We live in TN so we drove for 9 hours Sunday and stayed in Gainesville, FL. Got up Monday morning and drove 2 more hours to the Tampa port. This was very smooth. We arrived at the parking garage around 12:00 and were on the ship at 12:30. Our oceanview room (U170) was ready, so we were able to take our luggage to our room. We made our way to the lido deck for some lunch and then just walked around the ship. As we walked the ship each day, people were always cleaning and most would say hello. We brought some water and soda and a small cooler. We tipped our room steward the day we arrived and he always had ice in our cooler. I got so spoiled, every time we came to our room it was clean. Also nice to eat and just get up and leave - no dishes to wash and no meal planning. We pretty much at the buffets or the grill area most of our cruise. Also, ate pizza a few times. We had no complaints about the food. Of course we ate a "few" ice cream cones.
We had acquired $280 in OBC so this paid for our tips, souvenirs, and the coffee bar. I love chocolate covered strawberries. I got some everyday from the coffee bar. My husband had the milkshakes, they were delicious.
When we went to the Cayman Islands (8:00 - 3:00), we just wanted to go to the beach. After researching on CC, we took a public bus for $2.50 per person to Cemetary Beach. Not crowded at all and the water was beautiful and so clear. We went back to the dock area for a little shopping before getting back on the ship. Prices in Cozumel were cheaper than Cayman Islands. We went to the comedy shows each night. There was only one show that wasn't that funny to us. We attended two other shows. Only complaint is that we had went on a cruise 5 years ago who had the same cruise director. As we were watching, we realized these were the same shows we saw 5 years ago. We were amazed at how many people drink on a cruise. I don't know how they afford their bar bill at the end of the cruise. With that being said, we never saw anyone being rude or disorderly.
We arrived in Cozumel at 11:00 and we had purchased the Playa Del Carmen Beach and Shopping excursion (11:00-6:00). Met our tour guide when we got off the ship. He was informative and helpful. We took a 30 min. ferry ride to the main land. Our shopping time was first and you just walk the streets and shops are on each side. There was a total of approximately 15 blocks of shops. Got a little tired of the shop owners trying to get you to come into their shops. Didn't buy a whole lot just a few things for the kids. We shopped for about 1 1/2 hours then we met our tour guide at Starbucks and he walked us the the Kool Beach Club for the beach time. We ate lunch there and it was delicious. Beach was crowded, but the waves and water was great. Took ferry back to Cozumel and shopped for about 45 min., then it was time to board the ship.
Last day on the ship and we are beginning to really miss the kids. We had purchased an internet package. It worked well most of the time. There were a couple of times we had problems connecting. We did call the kids from the ship phone one time during the cruise which was $1.99 a minute. We were just lazy and laid out on the deck for hours and enjoyed our final day of peace and quiet. We enjoyed our 15 year anniversary cruise on Carnival Paradise. Then it was back to the real world of cleaning, cooking, working, and kids.