The Tampa port is a nice place to get on the ship, easy to navigate. We were let off in the front of the port. Ten minutes later we were sitting down holding our Zone 2 card. Easy! We were on the ship by just after 11:15 having a drink and waiting for the ship to sail.
Our cabin (E1-porthole) was ready at 1:30. My luggage arrived just after 5pm which was the latest it ever has arrived on any cruise. My friend's luggage was "tagged" for having "alcohol"...but it was BOTTLED WATER. So she got her luggage just after 5:45 pm. That was very irritating. The beds slept great and the comforter was so nice. The TV was TOO SMALL only 24 inches. Our cabin steward we saw only a few times...Antonio from Costa Rica was wonderful. He had our cabin ship shape every day. The only day he couldn't do anything was the last sea day...we were in the cabin resting for most of the morning and afternoon. He is going home for a few months and then switching ships...so whoever gets him on his return...will not be sorry. He made us a towel animal every day, fresh towels, beds turned down and chocolates every time!
The sail away party was great...danced and danced some more. We saw the Fun Force Break Dancers do their thing which was as always wonderful. We met the social hosts...James, Mike, and Sammy...and the assistant Cruise Director..."island Girl" Mauretta. The Cruise Director Wee Jimmy (said in a high pitched voice...Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee (said in a normal voice) Jimmy) we didn't meet until later that night at the show...he was funny wore a kilt on the first night!
Normandie Lounge is where all the shows and most of the games are held. The only "bad" part of the lounge is the couches are LOW...hits you in the low back, not at the mid back for support, so they were uncomfortable to sit in for long periods of time. The shows were great...you can't not miss them! The Welcome Aboard show is something to see. You know you are in for a treat to see what these dancers can do on a moving ship. The Eight More Seconds show was awesome to see...country in theme but great. The last show was SHOUT! It is fantastic! We always sit in the front row for all events so we can see everything...it is the BEST seat in the house! The best game show...was the Marriage show. We laughed so hard we were pouring tears...Wee Jimmy was hosting the show...a newly married couple (married 6 days), the in between couple (married 12 years) and the older couple (married 54 years)...had us laughing so hard with their answers to questions...the last question was, "What is your husband favorite CONDIMENT?" Newly married couple answered...NORTH AMERICA (they both heard favorite CONTINENT). The older couple (man) answered...TROJAN...(he heard favorite CONDOM)...at that point the audience fell over in laughter and it brought the house down! FUNNY...FUNNY...FUNNY...
Food was good in the dining room. We were in the Destiny Dining room it is located at the back of the ship. The location is not the easiest to get to...you had to go up to the Promenade deck and walk to the back of the ship and then go down to the Atlantic deck...or walk on Empress deck to the back of the ship and walk up one deck to Atlantic deck. Either way it was confusing to some on how to get there. Our main server was named "V" (Vitorrio, I think). He was there every night giving us his complete attention, which made coming to dinner each night fun. We were seated at a booth of 6 ladies: best friends and a mother daughter, and us (best friends). We didn't step out of our comfort zone to often...but when I did it was good food. The stuffed mushrooms were very tasty. I had the steak several nights. The prime rib was very good also. Dessert was great every night...Chocolate Melting cake, Amaretto Chocolate cake, Apple Pie, Bitter and Blanc and Cheesecake...YUM!
Lido deck food was also good...Breakfast in the morning was the OMELET Station, I had a ham and cheese omelet with bacon and potatoes with grapefruit segments, my friend had 2 hard fried eggs with bacon and potatoes with grapefruit segments. Yes, the same thing each morning...it was our favorite way to the get the morning started. We had the deli, pizza and the grill to choose from each day for lunch. Hot dogs, French fries, turkey sandwich, tuna sandwich, pizza and salad and more choices...
Pool...was ok...really too cold to be in there for long. The slide was great...I went down that several times on our sea days. The Jacuzzi was ALWAYS crowded...in the Serenity Area there were NO seats unless you got there at the crack of dawn...so we didn't get to spend time there. The lounge chair problem was chronic... there were chairs to be had but there were towels on them "saving" them for folks who didn't show up...that was annoying.
Rex Lounge was great for the dancing...we spent a few nights there enjoying people watching and dancing. We were up late those nights past 1 am. But what fun!
Punchliner Comedy Club was great we saw Scotty K...he was awesome...he kept us in stitches the entire time...."strawberry" for those who have seen him. The other guy (Carl Falkenberry) was not so funny so we didn't go and see him on the nights he was there.
On this cruise we NEVER made it to the Veranda, Sports, and Sun Deck. We kept to decks 7-10 (Empress, Atlantic, Promenade and Lido Decks). Previous cruises we had explored all decks...since we had been on the Fantasy Class of ships before we didn't feel the need to "explore".
Carnival Paradise is part of the Fantasy class of ships...it is a big ship...but when we docked next to the Carnival Magic in Cozumel...well, we had a bit of ship envy...The Magic is HUGE...longer and taller! We looked at her and thought...WOW!
Georgetown, Cayman Island
In Cayman Islands we did a tour of the island that was NOT booked through Carnival. The cost to was $20 for a visit to "Hell" City, Rum Cake Factory, the Dolphin Discovery and a narrative of the area from our awesome guide Gerry Mae Gould. The tour was about 90 minutes long. The island is 22 miles long and 8 miles wide...so it didn't take much to see where the important places were, the Governors house, the Old Homestead and the 500+ banks. It was well worth the money to do this; time in Cayman Islands is short about 5 hours.
We started off taking a taxi to downtown. Cost $7.00 (4 people). He dropped us off at the beginning of town. We were on the hunt for earrings, a bracelet and a purse. We found everything we wanted...White Castle was where we found the jewelry the purse was found in a shop close to the center of town (where the eagles are). We also went to the Chocolate Kaokao Factory. This is NOT offered by Carnival. It is located in the residential area of Cozumel. We took a taxi to the Chocolate Factory the cost $7.00 (4 people). It was a wonderful tour. The couple that owns the place is very friendly. They showed us everything. We had a history on chocolate first and then we were able to hand crank some chocolate, and then we were able to taste all the types of chocolate that they make there. We tasted dark chocolate, white chocolate, hazelnut, coconut, milk chocolate, chili pepper (surprisingly good), coffee, and crunchy chocolate. The cost of the tour was $10 and included a small bar of chocolate. The cost of the big bars is $5 and the cost of the extra small bars is $3. They called a taxi to take us back to the port the cost was $14.
I think I covered everything...it is long...but well worth the read...can't wait to go next year...don't know where...but we will cruise again!