4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
My wife and I picked this carnival cruise because it was one of the few that spent overnight in Havana. Overall we give the cruise three stars but I must say that Havana is a prime destination. Here’s why. Initial boarding at ... Read More
My wife and I picked this carnival cruise because it was one of the few that spent overnight in Havana. Overall we give the cruise three stars but I must say that Havana is a prime destination. Here’s why. Initial boarding at the Tampa cruise terminal was no problem. Because of a back up in Tampa Bay the cruise left two hours late. Apparently this boat has some mechanical problems and rumor was that it had only one engine operating. Just a rumor though. Room Portering was a problem for us because the first night our steward forgot to clean a room. He did manage to get the last three nights though. We had several orders from room service which was prompt but they struggle to get the order right. We arrived in Havana an hour late as they were only able to make up one hour cruising faster. That pushed back all the tours. We found the tourist to be interesting but very overpriced. The buses are top notch but some of the places that you go to our questionable. The guy was knowledgeable but they do follow a government script. We saw the streets of all the Vanna and we’re taking to to cultural events which included a women’s drum group and a modern dance. Not for all taste but because of the state department rules requirement. Going through customs was rather expensive because of a 10% penalty against American currency to convert into Cuban currency. American dollars are not useful and the actual Cuban peso is not useful. Cuban convertible currency is needed and his pegged at a dollar for dollar. There is a 3% exchange fee and the 10% American penalty. Does represented the so-called people to people tours. We did sign up for a very expensive show at the Tropicana nightclub that evening starting at 10 o’clock. And excellent show. Las Vegas style showgirls, actually the forerunners of the Las Vegas showgirls, and cuban music. Very entertaining. All attendees get either a cigar for the man or a flower for the woman. A bottle of rum for two people is on the table along with mixer. This is a must see. The ship was scheduled to leave at 11 AM on Saturday and they cut one of our tours short so we could be on board to leave. Not sure whether hurry. Then proceeded to crawl back to Tampa to make sure we had a full day at sea on Sunday. The ships food was not up to the standards that we are used to. Variety was much more limited in the quality wasn’t quite there. The waitstaff was inattentive at times. The ship, of course, had photographers wondering about ready to document your cruise for a price. There was also of course the casino with the standard slats and table games. Onboard shopping was somewhat limited and we didn’t think the deals were particularly good. There were several shows and they didn’t seem up to the usual standards that were used to. We walked out on one because of the amateur nature of it. The comedy club is excellent. If you’re on carnival go see it as it’s going to be one of the highlights. There was a speaker who gave three lectures on Cuban culture, Dr. Dave. This was excellent and extremely informative. If you’re on this cruise and he’s presenting go see it. The ship is older and needs a good cleaning. It’s showing it’s age. Havana is a excellent destination but this cruise should have been better. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2017
We chose Carnival Paradise for the short 5 day cruise that included Key West and Cozumel. We had a window cabin on the upper deck (6). We usually choose balcony cabins, but the only balcony cabins were suits and I didn't want to pay ... Read More
We chose Carnival Paradise for the short 5 day cruise that included Key West and Cozumel. We had a window cabin on the upper deck (6). We usually choose balcony cabins, but the only balcony cabins were suits and I didn't want to pay double for a suit balcony. We certainly missed our balcony, but we managed it with only 5 days. The cabins are small, but very clean. Our cabin steward was fabulous. We had Any Time Dinning for the first time, and it worked out well. We went with my brother and his wife and also me a great couple the first evening and were able to sit together the rest of the cruise. I do see some scaling down on the menu. Usually on the dress up night there would be a choice of steak and lobster, but not this time. You had to buy up for that, but you could do that any time during the cruise. The wait servers were great and very helpful as well as funny. We asked to keep that table every night and we did. Entertainment is a bit of hit and miss. We did enjoy the comedy shows. Key West was in great shape and we had a nice tour to the city. It was plenty hot for October. Cozumel was a great stop. We enjoyed the new tour of the Children's Home, church and lunch. Excursions with a purpose! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2017
The service was stellar, food terrific, lots of entertainment.... I also wanted to mention that our Destiny Dining Room (first seating) was wonderful, mainly due to Rodriques, Artana and George! We really enjoyed our dining ... Read More
