117 Carnival Paradise Cruise Reviews

We are a young couple in our older 20's, took our 2 and a half year old daughter. We were so excited for our FIRST cruise, and it was such a disappointment. I HIGHLY do NOT RECOMMEND Carnival. We even paid for the upgraded ocean-view ... Read More
We are a young couple in our older 20's, took our 2 and a half year old daughter. We were so excited for our FIRST cruise, and it was such a disappointment. I HIGHLY do NOT RECOMMEND Carnival. We even paid for the upgraded ocean-view room, and was totally not worth one penny... We went for the activities they promise-the ping pong and golf ends at 7pm, my husband went to do the basketball tournament-NO ONE was there! Not even any staff to arrange it...there was absolutely nothing to do WITH our daughter. She screamed when we took her to Camp Carnival-the few minutes we were there, I noticed the room was very small and all they did was turn on the TV for the kids. Not at all how it was described or pictured on the website. Needless to say, our daughter did not stay there, not one minute. It would have been nice if she would have felt more comfortable to stay, which she does really well at daycare, but it was not a very welcoming atmosphere. I felt sorry for the children there. Food-VERY VERY GROSS!! We ate at the Lido Deck for lunch the first afternoon-the burgers were very good. It ended there. The rest of the dishes were so nasty. WE ARE BREAKFAST people-how can you screw up breakfast?? The eggs were like blocks of yellow jello-so gross! The bacon was even nasty, the pancakes were dry and hard, it was all so disappointing. It all tasted like it was cooked in the same grease. For lunch I got this yummy sounding soup-IT TASTED LIKE THE BACON GREASE! NO KIDDING!! YUCK! The best part was the bread and butter, and the self serve ICE CREAM! :) The dinner in the Elation dining room was much better than the Paris Buffet. The lobster and shrimp was pretty good. The steak was pretty good. The waiters in elation were very nice and very quick. The chocolate melting cake was VERY RICH and pretty good. The minestone soup was ok. The casino on the boat was so DEAD and Small. We went there to play some cards, there were like 4 people there. Same as the Rex Dance Club...I wanted to dance but they played very old music and there was only 6 people dancing. The ship is very outdated, but very clean. I have to hand it to the cleaning people, they were very good and our room was ALWAYS clean. Also, I noticed the crew cleaning the ship constantly, so that made me feel better. It was definitely not worth ANY MONEY!!!!!! DO NOT CRUISE WITH THIS SHIP LINE!!! Read Less
Sail Date February 2010
We are not very experienced cruisers. All three times were short cruises. We just like to not have to drive for a few days of travel and actually spend a lot of time reading in our room and enjoying the rocking of the ship. I really have ... Read More
We are not very experienced cruisers. All three times were short cruises. We just like to not have to drive for a few days of travel and actually spend a lot of time reading in our room and enjoying the rocking of the ship. I really have no complaints because we got what we paid for at about $300/person for a 4 day cruise. I just am giving it all the info so people who read this know what they're paying for. COMFORT: There were not many kids on this cruise because of the time of year but there aren't many quiet placed to relax and read, so if there were a lot of kids and that's not your thing you might be disappointed. The "library" is very uncomfortable and loud because it's also the board-game room. I found the area near the coffee shop best for relaxing when there were no activities. FOOD: We ate in the Elation dining room. I liked the starter dishes best and toward the end it got so that I'd order soup, salad and another starter, skip the weird dinners and get a dessert. I'm not that picky but I we each had to send a dinner back with a chunk of fatty prime rib that shouldn't have ever come out of the kitchen. Other people at the table also returned food or didn't eat it. It seemed like a sad waste. On both of the carnival cruises we took the other people at our table, who had experience on other cruise ships, were really disappointed by both the food and the wait staff. The staff works hard, really hard, but seem overworked, under trained. When someone spilled a glass of water at our table they didn't do anything to clean it up, just let it run and continue until one person had to get up and move because she was getting wet. We asked twice for a clean-up and nothing was done. I don't think they had a clue how to clean it up. The staff was friendly and one had an especially positive personality. No one learned our name like they do on Royal Caribbean, but for $400 less that's okay with me. If it weren't for the fun of meeting other people I'd probably just eat at the buffet, but definitely don't expect superior service there. Many passengers were happy with the sandwich station. You can get better coffee at almost any major gas station chain these days. I'll bring Starbucks instant Via on the next cruise. Someone else mentioned the half-hearted dance routines and singalongs in the dining room. I agree. They were embarrassed to be doing it because they didn't know the moves. They really tried so hard. One of my tablemates wasn't happy that they seemed to perform to the "other half" of the dining room and it was true, they did. SHIP-SHAPE: I like the rooms because they're roomy compared to other cruise lines. The beds are comfortable and the shower is big. They're clean and we didn't care that they weren't stylish. Our steward was great. We never saw him and he noticed when we came and went and slipped in quietly. I don't care how many cruises I take, I will always enjoy the towel animals. No hairdryer, what a bummer. We didn't sleep as well as we did on a similar carnival ship. I think it was because we were on a party floor with lots of drunken yelling and we had a window right near the anchor so the first morning we woke up at 5 a.m. to the very loud anchor lowering. I swear the kid in the room above us brought a wii and was jumping around all night. I get grumpy without sleep so I was grumpy a lot. The ship has some maintenance issues. I have a feeling some of the elevators were down because we were always waiting for elevators. The arms on the seats in the Normandie showroom are falling off. I hope they know these can be re-covered every 15 or so years, but I don't think they do. The decor of the entire boat kind of looks like an aging casino but it's pretty clean except for the many sticky floors I noticed. PROCESSES and STUFF: Embarkation was a dream. It felt like we walked right on. I was so excited that they didn't make us bring our life jackets to the safety orientation, but then they added this new step of actually going from the muster station to the lifeboats, probably a good step but definitely felt like I was being herded and they didn't warn us about it so we didn't bring a jacket and it was cold. I know all this is required. I *think* they try to make it painless, but it isn't and it's hard to start enjoying ourselves until it's over. With debarkation they announced this new self-assist early debarkation. One of us took that option to get the rental car for us and thought it was definitely over-hyped as people with tons of luggage and strollers were in the way and she had to stand in line a really long time to disembark. The others of us waited to go through the regular process. It's better than it used to be but they still call each group way too early while the previous group is still in a 30 minute line. If they waited just a little longer the comfortable wait on the boat is so much nicer than standing in a customs line. We just waited until they kicked us off and it was painless. ENTERTAINMENT: Wow. I guess I must be picky. It was horrible. A "comedian" with some weird puppet making orgasming sounds actually got some laughs. I love comedy but this was not funny. I was sad part of my ticket paid for him. Everything in the Normandie lounge was too loud. The older people in our party found it painful. If you find the free Las Vegas shows entertaining you'll be happy but don't expect Broadway. Read Less
Sail Date February 2010
We went on the Carnival Paradise 3 night cruise on Friday January 22nd, 2010. In our cabin was my husband, me and 2 kids ages 5 and 3. We got an email and automated phone call on Monday the 18th from Carnival saying to not come to the ... Read More
We went on the Carnival Paradise 3 night cruise on Friday January 22nd, 2010. In our cabin was my husband, me and 2 kids ages 5 and 3. We got an email and automated phone call on Monday the 18th from Carnival saying to not come to the pier in Long Beach until 4PM for sailing at 7PM due to weather delays. Then we got a phone call from Carnival on Friday at 9AM saying to not come to the pier before 7PM for a 9PM sailing. At no time did Carnival ever tell us in a phone call, email or onboard our cruise that the cruise before ours the week of the 18th had gone all the way down to Cabo San Lucas due to the epic storms in the Western US and Pacific. For all anyone knew the ship may have had propulsion problems. As it turns out the ship had a tough time of it especially going north back to Long Beach and that explains a lot. They did have good weather in Cabo San Lucas on Wednesday thank goodness. We got to the pier at 5PM because we are Platinum types with 35+ cruises on Carnival. We gave our bags to a porter pier side with a $5 tip and then got on a charter bus to the Long Beach Arena. We got off the bus and walked 50 feet through light rain into the "back" area of the arena. There were bathrooms right there. Then we went to check in for the cruise. The poor employees had to do our credit cards and fill out all paperwork by hand. No computers. They did not have any credit card imprinting machines. This was even though most people had checked in online a few days before the cruise. We were given a VIP bus pass. Most other passengers were given bus numbers according to their arrival at the arena. Regular passengers who did not come to the pier until 7PM as directed did not get onto the ship until very late. I personally saw people boarding the ship at 11:55 PM. After getting checked in we went onto the arena floor. My husband told me he had been to some hockey games and college basketball games there in the past. Small (built in the 1970's) but arena employees were friendly and helpful. Tables were set up and we were given sodas, coffee and sandwiches made by Savoy food services. They had a DVD movie on a screen. I think it was Adam Sandlers' Bedtime Stories. Then just before 7PM the VIP types were called to the first bus. That was us, wheelchair people and a wedding party. We rode the bus back to the pier and got into a line to go through the metal detectors and get our sail sign cards. Then a couple photos and onto the ship. We were the first people up on lido deck and were greeted warmly by all employees. We got the kids registered in camp fine and had a chat. Camp was not open at 7PM as usual. It opened instead at 10PM for regular baby sitting. Dinner was open seating. We did not make it into the dining room the first night. Our cabins were not ready until 8:30PM. At 8:31PM I found a fire door on Main deck and opened it. No stewards in sight. All rooms ready. We were in M79. Regular inside. Room was fine and we would have it again. We did not have muster drill until 10:30AM Saturday. We got released from that at 11:19AM. People were starting to get angry. So we could do the muster drill, etc. they moved Ensenada to Sunday. The captain put us behind San Clememte Island or such and we had good weather and lido deck fun on Saturday. Captain's reception and casino in full swing. We were in Ensenada until 6PM sharp on Sunday. Then we sailed for Long Beach. The captain was doing 17.9 kts for some reason and some people were sick. For all this delay boarding, etc. we were given $15 per person onboard credit. The automatic tips were still at $30 per person. Some people were upset about that and cancelled them if they had not signed up before sailing. Our car was in the parking structure for less than 64 hours for $45. It is true that we had severe weather the week of the 18th. I have lived here all my life and have never seen it so bad. Still I think that compensation should have been $40 per person and 2 hours of regular umbrella drinks on lido deck. It does not take much to make people happy. The $15 was frankly a slap in the face. Read Less
