117 Carnival Paradise Cruise Reviews

Was really looking forward to this cruise but was extremely displeased with it overall as were my fellow travelers! Had Oceanview Upper 214. The hum of the motors drowned out other hallway sounds until last night when staff were very loud ... Read More
Was really looking forward to this cruise but was extremely displeased with it overall as were my fellow travelers! Had Oceanview Upper 214. The hum of the motors drowned out other hallway sounds until last night when staff were very loud picking up luggage from hallways. The window was beyond dirty! Could barely see out of it because of lack of cleaning inside and out. We never figured out which of the people in the hallway was our room attendant which was a first. It took 2 days to get glasses in room and had to request ice bucket and ice! Shower & bathroom tile need bleach and need new robes for rooms! We received one robe for our two person room. When a new robe was requested we received a robe with holes in it and stains. The Lifeboat Drill lasted over an hour with the boat workers threatening to confiscate any IPhones, IPads, or electronic devices if seen by him while we sat in the lounge crammed elbow to elbow with strangers. Very hostile, indifferent staff. The Lido buffet food was disappointing at best. Ended up eating from the pool side Hamburger Buffet and Deli during the day. At dinner time we had Late Seating and the food was unseasoned and bland. Very rushed! Missed most of nightly shows because of timing issues with dinner and shows. When reaching Grand Caymen we had to wait until almost lunchtime to tender off boat which really cut our time on the island short! Cozumel was slightly better. Since we were short on time at Grand Caymen, we took a local air conditioned taxi and got all of the highlights of the entire island including Hell, Seven Mile Beach, and other local landmarks for $12 !!! Over 2 hours with a local and had a great time, learned about the history of the island, and a little about the native people. We paid him what we would have paid Carnival and got one on one service with a great attitude! We did do the Mayan Ruins tour on Cozumel and enjoyed our tour guide Denisse. The boat service overall was severely lacking. This ship needs a good cleaning and a staff attitude adjustment! We will spend our money elsewhere when cruising again! Don't recommend! Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
I booked my cruise to participate in my best friend's wedding. Upon arrival to the port, we were told we would board at 12 and instead boarded an hour late which made us start the wedding a half hour late as well. My best friend was ... Read More
I booked my cruise to participate in my best friend's wedding. Upon arrival to the port, we were told we would board at 12 and instead boarded an hour late which made us start the wedding a half hour late as well. My best friend was promised an hour reception which turned out to be 30 minutes because the wedding was pushed back and because we had to attend the safety meeting. Once the reception was over, I went to hunt for my room and found that it was a floor above everyone else in the wedding party and on the complete opposite side of the ship. I asked if my room could be moved and I was told that no accommodation like that could be made. I also was not seated at the table during dinner with the rest of the wedding party either. They did add a leaf to the table to accommodate me but, there were several nights when the table was not properly set up to accommodate 2 more people. Also, since we booked as a group, the cruise gave every person a 50 dollar comp. to use on drinks or in the casino. I was left out of this deal as well. When I spoke to guest services again, they told me there was nothing AGAIN they could do about it. Their response was that when I booked my trip, I didn't use to group code. I tried to tell them that, that must have been an error on the employee with Carnival who booked my trip but, they refused to take responsibility. This unfortunately is the last cruise I'm willing to take a chance on with Carnival. Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
I generally don't return to cruise critic after a cruise and I, and my family, are relatively tolerant of imperfection. I have been a member since 2004 and been on a fair number of cruises, most in suites and more on NCL than ... Read More
I generally don't return to cruise critic after a cruise and I, and my family, are relatively tolerant of imperfection. I have been a member since 2004 and been on a fair number of cruises, most in suites and more on NCL than Carnival. I have to say there is no comparison if you are in a suite. Do not waste the large amount of extra money, particularly on Paradise, for a suite. In order to get a fair amount of space and a balcony that could fit chairs we had to book a Grand suite which is the best cabin available. First, do not expect any kind of VIP treatment. There isn't any. I kind of assumed that going in so I was banking on the cabin being worth the fare. It , and the ship, were not up to snuff. Worst of all the coveted and rare (on Paradise) balcony smelled like raw sewage for the whole trip. I had to complain and they said they had heard that before!! Things are not clean. The robe had someone else's dirt on the collar, the surfaces were all sticky when we got there, the windows (which are easily accessible from the balcony -- I was going to clean them myself) had old drippy streaks running down them. I don't blame the stewards, I'm sure they are overworked. I can go on -- but I'm too busy coughing my lungs out from the second hand smoke in the casino which seemed to have no air conditioning or air circulation. Dining room wait staff at our table was excellent and we tipped them extra accordingly which I could tell was a shock to them as was the tip I gave our room steward. I don't think he had ever had a decent tip before. He said as much. Carnival Paradise is a tired old ship, okay for a short CHEAP cruise. This is not the ship to book if you want the suite experience. I will pony up the extra for a suite on another line where VIP means something. It's always nice to get what you think you are paying for. I wrote this so others are forewarned and don't get the major disappointment we did. Regarding service -- guest services often does not answer the phone. I had a message on the phone, tried to call them 6 times, no answer. I finally had to go to the desk and wait 15 minutes on a long line. Finally we were supposed to have priority disembarkation being in a suite and also with a wheelchair bound parent. We were completely ignored by the staff helping priority disembarkation until I steeped forward to ask several times why they were not letting us through. Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
