Sail Date: June 2011
I did not check reviews prior to booking this short cruise for my family (4 kids (9/8/8/2) and wife). Although my wife and I have cruised before we had children, we wanted to try one with the kids and thought a short cruise would be a good ... Read More
I did not check reviews prior to booking this short cruise for my family (4 kids (9/8/8/2) and wife). Although my wife and I have cruised before we had children, we wanted to try one with the kids and thought a short cruise would be a good trial. I see now from other reviews, I got the exact experience I should have expected. Getting on the ship was smooth and easy. The cabins were typical and perfectly acceptable. The cabin steward was friendly and always attentive. Food: The food was not that good. We did eat at the buffets mostly and the food was passable but I remembered it being really good (that may have been a false memory from 10 years ago). The one dining room breakfast I had was horrible. I ordered a waffle. It came out rubbery and cold. This could not have been made that day. Activities: The kids loved (can't be overstated) the kids programs on the ship. All four of them spent a lot of time in those programs and the people in charge really seemed to enjoy the kids. This was a highlight of the cruise. Overall Perspective: This cruise was filled with early 20-somethings getting drunk. The language was offensive and embarrassing with all of the kids around. Many guys seemed to have trouble understanding that they needed to wear a shirt around food service areas. The females had trouble acting appropriately also (blow-up appendages in the buffet area at 5pm?)? Security seemed to try to reign it in but they couldn't. Parties in the cabins spilling in to the hallways. Many of these people acted as if they have never had alcohol before. Finally, I would not return to Carnival. We may try a longer cruise and I will definitely check the reviews first. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2011
Well, we had booked this cruise for my Birthday...I forgot my Birthday was also Spring Break. We had never sailed the Paradise and this was just a quick weekend trip to have some fun. We knew not to expect much so our expectations were ... Read More
Well, we had booked this cruise for my Birthday...I forgot my Birthday was also Spring Break. We had never sailed the Paradise and this was just a quick weekend trip to have some fun. We knew not to expect much so our expectations were low. I had heard some horror stories about these weekend cruises...and you know they were right. Embarkation was smooth and quick and we were in Zone 1 and headed to the Serenity Deck. We had the entire deck and hot tub to ourselves for a few hours while everyone boarded...which was great! After we set sail...the real entertainment began. Security banging on room doors, Teenagers running away from security, loud pounding music coming from rooms who had opened their doors so everyone could hear the music better, teenagers throwing up in our hallway, 25 people in the 18 person hot tub...with a bottle of Bacardi and so on. This was a party cruise. Now on to the basics...we never met our room steward nor did he introduce himself even though he kept our room clean and tidy. Lido buffet was busy and food was good. I did see some wilted vegetables so the food was not as quality as the Dinning Room. We ate in the Elation Dinning Room and the food and service was good and comparable to other cruises on Carnival. The problem in the dinning room was that everyone was late for dinner. So our poor waiter, who had 4 tables, had to juggle all of them as they were in all different stages for dinner...some had menus, others had appetizers and others with the main course. Our room M242...don't get it. The stabilizers and engines are right below the room...and it was very loud. The comedians were ok. I have seen better on the Spirit and the Dream...but then again this is just the weekend party cruise. After our initial day on the Serenity Deck...we couldn't go back as it was transformed into the drunken teenage/ young adult party deck. We did do the Behind the Fun Tour which was the highlight of our cruise. My husband and I do not drink...so we really didn't fit in with the crowd but had a good time despite having to step over the puke stains in our hallway. I would suggest going on this cruise on an off weekend...unless you prefer the drunkenness. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2011
I pretty much agree with everything Bruin Steve had to say about the Carnival Paradise, although we didn't see any of the production shows. I live in near Long Beach and since Carnival has a monopoly on 3-Day Cruises around here, I ... Read More
I pretty much agree with everything Bruin Steve had to say about the Carnival Paradise, although we didn't see any of the production shows. I live in near Long Beach and since Carnival has a monopoly on 3-Day Cruises around here, I would have to spend a lot of money to try other, more luxurious cruise lines. At any rate, the other cruise line I was ever on was the Royal Caribbean that used to be in San Pedro, also a 3-day cruise to Ensenada. I guess everything is relative! Relative to what you're expecting, what you've experienced before, current economic situation, and to current weather conditions. EMBARKATION: We arrived at the port around 1pm and we got into our stateroom by 2:10pm. Not too bad I guess. I just don't like having to wait in line to take pictures that I will not be purchasing or even look at. Our room was nice and clean, our luggage had not arrived, so we proceeded to the Lido deck for some eats. DAY 1: At the Lido Deck and Paris Restaurant, we (me, my wife, SIL and SIL's husband)check out what was available. I went with the Mongolian BBQ and they got burgers and fries. The weather was a little wet and cold thus the indoors were a little crowded. The safety drill happened about at about 4:45PM and it was quick and painless. This is the first time that we didn't have to bring the life jackets. Our dinner time was at 8:15PM in the Destiny Dining Room. We arrived outside at about 8:13PM which was 6 minutes too early. The outside of the lone entrance gets very crowded and uncomfortable. Dinner was good as always. I can pretty much eat anything and I usually order 2 appetizers and 2 entrees. I have no complaints with the food or the service. I do have a complaint with the company. People need to realize that 8:15PM dinner does not mean anytime around 9. Tardiness affects the wait staff thus affecting the other people at the table. This night, a bachelorette party of 3 showed up around 8:45 but this at this time it was OK. We finished off the night with the Entertainment at the Normandie Lounge where they introduced the 2 comedians. Again, no complaints at this time. DAY 2: We had breakfast the the Elation Dining Room. Choices are few but the food is pretty good. I had the Eggs Benedict which is not bad. I would like to have my coffee refilled without me asking though. Is that too much to ask for? We headed off the ship and explored the shops at the port then off to Ensenada. We walked around for a couple hours, did some shopping then had some food and a few drinks. We went back on in time for me and my BIL to play the movie trivia game being hosted by Jeremy. This was pretty fun and we ended up playing scategories teamed up with 3 ladies that are teachers from SoCal. Dinner that night took quite a long time. The bachelorette party was switched out of our table for a couple and their young toddler son who were related to the mother and 2 teenage sons that were already at our table. They new couple decided that they were gonna have dinner at 9:10PM. We got our desserts around 10:10pm after the staff sing and dance. We saw the comedy shows at 11pm and 12am and went to bed. Day 3: Nothing too exciting about the day at sea. I got breakfast in the Paris Restaurant. I walked around a bit while my wife got a massage. After, we did a lot of lounging around the lido deck. For lunch, the line at the Mongolian BBQ station was always too long. Finally, my wife and I braved it and it took almost an hour to get through. Hey Carnival, don't you think an adjustment needs to be made regarding this line? I mean, doesn't this happen every week? Anyway, let me move on. There was a sports trivia thing that was supposed to happen at the Rotterdam Bar at 3pm. But the area was crowded so it was moved to inside the lounge where the comedy shows are at. Anyway, the person in charge of this didn't bother to tell the others (that may have been waiting for the trivia) that she was going inside the lounge. So, 5 questions into the trivia, a few groups walked in (that were waiting at the Rotterdam Bar) and were understandably miffed. Instead of starting over, she just pretty much told them they're S.O.L. Irritated, one person answered the next question loudly, thus irritating the trivia nazi. She decided that she would continue later. Unbeknownst to me, she had continued but really quietly where I can barely hear her. I missed a couple of the questions because of this so I was very disheartened. These assistant cruise directors need to organize these events much better. They need to realize who they're trying to please and that's us passengers who want to participate in these events. I thought she was a little self-serving specially, since her husband was with her. Dinner was OK this time. The mom and one of the teenage sons showed up at 8:40pm which didn't affect our dinner too much this time. We saw the comedy shows again and went to bed. Disembarkation: This was the easiest disembarkation process I've ever had. We chose to do the Self-Assist method. We had breakfast a the Elation Dining room at 7am. Our deck was called out at 8:15am. We were in our car by 8:45am. SUMMARY: Overall, it was another good experience on the Paradise Carnival. It's quick, easy and cheap. It's pretty much what I can afford. I don't expect a whole lot thus I don't get disappointed that much. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2011
This was my fourth cruise, second with Carnival. Overall I had a good time. I felt the cruise was very reasonably priced. Let's start with my only serious complaint, which is the embarkation process. By far and away this was ... Read More
This was my fourth cruise, second with Carnival. Overall I had a good time. I felt the cruise was very reasonably priced. Let's start with my only serious complaint, which is the embarkation process. By far and away this was the worst embarkation I have experienced in the four times I've cruised. On my previous three cruises I've averaged about 50 to 60 minutes from getting the luggage out of the car to walking into my stateroom on the ship. With the Carnival Paradise, the embarkation took two hours and fifteen minutes. It was ridiculous! I would have taken a picture of how long the line is, but "for security reasons" Carnival doesn't want those pictures to exist. Suffice it to say, you are waiting a long time. First you are in a long line for security. You are then corralled into a waiting area, where you wait for 20-30 minutes to get the privilege to stand in the next long line for check-in. The worst part of embarkation is that the Carnival staff at embarkation were not friendly at all. I'm a criminal defense attorney and I see more smiles visiting clients in jail than I saw from the embarkation staff. People were barking out orders as to where you needed to stand. Finally, after all that waiting, they force you to stand in line and wait for other people to take your picture. I told the Carnival employee that I don't want a picture and asked if I cross through, but was told (without an apology) that I had to wait in line and then tell the photographer that I didn't want a picture. Embarkation aside, my room was comfortable. The rooms there are standard cruise industry rooms. My only minor complaint about the room is that it was too cold and the air conditioner really dries out the air in the cabin. If you go on this cruise, be sure to tell your cabin steward to leave the air conditioner off, otherwise he will turn it on every time he makes your room up. The food was excellent. The wait staff was very good as well. The head waiter accommodated my request to change to seating times. Good service and great food made for enjoyable meals on the ship. The entertainment on the ship was mixed. I thought the ship had very good acts everywhere except the main lounge. Comedy acts in the small lounge were great. Karaoke was fun. But the main lounge singers and dancers were mediocre at best. The other guests I talked to about the entertainment agreed. The common areas of the ship were very nice. Everything was very clean. The decor was typical of other cruise ships. I enjoyed walking around and exploring the decks. This cruise had two ports of call. Catalina was our first port. I really enjoyed Catalina, but others did not. I think Catalina is great if you like nature or exploring a small town. Catalina is not so great if you like to drink and party. To each his own I suppose. The ship tenders in Catalina and you have to wait about a half hour in line to tender to shore (if you go during the post-breakfast rush). I would recommend waiting till late morning or after lunch, then going ashore for a couple of hours to beat the long tendering line. The second port of call was Ensenada, Mexico. I was not impressed with this port of call at all. I had heard from other cruisers not to expect much from the town, so as long as you go in to it with low expectations, it's ok. I spent the day exploring downtown. You can get some cheap beers and a good meal. There are massage parlors and the typical street vendors. If I went back to Ensenada, I might consider just staying on the ship. Overall, I had a great cruise because I love to be on vacation regardless. I think this is a great cruise for the money. I think if Carnival could find a way to speed up the embarkation process I would consider going on this cruise again. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2010
This was our 4th family cruise with our now 7 yr old son. Stayed at the Queen Mary the night before due to its close proxmity to the port, but if you're renting a car, forget about this hotel and choose another one. Room was dark, not ... Read More
This was our 4th family cruise with our now 7 yr old son. Stayed at the Queen Mary the night before due to its close proxmity to the port, but if you're renting a car, forget about this hotel and choose another one. Room was dark, not very clean and we couldn't wait to get out of there. Place has a reputation for being haunted. None of the 3 of us slept well and walked long, narrow hallways without signs to find our room. Could have stayed ten mins away for half the price. Went onboard early for a family wedding/reception, had priority embarkation for our OS suite. The ceremony and reception put on by Carnival was fabulous. Beautiful, short ceremony, back drop, vows, flowers and family photos followed by a lovely 1 hr reception in the Rex casino. Walked to our room after the reception which was ready and then ate a little light lunch and explored the ship. Were extremely disappointed by the size of our OS suite and the price we paid through the family travel agent. The room was literally HALF the size of the same category suite on the Carnival Pride which sails out of Baltimore. Very over priced for what they advertise on the website and for what we got. Room stewards were fair, we definitely over tipped them in the middle of the cruise for the service we received. Couldn't find them all day, every day to get refills on our ice buckets and their contact phone number was always busy. Food in the dining room was fair; our party had several tables at the late dining hour and we sat with different people every night. One evening, five people at our table didn't eat the cheesecake and said it was horrible. I mostly stuck to the appetizers but the steak and pasta dishes went over well with the crowd as did the chocolate melting cake. Service in the dining room was very good by our waiters whom we rewarded with additional tips the last night. Also ate breakfast in the dining room 2 mornings which was served hot and well made. Lido buffet was not very good at all. Even the burgers, according to our group were not very good and my veggie burger tasted like dog food. Many stations with unidentifiable food at lunch (grouper in a green remoulade sauce)? Salad bar lacked protein and very slim on fresh vegetable selections. Camp Carnival a blast for our 7 year old, he went every night and ate with the campers one night. We tipped the counselors at the end of the cruise for their wonderful service and highly motivated spirit with the kids. Very well run camp with plenty of activities for his age group. Pool is tiny, cold and many deck chairs on second level, some around pool but most upstairs. Tiny hot tubs overflowed with partiers and beer buckets daily and nightly who were having a grand time. Casino crowded every night; drink service was superb. Dealers were friendly. Poker machines take a huge rake compared to other casinos, but you go there to have fun. We didn't lose very much and won a couple of nights. Didn't go to any of the shows because we've already seen most of them and preferred to spend our time in the casinos or walking around the ship at night before retrieving our son. All in all, I would say if you booked a cheap cabin for a long weekend, the cruise would be worth it, but don't bother with an upgrade. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2010
This was our third cruise; it was the first time we've traveled on Carnival. Embarkation was pretty quick, about thirty minutes. We arrived at about 2:00 (embarkation was open from 1:30-4:00) and were on the boat by 2:45 (after ... Read More
This was our third cruise; it was the first time we've traveled on Carnival. Embarkation was pretty quick, about thirty minutes. We arrived at about 2:00 (embarkation was open from 1:30-4:00) and were on the boat by 2:45 (after pictures, walking up the gangway, etc.). I was mildly disappointed to find the Paradise did not offer a glass of champagne as we walked on the ship, as this has been the case on the other line we sailed. We were pleasantly surprised to find our luggage already waiting for us at our room, so we quickly unpacked and set about to explore the ship. Ship The Paradise is very glitzy. The names of the rooms are written in mini-light-bulbs, the dining room has mini-light-bulbs, there is a lot of gold and faded shiny decor. It reminded me of the Barbary Coast in Las Vegas...very dated. In addition, I found the cabin hallways had an unpleasant odor I could never quite identify, and our cabin smelled liked stale smoke. While the ship looked clean, it also had that vaguely sticky look that makes you hesitant to lean up against a wall or touch anything. I felt the layout of the ship okay, but not great. The Elation dining room is in the middle of the 8th floor so we ended up going downstairs and up two sets of elevators to come back up to the things we wanted on this deck. I've seen this set up before, it just seemed like we spent a lot more time going around than in the past, but maybe that was just us. The Destiny dining room is right off another set of elevators...which means that everybody gathered for dinner is stuck in the elevator hallway and people coming off the elevator must crowd in. There weren't a lot of lounging areas other than ones that surrounded the pool. Sometimes, I find it nice to find a quieter spot to sit and read but since all the lounge chairs surrounded the pool, this was difficult. Muster and the Wet Luggage We checked our luggage getting on the boat. As previously mentioned, it was waiting for us when we arrived at our room (woo-hoo!). At about 4:15 we went up to the Promenade deck to wait for muster, which was scheduled at 4:30. As we enjoyed a Sailaway Drink, we sat and looked out the window and saw that the luggage crew was loading bags onto the boat. I'm not sure what led up to it, but when we started watching we realized there were about 10 bags in the net in the water between the dock and the boat! They were using a long pole to "fish" the luggage out of the water and deliver it to the crew onboard. They then dropped one of the suitcases from the pole, it missed the net, and went directly into the water! They pulled up the net, and luckily the suitcase was floating so they again lifted it with the pole. All of the luggage they pulled out of the net was drenched, with water just pouring off of it. I have no idea how they handled it with the passengers but we hand carried our luggage off, solely due to watching this. Muster eventually happened about 5:00pm. No lifejackets required. Dining We found the food to be very bland. It wasn't BAD, it just wasn't good either. There was not a lot of selection, it was not well presented, and while edible, I certainly wasn't worried about gaining weight due to all the food I consumed! We were in the Destiny dining room. I liked that they had standard fare you could order everyday, in addition to the daily specials. The bar staff was very attentive, but I found the wine list lacking. The buffet was very disappointing. There were long lines at meal times....a friend waited thirty minutes in line for a sandwich! The food resembled a high school cafeteria with half empty pans of casseroles, limp fruit, and bland chicken breast, plus assorted fish options. The pizza was only so-so, and despite being "open 24 hours, everyday!" it was closed three times that I noticed. They drastically reduce the stations at non-meal times so while there is always food available, your choices are often quite limited to sandwiches, cheeseburgers, and pizza. I did not notice a lot of healthy dining options in the buffet. Service I found the service to be the redeeming quality on this cruise. Everyone we encountered was friendly, outgoing, helpful, and smiling. Our cabin steward refilled our ice everyday, and even refilled our small ice chest (I'm a Pepsi gal, it's a Coke ship). We had Towel-Gami and our stateroom was well maintained. Our waiter and his assistant were friendly, helpful, and get the mood light and the table laughing at dinner. We were very pleased with the staff onboard. Debarkation We chose to do self-assist (as discussed earlier) and the instructions said to wait on either Deck 9 or 10 for the announcement of your deck so you can debark. The first announcement we heard said that the top two decks were already cleared so if you were on one of those, and hadn't left, you should go now. We heard no other announcements so finally decided to just head down to 7 and leave. It took about 30 minutes in line to get off the boat, nobody stopped us and said our deck hadn't been called, and as we were walking off the gangway we heard the announcement that all decks had been cleared for self-assist. Despite waiting in the designated area, we were never told to head downstairs, so I'm glad we just went. Kids We did not travel with children on this cruise, but I noticed that there were a lot of kids onboard and there appeared to be a variety of things to entertain them, divided by age group. I also felt that people were far more tolerant and accepting of kids on this cruise than on other lines and if I were traveling with children, I might consider Carnival simply for their impressive efforts to provide kids with an enjoyable cruise experience and the accepting environment they have created for the under-18 crowd. Overall When booking my next cruise (which I'm currently researching), I don't think I will choose Carnival. Perhaps it was the three-day booze cruise mentality, perhaps it was the short duration of the trip, perhaps I was crabby and didn't realize it, but the impression made on me based on this trip on the Paradise was not positive and I am not anxious to give them another try. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2010