Sail Date January 2010
we didn't have a great experience on this ship for many reasons. first of all we were expecting our GPS to find the port of long beach. it didn't. so we got lost in long beach. we called Carnival to ask them the address of where ... Read More
we didn't have a great experience on this ship for many reasons. first of all we were expecting our GPS to find the port of long beach. it didn't. so we got lost in long beach. we called Carnival to ask them the address of where exactly their ship was, since we were leaving in just a few hours. well, the lady put me on hold, told me she couldn't get into her computer, didn't know the address. how can you not know the address of the los angeles/long beach port? this is your company, this is a major city. after waiting 5 minutes on hold or so..we hung up. mind you we are sitting on some side street in long beach. we called up a random travel agent and told him we were desperate..he said..'oh its right next to the Queen Mary'. well the GPS found that. next ..the cabin we had, had the life jackets in this square box thing that was built in. it was situated in the corner. so to get to the left side of the bed, you had to climb over the bed because of this box. stupid designing. the food in the buffet sucks. lukewarm. last cruise we took with Carnival..same thing. really average food at the buffet. Wine package all screwed up. didn't have the woodbridge white zin.so they gave me beringer. didn't have the pinot grigio..said they might get it the second night of the cruise..and that they were still busy 'unpacking' huh? then the last night they still didn't have the wine. the hostess came over with a lame excuse claiming it was a problem with cargo and shipping or something..and it 'wasn't our fault' never was an equivalent pinot grigio offered. i picked this package because of the price, and because of the pinot grigio. the entertainment was OK. all in all Royal Caribbean a much better line. food and service much much better . would never said Carnival again. oh and on top of it all..there was some sort of crime scene on the ship where one of the corridors to the rooms were blocked off, the coast guard was involved and there were people dusting for fingerprints and looking for stuff in a cabin.   Read Less
Sail Date January 2010
Background- my boyfriend and I saw a great deal on this cruise, less than two hundred a person and decided to go for it. Unfortunately, this cruise is cheap for a good reason! We had both taken previous cruises and personally, I had high ... Read More
Background- my boyfriend and I saw a great deal on this cruise, less than two hundred a person and decided to go for it. Unfortunately, this cruise is cheap for a good reason! We had both taken previous cruises and personally, I had high expectations based on my wonderful trips on Royal Caribbean and Disney. Carnival does not have high standards of excellence and I wish we had just saved our money and put it towards a better vacation. Don't be swayed by the low cost, it's not worth it! Staterooms- We stayed in stateroom U16. It was a bit worn, but basically ok. The two portholes were nice and on future cruises, this is a feature that I would want. The room was bigger than we expected it to be and had plenty of storage. One weird thing is the news is tuned to a Colorado station. I can't remember the name of our stateroom attendant, but he did a decent job. The towel animals were a big hit. The room was very noisy when we docked, loud in early morning hours. Also, no hot water on the final day of the cruise. Main Dining Room- We had our dinners in the Destiny dining room and our server was William. The food was almost inedible. Every night, several dishes, including desserts had to be sent back or sat uneaten. Our table mates also complained several times. The crab cakes had shells in them. One of our table mates had pumpkin pie that was the consistency of jello. I actually think my boyfriend figured out the problem, he said it was as if the chefs were given a recipe, but they had never actually tried the dishes that they were preparing or had a good example of what it is supposed to taste like. Most of the food was just plain weird. They also had strange combinations...like steak with a mushy pea/potato combo. I had salmon that was accompanied with Mac and Cheese. Everything was a bit off. The only thing that was consistent, was the melting chocolate cake. Our server was nice enough, but seemed like he was under a lot of pressure from his boss. He did not seem comfortable or happy doing his job. He also made several mistakes and seemed crest fallen when we didn't like our meals. We felt sorry for him. It was also very uncomfortable watching the servers sing and dance every night. Most of them seemed very reluctant to participate. Also, it was a disorganized mess, as most of them did not know the choreographed dance moves or lyrics. Why bother if it's going to be a half hearted effort? Other Dining - The Paris buffet is far worse than the dining room. I took a look at most of the food and passed it over. It's almost as if they try to get too fancy with it and it just doesn't work. I did not hear one person say anything positive about the food. Also, the people working behind the counters are swamped and overwhelmed. The pizza station typically had a fifteen-twenty minute wait. There really isn't any sort of midnight buffet, although they try to hype it. It's more of a couple of new food options available late at night. We also did room service for one morning breakfast. This was ok, since stuff like cereal is a safe bet. Beware if you order a Danish, it is so small that it can fit in your entire mouth. We were told that the chocolate cake from room service is delicious. Bars- Carnival does a great job with the drinks, strong and relatively inexpensive. The service is decent in the lounges. Shows- We saw both comedians and they were great. We especially liked the adult only shows, which are not for the easily offended. We liked the Love and Marriage show and the Game show challenge. We did not go to any of the big shows, as they just didn't appeal. Activities- Most of the activities were later in the evening and most did not appeal to us. We had hoped to spend most of the trip relaxing and reading. This was a losing effort. The ship does not have many quiet or comfortable spaces. The library is more of a game room and had very uncomfortable seats. It's also located in a noisy/high traffic part of the ship. We found that reading in some of the lounges were ok during the day, when they were empty. We did spend one afternoon reading on the Serenity deck, which was nice for about fifteen minutes. Our Serenity was interrupted by a family, with their kids. The staff did nothing to keep kids out of the area or tell the parents to tone it down. Many people moved out of the area. The lack of quiet, relaxing areas was one of our biggest complaints. Ports- We did not get off in Catalina. The ship was dead while we were in port and most things on the ship were closed, including the coffee bar..which in general, kept odd hours. We did get off in Ensenada, mainly in efforts to get a decent meal. We took a bus (three dollars each round trip) from the cruise terminal to a small shopping/dining district. The people in Ensenada were really nice and not pushy at all. We had drinks/tacos at Papas and Beer, the best things we ate on the trip. We also had very strong/cheap margaritas back at the bus terminal. I enjoyed the two hours we spent in Ensenada. General Impressions - We would never do this cruise or a cruise with Carnival again. We are both in our thirties, but the party atmosphere is not for us. The party pervaded every part of the ship and either you joined in or you were out of luck. The food was just terrible. The ship was old and in need of a remodel. We encountered some nice employees, but it was inconstant. Some of the crew were just plain surly. We both left our vacation very disappointed and felt like we had wasted four days. Our time would have better been spent staying at home. Read Less
Sail Date January 2010
The was our first cruise on Carnival having sailed several time with Disney and RCCL in the past. For a 10 year old ship the Paradise is in good shape. The cabin bathrooms are very large and there is a lot of storage space in the cabins. ... Read More
The was our first cruise on Carnival having sailed several time with Disney and RCCL in the past. For a 10 year old ship the Paradise is in good shape. The cabin bathrooms are very large and there is a lot of storage space in the cabins. As usual on a cruise, the cabin staff, and the dinner staff were great. That is about where the good news about the Paradise ends. The 3 day Baja sailing is a "booze cruise". If you are traveling with children this cruise is not for you. We saw people vomiting on the ship (calm seas), urinating over the side, a 280 pound man who thought it would be fun to wear a woman's bathing suit bottom in the hot tub, and language that you would not want your child to hear. Although we have noticed ship security on past cruises, on this cruise they had 2 security people posted at the pool at all times, and we saw many drunks being escorted by security at night. Even if you remove the drunks, the cruise still has problems. There was no live deck band, no Lido deck sail away party (or any Lido deck parties at all), the slide pool was open only 1 out of 3 days, and the pool "water wars" area was only open for 30 minutes during the whole cruise. Unlike other cruises, if you bought the child soda card, you then had to buy the soda mug for an additional fee. Gives you the feeling of being nickled and dimed. The Lido deck food was well below par with other ships. The pizza selections were original to put it nicely. The sushi bar was open a few hours only but the hours were never posted. It was pure luck you saw it open. If your goal is to get drunk and party at sea, this cruise is for you. If you have children then please leave them at home since this cruise is not family friendly. Read Less
Sail Date February 2008
My wife and I went on a 4-day cruise over Christmas. We are in our 30's and this is the first cruise that we have ever been on. We selected this one since it is affordable and a shorter duration so that we could get an idea of what it ... Read More
