We sailed out of Tampa on Dec. 29th on Carnival Paradise. We had an oceanview cabin, and it was bigger than we expected. It was very clean, and well stocked with fresh towels and water all of the time. The rest of the ship was in very good shape, although it could use some updating.
We traveled to Grand Caymen on Dec. 31st which was simply beautiful and amazing. We did a snorkel/stingray city excursion. It was fantastic! The water was a little choppy, but all in all we had a great time.
New Years Eve aboard Paradise was AMAZING!!!!! By 10:30 p.m. most guests made their way to the Lido deck for a great party. The band was very good, and there was a lot of dancing and celebrating. It was about 80 degrees, and the champagne was flowing!
The following day we went to Cozumel. We did the "GO JEEP" excursion which was AWFUL!!!!! I would not recommend this excursion to anyone. The brochure promised an exciting "through the jungle" off road experience with tequila tasting,and 1.5 hours on a great beach. It was a two-hour ride, back and fourth, on a highway to nowhere in the most broken down jeep. The tastings occurred in small roadside places which were "sketchy" and scary. We were on a beach for about a half hour, and it was horrible. The beach was dirty and smelly. The restaurant was very overpriced, and the food was well below par. Many other passengers paid only $20 for an all inclusive beach tour and were very pleased with those excursions.
Beside the "Go Jeep" excursion, another complaint would be that the food on Paradise was not as good as other cruise lines. It was compatible to Bob Evans or Cracker Barrel. If your looking for gourmet top-chef prepared meals, you would be disappointed. The only time lobster was available was on New Years Eve. The desserts were amazing, though.
Another complaint would be the lounge savers on board. You literally have to get up at 7:00 a.m., get a towel, and "save" your lounge chair. Some guests saved lounges for their entire group, or family,even if they never showed up. Some "saved" chairs would be vacant for most of the day.
Also, we were not able to enter Tampa Bat until 3:00 p.m. on our day of departure due to fog, causing us to miss our flight. Luckily, we had a travel agent who was able to make all of our arrangements for a hotel and new flight. It did cost quite a bit to get a new flight for three the next day, and a hotel room. If you are cruising in December or January, I would recommend flying in a day before, and out the day after, the cruise. You would only have to pay for a hotel room, and not have to worry about making arrangements from the ship.At times, it was difficult to get a free line out.
All and all, we had a great time. New Years Eve was worth all of the other little problems. And, hey, you're in 80 degree sunny weather, swimming in the ocean, in January!!!!!