Carnival Paradise Cruise Review to Mexico

Contributor Level: Deck Hand

Experience
1 cruise (first)

Review
1

Helpful Votes
0

3 out of 5

Definitely the Party Ship

Sail Date: June 20, 2008

Reviewed: 8 years ago

Traveled As: Couple

Room Type: Balcony

This was our first cruise, which I purchased as a birthday gift for my husband. We chose Carnival soley based upon the departure dates, length of the cruise and the ability to depart from a local port. We wanted to try cruising by taking a short cruise just to get our feet wet.

Luckily, offered a room upgrade option when I was checking out. It turns out that the extra $200 I spent was well worth it. Our room was dated, but spacious and clean. We had a nice large window and a private veranda with chairs. The weather was perfect for enjoying coffee on the veranda. When we were waiting in line to disembarke we waited in a hallway on the Empris Deck where housekeeping had begun getting the rooms ready for the next cruise. All the doors were open on this deck and we could look inside. Most of the rooms were very small and had twin beds, bunk beds, or twin beds pushed together to make a queen, and funiture that looked like college dorm furniture. We were both very happy that we'd upgraded.

The staff and crew were helpful and pleasant. Our waiters were excellent. We ordered a bottle of wine with dinner and didn't finish it. They recorked it and had it waiting on the table for us the next night. The bar staff served drinks quickly.

The atmosphere of the Carnival Paradise was a college Spring Break atmosphere. For instance, there was a poolside "hairy chest contest" on the last day complete with men in g-string speedo-type suits. The pool was small and looked old. The ship had four 8 person jacuzzis to accomadate the whole ship. I felt sorry for people traveling with children. Unless they hung out in the baby wading pool, they were surrounded by the drunken single scene at the pools (and pretty much everywhere else). We felt as if we were hanging out in a LA Mall during happy hour.

While on the ship you a constantly encouraged to "spend, spend, spend". One could easily spend an extra $500-$1000/person between the drinks, the spa, excursions, and onboard and port-of-call shopping (and that's without buying the diamonds, watches, and other really expensive stuff). On the bright side, I felt that the prices were extremely fair and not outrageous. The ship even offered some half-price sales on various items thoughout the cruise (silver, gems, t-shirts, etc) Photographers take photos continuously--which helps make the cruise more fun--of course you purchase the ones you like.

While the food service was wonderful--the food in the main dining room was a bit bland and flavorless. I tried 3 different soups--and none had any flavor. The most flavorful meal I enjoyed was one of the Spa Selections--poached fish with a mango salsa. The buffet on the Lido Deck was pretty good. The buffet lunch on the first day was delicious with several seafood options.

As a first cruise--we enjoyed ourselves, but we will definitly take a more sophisticated cruise next time.

Pros: Friendly staff and the musical shows

Cons: Constant pressure to purchase merchandise, duty free items, etc. The frat party atmosphere.

Recommends Carnival Paradise? No.

Cabin / Stateroom
Our room was spacious with plenty of closet space and a nice veranda with outdoor seating. The TV and VCR and the general decorating was dated. Our room in general was very comfortable. Our room was tidied and cleaned several times a day which is better than most of the resorts we've visited.
Ship Quality
Dated (we had a VHS player in our room) but clean and accessible.
Food and Dining
The dining rooms were nice with a pleasant ambiance. The service was well timed and friendly. The lines at the buffet could get pretty long. I was glad to see a salad bar and fresh sandwich option available.
Service and Staff
Every request we made was granted. We understood from the beginning that everyone on board wanted us to have a positive and fun cruising experience.
Entertainment
We were really impressed by the quality of the musical shows on Saturday and Sunday evenings. The opening night family comedy act was funny. We didn't care too much for the adult comedy. It's a bit creepy seeing someone who was bragging about being a dad a few hours earlier--being a completely different and vulgar person in the later show.
Ensenada, Mexico
We enjoyed Ensenada. We took an ATV and Wine Tasting Tour. The weather was extremely hot--but we had fun. The food and shopping in Ensenada was good.
Don't Miss: We visited a wonderful winery (and I don't remember the name!!)


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