My wife and I went on a 4-day cruise over Christmas. We are in our 30's and this is the first cruise that we have ever been on. We selected this one since it is affordable and a shorter duration so that we could get an idea of what it is like without being trapped on a ship for too long. We sailed on Dec 24th and expected to visit Catalina Island on the 25th. However, the wind was strong enough the next day that the ship rearranged the schedule to have the day at sea on the 25th, then Catalina Island on the 26th, and Ensenada on the 27th. The night we sailed, we explored much of the ship and got an idea of where things are located. There are several bars that have slightly different themes. However they all serve the same drinks and none serve food (other than pub mix). We were surprised by this since we had thought that we would be able to order food while sitting at the bar and having drinks. Also what surprised us is that the bars are not always open - some we never went into at all since we never happened to walk by them when they were open. This is strange, since when you first get on board they are saying that you can "sleep when you get home". This is no Vegas by any means. There is a casino which is open once the ship is in international waters (open for a few hours each night), but we are not big gamblers so it wasn't a big attraction for us. In any case on the first night we spent a good deal of time having drinks in various bars, enjoying the ocean, and visiting the karaoke bar (not a bad selection of songs, but not outstanding either). Karaoke only runs for a few hours in the evening, and we were lucky to go when there was only a couple other people there (the DJ said that it is usually more busy - as we saw the rest of the nights). So we got a chance to get warmed up before more people trickled in. After karaoke we went to the dance club which had about a dozen people - so we had a couple more drinks and then headed for the 24-hour pizza. It was a fun first night, and overall probably the one we enjoyed the most. SHIP: Nice ship. We didn't think it was showing its age, just some of the color schemes have gone out of style. It seems like it is well taken care of. ROOMS: The room we had, Interior Stateroom, was adequate. It has enough room so long as you don't intend to spend a lot of time there. This is a ship, so you have to expect that the rooms will be on the small size, but had everything we needed. ROOM SERVICE: Good service and can order sandwiches and bagels - but there is not much more available on the menu. 24-hour service SERVICE: Excellent service and the staff are great. Some even remembered our names and gave us some tips here and there to avoid the crowds. BEER/WINE: Good selection of both. Beer like Pilsner Urquell, Stella Artois, Sam Adams, Guinness, Bodingtons, etc. At over $5 each for premium beer, it adds up fast. FOOD: Average at best. I can appreciate how hard it is to prepare food for hundreds of people at the same time, and they did a pretty good job, but certainly nothing to write home about. And if you time it badly (like we did a couple times) your only alternative is the buffet. DAY AT SEA: The day at sea was low key. Since it was Christmas day we did not do too much other than open a few gifts we brought along, and relax a bit and watch a movie (luckily there was an ok selection of TV stations to watch). Unfortunately we did not know at the time that there are certain times when the restaurant is serving food, and if you miss it you need to eat at the buffet. We also timed it badly this day, since we ended up looking for food when the buffets were being switched over. Next time I would not want a day at sea - we were getting a bit stir crazy by the next day. CATALINA ISLAND: We got up for breakfast and got seated at the restaurant (between 7-9) and ate before we headed to shore. We opted to skip all shore excursions (thankfully). We walked to the botanical garden (around 2 miles), which we needed the exercise anyway but could not really tell from the map what the distance actually was. The garden is nice and has some good views. We returned to town about an hour later and found a restaurant that we saw earlier - seafood restaurant that has 4 different Paulaner beers on tap and served large 1L mugs. We had some lunch and beer and then walked around the town a bit. Avalon is a quaint little "America town" that is interesting but unexciting. We talked to a local bar tender a bit and he told us some interesting things about the island. After a couple hours of looking at shops we headed back to the ship. ENSENADA: This was the best stop of the trip. We like Mexican culture and enjoy trying to speak Spanish with the locals. We ended up going to see La Bufedora (natural blow hole) since the shuttle into town said that they offer a tour there for half the price that Carnival charges. The tour guide gave some great information about Mexico on the drive up and also gave some shopping advice. There is a flee market at the blow hole as well, so we could do a bit of shopping and get some lunch while we are there. The blow hole is neat, but with hundreds of people crowding around the rails we never got a chance to see anything except the spray as it shot up - so we were disappointed. We had some fish tacos and did a bit of shopping. Then we headed back to town. The city is neat with a big party culture downtown. Unfortunately, even though there were two cruise ships docked, the bars were not very busy. We wandered around and had a few drinks in various places (one showcases beer from a brewery in Tijuana - and the beer there was excellent). The ship was sailing at 6:00pm, so we could not enjoy the night culture there (disappointing). THE GOOD: - A big floating party, everyone is having fun - Carnival allows you to bring a bottle of wine per adult on board with you. THE BAD: - The food is unexciting, and sometimes not very good. - The coffee is horrible (we like starbucks). Luckily there is a coffee shop on board, but it does cost extra - The shows seem more oriented to children and grandparents. They seemed cheesy (the limited exposure we had to them) - The captains dinner/formal night is a "crock". They don't really care if you dress up, and it is just dinner with a cheesy show tacked onto the beginning and end. - The shore excursions are way overpriced. If you book it outside of carnival, you should be able to get it for around half the cost. - The ship does get a bit repetitive after the first day or two THE UGLY: - Carnival seems to view everyone as cows to be milked for their money - You can't help feeling sorry for the staff - sometimes they have to perform and you can tell that it is the worst part of their job - We were afraid that the passengers may mostly be retired people, but more horrified when we saw the number of children on this particular cruise. Many of the activities on the ship were geared towards children and parents, and that did not suit us. It turned out to be "kids night karaoke" for all of the remaining nights except the first night. However, this may be due to the dates of the trip (over christmas, and it was a full cruise). SUMMARY: Based on my limited experience, cruises seem more majestic and exciting from the shore. The long lines, "buffet culture", and constant hustling to spend money on the ship is not really my cup of tea. Read Less
Sail Date December 2007
Quick Overview We booked this cruise at the last minute as a Labor Day Weekend Getaway for us and our three kids. Their ages are 2, 4 and 10. My wife and I are 34 and 35, respectively. In terms of achieving the goal of giving our kids a ... Read More
Quick Overview We booked this cruise at the last minute as a Labor Day Weekend Getaway for us and our three kids. Their ages are 2, 4 and 10. My wife and I are 34 and 35, respectively. In terms of achieving the goal of giving our kids a great weekend, Carnival passed with flying colors. The Camp Carnival program was great for all ages. Having said that, my wife and I have cruised exclusively on Celebrity and now, Azamara, Cruises for the last 3 years. For us, this Paradise cruise was awful in terms of quality of food, cleanliness of the ship, attitude of much of the staff, etc. We will go into details below. Granted, we fully understand that Celebrity and Carnival should not be truly compared to each other. However, as I am reading other reviews on Cruise critic of this ship and this itinerary, they make the ship sound like it is at the level of Celebrity. And it certainly is not... Embarkation/Long Beach Port As described in other reviews, the process was smooth. The parking facility is set up like an airport parking garage. We had no problems getting our bags to the porter, and ultimately no problems getting our bags to our stateroom. The check-in process was very efficient. We are used to getting Captains Club service when we check in with Celebrity. Having no "frequent flier" status with Carnival did not slow the process at all. On board When we first entered the ship, we knew we were in a party atmosphere when the main lobby's showpiece is a bar with piano. This is very different from Celebrity and Princess. Now, when entering a Celebrity ship, it is always nice to have a staff member hand you champagne and then walk you to your room. On Carnival, we were treated in the exact opposite way. Once you enter using your boarding card, that was it! No one said anything to anyone. The ship's layout is confusing to say the least. There was not one greeter onboard who could at least tell us where the rooms were, where the different elevators went, what the names of the floors were. Granted, we are relatively smart people and figured this all out after a trip to the Information desk and checking out the signs on board. But Carnival's decks are all named something, like Riviera, Empress, Lido, etc. The room numbers are based on the name of the deck, not the number of the floor. So, to find your room, you need to figure out where your floor is, then try to find the correct elevator that goes to your floor. Also, the rooms are not all in the same walkways. Depending on where you are on the ship, you may run into a dividing wall and need to walk down a different hallway just to get to your room's hallway. Like I said, after being onboard for a short while, we were able to get our lay of the land, so to speak, but for no one on board to show any responsibility for helping with guiding guests to rooms, we thought this was poor service to say the least. Food quality and choices Upon arrival, the Paris Buffet on the Lido deck was open and very crowded. The food was basically awful. The burgers and fries near the pool were the best items we could find. Now, our kids loved having access to the "I guess it's ice cream" soft serve machines. One says ice cream, and one says frozen yogurt—they both were pretty poor in quality. Worse than what you would get at a Sweet Tomatoes/Soup Plantation salad buffet (for those on the west coast). We ate dinner the first and 3rd nights in the dining room Elation, and the 2nd night in the buffet. The food was most Unimpressive on each night. Salad was probably the best course at the dining room. We tried a variety of entrees, including salmon, whitefish, NY Strip steak, Chateaubriand, pasta. And, each seemed to be worse than the next. I say this in the nicest way possible. I understand this is not Celebrity, so we were not expecting great food on board. But, again, having read many of the other reviews on this web site, I think it should be obvious that the quality of food is basically what you should expect for Carnival. That's all. Any other cruise line likely has better food (we've been on Princess, Celebrity, Azamara, so cannot comment on HAL, Norwegian, etc.). The buffet food for breakfast was below average. Breakfast foods looked mainly inedible, including strange looking sausages and very yellow, likely powdered, scrambled eggs. Only highlight was the omelette station, where you could get an eggwhite omelette on request. Also, they had fruit, yogurt and cereals. No waffle stations. At the buffet, there is a 24 hour pizza station, which has passable, Target or K-mart quality pizza. At least it was freshly cooked