Well I am just back from the 4 day Paradise cruise out of Tampa to Cozumel, Mexico. This makes number 9 on Carnival for my wife and I and the second time on the Paradise. The Paradise was actually the first cruise we took back in 1999 for our honeymoon and it was when it was still a 100% non-smoking. So on to the review!!!
So to start things off I had a surprise for my DW and DD....I must say I was able to keep the secret for 2 months and I am normally one to not be able to keep a secret and hint until they guess it...so this was a big success for me.......what is the surprise you ask? Well I booked a stretch SUV limo to take us to the port!!!! DW and I have only been in one during our wedding and my DD was in a very old one the last time we were in Cozumel....the "Taxi" we had take us around was actually a super old limo. DD was smiling non-stop all the way down to the port!
Once we got to the port we walked right in and there was no line for security or to check in. Literally 5 minute from the time we walked into the doors down stairs until we were in the lobby waiting area and then we were on the ship by 11:45am. Longest wait was for them to just start the boarding of the actual ship!
Lunch was typical Lido buffet nothing super, but nothing bad either, plenty of choices. After lunch we just kicked back in the sun until our rooms were ready at 1:30. We were in an ocean view cabin E164 on Empress deck. Both of our bags were already sitting at the door when we got there just after 1:30!!! That was a first for us...fastest delivery ever!!! Now for surprise number 2! I normally don't ask for freebies...but I must say this time I sent a message to JH and asked if there was something special he could do for DW and DD and boy did he ever!!! Got a plate of chocolate covered strawberries, champagne, ship on a stick and medal!!!! This was in addition to the strawberries I order from Bon Voyage!
Only one negative comment about where we were as far as the room is concerned....mid ship right under the galley and I must say there was a lot of noise. My DW said she heard banging around 2am-3am most nights and it actually woke her up 2 times as well as several times a day we just heard a loud buzzing noise like.... I have no idea.....some sort of machinery droning I guess is the best way to describe it. I am a heavy sleeper and never heard the stuff at 2am, but did hear the buzzing stuff...again not super loud with the buzzing, but enough to notice it.
We had anytime dinning this cruise which was a first for us as normally we do the early dinning. This time we wanted to be able to see the Sunshine Skyway Bridge as we passed under it and if you have the early dinning you miss it every time (we know as we have sailed out of Tampa 3 times before this one!!!) Worked out great with the anytime dinning because we were able to see the bridge then head right to dinner! Oh also for those that wonder about anytime dinning and having the same or different waiters we were able to sit in the same waiter's area each time and did not wait more then 3-5 min to be seated the entire cruise...your choice just tell the Matre D'
For dinner I had the pork chop steak, DW had the fish and DD steak. All were very good! After dinner we just toured the ship to see how she has aged and although there is some wear and tear showing overall she was still in great shape!!!! We passed on the Welcome aboard show as this was our 9th and we just did not want to see it again (No disrespect Wee Jimmy our CD!!!!)
Day 1 -- Fun Day at Sea
Won't beat this to death as what we did so just really quickly.....hung out in the sun and let DD swim in the pool and go down the slide.....chair hogs were out in full force day one and there were no chairs by the pool....but as DW and I are not picky we were able to grab 2 lounge chairs 1 deck up that overlooks the pool!!!! All in all there were plenty of chairs as long as you were not too picky where you were sitting. Also took DD to arcade and let her blow $30 trying to win a Nintendo DS in a string cutting game...no luck....then dropped DD at Camp Carnival and DW and I tried our hand at the Adult Casino Vault game trying to win the iPad and $500....yep no luck either....
This was formal night so we got dressed and went on the photo picture parade. Got a few nice shots! DW and I got the lobster and DD got the Prime Rib.....very good! Oh and I tried the Spicy Alligator Fritters...very good!
As a side note....one thing that does bug me in the MDR are the darn pictures police! When I am at dinner I want to eat...not get up and move around the table to take a picture with the family with food stuffed faces....really.....most of the time I just say "No thanks" and they move on.....
So after dinner we walked around until the show....never saw this one on all our 8 previous cruises so I was excited to see what "8 More Seconds" was all about......oh boy.......should have gone on wondering.....I AM NOT A COUNTRY FAN...and EVERY song in the show was a country song.....it was simply a country and western performance....the only song I could stomach was "The Devil Went Down to Georgia" they had a fiddle player on stage that was AWESOME. I am sure if I was a country fan I would have liked it...but I am not.....so it was painful for me.
Day 2 -- Cozumel
We opted for the Playa Mia Beach Break in the end....open bar, sand, water, water toys etc.... we have down this one before and overall it was still a fun day. Only negative thing was that the bottom was mostly rock so it was a little tough on your feet there were spots of sand you just had negotiate the rocks....this must be from the hurricanes because we have been there before and it was a sandy bottom last time we went. LOL it made things even more difficult when you add 6 rum punches to the mix and tried to dodge the rocks!!! After that we went shopping and then headed back on the ship.....
For dinner DW and I both had the Jerked Pork and DD had.......yep you guessed it STEAK!!!!!
Day 3 Fun Day at Sea
Another day of fun in the sun on deck. This time we dropped off my DD at camp carnival a little earlier in the day and went to the serenity deck....I must say that this is one area that needs to be expanded ( I hear it is planned when the Paradise heads into the major dry dock). Not easy at all to find chairs, but we did end up getting a few. Right before dinner my DD said there was a family scavenger hunt in Camp Carnival and she wanted us to do it.....so we reluctantly came in from the deck and got dressed for the scavenger hunt....turned out to be pretty fun and we took 1st place with 29 out of 29 points!!! THAT'S WHAT I'M TALKING ABOUT!!!!! So we got a coveted 100% solid gold plastic ship on a stick and medals!
Dinner this night DW had the fish again, I had the Veal and DD had......wait for it......STEAK!!!!! After dinner we went up on deck and enjoyed the weather...seas were very calm and hardly any wind. We played a round of put put and we were the only ones up there for about an hour!!!! After that we headed down for the show to catch Shout! Over all really good show....I just can't stand the Macarena LOL........no really it was a very good show..... now the sad part.....packing to go home..... we do the "Lazy" way which is to say we put our bags out the night before and wait until we are almost kicked of the ship!!!!
Day 4 -- Debarkation
So we were up and out of the room by about 8am then we sat up on Lido eating breakfast until they called our zone and once our zone was called we were off the ship and getting our luggage within about 15 minutes....not bad!!!!
Overall we had a great time and I can't wait until our next one!!