The service was stellar, food terrific, lots of entertainment.... I also wanted to mention that our Destiny Dining Room (first seating) was wonderful, mainly due to Rodriques, Artana and George! We really enjoyed our dining experience. They were always prompt and courteous and attended to our every need. At the end of our dinner we would indulge with an alcoholic "shot" in a souvenir shot glass and each night Rodriques would wash them all before we left. I also want to mention that our cabin, 103 Empress, was very clean and Mackenzie our room steward surprised us by asking if we would prefer to have the room serviced in the morning or evening, We decided that the am would be convenient for us. I had never been asked that before.... We also requested to have an ice bucket in our room, where we did not have one....Mackenzie brought it to our room and replenished the ice daily. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2017
Visiting Cuba was a bucket list item for us and when we saw that Carnival was going to have a trip there, we jumped at the opportunity. Although there were a few glitches here and there that could have made the experience better, overall ... Read More
Visiting Cuba was a bucket list item for us and when we saw that Carnival was going to have a trip there, we jumped at the opportunity. Although there were a few glitches here and there that could have made the experience better, overall it was very good. This was our second cruise on the Paradise, and were well aware that she is an older, smaller ship, but still very elegant and cozy. She was clean and the staff were great, but the ship needs some TLC and some 2.0 upgrades (Guys Burgers!) would be nice too. Our Cabin was on the Main Deck, number 164, and the cabin was fine. A little smaller than the newer ships, but for two of us, it had plenty of room. There was no noise and it was convenient enough to all the ship activities. The food was just OK. Nothing spectacular, the dining room staff was attentive, but a little rushed. We were seated at a long table for eight by the window. The first night, there were three couples, and after that there were only four of us, and we truly enjoyed the company of the other couple. We are also regular casino players, and the casino on the Paradise is very small and had a limited number of slot machines. We enjoyed the sea day, and did not get off the ship in Cozumel. It was nice to sit up on deck and have the ship (mostly) to ourselves. We sailed to Havana overnight and docked at 12 noon. It was 1:30 by the time we got through customs and got to our tour bus for the Top 10 Havana Excursion. We enjoyed the tour, and learned a lot about Cuba, but unfortunately, it did not leave us enough time to buy cigars from the State run cigar shops, which close at 6 pm. That was a disappointment for us. We sailed back to Tampa the next day, which was just another sea day. Disembarkation in Tampa was a fiasco. They had three customs agents for 2,000 people and it took over 2 1/2 hours to disembark the ship. Terrible. So, to me, I would have liked to have had more time in Havana, and scrapped Cozumel altogether. Maybe we will get the chance to go back someday... Read Less
Sail Date: October 2017
This was our 12th cruise, 11th on Carnival. All of the others have been on either the Destiny, Triumph or Conquest Class. There is a huge difference in those classes and the Fantasy Class. We had 63 VIFP days and have an 8 day cruise ... Read More
This was our 12th cruise, 11th on Carnival. All of the others have been on either the Destiny, Triumph or Conquest Class. There is a huge difference in those classes and the Fantasy Class. We had 63 VIFP days and have an 8 day cruise booked on the Horizon for 2019. That would have put us 4 days short of Platinum so we booked this cruise to become Platinum on the Horizon. Embarkation was easy as we had FTTF. Your S&S cards are still being handed out when checking in at the terminal. It only takes a minute for the employee to get the cards so I don't see where it saves that much time by putting them in your mailbox on some of the ships. We boarded the ship, went to our cabin then headed for the Lido Deck. Immediately upon entering the pool area we ran into Hong, the bar server. He went out of his way to find us every time we were up there. Always knew our names and folio number. I don't know how they do it but they always do. In Cozumel, we went on the submarine excursion. I was a little leery of trying it but did it anyway. I kept concentrating on looking out the window instead of concentrating on being in a giant tube under water that was going down 100 feet to the bottom of the ocean. The current was quite strong so we only got down to 64 feet instead of 100. We were offered the opportunity to stay back and if the currents got got smoother, we could go back down again. We decided to not take them up on the offer as the chances of it getting better were slim. We all got a certificate that states were did the dive. We were in cabin M62. We found out that they had removed two cabins to make a debarkation station for Cuba right next door to our cabin. (M60 & M58) On the night before Cuba, we came out of our cabin to go to dinner and found that they had put the people and luggage scanners right outside our door and had blocked off the passageway to the elevators. We had to go all the way down to the front elevators from that point on. To enter Cuba, you need a Cuban issued VISA ($75 per person charged to your S&S account) and a Passport. We left the ship and went into the terminal where we were greeting by a line that stretched on forever. When we finally got to Customs, they took our VISAs, entered out Passport numbers, then took our pictures. We were told ahead of time that they have infrared scanners that check your temperature. If you had a high temperature, you weren't allowed to enter. After going through customs, you had to exchange your money for their