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Carnival Paradise – Jun 2011


Cruise #2 of four scheduled I had scheduled on the Paradise before she leaves Long Beach for Tampa ended today. If there is one thing I can tell you about a cruise, it would be “no two are alike’. Although this was the identical itinerary I had taken just three short weeks ago, and most the staff was the same, it was the passengers who were vastly different than the last crowd.

I am finding out that there is a very mixed bag of cruisers on these three day jaunts. Some have never cruised before, while others have dozens of cruises under their belt. This cruise compared to the last seemed to have a much more active crowd on board along with some interesting individuals. There was a couple getting a little over amorous in the Jacuzzi, a young lady that wore her fuzzy bright pink life vest everywhere, and a free spirited golden aged lady sunbathing topless on the Serenity Deck. Contrary to popular belief, it really doesn’t take all kinds of folks to make the world go ‘round…. We just happen to have them.

Embarkation was yet again extremely easy and fast. In no time at all we were at the deli enjoying a sandwich and a drink, and watching the others come onto the Lido deck; many for the first time.

I was slightly disappointed to see that my table request in the Elation Dining Room had not been met, so Julie and I went to the dining room when they opened at 2pm to see if we could change our table location. We were met by the Maitre ‘D Ramesh. He was a pleasant man, and showed us where our assigned table was and let us see the names of the people sitting with us. On the computer we saw four men and four other women listed. It appeared we were sitting with four couples. So we kept the table assignment as it is always nice to meet new people.

The Muster Drill this time went a lot smoother than last month. Most delays last month were due to people making too much noise and it had to be stopped several times. Although it went easy enough, it was about 30 minutes late starting, so by the time it was over we only had enough time to get back to the cabin and get ready for dinner.

Our tablemates turned out to be a mother/daughter, a father/son, two sisters, and two men that worked together. Ramesh stopped by a couple times to make certain that Julie and I were okay with the table and the people which I thought was a very nice gesture. However, by night two, we lost the father/son to another table. The father was just not comfortable around the younger crowd and asked to be moved. I elected to get the “Steakhouse” Prime Rib. It costs $18.95 but is a wonderful cut of meat.

I don’t know much about life working on a cruise ship. I don’t believe it can be an easy feat. Most the crew I come into contact with work very hard. The crews I have encountered on the Paradise during the last two cruises have been exceptional. I was saddened to find out one of the Social Hosts that had been so charming last cruise had been fired. Our waitstaff in the diningroom (Sanjay and Leslie) on this cruise were a perfect working team and between the two of them, we felt so special.

Saturday we arrived in Ensenada, and once again Julie and I elected the highly discounted pricing in the Spa and indulged ourselves.
We then spent the rest of the day in search of all the Trivia and games we could play with the crew.

Dinner was nice full of wonderful conversation about what everyone did in port. You feel a bit rushed though to get to the Captain’s Celebration which is at 7:15pm. Typically, we don’t get there until about 7:45 so not a whole lot of celebration time.
We do take the time to talk to the Captain, and Cruise Director (Jeff) and of course our favorite Assistant Cruise Director (Six Three).

We went to the Destiny Dining Room to see our Maitre ‘D from the last cruise (Stan the Man) and then walked up to the Rotterdam Bar to do some Martini Tasting. Eventually we ran across our tablemates from dinner and had a few laughs drinking and watching them dance in the Rex Disco.

Sunday, we did the Behind the Fun Tour. An excursion you can book for about $50 on the Paradise. Although, we had taken this tour on the Splendor, we have found some interesting new facts each time. This time was no different. Brianna was an excellent tour guide and all the folks in the Galley, Backstage, the Bridge, the Laundry, Storage, Environmental and especially “Sal” in the Engine Control Room were exceptional in talking about their respective areas, and functions. This tour runs about 2 ½ hours and you do a lot of walking, but it is well worth taking if you never have done it.
You also get to see the crew area, including what they affectionately call the I-95 that runs the full length of the ship and is always hustling with crew members doing something and going somewhere. Perks of this tour typically include pictures of you and/or you and your group with the Captain on the Bridge, and by the ship’s bell, hats, pens, wristbands, backpacks or any variety of Carnival Branded items. I have noticed this also changes with the tour and the ship you are on. One thing they love to do is deliver your pictures to your dining table so that others can see what “FUN” they missed out on.

