My girlfriend and I booked this cruise with 6 other couples. I have been on a few other cruises (Carnival Sensation and Celebrity Infinity), but this was the first for my girlfriend. The price was only about $300 pp, so I personally wasn't expecting much. Especially since the Paradise is not one of the newer ships out there.
Anyway, Embarkation was so fast! We got to the ship at about 3pm and we were parked and on the ship within about 30 minutes! I remember this process as a nightmare on my past cruises. We hand carried our bags onto the ship and went immediately to our room to drop them off. The room was clean and more spacious than I had expected. We didn't stick around too long because we were off to the Lido deck to meet our friends and start the party!
The safety briefing was easy as we didn't have to bring our life vests with us. We met in the Rex Disco, heard the briefing and then were led to the outside deck to see where our lifeboat was located. This only took about 30 minutes and then we were off to party again.
The dining room food was excellent. The prime rib and lobster were the highlights. The flat steak was a little dry. The lunch offered on the Lido deck were average and breakfast in the Paris restaurant was pretty nasty. But for the price, nobody in my group was complaining.
The only thing that is different from my previous cruises was that we had to pay for soda and water. It wasn't a big deal, but kind of took me by surprise. We heard about the "soda card" that can be purchased, but chose not to buy one because they were $27. Beer and mixed drink prices were about $8.
The people in our group are in their late 30's to early 40's. The crowd was mostly young spring breakers. The nightlife on this ship was absolutely amazing! We didn't go to any of the shows in the Normandie Lounge because they are usually cheesy. But the live music in the lounges throughout the ship was top notch! There was a guy who sings songs and plays his guitar. Excellent! I was also surprised at how late the ship stayed alive. The ships on my past cruises seeemed to shut down at 11pm. The live music continued past 1am or 2am every single night! Very nice!
My girlfriend got a massage onboard and said the Carnival Spa was just like the day spa's you go to at home.
One of the things that really stuck out to me was how well maintained the ship was. One of the elevators was broken, but everything else was good. You figure this ship had been floating around in salt water for 12 years, and it still looked clean! Yeah, the decor was a bit outdated and "Vegassy." But it was obvious that good care was being taken of this ship. Kudos to Carnival!
We got off the ship in Ensenada to buy a few things in the shop at the dock. We didn't go inside Ensenada, so I can't comment on the shore excursions.
The last day of the cruise was spent floating just off San Pedro Island. This was good for us because my girlfriend was feeling a little woozy from the night before when the ship was underway.
Disembarkation was quick! We hand carried our bags off the ship and were in our car about 30 minutes after leaving our room.
This is my take on the Paradise 3 day cruise to Ensenada: For a $300 ticket and about $300 worth of drinks/souvenirs, you cannot beat this cruise! You can't go to Vegas for 3 days for that kind of money! Carnival really has this trip streamlined to perfection. If you're not the snobby type who feels you deserve the same service as the Queen of England, this is a quick and affordable weekend vacation that you cannot miss! Pleasantly surprised!
Spacious bathroom, comfortable bed, big window, slightly loud from being located near the elevators.