1. Home
  2. Find a Cruise
  3. Carnival Paradise
  4. 5 Night Western Caribbean Cruise from Tampa
Loading ...
Call our partner agents at 866-511-5737 866-511-5737 to plan your cruise.
Carnival Paradise

Itinerary

Tucked inside Tampa Bay on Florida's west coast, it's really no surprise that Tampa has evolved as a year-round bustling cruise port for mostly Western Caribbean and Panama Canal itineraries. Its red-hot waterfront is jam-packed with sights, sounds and surf, and is just a hop, skip and a jump away from century-old St. Petersburg and from Clearwater, one of Florida's best beaches.

Cuban-influenced Ybor City -- a short streetcar ride from the cruise terminals -- is one of only two National Historic Landmark Districts in Florida. Its narrow brick streets, red-brick buildings and wrought-iron balconies offer old-world charm. You'll also spot flamenco dancers galore and old factories selling Florida's best hand-rolled cigars, not to mention plenty of Major League teams batting up for spring training. Finally, Tampa offers up award-winning beaches to perfect your glamour tan and more than 2,000 restaurants to soothe your hunger.

Read More
  • Day 2

Imagine the stereotypical cruise port -- one with white-sand beaches, a plethora of duty-free shops selling jewels and liquor, and de rigueur water activities like snorkeling and scuba -- and Grand Cayman will likely come to mind. The cliche might just be based on the destination, with its lovely Seven Mile Beach, George Town's retail center and plenty of sites for diving, snorkeling and other water sports. Grand Cayman also celebrates marine life at Stingray City and the Cayman Turtle Farm, and even offers a twist on island paradise with the town of Hell (THE place from which to send the quintessential kitschy postcard).

Yet the cliche does have a negative side -- the crowds. It's not unusual to find five mega-ships (we're told there's been up to nine) docked in the harbor at the same time, which makes the tendering process slower than usual and the downtown streets jam-packed. (Building a cruise pier at which ships could berth is oft discussed, but it's never gone beyond the "pre-planning" stage.) The constant influx of cruise passengers keeps the waterfront restaurants bustling, so lunch in port is never a cheap affair. A stroll along the beach quickly turns into an obstacle course of sunbathing tourists, sandy children and water sports vendors.

Read More

Although Cozumel is Mexico's largest Caribbean island (and its most populated), it wasn't until the 1960's that this once-sleepy fishing village became a tourist attraction in its own right, following a documentary in which Jacques Cousteau declared it one of the most beautiful areas in the world for scuba diving. These days, Cozumel is a major cruise port that welcomes more than one million cruise passengers each year and as many as eight ships per day. But even with all this progress, Cozumel has held onto its non-touristy side; only one-third of the island has been developed, leaving large stretches of pristine jungle and sandy beaches basically untouched.

Yes, it's true: There's much more to Cozumel than duty-free shopping. (That being said, Cozumel offers darn good deals on jewelry, Mexican handicrafts, T-shirts and other souvenirs, mostly in the main town of San Miguel.) This small island, measuring just 28 miles long and 10 miles wide, lies off the coast of the country's Yucatan peninsula and offers incredibly diverse options for water sports-lovers, partly because of its proximity to spectacular coral reefs. Along with snorkeling, beach bumming and boating, scuba diving is one of the biggest draws to this sunny destination.

Read More
  • Day 5

Tucked inside Tampa Bay on Florida's west coast, it's really no surprise that Tampa has evolved as a year-round bustling cruise port for mostly Western Caribbean and Panama Canal itineraries. Its red-hot waterfront is jam-packed with sights, sounds and surf, and is just a hop, skip and a jump away from century-old St. Petersburg and from Clearwater, one of Florida's best beaches.

Cuban-influenced Ybor City -- a short streetcar ride from the cruise terminals -- is one of only two National Historic Landmark Districts in Florida. Its narrow brick streets, red-brick buildings and wrought-iron balconies offer old-world charm. You'll also spot flamenco dancers galore and old factories selling Florida's best hand-rolled cigars, not to mention plenty of Major League teams batting up for spring training. Finally, Tampa offers up award-winning beaches to perfect your glamour tan and more than 2,000 restaurants to soothe your hunger.

Read More
Cruise Critic Editor Rating:
3.5
828 reviews
Why Choose Carnival Paradise?