and you could order a few pizzas to be made right there and then. They also had a sandwich station with a sandwich presser/grill. The quality of the meat was average to below average. They did have a coffee bar that had some nice desserts for a $2 fee. Also, they had a very limited sushi bar, which basically had artificial California rolls. We chose to pass. Finally, as to the servers in the dining room. They were friendly overall. But when it came to asking for specific requests regarding food, we were given very abrupt and not very friendly answers. There were 6 kids at our table, and the adults needed to make some food adjustments after the kids tried to order for themselves. The waiter was not happy at all, and it showed in his face and his demeanor. We also had one of our children come back from the Camp Carnival area in the middle of the meal and we asked to see if we could get some food ordered. Sure, we were "Out of the usual order" time for the table, and I understand the tables are served on a time schedule so as to make sure the tables are ready for the second seating. But, we were basically told that it was too late to get an entrEe from the kitchen and that we should go to the buffet. We were truly in shock. CLEANLINESS of the ship This is where Carnival truly deserves a Zero star rating. Granted, we understand this is a "Booze cruise" style itinerary, and we expected the ship to be full of partiers. And it was. But there were also plenty of families and plenty of non-American guests as well. It should not matter what the itinerary of the ship is. The ship should have basic cleanliness standards. There were over 2000 guests on board. You would expect the world's largest cruise line to know how many staff members they should need to keep the ship clean. But, this was not the case. We watched piles and piles of dirty dishes and cups everywhere—in the pool area, in the buffet, in the hallways. With that many people on board, you would expect workers to be cleaning up the public areas ALL THE TIME! Especially near the pool. What ended up happening was literally dishes and cups falling onto the floors and there were spills of juice and punch everywhere. Dirty dishes everywhere. And, I truly mean it when I say they sat there for hours. I would see some staff members walk by every once in a while, usually with a tray full of fresh bar drinks. You would think the trash everywhere would affect them. Apparently, it didn't. Also, the public bathrooms, to me, were public disgraces. They were disgusting, piled up with trash all over the floors. The toilets were very dirty. This was mainly true near the pool areas, but it was noticeable in other public toilets as well. ENTERTAINMENT I can't really comment too much on this—we ended up spending most of the nights with our kids. We did not see any of the shows or comedians. We did enjoy Karaoke on our last night. The classical music trio that plays in the bar in the main atrium was enjoyable. The night disco Rex was pretty loud, but we did enjoy dancing there—it was pretty dark and there was a lot of dance floor space. The hairy chest contest at the pool on our Sea day was pretty distasteful. It was very loud, and when the contestants began screaming like gorillas into the microphones, it made most people at the pool (except maybe the drunk ones) jump and make bizarre faces. Again, we expected this kind of atmosphere at the pool, we just wish everyone, including those with kids, did not have to be exposed to it. Oh well... Bottom line We were expecting so much more from this cruise after reading many of the more recent reviews on this web site. I had been on Carnival Sensation when I was in college, and I remember thinking back then that the ship was dirty and the food was pretty bad. That was 15 years ago. Now, I don't think there have been any improvements. While I understand this is considered to be a lower end cruise line and a lower end cruise ship/itinerary for Carnival, I still expect there to be some basic standards. Other than the kids areas (Camp Carnival), we give this cruise a very poor rating. Read Less
Sail Date August 2007
My children and I took a 4 night cruise aboard Carnival's Paradise in April for Spring Break. My daughter is 15 and my son is 7 years old. My husband was unable to go with us due to work. We started our journey in Long Beach and ... Read More
My children and I took a 4 night cruise aboard Carnival's Paradise in April for Spring Break. My daughter is 15 and my son is 7 years old. My husband was unable to go with us due to work. We started our journey in Long Beach and noticed that a few of the Carnival people dealing with our embarkation had adequate customer service skills, but the majority were unnecessarily rude in their approach and spoke in condescending tones. I was willing to overlook this and chalked it up to the increased crowds for Spring Break. I was surprised to note that nobody greeted us or directed us to our cabin once aboard the ship, but I remembered where our cabin was based on reviewing the deck maps at home prior to departure. I wasn't expecting much out of our inside cabin on the main floor, but I was disappointed by the lack of good lighting, the very slow draining sink, the missing pieces of molding, the half missing fixture on the ceiling, and bobby pins swept to the side on the bathroom floor. The only positive thing I can say about the cabin is that the beds were comfortable. My son was very anxious to go to the kids club so we headed there after unpacking. The staff at Camp Carnival was somewhat friendly, but they didn't go out of their way to help us or answer questions. They provided a form for me to fill out and instructions on what time Camp Carnival would start, they never spoke to my son. We ate lunch in the Paris Restaurant and I was a little disgusted with the sticky floor, but assumed it would be cleaned soon (it never was). We looked around the ship and then it was time to take by son back to Camp Carnival. The camp is located on the top floor and there are two doors into it on either side of a big expanse. Each door is down a long narrow hallway that is only big enough for a single file line. There were now signs directing where to go until you reached the inner desk area. We got in line on what we thought was the right side and waited until we got to the front only to be told that 6-8 year olds had to enter the other side. I told the staff they could make things a lot easier on their guests by posting a sign at the point where you make the decision to go right or left, and not have to wait through the line to see the sign. We could only leave him for an hour because of other plans. When I went back to check him out, I waited in a long line to get up to the front to get him. He never complained about the staff, but he didn't have any interest in returning there the rest of the cruise. We attended two shows while onboard, the magician and comedian act was fun, but the dance show was terrible. We dined in the Elation dining room and I would say it was OK, but nothing great. The kids enjoyed the pool area, but there was no way I could join them since the water was ice cold. The kids enjoyed the burgers on the pool deck, but I thought they were rather tasteless. We all enjoyed the miniature golf course, but it was aggravating to wait in such a long line to get a golf club, a beach towel, or a ping pong paddle - they really need a better system. And I'll add that the staff at the table were you check out these items had no customer service skills whatsoever. Our last day on the cruise, an at sea day, was long and boring. Not much of anything in the way of entertainment and the ship's upper decks were closed due to high winds. We tried to entertain ourselves by going to the library and had to wait until the cabinets were opened for a magical hour out of the day. Once the attendant opened the cabinet we pulled out Monopoly only to find out the board had no markers and no play money. We shuffled through the other games and found that they all had incomplete equipment. Why do the lock them up like gold, when you couldn't give away those games in that condition? We managed to play Parcheesi by using a combination of colored markers. The attendant came up and told us she had to leave and she would have to write us a receipt to keep the game out. Another annoying thing I found on this ship was no decent maps of the ship anywhere except the always crowded information desk. The only maps show the level of the ship, no deck maps. Cleanliness doesn't seem to be important to Carnival. Everything looks dirty all of the time. Windows look like they haven't been cleaned in months. Outside table are always dirty. Bathrooms are yucky. I did see an attendant clean the bathroom by the main atrium once, but she wasn't using any cleanser and she just wiped down the counters, sink bowl, and faucet controls all with one big swoop of a rag. It left it with the appearance of being cleaned, but I was very grossed out. The experience was not great, not the worst I've ever had, but I will not choose Carnival again. I think I have higher standards than this cruise line can offer. Read Less
Sail Date April 2007
Getting on board was a snap, but thats where it stopped. Walked in and all you can smell is sewer! Couldn't get to rooms until 1:30 all ways blocked. Had to go up to Lido deck for lunch with carry on! No sewer smell, oh joy. Food ok, ... Read More
Getting on board was a snap, but thats where it stopped. Walked in and all you can smell is sewer! Couldn't get to rooms until 1:30 all ways blocked. Had to go up to Lido deck for lunch with carry on! No sewer smell, oh joy. Food ok, Fries where only thing great. Than had to carry luggage to room. get ready for Munster drill. Got life jackets, Dirty filthy disgusting things, almost black around the collar, Had to put them on. Don't get this room if possible, 1st room on Empress, rooms ok just the steward uses the room next door and noise noise and more noise. Pizza so so. Buffet lots of food but not very tasty. Fries where the best and they had a shrimp and rice that was very good. Desert was ok. Shows where predictable and ok. Had 2 comedians and they where very good! On 3rd day we had Buffet and than stood in long ling for desert and went out side for fresh air to eat desert. AWFUL, everyone was running inside due to sewer smell, it went away after 10 minutes. Dining hall was good Lobster very good! Of course formal night most people dressed up but they still let people in with shorts and tshirts. This isn't a party cruise, very little live music on lido deck. Smoke everywhere. All the lounges smelled like smoke, Usually one side of ship is for smoking and no smoking on other, Not here on lido both sides ok to smoke. We did see a few of the workers cleaning tables and even wiping them off. Something i couldn't find on other carnival cruises. The cruise director was good, Karl. Getting of wasn't too bad either. No long waits. Customs good. This was a test on whether we would cruise with Carnival again due to having several cruises from Hell with. As of right now NO more Carnival cruises! Read Less
Sail Date April 2007
Cruise Day Monday Morning we drove down to the Carnival Cruise lines port of Embarkation, all seems to go well when we arrived the parking seemed safe and was a a cost of $12.00 per day which wasn't bad. the porters took our large ... Read More
