993 Carnival Paradise Cruise Reviews

We chose this cruise because it went to two of our favorite ports: Grand Cayman and Cozumel. This was our third cruise, second time on Carnival. The first Carnival cruise was 5 1/2 years ago, to the Southern Caribbean, out of San Juan ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it went to two of our favorite ports: Grand Cayman and Cozumel. This was our third cruise, second time on Carnival. The first Carnival cruise was 5 1/2 years ago, to the Southern Caribbean, out of San Juan (on the Valor), and we really enjoyed it. This cruise on the Paradise was disappointing in comparison. Embarkation was extremely quick and painless. Our assigned time was 1-1:30 and we made it there closer to 1:30. Probably waited about 15 minutes total to get onboard , which was superb. Our cabin (R228) was comfy and clean enough, and our steward, James was AMAZING! He took such great care of us while we were onboard. This oceanview room had what we needed and was quiet. The aft location was great for being close to the buffet and the Serenity deck, where we like to spend time. The worst part about it was that the hallway almost constantly smelled like sewage. James did his best to report and get the smell dealt with, but it would return. Luckily the smell did not extend to our cabin! But there was something going on in that area of the ship, for sure, to keep causing that smell. We had anytime dining and never had to wait more than 15 minutes for a table in the Elation restaurant. The waiters, waitresses and hostesses were very friendly and did a great job, however, the food left much to be desired. We had much better food on our last Carnival cruise, years ago. The soups were all very good, as was the shrimp cocktail, but the main courses were barely okay. Chicken, fish, and steak were all overcooked and dry - tasted reheated, and came with about a tablespoonful of vegetables. Ordered grilled fish a couple of times and it was baked - nothing grilled about it whatsoever, not to mention the fact that it was old (fishy tasting). Nothing to write home about with any of the main courses. No lobster, either, unless you paid an extra $20. The beef lasagna was the one we enjoyed most, although it could have used more sauce. The desserts were good and we looked forward to them each evening. The melting chocolate cake (Carnival's signature dessert - formerly called Molten Lava Cake) however, was revised since our last cruise and was no longer good. We only ordered it the first night (on our first cruise, we ordered it every night!). It used to be delicious and now it's just a ramekin of lukewarm completely uncooked cake that's not even good as a custard, and the ice cream on the side doesn't fit with it at all. We were not impressed with the changes they made to it. The best desserts were the S'mores parfait, the hazelnut chocolate cake and the roasted pineapple. The food in the buffet - The Paris Restaurant - was better than we got in the Elation most days. The omelettes were great and they had a good variety of breakfast foods. We enjoyed lunches at Guy's Burgers and the Blue Iguana Burrito Bar. The pizza at Pizza Pirate was good, too. We wished they had had more of a variety of fruit available, though. Mostly apples, oranges, bananas and melon. No berries of any kind, or even grapes. We enjoyed sitting on the Serenity Deck every day and it was usually not too difficult to find lounges available. The whirlpools there were not too hot, which was good, because the air temps were in the 90s. Very relaxing! The main pool area on the Lido deck was usually pretty crowded (and loud) and we only got in the pool once. It was on the cold side, which wasn't all bad, since the temps were pretty hot. One thing we didn't like about the pool area was that there was no airflow, so it remained extremely hot, whereas the Serenity deck had a nice breeze. The cruise director, Adam, was AWESOME and we really enjoyed his audio messages each day, his Love and Marriage Show, and his 70s and 80s parties in the Atrium in the late evenings. Lots of fun! In fact, every crew member we interacted with over the 5 days was very polite and friendly. We felt very welcomed and well cared-for. We felt that this cruise didn't have quite as much available to do as the other Carnival cruise we had been on and the ship seemed a bit small (and maybe not laid out as well as it could've been). I know it was refurbished about a year and a half ago, but whoever did the interior decorating should be fired! It was just plain ugly and none of the decor seemed to coincide or flow smoothly. The whole ship is just old and tired and should be retired! As far as entertainment, we enjoyed the dance shows each evening, but the shows were definitely not as professional as the ones we'd seen in the past, or on the other cruise line we've been on. Their choices of music were great though - 80s, Latin, and rock n roll. There was one girl and one guy who could sing really well, and the rest should have remained as back up singers only. They were all amazing dancers, though! We also liked the Love and Marriage show (hilarious) and the late night shows with Adam. The candy shop is cute and has lots of yummy goodies, although they have it hidden away behind one wall of the casino and it took me three days to find it! (again, not laid out as well as it could've been, for sure.) The ports were excellent choices, but we wished there could have been one more port and one less sea day. We were disappointed about the short amount of time in Grand Cayman. We were on the first or second tender off the ship in the morning, but still only had about 5 hours to spend in port. We felt rushed. We did a cool excursion that stopped at StingRay City and one snorkeling spot (we booked on our own through Trip Advisor), but afterward we barely had time for lunch a couple of blocks from port and no time to shop. In Cozumel, we had a long day (about 9 hours) - plenty of time. It would have been nice if they could have made the Grand Cayman day a little longer and the Cozumel day could have been shortened a little bit. In Cozumel we rented a Jeep and went to Playa Corona for snorkeling, sunning and a snack. Very reasonable prices, good snorkeling right from shore, and great food. Then we drove the rest of the way around the island and ate at Senor Iguanas - we'd been there before. Amazing food and spectacular views! We had a little time to shop when we arrived back at the port, too. One note of caution - if you are renting a Jeep, the traffic in town near the port is extremely hectic, so be careful! If we were going to Sky Reef or Playa Corona, or one of the other beach resorts on the west side, we could have had a cab take us there for the day, and it would've worked fine, and been less of an expense. The Jeep did give us more options to drive around and view the east coast of the island (although it was too windy/ wavy to swim there). Our main goal was to head to Punta Sur (an eco-park that we thoroughly enjoyed last time, but the weather didn't allow for swimming or snorkeling there this time around). All in all, a good day. Disembarking was smooth and ahead of schedule (as far as Carnival was concerned), but the problem came with customs....they didn't have enough agents and we waited over an hour to get through the customs line. We've never waited that long to get off a cruise ship before! We had a fun and relaxing (albeit short) vacation, but we probably won't sail on the Paradise again. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
Stay out of the Elation Dinning Room for Brunch, Crazy slow service, Rude waiters, There was a prob. with a 5.00 drink, we called for the Maitre d, ....he could have cared less. He has no idea what customer service is. I spent over ... Read More
Stay out of the Elation Dinning Room for Brunch, Crazy slow service, Rude waiters, There was a prob. with a 5.00 drink, we called for the Maitre d, ....he could have cared less. He has no idea what customer service is. I spent over 14,000.00 to take our whole family on this trip and could not get an issue with a 5.00 drink corrected.....really ! We are both Platinum, but this is our last Carnival trip....they have become the worst line on the sea. they just don't care, grad the money and go. The cabin was nice, we always get a suite, however don't look for nice soaps, or the other comp items that suite guest used to get.....nothing now. I love the Casino.....I live there, they are the best. the food is lacking, I will just leave it at that. now we know why the stock is dropping like a rock.....you just can't keep treating people bad, and think they will come back. We are looking for something a little more first class. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
This was my first cruise and let me say we had a blast. The cruise director Adam was phenomenal. I loved that he would dress up and change looks depending on the theme. He had great energy. He did a great job making sure everyone was ... Read More
This was my first cruise and let me say we had a blast. The cruise director Adam was phenomenal. I loved that he would dress up and change looks depending on the theme. He had great energy. He did a great job making sure everyone was entertained. I loved that they had so many activities for all ages. The welcome shows were great. Food and drinks were great. The FUN SHIP drink is a MUST. So delicious. Guys Burgers were juicy and the fries were banging. Room service was always on point. Putu (bobby) was always so friendly. It was amazing that he memorized everyone's name. It made the stay that much more welcoming. Anything we needed he made sure we had. Super helpful and friendly. All the staff was great. Always with smiles and waiting to answer any questions we had. From boarding the boat to leaving it was such a smooth transition. When we got to Cozumel there were so many excursions to choose from. We decided on paradise island. Our tour guides angel and faisel did an amazing job explaining the tour. It was all inclusive. The beach was just beautiful. The photographers took great photos. We ended up meeting some new friends on the excursion. The nightlife was good. Music was on point and i feel it catered to all ages. DRINKS IN THE REX WERE BOMB. (DJs Fave) was my go to drink. My only complaint would be the photos on the cruise. They didnt have an option to purchase all photos taken even on a usb. Each photo was $17-22 per photo. We had about 50 photos to choose from and it sucked not being able to bring them all home. The photos were all beautiful and with all the different backgrounds they had every night made it hard to choose. They also wont let you take your own photos with their background so thats how they get you. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
