trip my husband and I and our friends have even taken! Loved it! And I think it was a tremendous value, even if we had paid for it. Thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. Could not believe our bar bill, LOL, need I say more!? Overall: Heard Kathy Lee singing, "If they could see me now!" At many points, in my head, during this cruise! The ship never felt too big or too crowded. Great mix of people on board. Could have done with less kids, but that is because mine were at home. They certainly weren't doing anything annoying! Can't wait to sail with Carnival again! 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

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