Cruise Day Monday Morning we drove down to the Carnival Cruise lines port of Embarkation, all seems to go well when we arrived the parking seemed safe and was a a cost of $12.00 per day which wasn't bad. the porters took our large luggage and off we went into the building to start the process of getting on the ship. The entrance was a bit congested as they only had two security screening machines but once past that the rest of it was pretty smooth no really long lines or anything as we got there about 12:45 pm. On board ship we found that we had to carry our carry on luggage up to lido deck to have lunch and wait until 1:30pm to enter our staterooms all corridors to staterooms were locked. So we lugged our carryons up to Lido deck had a unappetizing buffet luncheon, a drink of the day and then finally went to our stateroom. Our stateroom was pretty clean and seemed comfortable, although we learned very quickly that the stewards supply room was right next door and we heard slam bang slam bang all hours of the day and night through-out the cruise. 5pm muster arrived and we had to put ont eh most disgusting dirty lifejackets go to a muster station and then walk to where were would get a lifeboat. Let em tell you if the ship was sinking I would have no problem putting the jacket on but hey there is really no excuse for the life jackets to be this dirty they were about black all over the neck area and beyond YUCK! Made our skin crawl to have to put those on. We brought it to the attention of our room steward who just shrugged his shoulders and said oh well nothing he can do about it. Thought this was a party boat but my gosh there was almost no partying to be had the day of departure neither in the afternoon or the evening. walking around this ship 9-11 at night on lido deck was like walking on a ghost ship nothing happening except for one night. Entertainment was pretty ok in the main room but nothing spectacular. Comedians were really though and did not have to use the f word every other word to amuse people. Cruise director Karl with a K was probably one of the most energetic cruise directors of all 7 cruises I have been on. Kudos to Karl and his crew but especially Karl! THe Dining room - hey this was about the best dining experience we have had on Carnival! The food was eh ok but we had a waiter by the name of Davis from India. Words cannot describe how wonderful a waiter he was! He was so totally awesome always right on top of everything and most of the time ahead of the game. He seemed to be able to read your mind and had wonderful suggestions when you did not like something . The first night I ordered a steak and it was tough . Not wanting to say anything I just thought oh well I will eat it and not make a fuss, but the could see that I was not happy and that the steak was difficult to cut much less try to chew. He immediately came to my rescue assured me I did not have to eat it and would bring me something else. He brought me a beef wellington that was just outstanding. It was so tender it melted in my mouth. Everything he did he did with great care and ease. Thousands of Kudos to Davis! Room service seemed almost nonexistent. we ordered the first night for the next morning breakfast and it never showed. When I called them to find out why they said oh well that sometimes happens. I asked when I could get some coffee delivered and they said well maybe in an hour or so we might find time. I hung up! Enough of that off we went to the buffet which was pretty bad. Every time we picked up some food and wanted to go outside on deck to eat we would encounter the horrible stench of sewer! It would go away once in a while but by then it was to late - dump the food the appetite was gone and the nauseated sick stomach was intact. Lido deck food was not appetizing at all with the exception of the burger and fries they were pretty good . But who wants to live on that? Shore excursions were pretty ok but we had a terrible time getting off ship in Catalina took a long time to get tender from the ship and once at dock in Catalina the ramp to go up was way to steep for most people to navigate comfortably. Many people had to be helped up the ramp. On the whole the Carnival people were not the most friendly people around, with few exceptions ( Karl and Davis) most had a bad case of the grumpies. This was certainly not "the cruise from hell" We had on the Valor last year. But certainly didn't hold up to the expectations we had for Carnival. As far as I am concerned this was my last Carnival cruise. I have cruised other cruise lines and have not encountered such problems as these. Sorry Carnival this was your last chance. You did not make the grade. Read Less
Sail Date April 2007
Having taken a seven night cruise on Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines less than a year prior to this cruise, my wife and I were very excited to cruise again and experience another ship and cruise line. However, we were, overall, disappointed ... Read More
Having taken a seven night cruise on Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines less than a year prior to this cruise, my wife and I were very excited to cruise again and experience another ship and cruise line. However, we were, overall, disappointed by the food, cleanliness, service, and atmosphere of this cruise. While our trip was not a bad trip, if what we experienced was typical of Carnival Cruise Lines, I would not recommend them to anyone. Undoubtedly, this trip could have been much improved by a lot more attention to detail and less worry by Carnival about the bottom line. My wife and I spent much of the trip discussing how much better our experience on RCCL had been. We chose a Carnival three night cruise from Long Beach, CA as it fit with both of our work schedules. We took the time to fly to LAX and spend the day before the cruise at Universal Studios Hollywood. We drove from Universal Studios and spent the night at the Long Beach Hilton. The morning of the cruise was spent at the Aquarium of the Pacific, a very wonderful exhibit of Pacific fish and wildlife and one that was well worth the $20 entry fee. We finished at the aquarium at about noon and turned our rental car in at the Long Beach Airport, which is about a 20 minute drive from the Carnival Cruise Terminal. Getting from the airport to the cruise terminal was very easy as shuttle service is available at the rental car lot. We booked this cruise in part, because of Carnival's advertisement of free upgrades within the same cabin class. We booked a category 6 ocean view room expecting an upgrade. However, this never materialized and Carnival never mentioned why. I wonder does Carnival consistently make a habit of offering more than it intends to deliver? Embarkation went smoothly, but I was a little surprised that the embarkation agent could not make any changes to dinner seating or bed arrangements. In fact, the whole Carnival web site is lacking in information after you book your cruise. I never received an acknowledgement from Carnival concerning my booking. However, RCCL sent us a greeting and tips immediately after notification from the internet travel agent on how to make our experience more enjoyable. The room we reserved could accommodate two single beds and a Pullman or it could be set up in a king bed configuration, as was done for us. Closet and drawer space is certainly adequate for a three or four night cruise. However, the king bed arrangement left very little room for the two stools and one chair. One problem with the room is that there is a square storage box in the corner that is used for head boards for the single bed arrangement. When the room is set up as a king, the person on the side of the bed next to the window has to crawl over the bed to get out of bed. Seems a more sensible arrangement would be to have the corner box movable so it can be used in multiple configurations. The bathroom only had a shower. It was comfortably large. The shower head was one of those that rides up and down on a rail and so can easily accommodate persons of varying heights. The shower is equipped with shampoo and body wash dispensers, but lacks adequate shelves to store one's own shampoo bottles or other personal hygiene articles. One complaint I had with the shower manifold was that it was not pressure balancing, so the water temperature varied widely while bathing. Another concern I had was the shower valve was designed with handles which used two inch metal dowels for leverage. I think this is a safety hazard because the dowels pose a puncture hazard if one fell against them. Also above the shower valve was a sign warning against scalding-hot water. Again the poor design of the valve allows one to come into contact with very hot metal where the hot water enters. Overall, the worst part of the trip was the food quality and standards in all eating areas. We tried foods from formal dining to the casual buffet, and none of these meals met our expectations (or came anywhere close to RCCL). For example, if you enjoy a healthy and fresh salad bar with many choices, then you will be very disappointed. Another concern for us was watching the servers in the buffet clear tables but NEVER wash or wipe the tables before others sat down to eat. Public and common areas were equally dirty--especially the restrooms. I did not see anyone cleaning restrooms while I was on this ship and from the looks of them I wonder if they ever did more than empty trash cans. This is strange, since this ship had so few public restrooms. Also in need of a thorough and what should be continuous cleaning were the stairs and stairwell railings. Again I never once saw anyone cleaning in the stairwells. The stair tread carpeting was extremely worn and badly in need of replacement. Possibly Carnival avoided carpet cleaning because it might destroy the old carpeting? Staff service was atrocious. They seemed to be mad all the time and rarely spoke to passengers. I only saw our cabin steward once during the entire cruise. We only had dinner in the main dining room the first night due to the poor service and the extraordinary amount of time it took to be served. Our drink glasses were only filled once and we only received bread at the beginning of the meal. At RCCL, the servers almost knock you down to make sure your glasses and bread plates were never empty. In conclusion, I do not plan on booking any more cruises on Carnival and certainly will not recommend others do either. Read Less
Sail Date February 2007
This was my third cruise, and second on Carnival (first time on Paradise). While I am sure many have had wonderful experiences, ours was not the best. I traveled with five people in total. One member of our group did use a wheelchair and ... Read More