money. Their money is called CUCs. For every $100 in American money, you got 87 CUCs. Dollar for dollar, it's the same but they charge you 13% for some fee. Exchanging CUCs back to American money, they charge you another 3%. We spent 35 CUCs leaving us with 52 CUCs. We got $40 back. In Cuba, we had the old car excursion. They took us by bus to an area where all of the cars were parked. We got to choose the one we wanted to ride in. On the bus was a nice young lady tour guide who told us about the history of Havana. We picked a 56 Chevy and the tour guide rode with us to the first stop. After that, she rode with someone else and our driver didn't speak English. He would point to a building and say something is Spanish and we had no idea of what he was saying. They then took us to a small theater where they did interpretative dancing for a half hour. All of us on the excursion made the same statement after it was over..."WHAT?" They then took us to a marketplace that was suppose to close 15 minutes after we arrived. We all went in and immediately got bombarded by every seller in there. The line for Cuban cigars stretched for quite a ways. You can bring back 100 duty free cigars. Any over 100 you have to pay 33 cents duty for each one. At that point, it started pouring rain. We were standing by the door trying to decide if we wanted to make a run for the bus. A Cuban young man was standing by the door and tapped me on the shoulder. He pointed to his shorts which were red and white striped with a blue field with stars. He said "I love America!" I don't know what the rest of Cuba was like but Havana was sad to say the least. So many buildings just crumbling. There were a lot of three story buildings that had no roof or windows on the top floor but had people living in the first and second floors. I actually saw a woman throw garbage out of a second story window. We were glad we got to see Cuba but we would never go back there again. Picture the worst slum you've ever seen, then double it. There was only one more cruise on the Paradise after ours for a while. There are more scheduled for 2018 if we are still allowed to go there by then. The real surprise came on the morning of leaving Cuba. We were supposed to be back onboard by 5 am. Around 4 am people started coming back onboard after having a good night at the bars. All were talking very loud and banging into the walls. (Remember, we were right next door to the embarkation station.) That went on until 5 am when the crew then decided to tear down the scanning devices making all kinds of noise. We just laughed it off and got up a little earlier than planned. This cruise was without a doubt, the most friendliest we have ever been on. We met so many people that we kept running in to and would sit and talk for hours with them. One of them was a Mother who's son was one of the dancers. She was spending the week with him. He got to be with her during the day, then performed at night. We went to one of his shows and he certainly had energy. I don't know how they remember all of those steps and can do it night after night. Ah youth!! All in all, this was a great cruise, like all of the others we have been on with Carnival. Now the countdown begins for the 2019 cruise on the Horizon. Only 494 more days from today. UGH! Read Less
Sail Date: October 2017
Went to Cuba on a four-day cruise! Wanted to see Havana! I loved the old cars there!!! The cars made the entire trip worthwhile. Also, out tour project was to Fusterlandia. The most fascinating place!!! We took the easy tour and it ... Read More
Went to Cuba on a four-day cruise! Wanted to see Havana! I loved the old cars there!!! The cars made the entire trip worthwhile. Also, out tour project was to Fusterlandia. The most fascinating place!!! We took the easy tour and it was indeed easy! Anytime dining room was perfect for us. The senior hostess there (Anita) was wonderful. It was only a four-day cruise, but Anita met us on day 1 and looked for us each meal to make sure we were satisfied! Also, the server (Rolin) provided consistently outstanding service. We asked for and was seated with him for every meal. Our special orders didn't upset him one bit! And he got each order totally correct! I've stayed in suites on long trips that didn't give the service that I received from my room steward. He came to our cabin the first day and made note of our wants as to time and amount of cleaning we wanted. He left his card and told us to call anytime! We never came back to an unmade-up cabin! The comedy clubs we attended were very funny. The one musical show we went to had Latin songs and dancing. Unfortunately, the balcony seating is not really good. It's laid out with couches and coffee tables in the lower and middle section. People sitting in front of you block your view,, and of course only the middle seats of the couch let you see the stage directly. Other seats are uncomfortable to view the stage due to the need to turn your head to see the show. And the ceiling equipment and posts block your view too in other balcony seats . Also, get to the shows early or you may not even get a good seat. See my cabin review of oceanview handicapped cabin E73. I do not recommend it. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2017
We selected the cruise primarily for the itinerary - I wanted to see Cuba and a cruise seemed like an easy way to do that without too much work. Having just returned from this cruise, I very much wish I had simply flown directly to ... Read More
