Paradise Cruise Trip Report: Day One

In a recent post, Angels Fan Cruise, we hit the highlights of the cruise, but we find ourselves talking about this cruise so much, we thought we should pinpoint more of the details in order to remember them later. Let’s see how much we do remember a month later.

Who: Rich and Kathy
When: January 28-31, 2011
Where: Long Beach to Ensenda, Mexico Round Trip
Why: Angels Fan Cruise
Ship: Carnival Paradise

Getting There

Because the cruise was in January and we’d be risking snow on the two passes between Las Vegas and L.A., we decided to fly instead of driving the usual four-hour drive to Disneyland plus an hour to the port. Also, this was the first time we’d cruise from this port since living in Las Vegas and we weren’t sure how we’d feel about driving there beforehand.

A few days before the cruise, my back went out and the massage didn’t quite heal it in time. So, the extra walking from the airport parking lot to the terminal, dragging luggage part-way, etc. wasn’t a good choice after all. Next time, we’ll more than likely cruise a different time of year and drive in the night before, stay overnight, and fit in a little extra SoCal fun.

We booked Carnival’s transfer just to not have to worry about how we’d get from LAX to the Port. This proved to be annoying cuz the bus took forever to get there. There was some mix-up and we had to wait for another bus. The transfer back to the airport went a lot smoother.

Embarkation

Because we were booked in a suite, we had prior check-in, which was so convenient. The check-in desk was right next to the bus drop-off and the special boarding area. Everybody else had more of a hike to check-in. Plus, it was great boarding the ship before everybody else. We chatted with some other Angels fans while waiting until noon to board.

They took a couple of photos on the way in, which turned out hideous – lol – mostly because we were standing there with our carry-ons and sweatshirts.

The Paradise

As we mentioned in the other post, we were quite surprised by Carnival, as experienced on the Paradise. The atrium wasn’t gaudy as we’d expected and the service was really good, if not some of the best we’ve had on a cruise.

Upon boarding, we headed for the buffet to get some lunch and the Carnival staff was very helpful in pointing us in the right direction. Today was Italian day and we found several items that were tasty, different pastas, fish (although a bit salty), and some yummy cookies.

We then toured the ship – noted a cozy little sitting area above the aft pool – will spend some time there – and checked out the dining room. Because we were on a group cruise, we were assigned late seating so that we could sit with the team. Ha! We tried changing to the flexible dining but travel agent insisted we wanted to be with the other Angels fans.

We hung out by the pool until our cabin was ready. Unfortunately, we were a bit hounded for drinks while sitting there – not enough people onboard yet – lol! We were saving our drink for the sailaway and the Angels Cocktail party.

By this time, we were allowed to enter our cabin, we met our fabulous room stewardess – the best we’ve ever had and our first female, and sat out on the tiny balcony and took pictures of Long Beach, which was beautiful today (if you overlook the smog in the background). Then it was time for the dreaded lifeboat drill. We’ve sailed on all of the mass market cruise lines and, so far, Princess does this best. It wasn’t bad on Carnival. Most assignments were in lounges, but we were assigned to the pool deck. The good news was that we could stay put while the others later had to make it to their actual muster stations.

We had feared a three-day party boat atmosphere on this Carnival cruise but the closest thing we saw to anybody drinking too much was the guy in front of us – he looked three sheets to the wind and we thought for sure he’d pass out any minute. We felt sorry for his wife and the couple they were traveling with. Not a pretty sight, for sure.

Sailaway

Soon we were on our own again and we headed back to our cabin to wait for Sailaway, one of our favorite times onboard the ship. But sailaway was a bit delayed. In fact, we were going to have to choose between having our Sailaway champagne in our balcony or attending the Angels Cocktail party. We chose the Sailaway – this is our favorite part about cruising – we weren’t going to miss that!

By this time, the sun was setting and we’d been on board all day long – we were ready to roll!

Dinner

We were so exhausted after getting up at 5:30 am and traveling that we ordered room service and went to bed early. The next day, we would go to the Maitre’D to request changing our official late seating dining assignment to the flexible one because we learned a long time ago that we really don’t like to eat that late (8:30) and sit with strangers for hours at a time – lol! We love to interact with our fellow passengers, but in a more relaxed, casual way.

Room service was efficient and there was rather an extensive menu, but we didn’t always get what we ordered. But we were too tired to care. I think we got something simple like a sandwich and dessert.  And then we allowed the motion of the ocean to rock us to sleep. Zzzzzzz…

Next: Day Two, Part One

About Kathy

Novelist, Poet, Songwriter/Music Producer