Pro

Extremely friendly service and outstanding entertainment

Con

Older ship with limited dining options

Bottom Line

Fun to be had onboard, upgrades coming soon and cruises to Cuba are fabulous

Carnival Paradise Overview

Launched in 1998, passengers aren't cruising aboard Carnival Paradise for its snazzy new, over-the-top features. Instead, the Fantasy-class ship has created plenty of happy customers by delivering the experience Carnival is known for: friendly service and a fun-filled vacation at a bargain price. In June 2017, Paradise added a new reason for cruisers to set sail when it joined the handful of cruise ships making the journey to Havana. It is currently the only ship cruising to Havana from Port Tampa Bay, and with a scheduled refurbishment in February 2018, expect Paradise to be a rising star in the Carnival fleet.

The ship isn't without its drawbacks; even though it carries significantly fewer passengers (2,052) than some of its younger siblings, Paradise feels crowded. Being an older ship, it has a more traditional design, with most of the action smack in the middle of the ship, making the central indoor promenade congested at times. Trying to find a quiet place can be challenging, but Paradise does have some quiet nooks like the adults-only Serenity area on Deck 9, soothing Spa Carnival and fabulous library.

It's difficult to pinpoint a theme for Carnival Paradise's decor because there are places where it feels like flashy Art Deco, and other areas where it is more subdued. There are nods to nautical history throughout, and thrown in the mix are columns with turquoise Russian eggs perched on top. Don't overanalyze it; the ship's charm comes from a combination of it all.

Still, what Paradise lacks in consistent appearance it makes up for in nonstop, daily activities that get everyone involved. Passengers sailing to Havana will be especially impressed with the Cuba-themed programs. From deck parties and performances from Cuban musicians to enriching shore excursions and onboard educational lectures, Carnival does an excellent job feeding passengers' curiosity about the island.

Paradise also shines with its entertainment including theater productions, dancing and live music: It's difficult not to get caught up in the upbeat energy. If you're going on a cruise to have a good time, you will find it onboard Paradise.

