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MJ

Age: 50

Occupation:teacher

Number of Cruises: 1

Cruise Line: Carnival

Ship: Carnival Paradise

Sailing Date: 2009-08-24

Itinerary: Ensenada

The destination, Ensenada, is really not worth going to unless (perhaps) you spend a lot of extra money on tour packages. Otherwise, it is a more or less drab tourist trap, other than the pleasant art gallery near the debarkation area.

One of the pools was closed the entire time, as were parts of the deck being refurbished, making for inconvenient movement. There was way too much aggressive photo taking went on, with people (sometimes in costume) grabbing you for a photo physically but without asking.

Wait staff in the formal dining room and cabin crew were very polite and friendly. However, in the buffet area, for more casual dining, the wait staff let the plates pile up - they do not really keep that under control. Cabin staff are constantly in the halls, so there was no excess noise.

There was a Teen club which was a plus for my daughter, and the on board gym is very nice. Beware of the "mandatory" onboard account they set up and then automatically, unless you tell them otherwise, deduct $10, per day, per person for "gratuities". For a family of 4 on a three day cruise, that's $120 above and beyond what you thought you were paying. You can, however, simply go to guest services and adjust your "gratuity" up or down, however you like, but you must set up an account and "close it out". My brother in law was "detained" when he tried to disembark because he hadn't "closed out" his account for the room. In fact, he hadn't set one up at all, and hadn't purchased anything. He had also tipped in cash to the waiter and other staff. He handed over the $30 they were after, because he wanted to get off the boat, but it really is highway robbery.

Drinks are also very expensive, and they charge you $3.95 if you bring your own into the stateroom (per bottle?). If you bring your own wine to dinner, they charge $14.95 "Corkage" but it's probably cheaper than $6 glasses if you want to drink wine. Needless to say all other drinks are high: $5 beers, $7.50 mixed drinks (but no one expects cheap bar drinks).

Also, I noted that when customers are wanting to get off the boat, the staff in charge of that process is not necessarily as polite as they were before. It seemed like post-tip behavior to me.

The food in the fancy dining room (Elation) was OK, but not at all exceptional. The portions are tiny. I am not a huge eater, but I was hungry after most of the meals we had there. I guess this is based on the idea that you will eat 8 times a day on the boat, so you don't need much. If you are not constantly grazing though, this is not a place to fill up.
In the morning, if you go to this restaurant for breakfast, you get seated with strangers. We had trouble getting them to sit us with our (extended) family if everyone did not come in at the same time.

The food in the buffet area is OK. There is a lot of fresh fruit at all times, and something for everyone, but it's like going to any basic American buffet.

I do not recommend not having a window in your room, but having one costs a lot more.

The entertainment was just fair. There was decent music on different parts of the boat. I didn't really participate in any other events to comment.

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