We selected the cruise primarily for the itinerary - I wanted to see Cuba and a cruise seemed like an easy way to do that without too much work. Having just returned from this cruise, I very much wish I had simply flown directly to Havana and skipped the cruise altogether. I knew the ship was on the older side so I wasn't that shocked to find a more limited option in terms of amenities or décor but I didn't expect just how old the rooms would be nor did I expect the lack of activities or good entertainment. We stayed in a Veranda suite (V21). The room is tiny - not a suite at all. We had 2 single beds - one touched the wall, the other touched the couch that touched the wall. It was fine for 2 adults but if this was a suite, I don't want to know what a standard room looked like. Again, i've cruised before so I understand cruise rooms are smaller than hotels but this was a little absurd. The bedding had brown splotchy stains on it. (We had a good laugh when they left us that flyer to try to sell us the bedding). The carpet had stains. The bathroom looked just like a hospital bathroom except less well kept - with holes in the grout and stains. The room telephone did not work. One of the bedside lamps did not work. The balcony was small but did it's job and there was plenty of storage space so no issues there. I expect the food to just be mediocre on cruises but this was sub par to even that low bar. We had one meal that was good - the rest ranged from inedible to just okay. Obviously the quantities of food available were huge but the quality suffered more on this ship than on others. Embarkation was easy since we able to get on the ship early and carried our own luggage. No issues there. Debarkation was simple enough because we were priority guests and carried luggage so we got off first. For those not priority, the process to get from the ship and into Cuba took several hours. Our docking was delayed by several hours so that meant some guests did not get more than an hour of daylight in Havana. That seems ridiculous - Carnival should not sell an itinerary where a guest doesn't even get one full afternoon in a port. The real let down was the entertainment. We had a sea day where there was almost nothing to do during the day if you didn't want to drink or gamble. I wasn't expecting much but a new release movie, a Cuban cooking demonstration or lecture or some other activity would have been greatly appreciated to kill the time. On the plus side, the port of Havana was excellent. I was very happy to have booked a private tour so we were able to make the most of our very limited time there. I would love to return but I would fly directly in. Also a positive were the staff - all wonderful and helpful. No complaints there. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
I absolutely loved this trip. I probably had the best service I have had since taking my first cruise about 10 years ago. Don't know if it was because the cruise was short, 4 days, but the staff was friendly, helpful, and appeared to ... Read More
I absolutely loved this trip. I probably had the best service I have had since taking my first cruise about 10 years ago. Don't know if it was because the cruise was short, 4 days, but the staff was friendly, helpful, and appeared to genuinely aim to please. So many times, I feel like a cruise may start that way, but then they just seem to get less and less attentive as the cruise goes on. I LOVED CUBA!!!!!!!!!! I am a big history nerd and I just loved all the old buildings, the cobblestone squares, the fountains, statues, and of course, the cars. I did a private tour and we could not have had a better tour and tour guide. My only disappointment was that we didn't get to go to the Hemingway house, due to it being closed because of damage during the hurricane. If(when) I go again, I will be sure and have something organized for the second day that we were off the boat, but that was my own fault for not thinking that there would be enough time. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2017
Cuba was on our (husband and myself) list of places to see at least once. The trip was very good. I was a little skeptical at first because I was reading both negative and positive reviews about the ship (Paradise). I am happy to say ... Read More
Cuba was on our (husband and myself) list of places to see at least once. The trip was very good. I was a little skeptical at first because I was reading both negative and positive reviews about the ship (Paradise). I am happy to say that you should have no doubts on traveling on her. We had an Ocean View cabin and it was more than comfortable for my husband and myself. Our Stateroom Steward - Ni Luh was always available to help us and kept our room in ship/shape condition. My husband and I had Any-Time Dining and there was always availability in the Elation Dining Room. My husband spends his time in the Casino and he thought the service was excellent. I attend the shows and they were very good. The Cruise Director - Jaime was EXCELLENT. We had two Ports of Call - Key West & Cuba. Key West was doubtful for awhile because of Hurricane Irma but we were pleasantly surprise to be able to stop at Key West. We decided since we were stopping in Key West to do the Fury Catamaran & Snorkeling excursion. Snorkeling was a first for both my husband and myself and it was pretty exciting. The Fury Captain and Crew were very attentive and they made the experience for first timers like ourselves to go well. Cuba excursions were really intensive - Hemingway's Hideaways and Cuban Culture; Explore Modern Havana in an American Classic (we got a lavender '53 Chevy!). Both excursions were great! Only negative point I would make would be that the places where we stopped for our Hemingway drinks were just too small or unprepared to receive so many tourist at one time. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2017