This was a fundraiser cruise for a local charity. We had a successful fundraiser and our group of friends enjoyed ourselves. The Good: -Our steward, Made, was wonderful. -Dining room team of Rodolfo and Vilmar and others made ... Read More
This was a fundraiser cruise for a local charity. We had a successful fundraiser and our group of friends enjoyed ourselves. The Good: -Our steward, Made, was wonderful. -Dining room team of Rodolfo and Vilmar and others made every meal a true experience! -Suri, in the Rotterdam bar was the best bartender on board -Guest Services staff were consistently helpful. -Tampa port team and processes were the best of all of my cruises. -Dining food presentation and menu selections. -This ship has the most talented entertainers at sea. -Large aft balcony. -Guy's Burgers. The Bad: -Muster drill lining us up on deck in 90-degree heat. -Rude bartender in the United States Bar, and rude staff in Normandie Lounge. -Confusing ship layout that requires passengers to go up and down decks to get from one point to the next. -Sewage smell in the cabin hallways, fruity smell in our cabin, ratting TV in our cabin -Cabin layout had bathroom door colliding with closet doors. -CHEERS! was a waste. Why sign for every drink when you have a drink package? The crew were so vigilant in enforcing the rules for this, they ignored other important things like customer service and process flow. -Broken elevator, broken hand dryers in public restrooms, not enough public restrooms, no limes for drinks... -Terrible Reubens (no sauerkraut) in the buffet. -Watch "sale" prices were above prices you can purchase Invicta, Movado, Bulova and Tag Heuer on land. -Approximately 40% of the passengers were loud and rude. A fight broke out between two groups while watching Sunday football. The cussing, the smoking, the yelling....too much for me. All in all, some pockets of great service, but the glitches, rudeness and budget accommodations lead me to not sail Carnival again and continue with my customary higher-end cruise lines. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
It was a trip paid my my boss at great clips, I have to say the staff and Ship was truly amazing, the staff made my trip so wonderful, I will most defiantly do this ship again, the entertainment group really made all the days great , they ... Read More
It was a trip paid my my boss at great clips, I have to say the staff and Ship was truly amazing, the staff made my trip so wonderful, I will most defiantly do this ship again, the entertainment group really made all the days great , they kept the energy going director Leon and his group keep us all completely entertained, the restaurant crew made amazing food and the service was a five star service, thank you to all the staff at carnival for truly making y trip amazing , I will be back next time bringing my family, ps the staff at the fun shops were truly fun and helpful as well, and the shopping guide helped me to plan my day in Mexico , Charmaine was a huge help , best trip of all times thank you again for making it the best cruise I have ever been on, xoxo Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
My wife and I had a wonderful time on our first cruise, on carnival paradise. From embarkation to Disembarkation, very smooth. food was great. The Guys burgers and fries was very good, always had a line.We enjoyed the buffet, Ate there ... Read More
My wife and I had a wonderful time on our first cruise, on carnival paradise. From embarkation to Disembarkation, very smooth. food was great. The Guys burgers and fries was very good, always had a line.We enjoyed the buffet, Ate there most of the time, lots of food and desserts. Entertainment we enjoyed very much in the Normandie lounge, and the band near the casino was very good. Our room service was Excellent ,Resty Who took care of our room was great, very friendly. I requested to him to have ice in our room every day, and it was always there. We got towels by the pool and always had a nice smile and great service from Nerisa. And The cruise director Leon was very friendly and entertaining. We snorkeled in Grand Cayman, and went shopping in Cozumel, and had lunch there. Over all my wife and I enjoyed this cruise. Meg and Steve Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
My husband and I chose this cruise because it was his very 1st cruise 5 years ago. We have both been on this ship 4 times this is my 87th Cruise and his 22nd cruise. I am Diamond on carnival so we decided to book this for a quick getaway. ... Read More
My husband and I chose this cruise because it was his very 1st cruise 5 years ago. We have both been on this ship 4 times this is my 87th Cruise and his 22nd cruise. I am Diamond on carnival so we decided to book this for a quick getaway. The weather was great we drove to the port of Tampa. We live in Fort Myers so it took 2 hours 25 minutes. We got on the ship no problem and explored the upgraded areas which looked very nice. Now, being a Diamond member on Carnival use to afford you some extra perks. Well they must have forgot the perks on this ship. We had no bar soap, we had to ask for a fan and no diamond gift. We received a lanyard on day one which I never use and we suspect that they thought that was the diamond gift. Cheesy and cheap. Anyway, this is a very cheap cruise meaning that is it is inexpensive and unfortunately it shows. The clientele on board were simply out of control. I can't describe it I'm only in my fifties and I'm no prude but enough was enough. As a Diamond member we did get a brunch with the captain and the officers but although the brunch was nice there really was no mingling with the captain or any of the offices. We just received a photo. Usually they have a cocktail party and you can talk to everyone. This was certainly not the case, and no mingling with the big-wigs.I just feel carnival has gone downhill. Even the food is going downhill. Not sure if I will ever book another one on carnival. I know the week long cruises are much better than the weekend cruises as far as the guests go. I am a platinum on Norwegian and we have frequented Norwegian cruise line during the last 4 years. NCL gives you so many perks and its worth a little extra money to get respectful people on board. If you want disrespectful people all around you, go on this ship!!!! And if your Diamond, expect ZERO PERKS!!! Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
This was my second time on paradise!! last sailed in september of 2018!! This was just as awesome as the first time!! the entertainment was absolutely amazing!! the play list players were awesome!! epic rock was beyond entertaining!!! ... Read More
This was my second time on paradise!! last sailed in september of 2018!! This was just as awesome as the first time!! the entertainment was absolutely amazing!! the play list players were awesome!! epic rock was beyond entertaining!!! Carnival goes above and beyond to make their guests feel welcomed and appreciated!! every crew member always acknowledges each and every passenger. because parasites is a smaller ship, each guests gets extra special attention. i have done one ncl cruise. it was a very old -mature cruise. never will make that mistake ever again. carnival offers a well balanced cruise of relaxation to first class entertainment!! the staff at the tampa port are a great group!! as always the food was very delicious!! carnival let's their employees take of the guests without micro managing them. the entertainment throughout the ship was was first class as well!! now it's time to book my next carnival cruise!! Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
We've been on several Carnival cruises and much bigger ships, but the Paradise (and by extension, the Fantasy-class) still is a lot of fun. It recently got upgraded with Guy's Burger Joint, the Red Frog Rum Bar, and the Blue ... Read More
We've been on several Carnival cruises and much bigger ships, but the Paradise (and by extension, the Fantasy-class) still is a lot of fun. It recently got upgraded with Guy's Burger Joint, the Red Frog Rum Bar, and the Blue Iguana Cantina, and some waterslides were added. That being said, you can tell it is an older boat by the interior design -- you have to up or down to get around the Elation (mid-ship) dining room and some the paths you have to take are not intuitive like some newer ships. Regardless, we had a lot of fun! We had an aft interior cabin. It was small, we knew that, but it wasn't nearly as small as an interior on the Royal Caribbean Majesty of the Seas. Very comfortable, and all 4 of us could see the flat-screen TV in the room. Our room steward was very nice and kept the room spotless. Dining was ok. Guy's has the best burgers at sea as far as I can tell. The tacos at Blue Iguana were delicious and the line moved quickly. Paradise has the new Sea Day Brunch menu and, for me, the jury is still out. I think I liked the old menu more. Dinner was a little bit of a let-down. Everything tasted good and as it should, but there was no "wow." No escargots. No Beef Wellington. No surf-n-turf (without a $20 upcharge). No Baked Alaska. No Grand Marnier Souffle. And Paradise has no steakhouse. Service is generally were Carnival excels, and Paradise did not disappoint. From the cabin steward to the waitstaff, service was onpoint. Our only disappointment was a solitary bartender at the Rotterdam bar outside the Queen Mary Lounge -- he had a sour attitude the entire week, and I don't know why. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
This was our first cruise and we came with a bunch of family. We were not disappointed, the entertainment was an absolute joy to watch- especially the Cuban Show and All Out 90’s. Our family would all come to see each one, their ... Read More
This was our first cruise and we came with a bunch of family. We were not disappointed, the entertainment was an absolute joy to watch- especially the Cuban Show and All Out 90’s. Our family would all come to see each one, their performances were terrific. The staff for our dinner at Destiny Dining was excellent. Our waiter, Aldreen served our group quickly and on the last day, we had some terrific adobo chicken and rice. The food was delicious. During dinner, the magician, Allan would show magic tricks. The kids absolutely loved him and would get off from their seats just to watch him even when he moved on to the next table. The adults loved him too and we were all bewildered by his magic treats. He joked around with us and became a friend. The whole family loved him and cheered when he came by our tables. Our cabin was comfortable and efficient- with the towel animals being a pleasant surprise. There was something to do for everyone- the adults were at the club, the teens would go around and play card games, the kids would eat ice cream in the buffet, swim, and much more. Embarkation and Departure were much quicker than we thought too. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