We chose this cruise because it was short, and only a 2 hour drive from our home. We had an easy commute. On Southern California freeways, this was a pleasant surprise. We arrived early so we could get a parking space in the parking ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it was short, and only a 2 hour drive from our home. We had an easy commute. On Southern California freeways, this was a pleasant surprise. We arrived early so we could get a parking space in the parking structure --$15.00 per day. We booked a verandah suite which allowed us VIP priviledges, so we waited in the VIP lounge. We didn't have to wait long and were actually the first to board, right after the two wedding parties. Cabins were not ready, so we went to Lido (buffet) for lunch. Afterwards, we looked around and took pictures before the ship got crowded. AND IT WAS CROWDED ! In addition to the two wedding parties, there were several bachelor and bachelorette party groups, and business groups onboard. There appeared to be alot of children, but honestly, they all seemed to be well-behaved and none of them were running wild. Paradise is a Fantasy class, so there are few balcony cabins. We were up on verandah deck in a "suite" cabin. We have stayed in these twice before, so we knew what to expect. They are pretty spacious, and the shower is big enough for DH to turn around without touching the sides. Shower ammenities are shampoo and shower gel only, however, there is a bowl with mini paks of toothhpaste, razor, sunscreen, Tylenol on the sink. There is a low watt hair dryer and a mini-bar with fridge--a VCR and tv. The balcony is VERY narrow, with two chairs and a small table. Service was great, both in the cabin and in the MDR. Crew was very friendly. Paradise is showing some wear and tear. Our cabin rug was stained-but clean. The decks and balcony decks need to be sanded and refinished. Nothing was really shabby, but here and there some things need upkeep. Food was pretty good, both in Lido and the MDR.. We did have lobster on the second night, which was elegant night. Not huge lobsters, but big enough. Waiters seemed to be overworked, but we didn't wait long for anything. We aren't pool people, but our tablemates spent most of their time there. The Lido pool was insane. BUSY. Our friends finally went to the adults only pool. There were so many 20-30 yr. old party people (drunks). It was pretty loud. We knew that on a 3-day weekend cruise it would be loud. Lots of loud guys.=D There are several clubs, which looked nice. They were always hopping , and so was the casino. Didn't go to any of the shows, but friends said it was standard cruise entertainment'. Although this cruise was to celebrate our anniversary, it was also a chance for DH to play golf at a resort in Ensenada. CCL has wonderful golf packages. The pro was Joel Walker. DH was the only one signed up for golf, so he and Joel and a great day playing golf. Bajamar Golf Course is challenging but beautiful. We have been to Mexico many times, so I stayed onboard. We had alot of fun, and would absolutely take this cruise again. I think next time we'll go during the week, and not on a weekend. =D Smile. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2010
I've been on three cruises so far: 1 on Princess, 1 on Royal Caribbean, and this one. I would rank this as my least favorite out of the three. I was traveling with my parents and younger brother. ROOM: The embarkation process was ... Read More
I've been on three cruises so far: 1 on Princess, 1 on Royal Caribbean, and this one. I would rank this as my least favorite out of the three. I was traveling with my parents and younger brother. ROOM: The embarkation process was smooth and we got on the ship in about an hour (there were many people in line). We went straight to our rooms, on the Empress deck (#7). My room had two twin beds and was overall nice and neat. The bathroom was a little less neat, with mold on the mirror. But that didn't bother me. What did bother me, however, was the lack of sleep I got on all three nights because of the random clanking noises that could be heard. I have no idea where it came from; from the window, it sounded like it was coming from outside, but from the bathroom, it sounded like it was coming from either below us or above us. Now, our room was right under one of the dining rooms, and we could hear the occasional chair scrape, but this was much louder and occurred when the dining hall was not in use. It sounded like when you put shoes in the dryer or like if someone left a metal cart by itself with wheels, and it was rolling back and forth hitting the walls. Its hard to describe but I could only get sleep after we had docked at our port in Mexico (the first night) and only after we docked back in Long Beach (on the 3rd night). Now, the ship was completely full, so asking for another room, would have been pointless. I would suggest not staying on this part of the ship. The other times I've cruised, I've stayed more in the front and didn't have any problems. RATING: 8/10 for cleanliness; 4/10 for being able to sleep DINING: I must say that, to me, one of the cool things about cruising is eating all the food! :) Well, the food on this ship is not to be desired. The food in the dining room was, well, mediocre at best. The worst thing I had at dinner was a steak that was about 50% meat and 50% fat. There was seriously a glob of fat in the middle of my steak. As for the other places to eat on board, I must recommend the Paris restaurant on Deck 10. While most of the food there is also mediocre, in the back, they have a 24 hour Pizza Bar that was very good! It was some of the best tasting pizza I've had in a long time and it was open 24 hours! My brother and I went there many times during the day and night to get pizza. Also, they had the frozen yogurt machine going (vanilla, chocolate, and swirl) and that was also very good. In terms of the actual food in the buffet line, it was okay at best although on the last day, they did serve some good fried chicken. We ordered room service once, and never again. The only thing that they have is sandwiches; I ordered a pastrami one and once again, it was all fat in the meat. We ordered the dessert of "assorted cookies and brownies" and we got served four random cookies (I didn't even know what flavor they were) and NO brownies. On other cruises, they've had better room service. RATING: Dining Room: 4/10, Paris Restaurant 6/10, Room Service 2/10 SHOWS/ACTIVITIES: The miniature golf area on top of the ship is fun to do. I also played bingo but was disappointed in it. On the first two days, there was only one session of bingo each day, with only one game played. On the other cruises I've taken, they play multiple times a day and play multiple games each session. The shows at night were fun to watch. The Carnival dancers did a country-themed show and a 50's era show. Both were good and the singers in each were really good. RATING: Activities 6/10 All in all, I wasn't impressed with this cruise. The staff was nice but with the noises in our stateroom and the lame food, I would probably be more careful in booking with Carnival in the future, but I wouldn't rule them out altogether. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2010
Regarding our recent 4 day cruise to Baja California: We had the same horrible incident happen TWICE the last two nights of the cruise. The worst of the two on the last night - our 21st wedding anniversary. Sewage backup (yes liquid ... Read More
Regarding our recent 4 day cruise to Baja California: We had the same horrible incident happen TWICE the last two nights of the cruise. The worst of the two on the last night - our 21st wedding anniversary. Sewage backup (yes liquid backup!!) with the LOUDEST most DISGUSTING gurgling sound at EXACTLY 3:30AM on BOTH NIGHTS!! The Customer Service Representative had the ENTIRE situation documented by the Ship Staff and was apologetic HOWEVER she felt that the hours of lost sleep we incurred on both nights - the second of which we had to sleep with the cabin door open all night as we were disembarking 5 hours later; and the sewage backup smell that turned our stomachs (my husband's dinner was lost) was worth $67 (We were compensated $67 for the two nights of sewage that backed up in our cabin bathroom SINK for those two nights prior to disembarking the ship).... We had a wonderful experience on the Splendor (our first Cruise Ever!) and we were very excited to sail Carnival again for a quick getaway and celebrate our 21st wedding anniversary......HOWEVER, this experience left a very bad tast in our mouths - figuratively and literally speaking and to be told that that was the minimum that could be done is unacceptable.......If we were not in such a hurry to get off the ship (no sleep as all the problems happened at 3:30am & we had to vacate the cabin by 8:00am - NO SLEEP!) I would have declined the gratuity added to our account and personally tipped those that I feel deserved it...... I am sure we will sail Carnival again as the kids above all had a wonderful time (just us adults have this situation to remember) however, NEVER on this particular ship again! Read Less
Sail Date: January 2010
I have a very low expectation and decided short cruise with Carnival will give me a taste of experience. I have sailed NCL three times and very fond of the freestyle cruising so we opted the anytime dining. Due to the heavy storms our ... Read More
I have a very low expectation and decided short cruise with Carnival will give me a taste of experience. I have sailed NCL three times and very fond of the freestyle cruising so we opted the anytime dining. Due to the heavy storms our ship was delayed and did not made it on board until 8:30pm. Somehow I feel Carnival was lacking on communicating with the passengers. When we board there was no welcoming group in the atrium, no one around to direct you where to go and everyone seems so busy with whatever they were doing. Most employees I come across were not smiling. After a long day we head out to dinner at Elation and were seated with other guests. There was no mention if I want to be seated with other guest or do I want to be alone. It's not that we are anti social but we were so exhausted and having conversation with other people seems too much. I learned the next day that every time I meet with the hostess is to say small table for 2 and were happy they obliged. About the servers in the dining room, I must say they lack of smile, they seem to just drop the food on the table and don't care about anything else. They are not rude but they are not pleasant either. The food let's just say it's not the best. Either they are cold, hard or not good at all. I am comparing it with the kind of food you see at Circus Circus buffet. On our first day, after taking a shower at 7:30am I realized there was no hair dryer in the cabin. When I made the call it took them 40 minutes before it was delivered to my room. Now this makes me upset since this should be in the room to begin with but you have to order it through the housekeeping. We met our cabin steward and they are very very nice, they are the ones who make up for the service of the other department. They are always smiling and greeting us with our first name. I noticed that NCL do push on a lot of marketing stuff through out the entire cruise and with Carnival they don't do it as much. I suppose it is up to you if you entertain all the offers. I did enjoy the meeting with the captain on the second night from 7:15pm to 8pm. They offered free drinks which was nice. The captain's crew was introduced to the audience about 7:55pm then off they go. I did not hear from the captain on the speaker. I expect the captain making an announcement i. e. we are leaving the port, we are arriving the port of ensenada and what the weather is etc. or the cruise director announcing guest who would like to disembark may proceed to deck 3. This part they lack as well. The suite is much bigger than NCL although I really can't compare since most NCL ships I cruised were built in 2000 and beyond while Paradise was built in 1998. Will I cruise Carnival again, maybe!! if we go with the much bigger ships maybe they treat passengers there differently who knows. But for now, I will try another cruise line and compare my experience. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2009
Background info: This was my second cruise. My first was a 7 night to Alaska on NCL. I am a 30 year old female and I traveled with my coworker/cousin. Booking: We booked our cruise on carnival.com about 6 weeks before leaving on the ... Read More
Background info: This was my second cruise. My first was a 7 night to Alaska on NCL. I am a 30 year old female and I traveled with my coworker/cousin. Booking: We booked our cruise on carnival.com about 6 weeks before leaving on the trip. The best time I could have booked would have been about 3 months prior to the cruise or in the 2-3 weeks before sailing. . We paid $189 per person for interior rooms. The cheapest I saw those rooms go were about $129. With taxes and fees, our cruise was $224 per person. I booked our flights out of ND on my own. We flew in/out of LAX. Our round trip flights from Fargo, ND to LAX with all fees and baggage ran about $210 per person. The best site I found to compare flight prices was bing.com; however, the one airline we took home, was not included in the bing.com searches (Allegiant). We did book the transfer from the airport to the port thru Carnival. It was $26 per person each ride. The carnival rep found us as soon as we grabbed our luggage and the shuttle was comfortable and safe. We also made a point to pay our gratuity at booking. I was hoping booking our cruise thru carnival.com and paying for our cruise, shuttle transfers and gratuity up front might help s get a free upgrade, but it didn't. Embark/Debark We made point of doing as much paperwork on carnival.com before the cruise. This helped the check-in process go smoothly for us. I used my birth certificate and my friend used her passport; both worked just fine. Getting into the building and onto the ship was about 15 minutes, it goes much quicker than you expect when you get there and see everything. Getting off the ship took a little longer, but there is such a large window of time in which to get off, that can vary greatly. The ship We did not get into our room until 1:30pm. We had gone to the Lido deck with our carry on bags and had lunch. Then went and waited for the hallway doors to open. We slept in our room from 1:30pm until 4:30 when the announcements started for the safety drill. Drill took longer than I expected. We sat in a entertainment lounge and listened to the cruise director give instruction and then went to our designated deck and all lined up. They do knock on every door and I signed a paper that I evacuated my room for the drill. The ship is not horrible but I can't say it was beautiful either. You can tell its not new. The pool is very small. All the pictures I looked at before the cruise made it look bigger that it was. The room was nice. Plenty of room for 2 and a nice size bathroom; loved the shower. No refrigerator but my ice bucked was always full and there are cans of pop in there to drink/buy. Best things on the cruise: Chocolate melting cake in the dining room Sandwich/panini booth Comedian Lowell Sanders Room Stewards Dining room staff Serenity deck, especially the loungers (except for the loud motor fan noise) Worst things on the cruise: X-treme Country show (suppose to be for family but wardrobe was sexy; singing ok) the constant carnival photo ops and pictures the floors go by name not number. Its very confusing sometimes. the Lido buffet was not very good for most things, especially the desserts The day at see was super rocky - everyone had difficulty walking around Conclusion: Its hard to go on a nicer ship first time on a cruise and then a cheap cruise like this second time around. Its a good taste of cruising for a first timer. The crowd was 40-60 year olds, few younger people or children. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2009
Last week we got off the Paradise and I can say without a doubt I had a wonderful time! Not because of the cruise but because of the company I was with. I went with 13 other ladies to just have a fun and forget the everyday world of ... Read More
Last week we got off the Paradise and I can say without a doubt I had a wonderful time! Not because of the cruise but because of the company I was with. I went with 13 other ladies to just have a fun and forget the everyday world of taking care of kids and the husbands. There were pros and cons just like any cruise..... Embarkation: Carnival has got this down to a fast, painless process. We flew into LAX and booked our shuttle through Save-On (I highly recommend them by the way...fast, friendly and not expensive!) Once we arrived we checked our luggage with the porters and went through security. We got there at about 2:30 and there were no lines. All in all it took 15 mins and we are on the ship. The ship itself is a smaller, older ship but they do a great job at keeping clean and pretty. The layout is easy enough and we found it very easy to get around. Cabin: We were in a row of 8 cabins and mine was U99. This was an inside cabin and I have to say a really nice cabin. I wasn't expecting it to be as big as it was. I think it is the way they have it laid out. There was a walk in closet plus another closet with shelves and then another set of drawers. The one thing that I had read from other reviews was that there was only one outlet so I brought an extent ion cord and it worked perfect for us. Our cabin steward was very friendly and I think the only crew member that took time to have a conversation with us. Food: This was my 10th cruise and I have to say that this was the WORST food I have ever had on a cruise ship. The second night was formal night and they served lobster...I warn you now do not get it. It made all of sick. The smell was off the taste was worse. For desert save yourself and do not order the cheesecakes...I even heard people not with us talking about how bad it was. The only thing I found great in the dinning room was the melting cake...that is a must. Sushi was great the first night. After that it went downhill fast. The buffet is what you expect. Not horrible not good. We stuck with pizza and fries. Our Waiter was nice enough but really I think the crew is so used to people getting on and off so fast they don't take the time to look you in the eyes and say hello and nor do they seem to care that you are there. Just working and going through the motions. Oh and formal night happens to be the night that you are in a port...that bothered pretty much anyone I talked to as we were all tired and just wanted to go to bed. Getting off the ship was easy and painless too. I recommend just taking your luggage off with you so you can get off faster and not have to search through the endless bags that are scattered everywhere. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2009
The cruise was exactly what we were looking for - an affordable weekend away (alone) together where we'd have changing scenery and optional activities or endless relaxing and sitting in the sun. HIGHLIGHTS: - The weather was ... Read More
