My husband, myself, and our 16-year-old daughter took a Carnival Paradise cruise at the end of March, 2013. It was one of the best vacations we have ever taken. We did cruise once before on Carnival on a 3-day cruise to the Bahamas, about 12 years previously, with the daughter we had with us and our two older children. Carnival still had a record of this cruise. Embarkation and debarkation went fine.
BAD - The music on the Lido deck was too loud, alcohol is pushed too much all over the ship, smoking is not confined to smoking areas, the late comedy shows cross the line to offensive. We tried to play shuffleboard but the court is in a bad place. It is windy and people kept walking past us.
GOOD - The food in the Paris restaurant (buffet) was good and there is a good variety for all meals. The length of lines varied. The chocolate and other desserts on the last day were really good. We usually had breakfast and lunch there. Would have liked to eaten outside more often but it was usually crowded. We had enough space in our cabin. The shower was a good size with enough hot water and water pressure. I was glad I brought a hair dryer. Shampoo and body wash are in dispensers in shower. Our bed was fine and we kept the porthole curtain open most of the time. Our daughter slept in the bunk and was fine with it. We did not use the TV much, mostly for the debarkation instructions. The crew was serious about the safety drill. My husband and I enjoyed the comedians family shows. They were funny without being crude. We attended the art auctions, learned about art and opinions we didn't realize we had, and brought home some art and ordered more. In Grand Cayman we went on the "Stingray Excursion" booked through Carnival. See review below. We had lunch outside on Paradise. Our daughter raved about the Mongolian Grill. The food on fiesta night was very good but again the music was too loud.
VERY GOOD - Our daughter spent every evening and some afternoons in "Club O2". She really enjoyed it. They had lots of activities geared toward teenagers. They can come and go as they please. The onboard shows are probably not Broadway quality but are at least very good amusement park quality. "8 More Seconds" is country and the lead male singer was very good with this type music. "Shout" had more pop music and very cool lighting and the female singer was better in this show. The dancers and show band were very good in both. Cruise Director Steve Cassell performed in both shows. We saw the ship's band "Blood Power" in a lounge one evening and thought they were very good, especially as musicians. We took the "Mayan Ruins and Sightseeing Tour" booked through Carnival. Our tour guide, Angel, was excellent. See review below. My husband and I took the "Behind the Fun" Tour. It was very interesting and informative. There were some surprises along the way.
EXCELENT - Our cabin steward (Johnson) kept the room clean, beds made, etc., responded to requests, and made cool towel animals. The food in the Destiny dining room and the service, including main server Sisuanto, were excellent. We tried things we had never eaten before. The warm chocolate melting cake is unforgettable. I think dining in Destiny was our daughter's favorite part of the cruise.
Overall, our cruise on Carnival Paradise and the ports of call were an entertaining, fun, and learning experience. I would recommend it and do it again.