Let’s start with embarkation, a super smooth process. The second we got to the port everyone was ready and willing to get our bags and help us on up. Security and check in were an absolute breeze, we were on the boat in less than 15 ... Read More
Let’s start with embarkation, a super smooth process. The second we got to the port everyone was ready and willing to get our bags and help us on up. Security and check in were an absolute breeze, we were on the boat in less than 15 minutes. By 1 or 2 ish the rooms were ready where we were greeted by our room steward Putu AKA Bobby. I have countless to say about Bobby but I will save that for a little later. Room was an inside cabin no windows on deck 5 for 5 of us. Accommodations were made quickly as they have a king bed, two beds that fold up (which you’ll need a ladder for. It is also provided) and a trundle bed. Small room but hey we just need it to sleep so it wasn’t perfectly fine. We aren’t the type to get bent over backwards about the little things. We then went to go eat at the buffet which would bring me to the food. GREAT GREAT GREAT! The food was GREAT the entire time. I spent countless hours reading reviews and reviews about this ship and it’s food and everyone said it was average. Like I said our family does NOT get bent over about the little things so the amount of food at all times with SO MUCH VARIETY was like a little piece of heaven for us! Endless pizza, Guys burgers was BOMB. I personally didn’t love the taco place just cuz I felt bad after eating there but other than that the buffet was BOMB! Now for my peeps who have never cruised and are scared of sea sickness like I was, TRUST I brought patches, Dramamine, sea bands EVERYTHING. I ended up just using the patches and the Dramamine. Not that I needed it because the only time we felt the ship move was on night 4 leaving Cozumel which they did say is VERY common when leaving that port. It rocked for about 3/4 hours then I fell asleep and can’t remember the rest but I persevered with my patches and Dramamine and just kept going with the party flow. Always distract yourself, walk around, go to a show and you’ll be fine! The shows!!!! We went to Amor Cubano and Love and Marriage, the shows are so so so cute! So Funny! Such a good time. If you come on this cruise, you have to go to them! The pool is tiny, kind of like sardines in a can so I never went in it. But like I said we make it work, so we went to the water park and found a little spot where we all just hung out underneath the slides. I know this review is all over the place but I’m trying to fit in all the important things that I would want to know. PORTS, Grand cayman is EVERYYYYTHING!!!!!! Beautiful beaches, beautiful people, everything about it was PERFECT! Everyone in our party was ready to stay and never come home! String ray city and swimming with turtles AMAZING! Cozumel.... cozumel... cozumel... cozumel.... we made the mistake of getting there and trusting one of the money hungry taxi drivers so we ended up in a beach that was like going to Ben T Davis beach with musty water that was expensive for no reason plus the super expensive taxi driver. So just do your research or get an excursion. Don’t trust just anyone there. They just want to sell sell sell! Last but not least I said I would mention Putu aka Bobby again our room steward. We cannot express the amount of love and thankfulness we have for this man! Attending to our every need, waking up each and every day with the biggest smile and knowing each and every single one of our names. And in total we are a party of 10!!!! This man needs a raise, an award idk what but he needs it! Exceptional service all around from the buffet crew, to house keeping, and bartenders! Everyone is ready and willing to help you. Okay and last last but certainly not the least our cruise director LEON. A man full of spunk, joy and comedy! You’ll see him around the ship doing shows, your welcome party, announcements. He does it all!!!’ He is literally the LIFE of the ship! Gets you ready to party with a good mood ALL the time! Carnival you did it RIGHT when you chose this man to direct your cruises! Overall, book it. Just do it. I was super nervous and hands down it has been one of the best vacations I have EVER had! Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
Booked this last year with my older sister (69), her daughter and daughter's partner (mid-thirties) and her grand-daughter Chloe (aged 7). For us we needed something out of Tampa, and I had to be back before Saturday the 15th because ... Read More
Booked this last year with my older sister (69), her daughter and daughter's partner (mid-thirties) and her grand-daughter Chloe (aged 7). For us we needed something out of Tampa, and I had to be back before Saturday the 15th because of a time commitment. So we chose the Paradise, five days, stopping in Key West, Havana, and Cozumel. The ports of call were incidental to us, which turned out to be a good thing, as the week before we left the plug was pulled on Cuba. Our cruise was now Grand Cayman-Cozumel. The net result for us was a positive, as the ship seemed less crowded and we got a nice amount of on board credit between the five of us. I was afraid that the ship would be full of grumpy people, but not so. Overall folks seemed to be determined to make the best of it. The ship seemed to be in remarkably good shape for her age, and I found overall the decor to be less over the top than many ships. The painting of the edging between the floors on the ship had an effect of Bavarian village to me. Did not see any signs of wear or tear in our rooms or on the decks. Very clean. No foul smells. Both of our rooms were ocean view, deck six. Sister and I both a bit at a loss because we usually book balcony, and we missed that, but hardly Carnival's fault. The room itself had enough storage, except for the bathroom, where instead of the usual carnival long vanity with ample shelving, there was a single mirror with one shelf. Side note: somehow we were assigned an accessible room (partially accessible, as I could see it wouldn't work for someone fully disabled). Neither of us need or requested this. But there were extra rails around the toilet, an emergency pull cord, and an emergency call button by the headboards-which I accidentally hit trying to turn out the lights. Guest services called us within fifteen seconds, so I guess it works. Oops. We found the room temperature to be fine, but my niece reported hers to be too warm. Crew overall was one of the most friendly I have ever encountered. Our room steward made a point when we said we'd take morning service, that he was happy to do both morning and afternoon, and he brought us ice daily without question. If chocolates had started appearing on our pillows, I would have sworn we'd had a time warp. We did miss the robes, however. Spent a good chunk of time in waterworks with the great niece, which was awesome for her. Also noticed that Carnival had a worker stationed there to monitor the kids, which I have never seen before. However, placement of the waterworks meant the ship has only one pool. Still (perhaps because of not sailing at capacity) the crowding wasn't too terrible. In terms of chair hogs, one morning my sister and I were able to get three loungers near the pool at 9:30, so not the worst I have seen. Lines at the buffets and at Guy's were not bad at all. For dining, it was the usual Carnival food fare, so no surprises. Good, not great. Good bar service, however. Ports of call...we were bummed to miss Key West as Chloe had her heart set on butterflies, but we ended up having a blast in Cayman going to the turtle adventure park. Saw turtles, held a turtle, sat by the pool and spent a good time swimming. Cozumel we had been to 100 times before. Somehow, some way...we were the only ship in port, which I do not think I have ever seen before. We went to the Chakanab park and had a blast. Again, because of the smaller crowds, waiters were falling over themselves to serve us. I can see that with multiple ships in port the place could get overrun. The entertainment was better than expected, with a few quirks. We only went to the piano bar once, but Ventzi was really good. The Hasbro Game show (my first time doing this) was great fun only because I was with Chloe. Saw the'80's Show and the Welcome Aboard show; two of the singer/dancers were great, the other two I found myself asking why they were there. Well, the night my sister and I went to the piano bar the rest of the family went to the (still on the schedule) Cuba show. Turns out those two singers are Latin specialists for song and dance. Overall, one of the better cruises I've had, made so by the attitudes of the crew, lucky weather, and a ship in surprisingly good shape. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
Port of Tampa was very easy port to get into and park. We had Priority Boarding went great on the ship and eating lunch in 10 min. Carnival Paradise is a smaller ship but has all the upgrades and easy to get around lines were very ... Read More
Port of Tampa was very easy port to get into and park. We had Priority Boarding went great on the ship and eating lunch in 10 min. Carnival Paradise is a smaller ship but has all the upgrades and easy to get around lines were very short every time. The food was the best that we have had on our last few cruises, it was good very good. The staff was very efficient and the ship was always clean and well maintained. Had an elevator go out but was fixed in one day. The only complaint we had was the same as all our resent cruises. Carnival need to be able to figure out the Dance Club. Either the club was not open or the music was for young people all the time. I would think that the cruise line could look at the age of the cruisers and play music that we can relate to. We understand playing music to all age group. We are smokers and this club is one of the three areas on the ship we can smoke but we either run into a locked door or the music is not something we like, and the DJ will not play music on request at all, if he does not like what you are asking for. Over all we had a great cruise and always recommend Carnival Cruise line to our friends Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
This was our first cruise so did not know what to expect. Sailed out of Tampa to be close to home. Easy access to ship. Be careful in the casino since they double the amount of cash you insert in machine if you answer yes to charge to my ... Read More