The cruise was exactly what we were looking for - an affordable weekend away (alone) together where we'd have changing scenery and optional activities or endless relaxing and sitting in the sun. HIGHLIGHTS: - The weather was beautiful for us, and the September ocean was as smooth as glass. Unlike every other cruise we've been on, we couldn't tell the difference between sitting still (port and sea day) or moving. - I never intended to use the gym but when I saw it, I could not resist the row of treadmills on the next-to top deck, looking out the front windows of the ship. The gym was immaculate. - A school of ~40 dolphins swam by the ship (on sea day), entertaining everyone for at least 15 minutes. - Our previous 3 cruises had balconies. We were happy to discover we could survive just fine with an ocean-view. The window was huge compared to the small room. - Our assistant waiter, Victor, loved his job, and esp. loved entertaining us during the dinner show! - We shared the Drink of Day card ($26.45/5) and Coffee Card ($13.23/5) and it worked very well for us. The souvenir glass could be used for more drinks at 20% off. - Robes and beach towels are provided in the room (make sure they are there so you don't get charged). - We were very well matched to our table mates. We were all couples, about the same age, and from Northern California. - The Serenity Deck (adult only) was awesome. Usually it was peacefully quiet, with a great view of the ocean. The deck chairs were sturdy wood-type with plump cushions. There were ~6 big, nice umbrellas. There was a staff member on deck at all times, and you could check out towels. The bar staff came by regularly, and the Paris Restaurant (buffet) was a deck up. Go early on Sea Day, esp. if you want an umbrella or even a seat because people save the seats; all the chairs were claimed by 10am. LOWLIGHT: It is not my intention to use this forum to complain about the ship. But I would not particularly recommend stateroom E139. The Empress deck 7 was great and is conveniently close to everything. However, during the middle of the night we heard a lot of loud clanging noises that disrupted our sleep many times. We were not sure what the cause was - perhaps either the laundry room below us or the dining room above us? PACK: This trip my goal was to travel light and leave everything behind (part of the kid-less, carefree theme I was going for). The trip was so short I hardly needed anything. Remember whatever baggage you don't check to get onto the ship you will carry around with you until your room becomes available (~2pm?). Convenient items to bring: 1) small alarm clock (there is no clock) 2) additional outlets (there is only one and it is next to the king bed's pillow) - either an extension cord or a multi-outlet plug-in is handy 3) bathing suit and sunscreen 4) reading material 5) to save some $$ - bring your allotment of wine (one bottle per person) and corkscrew, and a few sodas and waters (room supply is $1.95/soda and $3.95 water). No fridge in the room (except suites) but the room steward can keep your drinks on ice. No soda fountain onboard - just lemonade, iced tea and coffee is free NOTE: no open beverages allowed either direction through terminal Also consider bringing: 1) formal attire - 2nd night is the (optional) formal Captain's Dinner (lobster is served!) 2) highlighter - to remember which activities/times from Caper, though our pen never came out of the suitcase 3) night light - again, we didn't need one 4) something to identify your door, like a sign or ribbon or streamers - and tape ENSENADA: We chose to not do any ship excursions. At the dock is basic shopping and drinking (at a mark-up of up to 40%); it is convenient with zero pressure sales. The main shopping/eating/drinking area is very close to the ship ~1 block past the huge Mexican flag/pole. For exercise and enjoyment, we planned to walk the short distance to the shopping area in town though a shuttle is only $2 each. However, on our way a horse and carriage offered us a ride. I couldn't resist its charm and felt it was well-worth $5. We found all the shops in town to be fun and friendly, and non-threatening. We walked back to the ship quite easily along the touristy, scenic, safe waterfront walk. SIGN AND SAIL: Tip is automatically added to your account ($60 total for 2 = $10 per person per day). This tip does not include the maitre d', who you must plan for separately. If your account is attached to a credit card then you don't have to close out the balance at the end of the cruise; it is automatic. EMBARK: We hoped to do the early check-in at the Queen Mary to avoid supposed lines, but we arrived at 11:15am and it was already closed. The people (~30) who did do the early check-in sat around the outside of the terminal on the concrete planters. We waited (standing outside) in the check-in line; we were ~8th in line. The terminal opened ~11:40am. Everyone first goes through security. At the check-in counter there were at least 15 agents waiting. The process was very quick (~5 minutes) - we sign the "I haven't been sick" form, show our fun pass and I.D., and put a credit card on our account. It was so fast that we followed the last early check-in people onto the ship, and were stepping aboard right before noon. DISEMBARK: They tested a brand-new process when we got off the ship. All "self-assist" (people who carry their luggage off) were permitted to exit at the same time instead of being called deck by deck. The first call was at 7:10am, but we took our time and didn't leave until 7:45am. There was a steady, moving flow of people. (Note: the official disembark time is 7:30am but the ship typically clears by 7:10am; several employees confirmed this time.) Read Less
Sail Date: September 2009
My sister and I took our mother on her first cruise to Catalina and Ensenada on the Carnival Paradise. Both my sister and I have been on several cruises and I have to say we both thought this was the worst cruise either of us have ever ... Read More
My sister and I took our mother on her first cruise to Catalina and Ensenada on the Carnival Paradise. Both my sister and I have been on several cruises and I have to say we both thought this was the worst cruise either of us have ever been on. Let me say that the boat was nicer than most of the low end boats for the 3 or 4 night cruises. Our room was 185 sq feet with plenty of room for the three of us. We selected this cruise because of the price which was only 169 and we then got an upgrade as our mother was a senior to an outside window for $200 total each. If we were not looking for quality food or service, then the price was right! Most of the employees were not friendly and only on occasion did someone look at you and smile. Our cabin steward was both pleasant and accommodating to any questions or requests. We got the nice towel animals and chocolates on our beds each night with fold down service which was nice to come back to each night. The bathroom which I was told was 4 x 7, was very large and did not feel cramped at all. Plenty of closet space and our room E4 was right off the center atrium area 1 floor down from all the action and promenade deck. Easy access to elevator and stairs. The entertainment was good and was probably the best part of the trip. There were two shows with the Carnival dancers, one night with a comedian,and one with a magician and comedian. You really should arrive early enough to get a good seat because anything beyond rows 2 or 3 had only marginal viewing. The rows in the theater have only a slight rise which did not allow for viewing over the heads of those in front of you. The casino in this boat was HUGE! The slots had a pretty good payout on a few select machines and plenty of open game tables. Lots of penny and 2 cent machines. We hit a few jackpots which allowed us to play quite a bit more than I expected. Although this boat was full, it never felt very crowded except in the buffet on the Lido deck at the end of the boat. The buffet was only so so but it was always packed. There was a 24 hour pizza area which had fantastic pizza. That and the yogurt/ice cream bar were the only items open 24 hours. Room service was available 24 hours but only minimal offerings of sandwiches and desserts. The chocolate cake through room service was better than the desserts served in the main dining room. They had 1 formal night and served lobster tails and prime rib for the beef entree. Both were good. There were no ice sculptures, food carvings etc. and the food was served without any special attention to arrangements or garnishes. You could ask for all you wanted but we did not find a single dish we wanted seconds on. The desserts lacked any imagination. The melted chocolate cake was good but so rich you could not eat more than 1/2 of it. The choices for desserts were minimal. My mother wanted pie and finally on the last night they had apple pie and the crust was so hard and thin you could not eat it. The dinner prior to that was chicken parmesan and it was burned black on the bottom and crispy. I asked for the short ribs instead for my mom and they were so tough that I had to give her my steak because she was too embarrassed to ask for a third meal. Not the kind of meals that everyone told her she could expect on a cruise and it was disappointing for her. They had a nice water slide and several areas with hot tubs that seemed to get lots of use. Drinks were offered constantly and sometimes they even got a little pushy. Lots and lots of bars and lounges on this ship but most were empty. As far as cleanliness is concerned, the boat was clean and late at night and early mornings one could see crew members scrubbing various areas of the ship. One complaint was the buffet area. Tables were not cleared very quickly and the crew that was responsible for cleaning the outside tables were outright hilarious at their attempts to do bare minimum of cleaning. Overall, we had fun but I think next time I will try another cruise line. I mean really, isn't the best thing about cruises the food? Apparently Carnival doesn't think so! Read Less
Sail Date: April 2009
We found good and not so good things, like any other ship, but over all we 'd go again on this cruise line.We did an early check in outside which was very easy.About 11:30 they started to let us go in. Lunch was available on lido deck ... Read More
We found good and not so good things, like any other ship, but over all we 'd go again on this cruise line.We did an early check in outside which was very easy.About 11:30 they started to let us go in. Lunch was available on lido deck 10 in the buffet cafeteria paris style restaurant and was nice.At 1:30 we went to our cabin and all our luggage was already there, so that was really nice. We had an outside cabin,Upper deck and liked this deck.The room steward did an outstanding job and was always able to take care of nay extras we needed, like blankets.The size was good for the 2 of us, and surprisingly the bathroom was a decent size too.The 1 thing we really didn't like in the cabin was the air conditioning monitor, At first we couldn't even find it, turned out it was way in the ceiling in the middle of the room. It was hard to reach and hard to turn to adjust. Our room , as well as the ship was really cold all the time.It was a ridiculous place to put an air control ,if you're short you're gonna have to stand on a chair to reach it. We were so surprised there was no sail away anything, no band no food no music ,no nothing , and it wasn't raining.Very disappointing,and this was the first ship, ever,we've had no party at all. R Caribbean has them even on their 4 day cruises. The muster drill was organized. 1 of us has a messed up knee so we asked and were laterexcused from having to stand in front of the boats, we just attended the meeting about it all first where you could sit, and we waited there till it was announced it was over.We had 2nd seating, and at first were taken to a small booth seating 6 people. It didn't look comfortable so we asked to bemoved. The man in charge wasn't the friendliest about it and we ended up at a round table, more comfortable seating 10. The food wasn't great ,wasn't terrible, but the service was really bad. It was so bad we ended up the next 2 nights eating at the Lido serving ourselves. We ve never done that before. The waiter took forever to take our orders and later 3 hours to get dinner over, no exaggeration. The asst waiter dropped silverware down 1 of our chairs and on the floor. 1 of us has an allergy and we asked the parsley to be removed a 2nd time from the appetizer so the main course was covered in it. Steak ordered medium showed up over cooked, burnt. It went on from there. We didn't care about lobster night or anything, and were happy with the entrees presented each evening in the Paris restaurant, (cafeteria style).The shows were ok, we didn't go to the comedy ones.There were alot of different bars/lounges with different type of music to sit at each night. there was a casino as well, but really smokey. The entire ship was really really cold, so no sun dresses were ever worn.We found the overall staff to not be as warm ,smiley, welcoming or friendly as other cruse lines. Only one really nice was our room steward.Other than their lunges or casino or disco not much going on at night. Some game shows if you like that sort of thing. Not alot to do when at dock in Ensenada,after coming back as it was too cold to sit out at the pool. They scheduled at movie at 1, not later, when everyones off the ship. Debarkation was fast and easy. Over all it was a nice time, you make a trip what you want out of it.We always enjoy all our cruises, we'd do this one again. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2008
About Us: We were two middle aged women getting away for a girls weekend without kids or husbands. We've both cruised a few times and know what to expect. This was our first short cruise. I wanted a short cruise for a girls ... Read More
About Us: We were two middle aged women getting away for a girls weekend without kids or husbands. We've both cruised a few times and know what to expect. This was our first short cruise. I wanted a short cruise for a girls relaxation trip and this was just the right length for us. We aren't single, but do enjoy having a good time, and don't mind other that like to party it up. PRE-CRUISE: Courtyard Marriott Downtown Long Beach Free Parking, $9.00 taxi to port, Breakfast Cafe serves overpriced breakfast with very slow service. Quiznos across the street much better. Rooms are fabulous, we had the queen mary with a view of ... the queen mary. I'd definitely stay here again, very nice hotel. The Best Western is across the street, and although it has free breakfast, i wouldn't leave my car there for overnight. EMBARKATION: A+ Did early checkin at the Queen Mary, no lines just strolled right in at 10:30. They weren't yet boarding so we took the QM self guided tour until noon, then just walked right on to the terminal, no lines, got our pictures taken, and went right on onboard the ship. SHIP: B+ The Carnival Paradise is a beautiful ship, and not overly vegas'd out, I thought all the public areas were nicely done, although I thought the eggs, reminded me of the "Alien" pods. But that's just me. The crew constantly cleaned and maintained the ship's public areas. The layout of this class of ship is a little confusing for me, as I'm used the larger ships, with the two story dining rooms. Took me a awhile to find some of the lounges as they hid themselves behind the casino areas. The pools, mini golf, fitness, and other activity areas were always clean and well maintained. The ship is due for drydock and some refurbs, and it does show a little wear in carpets here and there. But hey 2000 people use this ship and she looks great. The cabins are another matter, see later. CABIN: C- Outside 5A port hole cabin, on main deck. M15, we went to drop off our bags before going to the Lido, and we were too early, the room steward was still cleaning. We asked if we could leave our bags and he graciously agreed. The room was trashed with cigarette ashes and he was cleaning it as we left. We mentioned the smell and that we were supposed to have a non-smoking room and he said he would take care of it. This really upset both of us, as we don't smoke and have smoke allergies, we went to the information desk to see if we could get a different cabin and we were declined, but they stated they would change all the pillows, covers and put a "machine" in the room to remove the smoke smell. You know this was our complaint twice daily, and although they scrubbed, changed linens, and machined it, it was always still lingering. Our room steward, the supervisor and info desk were very apologetic, and even sent us a letter, but it doesn't make up for the fact that we were miserable and could not be accommodated other than to leave the ship. I think if I cruised on this ship, I would definitely go for the balconies, because you'd probably have a higher likely hood of no smoke smell, because the previous guest could just smoke on their balcony. Also being in the lower decks, alot of the people there were smoking and the smell just seemed to permeate the deck. Maybe if we got a balcony the whole vibe would have been different because we just had too many smokers packed onto our deck. Alot of the folks here took their party from the lounges to the cabin's hallways so all night, we had loud rowdy people, smoking and banging about. I am an experienced cruiser, so I brought my earplugs and slept soundly, except for the smoke, which creeps in no matter what we did. We felt like we slept in an ashtray, it seemed to come in thru the a/c unit, in the shower and from the hall. Folks I am not a snob about smoking, what you do to your body is your business, but please, please, please go smoke only where it is allowed for the courtesy of others with allergies and asthma. There is a cigar room, casino, and of course on deck open 24x7. It was beautiful weather, enjoy. This ship did not have refrigerators in the cabins, hair dryers, just as an FYI. Our room steward was fabulous and did all we asked. The room was adequate for storage space, had bath products (no conditioner), and even razors and toothpaste. The room was worn, but very comfortable. DINING ROOM: A- We liked the food and the service was very good. We didn't like the waitress as she seemed indifferent, but efficient. We also did not like the maitre'd, who seemed rude. The food was little less delicious as on the 7 day pride, not sure why. Our waiters were much better on the pride on making our dining service very special. The "main" lobster was the smallest I'd seen, but when I requested a second they quickly complied. The prime rib looked very good, and the portions were well balanced and not overwhelming. I disliked the dancing one of the waiters did as it was inappropriate for the child we shared the table with, and embarrassed her, by gyrating his hips. This was very unusual, and usually the dancing staff are just cute. LIDO DECK FOOD: B We usually had lunch here, and also enjoyed the late night pizza and buffet. The food was tasty and fresh. The service was a little too good, as they cleared my silver and plates at least twice when I just got up to get a drink. The food was good but not great. The late night mexican buffet, was really boring...compared to eating fish tacos in ensenada, this was taco bell! POOL DECK AREA SERVICE: D At first the pool deck staff were all over us to give us your first vacation beverage upon boarding, but the rest of the trip, you could track one down, after buying the soda card. Seemed like they avoided you if you had a soda card, or was it just me? Also couldn't get a drink to save my life if I was anywhere near a chaise lounge. ENTERTAINMENT: B+ They have a great Karaoke lounge and on our trip the passengers really packed it in and enjoyed it. The first night, the host, seemed underwhelmed at the prospect of kicking things off, and sat down and said well the sooner someone signs up, the sooner we can have fun, and sat back down again. Finally one brave passenger got up and kicked things off, and kept organizing and encouraging others (isn't this what a Karaoke host is supposed to do? Also usually they kick things off with a song or two and tell others to come join the fun! Shows, terrific, in the main showroom. They also had a really nice normandie lounge that didn't have anything going on most of the time, and would have been perfect place to put a 3 piece band for dancing for couples, then finally on the last night it had two acts in it, a 3 piece and then a comedy show. Then a funny thing, they had this really great band just outside of the Casino, that had horns, and did jazz, anything, they were terrific, but everyone had to walk "THRU" the area where you could watch or dance to them, not sure why they put this great band here? Why not in the normandie? Or somewhere people don't have to walk thru? The piano bar had great sing alongs, the REX disco club didn't get going until after 11pm, the atrium had nice piano music, all kinds of shows, contests and activities, in fact too much to keep up with , great job carnival. The only reason I gave this a "B+" was the lack of a "dance band" being placed somewhere you could "dance" to them. Put the great band in the REX maybe or in the normandie and let us know they are there for dancing on the capers! I like to dance, but since the disco PURSERS DESK: F The information desk is polite to most, rude to many, and almost not helpful at all. Then I was told they'd lend me a deck of cards, and I went by and a lady gave me a free deck! Funny, do you just have to find the right person? Also when calling the information desk for our smoke problem, they never seemed to be able to answer my question and put me on hold for over 40 minutes! Carnival, this is a real opportunity here, I've seen this on all your cruises. Ensenada: A I enjoyed Ensenada, I've been there before, done the Beers & Papas, Hussongs, etc. I do wish the vendors weren't so aggressive, as I like to look over everything and then ask questions, but this is typical in all the mexican ports. Guy's take a hint, turn it down a notch so I can at least think of something I may want to buy. It's such a turnoff, I buy very little because it's just too annoying. We took the shuttle to downtown for 1.50 each way, then to the blowhole for $15.00. Both the guide on the shuttle and blowhole were excellent provided good advice and nice narrative information, that one would not have gotten if they were on their own. Downtown was mobbed with the race car fans/drivers so we just went back to the ship when we returned, and the driver humored us, by driving past the black pearl dry docked (pirates of the caribbean) in the boat docks on the way back to the ship. SPA: B+ We attended the spa tour, and entered the spa raffle. My girlfriend won a 1/2 off a facial. We both got massages and facials during the cruise. The staff was excellent and we loved our treatments. The spa's ladies changing room, showers, and sauna / steam were free to use, but in need of the updates to make it more spacious. The locker area, you change in, people have to walk thru to get to the gym. The showers are just curtains and not located in anyway private, so again people walking thru to get to the gym can easily see you. The steam and sauna were great. I really liked my scalp massage and hot oil hair treatment in the salon. My girlfriend really liked the hot stone massage. They ran the usual buy products pitch and there were of course many spa specials going on. DEBARKATION: A+ We did the self debarkation, after a nice breakfast in the dining room, we retrieved our luggage and pretty much walked right off. Very few waits even through customs. Very much appreciated, we were off within 30 minutes of attempting to leave. CONCLUSION: I knew going into this cruise that for the price it is a good value for a "party cruise". It's cheap and fun, and that's exactly what we got. However, I don't think I'd do the short cruise again with Carnival as they don't enforce any of their smoking policies in the cabins. Hint: Get the free deck of cards, they make great gift. OVERALL RATING: B+ Read Less
Sail Date: November 2008
Unlike most people my husband and I started planning for retirement in 1964 when we got married. After our first cruise in 1975 we knew this was something we wanted to do again. From that time until we retired, we were on 15 cruises, ... Read More