Read More

Cruise Reviews

Sail Date: January 2018
Went on my first cruise with my wife and 2 sons ages 17 and 20.after reading some reviews wasnt sure what to expect but it better than i thought. We stayed in riveriara room 182 and 186. These are ajoining rooms. There is a door ... Read More
Went on my first cruise with my wife and 2 sons ages 17 and 20.after reading some reviews wasnt sure what to expect but it better than i thought. We stayed in riveriara room 182 and 186. These are ajoining rooms. There is a door inbetween . If you ask will unlock it which makes it easier. This room is midship locaoted between levators. these rooms looked like the have been redone . Beds were like new and we slept well. My kids were surprised. They had they seperated which allowed room between them we kept ours together. Plenty of charging outlets for electric devicecs but only 1 outlet for other things so you may want o bring an extension cord. our romm steward willy wasa very good and helpful. jamie the cruise director is terrific. She is always full of energy and brings alot of excitement. And yes when you see her some were on the ship be sure to say to her hi jamie likes she says to. We had a small problem on our last nite when closing our account. Customer service was of no help. When we saw her we talked to her for a minute told her our problem . She made a phone call told us who to go see and got it taken care of.if you have problems at the desk and dont get anywhere ask for victor he is the supervisor and was helpful. Others there weren't. When we asked to speak to there supervisor were told it would tell you the same thing. Sea day brunch was great. Other food was hit and miss. But try different thing. we left a an extra tip for dinner service and the next time we had dinner we got the same server and he remembered us . His name was fritz. Ask for him a little diappointed with all the desserts. if you order something and dont like it get something else. we saw both the comedy shows and they were very good. We also went to all 3 of the other evening shows and they were high energy and terrific. Took my son to the casino for the first time he ended up winning 50 on the penny machines. 20 his first nite then he played the next nite broke even then won another 30. My wife ended up 25 ahead on the same machines . Saw one lady when 100. So the machines do pay out. The hav alot of other machines if you like spending more.lol plus blackjack craps and poker.the pools were a little disappointing. They were not very warm nor were the hottubs. Somepeople stayed in to logn so you had to wait. the pool and tubs behind the whale tail weren't as crowded. Plenty of seating all around the decks.didnt notice ant soot on the deck like others complained about. Just great views . Overall this was much better than i had for. Cant wait to go on our next cruise. Cabins were bigger than expected.getting on and off the ship was not a problem . All went smoothly. If you get there early you will have to wait anyways until your time is called. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2017
Background: I love cruising! This was my 10th cruise on Carnival and my 3rd on the Paradise. It was a 4 day cruise to Cozumel. We had a group of 6 girls celebrating my birthday. When it comes to cruising, I’m pretty simple. I ... Read More
Background: I love cruising! This was my 10th cruise on Carnival and my 3rd on the Paradise. It was a 4 day cruise to Cozumel. We had a group of 6 girls celebrating my birthday. When it comes to cruising, I’m pretty simple. I expect the boat to be clean and well kept, the staff friendly and knowledgeable and there to be plenty to eat/drink and to do while on board. I’m a happy cruiser from there Embarkation It moved very smoothly and quickly. Once we were checked in there as about a 10 minute wait to board. Great experience. Ship/Cabin I believe the ship is scheduled for a remodel in early 2018. Let me say, it REALLY needs it. It is terribly shabby and worn out. We knew this going in, so it was not a surprise. It’s very dated and shows a lot of wear and tear. The cabin was dusty and I’m not even sure the sheets were that clean. My pillowcases had stains on them. The TV is a super small flat screen in a big hole made for a tube TV. I think the bathrooms on the older ships are bigger. The shower definitely is bigger. And I like that.. With that said, it was an all-girls party cruise and the room was basically a place to sleep, so it served its purpose. And true to carnival, the bed was really comfy! There were several leaks on our floor (thankfully none in our rooms) where the entire hallways were blocked off. One of my friends carpet was damp the entire cruise. We got our cabin service daily , although at odd times of the day while some of our friends didn’t get any service the entire day. Our first day onboard felt very unorganized. The Muster drill took a full hour and we sailed away late. Good thing they now do most of it inside. So we had to sit in the lounge and NO talking for an hour while we waited to locate everyone. Apparently several people were unaccounted for. (I guess that’s not Carnival’s fault)Then once they were apparently located, they walked us outside on the deck and told us to line up. No explanation about why we were standing out on the deck. i.e. lifeboats! Poor 1st time cruisers probably had no clue what was going on. We then headed up to the Lido deck for the sail away party with DJ Vinny. Sadly there was no DJ or party? Just a semi empty lido deck with no music or activities. Not sure what happened with that. It was a little dreary out, but nothing terrible. The ship was decorated for Christmas and looked very festive. It made for many pretty pictures. Also, our floor was Empress deck 7. It was so convenient as this is the floor you board on as well as the atrium is located here. Out of our rooms, down the hallway and right into the center of it all. Perfect location. Food We had the 8:15 dining time in the Destiny dining room and had a table for just our group of 6 which was perfect. They had already arranged our seating together at booking so it was one less thing to worry about when we got on board. Food in the MDR was good. There was nothing exceptional, but we enjoyed or dinner every night. (with the exception of the blue crab ravioli YUCK) Our staff was very friendly and funny. Kristijan and his team were awesome! We looked forward to seeing them every night. I was disappointed that there wasn’t lobster offered at all (without an upcharge). I thought they would at least have it on elegant night. The service was good and everything moved along at a nice pace. The first night they even brought out a little cake and sang happy birthday to me. I