This was our first cruise so did not know what to expect. Sailed out of Tampa to be close to home. Easy access to ship. Be careful in the casino since they double the amount of cash you insert in machine if you answer yes to charge to my card. Just beware. The food in the Elation restaurant is not the greatest and there is a long wait for your dinner, but if you eat in the Paris restaurant you have many choices at the buffet. Drinking, gambling and the pool are the main attractions. All in all for us it was ok. The cabin is sufficient. You have to pay for room service. Just go to the buffet. 5 days at sea is kind of long. Went to Grand Cayman and Cozumel. Cozumel is a big tourist trap. No beach close by and many expensive stores. The ship was clean and organized. Make use of the daily schedule to partake in the extra curricular activities to make the cruise enjoyable. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
This was my 3rd cruise on the Paradise and 24th overall. I choose this cruise because I like the ship and Cozumel is my favorite port. Embarkation was great! Tampa is my favorite port to cruise out of. We arrived about 1130 and it took ... Read More
This was my 3rd cruise on the Paradise and 24th overall. I choose this cruise because I like the ship and Cozumel is my favorite port. Embarkation was great! Tampa is my favorite port to cruise out of. We arrived about 1130 and it took about 15 minutes to board. Went and got lunch and drinks and the cabins were ready before 1:30. The Paradise was refurbished last year so she is beautiful and in great shape. It is a smaller ship which allows you to get to know other guest and crews easier. We had a little over 2000 passengers and met quite a few people that we enjoyed running into each day. Booked an inside aft cabin on Empress Deck 7. I prefer insides for the price and I like the darkness for sleeping. Great location on same deck as lobby and one floor below the main dining room. Our cabin steward Purwanto was fantastic. We had early seating and great wait team which consisted of Wislan, St Juste and Baltazar. They were very friendly and efficient. We loved the singing and Baltazar is quite the dancer. Food and desserts were very good. Carnival has the best spring rolls and chocolate melting cake on the planet. The shows were good, those guys and girls are talented and the video screen is pretty cool. Both the Cowboy Comedian and Killer Beaz were funny and they have moved into a bigger room so no problem getting seats. We bought the drink package and rarely had to wait more than a minute or two. The Cruise Director Leon was very friendly and energetic. He was one of better ones I have had. Trivial Pursuit with Carlos was pretty funny also. Went to Mr Sancho's in Cozumel. Food, drinks and service were all excellent. The bartenders at the swim up bar are amazing. They also have a nice beach and plenty of seats in or out of the sun. Cozumel is the best place in the Caribbean to buy almost anything, but remember to haggle. Disembarking was pretty smooth. Went for a leisurely breakfast about 8 and got in line about 9:05. We were in our car by 9:30. I highly recommend porters and valet parking. Two of us have cruised alot while two were first time cruisers...a great time was had by all. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
I chose this cruise to go visit Cuba and Key West with my husband. Carnival has found a way to nickel and dime you even when you pay for all such as drink package. No bartenders except in serenity that were eager to serve you. Anton was ... Read More
I chose this cruise to go visit Cuba and Key West with my husband. Carnival has found a way to nickel and dime you even when you pay for all such as drink package. No bartenders except in serenity that were eager to serve you. Anton was awesome and the only one to come back and keep us happy. All other bars you had to go to them and wait! Since they do automatic gratuity you get poor service. Food was ok....best thing was guys cheeseburgers. Tiny cups for water. Soda was flat that was part of my drink package. Not much entertainment during the day. Comedy shows were pretty good. One pool for whole ship. Definitely outdated even though it says remodeled in 2019. Would not recommend. Budget vacation/ budget ship! Very disappointed. We bought alcohol and was told by airport that cruise ship should have given us a bag for carrying it on plane-nope didn’t happen so we lost alcohol at security. Mel the cruise ship director was kind of rude. She didn’t have great things going on to engage cruisers. We could have visited Cuba on Tuesday and spent more time in Key West. Went on Monday to Cuba and all Museums are closed on Mondays...... Had to pay a $75/pp visa to go to Cuba. Our room attendant did a great job! Greeted us by first name every time we saw him! Asked me what I wanted done on a daily basis whether I needed more towels etc. he was always smiling!! Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
My sister and I wanted to see Cuba and I am glad we went when we did since it seems now restrictions for travel there may be put back in place very soon. The ship is older and smaller but went through renovations last year. Rooms were ... Read More
My sister and I wanted to see Cuba and I am glad we went when we did since it seems now restrictions for travel there may be put back in place very soon. The ship is older and smaller but went through renovations last year. Rooms were adequate in size but no sofa or table and a very small desk area. We ended up rearranging the 2 beds from side by side set up, which gave almost no clearance between a bed and the desk, to putting the nightstands next to the desk and placing the twin beds at a 45 degree angle (head to head along the window side and the wall opening up the middle of the room. We had one of the recently added balcony rooms near the aft of the ship (U215). We great for popping out for photos and air drying my hair in the breeze! There are 2 drawers and some shelves when you first walk in and 2 closets. We didn't even use one of the closets! The shelf area had your safe (number code, not swipe a card) and a small "chiller"/cooler (not really a refrigerator) Our cruise director was Mel (Mellesa D) She was a great Tina Turner at the Motown party and also an energetic hostess at the 80 music trivia party. Our favorite Fun Squad member was Texas Ty (Tyler). He kept the games and trivia hopping & fun! Be on the look out for his red cowboy boots! We did not gamble, nor attend any big shows. Our shore excursions in Key West and Havana we done on our own. Embarkation was a breeze but we are platinum. On board by 11:15am. Debarkation was super fast as we took off our own luggage and were street side by 7:30AM. Key West: we were at the Naval base and had to take Conch Trains into town. No biggie but if you are not in a hurry, wait about 45 mins before getting off and you will get right on the train. We rode the Free air conditioned Duval Loop bus and got on & off where we wanted to. Havana: got up early to get a sticker for groups getting off the ship on their own. Carnival lets their excursions off first then they call groups by stickers letter. We had group A. They must have been waiting for stragglers for the Carnival excursions because they called A, B, & C to get off if you were ready. We planned on meeting our I Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
We chose this cruise on the Carnival Paradise for one reason and one reason only - CUBA. The itinerary was exactly what we were looking for: only 5 days as we were leaving our 4 year old home w/ the grandparents and two ports Havana and ... Read More
We chose this cruise on the Carnival Paradise for one reason and one reason only - CUBA. The itinerary was exactly what we were looking for: only 5 days as we were leaving our 4 year old home w/ the grandparents and two ports Havana and Key West (which we also love). SHIP: We had not cruised on a Fantasy class ship in over 10 years, so I wasn't sure how we would like it compared to the larger ships we've sailed on (Breeze/Vista etc.). We actually really enjoyed the smaller ship. It had the Funship 2.0 upgrades (Guy's Burgers, Blue Iguana Cantina, Waterworks) that we loved on other ships but not nearly the crowds we've experienced in the past. We never waited more than a couple minutes for anything - drinks at the bars, lines for foods, elevators. We knew the ship was sold out, but it never felt that way. The ship itself was in good condition - I didn't notice any major areas of disrepair and we didn't get any of the bad odors that I've seen mentioned elsewhere. The only thing to note is that the water in our toilet and sink had a yellowish tint to it on occasion. I first noticed it in the toilet - I thought it hadn't been flushed so I flushed it again and when the bowl refilled it was still yellow. It took several more flushes for it to fill up with clear water. If we would fill the sink it would also sometimes be yellow. I didn't notice anything in the shower though. It didn't really impact us other than I would use bottled water to wash my face and brush my teeth. CABIN: We booked cabin M230, a balcony near the aft of the ship on Main deck (deck 5) on the port side. The cabin was great. We had adequate storage for the two of us which included two closets (one had a shelf in the middle so could not be used for long dresses) and four of five shelves for storage. The safe was huge - my sister could fit her laptop in her safe easily! The bathroom only had one shelf above the sink, but it was ok for the two of us. The vanity area had two small corner shelves for storage and one drawer which housed the hair dryer and had little extra room for other things. There was also an in-cabin refrigerator which we didn't use. We had our two twin beds converted into a king size bed which was very comfortable. Unlike balcony cabins on larger ships, this cabin did not have a sofa or table. The balcony itself seemed like it was the same size as other ships' standard balconies. We had two chairs and a table on the balcony. I did note that the doors to the balconies did not have the tendency to slam shut like on other ships. Our cabin steward was Giri and he was great. He kept our ice bucket full and our cabin cleaned and stocked each day. One day he wrote a Happy Anniversary message to us on our vanity mirror! It was super cute and sweet! FOOD: Overall, the food we had was very good quality. We had breakfast in the main dining room 2 or 3 times and our service was always very quick even on ordering drinks. I had just eggs and bacon both days for breakfast. The other days we had breakfast on the Lido deck (either breakfast burritos or food from the buffet). Lunches were almost always from Guys or Blue Iguana. I don't think we ever got lunch from the buffet. Several in our group got sandwiches from the Deli and raved about the BLT, but lines here could be a little longer. I