The rest of Sunday, is filled with more Trivia, some Bingo, food, drinks, and more people watching. The day ends with another fantastic dinner, cashing out our “almost” casino winnings, and packing. We say our goodbyes to our new found friends and some of the crew that we have gotten close too.

Time sure seems to fly on a cruise ship. I don’t care if it is a weekend cruise, a five day cruise, or even two weeks long. I find that is always seems to be over way too quickly.
It is truly amazing the friendships you can make with the crew and passengers in such a short time.

Next cruise – September

The good on this cruise – The wait staff Sanjay, Leslie, Ramesh (the Maitre ‘D, and most of all “Aleksandria”[hostess] ) And still “Stan-the-Man” even though he got transferred out of the Elation dining room, we still went to see him in the Destiny, and he as always – wonderful.
– The hosts – Six Three (Amy – who was going home when we got back to Long Beach), Robbie G. – a replacement for Leo, but very young and ambitious.
– Nick Brown – who really stepped up since my last cruise ( I know everyone can have an “off” day and chalked this one off.)
– The stars… the weather was great. The sky incredible. Take the time to look if you never have!
– Captain Lanaro, Chief Engineer Cuomo, and the medical staff, for getting the medical emergency handled at 3am Saturday morning.
The not so good
– Still having to ask the Deli cook to actually “COOK” our Pastrami and Rueben Sandwich ????
– Our room steward Natasha – The cabin was always cleaned, but things moved. I mean moved – Bottled water disappeared, soaps, hair care products, moved to different locations. It was just ODD. The remote disappeared one time, and she always blamed everything on her helper. While this may or may not be true.. I rarely saw her. I mean she was visibly absent. Had her on the May cruise too, and the only time she was quick was when I inadvertently left an envelope with some cash inside on the table while I was trying to decide how much extra to tip her. I saw the “helper” once when I asked where the tv remote was. Now last cruise I think we left her an extra $20 plus a $30 bottle of wine. One would think in three weeks she might remember… We still left a good tip, but I didn’t leave the envelope in the room until we left to debark! I usually take the time to take our pictures with the cabin steward, especially on Elegant nights, but since we never saw her, this was not even possible. I don’t blame her, I just think perhaps there were too many rooms for her and one helper.
The bad:– The couple in the Jacuzzi on the main part of the Lido Deck, below the water slide; basically having sex. I know people complained, and I saw some Carnival Staff come up and watch for awhile, yet nothing was done. I believe this had something to do with the fact the couple was part of a company sponsored cruise, and they had been afforded certain latitudes. I even heard other guests later that night say that said that they had complained to the staff, and finally just left the Lido Deck.
– The topless sunbather on the Serenity Deck (right below the kids pool area) – Not Carnival’s fault. Just saying it wasn’t a pretty sight.

The interesting:– Now if any of you have watched them doing the lifeboat drills and more specifically in the area where the crew life rafts are, maybe you have noticed the manual cranks they use to maneuver the crane. Carnival really needs to step up here. I watched three crew members training using this hand crank, and each and every time, it slipped off the squared “bolt/stud thingy” (for lack of a better term), fell to the deck and had to be picked up. Now, my guess is, the crank has been used so many times that the “socket” part is rounded and easily slips off the area where it is to be. The “cranking end should be “knurled” to offer a better grip. Some of the crew wore gloves during this exercise, but they were not “gripping” type gloves. They were smooth and only accelerated the slippage of the crank. More obvious was the fact that the socket portion itself had no sort of “locking” mechanism as we see on home tools with the detent buttons. (Guessing here – too costly to maintain as it would have to be rust-proof, etc..etc.. etc…) But I believe some steps could be taken to make this a much more useful tool. I apologize for the diatribe, but with an Engineering background and being a Quality Manager by profession, I tend to notice when processes are out of whack.

– The Cruise Director Jeff Bronson, was hardly seen, but understandably so, as he had his family aboard on this cruise. (And a wonderful looking family they are!) Hardly saw him three weeks ago on the May cruise but he told me he would be off when I cruise again in September, but should be back on board for my November cruise.

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