We chose this cruise because it was going to Cuba, and we wanted to see Havana before you could no longer go as a U.S. citizen, or before it became commercialized. We stayed in the Ybor district before the cruise for 2 days, 1 would have ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it was going to Cuba, and we wanted to see Havana before you could no longer go as a U.S. citizen, or before it became commercialized. We stayed in the Ybor district before the cruise for 2 days, 1 would have been plenty. The Columbia restaurant is amazing and I highly recommend it. We stayed at the Hampton Inn and Suites and it was adequate for 2 nights. The air conditioning was extraordinarily loud, the pool is tiny, the breakfast is very good and the front desk staff is very friendly, and the security is excellent. Call for the shuttle the morning of your departure at 9:30 sharp - I called at 9:45 and the earlier shuttles were booked, we had a 10 am embarkation time and could not get on a shuttle until 11. We purchased faster to the fun, so embarkation was painless 30 minutes total, which included some clumsy extra's as the Cuba destination is new and unfamiliar to all involved. The Paradise is an older ship and scheduled for dry dock soon, but it is a great sized ship for a short cruise with 2 sea days - plenty to do. We had an ocean view cabin E79 in back of the guest services area, the location was perfect for us, but it can be noisy at night if you are early to bed, because of the atrium lounge. The ship staff is what you would expect from any ship, most are very friendly, but every once in a while you get someone who is less than enthusiastic - never bothers me as they work so hard, I give them a break. TIP - this ship does NOT have hair dryers, in 20 years of cruising this has never been the case so it was a huge surprise to me. The cabins are what you would expect although the shower is a bit larger than on more modern ships. We eat at the Lido most of the time for breakfast and lunch and it was very clean, great variety, and plentiful of course. The Mongolian wok is really good, I suggest going on a port day as the lines are usually long on sea days. The main dining room was good, but nothing stands out as far as dinner was concerned. The sea day brunch, however, was certainly worth taking advantage of! The pizza/salad center that is available for late night needs some attention, the person who worked there was a jerk, there was never any pizza available and if you wanted pepperoni, he would ask you if another would be OK instead because he had that and did not want to make another - so not what you would expect at 9 pm. The activities were the usual, nothing new here. Most of the entertainment was good, especially the musicians. One comedian at punch liners was so bad we walked out, not offensive bad - just not funny at all. We went parasailing in Key West on Fury which was booked through carnival and the experience was great, not our first time, but our best time. Other than that we just wondered around and went into a few shops and had a few drinks here and there. We would not normally buy souvenir's, but as this was the second ship back after the hurricane we bought a few things. We were back on the ship by 1:30, but if Key West had been up to speed as it normally is, we would have spent more time there. Havana is much nicer than I expected. That being said there are some extremely poor areas and some really nice areas - pretty much like most islands you visit on a cruise. Younger adults do speak English, you can tip in US currency, it does NOT smell like garbage or exhaust, the people are very friendly and happy, a few people will ask you to come into their store or restaurant, but no one harassed us - and no one asked us for money. We did the classic car tour and it was really good, and the perfect amount of time. Two tips here: when you pick out your car, pick one with a younger driver, they will be more likely to speak English and that will enrich your tour immensely. We had a very nice older man, he tried hard, but we could not understand each other. And second, at the end of this excursion, they take you to a cigar store/straw market - this is where we tipped the guides and left to go off and do your own shopping. The shopping around the cruise port (I don't mean the terminal) has many things and there are a few really good cigar shops as well. We did not eat in Havana as we spent our CUC's on tips, rum and cigars but I would not have hesitated to do so. In hindsight we would have done the 9pm excursion to the Tropicana as that sounded like a lot of fun from those we spoke to that went as well as the Hemmingway walking tour which got great reviews from those who attended. Finally, the reason we purchased faster to the fun, was to get on the ship early to get signed up for the behind the scenes tour - and I was successful. We really loved the tour and it was only $55 per person and very worth it, especially with all the extra goodies they give you along the way. The back stage and dressing rooms, laundry room, cold storage, pantry storage, through the galley to the pastry area, staff lounge and cafeteria,engine room and bridge were the areas that were visited each with a little talk from the head of that particular area - a cruise highlight. Read Less
Carnival Paradise Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 3.0 3.9
Dining 3.0 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 3.9
Rates 3.0 4.2

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