CarnivalParadiseBaja, MexicoShannon Deveny
Number of Cruises: 1
Cruise Line: Carnival
Ship: Carnival Paradise
Sailing Date: June 17th, 2005
Itinerary: NOT FOUND
This was my first cruise, and took advantage of a short weekend cruise to surprise my best friend for her thirtieth birthday. (This was her first cruise, too.)
We drove into Long Beach from a couple of hours north and parked in the parking garage at the Port. The charge was around 12 dollars a day. We arrived around 2:00pm. I recommend leaving your big luggage with the porters in the lot, this was a quick cheap way of lightening our load, and by the time we boarded, our luggage was at our cabin. Check in and security took about 45 minutes. It seemed the security is similar to airports, including xray machines, and metal detectors. I recommend having all of your paperwork in order, including your photo ID, it makes the check in much more efficient.
We had an outside cabin n the Empress deck with a window. I paid extra to have them decorate it for my frien's birthday, which it was with streamers, sign, etc, but not really worth the thirty dollars it cost. She liked it though. The room was clean, stocked with drinks (for a fee), and bathroom amenities, but the window was filthy on the outside. That made for a blurry view, which we paid extra for. Our cabin steward, Albert, was excellent and friendly, always smiling. Our room was always cleaned, I think at least twice a day. In the evening we would find towel animals complete with sunglasses on the beds. The room size seemed plenty for me, besides we didn't plan on speding much time in there, only to sleep, change, and shower.
The public areas of the ship were clean, except for the bathrooms, of which we never used, we always went back to our cabin. I think this had to do more with the passengers than the lack of cleaning staff. There seemed to be plenty of service staff available, especially the ones selling drinks. We usually took the stairs because the elevators were very slow, especially in the atrium.
If you have never cruised, I recommend attending the various talks scheduled in the show room, arrive early as they usually held a bingo game prior to the talk or show. Most prizes were cash, (I won the first Bingo, which was a few hundred dollars!) and they even gave away a cruise.
We tried our luck in the Casino, mainly focusing on the slots. They did hold classes on the card game, but we missed them. We also participated in the slot tournament, which wasn't as exciting as Bingo. The casino allows smoking; everytime we went in there it was like walking into a cloud of cancer. Better ventilation would help.
The food was all right, but I am easy to impress. I would say it wasn't exceptional, but they tried. We only ate in the main dining room on the first night, mostly because we were always doing something somewhere else on the ship, and didn't want to have to get all fancied up for dinner. We didn't want to miss out on the goings on. This is the only thing I regret. next time we will take advantage of the main dining. We usually ate in the Paris, which is buffet style. The food was always hot and fresh, but was just standard. I took advantage of the pizza counter often, and loved the pastries in the morning.
We say the midnight comedy show each night, which was funny but not for the easily offended. Get there early, as the seats fill quickly.
On Saturday and Sunday evening, they set up various picture backgrounds which you can have a picture taken for future purchase. You can take as many as you want, there is no fee, but if you want to purchase the picture, it is a bit costly, some around twenty dollars a piece.We took many but only bought a few.
The pool entertainment was fun and called for audience participation many times, whether it was dancing or the hairy chest contest, but I wished they played more live music.
Our only Port was Ensenada, Mexico. We did not buy a shore excursion with Carnival, but chose to buy a day tour to the blow hole and downtown with a tour guide at a bus at the port. Instead of paying over 40 dollars through carnival, we paid thirteen dollars for a guided trip to the blowhole, with about an hour to shop the market there, then went back to downtown Ensenada for free appetizer buffet at Papas and Beer. The bus brought us back to the pier around 3:30pm. What a deal!
The last morning, we lingered over our final breakfast in the Paris Restaurant, and waited there for our color to be called for debarkation, though we were in no hurry. Debarkation was easy, though customs took a while, thats okay with me. Rules are rules, just have some patience.
Overall, it was a great long weekend, well worth the money. I would definitely recommend this cruise, and, after our experience, we have gathered seven of us who plan on going again in October!