This was my third cruise, and second on Carnival (first time on Paradise). While I am sure many have had wonderful experiences, ours was not the best. I traveled with five people in total. One member of our group did use a wheelchair and another needed oxygen. I do not know if this contributed to our problems but know others in our situation encountered the same rudeness we did. As we were ready to board the Motorcoach to head out to Long Beach, we had a very strange encounter. First the police had shown up and arrested the bus driver. We were then escorted another bus. The lady handling the arrangements remarked to our group that we were moving too slowly (we were just following the rest of the crowd) and we had to speed it up. Since we were sitting on the bus anyway, the five or so extra minutes it took us to catch up really would not have mattered. As I was helping one member of our group get situated, I was literally pushed into my seat by the Carnival staff member. Embarkation: We checked in on-line and had our Fast Passes ready to go. Plus we were able to use the aisle designated for disabilities due to our ambulating issues. The check in process was expedient for us and very smooth. Dining: We had 5:45 seating and that worked out very well for us. Our main server was very gracious and kind to us. The first night we enjoyed a fantastic chocolate warming cake. We also had lobster tail, mushroom risotto and a variety of other wonderful foods. All of the meals were prepared with such care and our main seating dining was overall a great experience. I liked the nightly game where the dining room was divided and points were awarded for participation. At the end we were all given a print of our ship. One day, we decided to eat lunch in the main area. The head waiter and all his friends were making fun of us and had called us several derogatory names. They mocked us (we could hear them as we were close to the kitchen) several times. We wore name tags and could hear our names being used. That lunch was a terrible experience. Buffets: these were decent and there was a great deal of food choices. The hot chocolate machine was always broken though and with the cold weather, it was a disappointment. Activities: We didn't really partake of many activities. The whirlpool was nice though. Staterooms: We had a terrific steward that kept our cabin looking great. She was a joy. However, the cabins are quite old and are showing their age. Lots of amenities that were fun to per use. Entertainment: Decent shows & very high energy. The late shows & some of the content in the earlier shows is not appropriate for less mature/younger audiences. I didn't feel comfortable with that as my group wanted to stay up late & this kind of thing was not appropriate for them. Service: Horrible. Security, the Purser's Desk, etc were awful to us. They did not speak to us in a professional way and I often felt we were an inconvenience to them. We had false charges on our accounts that they refused to reverse (thou the manager did remedy it by the trip's end) and the list goes on. Very humiliating experience. Disembarkation: This went fine until our bags didn't show. We waited close to forty five minutes for our color even though we went down when our group was dismissed. The staff was rude refusing to let us sit and rest in a comfortable area and the area was very cold. We had a guy on oxygen and this was not good for him. At one point, I took the lady using a wheelchair to the rest room. The staff cut us off and used the stall reserved for wheelchairs. We had to wait an extra five minutes to use the restroom simply because the staff was inconsiderate. By the time this cruise was over, we were all a bit weary. I did write Carnival a letter and they have given us each an onboard credit. I am sailing again in November and sincerely hope it's a better experience. Read Less
Sail Date January 2007
Having traveled on our first cruise on Royal Caribbean the week prior to this cruise, we were very excited to cruise again and experience another ship. Overall, we were disappointed by the food, cleanliness, service, and atmosphere of this ... Read More
Having traveled on our first cruise on Royal Caribbean the week prior to this cruise, we were very excited to cruise again and experience another ship. Overall, we were disappointed by the food, cleanliness, service, and atmosphere of this cruise. We travel often and can always find things we like about everywhere we travel so, our trip was not a bad trip because we have a positive attitude and met some fun people. This trip; however, could have been much improved by just a little more attention to detail and less worry about the bottom line. Overall, the worst part of the trip was the food quality and standards in all eating areas. We are not big eaters, but we eat healthy foods and enjoy flavorful and ethnic foods. This cruise to Ensenada and Catalina did not offer any of the above. We tried all foods from formal dining to the casual buffet, and none of these meals met our expectations. This seemed to be so for many of the passengers with which we spoke. If you enjoy fast food--hot dogs, fried chicken, French fries, hamburgers and foods of this sort, then you would probably not be disappointed. We also tasted and saw some very strange food combinations in an effort to use the food that was not eaten from the night before. For example, potatoes were served with a strange combination and sauce that were clearly left over from the formal dinner the night before. If you enjoy a healthy and fresh salad bar with many choices--which we found each night on our Royal Caribbean cruise, then you will be very disappointed. Food was often over-cooked (the lobster was very tough at the formal dinner as was the chicken and meats at the dinner buffet) and over-processed. As I stated before, we kept seeing the same food show in soup, egg dishes, etc. It was a drag to see this and the taste was the same. For us, the worst part was watching the servers in the buffet clear tables but NEVER wash or wipe the tables before others sat down to eat. Also, we witnessed children putting their hands in the salad bar and picking at food (while service people watched) and we even watched as one teenager licked the ketchup bottle to catch a drip of ketchup--R.C. had packages so this kind of thing could not happen and they had many people supervising the buffet area and "assisting" passengers that were attempting to do such things. It was very much the cafeteria atmosphere and cafeteria quality of food. If you figure that most of your expense on this cruise goes toward food, Carnival came up very short. Public and common areas were equally dirty--especially the bathrooms. I did not see anyone cleaning restrooms while I was on this ship and from the looks of them I wonder if they ever did more than empty trash cans. This was true in both the women's and men's rooms. Our cabin was kept very clean and we were very appreciative of that. The other people with which we spoke said the same about their cabins. We even had our carpet shampooed one day as was the hall in our area. It would have been nice to see the same done with the stair cases, bathrooms, and dining rooms. Again, having just cruised the week before on the competition for Carnival, it gave us an interesting perspective. This cruise was filled with unsupervised children running around very late into the night. We saw little security and witnessed under-aged drinking. The party atmosphere was definitely geared towards kids with very little entertainment for adults. Wherever we went, there were unsupervised children (we left our kids at home) and little for adults to do. We did happen to find a super place in the United States piano bar where an extremely talented young man named Trevor could sing just about anything we all requested in a sing-along manner (he was a one-man dueling piano act) and I would say the cruise is just about worth taking to see him; however, his last night on that ship was our last night of the cruise--he was moving to somewhere in Europe. A large group of us spent every night (except his night off) in his bar singing. If you like Karaoke singing "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star" with a gal named Susan who is totally bored by her job, or doing the Hokey Pokey under the stars at the big dance party (I am not kidding here) then the cruise is for you. We much preferred the disco themed party at the R.C. and the hilarious Karaoke bar there. If you choose to cruise with Carnival--we won't again--then the spa and the workout area are nice. We had a couples massage treatment on a port day and got a discount for booking while we were in port. This treatment was excellent and top quality. For the price, we hoped and expected this much. The spa and gym are kept clean--much cleaner than we found any dining area or bar on the ship. Part of the difference in staff and service on this ship may be due to the fact that tips are added to your bill by the cruise--you may take them off, but how many people really stand in that line to do that?--and so some of the staff just do not work as hard to serve or provide assistance. This is not true for all staff, but we saw a definite difference in care and attention by many staff members and this is the only reason we can come up with to explain the discrepancy. We would not recommend this cruise for most people, even though the ship is newer and rooms are bigger. For the same price, you can have a superior cruise experience going with another cruise line. Read Less
Sail Date August 2006
Booking this Mexican riviera cruise, I did a bit of research attempting to find the best cruising experiance for the value. It was pretty much a toss up between the Royal Carribean ship or Carnival's Paradise. Being that our last ... Read More
Booking this Mexican riviera cruise, I did a bit of research attempting to find the best cruising experiance for the value. It was pretty much a toss up between the Royal Carribean ship or Carnival's Paradise. Being that our last cruise was on a R.C boat, we opted for the Carnival. Our past experiances with Carnival were pretty good, and we had a pretty good idea what to expect...or so we thought. This being my partners 16th cruise in her 25 years of life, and I have seen quite a few as well myself we have become accustomed to the general cruising experiance. Some cruise ships have exceeded my expectations, but rarely do they make me shake my head in frustration as much as this cruise has. Embarkation: Surprisingly, this was very very easy. The whole process took less than 10 minutes, and the staff in the terminal were very nice and greeted you with a smile. As you walk up the ramp, and enter the boat you are greeted by a row of smiling staff, and a camera man video taping your entrance. There were drinks and a buffet waiting for us when we got on the boat. All in all everything went rather smoothly. Rooms: I must say the rooms aboard the Carnival Paradise are very nice. They are roomy, well set up and well taken care of. Not to mention they are about 60 sq feet larger than standard cabins. Pretty much everything you could want was included in the amenities. Food: Now, alot of cruisers main attraction is the lavish dining experiance that is found on board. If you are looking for a good meal, this ship is not for you. Though the food in the dining room was decent tasting in itself, its rarely better than room temperature. We had the misfortune of having a waiter that took nearly 2 hours to feed us our 3 course meal which being that we were in the late seating (8pm) dining room we had the misfortune of missing nearly every decent show in the evening. Talking to some of our other cruise companions they had the same problems with dinner. Now on to the buffet. Our welcome lunch consisted of hot dogs, chili, onions, mushrooms, french fries, hamburgers and some pasta salads and fruits. I figured this was fine being as it was a lunch buffet and the first one of the cruise. Unfortunatly the same foods were then served for dinner and repeated far too many times throughout the cruise and not just in the front "hot dog" bar. Accompanied by a slightly more "grown up" cuisine, that I found rather odd. They did have some chinese foods that were decent but comparitive to other cruises that boast far less about the quality you recieve on thier boat, they were lacking greatly. The dishes were weird, paired horribly and rather bland. For example, one of the more "normal" menu's consisted of a fish product, french fries, a mushy dressing made of what looked to be something yam colored, and horridly odd tasting and to my happiness garlic mashed potatoes....with raisin gravy...yes, raisin gravy. Thankfully there was always a pasta option that could be cooked for you, and basically what I ate nearly every day not finding anything else to my taste. The so called "24 hour yogurt bar" was simply 3 machines that dispensed yogurt and ice cream in chocolate and vanilla. There were no toppings to be seen anywhere though I did