Unlike most people my husband and I started planning for retirement in 1964 when we got married. After our first cruise in 1975 we knew this was something we wanted to do again. From that time until we retired, we were on 15 cruises, mostly on Royal Caribbean. Because of our early planning, we were able to retire early and have been retired for 7 years. Since we retired we have been on 25 cruises. We really like the longer cruises. More than half of our cruises have been longer than 7 days. Our longest cruises have been 30 nights from LA, through the Panama canal, down into the Amazon River to Manaus and up to Tampa, and 33 nights from LA to Sidney, Australia with stops in Hawaii, Tahiti, Samoa, and several other islands. We enjoy everything about cruising. We sent our kids on a cruise for their honeymoons. We took our granddaughters on a cruise 4 years ago and are taking them again in May for a graduation and will do the same next year for the same reason. We live in the LA area and had some points to use so we decided to cruise on the Carnival Paradise. The best service we got was at embarkation because we are gold card holders, so check in was a breeze for us. We usually book balconies but we had only enough points for an ocean view cabin. Be sure to print out your FUN PASS. We got to our cabin to drop off our carry on luggage and went to lunch before most of the people even got on the ship. The Paradise is the oldest ship we have been on in quite a while. The ship was not easy to navigate because it had a dining room in the middle. You had to go up or down to get from one end to the other when you were on that deck. The public areas were very nice. The cabin accommodations were OK except for the fact that the cabin had no heat. Our table mates also had no heat in their cabins. Our cabin attendant had the air cranked all the way up the first night and luckily we went to the cabin after dinner. We found him and he turned the air off for us. When we asked how to set the heat, he said there is no heat. We told him no more air and he forgot only once. Another problem we had was cigarette smoke coming into our cabin. The cabin attendant said the people across the hall from us were heavy smokers and there was nothing he could do to help us. For the most part he was good, as were most of the staff on the ship. In the main dining room, my husband ordered fish every night and said it was excellent. I ordered beef most nights and I got it the way I like it one night and not the next. The waiter took it back twice and the third steak was not sent back. I decided to have dessert with the rest of the table and go up to the Lido for pizza. The Lido restaurant had pizza all day every day and it was good. There was a soft ice cream/yogurt machine available all day also located in the Lido restaurant. Breakfast and lunch were run of the mill in the Lido. I was surprised that the cookies I had come to look forward to were no longer free. You had to buy them at one of the little shops. They were not on the room service menu either. Overall the food was did not live up to the food on other Carnival ships. We did not take part in the daily activities or in shore excursions. Since we live near LA we have been to Catalina and Ensenada before. . On past trips to Catalina we have rented a golf cart and driven around the island. That is always fun. In Ensenada there is shopping right by the pier. There is a pharmacy that is reliable and has good prices on many things. Something to think about if you don't have prescription coverage. We like to play cards and Carnival ships have decks with their logo at guest relations for free. That was a nice touch. Two of the shows (singers and dancers) were OK but the third one was excellent. The outside entertainment was also outstanding. We had a comedian and a magician. The cocktail party was nice. The wait staff couldn't bring us enough drinks. I do not drink and they brought me diet cokes without any hesitation. There were also plenty of hors d'oeuvres to go around. We also got early debarkation. Because this was a 4 night cruise we each had a 19 inch suitcase on wheels and a carry on so we opted to carry our own luggage off the ship. . That was a breeze. We go on cruises not only to get away, but also to be comfortable in our cabin, for the service we receive, and for the food. In my opinion, those are some areas that need improvement. They were not terrible but just left something to be desired. We would not go back on that ship again. Carnival has too many nice ships with better food, better service, and nicer ships with lots of balconies for us to go backward to a ship that doesn't have them. They do have a few suites with balconies but we did not see inside of them. Our other Carnival cruises have been on the Spirit class ships and the newer Liberty and the Freedom. We have booked balconies and they have been very nice. We have been in one suite on the Spirit and it was awesome. We really enjoy these classes of ships. They are bigger but they still give you the personal touch that you look for on a ship. I am glad we used points for this cruise and not out of pocket cash because it was not a very good deal to pay what they were asking. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2008
Carnival Paradise three night cruise to Ensenada, Mexico - July 4 to 7, 2008 This is my eleventh cruise, fourth on Carnival. This is also my third time on this weekend cruise to Ensenada. While Ensenada holds no great attraction to me, ... Read More
Carnival Paradise three night cruise to Ensenada, Mexico - July 4 to 7, 2008 This is my eleventh cruise, fourth on Carnival. This is also my third time on this weekend cruise to Ensenada. While Ensenada holds no great attraction to me, this cruise had some advantages: 1) I wanted to see a Fantasy class ship before it had been refurbished. 2) Because Friday is a holiday, I can take this cruise without taking any days off from work. 3) Being close to home, I don't have to fly to the port. After I signed up for this cruise I realized July 5 was my friend's birthday. So I asked him if he would like to come. I took my friend on this cruise 7 ½ years ago on the Carnival Holiday. The Paradise is about 50% bigger and thirteen years newer. My friend then invited his two daughters and one daughter's friend. So there are six of us in three cabins. For those that are interested, I'm in the cabin myself. My friend and his wife are sharing a second cabin and the three girls are sharing the third cabin. However, we booked this as two per cabin. The cabin steward knew we had changed the sleeping arrangements. So there is no need to be sneaky about these things. In response to someone's comment for more details in the review, I have been writing my reviews while on the ship, while the details are still fresh in my mind. Day one - embarkation I left home around 10:10am and arrived at the port right around 11:00am. Being a member of the Carnival Vacation Club (CVC) I was able to go to the front of the line. By 11:30am I was putting my stuff into the cabin. Part of that half hour was spent waiting for the ship to be cleared for arriving passengers. Soon my friend called. Turns out the lines were very short, and he was on board very quickly. Having been on several ship tours, I knew how to get past the fire doors and put our stuff in the cabins. The cabins were not ready, but we only wanted to drop off our luggage. However, the room steward, seeing six people walking into the rooms was not too happy. We assured him that we were only dropping off our luggage. He accepted this and we were soon out of his way. We went up to the Lido deck for lunch, and then took a self guided tour of the ship. My interest was in the pool deck and the back deck that would soon be turned into a small water park. My goal is to take another cruise on a Fantasy class ship so I can compare the before and after layout of the ship. During our self guided tour I realized that navigation on this ship is not easy. The location of one of the restaurants mid ship prevents someone from walking from the back to the front of the ship on deck eight. The main problem this presented is deck eight is one of the public decks while deck seven has cabins. So if someone wants to get to the public areas in the front of the ship on deck eight (the main show lounge and the stores) one has to go up to deck nine and then back down. Another thing I noticed is that the lifeboats block the view from the Verandah deck (the deck above the Lido deck - the pool is on the lido deck). Normally people go to the Verandah deck to either sun their selves or enjoy the view. Unfortunately the view is partially blocked by the lifeboats. Another problem is that all the elevators do not go from top to bottom. The glass elevators in the atrium begin on deck seven and go up. My cabin is on deck six. However, the main bank of elevators (about 30 feet away) do go all the way down but not all the way up. My cabin is near the aft elevators, which do go all the way down, but only has high as the Lido deck (even though the Verandah deck is above the Lido deck above the aft elevator shaft. There are a couple of things I like however. One is when you open the door is stays open with a magnetic stay. This is quick and easy compared to the wedge that you have to manually put under the door on most other ships. Also, the bathrooms and showers are a very nice size. All the way forward on the top deck is a very nice looking miniature golf course and jogging track. It is called the City Sports Park. My friends carry on their entire luggage, while I checked my big one and carry on my small one. The luggage arrives in time for us to get our bathing suites on and do a little swimming. I run into my room steward upon my return and he wants me to sign for the room. This is new, as I've never done that before. He says it is not new. I was on the Carnival Glory in April 2006 and I didn't have to sign for the room. It is no big deal. I put down my name, dining time. It is at this time that I see the room steward has already figured out that we are not sleeping in the same cabins that we are registered in. Soon it is time for the muster drill. Our meeting place is inside the Queen Mary Lounge, the aft lounge on deck nine. After the demonstration on how to put in the lifejacket, we move up one deck so that we are standing under the lifeboats. Soon after the life boat drill it is time for dinner. The two restaurants are the Elation and Destiny restaurants. There seems to be a ship's name theme on this ship. The Destiny restaurant is the aft restaurant while Elation restaurant, the one we are in, is mid ship. We are moving slowly, I estimate about 13 knots or 15 MPH) on a calm sea (not glass smooth, but close enough). Yet my friend, one daughter and her friend are complaining about feeling seasick. You've got to be kidding. If I didn't know the ship was moving I would not know it was moving. I can't feel any movement. As far as dinner goes, I think it is fine. Not great, but not bad. The three complaining about the ship's movement are not too happy about dinner. The other two don't make any comments about dinner. After dinner I do a little shopping and catch a sunset. I note that motion sickness medication is available in the store. I don't need it, but my friends purchase some. Later in the evening my friends are interested in playing BINGO while I am feeling very tired for some reason, so I end up watching the discovery channel and uploading my photos to the computer. Day two - Ensenada I wake up shortly after 6:00am and it is already light outside. So I decide to rest a bit longer. However, shortly before 7:00am I feel the maneuvering engines. I look out the window and sure enough we are in the harbor. So I shower and when I look out the window the view has changed. The captain has decided to turn around before docking. So where I though I would have a harbor view instead I end up with a dockside view. I had suggested visiting the blow hole prior to the cruise. My friend was a little leery about going 45 minutes from the ship in a cab in a foreign country. I also suggest a van cab as there are six of us and I figured we could get a van taxi for $60 to $80 for half day. There is a church in town that my friend wants to see. So in the morning we headed out. First we have to head down to deck three forward. But the elevator only goes to deck four. No wait, two go to deck four and two go to deck three. The only problem is each one that goes to deck three is paired with one that doesn't. So the chance of getting the right elevator is 50/50. We let the first one go and finally decided to take the next one and walk down the last flight of stairs. Then another family shows up and realizes what we did, that the elevator doesn't go down to deck three. So they go down the stairs and we take the elevator. Unfortunately for all of us there are no stairs from deck four to deck three next to the aft elevators. And when I say all of us I mean the six of us and the family of four that didn't take the elevator. Okay, this requires a little thinking. I realized we had to go forward, since the aft end of the ship was not next to the dock. So I suggested we walk forward on deck four. My friend told the family of four (Mom, Dad and two elementary school aged boys) that I had been on several cruises, so they should follow me. We proceed to the mid ship elevator shaft and find a sign telling us to proceed to the forward elevator shaft. There we walk down to deck three and out to the pier. From there we head outside and find a large van/small bus. It looks like it will hold fifteen people. My friend, who is fluent in Spanish, negotiates a deal for $15 per person for all day. For the six of us that works out to $90, which is in line with my estimate of $60 to $80 for half day. While negotiating the family of four shows up and joins us. So we get a private tour guide with a customized tour for $15 per person. The basic three hour tour to the blow hole is $27 per person. So for just a little over half price we get to set our own schedule - not a bad deal. And it turns out the other five in my group want to go to the blow hole, so off we go. I was a little disappointed. I was here in December on the Monarch of the Seas. It was not as crowded seven months ago as it is today. It is so crowded that I don't even try to get close enough to see. I still have my pictures from last time and I don't feel a need to fight this crowd for a better view. Another disappointment is that the donkey painted like a zebra is not here. Next we head back to the town and the church. There is a wedding taking place when we arrive. Then we head to downtown where my friend and two of the girls want to do more shopping while three other of us head back to the ship with the family of four. The driver then returns to downtown and brings the three shoppers back in time. Meanwhile I'm tired and decide to rest for a while. I lay down at 4:00pm and when I wake up I think it is 5:30pm. So I quickly shower and get ready for dinner, only to realize it is actually almost 5:00pm (not 6:00pm). Tonight is formal night and I decide to have a little fun. It's July and I not going to wear a jacket. However, just in case I do have a dress shirt and tie. Nonetheless, I put on a tux shirt. It draws some smiles and a few laughs. And then my friend's daughter's friend starts complaining about the ship moving again. We are not even out of the harbor. She is just too sensitive to motion. Again, I think the dinner is fine, while the rest are a little more neutral about it. Today is my friend's birthday, and one of his daughters has purchased a birthday cake for him, which he shares with all of us. After dinner is the captain's welcome aboard reception. We end up on the ship's video, so I'll buy one tomorrow. I head back to the cabin to relax until 11:30pm when the ship has a Mexican buffet. I show up at 11:40pm. There is a long line, but the three girls are munching away. A quick question brings the answer. They arrived at 11:15pm and were the first in line. It's good to see them taking advantage of their opportunity this time. The last time they were twelve and thirteen and were not feeling to well, so they spent most of the cruise in their cabin. This time they are reading the Carnival Capers, planning which activities they want to participate in and taking full advantage of their opportunity. Well, it has been a fun day, but it is late and I am tired. Fortunately tomorrow is a full day at sea, which means a day of rest and relaxation to me. Day three - day at sea Well I wake late. It is shortly before 8:00am. I can see it is overcast. However, I expect that it will burn off early afternoon. I decide to go top side and retake a few photos that I am not happy with. Then I'll do a little shopping. However, I get to the store around 8:45am and it does not open until 9:00am. So I head over to the buffet and get a cooked to order omelet. Then it is over to the shore excursion desk to order the video. Then back to the store for a couple of shirts, two key chains and a water wallet. When I return to the cabin I notice it has been cleaned and the room steward is working on my friend's cabin. I apparently just missed my friend. I ask about the girls and the room steward tells me they are still asleep. Back in the cabin I upload my photos. Then my friend's wife shows up looking for her husband. I tell her I apparently just missed him ten minutes ago. So we get to talking about the girls, who are having a lot more fun than last time. I also note that I am surprised that we are dead in the water. The cruise lines are very concerned about fuel usage. The least amount of fuel is used by proceeding slowly from point A to B. Nonetheless, even if the ship sits still for ten hours, it will only need to go about seven knots (about 1/3 full speed) to make it to Long Beach on time. My friend's wife goes off to find her husband while I decide to work on this while waiting for the overcast to burn off. Then I hit on a better idea. I'll go check for any new photos. I found a few photos and came back to my cabin to sort them all out. Then my friend shows up and mentions a few photos he cannot find. Also apparently the girls have left their cabin. So they are out having fun somewhere on the ship. I'll go back and check for more photos and then hopefully the sun will come up. Meanwhile the captain has us on the move again and my friend is complaining about the ship moving. I can hardly feel it. I don't think my friend would survive a long cruise where the ship spends most of at least one day at sea moving at a good rate of speed. Personally I can barely feel the ship moving and I get seasick easily, though I have never gotten seasick on a cruise ship. A few odds and ends: • It remains overcast. So I decide to just relax in the cabin in the afternoon. • The picture mystery has been solved. The girls have been grouping the photos, and the staff has been ungrouping the photos as they rearrange the photos racks to make room for new photos. • My friend wants to skip the dining room tonight (tips are being charged to the room, so that is no problem). So we leave the cabins and everyone heads forward. I catch up with them and explain the buffet is behind us. Seems everyone wants to eat in the restaurant except my friend. So, it is off to the restaurant after all. It seems my friend does not feel that the soup is being served hot enough. There are two different soups being served tonight, a cream of mushroom soup and an onion soup. One of the girls orders the onion soup and my friend and I order the mushroom soup. My friend asks the waiter to make sure the soup is hot. Turns out the onion soup is too hot and the mushroom soup is somewhere between warm and hot. Nonetheless we survive dinner and even have a little fun with the waiters, who pose for pictures with the girls. Back at the cabin I am presented with a box of liquor purchased off the ship. Only I didn't buy any, so the room steward took it back. I'm sitting in my cabin and since I usually take one week cruises my internal body clock does not realize I have to pack today. Fortunately everyone else is packing, which serves as a clue to me that perhaps I should do the same. The luggage tags I received are numbered fourteen (out of thirty). However, being a member of CVC I receive an upgrade to number one. Day four - disembarkation By the time I wake up the ship is already tied up. So, as the self disembarkers line up to leave the ship, I decide to get a little breakfast. Then it is back to the cabin to wait for the numbers to be called. I kept a spreadsheet on my computer with the charges I was running up on my Sail & Sign card. That is when I realized that I did not get my bill this morning. So I go down to the purser's desk and request a copy of my bill. He shows me a bill for all six people! I say no, I only want my bill. So he separates out the charges and I sign the credit card receipt. When I return to my cabin my friend is asking me about his bill. Seems his bill includes my charges. Back to the purser's desk to get that straightened out. This is actually the second time I have had this problem with Carnival and I know where the problem is occurring. Whatever is listed on the computer when filling out the Fun Pass information is how the charges will be handled by the computer. Even though each person uses their own credit card at check in, the computer goes with the information in the Fun Pass. So my advice is either make sure the Fun Pass information is correct, or don't enter any credit card information. Or else, make sure to check your bill before you leave (through even that would not have prevented the problem I had on the Pride - because even though both cabin's bills were billed to my credit card, I only received the invoice for my cabin). Back at the cabin and now the oldest girl is asking about the liquor she bought. She had it labeled for my room because that is the room she is registered it, but not the room she is staying in. Had she told me then I would have accepted the liquor and given it to her. Back to the purser's desk (by now I know the way). One call and we are told the liquor will be delivered. I wait and wait, only to find out the cabin steward has delivered the liquor to the cabin. After all of that they start calling the disembarkation numbers, so I get in line. The line moved fairly quickly and soon I was in my car. I found out later that my friends were only about 30 minutes behind me. Yes, they were number fourteen and I was number one. However, I think they called everyone in groups of five, so I was in the first group and my friends were in the third group. Day five - looking back In summary I much prefer the longer cruises. I took this cruise for two reasons, because I could without taking any vacation time and to see what the ship looked like before it was upgraded. To that end everything worked well. The best part of the cruise was that everyone, especially the girls had fun. Last time I took them on this cruise the girls were not feeling too well, so they did not enjoy the cruise too much. Also, they were teenagers then and thus restricted in what they could do. This time, being over eighteen, they had a lot less restrictions and took full advantage. As for me, the Fantasy class of ships is my least favorite class of Carnival ships. I thought it would be a bigger version of the Holiday, and while in some ways it is, in other ways it is not. As a result navigation while on board is even more difficult then the Holiday or Conquest class ships. Also, I am not thrilled with the lifeboats blocking the view from the Verandah deck. The staff did a good job, but I did not feel like they went above and beyond, as was my experience on the two one week cruises I have taken with Carnival. Also, the food was not as good as the food on the Pride or the Glory. So, the bottom line is, I achieved all my goals. I saw the ship, I didn't use up any vacation time and my friend enjoyed it so much he wants to go on a longer cruise, which surprised the heck out of me - he was complaining about being sea sick before we even left the harbor. However, for me personally it was just too short and too average. So while nothing negative really sticks out in my mind, nothing really positive does either. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2008