also got Sushi from the small Bonsai Sushi stand one day and it was great. You really get a lot of sushi for $7.50! It more than filled me up! We had dinner in the main dining room three of the five nights. Since we had a larger group, most of us elected to have our bookings linked so we could be seated together at the late seating in the aft dining room. The first night our service was pretty slow, but things seemed to improve as the week went on. We did get drink service at our table at least once each night. The food in the main dining was very good. I usually ordered a couple appetizers and one main dish. One evening I upgraded my dinner to the Filet Mignon on the Steakhouse Selections menu ($20 cost). On the last night of the cruise, 5 members of our group participated in the Chef's Table. We had a little bit of a snafu with our Chef's Table reservation. I had reserved for our group back in June, 2018 and had a confirmation email from the Paradise Maitre D. I had read that you would get a note in your cabin once onboard letting you know what night your Chef's Table experience would be. By day three we hadn't received anything, so I went down to the Guest Services to inquire. The girl working the desk said she did not show up signed up for the Chef's Table. I showed her the email confirmation and she said that she would have to reach out to the Maitre D who was currently off duty. My sister and I went back to Guest Services in the morning and talked to someone else. They had the Asst. Maitre D and another dining room staff member come out and talk to us. They told us that both that night and the following night's Chef Tables were already at capacity but they would see what they could do for us and let us know that evening at dinner. Ultimately they were able to accommodate us on the last night of the cruise. The Chef's Table is $75 but it was so worth it. It started with our group meeting in the lobby area where we were given glasses of champagne. Then we took a short tour of the galley where we had four different small appetizers served to us and were shown how Carnival's famous Chocolate Melting Cake is made. We then were seated at tables in the Library for a 7 course feast - dishes included gourmet breads, a beet/panacotta appetizer, crab stack appetizer, duck, a tomato bisque soup, sea bass, beef wagyu and a dessert plate with four mini dessert options. During the entire dinner, both red and white wines are free-flowing. We did have someone in our group with some dietary restrictions which were accommodated for her. SERVICE: As is the norm in our experience with Carnival, the entire staff was friendly, hard-working and courteous with the exception of the first Guest Services person I spoke to about our Chef's Table reservation. Not sure why, but I find Guest Services to usually be the least helpful people on the ship. Everyone else from our dining room staff, maitre d, bar servers, cabin staff, spa staff, etc. SHIP ACTIVITIES: My sister and I had a "couples massage" on one of our sea days (her treat as a birthday present for me). The massage itself was very good and the two girls working on us were great! The room itself was a little on the cool side and they didn't have heated tables so I was a bit chilly during most of my massage. They did give us the product sell afterwards, but I'm pretty good at saying no to that stuff! LOL We went to one of the comedy shows and I did not find that guy funny. We did not catch any of the production shows this time around. The band playing outside of the casino bar was awesome! They usually played 80's music and always had a big crowd! Even when the nightclub had an "80's Party", this band drew a bigger crowd. They were so much fun to watch! Karaoke seemed to be a big draw as well. I really never felt that any of the bars or lounges were over crowded. I also spent some time in the casino. I did fairly well on blackjack but gave it all back playing three card poker and texas hold 'em. The casino itself did not seem very smokey, but the smoke was noticeable at the one side of the casino bar that allows smoking. PORTS: Tampa - This was our first time cruising from the Port of Tampa and I would do it again in a heartbeat! We flew down the day before and stayed at the Hampton Inn & Suites Ybor City. The hotel was just okay - standard Hampton Inn. The pool area was tiny and only had a few lounge chairs and was not fully in the sun. The rooms were pretty standard. Our only real complaint about the hotel room was the volume of the a/c unit. It was very loud which made it hard to sleep. The hotel provides a free shuttle anywhere within a three mile radius of the hotel. We used Lyft to get to the port as we didn't want to wait for the shuttle and go with a crowd of other people. Embarkation and disembarkation at the Port of Tampa were the fastest and easiest of any of my 18 cruises. We arrived at the Port around 10:50 and were able to walk right through the priority line and were through security in a matter of minutes. When we got to the check-in desk, there was no line whatsoever. The agents checked our paperwork, gave us our Visa's and sent us to the Priority waiting area. We only waited there about 5-10 minutes before boarding began. Since we are Platinum, we were among the first to board and were on the ship by 11:15. Disembarkation was the same way. We were heading to the meeting area for those carrying off their luggage by 7:25. My husband stopped at the little cafe area on deck 9 and ordered a coffee and by 7:34 they were calling for Self-Assist passengers to head to the Lobby to disembark. Getting off the ship was easy, customs was a breeze and we were outside the building waiting for our Lyft by 7:50. In fact, we were at the airport, checked-in, through security and at our gate by 8:45! So easy! Key West - We have been to Key West several times on cruises and also honeymooned there. Most of our group elected to book the Key West Pub Crawl tour through Carnival. This was my third time doing the tour. It's always alot of fun. For the cost of the tour, you visit 5 different Key West bars and are given a ticket for a free drink (either their specialty drink, well cocktail or domestic beer). It's a walking tour, but you aren't going that far between stops. We visited Tree Bar, Flying Monkey (where you can get any of their frozen concoctions), Hard Rock Cafe, Sandbar and Rick's. Along the way the guide talks about Key West and engages with the group. There is also a conch blowing contest for those inclined to give it a try (NOTE - I won this last time we did this tour!). After the tour, we walked around the Mallory Square area a bit and then headed back to the ship. We did not dock at the main pier on this trip. We were docked at the military base. They had conch trains set up to shuttle people between the ship and the Mallory Square area. The trains ran about every 15 minutes or so. Havana, Cuba - This was the real draw of this cruise. Our ship was scheduled to be in Havana from 7AM until 6AM the following morning. 15 of the 18 in our group booked a private tour through I Love Cuba Photo Tours. We were to meet our guide, Yosel, at 9AM. One member of our group got up early and got in line to get stickers to get off of the ship. We were in group C. We had planned to meet at 8AM at the Blue Iguana and exit the ship together. By 8AM, Carnival was well past group C so we were able to pretty much just walk off the ship. When we got to the customs area, there were several lines formed. Of course, I picked the slow line! But it still only took us about 7-10 minutes to get through the customs line. The customs agent takes your Visa and Passport and they supposedly do a infrared temperature scan. If your temp is over 98.6 you are sent for further screening before being allowed to enter the country. No one in our group had this issue. Once through customs, we headed to the currency exchange line. This also went very quickly. We exchanged $300 US dollars for 261 CUCs. There are restrooms near the currency exchange so everyone decided to take care of business before heading out of the terminal. Once we got outside, we took a right and walked about 5 minutes to a bus stop. This is where we were to meet Yosel. We were initially supposed to meet him at the rum factory to the left once you exit the terminal. But Yosel contacted me the day prior while we were docked in Key West and said they were no longer allowing tour pick ups there. He had also contacted a friend who works on the Paradise and asked her to relay the message in case he wasn't able to reach me. We were able to find him easily at our new meeting spot. Our tour was a full day tour with four hard top Classic Cars with A/C. Each car fit four of us plus the driver and our guide who is also a professional photographer. You provide them an SD card and they take all of the photos for you. It was great cause I was able to just enjoy the tour and not worry about capturing moments on camera. After the tour, you get to take your SD card (and photos) with you! They did a great job of capturing candid moments as well as staging us for group pics. We visited the following places: Fusterlandia - artistic area of Havana Forrest area located in central Havana - this is where a lot of religious sacrifices and rituals like baptisms take place. Revolution Plaza - where Castro used to hold his marathon speeches Lunch at El Cocinero - we researched and picked the place we wanted to eat lunch at Hotel Nacional - landmark hotel El Morro fort Cigar factory/store Malecon Also drove through other various parts of Havana including the "ghetto" and central business district After the tour, we were taken back to the port area. Some of our group explored near the port area for a while before taking a taxing to the Vedado area of Havana for dinner. We had dinner at a Paladar (private in-home restaurant) called La Narajos. The menu here constantly changes based on what they can get at market. Our waitress set up a chalkboard and easel next to our table and ran through the options with us. My lobster dinner was huge and was only $25. After a great meal, we took a taxi back to the port area where we spend the next couple hours just hitting up a few bars sipping on mojitos and listening to the local musicians. We headed back to the ship around 10:30PM. A few things to note about Havana: * We never felt unsafe at all even walking around at night. The people there are very friendly and not aggressive at all. * Buildings and streets are often in disrepair. You do have to be aware when walking at night because areas of the sidewalks have holes or other hazards which are hard to see because the streets are not well lit. * Overall we found things to be very reasonably priced. Our lunch was about $50-60 total for my husband and I and that includes a couple