locate a banana which dressed it up a bit. I found the choices to be unsatisfactory and the buffet itself rather small. It was compareable with a low grade, mass produced buffet in Los Angeles near a soup kitchen in a poor district. The food was nearly always cold, unless you happened to get it right as it was served. The coffee in the machines were nearly always simply room temperature to cold and the hot coco was ill named as it was ALWAYS cold. The only truely hot drink you were able to get was tea, as the hot water was always hot. They were nearly always out of table wear, and it was not readily available and needed to be hunted down, though the tables were always fully stocked with sugars, salt and pepper and cleaned regularly. If you were going to stop for lunch, I would reccomend getting the pasta, or one of the sandwiches from the sandwich bar. I don't reccomend the pizza as it was over cooked, though the calzones were magnificent. Skip the midnight buffet, as this usually consisted of no more than 5 or 6 "dishes" most of which were condiments such as chili and onions and usually being what was left over from the hot dog bar from that day. the drinks were usually out of whatever was in them as well. As for the soda card..its sort of a rip off. Its too hard to get a drink from the bars,as they were mostly closed and you will have a hard time finding someone to bring you one at one of the shows as well. Best just to stick with the drinks provided which are usually some form of fruit punch, lemonaid, ice tea, coffee, hot *cough* coco and teas. Boat: The boat itself was very beautiful. The decks were well decorated, and well kept and lovely. The layout was nice, though it would have been better if there was a more direct path to reach the destiny dining room, and some of the other places on the boat. All in all very nicely presented. I was very pleasantly surprised. Cleanliness: I found the boat to be very clean during the day, though during the night hours when most of the staff was not out and about there were dishes and glasses cluttered everywhere..though all in all everything was very clean and well kept. I do have a reccomendation about bathrooms though. If you need to use one, make sure its NOT near the bars on lido deck. Im sure no explination is needed there. =) Staff: Here im sort of 50/50. There were some staff members that went out of thier way to assure we had a great vacation..such as our steward and assistant waiter, and there were others that weren't so good. Our room steward was great. Always had our room cleaned properly, even several times a day and always stopped by to say hello to us. Being that it was myself and my partner, and being two females we were a little sheepish asking for the two twin beds to be pushed together to make one, but he was very happy to do so without any judgement. Our waiter was a nice man, though very unwilling to go out of his way to change something on the menu. One night, I asked him if I could get ranch on the side of my ceasar salad, and he argued with me that it already had dressing and I didn't need it untill I pushed the issue. One of our table mates also asked if a few of the cheeses could be left off of the cheese plate and his responce was "Ill just bring it, and you can just leave the ones you don't like". Not as though thats unreasonable, but not how one expects a waiter to behave on a cruise. The waiters assistant was great however, and the one night she substituted for our waiter was one of the best nights we had in the dining room. The staff on the lido deck buffet were sort of rude, and often would simply walk right in front of you and nearly knock you over if you were carrying a plate of food to your table. The drink staff on that deck always seemed put out if you ordered something, as did the server at the hamburger bar. I was scolded because I asked if hamburgers were served there, and he proceeded to walk over to get me one without a word. When he tried to hand it to me I asked for cheese he stated "That would be a cheeseburger..." In a rather annoyed tone that sort of made me giggle. Passangers: I must say this was one of the most eclectic groups of people I have ever come across on a cruise ship. This being our first cruise together without family, we were a bit scared of being seated with perfect strangers. However it couldn't have worked out better. Our table mates were wonderful. I have never met such a lovely group of people, expecially our two male table mates who we both looked forward to seeing at dinner every night. Every time we sat down to a meal we never had a problem finding converstation, and hearing some very interesting stories. I did feel sorry for alot of the cruise staff though. In about 5 minutes we watched at least 10 different people run up and ask the same questions that were answered in the mandatory meetings that were held, and then repeated on the television several times, then proceed to get angry with the staff because they did not follow direction and there was little they were able to do about it. Our neighbors in the cabin next door came back to thier room every night no earlier than 1 am in the morning and proceeded to party in thier cabin until 4 or 5am playing Mtv very loud on thier television. What happened after that won't be mentioned here..but lets just say it wasn't pretty. There was hardly a night we werent kept up late. I may seem as though I am being overly picky..but I assure you I am a very laid back person and fairly easy to please. However, disembarking this ship I felt as though I had been completely ripped off, and will go down as one of THE worst cruises of both of our lives. I will never be a passanger on this boat again. I can't say I will never go with carnival again, but I sure won't be booking on the paradise which they claim to be the second best boat in all of thier fleet. -Kendra Fritz and Dawn Unruh Read Less
Sail Date February 2006
We drove to the port of Miami and found the parking garage where to park our vehicle. It cost about $84 for us to park our vehicle for one week. Once we arrived, we got our bags together and walked to the terminal which was located about ... Read More
We drove to the port of Miami and found the parking garage where to park our vehicle. It cost about $84 for us to park our vehicle for one week. Once we arrived, we got our bags together and walked to the terminal which was located about 1/4 of a mile away. We have luggage with wheels and it makes it easy to walk any distance needed. Once we arrived at the front of the terminal, we dropped our bags off with cruise line representatives and proceeded inside the terminal for processing of paperwork and boarding. The M/S Paradise was set to sail at 4PM but we arrived a little after lunch so we could get settled early. We had registered on-line and had our paperwork in hand, yet it still took about one hour for us to get through all the lines and board the vessel. One comment about the terminal was the presence of escalators that were not in operation. Thus, travel lightly or be expected to lug your bags up stairs -- not too nice a thing to do! Once we arrived on the ship, we used the ship's layout map to find our deck and room. We had booked an inside cabin and were pleasantly surprised to find that we were upgraded to an ocean view cabin -- not bad! Once we had found our cabin, we dropped off our carry-on bags and went exploring. We walked from one end of the ship to the other and finally settled in the Lido Deck's open area near the Paris Cafe where we got a hamburger, French fries, and soft drink for lunch. During this time the waiters and waitresses were walking around offering complimentary champagne to all guests and there was live music being played by a Caribbean band. Since we don't drink, I was beginning to get annoyed at all the requests for me to consume champagne or other alcoholic beverage. However, I brushed it off and went about exploring the ship. Before the ship set sail we were told to get out life jackets (traditional bulky orange type) and meet by our designated lifeboat. With all the scrambling and confusion this exercise took about one hour. The ship finally set sail around 5PM and we were on the rear deck watching as we left Miami harbor. As the light of day became less and less and Miami was beginning to recede in the distance, we walked to our cabin to drop off our life jackets and decide what to do for the evening. Since we didn't feel like dressing up for anything formal, we decided to eat dinner in the Paris Cafe near the rear of the ship. This is a restaurant where you can serve yourself (like a buffet) and the staff picks up your plates, cups, etc. when you are done. After dinner, we continued to explore the ship and engaged in some time-passing activities (i.e., played ping pong). The wind was pretty strong (about 30 knots) and the ship was rocking quite a bit. I noticed from time to time that several passengers were craning over the edge feeding the fish. Thus, if you might be subject to motion sickness, please take something or wear a patch behind your ear with motion sickness medicine. Anyway, we decided to turn in relatively early so that we would be fresh for the next day -- a port stop at Nassau, Bahamas. My wife found the cabins to be a bit small and was a little claustrophobic -- be warned! The night at sea was uneventful, just a little bit rocky (I'm surprised that a ship this size moves so much). We arrived in Nassau in the morning, got ready, ate breakfast in the Paris Cafe, and went ashore. Make sure you carry all your documentation with you -- you will probably be checked. We decided to get our passports and it came in very handy. Once in Nassau, we walked around the town, took a ride on a horse drawn buggy, and shopped in the straw market. We had an enjoyable time in Nassau and don't recommend any tours provided by the cruise line (you dock in the middle of town and everything is nearby for you to walk to). While shopping in the straw market, feel free to haggle price -- never pay what they initially ask for the item. Also, there are plenty of people who will want to braid you hair (be careful -- each braid will cost quite a bit). After exploring Nassau for a good portion of the day, we decided to return to the ship, store our purchased souvenirs, and get ready for the ship to sail. On our way back to the ship we were asked by Bahamian immigration personnel for our passports and then were allowed to proceed to the dock. At the gangplank we were asked for our sail and sign cards to be allowed back on the ship. Again we decided to eat in the Paris Restaurant and watched the ship leave Nassau for the Dominican Republic. The next day we spent at sea and it was uneventful. We arrived in the Dominican Republic in the morning and I looked out our cabin window to be surprised by an old working port -- nothing fancy! After breakfast, we went up on deck and checked out our new location and noted that it was very underdeveloped. We were the only cruise ship docked in port and there were no easily accessible areas (i.e., on foot like in Nassau). In fact, people who got off the ship to go to the nearby town of La Romana were taken by locals on the back of their mopeds from the dock area to the main road. Other than the tours offered by the cruise line, there didn't seem to be anything going on in this port. I was disappointed with the port and its lack of amenities. In my opinion, stopping at La Romana, Dominican Republic was a total waste of time. My family and I decided to stay on the ship, watch what was going on, listen to the stories of those who spent a load of money to go on cruise line sponsored tours (not worth it), and just relax. The next night we spent at sea and arrived in