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FreezingInMichigan

Review: Paradise Feb 28 - Mar 4, 2011 - Long Beach, Catalina Island, Ensenada

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I love those lazy sea lions how cute! i really need to get to Cali again! We saw alot of sea lions when we were in San Francisco!

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Loving your review!!! Interesting to see pics of the Paradise! It seems no one ever posts pics of her!! Keep the review coming!

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Thanks for the review. The dolphin pics are especially awesome :).

 

Man, I feel old now! My parents took me to see the Spruce Goose when it was in the "golf ball" many moons ago. lol

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Love, love love your review and the pics are GREAT! After seeing your snow in Michigan, Colorado is feeling like paradise.

 

I think you had cooler days because you got your cruise so cheap!! Lol...you gotta pay more for warmer weather. We did a cruise out of Galveston on the Voyager a couple years ago...got a great last minute price but the weather was FREEZING. I feel your pain but it looks like you had a great time and that's what it's all about!

 

Thanks for sharing:p

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Great pictures.. Thanks so much for sharing. Your catalina experience looks wonderful.. despite not seeing any whales. But being so up close to the dolphins and the sea lions.. How long did that trip take? Oh, and where did you sign up for it? I always read to try to book it ahead of time, is that what you did?

 

oh.. yes.. our trip is in two weeks.. actually less now.. we depart march 28. It was such a last minute thing and I'm so glad we are doing it.. and your review is even getting me even more excited.. thanks.. keep the pictures coming!

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Just looking at a 4-day cruise on the Paradise. I've never been on a 4-day, but would like to do a quick girls only cruise; started some research and "bam"; the Paradise was getting slammed. SO NICE to see pictures and hear positive reviews. Also, you cracked me up with your picture by the ambulance - LOL.

 

Thanks for taking the time to upload the pics - can't imagine how time consuming that is. Thank you, Thank you. It's what I look forward to the most when reading reviews - pics of the places you see.

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oh my goodness you guys are just too cute and remind me of my family in a way! i had been looking into the whale watching excursion but the no guarantee kind of scared me away. however, after seeing your surprise you got it has given me a new motivation to book! keep the review coming girl! totally enjoying it

 

If you don't mind rolling the dice about what kind of wildlife you'll see, I think the excursion is worth the money. Some of the others weren't pleased but we could have not seen anything but the sea lions and I would have still been happy with the ride on open water. :)

 

~ Sheryl

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The suites don't have those 'boxes' in the corners and the Paradise doesn't have any balcony cabins. The only balconies are in the suites. We've been on the Paradise several times and other Fantasy class ships and just pull the bed over far enough into the room that you can sneak by the corner of the 'box' and bed to get to the window and/or alternately the bathroom.

 

I didn't even think about trying to move the bed. DUH! :p Lesson learned for next time!!! lol

 

~ Sheryl

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Great review.....you make everything we take for granted her in Southern California look so exciting!!

 

I felt that way when I lived down in Florida. I started dreading visitors saying, "I'm going to Disney!" because I knew they'd want me to come along.... again.... lol

 

~ Sheryl

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Sheryl,

Thanks for taking the time to write the review and also provide photos! We will be sailing in a few weeks and really enjoyed your comments and desciptions. Thanks again.

 

Thanks for the kind words. Have a great time.. Cruising is the best! :D

 

~ Sheryl

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I'm loving your review, Sheryl ... thank you for taking the time to post it AND for including your porthole cabin pics (we're staying in a porthole for the first time in August and am looking forward to trying a different type cabin). By the looks of the deck plans, some of the portholes cabins appear larger than the regular cabins ... do you feel this is true? Of course, the past few cruises we've traveled with the children and have stayed 4 in a cabin! This cruise is just DH and I ... even the smallest cabin should seem bigger!

 

Living on the West Coast, we've been to Catalina numerous times, but I've never been as part of a cruise! Looks like you all had a great time ... I can't hardly wait. I haven't been to Ensenada in ages ... so I'm curious about your experiences there. Again, thank you and look forward to more Paradise reading! :)

 

I agree with another poster that some of the PT rooms are bigger. Unfortunately, U18 was not. If anything, it felt smaller than our inside on the Valor. But even feeling smaller, it was plenty of room for the two of us. Carnival does storage options very well.

 

We loved Catalina. Half of the golf-cart route was closed due to mudslides (not the "in a blender" kind...lol), so if we go back, we're definitely going to get the golf cart for the full three hours. I'll post the Ensenada pics next.

