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Carnival LineParadise ReviewBaja MexicoTodd


Occupation:Media Relations

Number of Cruises: 4

Cruise Line: Carnival

Ship: Carnival Paradise

Sailing Date: July 17th, 2006

Itinerary: NOT FOUND

Carnival Cruise Line
Paradise Cruise Review
Baja Mexico


A group or 13 of us cruised on the Carnival Paradise on July 17th, 2006. 10 of the cruisers were first-timers, so a 4 night cruise out of LA was the plan.

* Day Before: We drove down from Northern California to Long Beach and stayed at the Holiday Inn Downtown. It was one of the lowest priced hotels ($129) that allowed us to keep our cars in their garage for the week and provided free transportation to and from the pier to go along with a one night stay.

* Embarkation: Our group gathered in the lobby of the hotel around 10:45 and loaded up the shuttle. The shuttle was only for 9 people, so we had to split our group, no big deal. The shuttle dropped us off at the pier, we passed our baggage to Carnival Porters and then jumped in line. It was just after 11:00 am and we were in the first 25-30 people in line (besides those with VIP check-in, and those who checked in even earlier then we did on the Queen Mary). We waited in line for about 20-25 minutes, then they moved us into show our passports, get our sign and sail card, etc. This was a very easy and organized procedure. Took our welcome aboard photo, and got on the ship. We found our ocean view cabin, U154, very easy and then started to check out the ship.

* Room notes: With only one electrical outlet in the room, the surge protector that had been suggested all over the boards was ideal to have. We were able to plug in our camera batteries, our cell phone (which we used as an alarm clock), my wife’s hair dryer, etc, without having to pull cords in and out. This is a must pack. The room was very spacious, bigger then I remember, with plenty of room to move around. We were able to put our luggage under the bed and out of the way of everything, which saved some more room. There are a limited number of hangers and only small drawers so be sure to bring some hangers. That way you can hang a lot of your clothes. The closets are plenty big enough. TV mounted in the corner. It picked up Denver stations (we were just off the coast of LA, not sure why we got Denver, oh well), and had CNN International, a couple stations that played music, and 2 movie stations. The only think it was lacking was ESPN, or some type of sports station. I would have enjoyed knowing the latest sports news as I got ready in the morning, but I survived without it for a week. Over all, the cabin was very clean. In the bathroom there are mounted soap and shampoo dispensers in the shower, so if you don’t care what kind of soap you use, you can leave that stuff at home. Also, they provide you a basket of toiletries (toothpaste, mouthwash, lotion, etc). One of our cabins didn’t have the basket when we first got on, but it was there about an hour or so later.

* Buffet/Dining: We toured the ship quickly, which is to say we found the nearest bar to our rooms, and the quickest way to the Paris dining area on the Lido Deck. About half our group purchased the Fountain Card (unlimited soda) for $22 and got plenty of use out of it. The hot sandwiches at the grill, most notably the pastrami, were outstanding. The pizza bar was also good, but got pretty busy most of the time. The pizza did come in handy late at night on the way back to the room. We had the late seating for dinner, which I would strongly suggest. Although it’s a bit late, you can snack throughout the day, plus it allows you to stay on shore a bit longer, and there is no one after you so you don’t get rushed out. I’m not sure if the early seating people felt rushed, but I know at about 8:25 as we were waiting to get into the dining room, people were still filing out. The late seating had none of that, very relaxed and you stayed as long as you wanted to or needed to. I was very worried about the food in the dining room. I had been reading reviews for months that mentioned everything from horrible to great, and considering I had talked up the food as a big selling point to many of the first time cruisers in our group I was a little nervous about what was going to be served. However, there was nothing to worry about. The food was outstanding!!! Like I said we had 13 people in our group, so we had a table of 8 near the window (very nice) and a table of 6 right next to us. So we were always able to talk about what we were going to get, or how many of each we were going to get. Our wait staff, Alexander from Macedonia and Paulo from Peru were great. They enhanced our dining experience with their jokes, tricks, food suggestions and up-beat attitude. Back to the food. I can only attest to what I had, but nearly everything was prepared and served just the way I liked it. I prefer my beef to be cooked on the rare side of medium-rare and that is how it always came. I did hear one complaint, from some one not in our group, and that was the beef was never cooked well enough. So, if you like your meet cooked really well done, ask them that upfront, otherwise enjoy. Some entrée highlights included the lamb, filet mignon, prime rib, lobster, beef Wellington, sweet & sour shrimp, & veal. Some said the lobster was tough. Of the 5 lobster tails that I had I didn’t have anything to complain about. The starters are fairly small, so if you see something you like, or think you may like, order two. Many in our group ordered a couple orders of escargot, shrimp cocktail, smoked salmon, egg roll, etc. I really enjoyed the hot soups (wild mushroom, beef & barley, minestrone, lobster bisque). I didn’t have any of the cold soups, but heard that the pumpkin soup and mango were flavorful. The Caesar salad was very good, the other salads were ordinary but fine. The disappointing part of dining was the dessert, nothing too exciting. Standard deserts, key lime pie, ice cream, cheesecake, chocolate cake, etc. Most nights we made our way up to the Lido Deck and got ice cream cones from the Paris dining area. Outside of the dining area, things were fine. The grill was standard, burgers, hot dogs, fries. We got room service every morning, smoked salmon with bagel and cream cheese. Great start to the morning.