Although there was a storm coming, I was excited to go on this short trip to Ensenada. I wasn't sure how the weather would be but I was still game. We got there and was checking in. Unfortunately, we got someone who was in training. ... Read More
Although there was a storm coming, I was excited to go on this short trip to Ensenada. I wasn't sure how the weather would be but I was still game. We got there and was checking in. Unfortunately, we got someone who was in training. It took forever. Although she was very nice, she did not have enough training and had to ask her supervisor every little thing. We finally got on board and check out our room. Definitely smaller than my other cruises but it would do. I was travelling with a male friend of mine a we saw that the beds were put together. When asked if they could separate the beds, the steward asked sarcastically if we were brother and sister. I didn't appreciate that. The food on the Lido was ok. Nothing to brag about but I was hungry. The pizza was good and I continued to get a piece every time we went there to eat. We were disappointed to see that the piano bar was not happening. Apparently they had no piano player. Although it the room itself was open, there was nothing going on in there. The dinner was nice. We had great company at our table. Again, the food was just ok. Our stateroom had many issues. First, the sink did not drain well so there was always water in the sink. It also seemed that the shower was leaking underneath. When you walked around outside the bathroom, the carpet was wet. If you didn't have shoes on, your socks got drenched. We got back to the room late the night before and all we heard was hammering. I guess they were working on the ship from the minute we hit the port. We called to complain. The hammering didn't stop for like another hour, by the time we were already up and ready to go. When we got back from Ensenada, the sink seemed to be better. It wasn't 100% but it was better. We went and got ready for a couples message. This was the highlight of the trip. The girl were great. It was really relaxing and they weren't so pushy about buying all their products. Gave an extra tip just for that. That night was formal night. A few times, when we went to get pictures, the photographers stopped and said it was time to wrap it up (even though they had more than a few minutes left) and they wouldn't take our picture. They didn't pose us very well so although we took a bunch of pictures, we only got a few. They seemed like in a hurry and didn't really want to be there. The lobster dinner was ok but it was only about 2 bites. Everyone at our table ordered 2 entrees because it wasn't enough. The trip back was rough. The boat rocked all the way back but it didn't stop anyone from enjoying the day. The final show was entertaining. The comedians on the last night were good. When we arrived back in Long Beach, I expected a little crowd but the experience was so horrible and unorganized. Approx. 7am, I heard on the loud speaker that people on certain decks that didn't need assistance were allowed to leave. We left our room approximately 7:45 to make our way up to the main deck. I didn't hear any more announcements so I thought we were ok. Well, little did I know the chaos. First, there weren't any clear signs on where you were supposed to go. Then, people were just lined up down the hall (only on one side) to get off the ship. So you just had a line, one from the back and one from the front, going toward the middle to get off the boat. I would hate to think if there was some kind of emergency. The hallway was packed if people and luggage. People who tried to get to their rooms were blocked. People that didn't know were arriving from different areas so there were people cutting (not on purpose). It took more than 45 minutes! It was so unorganized. Once, we got off, we had to stand in line again to go through customs. I had never been so glad to get off the ship. I had to go to work right after we arrived so I thought getting off earlier would be better. If I knew how much time it would take to get off, I would have gone and had a nice breakfast. I can not imagine what this trip would be like in the summer when it is nice out and the kids are out of school. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2007
My friends and I cruised on the Carnival Princess in June 2007 from Long Beach, CA to Ensenada, Mexico on the 3 night weekend excursion. This was my first time cruising, and I was with 5 cruise experts, so I did not have to worry too much ... Read More
My friends and I cruised on the Carnival Princess in June 2007 from Long Beach, CA to Ensenada, Mexico on the 3 night weekend excursion. This was my first time cruising, and I was with 5 cruise experts, so I did not have to worry too much about what to do in confusing situations. We all live and work in the LA area, so our travel to the embarkation consisted of each of us leaving work early (about noon-ish) and driving to a friend's house in Long Beach to park our cars and get dropped off at the terminal. It was only a 25 minute drive without traffic, and it was nice to have people who had already done this exact drive giving the directions, so there was no need to worry about the details. When we arrived, we unloaded our bags. And waited. And waited. my more experienced cruising companions were shocked that we weren't assisted by a porter immediately. After about 5 minutes (at least) one of them went looking for a porter and she was told that we needed to carry our bags about 100 feet (not a great distance, but not curbside service) and then wait in line until we could drop the bags on the ground in front of the cart, and hand the porter a tip so that the bags wouldn't be smashed. From there we walked toward the large dome check-in structure with our funpasses and passports in hand. There were 6 of us (3 couples) and in order to get better rates for returning cruisers, two of the couples were split into boy/boy and girl/girl, which led to some confusion (entirely our own doing) when we needed to check in as a 2 female couple and my boyfriend was holding my passport. We proceeded to the security check and ran our bags through the x-ray machines, where they did not appear to care about the number of wine/champagne bottles per passenger, but they quickly did a bottle shake test to determine which waterbottles contained rum and vodka. It was also very painless, and I was not saddened by the loss of the very cheap rum in my bag - I prefer wine - but a friend was disappointed to lose a larger water bottle of some top shelf vodka. So keep that in mind: if your goal is to smuggle hard liquor on, they don't check the seal of the water bottle, they check the bubble formation. I think an extra tip to the porter is probably the better way to go. Or vodka-filled bra inserts. The friend who booked the cruise for us did a great job of calling to get reduced rates as the published prices went down, and he was told that the savings would be reflected in a per-passenger on-board credit, but if we didn't use the full amount, it would be refunded to his credit card. We learned later it was a flat out lie and if we didn't use it, we'd lose it. We did use it all, so it was not a problem ultimately, but be careful, because the person on the phone may lie to you. Get the name of each person you talk to. The entire process, from curb to stepping onto the ship, may have taken about 30 minutes, which included a good chunk of time trying to rearrange credit cards for my boyfriend and I and the other couple, since the boys were going to pay for the charges on our sign and sail cards, and they were checked into one room, while the other girly and I were in another room. We probably looked like a group of church kiddo who told our parents we'd behave and lied! We got to our rooms, which were internal and had no windows (bummer), and our bags were already there. That was fantastic! The room was clean and fresh, the ac was on high (brrr), and I was surprised at how roomy it was. I think dorm rooms are smaller. The toilet was fun to flush - like an airplane toilet (super whoosh suction). I was expecting the rooms to be like a hotel room, and it mostly was, except for the absence of a hair-dryer. And an alarm clock would have been handy as well since we had no external light source to tell us when it was day, and of course we're all dependent on cell phones for time and those didn't work on the ship. They offer a wake up call, but it wasn't very effective, because it only rang once and was not loud enough to wake me (I only heard it because I woke up prior to it when we were docking - not THAT'S a wake-up call). Our steward was awesome, and I don't know his name (I'm so sorry!) but that's because my boyfriend talked to him more often. I dig the towel-creatures he created. The bed was comfortable - firm and soft and just right. Our first food on board was a combo of the Lido grill and buffet. I think we managed to hit every meal shift on board, because I never saw the buffet fully stocked. I was disappointed with the buffet, and to carry on with the dorm comparison, it was not as good as the typical selection in a dorm dining hall. The one tasty thing I found during the lunch buffet was a variation on the caprese salad. It was about as good as one would expect when fresh basil and ripe flavorful tomatoes are hard to find. Mmmm. Then I had a burger from the grill with cheddar (swiss was not an option) and they had a mouth-watering abundance of sauteed mushrooms and onions. It tasted good, but I thought I'd have more options...perhaps I misunderstood what people meant when they said I'd be eating the whole time I was on the boat. How many caprese salads and mushroom burgers was I supposed to eat? We relaxed in one of the lounges (near the casino, overlooking the water) and I finally got some wine. That's when the relaxation began. And then we had to do the lifeboat drill. I was horrified by the lifevests - I've never seen one that hasn't actually touched water. These things were super oily (from being wrapped around hundreds of necks and never used in water), and I think of myself as a pretty competent sailor (as in sailboats), but I could not figure out how to attach the complicated belt strap thingy. One of the green-hat helpers had to do it for me. I thought then we'd head out to the lifeboats, but once they had us all sitting down quietly and strapped to the oily orange vests, we were free to go. After a nap (hard week of work for us all) we went to the late-seating dinner. I don't really know what the maitre d' did but our server and server assistant were fabulous! Davis from India and Jana from Slovakia - love them. The food was yummy, and the chocolate dessert - which Davis hates but he said Americans love - was awesome. We hit up the America Bar - a piano bar near all Patrioticized - and had some fun singing along with the piano man, and he played the song we wanted - yay! - and haven't heard since the days on Sing Sing in Irvine (rip). "You picked a fine time to leave me Lucille. You Bitch! You Slut! You Whore!" It got old when he said for about the 50th time in an hour to "kiss her like she's never been kissed before!" We changed into party clothes and went to the midnight comedy show (it was alright, eh, so-so) and then went dancing at Rex. I think you have to be 18 to get into Rex, so there were a bunch of recent high school grads. The boys loved it. The speakers (or the pirated music) was a little distorted, but the mix was great. The next morning we ordered room service, which was delivered early, hot, the order was correct, and it was very literal. You ask for cereal, you get cereal, no milk! Then when our friends woke up, we went to the buffet, which was ending, so we missed out on most of the options, but they had lots of oil-soggy bacon, mysterious eggs, and...and...I don't remember eating anything besides the bacon. And coffee. The coffee was good enough. The bloody mary took some time to get, but it was a good way to take the edge off the coming tour through Ensenada. We left the ship to wander Ensenada. Okay, we really left the ship on a targeted mission to Papa's and Beer, specifically to see the wet T-shirt contest. While there we got to see a large table of large ladies get trashed and meet their new companions for the weekend. And my boyfriend destroyed his toe - blood everywhere - and the bar staff was super helpful in getting me bandaids to bundle him up. The beer was cold, the tequila was weak, the nachos were supremo, and the toilets flushed. Not a bad place. Even compared to places in the South Bay. The wet t-shirt contest was a competition for the best fake chest, t-shirts not included. Very nice. We didn't compete, having heard that sometimes it's a full body clothing optional contest. Too many strangers. We stumbled out into the daylight and bought lucadore masks and other really great things that were brilliant at the time. With a sober eye I am a little disappointed, but the shopping was fun. We made it back to the ship and then heckled the latecomers from the upper deck. The contest winner was one of the last people to board. We heckled a lot! I was hungry and decided to get a grill hotdog. Big mistake. My stomach got harder and harder, and I felt like I was going to explode from the inside. It was awful. Since it was formal night, I squeezed into a dress I really shouldn't fool myself into thinking still fits. We went to the Normandy lounge for the Captain's free drinks hour and were told we needed our ID's. But we're old! And we had our sign & sail cards which the very rude server could have used to look us up, but was unwilling to. We talked to a nice man in a uniform who said she was wrong and we didn't need to go all the way back to our rooms for ID's, and then we gave the server our cards and about 10 minutes later she came back with our drinks. The hotdog killed me and I had to slip into a more comfy dress - and less formal - but by the time lobster was served, I was ready to hurl, so I quit dinner and went to the room to try to sleep through the weird reaction to the hotdog. Headache, dizzy, stomach really weird...my night was over. But I heard that night's midnight comedy show was hilarious. Darn it! Sunday was a day by the pool, and we managed to get chairs with partial shade for our whole group. It was pretty loud and crowded on the Lido deck, but maybe it would have been more relaxing on the rear deck, away from the hairy man competition and the electric slide. Shoot me now. There were lots of pretty people to look at, and the slide looked like fun. Mimosas were good and abundant. After a few hours of sun, I tried out the gym with the girls. That was cool. It's at the front of the boat (I wouldn't really call it the bow, because it's more like a floating hotel than a boat) and the view was great. They had lots of machines and there was a steam room and sauna - but we weren't looking for a roast like that after all the sun. We cleaned up and went to Karl-with-a-K's comedy show which was Karl (the cruise director) singing songs from every decade. It wasn't very funny, so we went to the bar (same sunny bar from day 1, whatever it's called) and ate lots lots lots of sushi from the little sushi stand and drank lots of wine. The sushi was not excellent, but it was way better than buffet food, and it was free! Dinner that night was quite yummy again, and we were sad to say goodbye to Davis and Jana. We went to the rooms and drank lots of champagne, and then went to the midnight comedy show. It was a weird new improv thing, Karl was responsible for it, and I fell asleep. I wasn't entertained! Rex was still Rex, and I'm sure it would have been fun if I hadn't already slept for some time through Karl's show. My wine was poured from 2 different bottles and it tasted OFF. Oh well. I had to leave that wounded soldier. I could not drink it. Tragic. The next morning, we woke up to Karl telling us at about 6:30 that every deck was clear to disembark. But we went and had more soggy bacon, and then got in a really long line to get off the boat. We sat in one place for about 15 minutes, and then the line started moving and we were off the boat. And parked on the gangplank. In the lovely cold windy air of a typical June morning in SoCal. Woo! Made it through customs without any trouble, got picked up by friends right away, and back to the car in no time at all. Oh, a customs joke: "Excuse me, can I borrow your pen?" "No." I love humor on the job. All together, it was a perfectly fine booze-cruise. It was not a relaxing culinary delight. I probably wouldn't do that again any time soon, but I'm partial to having more control over my environment, and would rather charter a sailboat and set my own schedule. The price was great, we ended up spending about 400 per person (booze included!) to get 3 nights accommodation, 3 yummy dinners, transportation to Mexico, freedom from cellphones, free sushi!, and safe transport from club to bed. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2007
We are in our late 40's and took our 17 y/o son on this cruise for his high school graduation present. We drove to Long Beach, and easily found the Carnival parking garage. We arrived about 12:30 p.m. Embarkation was so fast, we were ... Read More
We are in our late 40's and took our 17 y/o son on this cruise for his high school graduation present. We drove to Long Beach, and easily found the Carnival parking garage. We arrived about 12:30 p.m. Embarkation was so fast, we were on the ship within 10 minutes. Once on board, we were greeted personally, and directed to a buffet lunch on the Lido Deck. The staterooms are not available until 1:30 p.m. We had read this on the Cruise Critics board, so purposely did not have much carry on stuff to lug around while we explored. Our balcony room was large, and we enjoyed the space. However, the mattresses were very hard, and the furnishings were well worn. We seldom saw our steward, but she kept our cabin clean and supplied. The ship is showing her age and in need of refurbishment - nothing major, just alot of wear and tear. We found everyone working on board to be friendly and helpful. The food in the buffet was mediocre, the pizza was good, the deli was good, the hamburgers on the Lido Deck were okay, the dining room food was only slightly better than the buffet, however, our waiter was wonderful. He kept our glasses full, spent time talking with us, brought out different entrees, offered suggestions, and made the cramped dining room accommodations easier to take. I was pleasantly surprised with the production shows. They were terrific. The singers and dancers were fantastic. We really give high marks to these performers. The comedians were pretty good too. The band in the Leonardo Room was good. Shopping seemed limited on board. Lots of photos taken and we did buy some that turned out good. We never smelled cigarette smoke while on board. Catalina was okay. We did the museum tour of the casino. The tenders were quick and we only waited 5 minutes to go to the island, and had no wait upon our return to the ship. Ensenada was okay. We prowled the shops for several hours. There were lots of activities on board. Our son enjoyed the O2 club despite his initial reluctance to join in as he thought he would be too old. He ended up having a super time. The younger children were kept sequestered away somewhere on the ship. We ran into a few of them on their scavenger hunts. They all seemed to be having a blast. Our son used the gym and said it was good. We had a scalp, neck, and shoulder Frangipani massage that was so good, I almost melted. It was VERY VERY good. There was no push to buy any product, but we ended up buying some massage oil because we loved it. Embarkation was fine. We had priority tags since we had a category 12 cabin, but opted to hang out on the ship as long as we could. You do have to be out of your cabin by 8:30 a.m. We had a leisurely breakfast and then relaxed and waited until we were almost the last ones off the ship. Immigration was fast for some. We were in a line that was very slow for some reason. However, we were soon at our car, and heading home to 105 degree heat. UGH. We had nice weather on the cruise, a little cool at night. Our fellow passengers were also friendly and included young, old, and in between. Our son made some friends. Our bill was correct for our S&S charges. We tipped our waiter and cabin steward extra. I was always able to find a spot on deck to be alone and gaze out over the ocean. Sometimes I felt like the only one on board. That was nice. The service was excellent. The tables were quickly cleared in the buffet eating areas. You could always find someone to take your drink order. The only thing I was disappointed in was the food. While there was plenty of it, the quality was definitely mediocre. Breakfasts were a little better. I don't think the category 12 room was worth the extra bucks. We didn't spend much time in it. We ordered special decorations for our son, and they were up and looked great when we got to our cabin. We are going to try another cruise line next year, hoping to book a newer ship. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2007
We packed up and left for the cruise terminal around 10am (from the Westin Hotel). I wanted to do early check in. Cab ride from the Westin was only about $7.70. I gave him a $10 and didn't take change. I thought it was going to be ... Read More
