by LEN C.
February 26, 2007
History: my 13th cruise, 6th on Carnival. Being the Paradise was the last of the Fantasy class ships it was what I expected. I do prefer the newer Spirit & Conquest class, however was going to be in LA and couldn't pass up the low cost of this 4-night sailing! Plus got an automatic upgrade from a 6A to 6D (ocean view) on the Empress deck. Our cabin was midship and in a nice location for easy access to all the public areas.
Since I am from the east coast we flew into LAX the day prior and also stayed 2 extra days in the Los Angeles area after the sailing to make it a week vacation.
Check-in at Long Beach: Well lets just say I have had smoother check-in's, however it seemed that most people arrived early at the terminal. When we arrived about 12:15 there was a long line that 'snaked' around outside of the terminal. Once they opened the doors they would let people in by groups I would say 25 or so at a time. I assume this was to prevent massive congestion inside the terminal building. Overall it wasn't too bad and we were on the ship about 1:30 or so. Cabins were not ready until about 2PM so we had a drink at the atrium bar until they opened the firedoors to access the cabins. Unpacked our carryon's then up to the Lido for lunch.
Food: Fair to Poor. I have had much better meals on Carnival. It was hit or miss in the Destiny dining room where we had late 8PM seating as requested. The Paris restaurant on the Lido was typical Carnival buffet, not much to comment about here since I feel a buffet is just that a quick grab and go meal. Pizza was always fresh and good!
Entertainment: here again I feel Carnival needs to update their shows. The past couple of cruises I have been on at least one, if not both of the productions were repeats that I already saw on other ships in the fleet. Also compared to some of the shorter 4 & 5 day cruises I have taken on the east coast there was much more activity on board regarding music and entertainment. On this cruise there was not one deck party the entire time? They did have a live band playing poolside each afernoon, but nothing at night on deck. Found it to be very mellow for a short Carnival sailing.
Ports of call were Catalina & Ensenada. Have never been to either and really enjoyed Catalina Island. Ensenada I don't think we would ever return! Again compared to the Caribbean port calls in Mexico i.e. Cozumel, Costa Maya we found Ensenada to be NOT attractive at all. We did book a shore tour to 'La Bufadora' (the Blowhole), it was interesting and a good photo-op to see but the open air flea market you had to pass thru first was terrible! Never had so many locals practically following you as you walked to get you to buy something! That got to be very annoying after a while and we couldn't wait to get back on the bus. We found a place to sit and have a Margarita since neither of us were looking to buy.
The staff & crew were very friendly and helpful, and the overall appearance of the ship was in decent condition except for a few items just from normal wear & tear. Again this is Carnival and the public areas showed it with the 'gawdy' decor that it's known for!
Overall we had a relaxing cruise and met some nice people that were our dining mates. Again value for dollar it was a 'no brainer' approx $80 per day/person is what it broke down to! I love to cruise and have learned nothing is ever perfect. I would recommend it for anyone looking to getaway without breaking the bank! Also a good experience for first time cruisers.