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Carnival Paradise Cruise Review by Cruise*Master

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Carnival Paradise
Carnival Paradise
Member Name: Cruise*Master
Cruise Date: July 2013
Embarkation: Tampa
Destination: Western Caribbean
Cabin Category: OB
Cabin Number: V34
Booking Method: Internet Agency
See More About: Carnival Paradise Cruise Reviews | Western Caribbean Cruise Reviews | Carnival Cruise Deals
Member Rating   4.0 out of 5+
Dining 3.0
Public Rooms 3.0
Cabins 4.0
Entertainment 3.0
Spa & Fitness 3.0
Family & Children (By Age Group)
Shore Excursions 3.0
Embarkation 5+
Service 5+
Value-for-Money 3.0
Rates 3.0
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Ship Facts: Carnival Paradise Review (by Cruise Critic!) | Carnival Paradise Deck Plans
4 Days on Paradise
It was our daughters 18th birthday and my daughters had never been on a cruise. My wife gets sea sick, so our last cruise was while pregnant with our first son, 20 years ago.

I was somewhat hesitant to book with CCL after all of the bad press, but we decided that the cruise length fit into our busy schedule and the port was local so we jumped in...

We booked a stateroom for our children (R135) and a Jr Suite (V34) for my wife and I. Both cabins were clean. The decor, while a little dated, was clean and the sheets were comfortable, after-all the ship was built in 1998 so she has seen her days. There was nothing about the cabins to complain about, as everything functioned and was as expected for a ship of her age...

The Suite deck was quieter than the stateroom decks simply because the number of people on the stateroom decks. I am glad that I upgraded my wife and I to a Junior Suite. I enjoyed the balcony if only briefly as there was simply too many other things going on. Our cabin was quite. We did not hear our neighbors. There was only one time when I was on the balcony that one of my neighbors was smoking a cigar, I had to come in. It is his right to smoke, I just choose not to breath it in. The balcony, while listed as obstructed, had a clear forward view. The aft-ward view was obstructed by a lifeboat, but the forward view was open...

The on-board entertainment could use some updating, there were the typical game show type events but there could have been more of them. There were 2 comedians on board and they had several family shows and several adult only shows, both were good. I enjoyed the adult humor a little more. I would have liked for there to have been at least 1 open mike night to allow guests to try their hands at comedy etc. The Comedy Director Stephen was entertaining and seemed to genuinely care about the guests. I did not see any of the main Variety shows. I would have, gone to see a play, if there had been one. We enjoyed the Animal Towel folding class. The Craps table was in my favor as I repeatedly went back throughout the cruise and ended UP well over $300...

The food was on par with what I expect for Carnival. You do not go on a Carnival cruise for 5 star dining. You go on a carnival cruise for the revelry and younger crowd. The food, while plentiful, was typical run of the mill buffet style food, hotdogs or hamburgers etc. If you like Golden Corral you will like the food. I did not expect Carnival to have a formal night, especially on a short 4 day cruise. I knew there was a lobster and Prime Rib night in the dining room, but I did not know that we needed to dress up. I had seen online where people had mentioned that Carnival was much more casual. I did not even bring slacks, much less, formal wear. It was OK though, as they were understanding just told to dress up as best I could. Again the food in the dining room, while a little better then the buffets, was not on the level of other cruises I have been on, but were satisfying and filling. One thing we noticed, was that the fruit on-board after leaving Cozumel was so much better than the fruit sailing to Cozumel. I assume they must have taken on supplies at Cozumel and the fruit was simply better. The reason I mention this, if you plan on getting a fruit tray, maybe wait to have it delivered until after Cozumel as it will taste so much better...

There was a great deal of photo opportunities on-board and off, but at $20 a pop for each print we passed on most of them. Our kids had a great time and seemed to really enjoy themselves and actually spent a surprising amount of time with us, given the fact that they were in separate cabins on a deck far removed from ours and could have avoided us if they wanted too. I guess this says more about our parenting and the fact that our children, 18 and 17 wanted to hang out with their dull boring parents. My wife took advantage of the Spa and got a Pedicure, I brought her a sushi tray for her to enjoy while at the spa, more on the sushi later...

My wife and I booked our shore excursion online before the cruise. We booked the Cabana at Mr Sanchos. We got a cabana, a table, our own waiters, a half hour massage for each of us, access to snorkeling equipment and lockers plus all you can eat and drink. The food was simple and fresh, we enjoyed the tacos and my wife enjoyed the coconut shrimp. They had a wide variety of food and we did not leave hungry. The drinks were OK. We enjoyed some time snorkeling, swimming in the swimming pool with the swim up bar. We did some shopping. Make sure you haggle as the first price is always much higher... As an example, I eyed a Chess Set, the first price provided was $160, when I left she was telling me I could have it for $90, which is a huge difference. We allowed our daughters to decide on-board what shore excursion they wanted to do, as Carnival offers a teen shore excursion to allow for the teens to go off as a group without their parents. Our children decided to hang with the "Rents" and they were happy that they did as they got to go on a private scuba diving tour at the local reefs with just them and the dive instructor. While they were scuba diving, my wife and I, were getting a massage. It was a great day ashore and I would highly recommend Mr. Sanchos to anyone considering it...

Now onto the areas of improvement:

The Sushi on-board, stay away... Do not order the Sushi platter through Bon-Voyage either, just skip it and get some at your favorite place when you get back home. I ordered, for my wife, a sushi tray, for her to enjoy while at the spa. Let me just say politely that she was unable to eat any of it and she LOVES sushi. My thought is, if you know you cannot do something even close to right, then it would be better not to do it at all than to repeatedly disappoint. We contacted the Bon-Voyage director and she provided us with a Fruit and Cheese tray that was so much better...

I was surprised that the in-room TV's still had VCRs...

The drink prices... Bring your Home Mortgage line of Credit, your going to need it... ;)

I was very disappointed that there were NO MIDNIGHT BUFFETS. On previous cruises we oohed and awed at the elaborate carvings and fantastic looking dishes, not on this cruise. About the only thing open at midnight was the Pizza. I wanted more... To be fair, they did have a Mexican night, the evening we left Cozumel but again it was simply a buffet and not an elaborate spread...

I would have expected a ship of this size would have had more entertainment...

The last time we cruised, sodas and juices were included... Simply charge a little more for the cabins and stop nickle and dime-ing for every little thing. I sometimes felt like I was passing by beggars on the street trying to extract every penny I had...

Because of the ships age, there were certain sections of the ship around the casino where you simply could not get away from the pungent smell of deeply ingrained cigarette smoke that permeated every fiber of the decor. Unfortunately to get from one end of the promenade to the other you have to walk through this section. Let's just say, I get Migraines from the smell of cigarette smoke and it is not pleasant. I would have liked for this section to not have been a main corridor for traffic...

All and all we had a great cruise and I hope that we will do it again... I know my wife got a little sea-sick even with a scapolomine patch so I hope that does not color our future decisions. It was a great cruise for what it was. I think next time we might spend a little more money and return to our favorite Port of Call, St. Thomas VI. Our son will be 21 soon and graduating college going into the Military as an officer, maybe before he goes we will book a once in a lifetime cruise on the Allure of the Seas or the Oasis of the Seas. Big bucks but what else is money good for...

Publication Date: 07/29/13
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