We packed up and left for the cruise terminal around 10am (from the Westin Hotel). I wanted to do early check in. Cab ride from the Westin was only about $7.70. I gave him a $10 and didn't take change. I thought it was going to be about $18 to get there. I was pleasantly surprised. We left our bags with the porter and walked over to the Queen Mary for early check in. We got a glimpse of the ship up close and it was truly an amazing feeling to know we were going to be inside that in a couple of hours! Early check in was empty and we breezed through that. I left a credit card for the $200, but later when I checked my balance (it's a debit credit card), they had only taken $50, and it stayed that way for the whole trip until the last day when they took our whole balance. They told us to go hang around, do whatever, and they would be letting the early check-ins onto the ship around 11:30am. We only had an hour to kill, so we walked around a bit and decided just to sit on a shady rock under a tree and people watch. By 11:15 it was getting more crowded. A lady from Carnival came out and told all early checkins to start lining up and started the line. It was about 11:20 at this point. We went over and were probably about 30th or so in line. I would say the line only had about 100 people, maybe a bit more. Hard to judge. The regular check in line was starting to really grow. We stood and stood in this line for what felt like forever. I did notice a few people still straggling out of the terminal. Our legs were starting to hurt and people around me did not seem impressed at all. It was now 12:15 and we were still standing there. A lady beside me said she has been on 15 cruises and never seen anything like this. I didn't know any different. Finally, I think it was about 12:40-ish the line started to move. It took about 10 mins before we got to the security check in. Same as going through airports, take off your shoes, laptop out of the bag, etc. (but you don't have to put the liquids in the baggie). We were able to walk up to the ship now. We were sooooo excited! Someone told me they estimated some of the people out in the regular line might have a 2-3 hour wait with the way it was going. EEK! I was so happy we did early check in. We walked up towards where we would be going on the walkway bridge to the ship. They stopped us for a quick photo. Then as we got to the walkway and you could see the ship, another photo. We walked to the ship. It felt like a really long walk because of the anticipation of boarding our first cruise ship! Once inside they stopped us and took the security photo. That was quick and painless, and they told us to go to lido deck for lunch, and our rooms would be ready around 1:30. I felt like a deer in headlights when I first got on board. Just trying to take it all in, look around, find the elevators. It was exactly like the photos. I had trouble orienting myself at first as to where our room would be. We found the elevators and went to deck 10 (Lido). We walked through the big doors and out to the swimming pool. My daughter was flipping out when she saw the slide! It was bigger in person than we had pictured it. The pool was much smaller than we expected though. There were 2 hot tubs as well. The first one we saw was adults only, and the other one allowed children. There were lounge chairs and also white patio tables and chairs all over. At the end was the grill. We need to find a bathroom badly. It was now almost 1pm and we hadn't been since 10am at the hotel. We managed to find the bathroom and had a good laugh at the funny toilets. At first I thought the seats were up, then I realized that is just the way they are. We went to the buffet and on one side were Italian foods (good lasagna & chicken). I still felt a bit like a deer in the headlights. All I could see was food, more food, and then some food. I noticed the other side of the buffet had a longer line. I looked and it was other types of food, I think roast beef,etc. but I decided to skip the line. My daughter went straight for the pizza station. We got some iced tea and almost spat it back out  its not sweetened!! In Canada, when you order iced tea it is sweetened, and I had forgotten the US is not the same! We got fruit punch and it was really yummy. There was a long line at the deli at this point. We also each got a piece of cheesecake (our fave dessert ever!) and it was delicious. We wandered back to the main area of the ship to see if our room was ready. The doors to the hallways were all locked shut. We sat down and read some of the papers we had been handed about Camp Carnival,etc They opened the doors to the halls a couple of minutes later and at first we couldn't figure out which hallway to take! We were completely disoriented. We found the hall (we were in room E8  porthole room) and our room. We went into the stateroom and fell in love with it! It was so cute! It was larger than I expected. My daughter immediately ran in, jumped up on her bed by the portholes and into the little seat in the window. She loved it! Our tv was on the Carnival channel when we arrived. We checked out the beds, the basket of goodies in the bathroom (shampoo samples, lotion samples, toothpaste samples,etc), etc Our luggage was already in our room and waiting for us. We decided to organize a bit. We never really unpacked, as it was only 4 nights/5 days. There was enough room for one suitcase at the end of my bed and one suitcase against the wall beside the desk/makeup table. We still had tons of room. We got out our alarm clock, our power cord, etc and then looked over the capers. We decided to head up to the kids club and check it out/register. When we arrived there was only one other family in there with 2 very small children. It was not how I had pictured it at all. To me, the toys and stuff seemed very old and used, and it wasn't the bright happy place I was expecting. It looked like a barren daycare that was running on a limited budget. I registered my daughter and gave her self signing in/out privileges. The staff were not overly friendly or helpful. I hoped this would get better. On our way back to the elevator, the spa was doing some demos and asked if we would like a free spa tour. We didn't really know what to do (still had the deer in the headlights feeling with the ship), so said sure. We were given little contest slips to fill out, and told to give them back in at the end of the tour for a chance to win a free spa treatment. You could choose what you wanted. I chose facial and my daughter chose the massage. They didn't even question the fact that she was not 12. She is only 10, but 4'11", and developing, so can easily pass for 12. Off we went on the tour with 2 other ladies. It was about 15 mins long and interesting to see the treatments. The prices are pretty outrageous and not in the budget for me on this trip at all. Quick note  don't book at the beginning of the cruise  the prices drop dramatically as the days go by&more on that later. After the spa tour we went and checked out the ship a bit and decided we wanted to hot tub. We got changed into our swimsuits and back to lido. The ship was pretty dead. Someone told me they had just got on board, and it was about 3:30pm at this point. They had been in line since noon! OMG! People were complaining all over about embarkation being a nightmare. So if you are sailing the Paradise, DO THE EARLY CHECK IN!! We hung up on Lido, hot tubbed, relaxed and noticed those cute drinks of the day in the clear carnival glasses with umbrellas. I am not a drinker at all. The last time I had a drink was in 2002 at a wedding, and it was a token glass of wine. I have nothing against drinking, it just does not like me at all. A glass of wine and I am under the table. For some reason though, I got caught up in the atmosphere and bought one of the $6.95 drinks. OMG it was yummy!!! Halfway through, I could feel my cheeks glowing and my insides were turning a bit. I decided that was enough for me. My daughter had a sip and said she loved it. I am sure she did! LOL! It sat in our room for the next 2 days and I tossed it. At least I can say I tried one fru fru drink! LOL! The ship was getting fuller and we went back to our room to change around 4pm, for the 4:45 muster drill. We were lucky, as our meeting area was the Normandie lounge, so we got to sit down with our life jackets on while they did the drill. It felt like it took forever, and there were so many people showing up late. Keeping in mind I have never done this before, I thought it was a bit of a mess and took much longer than I thought it should. I wasn't wrong, because I overheard a lady say That was my 25th muster drill and the WORST thing I have ever seen. We sat in the lounge for about 25 mins wearing these life jackets, then all had to go up 2 flights of stairs and stand on a deck. Some people had been standing out on a deck in the cold air for the whole time, so we were lucky. We stood on the deck for about 7 minutes and were then released. We were a bit hungry and had a hot dog from the grill. We are normally 5-6pm dinner eaters at home, but were assigned the 8pm seating on the ship, so we had to get past that 6pm hunger. We watched the ship sail away from the very back and it was really fun to do that. We went to our stateroom for a bit and put on the tv to check out what we could get on there, and finished getting ready for dinner and show. We had a 7pm showtime (early show for the late seating dinner). We went at 6:30, thinking it would be hard to get a seat. It was pretty empty. We sat in the 3rd row in the Normandie lounge. We had great seats. I was really looking forward to the shows on the ship. I am a musical theater fanatic, and so is my daughter. We love live shows. She is also heavily into dance, and was looking forward to seeing the dancers. They were just starting a bingo when we got there. This is not how I pictured the bingo at all! I had the mental picture of a room on board that they use with tables and chairs, bingo dabbers,etc and it lasting an hour or so. I am sure some of you experienced cruisers are having a good laugh right now. You buy a card for $10 with 3 bingo cards on it. Looks like dabber bingo, but it isn't. You just punch holes with your finger and fold it back somehow. I didn't have any cash with me, so didn't buy a card, but did watch. They were also selling scratch tickets for $1 each. I saw lots of people buying them, and no one seemed to be winning anything. Someone won the $250 on the bingo and then they got ready for the show. Quite a few more people came in and the lounge was about ¾ full. They said at the beginning of the show that during the show they would be tossing beach balls into the audience for people to bounce around, and to please be mindful of any drinks you have at this time. The show started, and to say it was pathetic was an understatement. My daughter was trying not to laugh. The choreography was pathetic. My 10 yr old could do what they were doing, and even more so. These are professional dancers and what they had them doing was basic basic stuff. It was terrible. A couple of singers came out, and while they could sing alright, they weren't anything amazing. I wasn't expecting amazing singing, but I guess I did expect more from the show. Again, this being my first time I thought maybe I had put my hopes up too high, but after talking to many others, they all said the ship entertainment was pathetic to say the least. Perhaps if you were really drunk, it would be a good show. They then told everyone to please hold their drinks, as the beach balls were coming. Out fly the balls. Everyone is bouncing them. One was coming close to us and the guy behind us (who was totally looped) took a nosedive for it forgetting he had his HUGE rum & coke in his hand. His rum and coke landed completely on us soaked the 2 of us. He had a huge mug of some sort just full and we were dressed for dinner. My daughter had on her brand new white shrug she had bought just for this trip and it was now brown. It was all in her hair (she has lonnnng blonde hair and it was drenched all down the back). My entire shirt at the back was soaked not just splashed, but drenched in rum & coke. We smelled like we had been out all night boozing. The guy goes oh nooooo my drink and ran off to get another. He came back and did not apologize, nothing. We got up and left. A Carnival employee at the back stopped us and asked why we were leaving the show so early. We turned around and showed her. I was pretty mad and she laughed and said Oh well some really get into the show, but we do have laundry on board. We went and changed, and part of us were laughing, as we were not injured or anything, but part of me was really choked with the employee's reaction. I wonder now if I should have gone higher and at least demanded our clothes be laundered, or just have left it, as we did. As I say, it was just an inconvenience, and no one was injured, and I didn't want to be one of those people complaining about a spilled drink. I had to quickly rinse my daughter's hair out in the sink and we dried it quickly. We made it to dinner at 8:05. Our waiter was Galin, from Bulgaria and was really nice and very attentive. We lucked out and had a booth for 4, but for the whole cruise we did not have table mates. I say lucked out, because I found that by the end of the day, it was nice to relax and have some one on one time with my daughter to chat about stuff and enjoy a quiet dinner together. If we had tablemates, it would have been fine too, but this was actually kind of nice for us. The first night I ordered the battered deep fried shrimp (to die for!), a steak and the warm chocolate melting cake (my most fave thing I ever had on the ship!!!). My daughter had chicken nuggets/fries from the kids menu. She also had the fruit cocktail and warm melting cake. She was in heaven with that dessert. Our waiter seemed surprised that we didn't order more food, but I told him we weren't starving, and it would go to waste. He said it was ok to take a nibble and send it back, but still, that part of me who grew up in a do not waste food type of home is with me and I couldn't do it! After dinner we went to the gift shop for a quick peek but it was closed. We realized we were exhausted and wanted to just go back to our room, put on our nighties and watch tv/hang out. I was surprised at how well we got some network channels and caught a couple of shows. Around 10:30 it was lights out and we slept really well.We awoke around 7:10 to the sound of the anchor dropping. It wasn't as loud as expected, and I probably could have slept through it, except I was so excited for the day ahead. We had quick showers and got dressed. We headed up to Lido for the buffet. It was typical breakfast buffet, and I didn't find the food all that wonderful actually. I have had better at the Old Country Buffet at the mall. It was enough to get us going though. The pancakes were not great at all, and were hard and tough. The eggs were ok and I am not a breakfast meat person, so can't comment on the bacon, sausage or ham. There were lots of cereals, fruits, yogurt, milk, pastries, bagels, etc etc etc available as well. No reason for anyone to go hungry, as there was something for everyone. I did hear an older lady complaining there were no prunes, but that was really not an issue for me. LOL. We wanted to get on a tender asap, as it was made very clear that if you didn't want to have to get a number assigned and wait, that it was best to be at the tenders between 8am-930am. If you were later than that, they assigned boat numbers on lido deck and you had to wait. After all the waiting in line the day before, we were not into that at all. We made the tender at 8:50am. Once on the dock, I immediately went and booked a glass bottom boat ride. There were tons of available times, and we chose 10am. It cost me about $24 for the 2 of us (1 adult and 1 child). We fell in love with Avalon! It was so quaint and so gorgeous and just the perfect little tourist trap, and made us really feel like we were on vacation. We went to a few stores while killing time and then back up on the dock for 9:50am. Carnival had set up a table with free hot chocolate for anyone that wanted it at the end of the dock. Keep that in mind if you are thirsty. We boarded the glass bottom boat and it was only about ¾ full. We went to lovers cove to look at the fish. The catch on this ride is that the fish will pretty much only come under the windows if you want to spend $5 on fish food to feed them. There are holes in the side of the boat and you put the food down there and the fish will come. We were sitting at the back of the boat and there were about 8 of us back there around the largest window. 4 people bought food, so we didn't bother. We were able to see all the fish with the food they bought. They did give us dirty looks for not buying food, but oh well. I was a bit disappointed because the whole 45 mins we were out, we only saw 2 species of fish. Its not the tour's fault at all, as they can't control what will be swimming by as we are there, but it would have been nicer to see different types of fish. It was still fun. Was it worth $24? Not really, but it's a tourist trap and we had fun. Some people on the boat had paid $24 each for this excursion, and the only thing they had different from us was an assigned time before getting off the ship. Save your money and book it on the dock. You can book all the tours here for half the price as offered by Carnival, and you are on the exact same tour and same tour company that the Carnival people are on. We wanted to rent a golf cart. This was something we planned to do. At the end of the dock if you turn left and go to the end of the street there are 2 places to rent from. One is quite busy, and the other one is across from a volleyball court and a bit out of the way. Its about another 1 min walk down, and you wont have a line up. This is where we rented front. There is apparently another place if you went to the right of the dock and down to the end. The price is now $40 for the first hour and $30 for a 2nd hour. You have to give them $70 total (Cash ONLY), and you get $30 back when you return the cart. You have to have a valid drivers license on you as well, so be sure you are carrying that. I signed a waiver and off we went. They give you a map to follow, and it looks easy enough, but we got turned around so many times! I am directionally challenged to begin with, so it was quite funny. They have a circle tour that if you do it properly, should take about 55mins to do. Well I messed up so many times. We were laughing so hard. There were always lots of other cruisers around to help though, and many looked just as lost as us. One part is going down the side of the mountain, with no guard rails, and can be a bit unnerving. I kept one foot on the brake and went slow. We had a blast! There are many great spots to stop and take good photos of the town and the ship from way up high. We got really turned around in town and didn't finish the tour. We made it back to the golf cart place (got a bit lost finding it again). We dropped it off and went shopping again. My daughter found a cute little tourist shop that sold a bunch of tacky kids tourist gifts she got a shell necklace for $1, a shell pirate ship for $2.50 and a shell jewelry box for $4. She was very happy with her little purchases. I thought it was a great little store. You can give your kid $10 and they can pick 3 or 4 little things to bring home. We decided to get a postcard and mail it to Gramma & Grampa and see how long it would take. We bought the card at a little drug store (keep in mind this is a great place to pick up anything you accidentally forgot for the ship, and much cheaper). The post office was just down the street. We mailed it from there, and it took exactly one week to the day for it to come back to Canada. Where the post office is, there is a little mini-thrift store and I noticed lots of cruisers in there buying stuff. We took a quick peek in it for fun (we love thrift shops!). We decided we were hungry and had enough, and took the tender back to the ship around 1pm. We had lunch at the grill and my daughter wanted to go to one of the Camp Carnival activities (People Bingo (like a scavenger hunt using people you find) & Mini-Golf tournament). I didn't really know what to do, so I went back to the stateroom and just relaxed. I ended up falling asleep for about 45 mins. I havent had the chance to nap during the day in years, and it felt so good. My daughter came back to the room and said she had fun. We went up to the lido deck and she used the waterslide for the first time. Up and down it for well over an hour. The salt water didn'tt bother her at all. I went in the hot tub for a while, had some ice cream and just sunbathed. It wasn't overly busy and finding a lounge chair was not hard at all. I never did see any of the saving of the chairs all day, and also never had trouble (even on the day at sea) finding one when I wanted it. Beach towels are by the pool and you can sign out 2 at a time with your sign and sail card. You have to have them back by 6pm. I noticed the lido deck pretty much shut down at 6pm. I did expect more entertainment up there than I saw. I don't really remember what else I did that day before getting ready for formal night. This is part of the problem I had with the cruise, is it seemed to be a real party/drinkers cruise. I think with it being a short getaway, it's a great cruise for 18+ to go party for a week, get a ride to Mexico and drink like crazy. Rarely did I see anyone not walking around with a drink in their hands. I think as a single mom, who is not a partier, there were too many dead spots for me, with nothing to do. I watched a movie in the cabin here and there and stuff like that. I also bought 60 mins of wireless internet time ($24.00). I would download photos from the day and resize them, then put them in an email and bulk email my friends and family back home an update of the day with photos. This would kill some time for me as well. I was very lucky, because our room is on the same deck as the internet cafe. I could get a decent wireless signal right in our stateroom if I left the door open. A couple of times I went down to the main lobby and used the couch and tables there just for a change of atmosphere, but most of the time I was able to do what I needed from the cabin. I also checked up on work quickly and stuff. I ended up using 54 of my 60 mins. The rest went to waste. I thought I would end up needing more minutes, but being able to write offline, then send, pop in my email, go offline, reply, then go online again, really works. We got ready for formal night and went to the shops to look around. She wanted to go to the Camp Carnival Name that Tune at 7pm. It was being held in the teen club, so double bonus, she got to play a game AND see the teen club! I decided to go try out the casino. I don't live near a casino, and have only ever been to casinos about 6 or 7 times. I love the slots. They had penny slots, which looked like a lot of fun to me. I played 10 cent pulls and on about the 8th pull I won $24.67! I decided just to cash out and be happy with 25 bucks in my pocket. Its not a huge amount, but was fun to win it. I went and looked at all the photos and found ours. Lots of people were taking digital photos of their photos, even though there were signs posted to not do it. I admit I did it a couple of times as well. I went to Club 02 to pick up my daughter and they were playing Deal or No Deal instead. I guess the counselor could not get the cd player to work. My daughter looked relieved to see me and almost ran out the