shared appetizers, two entrees and a couple drinks. Our dinner was a bit pricier, but still not bad for a nice dinner out. Taxi prices seemed to depend on whether you flagged down a classic car or regular yellow taxi (classic car was $20 for four of us from the port to dinner, yellow taxi was $10 for four us from dinner back to the port). Supposedly you can negotiate, but we didn't attempt to. These people make so little, that it didn't feel right to try to talk them down. * English speaking in Cuba is hit or miss. Our tour guides spoke flawless English. But in the stores and bars, most people seemed to know just enough to take care of our drink orders. At both restaurants we went to, our services spoke great English. * We had heard prior to getting to Cuba that you had to pay to use restroom facilities and that most do not provide toilet paper. We took a handful of tissues off the ship with us just in case. But we really did not encounter this. At the last bar we went to, a lady tried to get my husband to give her money after he came out of the bathroom, but he just said he didn't speak Spanish and walked past her. *It is VERY hot in Havana and also humid. I wouldn't book a Convertible for a full day tour. You would get pretty beat up by that hot sun! Our tour did include about an hour in a convertible and that was enough for us! The rest of the time we were in hard top cars with AC. And the drivers are VERY particular about their cars - do not slam the doors shut too hard and watch the curbs when you open the door so as to not scrape them on the pavement. Overall, it was a great trip and I wouldn't hesitate to visit Cuba again. There is so much to see and do there! We do regret not taking in the Buena Vista Social Club show and would love to do that next time. I hope our government keeps the options for visiting Cuba open long term! Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
We took the cruise to see Cuba. The first stop was Key West, which was great (as always) but way too short of a stopover. Cuba is a beautiful country and most of the people we met were quite nice, but guarded, The tour guides could hardly ... Read More
We took the cruise to see Cuba. The first stop was Key West, which was great (as always) but way too short of a stopover. Cuba is a beautiful country and most of the people we met were quite nice, but guarded, The tour guides could hardly speak English and were propaganda robots for the Cuban government, but the Taxi driver was great (and he got a big tip). My biggest problems were the following: (1) the Cuban Government rips off Americans on the money exchange ($86.00 back per $100.00 getting off the boat and another charge to redeem the CUCs for Dollars); (2) the Cuban Government says Americans can't use Dollars and charge cards, but we saw numerous places and tourists who accepted them or paid with them; (3) We tried to do an evening cabaret show excursion through Carnival (for $75.00), but when we tried to board the bus, we were refused entry because we wore dress shorts; the ticket did say no shorts but the print was so small it was unreadable and had a line through it, which in legal terms should have meant it did not apply; the bus agent would not give us time to go back on the ship and change, even though we were told by friends the bus waited 20 minutes more for other people (of course, there was no refund for the excursion); and (4) even though Carnival sells onshore excursions in Havana after 8:00 PM, and knows the money exchanges close at 8 PM, and there is no way to exchange the CUCs upon returning to the ship because Carnival refuses to provide this service and leaves port before 8:00 AM. I wonder if Carnival gets a percentage of the rip-off. Overall, the Carnival dining experience has gone way down from past years (at least on the Paradise), and the company does not give a hoot about how its passengers get ripped off for money by being able to exchange CUCs for Dollars after coming back to the ship after an evening excursion. Also, what we saw of Havana was mostly very poor; there are many old classical buildings with great architecture, which have either collapsed or are in the process of collapsing because nothing has been done to preserve them. Bottom line: Save you money and tour another country - preferably on another cruise line. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
Paradise Review – April 2019 5-night cruise from Tampa to Key West, Havana and Cozumel departure on Monday, April 8 and return on Saturday, April 13. This is a long review because we spent several days in Tampa prior to the cruise and ... Read More
Paradise Review – April 2019 5-night cruise from Tampa to Key West, Havana and Cozumel departure on Monday, April 8 and return on Saturday, April 13. This is a long review because we spent several days in Tampa prior to the cruise and have a lot to say about Cuba. We are a couple in our mid-50’s. Pre-cruise Hotel We drove from South Carolina to the Tampa Bay area several days prior to the cruise and stayed at the Hampton Inn next to the St Petersburg/Clearwater airport. The room and hotel were as expected from a Hampton Inn. Our last visit to Tampa we stayed in Ybor City and thought it was great, but we needed to save some $$$ on this trip and the Pinellas Park/Largo area was much cheaper. Tampa pre-Cruise Activities NCAA Women’s Final Four (Downtown): Our original purpose for visiting Tampa was the basketball tournament. We greatly enjoyed the basketball tournament, which was our third. Parking at the Convention Center was reasonable, but the food in Amalie Arena was very, very expensive. We checked what cruises were departing after the tournament ended and this cruise fit perfectly. Busch Gardens (North Tampa): We planned to visit Busch Gardens not sure what to expect. We thoroughly enjoyed the animals, particularly from the Serengeti Express train through the Serengeti Plains exhibit. We rode once in the morning and again in the afternoon and saw different animals in different places. We also were impressed by the massive alligators and the gorillas. Our visit coincided with the annual wine and food festival, which was nice to have good food and drink available for purchase. It is also the Year of Beer at Busch Gardens honoring the founding of the park 60 years ago. Each guest (21 and over) can receive two free beer samples, which we enjoyed. The park maps are not sufficiently detailed and we struggled figuring out where we were and how to get where we wanted to go most of the day. We did not ride any of the huge roller-coasters. We purchased the Tampa Bay City Pass for just a few dollars more than admission to Busch Gardens. Chihuly Collection (St. Petersburg): We decided to purchase a Tampa Bay City Pass because we were spending several days in Tampa. We visited the Chihuly museum in St. Petersburg and enjoyed the exhibit, which is smaller than the Chihuly museum in Seattle. It has mostly similar works of art but some smaller pieces I did not recall seeing in Seattle. Florida Aquarium (Channelside): The City Pass included admission to the Florida Aquarium so we visited before the basketball game at nearby Amalie Arena. The exhibits were nice but not anything we haven’t seen at other nice aquariums. S.S. American Victory Mariners Museum (Channelside): The Florida Aquarium required less time than we planned so we toured the American Liberty, which is a functional WWII liberty ship with exhibits about the role these ships played in WWII, Korea and Vietnam. The ship is moored next to the aquarium between Cruise Terminals 2 and 3. To find it walk between the aquarium and Terminal 3 and follow the signs. The American Victory is not part of the City Pass. Port of Tampa Departure: Could not be easier. Arrived at Terminal 3 slightly before our scheduled time of 11:30. Dropped the luggage quickly (few cars dropping bags) and parked in the parking garage across the street, which had ample spaces available. We pre-paid parking before leaving home and handed the parking attendant our printed ticket and parked on the second level near the elevators. Although we were early, by the time we had competed check-in our group number had already been called. We were still on the ship before many passengers had shown up. We had Guy’s burgers for lunch, at 1:30 we went to our cabin to change and went to enjoy the hot tubs on the Serenity deck before it was crowded. Return: Getting off the ship was quick and orderly and went much faster than the scheduled departure times. We learned that self disembarkation was starting with Deck 14 and we were on Deck 4 (Riviera), so we got luggage tags when they were offered at 10 am on the last day (Friday) and had a low group number (5 out of 28). Customs consisted of checking passports, and asking how many cigars and how much liquor (rum) we were bringing in from Cuba. We were under the duty-free limits and were on our way home. Muster Drill and Sail Away The Muster Drill was reasonably quick and efficient. As usual several passengers did not show and had to be tracked down. We did not need to walk from the muster station to the lifeboats. Sail away takes about two hours to sail down the channel and across the bay to the Sunshine Skyway Bridge and the Gulf of Mexico. Guy’s Burgers The burgers and fries were very good and consistent throughout the cruise, as we have experienced on past cruises. Paris Restaurant (Lido Buffet, Deli and Pizza Pirate) The Lido Buffet for breakfast was good, except for the coffee which wasn’t very good. The Lido Buffet for dinner was only okay, except the ribs on the last night were excellent. The Lido serves a sub-set of the offerings in the main dining rooms. The ice cream was good. The other deserts were only so-so. The pizza was always fresh and tasty, and the line was never long. The Deli offered a large variety of sandwiches and hot dogs for lunch and dinner, but sometimes the line was long. The Lido Buffet was under staffed compared to previous cruises on Fantasy and Elation. Tables were not cleared in a timely manner, many times only one side of the main buffet was open, and only one person was typically working the Deli. We had anytime dining but never ate dinner in the main dining room. Lido Deck Rum Fog and Blue Iguana Bars The bars seemed well staffed on the first day, then appeared to have fewer working and walking the Lido deck for the rest of the cruise. There was a special drink offered on embarkation day in a Tervis Tumbler for about $20 (drink and tumbler) which we thought was the best deal of the cruise. We used the tumblers for water and other drinks for the rest of the cruise. Stateroom Our porthole stateroom on the Riviera Deck was near the bow. The carpet and furnishings were in excellent condition. The bathroom sink and shower were also in great condition. The