A Comparison in Styles: Queen Mary vs Carnival Paradise
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(26-01-2009)

A Comparison in Styles: Queen Mary vs Carnival Paradise

The new Queen Victoria is due in Los Angeles tomorrow, where she will be not far away from the original Queen Mary of 1936 moored alongside the Carnival cruise terminal.
Meanwhile, news broke ten days ago that the Queen Mary is once more up for sale. So what is it like to stay on the old Queen Mary or to cruise from the adjacent berth? The Cruise Examiner has spoken to people who have done both.


Staying in Style on board the old Queen Mary

Cunard Line's original Queen Mary is located right alongside what is now Carnival's Long Beach cruise terminal. Probably the most famous of all liners, some 200 of her former First Class staterooms are now preserved for hotel guests, along with a number of venues for functions, weddings and other events.
The most famous room on the ship is the forward Observation Lounge, which now serves as a cocktail bar that also serves light meals. Preserving the original Art Deco décor, it is an experience worth the visit. Three restaurants also service both guests and the visiting public.

Sir Winston Churchill's, which has been added atop the ship aft, offers superb cuisine and magnificent views over Long Beach harbour; the Chelsea Restaurant occupies part of the old starboard side promenade deck, with views of Long Beach city and the Promenade Grill forward of that, serves as a breakfast venue. There are also various outlets for coffee and milk shakes, etc. Courtesy of the Long Beach Transit Authority, the ship also has a free shuttle service to downtown Long Beach, including a number of good restaurants and the Reef seafood restaurant is within walking distance of the ship.

Nearby, ferries also leave for Catalina Island for a round fare of $62 per person, while harbour craft cross Long Beach harbour on both short and long circuits. The only real drawback of staying on Queen Mary is that maintenance is not to a particularly high standard and many areas of deck and carpeting are in need of renewal.


An Exercise in 21st Century Merchandising

Two Carnival cruise ships are based on the nearby cruise terminal, with the multi-balconied Carnival Pride leaving every Sunday for the Mexican Riviera and the ten-year old pre-balcony Carnival Paradise sailing every Monday and Friday and 3- and 4-0day cruises to Catalina Island and/.or Ensenada, Mexico. The Cruise Examiner has the opportunity of visiting the Carnival Paradise during a visit to Long Beach.

The moment one boards one if offered colourful drinks, which if one accepts are billed to the stateroom at about $7.50 each, with the souvenir glass taking $1 of that. Next come the discounts for signing on sailing day for an Internet package that offers twenty free minutes and the wine packages that call for the purchase of five bottles over a 3- or 4-night cruise, with the five bottles offered at about 20% off.
Shops include a $10 outlet, jewellers, tee-shirts and souvenirs, tuxedo rentals and even Swedish sweets by the pound. Art auctions abound and chain is sold by the inch (a minimum 21 inches at $4 = $82).

Throughout the ship "Fun Ship" shopping bags seems to predominate and opportunities to spend a little extra abound. While mainly revolving around shopping, these also include bingo, raffles and an extra tariff coffee outlet. All bottles that passengers bring to the ship are temporarily confiscated and returned to passengers when they leave the ship.


The Liner Experience

One interesting aspect of a visit to the Carnival Paradise, which was the last of eight Fantasy class ships built in Finland, is that her theme is ocean liners. The result however is not much more than having names certain lounges after ships such as the Rex, the Rotterdam, the United States and yes the Queen Mary.


The Rotterdam Bar does boast a great painting of the 1920s Rotterdam, a product of Harland & Wolff shipyards in Belfast, and the ship's library boasts half a dozen ocean liner models as well as a number of ship's paintings, while the hallways and cabins feature ocean liner portraits. A good opportunity for a week's holiday is created by the fact the Hotel Queen Mary offers a $119 per night Carnival cruisers' rate for pre- or post-cruise stays.

Meanwhile, who the new owners of the Queen Mary will be should be known later this month.

(Source: By Mark Tré - Cybercruises.com)


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