We sailed on the Aug 30th departure from Tampa, dodging the Republican National Convention and Tropical Storm Isaac. My son and I wanted a quick, short cruise to attain Platinum status at a reasonable price. We got more than we bargained for in a good way!
Getting on the ship was an absolute breeze. I decided to time it. We arrived at about 1:30 in the afternoon, and by 1:43 we were on the ship and heading to our cabin.
Staff on this ship were wonderful and particularly want to single out our dining room waiter Remy from Haiti. An absolute gentleman, a consummate professional and a genuinely nice guy.
Also want to mention our cabin steward Mario who did a great job.
And then there's Kirsty who mostly did Karaoke (keeping my son Jake 'Dynamite!') enthusiastically entertained for several nights in a row.
The ship is an older, smaller ship by today's standards, but certainly in great shape. There are advantages to ships like this, particularly when it comes to getting around!
Food was excellent. Dining room dancing however was lifeless compared to other cruises we've been on.
Speaking of dancing, the only quibble I had about this cruise was the deck party. A lively, fantastic party got underway as promised at 11pm, with all the great songs: the Wobble, Cupid Shuffle and the obligatory Macarena. Staff and passengers, several hundred strong, were having a great time dancing in the warm Caribbean air. And then suddenly, at 1145, the party ended and on came the rock 'n roll band. Now the band was certainly talented, but the crowd was groovin' and wanted more dance music, and wasn't going to be getting it from a talented band whose strength was Southern rock. Just wondering out loud why the dancing couldn't have continued later and longer!
Cruise director Steve was extremely talented too. Never saw the guy beyond the shows he was in, but he is an excellent juggler and plays an absolutely incredible electric fiddle. We never really saw him around the ship, apart from the show lounge. Maybe it was just our timing.
The main area by the pool can be loud, but not as excruciatingly loud as other Carnival ships with the big, outdoor TV. The ship does have an adult only area at the back of the ship for those seeking peace and quiet.
Carnival is an excellent 'first cruise' line. It's also great for repeaters. Yes, they're constantly trying to sell you drinks, pictures and get you into the shops and casino.
My son and I had an amazing four days, dancing, doing scavenger huts, getting to know other passengers and enjoying lazy time on the ship.
One final suggestion. If Cozumel is part of your itinerary, definitely check out Paradise Beach, about a $13 cab ride for two away from the dock. Just $2.00 admission and an amazing day at the beach. Truly paradise!
Enjoy your cruise. And as you book the Carnival Paradise, just keep in mind the quality of your experience for the price paid. We found it to be exceedinly reasonable.
Finally, a note about tipping. The onboard staff works extremely hard, especially the waitstaff and the cabin attendants. Please show your appreciation by offering gratuities above and beyond what Carnival recommends.