I chose a 4 day cruise out of my home area Tampa Bay Fla to see if I would enjoy Cruising. I took the Carnival Paradise to Cozumil Mexico and back to Tampa September 26-30 2013. I read alot of reviews on this site as well as others and talk to alot of people that cruise on several lines prior to making my decsion and I was well aware of all the problems that Carnival had prior to my booking passage.
Now I am a 56 yo male and I found that Carnival Paradise was a Tremendous ship for anyones first cruise experience.
Arrival at Port of Tampa was at 1030 hours and was treated like family from that point. The Port Porters were effiecient and freindly, made sure everyone had there documents and assured any new passengers that bags would be treated with care. Inside the Terminal ALL the Carnival employees made me feel like I was the only one cruising that day even if there were several hundred already there. Check in was a breeze, Do online check in and all you do in verify documentation. A short 30 min wait and All aboard by 1130.
My cabin was already clean and wating and bags arrived within an hour later. So off to Lido deck for bite of lunch. A fantasic welcome buffett of Italian food, Hot /Cold Sandwiches drinks and of course a full dessert bar.
Then time to explore the Paradise, Drink in hand, I opted for the CHEERS program. about 50.00 a day for each day of the cruise includes 15 drinks gratuity included. NOTE: If you complain that you have reached your 15th drink do you really need that 16th before 0600. I do not drink alot but wanted to have a kind of insurance policy as this was vacation and I fiqured I would not be driving the boat anywhere. The Paradise was clean and inviting, I do realize that we all have different color schemes and decoration ideas but as it is someone elses property and I am a paying guest I loved it. My room steward called me by name even though we had never met before I returned to my cabin, earned points with me for that, and made sure if I needed anything to let him know. Also a quick plug for Rusti, Bartender in Atrium Bar as soon as you enter the ship, Great Personality as well as informative of Carnival and everything about the ship.
Muster Drill at 1500 hours yes that is 3 pm for 40 min. Just deal with it , its international law. Then up to the Lido deck or SunDeck for Sail Away. Two hours later pass under the Skyway bridge and into the open gulf of Mexico.
The trip was perfect I have no complaints. Staff and Crew of Paradise went to great lengths to ensure that everyone needs were met and exceeded. If you want a first time cruise this is the way to go.