Carnival LineParadise ReviewBaja MexicoD & T Rampersad
Occupation:Mental Health Therapist
Number of Cruises: 3
Cruise Line: Carnival
Ship: Carnival Paradise
Sailing Date: April 13th, 2007
Itinerary: NOT FOUND
Carnival Cruise Line
Paradise Cruise Review
D & T Rampersad
I wanted to write this review, because it really helped me when I was choosing between Carnival and Royal Caribbean cruise lines. I ended up choosing Carnival because of price difference, and am really happy that I did (it was cheaper). I paid about $1500 for an 11th floor suite with a balcony, which was more than we needed.
So let me start at the beginning. We got to Long Beach port at 1pm, dropped our bags off with the porter after receiving a luggage tag (KEEP THIS TAG ON, as it is needed for debarkation), and went through a regular type of airline check in procedure to board the ship. Everyone was quite pleasant and helpful and we boarded within 30 minutes. Even though we chose to board really early, which I definitely recommend, our room was ready with all the decorations I had requested for my wife's birthday celebration! (Good job Carnival!)
We dropped our bags off and went to the Paris restaurant for lunch... why not, we paid for it! :) Food selections included: pizza, sandwiches, and real food like prime rib, potatoes, seafood, etc. LOTS of choices, and then dessert! Everything was great! In fact, so that I don't have to say it every time, ALL and I mean ALL, of our food was fantastic!!!! The choices and quality were top notch (and I am a particular diner who eats out about 3 times a week at new restaurants).
Back to the story... so after the restaurant, we took a nap before sailing, and did the regular drill as we left port. No hassle, especially as we paid so much money.. we didn't really have to do much compared to other folks on lower floors. After the drill, there was a great Dominican reggae and calypso band playing, and the relaxation began.
We walked around to familiarize ourselves with the ship, and got ready for dinner at 8:30pm (late seating, which I recommend) in the Elation dining room. We sat at a table for 6 people, and we all got along well. We had dinner with them for the 3 nights. Lunch and dinner were usually eaten in the dining room (although you could find food elsewhere on the ship), and we sat with different people for those meals. I wished we would have had some down time to eat alone, but we were constantly dining with others. On the bright side, it was our only entree to interact with others by force.
On each night, there was a ton to do. You could go to the comedy shows at midnight, visit the dance club, casino, or variety of bars. The program organization left you ample choices so that you weren't bored. That being said, I think that it would have been nice to make an additional stop (maybe at Catalina), or get back on Sunday evening as the seas and wind (about 40 knot winds) were pretty unforgiving for this particular weekend. Even the land breezes were strong.
On Saturday, we arrived in Ensenada, which was not as picturesque as I had in my mind. It was NOT a beach town, or if there was a beach, it was not in sight from the top level of the ship. We utilized the safe throughout the cruise, which was no different as we went into the town of Ensenada. I think it is a safe practice to change your wallet over to your simple cruise cards, driver's license, and maybe some cash, and a credit card. We had no trouble with crime, but I was always alert to the possibility.
We chose not to do any tours, and were really happy we chose this option, as the downtown area had enough walking around to keep us happy. We were not on this cruise to fill our time or get drunk like some of the other younger people. Downtown Ensenada was fun. There are two distinct areas to downtown. One is slightly market like with panhandlers, and beggars, and the other is more serene and upscale- with art, and a thrifty ice cream shop! We had a great lunch at a restaurant called Casa de Mar, which was recommended by locals for more authentic food. It was great, and the waiter was quite accommodating by American standards (changing menus, and exchanging drinks with no charge- do not get the margarita, but everything else was great). We then got back on board around 4:30 pm, and left port at 6pm. Everything was hassle free.
The rest of the cruise was fun - going to shows, and losing in the casino. All the rest of the meals were amazing, and the cabin staff made little towel animals for us daily. They all made my wife's birthday weekend spectacular through their thoughtfulness.
Saturday and Sunday, the winds and water continued to be aggressive, so there was a lot of rocking. I think we were just victims of poor timing.
Monday morning we got back into port, and chose to keep our luggage with us so that we could leave early. We left the ship around 7am, and this was done by the color on your luggage tag. Getting though immigration was seamless, and very quick! We were back to our car in the garage by 7:15am. I think it cost us about $36 to park there for the weekend.
And so that was it! We had a fantastic
time aboard the Paradise, and would cruise again with them. As a post
script, the gym on board the 12th floor through the spa was amazing! Use it if
you can... I think it's free. Also, the comedians change nightly, so don't judge
the quality by only one of them (as one of them was not good)