St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands in the morning. After breakfast we got off the ship and met with our tour guide -- Godfrey Renal. We had booked the tour on-line with him as a result of many recommendations from other individuals who had been to St. Thomas. Godfrey was superb and his tour was great!! We were picked up at the dock and taken to the downtown shopping area for several hours of shopping. At the designated time and location, we met Godfrey and he took us on a tour of the beautiful Island of St. Thomas. We went from one end to the other and from the base to the top of the mountain. As we were traveling about, Godfrey narrated and told us what we saw, stopped for photographs, etc. At the end of the island tour we were asked if we wanted to go swimming and, if so, he gave us an option of several beaches. We chose Coki Beach by Coral World but didn't stay because it was very crowded. We decided to return to the ship and were taken there by Godfrey. Those who decided to swim were later picked up by Godfrey and returned to the ship in plenty of time for sailing. The tour we took with Godfrey was practically all day (10AM to about 4PM) and it only cost $20 per person -- a great deal! Further, if anyone who is reading this review is going to St. Thomas, book with Godfrey -- you will not be disappointed!! To get the same thing from the cruise line you'll end up paying twice as much or more! The next two days were at sea and we watched shows, stayed busy, and waited to reach Miami. Two days and three nights at sea are just a little too much for me! I wish that the ship had made at least one more stop at another port, a place where we could get out and about and enjoy ourselves -- no such luck!! ACTIVITIES FOR CHILDREN: We traveled with my 10 year old son and found that activities for him were lacking. I saw plenty of stuff for the little tikes and the older teenagers, but very little for the kids in my son's age group. I was disappointed with this scenario and feel that this is a big problem that should be corrected by Carnival! FOOD: I was not impressed with the quality of food that was served on the ship. The food served in the Paris Restaurant where we ate most of our meals was average. We were led to believe that there would be grand feasts and this was not the case. You can dine better in most typical restaurants in the United States (i.e., Golden Corral, Ryan's, Western Sizzlin, etc.). For example, we were informed in the Carnival Capers (local activities publication) that one evening we were going to have a Mexican buffet at midnight. Well, we decided to eat light and save our appetite for the Mexican cuisine. We were expecting tacos, burritos, enchiladas, fajitas, etc. but to our surprise we found none of the above. We found a buffet with about a half dozen items and none of them looked Mexican in origin or preparation technique. We were very disappointed by this! On another occasion, we decided to eat in the formal dining room and dressed accordingly (male: suit and tie; female: evening gown). Well, to our surprise they allowed guests wearing shorts to eat in the dining room. Further, after we ordered our food (i.e., appetizer, main course, and dessert); it took a very long time to be served each component of our meal -- almost two hours from start to finish. Further, our dining partners never showed up for a meal at the formal dining restaurant. As a final note about the food, I was pretty disappointed!!! PORTS OF CALL: Nassau and St. Thomas were enjoyable experiences. However, La Romana, Dominican Republic should be eliminated from their itinerary. There is nothing to walk to nearby where the ship docks (unless you want to ride in the back of a local's moped and risk your safety). The only game in town is a series of shore tours offered by the cruise line -- designed to overcharge you and not give you a good value for what you've paid (see other comments by fellow cruisers on this topic and La Romana). IRRITANTS: Neither I nor my wife drink alcoholic beverages and it is an irritant for you to be asked to buy an alcoholic beverage 40 or 50 times each and every day. Further, if you do drink, be aware of the prices for your drinks -- significantly higher that you would pay stateside! In addition, it seems that any little thing you may want beyond normal food and beverages costs something extra. For example, if you want a chocolate chip cookie or a milk shake from the La France serving area, you have to pay for it. If you want to drink a soda pop, you have to pay for it ($2.50 for a plastic 20 oz bottle). If you want to play bingo, you have to pay extra money to do so...and on, and on, and on. This was rampant throughout the ship and I was extremely irritated and disappointed!! Come on people, we've already paid a hefty sum to be on the ship, the least you could do is provide free of charge soda pop, chocolate chip cookies, milk shakes, and other little things! POSITIVES: I enjoyed the "smoke free" atmosphere on the ship and some of the shows. It is really nice to be able to walk about and not have to smell stale smoke which embeds itself into everything. Unfortunately, in one session of the "meet/get to know your crew" we were told that Carnival was going to discontinue the smoke free ship because it did not make as much profit as the smoking vessels. This is terrible!! Carnival needs to look beyond the just the bottom line. Yes, the ship is profitable, but smoking ships are more profitable. Where did customer satisfaction go? Where is the concept of give the customer what he/she wants? I'm saddened by this turn of events!! Read Less
Sail Date December 2003
Well this was our fist cruise... NOT IMPRESSED!!! If we hadn't met more experienced cruiser's who said this one was horrible this would've been our last. Embarkation / Disembarkment: Not too bad. Everything went fairly ... Read More
Well this was our fist cruise... NOT IMPRESSED!!! If we hadn't met more experienced cruiser's who said this one was horrible this would've been our last. Embarkation / Disembarkment: Not too bad. Everything went fairly quick for all the people they had to process! Dining: Yuck!!! This had to be one of my major complaints. Bland, flavorless, choices. Every time I thought I was in the clear with a choice they couldn't screw up, it arrived with some kind of sauce on it. The plus side to the food.. I tried some things I never have before (escargot). Be it the main dining room, the buffet, or pool side restaurant there was definitely room for growth! As for our server's they were great. We learned about their personal life and had a great time joking with them. Public Rooms: From the time I stepped onto the ship I was impressed with the decoration. I also looked the continual cleaning.. this being our first real trip anywhere I was worried about all the viruses you read about. CLEAN, CLEAN and CLEANING everywhere I walked! Entertainment: I'm on the fence here..we had the late dining time. Everyone who had the early dining time skipped the early show and attended the late show. By the time we would come out of dinner the theatre would be full. The shows we did make it to see were very good though. As for the theatre itself... Who designed this? There had to be a pole that obstructs your view in 90% of all the seats. Cabin: Everything went well in our cabin. It was kept very tidy and clean. And surprised everyday with a new towel animal (plenty of picture opportunities... you know you took them too!) The closet space we had was plenty for our clothes and luggage. I didn't expect it but we had a programmable safe.. I wondered what I was going to do with our cash, credit cards, passports, jewelry and camera. We had cabin with a view and it was very nice to watch out of when we were coming or going from a port. Shore Excursions: Isle Rotan: We went on the Tabianna Beach excursion. The beach here was gorgeous. I loved all the local flavor of the artists. I'm still kicking myself that I didn't buy a painting since I've decorated a room in palm trees. The ride there was questionable at times. The long mountain road we climbed (which provided us with some amazing views) was kind of scary. Ok.. I mention this was our first trip anywhere, so our first trip to a foreign country. I'm untraveled and from Missouri. Here we are on this road, on a old rickety school bus, driving through heavy looking jungle scenery. I felt like a group of gorilla's (rebels not animals) were going to swoop out of the jungle and take us for ransom. What an imagination I have...stop laughing! The way back was better once we adjusted to our surroundings. The actual town was very, very, VERY poor. It seemed like every house was selling Coca-Cola and banana's (which looked rotten) and each house had a pleasantly plump woman on the porch. Well back at the shore is where I passed up my other bargain because I thought I would get one further down the line. A beautiful King Conch Shell.. O'well maybe if you read this and want one you won't make the same mistake! Belize: We missed this stop due to roughs weather. Carnival gave each passenger a 25$ credit. You mean I was only paying 25$ to see this stop. I doubt it. Grand Cayman: Here we went on the See & Sea tour. This was good. The boat we went on with the submarine like bottom was awesome! We checked out an old ship wreck and saw a ton of sea life and some scuba divers! Then it was on to Hell... ha! This stop is basically a little shack that sells tourist items and a square of lava like rock with little hand painted devils. But hey you can say you've been to hell and back. On to the turtle farm... first word to describe it SMELLY!!! Turtle meat is what they eat??? Give me cow and chicken any day! We were in luck though it was right next to the Tortuga Rum Cake place. Samples!!! Yummy!!! The best part of this was our guide on the bus.. he told us a little bit about the culture. No taxes (sign me up)! And after all the gross ship food...aahh..SUBWAY!!! Cozumel: Well let me start with as soon as we got to the main road off the dock there was a parade/circus. Lion's and Tiger's O'MY! Just let me say the cages were something a chicken could have broken out of. I could just see the crowd fleeing for their lives. Then Friday at 7:00pm "When Mexican Circus' go Wrong". (Your picturing it aren't you?) This is the stop for a jewelry nut. plenty of bargains. We went to a little lecture thing on the ship that told you were to ship gave you some stickers to get some free stuff and so on and so forth. The best thing we learned was to start at the far end and work your way back...because every place you pass has free tequila samples. And by the time your back by the ship..your hammered! We ate at an authentic mexican restaurant here. The food was good the price was a little expensive it was about 45$ for two with one alcoholic drink. O'well when in Rome..excuse me Mexico! Was this day heaven or what Mexican food for lunch and McDonald's for dinner! Recreation: Do they offer anything but Karaoke? "FUN days at sea", not so fun! It didn't seem like they had any activities ever. Overall Cruise: NO, NO, NO, I would not cruise with Carnival again!! This was the perfect cruise to provide me with all the item's I wouldn't look for on another cruise. However, things that were good.. CLEAN, SERVICE, PORTS OF CALLS & EXCURSIONS, AND EXITING! Read Less
Sail Date May 2003
Carnival Paradise Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 3.0 3.9
Dining 4.0 3.7
Entertainment 4.5 3.7
Public Rooms 3.5 3.9
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.7
Family 4.0 3.7
Shore Excursion 4.5 3.8
Enrichment 4.0 3.3
Service 4.5 4.2
Value For Money 4.0 3.8
Rates 3.0 4.2

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