Preface: Last year we did the same itinerary on the Carnival Inspiration twice. We enjoyed the two days at sea and Cozumel. When the Inspiration was in Tampa, the locals made it very popular ship. When I heard they were swapping the Inspiration with the Paradise, there was a of bit concern and that was Tampa getting the bad side of the trade.
Review: We arrive at the port around 11 am. We quickly dropped off the luggage and went to the port's parking garage. When we walked back to the terminal we were Zone 6, and we were called quickly after getting the paperwork completed. After photos (which we usually skip) we were on board. Went to the Lido deck, bought our soda stickers and headed to the buffet. That is where we saw the biggest difference. The seating area in the back of the Paradise is more user friendly. We had lots of room for our stuff. After everyone got their food, I went and ordered a lunch from the Mongolian Grill. It was awesome!
We had two 4C rooms in the Upper Aft. We got into our room by 1:20 pm and had all of our checked luggage by 2 pm.
The Muster Drill is definitely more involved than last year. The drill requires you to go to the Muster Station (for us the Queen Mary Lounge) and then they escorted your group to where you will be at the time of entering our life boat. It takes about 30 minutes. You can thank captain idiot from Costa Concordia.
Since we have sailed out of Tampa many times, we watched the sail-away from the back of the boat. Not as crowded and very laid back.
We ate in the master dining room under the Any Time Dining schedule. We never had to wait and the food in the Elation Dining Room was very good. We celebrated DW's birthday and it went well.
Tampa is a great cruising city. Many locals are into cruising and the ship was about 65% full of Floridians. My guess is that 40% of the cruisers traveled less than 100 miles (we are included in the stat). This is not too much of a surprise since this was Memorial Day Weekend.
When in Cozumel we took a taxi to Paradise Beach. This is our fourth trip in row to this resort. It is a bit pricey, but still very relaxing. The cab ride was about $15 dollars each way and we spent about $140 total between 4 adults. They need to buy new paddle boards. The bottom fins have broken off and it is like paddle boarding on a log.
When it came to debark, we did the self assist. Had to wait a bit, but we sadly got off of the ship by 8:30 am.
I asked our group, which ship did they enjoy more, Inspiration or Paradise. The vote was 3 to1 for the Paradise. I was the one that enjoyed the Inspiration a bit more, but I was torn between the nostalgia of the Inspiration.
If you book this ship, you will have a good time. It is not the newest, nor does it offer the latest amenities, but it is a very good ship and fun itinerary cruise.