Love this ship!! I had been on her before in 2003 but hadn't sailed this class since then. The Paradise has a cozy feel and we never felt crowded. I had also just cruised the Breeze two weeks prior so it was quite a difference between the two.
Embarkation: We arrived in Tampa (we are all locals) about 1:00 p.m. Embarkation was smooth and we were on the ship by 1:15 p.m. No issues at all.
Cabin: This was my first interior cabin and first time with 4 beds in a cabin. Surprisingly, we didn't feel cramped. Then again, because this was a 4 day cruise, we never really unpacked. Each of us had one smaller piece of luggage and a carry on bag. While it was nice to have complete darkness, I did miss the sunshine coming through the window or walking out on a balcony. For a quick, inexpensive trip, this was fine. Natasha was our room steward. While we hardly ever saw her, she kept the room clean and kept us stocked with ice for the entire trip. One thing this room is missing is a mini-bar. I also noticed a lot of noise in the hallway in the wee hours of the morning and again around 7:00. I don't credit this to anything but having quite the array of guests around us.
Muster Drill: Our group met in the Normandie Lounge for the drill. After a pre-recorded announcement about how to put on your life jacket, how to follow the procedures and how fire is a ship's worst nightmare, we thought we were finished. After this, they made everyone go to their actual station where the life boats are kept. That was a new one for me. This took about 45 minutes to complete.
Food: I was very apprehensive about the food after reading SEVERAL bad reviews. Our food was always hot and tasted very good. We ate in the dining room and lido deck and didn't have anything that wasn't good. Word of warning about the Mongolian Wok. Spicy means SPICY HOT!! I didn't think the szechuan sauce would be THAT hot but I couldn't eat it. If you don't like spicy, go for the bean sauce. I tried bitter and blanc for the first time. VERY GOOD! I also had my first lunch in the dining room experience. It was a nice change of pace to sit down and be served lunch. Our head waiter in the dining room (dinner) was Onesimo and he was one of the best I have had. He was very funny and had at least a thousand facial expressions.
Entertainment: The shows were very good. There were 3 different ones that we saw. The comedian was great and the trivia games were fun as always. We competed in the digital scavenger hunt and won a coveted ship on a stick. I competed in the Ultimate Mind Game and tied with a gentleman. We had to have a dance off to determine the winner. Not sure how I pulled that one off but I walked away with another ship on a stick. My trip was then complete. :)
Cozumel: We decided to go to Mr. Sanchos for our day in Cozumel. An all day, all inclusive (food and drinks) was $50 per person. This also included a tequila tasting that we didn't attend. The atmosphere was great, the staff was extremely pleasant and the food and drinks kept coming. They have a large pool with a swim up bar, cabanas, hammocks and plenty of lounge chairs on the beach. Well worth the money.
Very cool: On the last night of the cruise, Carnival managed to make it snow in the atrium lobby. It was very pretty and unique. The Christmas decorations were not up yet but we did notice them putting them up as we debarked the next morning.
Debarkation: We arrived in Tampa Bay around 8:00 a.m. and were told we were going to have a two hour wait due to "port traffic." No big deal, another couple hours in the sun and not at work isn't all that bad. :) We were finally off the ship around 11:00.
As always, this was another great cruise. People can say what they want about Carnival but for the value, they can't be beat.