door. They were sitting around a table bidding on the paper suitcases and she said she was so bored. The counselor had the personality of a dead fish and my daughter was not overly thrilled with her. I don't know if I should say this or not, as it is probably politically incorrect, but I think she was simply too old for this job. I pictured the counselors as young hip girls and guys in their early 20s, full of energy and ideas. She was probably in her early-mid 40s, looked less than thrilled to be working on this ship and it showed. She was just not into it at all. She also seemed very uncomfortable when parents were around. Almost very nervous of being watched. We went to formal night dinner. We stopped by a couple of the photo places, but I didn't plan to buy them. My daughter does professional modeling/acting so I have tons of professional photos of her, and really didn't need formal night ones. We just did a few for fun. Oh this is a good place to note how people dressed for dinner. I forgot about this on the first night. I saw jeans, sweatshirts, tees, etc on the first night. It could be that luggage had not arrived. Many looked very sloppy and unkept. On formal night I would say that about 75% of the ship participated. I wore a black pant suit and my daughter had a pretty crushed velvet dress on. I saw everything from nice suits and ties to tuxes and formal gowns. Lots of dark pant suits on the ladies and little black dresses. Dinner was good. I had a Caesar salad, prime rib (the potatoes were undercooked and terrible) and my daughter had a shrimp cocktail and lobster. She had never had lobster before and wanted to try it. She hated it! Our waiter actually took her plate and took the shell off, and cut up her lobster into bite size pieces for her. It was very sweet of him to do that for her. It was so funny because she felt bad that she didn't like it, after he did all that work, and she hid pieces inside her bun, under the rice and some under my unfinished salad. She left a bit out. He came by and said Wow someone sure enjoyed her lobster! and she said Oh yes, it was yummy! Thanks!. Too funny. He then told us he was not bringing us a dessert menu, that he wanted to surprise us. He came out with a tray full! He brought us chocolate cake, warm choc melting cake and another cake with warm sauce (can't remember what it was called). It was all so delicious. We went up to the late seating show and watched a bit. It was the Here's Hollywood show. It was terrible. We watched a bit and left. Again, I am sure if you were drunk it would have been a great show. Also that night, from 9:15-10pm they had color your own tshirt at camp carnival. She wanted to do that, so I left her there and she came back to the room at 10pm with her shirt. They use fabric markers on them, but they are all so old and running out, that it was really hard to actually color the shirt very well. They seriously need some new markers. We decided to order some tea and cookies from room service. We weren't really hungry, but I needed a cup of tea and we got the cookies for fun to see what they were like. The cookies are a basic sugar cookie, but probably made with brown sugar. They were ok but nothing I really wanted again. Also 2 brownies came on the plate, and even though we are chocoholics, we didn't enjoy them at all. We went to sleep around 11pm. I heard the ship docking quite early, but managed to roll over and go back to sleep. I think we slept until almost 9am. Had breakfast buffet again (the French toast was very good). We went into Ensenada on the shuttle to downtown ($3 return per person). Just outside the ship is a decent sized market place where you can buy all the typical tacky tourist gifts that you find downtown. Prices were about the same as well. On the shuttle, the guide gave us a few pointers on what to do/not to do, what to expect, how to behave, how to bargain,etc They were good pointers. Also, one of the big highlights of our trip THE BLACK PEARL was docked beside the cruise ship!!!!!!! We are HUGE pirates fans and to see this in person and fairly close made our day. My daughter started shaking when she saw it. It was INCREDIBLE! I knew I needed to get photos later. We got off the bus in this really icky area. It was dirty and gross and I didn't feel overly safe to be honest. We walked around a bit. Went to Habana Banana, saw Papas & Beer, etc and we had had enough in 15 mins. Some gross guy came up to me and said Lady I give you $100 cash for your daughter to visit me in my room for an hour. EWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW. At this point I wished we had a big strong man with us. I walked really fast and held onto my daughter. We went back to the shuttle area and got the next one back to the ship. Been there, done that and NEVER AGAIN. I asked if on the way back we could stop for a quick photo of the Black Pearl. What they did was let us off, and we walked back to the ship. It was about a 6 min walk and seemed safe there. So we got fairly close and got some great photos. This was incredible for us! By the time we got back to the ship, I felt so icky and gross and swear that we both smelled like dirty Mexico. We changed into our swimsuits and hit the pool/slide/hot tub. Awwwwwww now this is what I wanted! I went into the pool but did not like the salt water thing at all. I got a face full and almost threw up. Not for me. I was hoping to try the slide, but didn't like the water. I stuck to the hot tub. My daughter went to some sort of team races with camp carnival and I stayed back, uploaded photos and emailed them off. I had another afternoon siesta and then was kinda bored. There was really nothing going on. The ship was in port, so the stores were closed, the casino was closed I felt like I had nothing to do at this point. We watched part of a movie, had lido deck stuff for lunch (I believe it was Japanese cuisine that day for the speciality food at the buffet). We hung out at the pool some more and I read my book a bit, but I was a bit bored. My daughter did waterslide races, which turned out to be a total waste of time, as all the camp carnival kids did not have bathing suits with them, nor were they taken to go get them. My daughter and one other kid did the races. All the counselor did was stand by the pool and they counted as a kid went down the slide. The one who did it fastest won. This went on for 3 rounds and the counselor told the kids Ok its over, just play for a while, I need to sit down. She sat down and all the kids hung out by the pool and the other 2 did watersliding. Later was some spin art, which was painting. My daughter went to that and I decided to do laundry. We were heading to Disneyland afterwards and I had a feeling the day at sea would be packed in the laundry room. I just tossed in one load of everything and dried it. $2 to wash, $2 to dry and $1 for a box of tide. I had a couple of things that I handwashed and tossed in. I was quite bored at this point. My daughter came back after 15 mins of painting and said she was bored. We put on tv and hung out. At dinner time, we were not really feeling like doing the whole dining room ordeal. We just wanted to stay in our shorts, so we went to the lido buffet. I am so glad we did, because they had my daughter's fave food Turkey dinner!!! This kid would live on turkey year round if I could cook one every few days! So she was thrilled. I found lots of yummy stuff that night. At 7pm there was supposed to be a dance class. My daughter thought this could be fun because she is a dancer and would like to dance with them. It was cancelled because the girl who runs it was ill. I still wonder why they couldn't sub in another dancer???? There was nothing else to do on the ship. Everything was shut down because 80% of the people were off in Mexico boozin it up. We went to the show that night, and it was a comedian and a magician and it was actually really good. I was happy that we finally saw a good show and this occupied some time for us. Afterwards was candy art at camp carnival (filling a tube with powdered sugar) and we knew this would be another one of their activities that were advertised for a 45 min duration, but take 30 seconds. I took her up to Camp and told them she just wanted to make her candy really quick and leave. They said ok. I went to go in with her and they would not allow me in. I am guessing it's a security thing because of other kids in there. That was fine. So I said I would just sit outside and wait. They seemed kind of shocked that I was there doing that. I felt like I was not wanted there at ALL. Odd feeling. She made the candy in less than a minute and off we went. One recurring thing with Camp Carnival was the activities would be scheduled for an hour, and it was usually done in less than 15 mins and the kids were told Its PS2 time! and they sent them off to play video games. My daughter doesn't like video games and thank goodness she had signing out privileges. She said she felt the entire time like the staff didn't even want to be there. All they wanted to do was chat amongst themselves and make the kids play PS2. I can understand it's a long and stressful day, but this is the job you chose! No one put a gun to your head and said You MUST be a cruise ship camp counselor!. So buck up and do your job! We went back to the room and ordered room service  cheesecake and hot chocolates! It was very yummy! We fell asleep around 11pm that night. Next was our 'fun' day at sea. We were looking forward to no docking noise and sleeping in. At 8:45am our phone rang and startled us awake. Who the heck is phoning us at 8:45am on a CRUISE SHIP???? Surely not telemarketers! Did the bill collectors find me? (joke). Hi, is xxxxx there? Ummm she WAS sleeping this is her mother, who is this?. Hi, this is (didn't catch name) from the Spa, she entered a draw on the first day, and while she didn't win, I wanted to let her know of an awesome special we have going on in the spa today. Normally the massage package for 2 people is $470 and today we can offer it to her for $400!. SERIOUSLY!!! You are calling my 10 YEAR OLD AT 8:45AM ON OUR VACATION TO OFFER HER A $400 SPA TREATMENT???????????? I pretty much hung up on them. I was sooooooooo mad. Why on earth are they phoning people about their specials at 8:45am???? I got all 73 fliers they left in our stateroom every night with all their current specials. If I wanted a $400 massage I would have booked it you idiot!!!!!! So now we are awake and I lay down and put on the tv. I ordered some room service breakfast for us and realize I am not feeling good at all. I can feel every wave of motion, and I have some pretty major motion sickness going on. Room service arrives and I start to eat my cereal and I realize its not going to stay down. I am so sick and decide to climb in the shower. While I am in the shower the phone rings. Is xxxx there? My mom is in the shower, this is her daughter.  Oh hi, can you tell your mom that the spa is calling to let her know of a wonderful deal we have going on facials today, and if she would like to book one, it is $50 off!  You already called here this morning and woke us up. Please take us off your phone list. Gotta love a 10 yr old who is trained on how to deal with telemarketing. Moral of this story  if you do the spa tour, and you don't want them to call you on the fun day at sea early in the morning, put a bit note saying DO NOT CONTACT ME UNLESS I WIN A FREE THING on it. I get out of the shower and my daughter really wants to go to the towel folding in the Normandie at 10am. So I drag myself there with wet hair feeling like I might need the towel for something other than folding. They taught us to make a dog (I think  I don't remember, I was in a daze) and an elephant. It would have been fun if I was not ready to give the normandie my breakfast. My daughter then went off to Camp to do the Great Ship Race, which was basically a scavenger hunt of sorts. This is the one thing she was looking forward to. She had never really gotten to do a scavenger hunt for real, and always wanted to. Just one of those silly little things a kid gets in their head that would be the most fun ever. This meant the world to her, and I did warn her that with the way Camp had been, not to expect too much. Off she went. I went to the little store and bought some bonine. The girl in there was super. She told me to take one every 4 hours and drink gingerale and keep moving. So I did just that and within 20 mins I felt great. At about 11:10 my daughter came flying into the stateroom with a friend I need a pen that writes black ink and a red sock!! Help! That is all we have left. It was a long list too! So I gave them my pen and knew I did not have a red sock. Apparently the other girl didn't. I have a pair of crocs socks that are white and they have some polkadots on them, a couple of the dots are red, so I said Take these, its just a game, I am sure they will accept them as a good try. Off she went happy and giggling and having a blast. 15 mins later she came back to the room almost in tears. First off let me tell you my daughter doesn't cry for no reason. She is always a good sport, wins awards at school for being a good sport and a good friend, and just does not get upset by little things beyond her control. She is a very grounded kid with a good grip on reality. I knew something was really wrong when I saw her face. She was upset and mad. She threw the socks on the ground and said We were 2nd and they wouldn't take the socks. There were 4 groups of 2 kids each, and there were 8 medals there for 1st-4th place. All lined up. Camp Carnival medals all sitting out and waiting for them. 6 kids got medals, and she and the other girl didn't even get the 4th place ones. They got put in a drawer because they did not have a red sock. She then started to cry and said I know I am being silly, its just a dumb medal, but EVERYONE but me and (cant remember name of the other girl) got one. They said we should have looked harder for a red sock. What were we supposed to do? Go knocking on doors?. I said no, of course not. I was livid. Why would you do that to kids? 8 kids playing, 8 medals, and you put 2 in a drawer because they didn't find a red sock?!? Part of me wanted to storm up there and have it out with them, but part of me did not want to be that mom that caused a huge stink. I didn't know what to do. I asked my daughter and she said just leave it. The staff were mean and she hated them anyways. I do plan on writing to Carnival about this camp staff and this situation. I don't want anything from them, and I don't expect anything from them, but I do expect them to do something about this staff. My daughter is so friendly and outgoing and gets along with everyone, and for her to not like someone means she REALLY does not like them. They were doing the Carnival Build a Bear just after that, so we went to check it out. The bears are very cute and worth the $19.99, but you see, at our house we have a bit of a real BAB addiction. We have 7 animals and tons of clothes. My daughter opted just to buy the little sailor girl outfit and the camp carnival tee for her bears at home. The outfit was 9.99 and they tossed in the tee for free. She was a happy girl again and we had lunch at the grill on the lido. She swam and slided some more and then we wanted to do the Amazing Race. We were the only team that had a child. All the rest were adults/young adults/seniors. One lady let it slip to me that she was on this ship a month ago and played, but didn't do so well. Well guess who won???? Yep LOL. I didn't even see her racing around the ship for answers. I think she had them memorized. She was elated to have her ship on a stick and I was happy for her. It seemed like a big deal to her to win this. It crossed my mind to post all the questions on here and have you all prepared but what fun would that be?? LOL. We came in dead last, but had fun trying. We went back to the cabin and packed everything up. Luggage had to be out in the hall between 6-10pm. My daughter decided to skip the talent show, and while I was packing she fell asleep. It took me about an hour to organize everything for Disneyland and the rest of our trip. After I was done, I watched tv for a bit. Again, another lull where there really wasn't much to do. It was ok, I did another email and photo download and my daughter woke up. She wanted to go for one last swim with 2 friend she made. They went to the pool for about ½ hour and got cold. We decided we wanted to see the 7pm show Shout. They were having a farewell party in the Rex club for the camp kids at 730pm, and while she wasn't impressed with the staff, she wanted to say goodbye to her friends and get photos with them. So we watched the show at 7pm and lasted until about 7:10 before we had to leave because it was just so ridiculously horrible. She went to camp and I sat for another 5 mins and couldn't take anymore. I decided to go to the casino one last time. I went and found a 2 cent machine  I put in a $1 bill and played my first 10 cent pull and bam I won $45!!!!! I cashed out and ran..I ran straight to the gift shop! There was this adorable pair of pj pants and matching tank that my daughter wanted so badly and they were $30. I was considering buying them, but had to budget our spending $ for Disneyland, so I went in and bought them to surprise her! I grabbed her from the rex and we headed for dinner at 8pm in the dining room. I had fried mozzarella (OMG sooooooo yummy we got a 2nd order!) and I had veal parmagien (sp?). It was ok but nothing super special. I was disappointed that our final dinner wasn't overly yummy. I can't recall what my daughter had, but I think she got the chicken nuggets again. At this point I realized I was feeling very stoned on Bonine. I had had 3 of them total that day, and was feeling kind of happy. It was funny actually. We went back to the gift shop after dinner and bought a couple of those little beanie towel animals for souvieners. I got a mug for my collection (I have a mug from every vacation we take on my desk) and a couple other small things for friends and family. I was falling asleep with the bonine and we went to bed fairly early, around 10pm I think. I had set the phone to wake us at 7:15am the next morning. Quick showers and off to lido for breakfast. They were calling for the self disembarkation over and over until about 8:30 I think. At about 8:45am (I think) they said We are cleared for ALL COLORS to disembark. Now I want you to picture 50% of the ship trying to disembark at once. I would estimate that is what it was. We ended up standing in a line in those tiny hallways for 1.5 hours!!!! We moved a bit here and there. People were feeling cramped. They were running in and out of the freshly cleaned staterooms to use the washrooms, they were swiping the pop off the mini-bar thing because they were dying of thirst (guilty of the latter we were so thirsty we couldn't stand it). Everyone was upset and unimpressed. I spent those 90mins talking to many people and they were all telling me that this is the worst cruise they have ever been on. They said there was nothing to do, the food was sub-standard, it was all partying/drinking, embarkation was a mess, and now debarkation was too. Once we finally got off the ship there were 2 HUGE long lines down to customs. All the way down that bridge from the ship to the terminal. I was so happy to be Canadian, as the line for international people had no one in it and we walked straight past everyone waiting in line for the US customs. I am guessing they would be there for at least another 45 mins or longer. We got through customs and were off the ship! Overall, I did have a nice relaxing time, but didn't feel hooked on cruising. I think we need to find a more family oriented atmosphere and a better kids club. I will pay close attention to recent capers and really study. This one just worked well for my vacation schedule, its cheap for us to fly there, and we wanted to do Disneyland as well. I did get in lots of downtime, which isn't really a bad thing, as the next few days in Disney were go-go-go. I will probably try a cruise in the future, but never a 4 night one again. My daughter said she did like it, but prefers to go to Disneyland or Disney World. She is willing to try another one though at some point. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2006
REVIEW OF CARNIVAL PARADISE SAIL DATE: 9/4/06 4 DAYS PORTS OF CALL: CATALINA ISLAND AND ENSENADA MEXICO This was our second cruise, so I can say that there are things about the Carnival Paradise that I liked better than the previous ... Read More