* Entertainment: The entertainment was fairly cheesy, but I’m not one for shows. The magic and comedy were good, and the adult comedy show on Tuesday night was very funny. My only thought on that, was the cruisers need to just sit back and enjoy the show instead of trying to heckle and be a part of it. But the comedian rolled with it, and was very funny. We played Bingo on our day at Sea and wouldn’t you know it came up one number short on a few games. They also do a version of Deal or No Deal, which is very entertaining, but would be even more entertaining if they did more then just pick one person. If they picked two or three I’m sure they would still do fine. The pool as I’m sure you know by now is salt water, so don’t think it’s like your pool in the backyard. Although we are 30 years old we went down the waterslide a couple times, always fun. We also spent a lot of time, particularly the last night, at the piano bar with Trevor the piano player. Trevor was outstanding, he knew and played everything from Billie Joel and Elton John, to Broadway Shows, to TV theme songs, even AC/DC. It was a huge sing-a-long what was very enjoyable.

* Service: Service was great, we never felt like those selling drinks were pushy, if anything they didn’t come around frequent enough. Our cabin steward was good. Cleaned the room twice a day, had a new towel animal each night, he even noticed that we had a bottle of champagne and brought an ice bucket and kept it full. Like I said earlier, our wait staff was great! They always remembered our names and made the dining experience enjoyable.

* Ports: Catalina and Ensenada. Catalina was good, we had to take a tender to the island, but got on one quickly. We rented a 6 person golf cart ($45 hour) and toured around the island. It let us get some good photos, and we were able to find a good little Mexican restaurant off the main strip that we stopped at for lunch. After the golf cart we sat on the beach and went swimming in the water. 4 of the people from our group went parasailing, which they said was pretty fun. Ensenada was below average. We got off the ship and took a shuttle ($2 per person) into downtown, a block from Papas & Beer. We had a lot a margaritas, and a few appetizers. Although a typical tourist bar we had a lot of fun. We then started to walk the 10-12 blocks toward the ship and do some shopping. We hit a few bars on the way back and had some dollar beers, and put our dollar on the wall at one bar (if you go or see it you’ll know what I’m talking about). We ended up buying some jewelry, sunglasses, t-shirts, etc. We then stopped at Viva Wings, not recommended. They market themselves at a sports bar, but a couple pictures on the wall and ESPN International doesn’t make you a sports bar. The food wasn’t very good either. AND it may have made some of the people in our party sick. They warn you forever not to drink the water, but sometimes you forget that the ice in the margarita is made from the water, so stick with beer in places you aren’t sure of.

* Other notes: We brought three different bottle of alcohol on board in our checked luggage, which worked out well with the fountain cards that many people got. Even without soda, we used the free punch or lemonade from the Lido Deck to have free drinks…A couple people in our group bought the photos. I wasn’t thrilled with them, but they got them more as souvenirs more than anything…The sushi bar that opens at 5:30 was a nice midday snack if you had the late seating, but try and get there early because the line starts getting long…I know I didn’t see everyone on the ship, but I’d say that 75% of the people were under 40, and there were a lot of kids, which is another reason to take the late seating over the early one. The kids never really got in the way, but they did tend to monopolize the pool and spas. Not to mention they were out late. It would be 2:00 am and we’d be getting some pizza and there were groups of kids all around.

Overall a great cruise. This was my fourth and I have no intention of stopping now. I know some of the first time cruisers really enjoyed it as well, in fact they were already trying to plan the next one. This was the perfect cruise for our group. It was a younger crowd, the food was great, plenty of things to keep us busy, enough variety that we weren’t doing the same things over and over again, and perfect for the money. If anyone has any other questions that I didn’t cover, feel free to drop me an e-mail –

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