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Carnival LineParadise ReviewBaja MexicoRick

Age: NOT FOUND

Occupation:Real Estate

Number of Cruises: 4

Cruise Line: Carnival

Ship: Carnival Paradise

Sailing Date: June 5th, 2006

Itinerary: NOT FOUND

Carnival Cruise Line
Paradise Cruise Review
Baja Mexico

Rick



General: We are a married couple traveling with our 8 and 11 year old children. I have cruised 3x before when I was younger but it was the first time for my wife and kids. We had an outside cabin with a window. This cruise was M-F with stops in Catalina and Ensenada.

Embarkation: We drove from Arizona and parking was very easy and the porters checked our bags at the curb like at the airport. The rest of the process was very orderly and the staff (both carnival and homeland security) was friendly. We got to the terminal about 2pm and we were on board and eating lunch within a 1/2 hour.

Cabin: Getting to our cabin was very easy. Elevators are always slow and one was out of order, so plan on using the stairs. I thought the cabin was a pretty good size. We had the kids so they had to use the fold down bunks. Each bed came with 2 pillows and the bed was surprisingly comfortable. There seemed to be plenty of storage space for a 4 day cruise and there were 20 hangers in the closets. We unpacked and the suitcases fit under the bunk nicely. The cabin was very cold and you can't change the temperature.

like it was from the late 70's or early 80's. I don't know what style the decorator was going for but it looked almost retro 80's to me. Maybe this is expected on cruise ships but the colors and styles were sort of dated for a newer ship. I read that this was an entire non-smoking ship but this must have been old information since there was smoking going on. Expect to have a pretty good sign and sail account bill when the cruise is over. The tips of $10 per person per day plus drinks and shopping really adds up. One note about the ship pictures. They sell pictures taken during various parts of the trip and they are pretty well done. The prices seem a little odd though, For 5x7 was affordable at $7, but the 8x10 jumped all the way up to $20! I thought that was a little out of proportion.

Food: Early dinner at Elation dining room. The staff was great and friendly. You will be hard pressed to find any staff from the US but this was fun. Most speak pretty good English and are really friendly and eager to talk to you. The food was not the best but this is Carnival. Remember the song. "not much money, of but honey ain't we got fun.." So for not much money, you get a pretty decent trip. Our waiter was always ready to bring a second entree or appetizer if you didn't get enough or like the first. Try everything. They have kids meals of typical fast food style junk food. The staff puts on some entertainment a couple of the nights and that livens up the nights.

Entertainment: The shows at the main lounge, the Normandy were all pretty decent. Not the quality that you would go out and pay for but for cruise ships, they were above average. The dancers did a wonderful job. The cruise director, Danny, was typical cheesy cruise director with stale jokes that he must have been using for the last 20 years. They had some fun middle of the day events too like the hairy chest contest, the newlywed game, and Austin powers dance lessons. They had bingo before the main nightly shows but these really seem like a disparate attempt to raise some money. I am used to bingo at our local Native American Casinos where you pay about $30 and play at least 10-15 games for a payout of at least $500 each game. The carnival bingo games were 1 card for $10 or 3 for $20 and it was usually only good for one game that paid only $100-$300. There were so many people playing bingo that they easily took in a couple of thousand dollars for a $100-300 payout, Bad odds. They also played a Deal / No Deal session where you had to pay $10 to enter into the drawing and one person was picked out of the hundreds of tickets sold. The most he would have won was $1,000 but if you watch the show you know that no one ever wins the top prize. So this guy ended up with $150. Again, I thought the odds VS. payout were really bad. One more game was horse racing. They had 6 horses and they rolled the dice to move them forward. You bet $3 Minimum on a horse and if he won, you win $6. So you had a 1 in 6 chance to double you money! Anyone with a basic understanding of odds, knows this is a very bad bet! As far as casinos go, the casino was pretty nice with low limit tables and a variety of slots from 1 penny to $5. I like to gamble so I enjoyed the casino. Another note, I was disappointed that drinks were not free in the casino, like every other casino in the world.

Shore Excursions: Our ports of call included Catalina and Ensenada. In order to get to Catalina you needed to catch a tender and the wait was at least 45 minutes when we left the ship. Catalina was nice and pretty, Also cold. I felt sorry for those folks who took the snorkel excursion. Even with wet suits, they looked really cold. We took a bus tour of Avalon. We saw the sights and walked around the town and got back on the ship. The weather was very cold the entire cruise. It was too cold for any of us to swim or even lay out on the decks. Some people (mostly kids) were swimming but they must have been from back east where 70 degrees feels warm.

Ensenada: What can I say! Its Mexico. Makes you really appreciate the US! We took a horse drawn carriage ride around town and saw the dumpy city. Shopping was what you expect from Mexico and the same junk they have sold for the last 50 years. There was a little market set up near the debarkation area of the dock and those shops had just about everything that you could find in the city for about the same price. We were only there for a few hours and then went back aboard the ship.
 

Debarkation: They suggest you self - carry all your bags for the fastest unloading. We had too much to carry so we put our outside the cabin the night before and they took them at night. In the morning we went up to the cafe and had breakfast and relaxed until they called for general unloading. They didn't go by colors as some other cruises had. The wait for us was about 30 minutes to get off the ship and about 20 minutes getting through customs and homeland security.
 

Conclusion: I enjoyed the cruise but it just wasn't for my wife and kids. The kids went to camp carnival once and were not too pleased with the activities. I think kids 10 and under would probably like camp Carnival most. All and all, I think it was an okay cruise and a pretty good value.
You have to remember that like most everything in life, attitude is 99% how you perceive things!

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