didn’t expect that, it was a nice touch and made me feel appreciated. I have become spoiled on the other ships and really missed the additional food options (Guys Burger, Blue Iguana etc.). Without those restaurants available, choices are limited. We usually had brunch in the MDR to start off our day. My omelets were delicious! And it wouldn’t be complete without a mimosa or Bellini. I always received my drink with a cute little heart straw or something special. I feel like all of the staff were genuinely nice and thoughtful. They all made me smile. Then a mid-day snack on the lido deck. No real healthy choices here. Mostly burgers and fries. If we were lucky the Mongolian Wok was open (I think until 2:30?). That is always a good choice. Or even in Paris on Lido we could usually find something good on the buffet. You also have the salad bar and deli. You just have to be aware of the time or your options get very limited. Pizza is available 24 hrs., but we only had it late at night. It was good but beware, once the nightclub shuts down there is a LONG line full of rowdy people. Bars/Entertainment We had a fun cruise and felt there were enough activities to keep us busy. There is a bit of a lull in activities from about 4-6 when people are getting ready for dinner or napping most likely. We had a great time with Leon doing trivia and playing several games throughout the cruise. He had great energy and was a lot of fun!!. The cruise director Jamie was cute. Didn’t see or hear much from her. We didn’t go to any production shows (not our cup of tea) but went to the comedy a few times and it was hit or miss. Piano bar was fun and Gustavo was hysterical! Hit the nightclub a few times and it was fun. The Rex is oh so tacky, it reminds me more of a strip club with its animal print décor. But it’s spacious and feels like a real club. One night was 80’s and another night was all new rap. I wish they would have mixed it up. A little pop, rap, R&B, old school etc. Then everyone would have a few songs they could dance to. I missed out on doing the quest game on my last cruise so that was a must do for me this time. It was more than I expected. They warn you if you are easily offended to leave. They aren’t kidding. We were fine and it was amusing but even drunk there are some things I’m not doing for a plastic ship! If you want to be entertained and are curious…just go! Drinks were great, we had the Cheers package and had a little of everything. Blue moon martinis, tropical mules and blue margaritas were a favorite. They also did a great job making custom drinks if you asked for something not on the menu. As an example, a birthday cake shot. They said just tell me what’s in it and we will make it for you. That was appreciated because I have had them tell me no, you must order off the menu on other ships. I really did miss having the alchemy bar, red frog and blue Iguana tequila bars. But between the casino and Atrium bar, we were fine. FYI They were strict on this ship about the drinks with the CHEERS. They made you wait the full 5 minutes and watched if you shared. And they even counted coconut and bottled water. Which to me is silly. I should be able to have a water with my martini??? One lady even wrote the number of the drink you were on, on your receipt. It was like a reminder that gave me anxiety. I didn’t care for that. I felt like I was being mothered. Maybe it’s helpful to some people? They have rules. I understand. But seriously I shouldn’t have to wait 5 minutes for a water. Excursions We knew in advance it was 100% chance of rain on our day in Cozumel. Since this was the case and we wouldn’t really get to enjoy any beach activities we decided to sign up for the ATV jungle & beach break through Carnival. We really had a great time and the rain made it more fun! It was a short bus ride away from the pier. We were all first or second time riders so they gave us instructions and everyone felt comfortable. They had a beginners and advanced group. You ride through a series of trails that have holes, rocks etc. so you really get an off-road experience. We got wet not only from the rain but from splashing in potholes and driving through puddles. Dress accordingly and prepare to get dirty! They had lockers to hold our stuff while we rode. Then they took us to a beach area that we didn’t get to enjoy much because of the rain. Otherwise, I think it would have been a very nice time. There is a pool and also lounge chairs and water activities for you to enjoy. We were there about an hour. I think they cut it a little short because we were just sitting around under cover due to the rain. Had some chips and guac and a few drinks. Didn’t care much for the food. Overall it was a great excursion and I would recommend it. It was especially nice with a group. Overall We had a good time. Staff were all nice and friendly. Our dining room staff was really one of the best and a group of 6 girls can be a challenge. They handled any issues and requests with no problem. The boat is older, but you can still have a great time. We used the HUB app and kept track of the activities and made it fun. You have to get involved to make the most out of it. I would go again, but will wait for the updates before I sail on the Paradise again. It’s a short trip and very convenient for us out of Tampa for a quick getaway. I am sure the Paradise and I will meet again! After being on the Vista in October, and then the Paradise in December, you realize just how nice and upgraded the newer ships really are. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2017
We wanted to go back to Panama. Unfortunately we didn't port there. We didn't realize that when we booked the cruise. We went through the locks into the big lake, anchored and then returned to the locks and headed out. It was very ... Read More
We wanted to go back to Panama. Unfortunately we didn't port there. We didn't realize that when we booked the cruise. We went through the locks into the big lake, anchored and then returned to the locks and headed out. It was very interesting but we would have liked to spend a few hours on land there. The trip was 10 days we couldn't Port in Costa Rica due to 70 knot winds and 15 to 18 foot seas...pretty crazy. This cruise was very strange for us. There were only 21 children on board, that was a first for us. The rest of the people on board were all over 60 (us included). I have never seen so many walkers and scooters and canes on a cruise. The comedians even had jokes about all the scooter traffic. It was different to say the least. The crew was awesome as usual and did their best to keep us entertained and comfortable. Hats off to the captain. He did one hell of a job getting us through the turbulent weather. Read Less