REVIEW OF CARNIVAL PARADISE SAIL DATE: 9/4/06 4 DAYS PORTS OF CALL: CATALINA ISLAND AND ENSENADA MEXICO This was our second cruise, so I can say that there are things about the Carnival Paradise that I liked better than the previous cruise ship (the Royal Caribbean Vision of the Seas) and a number of things that I found that I disliked in comparison. On the whole, I thought the Royal Caribbean experience was superior. I will not comment on the shore excursions except to say that what we experienced on both cruises were very similar in nature in terms of quality and price. That being said, it appears that the tour outfits service the various brands of cruise ships that pull into port and Ill also say that the experiences have all been good and the tour companies were all professional. Thats it for the intro, and now onto the review. EMBARKATION -- Lets start at the beginning, at the cruise terminal. The Carnival Paradise sails from Long Beach, near the Queen Mary. We are on the 4 day cruise, with stops in Catalina and Ensenada. There is a large parking structure (vs. just a flat lot for RCI) that you pay $12 per day for. It was easy for us to cart our bags to where they needed to go, but I did not see any shuttles operating for those that would need assistance. Maybe they were there, but I didnt see them. Carnival has acquired the huge dome that used to house the Spruce Goose airplane as their cruise terminal and although spacious, it was hot, hot, hot! A line attendant was even fanning herself with a brochure, and when I commented about not having the air conditioning turned on, she said that it was turned on but that it just didnt work to good. On the plus side, check in was very rapid (faster than RCI it seems). On the minus side, we were made to wait in nice straight lines after check in. The line waiting area was just an open concrete floored room, still hot, with no chairs. There were six or eight lines, 30 to 50 people in each line, all standing around (RCI had good air conditioning, and there were chairs everywhere for you to sit). We were told that we had to wait in the lines because the ship was rocking back and forth, but, this is a flat calm docking area. I didnt buy it. When our line was released, we went in a line to get our pictures taken (the embarkation picture). Clearly, we were held in the nice straight lines so as not to clog up this picture taking area. We then walked up and onto the gangway to get on the ship. The ship was not rocking at all as we were told by the nice straight line guy. There was a buffet already going for those that boarded early and could not yet go to their stateroom. We were told that the staterooms wouldnt be ready until 1:30 PM and Ill note that the luggage was at our stateroom in a very reasonable time although the people across the hall were waiting for quite a bit longer. CENTRUM The Centrum is impressive as you board the ship, but then again its designed for that knock out first impression just as it is on the Vision of the Seas and I suspect every other mega liner on the water. One wacky thing about the Centrum on this ship that Ill mention right now is the layout and the choice of music on this cruise. Yeah, the Centrum is tall and spans several decks, but on the floor is a very large circular bar with stools around it, a raised stage above it, and not a whole lot else. What Im trying to say is that there needs to be additional seating here for those that want to be comfortable and listen to the music playing on the stage without sitting on a barstool. Make it like a nice hotel lobby. There is some comfortable seating far off to the side, but you cant hear the music well (or see the musicians well for that matter) from there. This brings me to the Centrum music. There was a classical trio playing at various times throughout the cruise on this bar stage, and I thought that it was just the wrong type of music to put up there. I like classical music, but at a loud bar, it just doesnt work. You could barely hear them playing above the ambient noise typical of a bar. A small jazz group would have been in order here. The instruments are louder and you would be able to hear them. The Centrum was annoying to me and the Vision of the Seas was far, far superior in this area. LIFEBOAT DRILL The lifeboat drill on the Paradise was an ordeal. First we had to go to an assembly area where we had to wait until all rooms were verified to be empty, and then we had to go out to the lifeboat area to wait again. All of this took quite awhile. The process was much quicker on the Vision. Also related to safety that Ill include here is that on some of the doorways when wandering about the ship, you really have to step over some large thresholds. Be careful-Ive tripped over a few of them-and watched others trip over some also. You have been warned. STATEROOM The rooms on both ships cannot be fairly compared because on the Vision, we had a grand suite while on the Paradise we just had an ocean view stateroom on the Empress deck. I can say that the Paradise is an aged vessel and has very few cabins with a balcony. Our ocean view stateroom had a window that didnt open (none would as I suppose the ship would sink much faster if water was pouring into open windows-I mean Rose wouldnt have had time to save Jack by chopping off his handcuffs if this were to happen!) and the window was very dirty. It was kind of hard to see out of. It was also hard to get to because the bed was in the way. You had to climb over the bed to stand by the window. Also of note was the television pod mounted high in the corner. I did hit my head on it once while climbing over the bed to look out of the window. The stateroom was clean, there were two robes hanging in the closet, the bathroom had some sundry items in a bowl for your convenience, there was adequate storage for small items in the medicine cabinet. There was adequate drawer and shelf storage, there are not that many provided hangers on the closet rods, so you may want to bring some of your own. There is a safe that uses a credit card to open and close. Our stateroom attendant made sure that we didnt use our seapass to open and close this safe-it might scramble the magnetic data on the seapass. The shower was a bit touchy to adjust for temperature but was fine once we got used to it, and the water was noted as very hot. There is no clothes iron in the room for safety reasons, but there is one in the launderette along with coin operated washer/dryers. The temperature control in the room was a challenge and the room was pretty cold most of the time. There was a control in the ceiling that controlled more or less cold air to be let in the room. It could not be shut off, so there was always some flow of cold air 24/7. We had no issues with stateroom service and it was first rate. I should mention that in general the personnel aboard this ship were more cheerful than on the Royal Caribbean one. Everyone was smiling and said hello to us. They exceeded my expectations in this area. THE GYM AND RECREATION The gym had more equipment than the Vision as I recall. There were 5 or 6 treadmills, about 4 elliptical trainers, a stepper, recumbent bikes, and an ab, chest/military press, back extension machines plus a few others. They offer spinning and other classes, there is a sauna and steam room and freeweight dumbbells. There is a short walk/jog track above the gym, which my wife says is 11 laps to the mile. There is miniature golf available, and ping pong tables. There is a pool with water slide and a couple of whirlpools. There is a large stage in this area which has a reggae band playing. There is the hamburger/French fry pavilion also here. One thing that the RCI Vision had was an indoor adult only pool area with 2 whirlpools. I liked that area because it was really relaxing. I couldnt find anything like that on the Paradise. FOOD AND ENTERTAINMENT Here is where the Paradise shines brighter than the Vision of the Seas, with one notable exception which Ill touch on later. The food in the main dining room was better than on the RCI Vision of the Seas in my opinion. The Lamb, Fillet Mignon, Prime Rib, etc. were all of high quality in my opinion. Of course, the quality of food is highly subjective and some people have such high expectations that they seem to come away disappointed. I did not feel that way at all. Of course the fillet will not be of the same quality as a Flemings or Mortons steakhouse, but by the same token, you are not on a $10,000 cruise here. I was always really full by the end of the four courses. There was always a starter, a salad, a main course, and a dessert. Of course, there were a number of choices for each of these. We did not try the midnight buffets so I cant comment, we did not try room service and we did not try any of the casual dining options so I cant comment on those either. Service was very good in the dining room and throughout all of the eating areas. There were 4 dinner seatings available in (I believe) the two main dining rooms. I should mention that there seem to be only tables for parties of 4 or 8. RCI also had cozy tables for 2 available. I also want to say that the dining room layout is very cut up and you can only see a portion of it from where you are sitting unless you are in the center section. Im sure that this is a function of the age of the ship and the design philosophy of the time. The newer ships have large, open and expansive dining rooms. There is no ultra premium restaurant on this ship as there are on some others. There is pizza available 24/7-I thought it had an outstanding, very light and airy crust but I thought it a bit light on the sauce. Overall it was very good. There is a hamburger/french fry bar near the pool and although I didnt try any of the burgers, it was a VERY popular area. There was always a tropical drink of the day and I tried a yellowbird which was excellent. Ill mention here that wherever I ordered a drink, it was expertly made and at no time did I feel that they were skimping on the alcohol. Here is where Ill mention the exception to the excellent meals aboard the ship in my opinion. Its the breakfast buffet. It was very much standard, rather limited and FAR inferior to the RCI Vision of the Seas. There was an omelet station, scrambled eggs, sausage, bacon, some McDonalds like hash browns and stuff like french toast, waffles and some breakfast pastries. There was fruit and cereal and such but after just a couple of mornings, I tired of the limited menu. RCI had many more selections and was much larger. RCI had Sunday brunch quality breakfast desserts. The lunch buffet I thought was better and it did vary from day to day with different themes, however, the dessert area was controlled so that you had to ask a person for a particular selection and that created a line sometimes. They also seemed to run out of some selections at various times. There was a sushi bar on the ship but we didnt try it. It always had a long line waiting. There was also a candy bar where you could buy loose candy by weight. There is also a Starbucks-like premium coffee shop which serves coffee almost-but not quite as good as-the big brand (nobody beats Starbucks!). I thought that the quality of the entertainment in the showroom was superior to that of the RCI Vision of the Seas. The comedians were funny, the shows were professional. The singing and dancing were excellent and I couldnt believe the sound that they could get out of such a small band. We didnt miss a show and we were highly entertained. The casino was larger than we expected and was fun to play at. You could of course use your sea pass to play but you do have to pay a surcharge of 3% for the privilege. We arent really bar people, but I did notice a very quiet bar that was near our dining room. I believe it was called the Rotterdam bar and that suited us better than the louder ones. There were a number of night clubs available to suit all kinds of tastes. There is also a teen club at which no adults are allowed. There is of course internet availability but it is expensive. This does not seem to change from ship to ship- its always expensive to communicate from the ship. There is a library, but for some reason it was open only 1 hour in the morning and 1 hour later in the day. There is a card room for friendly games not involving the casino. There is a liquor and tobacco store and a couple of souvenir shops. Its all standard fare for a cruise ship. Here is another little quirk- we wanted to buy a 5x7 photograph of a particular shot to fit a 5x7 frame at home, but you had to buy the 8x10 of that same shot first before you were allowed to have the privilege of buying the 5x7. Its wacky. The 8x10 is still sitting frameless in the little folder that they give you. A COUPLE OF RECOMMENDATIONS Having now traveled in a cabin with a balcony and also one with just a window, I will have to strongly recommend that you pay the extra money for the balcony. I didnt realize how much I missed sitting on the balcony in the morning while pulling into port, sipping coffee while the ship slowly maneuvered to the dock. I also loved it in the evenings sitting and listening to the ship cutting through the water. From that balcony, watching the sunsets were spectacular. You could also open the sliding door and have fresh air in the stateroom. From the balcony, I also saw a shark cruising near the surface, and I also saw a whole bunch of jumping fish-I dont know why they were jumping. I will not cruise without a balcony again. Another recommendation that I have for you is to book a suite if you can possibly swing it. I know that its a lot more money and many say that you dont spend much time in your room but its much more than that. We found that with a suite, you did spend comfortable and relaxing time in your room and especially on the larger balcony that comes with it-and relaxing is what a vacation is all about isnt it? The closet space is MUCH larger and the rooms resemble large hotel rooms rather than little bitty cabins. You are on a higher deck and that means less stair climbing to get to the ships features. For instance, I only had to go up one flight of stairs to get a cup of coffee in the morning and return to my balcony. With the cabin I had on this ship, I was 4 flights down. Elevators? Forget it! On both cruises that I was on, there were so many people trying to use the limited elevators that we mostly used the stairs (we didnt need to use the stair climbing machine in the gym!). You also get priority embarking and debarking including a private waiting area in the cruise terminal. You also get priority tender tickets in ports where you tender off of the ship. That means that you are the first on land. You get a more skilled suite attendant that really is more unobtrusive and provides a very high level of service. The decks that have suites on them are much less crowded and much quieter and that can be important if you like sleep. I hope to be able to afford a grand suite on my next cruise. One thing that seems to be working well for us is to pay attention when you book your cabin as to where on the ship it is located. If you pick a cabin at either end of the ship, you can bet that there will be a lot less people walking past your door and banging into your walls and talking loudly and waking you up. Try and stay away from the elevator areas if you dont want to be woken up. Yes, you will have to walk a bit longer distance to get to the stairways and elevators, but you might be much more rested during your vacation. On the other hand, in the center of the ship and on the lower decks you will feel less ship movement. If you get seasick, this may be more for you. On the ends of the ship and on the higher decks, you will definitely feel the ship movement much more. DEBARKATION We had no issues here. They gave us a choice of having our bags picked up and deposited in the terminal or we could leave the ship early and carry our own luggage off. We chose the latter. There was a line to get off early, but it wasnt that bad if you line up early. It did grow fast. Line up before 7AM and youll probably breeze through customs as one of the first. It was early enough that the customs agent was waiting for someone to get to his station and we had no wait at all. Clearly, there were many who chose to debark leisurely. They offer a breakfast that last morning, and it will be a chance for some to grab that last meal. If you are in no hurry, you can remain aboard while your luggage is removed and until your color is called. Sip some coffee and have a danish and enjoy your last few moments on the water............ Read Less
Sail Date: July 2006
Paradise no longer a Paradise. I took this same cruise in 2003 and was very impressed. This time around it was definitely not the same. Upon entering our stateroom I noticed while that it appeared clean at first glance a more careful ... Read More
Paradise no longer a Paradise. I took this same cruise in 2003 and was very impressed. This time around it was definitely not the same. Upon entering our stateroom I noticed while that it appeared clean at first glance a more careful inspection revealed an accumulation of dust in the corners of the furniture and carpet. When we opened the drawers to put our clothes in, we found sticky spilled soft drink, human hairs, lint etc... The pillows smelled like feet and morning breath-(YUCK). We bought our own pillows at the first port, Catalina Island. In addition, we had a fourth person in our room, for which a cot was provided for. A cot is fine but the mattress was an old piece of worn out foam being held together by the bedsheet wrapped around it. I asked for a replacement bed but it was worse that the first one. There were alot of young teens on this cruise who were for the most part well behaved but completely ignorant of the dining room dress code and the dining staff and maitre d' did nothing to enforce the dress code. (Tank tops and flip-flops on formal night.) In my opinion, the menu contains too many fancy, weird tasting dishes for the demographic that takes this cruise. The food in the open seating restaurant was good though, and the pizza bar was good, but the variety of beverages was limited due to broken equipment. There were some new things on the ship this time around such as a mini-golf course. The entertainment was good but you need to arrive very early in the showroom if you want a seat without an obstructed view. I personally felt like there was not enough musical entertainment variety. While relaxing out at the pool one afternoon, an overly loud reggae band started to play out on the deck and several people promptly got up and left, myself included. They completely ruined my nice relaxing afternoon. Why they just couldn't play some old Beatles or something through a nice sound system at a comfortable volume is beyond me. While the crew and staff are very nice and helpful, some of the photographers and spa staff were a little rude in my opinion. Overall, it was a nice cruise, but next time, I'll check out some non-Carnival owned ships for my next cruise.   Read Less
Sail Date: July 2006
I have taken this cruise on the 3 night version twice without my kids over the past 10 years. This was the first time taking the 4 night and we took our teenagers with us (ages 15 & 17). On Monday when we arrived at the terminal the ... Read More
I have taken this cruise on the 3 night version twice without my kids over the past 10 years. This was the first time taking the 4 night and we took our teenagers with us (ages 15 & 17). On Monday when we arrived at the terminal the authorities told us we MUST give the porters our luggage (which was under the size limits). When we handed the luggage over to the porter he asked for a tip instead of waiting for us to hand one over on our own. We walked up to the terminal with several families that took luggage alot bigger than ours and talked to the authorities about it at another door. They said these were people who did not want to cooperate and they didn't want to argue with them. At this point we had paid the porter, our luggage was gone and we didn't know when it would arrive at our room (it arrived around 4pm). We also noticed our dinner time was made for 8:30 and I had requested 5:45 with the travel agent. I talked to the dining room staff and they said nothing could be done. This set the trip off badly. On Tuesday we were warned by the crew to get off the boat for Catalina early as the lines get extremely long to take the water taxi across to the island. We got on the water taxi by 8:00 without waiting in line. Several people we talked to later waited up to an hour waiting in line at 9:30am. We took the Glass Bottom Boat Tour in Catalina and rented a golf cart to tour the island ourselves. This was fun, but except for shopping there wasn't alot to do. My 15yr old was bored and went back to the boat at 11:30 to swim in the pool instead. The rest of us went back at 1pm. The last water taxi back to the boat left at 4pm and the Paradise set sail at 4:30 (about 8 hours in Catalina, but this is enough time since it's so small). Tuesday is also formal night on the 4 day cruise. We decided to eat in the dining room and this was a mistake. The lobster was too small, people were ordering another entree, the prime rib was either too rare or cooked well and the baked potatoes were as hard as rocks. The rest of the cruise we ate in the Paris restaurant (buffet, etc) because we could come and go as we pleased and the food was better than the dining room. Wednesday we went to Ensenada and took the La Bufadora Adventure tour. I had been there before but wanted the kids to see it. I knew what to expect and the vendors are still as pushy as ever. Two things to point out... our tour guide recommended the churros and fish tacos at La Bufadora market and these are the best vendors you will find on your trip. If possible, do not eat in the city... grab a fish taco and/or churro here. The margaritas were recommended at a place right next to the parking lot, but the strawberry margaritas were disgusting... just a warning. The city of Ensenada has been cleaned up alot over the past few years. It's not the same downtown feeling as before except for the pushy street vendors. We tried to eat outside at Los Amigos and every 2 minutes someone was selling something to you and would not leave (hair braiding, chicklets, mariachis, silver, etc). Again the best thing to do, eat at La Bufadora in the market and go back to the city to drink to your heart's content (Papas and Beer is a good spot to hang out with others from the boat). Thursday, day at sea. At the past couple of trips I've taken with Carnival they have taken us over near Santa Barbara and we sailed around. This time (because gas is so high??) we anchored in the middle of nowhere all day. I enjoyed watching the dolphins jump near the boat before and we just sat out there all day. My husband and I played poker, played in a slot tournament and attended an art auction. This wasn't what I intended to do all day. I enjoyed sitting outside reading a book while the boat sailed before. Friday, announcement was made at 7am that we could disembark if we were taking our own luggage off by ourselves. We were in the car at 7:30. This is highly recommended because in prior cruises you would get off until 10-11 if you had the handle your luggage instead. Notes: Club O2 for the 15-17 yr olds is a joke. I saw no supervision and my kids went for 10 minutes and were turned off. Kids sitting around in the poker room, in the lobbies, in the stairwells, with no parents. Thursday there was teen dance where I saw kids under 18 dancing like drunken adults, again without supervision. Gambling - we played slots several times and the machines always jammed and then the staff took 5-10 minutes to refill or fix. There was only one poker table most of the time and it was packed; they needed to open another one at times and didn't. Midnight Buffets are a joke. The past two cruises there was ice sculptures and wonderful food in the dining room - it was impressive. All I saw this time was Mexican food in the buffet area on Wednesday and hamburgers and hot dogs on Thursday night. Art Auctions - if you haven't attended one ever go to this one. We attended for something to do and were pleasantly surprised. All 4 of us enjoyed this event and we bought one piece. Overall, I believe Carnival is charging more than before and they are cutting corners (especially with the midnight buffets and the fun day at sea). I'm not totally unhappy because I went with the kids and it was more laid back, I'm just disappointed that they aren't giving you what they've done in the past and it's gone down hill. I probably will not cruise with them again because of this. My friends have all cruised Carnival before on this cruise and just got back from sailing with Royal Caribbean this time and loved it (although without their kids). I was looking for a cruise line to take my teens on and have them go off on their own once in a while.... I was with them the entire time because Carnival did not supply those activities. Read Less
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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