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Matt

Age: 16

Occupation:Telemarketer

Number of Cruises: 2

Cruise Line: Carnival

Ship: Carnival Paradise

Sailing Date: 2011-03-14

Itinerary: Baja Mexico

I had sailed once before as even more of a youngster as I am now, on the Carnival Glory, and found that ship to be pretty fun. It went through the Caribbean, leaving from Cape Canaveral, FL. I enjoyed it thoroughly and would take that cruise again. However, I enjoyed my trip on the Carnival Paradise even more so. Maybe it had to do with my being several years older than I was on my first cruise, or maybe it had to do with me meeting several special people that I will never forget. Either way, I had a blast.

The food was okay, but not the freshest I ever had - that applies for the Lido deck. The food in the dining rooms was excellent, all-you-can eat (but not a buffet) gourmet cuisine that was some of the fanciest and most elegant I've ever had the privilege to indulge my taste buds with. The menu changed every night, however there were a few select items that remained on the menu each and every night. On the dessert menu, there were several items which I didn't even waste time reading - I set my eyes on the Chocolate Melting Cake, Carnival's signature chocolate dessert. It's a cylindrical ceramic cup filled with a liquidy chocolate fudge and a thin layer of chocolate cake on the top. It is served with two miniature scoops of vanilla ice cream. I had several on my first cruise and one each night on this most recent one that I write about now - they are delicious and you have to try one. As for the lido deck food, there is a Deli that will serve sandwiches made to order, a pizza bar that has pizzas of all sorts, a grill, an Indian food line, and another buffet "wild-card" line (serves different foods each day). The pizza was good, the grill served good hot dogs, okay burgers and pretty good fries (also served chicken fingers which I didn't try), and I didn't try the other lines. The ice cream was available there too, 24/7, and wasn't bad.

My stateroom was great and I had no complaints. The beds were comfortable, and the room temperature was acceptable. My parent's complained of it being too cold in their room, which neighbored the one I shared with my brother, but I never had that problem. The shower was nice, the phone worked fine, the window was clean and had a good view of the ocean, and the TV was in good working condition (and although small, old, and poor quality, Carnival has plans to replace all TV's in their Fantasy class with plasma flatscreen televisions).

The terminal in Long Beach, Florida (the departure city of the Carnival Paradise) looks like a stadium from the outside and is cramped on the inside. However, once I got on the ship, I found it to be very roomy, and have lots to do. For kids, Camp Carnival and Circle C (clubs for 2-11 and 12-14 respectively) are something that I can not speak for, considering I didn't experience either one on either of my cruises. However, if you are - or have a kid - aged 15-17, I wouldn't shy away from Club O2, the club for kids in that age group. Me being 16, I figured Club O2 would be some lollipop stand with a couple of rubes giving out free hugs. That certainly wasn't the case. Although I didn't spend much time with them in the day, their daily activities seemed somewhat legit. But at night, Club O2 turns in to a night club for teens, with good music and lots of hot girls; it wasn't a sausage fest like I thought it might be. I met some pretty cool girls and guys there and don't regret ever giving it a shot. Every night, there was a show in "Normandie", the Ship's theater. Some nights it was a Vegas-style singing and dancing show, other nights there was a comedy show. This is not to be confused with the Normandie Lounge, located below Normandie. The musical shows were pretty good, as were the comedy shows, however one comedian on my particular cruise wasn't the least bit funny (there were only two comedians, and the other one was pretty good). I heard murmurs of the comedians performing every hour in another location on the ship, but I never investigated further in to that. The ship had a mini-golf course, that was semi-poor quality for those who competitive, but if you're out there socializing with a buddy, it's good enough to have fun on. There is also 2 shuffle board games setup on either side of the funnel and one deck below it. I had to put my whole body and some mustard in to moving the disk across the board, though, but I don't know if that's the case for all shuffleboard games because I have never played shuffleboard before this cruise. The pool was butt-cold the whole time I was on the ship, but other than that, it looked like a nice pool. There were 5 adult-only hot tubs on the ship, and two kiddie ones. That was my biggest complaint; college kids crammed each adult-only hot tub full all day, and the two kiddie ones were just that - full of small children. I only had the opportunity to use a hot tub once on the whole cruise - that was in the evening when everyone else was off at the bar/casino/club/dinner (That reminds me, this was pretty much a booze-cruise).

I didn't go on the excursions on the cruise, I simply got off the ship at the two stops my cruise made (Catalina Island and Ensenada, Mexico). In Catalina, IF you DON'T do an excursion, I recommend walking around Avalon and seeing the sights. You can also rent a golf cart for $40 USD/hour, which I saw many people doing and having fun with. The people I sat with at dinner had recommended that, as they were Long Beach residents who were 8-time veterans on that particular cruise. In Ensenada Mexico, I recommend going in to town just to try it if you've never been there, but if you have been to other more Americanized, English-speaking Mexican towns like Tiajuana, you've been to them all. Street vendors were annoying and persistent, but they are relatively safe, as is the rest of the city. My education in Spanish at school helped me communicate with some of the vendors with more ease, although most of them know basic English. One basic tip if you go in to Mexico - never pay the asking price for anything. Even if you are buying a candy bar, pretend like you are buying a car. I got a pair of sunglasses there for $5, even though the original asking price was 15.

The terminal in Long Beach, Florida (the departure city of the Carnival Paradise) looks like a stadium from the outside and is cramped on the inside. However, once I got on the ship, I found it to be very roomy, and have lots to do. I spent my time sitting out on the deck in the daytime and going to Club O2 at night, and found both to be fun. I ate a lot, brought a case of Red Bull on the ship which I enjoyed throughout the day, and didn't exactly do much. The adult's night club on the ship, "Rex", looked like fun when I passed by it and I look forward to that when my days as an adult come along. The casino also looked like the one on the glory, but I can not compare it to Casinos on land as I am only a teenager. When I got to Catalina Island, I spent a couple hours walking around Avalon, the biggest city on Catalina Island, also the city that the ship pulls in to. With photography being one of my hobbies, I spent time taking pictures of the town and the harbor. I later went in to a local pub to have a coke while my family enjoyed a few beers.

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