shower curtain tended to drift into the shower. The water pressure was outstanding, and very hot (the warnings in the bathroom about scalding should be taken seriously). Our room steward did a great job keeping the room fresh while we were away having fun. A towel animal made an appearance every day. There was excessive noise and vibration overnight after leaving Cozumel and on the sea day. It sounded/felt like a heavy metal door being slammed below our cabin two or three times each minute. I assume these were waves hitting our side of the ship since we did not hear the noise the first three days. Casino We visited the slots on Thursday after leaving Cozumel and again on Friday. The casino was not as smoky as previous cruises we have taken. Entertainment and Activities The “80s music” show in the theater was well done and we enjoyed it. The “rock music” show had some undisclosed technical issue, requiring the singers to sit in front of the curtain, and it was boring. The other musical performers at the Atrium Bar and Casino Bar were loud and not soothing to our ears, like our last cruise on Fantasy. The “PG” comedy show consisted of bringing some passengers on stage and asking some questions with the comedian making jokes out of the responses. While I appreciate the improv nature of the show, it lasted about 20 minutes and just wasn’t very funny. We skipped the adult comedy shows. We noticed other activities like trivia contests, bingo, etc. seemed limited on this cruise, like our last cruise on Fantasy. Key West We docked at the Outer Mole/Navy Mole and had to take the “conch train” to the depot near Mallory Square. We docked at noon and left at 6 pm so we only had about 5 hours. We had been to Key West on a prior cruise so we walked down Duval St as far a Truman Avenue, walked over one block to the Hemingway House and Old Lighthouse, then walked back toward Mallory Square and enjoyed some Key Lime Pie. A squall line came through late in the afternoon and it was very windy, delaying our departure by 2 hours. Havana We arrived in Havana on-time at 7 am, because it is only 90 miles from Key West. We booked the “Culinary Traditions tour” though Carnival. We gathered in the dining room and waited for our turn to exit the ship, go though Cuba customs, exchange money and start our tour. We asked for small bills to have money for tips when using bathrooms, etc. The entire process lasted approximately 1.5 hours. Our group of 44 people (a bus load) was one of many leaving about the same time. We stayed up front near the tour guide and had no difficulties hearing or getting the photo’s we wanted. Our tour started with a walking tour of old Havana. Many of the streets in old Havana are cobblestones so they can be difficult to walk on unless you wear comfortable walking shoes. There are also numerous unmarked large and deep holes in sidewalks all over Havana so you must watch were you are walking and stop walking to take photos, etc. Some buildings near the major plazas in Old Havana have been restored (or at least painted) but many buildings outside Old Havana are very run-down looking on the exterior. We then boarded a tour bus for drive by several government buildings and eventually stopping at the cigar shop. After being given the opportunity to buy some authentic Cuban cigars, rum, and coffee we boarded the bus and went to lunch at the former Havana Hilton (known as the Havana Libre since 1960). Lunch is on the 25th floor and the views of the city are amazing. There is a lengthy pre-lunch show, which is probably required to meet the “people-to-people” travel requirements of the tour. We were the second group to arrive for lunch and the prime seats to see the show in the middle of the restaurant were already taken, but it wasn’t all bad because we sat by the floor to ceiling windows enjoying the views and were free to move about as we pleased. If you “volunteer” to get on stage and participate in the show you are rewarded with a free drink made as part of the show, which we did instead of buying drinks at the bar. Lunch consisted of corn soup and Cuban pork, it was good but it was not spicy. After lunch we boarded the bus for the Plaza of the Revolution. This is one area where the classic 1950’ cars (which are mostly taxis for hire now) congregate. Our tour then drove along the Malecon back towards the ship. Our last stop was a shopping area with a restaurant and small shops, including another cigar and rum buying opportunity. This is where we learned how to smoke Cuban cigars, along with a small sample of coffee and rum. We appreciated the short cigar smoking “class” as a uniquely Cuban experience. We also noticed very few Cubans other than the tour guides appeared to speak any English, including most of the hotel staff at our lunch and the two cigar stores where tourists probably visit every day. There is also no Diamonds International or Senor Frogs in Havana. For us all these factors made the day very authentic and unlike any other Caribbean port. Cozumel We arrived in Cozumel at noon and left at 10 PM. We walked from the Puerta Maya Cruise Pier where Paradise and other Carnival ships dock about 2.5 miles to the Thirsty Cougar near the Punta Langosta Cruise Pier “downtown”. After enjoying various adult beverages and a late lunch, we walked back to the ship. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
Embarkation process was wonderful, our arrival time was between 12:30 and 1:00. We arrived around 12:00 and we walked right on the ship. We had lunch on Deck 10 the lido buffet. I found the food to be limited, they have a themed ... Read More
Embarkation process was wonderful, our arrival time was between 12:30 and 1:00. We arrived around 12:00 and we walked right on the ship. We had lunch on Deck 10 the lido buffet. I found the food to be limited, they have a themed lunch/dinner every day. French, Italian, All American, Good Eats. I didn't really care for it. The deli also in the buffet was good I had the turkey wrap it was excellent, hot dogs were also good.Guys burgers were great. We forgot to eat at Blue Iguana Cantina but I heard it was good. I thought the pizza was terrible, it was paper thin and had no taste so it didn't matter that it was open 24 hrs. The ice cream was wonderful also 24 hours. The dining room was closed for lunch, I was not really used to that on the other ships I have been on. We did eat in the dining room for dinner I found the food to be very good but thought the portions were small. I had the chicken breast it was seasoned well and moist but only came with 2 pieces of broccoli or a handful of peas and carrots. My husband had the pork chop and he felt the same and usually had 2. We chose this ship because of the itinerary, Key west, Havana, and Cozumel. In Havana bring toilet paper, towels and hand sanitizer. Go to the lecture about Havana you will learn about pee-pee coins, because you need to pay to use the restroom. We did the easy havana and fusterlandia tour and it was excellent. Raciel with havanaturs was our tour guide we had an air conditioned coach with a bathroom. All ports were amazing we did the ship sponsored tours. Our room was very nice we had a outside view it was perfect for us as we were not in the room much but we wanted a view and I could sit on the ledge and look out the window and look at the water. Our steward was Jay, he introduced himself on the fist day and brought us our bathrobes, and my complimentary water as I was a repeat Carnival cruiser he cleaned our room early when we went to breakfast, our room and the ship were always very clean. Everywhere that you went that somebody was always cleaning something. The shower was small but we did fit. The shower curtain was a joke and when we showered there was a large puddle outside the shower. Found the activities to be limited but that was fine because we were off the ship or eating most of the time. We did the trivia and trivial pursuit we had a great group of people. I was very impressed with the debarkation it was extremely well organized, we were off the ship and in our car on the way home in half and hour. The elevators were inadequate, so ended up taking the stairs most of the time, so we felt less guilty about the food we ate, because we burned it off going to the next level of the ship. Overall we had the best time and we would go again. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
We chose this cruise because the ship was sailing out of Tampa and was going to Havana. We are avid cruisers and have sailed out of Tampa before. This trip provided us with opportunity to visit with family in the Tampa area and to go ... Read More
We chose this cruise because the ship was sailing out of Tampa and was going to Havana. We are avid cruisers and have sailed out of Tampa before. This trip provided us with opportunity to visit with family in the Tampa area and to go to Cuba . Embarkation is Tampa is usually better than Port Canaveral and this proved no exception. We also had FTF for the first time. THE GOOD DINING ROOM -----our experience here was not just good it was excellent! Ayu and her staff were the best that we have ever had. The staff shows were fun and the food was better than on the Breeze. At times it was very good. We ate all of our breakfasts and dinners in the Dining Rooms. Dinners were Early Dining in the Destiny. The décor is modern, with no tablecloths(except for elegant night). I liked it. Bacon, Hash Rounds and eggs cooked your way were the best. Pancakes were rubbery and the cereal crusted French toast at brunch was terrible. CABIN-----Spacious, modern and clean with new features such as soft close drawers and USB ports. However, only small bench at desk and no other seating. Our cabin R35 was noisy with the bow hitting the waves often. STAFF------This is the friendliest staff that we have encountered. EXCURSION------Ship excursion, Easy Fusterlandia in Havana was the BEST that we have had. Our group of 7 all thought that it was excellent and the highlight of our cruise. It included a professional show with music and dancing ; we also had a gourmet lunch with Mohito and wine included. CASINO-----The casino was small but had all new machines. The BAD KEY WEST--Getting off of the ship in Key West was a total disaster(in my opinion) Since the ship docks at the Navy Pier, everyone has to be shuttled into town. The halls were jam packed with people and you could not get an elevator. It was the worst that I have ever experienced. ELEVATORS---extremely slow PIZZA----In my opinion, it is just plain bad and not worth waiting for. This has been true of the pizza on my last 3 carnival cruises. They need a new recipe and a new system. THE UGLY--- THE ATRIUM---the atrium and promenade, in my opinion are just plain ugly! The brown on brown and mustard colors are dark and depressing and the first impression as you board is not a good one. It screams old and ugly! Overall we enjoyed our cruise because we were with family and seeing Cuba was awesome. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
