I'm reviewing our August 2012, 5 night cruise aboard Paradise to give it a vote of confidence. The ship is a bit older and slightly dated. It's not as big as Freedom (we sailed August 2011). However, we found benefits to an older ship with a nice price. We found it easier to get around than Freedom. We liked our room layout and location on deck six. Even though the washroom was older than on Freedom, I liked the set-up better.
We liked, didn't love the food - there was lots of choices though. We enjoyed the sushi bar. The entertainer was overall good, not super fanstastic knock your socks off. We really like the cruise director playing the fiddle. We also enjoyed the dance lessons given by one of the enteratiners - he was outstanding. It was too windy to play mini-putt, but that would have been fun.
The staff were really helpful to us. We needed special assistance a few times: once when our son was ill; and once when the bunk beds needed to be pulled down because we accidently put the do not disturb sign up during room change. Both times they were speedy and helpful, and we appreciated it.
We liked our two excursions. We figured that since we went to the expense of coming on the cruise, we prefer the security of the Carnival excursions, especially when you're in a foreign country. They may cost a bit more, but we found that you get what you pay for. Some of the trips you can get independently are similar and cheaper, but shorter. My son was sick and we weren't sure if he could come on the excursion - Carnival said they were refund us if he didn't go. As it turned out, he was okay.
If you are looking for big and fancy, this isn't your boat. But if you like value and can overlook some of the worn finishings, this is a really nice trip. From a value standpoint, it would be hard to beat.