 

And thanks for the kind words. You never know if a review is going to get read. It's great to hear it's appreciated.

 

~ Sheryl

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FreezingInMichigan - you were in the same room U18, that my hubby and I had for our cruise on the Paradise last week (March 7 - 11).

 

I recognized your name from when I went to upload my cabin pics on cruise line rooms.com. I saw your pics were already there and I must say, yours were better than mine, lol (to be expected when one uses her cellphone camera...).

 

We loved our cruise and the room was perfect.

 

I try to remember to add the cabin pics as soon as we get home in case someone is looking for them. You added yours too, right? And I agree... it was the perfect little room for a get away. :)

 

~ Sheryl

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I can tell you that on the Paradise, some of the porthole rooms ARE larger.

 

Ours was not (U18), but the room next to it was a few feet longer. I believe cabins on the Upper deck cabins U10 and U7 are quite a bit larger, on the Main deck it looks like M10 and M7 along with M14 and M11 are also several feet longer.

 

It may not sound like a lot, but in reality it can make a bit of a difference. I enjoyed our room, particularly when the difference in cost between our room (U18) and the one next door (U22) was about $200 (for the two of us)!

 

A week or so before we sailed, we received an upsale call. They offered us a Grand Suite for $400 more total. We decided to pass because the weather was going to be cold, so we knew we wouldn't use the balcony. (Translation: I wouldn't use it. My husband calls me a tropical fish...lol) After we turned it down, I had major non-buyers remorse. We called back to say we'd take it but another lucky passenger had booked it. Having been on the cruise, I'm glad we saved the $400. However, I would have loved the opportunity to have spent the cruise in a Grand Suite. Don't see that room being in my budget for our upcoming 8 day... lol

 

~ Sheryl

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I love those lazy sea lions how cute! i really need to get to Cali again! We saw alot of sea lions when we were in San Francisco!

 

The tour guide had everyone laughing, explaining how lazy they are and that's why they were sticking their flippers up in the air. When I got done laughing I thought, "Hey. I resemble that remark!" :p

 

~ Sheryl

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Loving your review!!! Interesting to see pics of the Paradise! It seems no one ever posts pics of her!! Keep the review coming!

 

I looked all over trying to find pictures before we sailed. It was definitely a treasure hunt. Glad you're enjoying them. :)

 

~ Sheryl

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Thanks for the review. The dolphin pics are especially awesome :).

 

Man, I feel old now! My parents took me to see the Spruce Goose when it was in the "golf ball" many moons ago. lol

 

Those dolphins were really cool. I wanted to reach out and touch one soooo bad but the guide said nay nay. Fines and all that.

 

And based on your picture, I'm way older than you... so cheer up... lol

 

~ Sheryl

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Love, love love your review and the pics are GREAT! After seeing your snow in Michigan, Colorado is feeling like paradise.

 

I think you had cooler days because you got your cruise so cheap!! Lol...you gotta pay more for warmer weather. We did a cruise out of Galveston on the Voyager a couple years ago...got a great last minute price but the weather was FREEZING. I feel your pain but it looks like you had a great time and that's what it's all about!

 

Thanks for sharing:p

 

I love your avatar pic :) Those cooler days were definitely an adjustment after our last two cruises in balmy Caribbean Novembers. But compared to what we left... not so bad... LOL

 

~ Sheryl

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Great pictures.. Thanks so much for sharing. Your catalina experience looks wonderful.. despite not seeing any whales. But being so up close to the dolphins and the sea lions.. How long did that trip take? Oh, and where did you sign up for it? I always read to try to book it ahead of time, is that what you did?

 

oh.. yes.. our trip is in two weeks.. actually less now.. we depart march 28. It was such a last minute thing and I'm so glad we are doing it.. and your review is even getting me even more excited.. thanks.. keep the pictures coming!

 

The trip was two hours. We had a choice of three different departure times (9:30a, 11:30a, 1:30p). We went with the 1:30p hoping it would be the warmest. The cost was $65pp and booked through Carnival. I had corresponded with the owner before we booked, not knowing at the time that when Carnival is in port, they can only take Carnival-booked passengers. We booked a few months out because I didn't want to risk the trip selling out. Our Zodiak was completely packed, so if we'd waiting, I'd have been out of luck.

