Carnival Paradise Cruise Review to Mexico

Contributor Level: Deck Hand

Experience
2-3 cruises

Review
1

Helpful Votes
3

3 out of 5

An enjoyable, imperfect getaway

Sail Date: December 29, 2008

Reviewed: 7 years ago

Traveled As: Couple

Room Type: Inside

My wife and I went on a cruise for our honeymoon, and overall we had a good time, but there were plenty of areas that could have been improved upon easily.
I'm serving active duty in the military, making my time away from duty at a premium, so this cruise was a large investment of time and money for me (around 6 months spent on this).

The first item on the ship I was very excited to see was that Carnival had reimbursed the fuel surcharge, and placed that balance into our onboard account. This, along with the $25 spending promotion, made it more stress free to enjoy the amenities of the ship.

The experience onboard was good overall, we especially enjoyed the numerous and diverse food selections when we first arrived on the ship, and we were excited to use the pool, hot tub, miniature golf, and attend the New Year's Eve celebration.

For the most part, each of these were very enjoyable, until inevitably a crewmember would politely inform us that it was closed, and that we had to leave. This happened around 6 time, to include being 'shooed' away from a food buffet line a couple minutes before the hour. I couldn't fault the occasional maintenance, or staffing limitations while in port, but closing pools and hot tubs at 5PM is hardly conducive to a good cruise atmosphere.
The constrained cruise atmosphere really showed on New Year's Eve, when the main decks were populated with tables of champagne and empty glasses, but even at 2345 few cruisers were even joining in the party.

Regarding a number of the chincy details - towels were but one example of where a modicum of class would make for a much more enjoyable experience; the thought of paying $24 for the privilege to use a towel upstairs by the pool made no sense, unless management has concluded that fewer people using the pool and hot tubs is better for the company's bottom line.

Another example is the refillable soda cards - on the second day of the cruise, we asked about these, and we were told that we could pay to have unlimited drinks for each day we chose to pay. The next day we went to get a pair of drink cards, and were again told that we would have to pay for four days in order to use them, which is unacceptable.

Lastly, we did find the onboard jewelry and duty-free store to be excellent. The store was well stocked, with a very knowledgeable and helpful staff.

Overall, a good experience; but one that could be transformed into a fantastic experience by changing a few details, instead of trimming pennies of the list price in exchange for comfort and class.

Pros: Onboard activities, food selection

Cons: Closed facilities and restaurants, chincy details.

Recommends Carnival Paradise? No.

Entertainment
When they were available, the pool, hot tubs, miniature golf, and other areas were nice, but limited hours crippled enjoyability.
Ship Quality
The ship was quite adequate.
Food and Dining
The Thai and Mongolian Barbecue was phenomenal, we ate there even when we were full.
We really enjoyed the Nova Salmon bagels from the sandwich line, and highly recommend these!
The evening sushi was worth the effort to find and plan around.
The main dinners were quite luxurious, but fixed seating and times still feel unnecessary.

Primary complaint is that many of these had very limited hours of operation. For a ship that has 8 restaurants, for only one or two to be consistently open is poor in my view.
Cabin / Stateroom
Service and Staff
As always, the crew aboard ship was helpful, polite, and diverse.
Catalina Island, California
The bus tours are a quick way to see lots of the island - there's too much to see in just one day, so choose what you want to see most, and sign up early.
Don't Miss: Anywhere outside Avalon is worth the visit, after seeing the town.
Ensenada, Mexico
If tourists are aware that Ensenada is just south of Tijuana, they will know what to enjoy and what to avoid. La Bufadora was a great experience, and one of the rare cases I recommend cruisers take the tour bus from the ship. For the partygoers, come equipped to have a long fun night.
Don't Miss: La Bufadora - take the sanctioned tour!


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