First off embarkation and debarkation were a total breeeze. Everything went smoothly and getting off the ship in Cuba and through customs was about a 10 minute process. Everyone was extremely organized. I have read other horror stories ... Read More
First off embarkation and debarkation were a total breeeze. Everything went smoothly and getting off the ship in Cuba and through customs was about a 10 minute process. Everyone was extremely organized. I have read other horror stories about going through customs in Cuba and in my experience they were all exaggerations. The upgrades to the states rooms were well thought, as we all know outlets are usually an issue in older ships. There were four usb plugs in my interior room which was spacious with plenty of closet and storage space. The ship itself is a little quirky but I got the hang of it. I am not a fan of a ship that you can not walk straight through (it’s a minor inconvenience and mainly something you adjust to after the first two days on board) the atrium is beautiful but has a lack of seating. This ship also has one pool which wasn’t an issue on our cruise but I can imagine it being packed on a cruise with more families/children. Food overall was great. Guys and blueiguana are my go to for lunch on this ship as the lido deck is more limited than other larger ships. Dinning room service and meals were some of the best I have had. The one thing that fell flat was the pizza. Carnival usually has the best pizza and it’s something I enjoy having late at night once the day is wrapping up but there was something so off about the pizza on this ship. Had it once and didn’t bother trying it again. The standout port on this trip and the reason I even booked it was Cuba. I mentioned above reading several “horror” stories of getting through customs in Cuba and either those were inaccurate or Cuba and the cruise line have learned how to stream line this process. You will have to fill out your visa which carnival gives you at embarkation. If you’re not sure how to fill it out or want to make sure you do it correctly guest services can give you an example of a complete visa or it will be in your fun times printout the day before you arrive to Havana. We booked an excursion through carnival. Culinary traditions and Cuba. It was hands down the best excursion. Our tour guide Viviana made the excursion she was informative and answered everyone’s questions. We started with a walking tour then drove down the Malecón. Had an amazing lunch at the Habana Libre hotel with a band and dancers. From there we went to plaza de revolucion, took pictures with old fashioned cars before finishing our excursion with shopping and a Cuba pairing of cigars, coffee and rum. If you’re thinking of going to Cuba do it and do it now. Cuba is changing that much is obvious and if you want to see it before it does don’t wait just go. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
We did this cruise via a casino coupon and we upgraded to a Junior suite from an inside room . Mistake but I will talk about this in my cabin review. We were two couples in our early 40's and my single friend in her early ... Read More
We did this cruise via a casino coupon and we upgraded to a Junior suite from an inside room . Mistake but I will talk about this in my cabin review. We were two couples in our early 40's and my single friend in her early 40's. The single friend was a first time cruiser and she loved it! The rest of us have been on 5 or 6 other cruises and thought it was up there in our favorite 2. We didn't go in with huge expectations and maybe that is why we had a blast. Embarkation was a breeze. Because I upgraded to a Suite we had priority boarding which meant a really short line compared to the huge line for everyone else. They will let your non suite friends get in the short line with you. We were there at noon and on the ship by 12:20. We all bought the drink package and thank god! We like to drink and some of them got cut off by midnight because they reached their 15 drink max. But hey, drinks get warm, you set them down, you may not like one, they still count so we were glad we bought it. Lunch on the Lido deck we all chose guys burgers and fries and they were all great. We hung out all day by the pool, in the casino, walking around etc. We missed going under the sky bridge in Tampa as we were in the casino (woopsy) . Anyway this boat rocked alot more than other cruise ships I have been on. Sometimes you noticed it, but I just tried to not look out the windows as we moved and I was generally fine. I am also very sensative to sea sickness and I never heard anyone else complain about it. We met for early 6pm dinner in the main dining room Destiny. We sat the 5 of us and 3 lovely ladies from Virginia. Our two waiters were great and our drinks and apps were on the table in 5 min. All our meals in the main dining room were very good! we did all pay $20 extra one night and got the filet and lobster and it did not disappoint. Day 2- arrive in Key west at noon, I really wished we got here sooner as it is very close to Tampa???? I was confused why the itinerary didnt allow more time at this port. Anyway we had a few cocktails on board and waited for the masses to fight their way off. We walked off at 12:50 ish and no lines. It rained all day in Key West but we did a little bar hopping and had fun anyway. Irish Kevins was for sure our favorite spot with the live singer/comedian guy. Got back on the little trolly thing around 3pm and went back to the ship. I will definately be back in Key West as it wasnt nearly enough time here. Got back went to casino (after we were like 12 miles out of course) and made it to the main dining room again for dinner. I say made it because it was a long day of drinking and some people wanted to nap! Food great again! Day 3- woke up around 8am, some ate breakfast (my husband and I don't really eat breakfast) Waited for most to get off the ship in CUBA, we got off around 11 am with absolutely no one in line. Customs took 30 seconds as did money exchange. Just to give an idea of how much you will need in Cuba, most of us took our $80 US and it was too much (for what we did). First of all DO NOT get suckered into buying an excursion if you want to just walk on your own!!!! Carnival will try and tell you that you have to check off "people to people" and book an excursion. We being in Cuba last year knew to check off "support the cuban people" option and you can totally just walk off. We walked to the main square accross from the ship and you will get a few locals asking if you want to pay $1 each and they will walk you around. We said no, but one guy seemed to never leave so what the heck we let him walk us around. He took us to a local John Lennon bar (dive bar but very cool!!) we all go cubra libras (rum and cokes) and were surprised it was $10 a drink!! We had one, felt very buzzed and moved on to the next stop. We walked through beautiful streets, saw the market, other squares, local people living life. It was great. Ernest Hemingway bar right near the port was our fave as it had live cuban music and here a round of drinks for 5 people was $7.50 US. Or $7.50 CUC. Totally cheap and fun here. We danced and walked around some more. We all tipped our guy $25 US and he was more than happy I am sure. Got back on the boat and only 2 made it to dinner.... Day 4 - Cozumel- We arrived at 12:45pm to port and we chose again to wait an hour before getting off to avoid the crowd. We had booked El Cid's for the twilight day pass as our ship was here 1pm to 9pm. No other day pass resorts were offering this late day pass. It was $65 each I think?? MAKE SURE you bring the printed piece of paper with your reservation or they will make you print it at the hotel. We had drinks, food (good food) towels, pool, snokeling, all included. It was a fun day! The shopping area right a the ship is awesome, I thought it was beautiful clean and lots to do. We were back on the ship around 6 as we are wimps of the sun and apparently cannot drink too much in the sun. Day 5- day at sea, usual activities, silly games by the pool, lots of food.... I dont really know as I was burnt from Mexico and did not hang around outside. We were mostly hanging around the casino area/American bar. Now 3 of us were smokers and even as a smoker I will say that this small one side of the bar and in the casino were always VERY smoky.. The air suckers in this area seemed to not work. This was also the area that they had the trivia games which we LOVED!! So much fun. But dang do something with the smoking vents! CASINO!!!!- Ok we hung out here ALOT!!! Like every day for a long time especially at night. We usually go to Greektown Casino in our hometown near Detroit. We usually hit at greektown pretty much every time we are there so we think it is the loosest best slots in the world lol . This casino was pretty close. It is small but it pays good!!! Every single time you sat down people were hitting like crazy! My husband probably won $1000 a day on slots easily. I couldnt believe it . I loved playing roulette with our group. I won one of the pong games in the casino where they called my name and I had to throw one out of ten ping pong balls into a gift bag with money on it. I won $75 it was fun. Overall the wait staff was fantastic, you always had a drink in your hand, we never waited once at any of the bars nor in the casino. Dinner service was fast, we never waited more than 10 min for dinner. I couldn't believe we were on the same cruise that people were ripping on the slow service and crappy food. We did not think this at all. Look , don't expect Ruth's Chris style meals, expect more like outback or Texas Road House lol. Then you will not be disappointed. This boat is small and therefore you won't get lost and everything is easy to get to. Having said that it is small and can sometimes feel like there is not much to do. There is not much craziness going on near the pool, which I like sometimes. We NEVER had a problem getting a chair, there were never any big drunks partying like it was springbreak. There was no more than 20 kids on the whole ship. It was just a great cool crowd of people. Cabin review is next.... Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
Carnival Paradise Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 3.0 3.9
Dining 4.0 3.7
Entertainment 4.5 3.7
Public Rooms 3.5 3.9
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.7
Family 4.0 3.7
Shore Excursion 4.5 3.8
Enrichment 4.0 3.3
Service 4.5 4.2
Value For Money 4.0 3.8
Rates 3.0 4.2

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