 

I had been worried about getting in and out of the Zodiak. I'm not exactly a twig. Add to that my stumpy little legs and general klutziness, I had very clear visions of ending up in the Catalina harbor. Turns out I worried for nothing. They crew was great about helping everyone in and out. You step right onto the Zodiak, down onto the seat and then to the floor.

 

If you go, give those sea lions a wave from us. :)

 

~ Sheryl

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Just looking at a 4-day cruise on the Paradise. I've never been on a 4-day, but would like to do a quick girls only cruise; started some research and "bam"; the Paradise was getting slammed. SO NICE to see pictures and hear positive reviews. Also, you cracked me up with your picture by the ambulance - LOL.

 

Thanks for taking the time to upload the pics - can't imagine how time consuming that is. Thank you, Thank you. It's what I look forward to the most when reading reviews - pics of the places you see.

 

This was our first 4 day and I wasn't sure it was going to be long enough. Having weekends planned on both ends helped.

 

We had heard the negative about the ship as well but decided to go and check it out for ourselves. Maybe it's the differences in the times of year people cruise but we didn't see any of the obnoxious drunkfests others have reported. Not that we didn't ocassionally feel no pain but that's different... lol

 

And you're very welcome for the pics. I really enjoy doing it. The uploading process is painless for me. I post the pictures to my Facebook album and then just copy & paste select ones into the review. Lazy blogging... lol

 

~ Sheryl

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We woke up to another beautiful day. I switched to short sleeves and was plenty warm.

 

Here's the entrance to the Ensenada port. Chuck and I elected to do separate excursions here. Yes, we both took off in different directions in a tequila soaked port. heh... heh... heh

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Chuck's pick was the Jeep excursion into the countryside, some off-roading, and wine country. The tour guide offered to let Chuck drive his Jeep. He probably flashed him his Director of DOT Safety business card and convinced him it would all be juuuuust fine... lol

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Apparently the local officials were made aware... haha

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Off they went into the countryside... first stop wine country

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I could live someplace like this - and not just because it's in the middle of a vineyard... lol

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Where's a straw when you need one....

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Off-roading adventure attempt. Mother Nature says, "Not without a winch, boys..."

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Instead they find pavement along Ruto del Vino... "Route of the Wine". Why didn't I pick this excursion?!?

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Boys will be boys...

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Looking out over a claustrophic population density

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I've titled this picture "Chuck - put the camera down."... lol

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Followed by a head smack. ~thwack~ (I probably shouldn't admit I took the same picture on my excursion...lol)

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Meanwhile back at the ranch, my excursion was getting ready to leave. City & Shopping here I come.

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Can you find all the spelling errors in the driver's sign?? LOL

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First stop is the Riveria. Built in the '30's, the Playa Ensenada Hotel & Casino was originally designed as a glamorous hideaway for Hollywood stars and wealthy Americans during Prohibition.

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The grounds were beautiful

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Local vendors offered crafts in the courtyard. According to the tour guide, this is the birthplace of the margarita. True or not.... free samples! 10:00am and we're already drinking. This should be an interesting day...

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Our next stop was the Santo Tomas winery. Now a non-working winery, it houses antique wine making equipment and offers an interesting lesson in the craft.

 

On my FB page, I accidently labeled the "caskets" of aging wine. Freudian slip??... lol

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Antique champagne shakers

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Wine tasting room

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Meet our somalier. We did a single flight but it was five bottles starting with a dry white and working up to a full port. We tried for just little sips because this was strong stuff. Epic fail.... haha!

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A slant board for proper champagne storage. Oooo if only this would fit in my luggage...

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I purchased a bottle of the port. So, so good. Since we had to fly home, I had to think about transporting. Otherwise, much more of this fine vineyard offering would be going back to Michigan. Buying at the winery is less than half of store price when you can find it. So my single bottle sits on a shelf in my study as a reminder of a very good day.

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Thank you so much for all your information and pics. This is the best review I have read!!! Thanks again!

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We checked out of the Embassy and headed up to Santa Barbara. My husband was enthralled with the idea of driving the Pacific Coast Highway, even if it was just a little bit. We made our way through Santa Monica, Malibu, all the little towns in between. The views are gorgeous and I'm glad we made the drive.

 

These were the cheapest gas prices we'd see the entire trip. Californians - we feel your pain. :(

 

 

Hi Sheryl - I live here in LA and I work in Malibu. I am SOOO glad you guys took a day to travel PCH and see our gorgeous coastal communities. I'm glad you guys enjoyed yourselves.

 

Oh, and gas prices as of this morning? $4.15. :mad:

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