Ship: Carnival Paradise  Sailing: Sept 29 to Oct 4, 2014  5-Days to Grand Cayman and Cozumel  Cabin: M139 I love cruising and have been on about 40 cruises in my lifetime. I am a Carnival Platinum cruiser and I have been on about 20 ... Read More
Ship: Carnival Paradise  Sailing: Sept 29 to Oct 4, 2014  5-Days to Grand Cayman and Cozumel  Cabin: M139 I love cruising and have been on about 40 cruises in my lifetime. I am a Carnival Platinum cruiser and I have been on about 20 Carnival cruises, four of those on the Carnival Paradise. I have never been on a “bad” cruise until my last cruise Sept. 29 to Oct 4, 2014 on the Carnival Paradise, 5-days to Grand Cayman and Cozumel, sailing from Tampa, FL. This cruise experience turned out to be the worse I have ever had. I booked this cruise two weeks prior to sailing for several reasons: 1st because I had been on this ship three times before and enjoyed it very much 2nd I needed to de-stress after my father passed away this past summer 3rd to celebrate my birthday 4th to celebrate my retirement Parking and checkin at the Port of Tampa was a breeze, however, boarding was delayed and we had to sit in the crowded terminal for about an hour. In the past I have boarded ships as early as 11:30am and then lunch is served at the buffet at 12:00noon, however, on this day there was a wedding party that got on the ship early and we were told that passenger boarding would be delayed because of the wedding. We were finally allowed to board at 12:30pm. We were able to get into our oceanview cabin M139 early because I am Platinum. When we walked into the cabin I noticed that the room was hot and stuffy. I thought that perhaps it was because many doors on the ship were open for passenger and luggage boarding and the hot air was coming into the cabins…it was a very hot/humid day in Tampa. I went out into the hallway and asked a few of our neighbors if their rooms were hot and they said no. I didn’t get a good feeling at that point. I met our cabin steward out in the hallway and mentioned to him how hot and stuffy it was in our cabin….he said he would have maintenance come check the A/C. When we returned to the cabin a few hours later there was a note on the bed indicating that a technician had been there and “the A/C was found to meet Carnival’s operating guidelines for temperature control“. The air in the cabin never cooled down…it remained hot and stuffy in the cabin. I went to guest services to see if there was another cabin we could move to, but I was told the ship was full and there were no other cabins available. Needless to say, two people in a hot/stuffy small cabin for 5 days set the tone for the entire cruise….and it was NOT good. Everyday of the cruise I complained and everyday another technician came and worked on the A/C and indicated that it met “Carnival operating guidelines“. Our cabin steward even brought us a fan, but it did not cool the room, all it did was provide a constant loud “roar” and circulate the already hot/stuffy air in the cabin. It was pretty sad that we had to go out into the hallway every once in awhile just to feel and breath some cool air. I went back to guest services and filed a formal complaint….I was told my complaint “was in the system”, but no one tried to “resolve” the problem with the A/C in our cabin. Perhaps I should have been loud and obnoxious like other passengers complaining about something-or-other to guest services, but it just isn’t in my nature to be that way. What really ticked me off was the little notes the technicians left in our cabin every time they would come work on the A/C….indicating that “the A/C was found to meet Carnival’s operating guidelines for temperature control“. WHAT????? All that comment says to me is that Carnival has LOWERED the guidelines for guest comfort and the cabins are now supposed to be hot and stuffy instead of cool. I love cruising and never want to get off the ship at the end of a cruise, but by the last day of this cruise we couldn’t wait to get out of the cabin and off the ship. It was our worse cruise ever!!!! When I got back home I documented our day-by-day experience and sent a lengthy email to Carnival Customer Service. A week later I received a response that said they realize the stateroom is your home-away-from-home during your vacation and the time spent relaxing in your cabin is very important. They apologized for us being uncomfortable due to the issues with the A/C and that type of problem is not typical of the standards they wish to provide their valued guests. Then they offered us $50.00 onboard credit on a future Carnival sailing. REALLY???? I am appreciative of the apology and the offer, but really disappointed because $10 a day for enduring a hot/stuffy cabin for 5 days is like a slap in the face….and makes me NOT want to cruise on Carnival again. If they want me back they are going to have to do better than that….a complimentary cabin so that we can have a do-over would be nice and worth considering cruising with Carnival again. Cabin aside, I do have to say that the entertainment and comedy club were very good on this cruise, however, the staff did not seem happy to be there, the food was disappointing, and the overall cleanliness of the ship was not good at all. The Paradise is in dire need of a renovation and it is my understanding that they will go into dry dock very soon, which is a very good thing!! My favorite port to visit was Cozumel. The pier Carnival docks at has a nice shopping village and at the far end of the village is a wonderful Mexican restaurant called Pancho's Backyard....everytime I go to Cozumel I have to go to Pancho's...they have awesome margarita's. They have an outside area with tables and chairs on a white sandy beach with palm trees overlooking the beautiful blue water and the ship. My birthday was on the day we were in Cozumel so I was in heaven drinking margarita's at Pancho's....that was the only good part about this cruise. During our 5-day cruise we met many nice people. Whenever I would ask them how the air quality was in their cabins they all responded that it was nice and cool in their cabins. That did not make me feel better about the air quality in our cabin. I have always loved cruising with Carnival Cruise Lines, but if Carnival is lowering their guidelines for temperature control and passenger comfort in the cabins then I might have to rethink who I cruise with in the future.   Read Less
Sail Date September 2014
Overall, I did enjoy my time on the Paradise boat. For about $175 PP we managed to get an ocean view room. However, having been on the Carnival Dream, this cruise fell short in a few areas. First, this boat is about 20 years old and it ... Read More
Overall, I did enjoy my time on the Paradise boat. For about $175 PP we managed to get an ocean view room. However, having been on the Carnival Dream, this cruise fell short in a few areas. First, this boat is about 20 years old and it shows. A lot of things on the boat are old-looking. Hallways, elevators and lobby decor are dated. Pool deck is much smaller than other boats and room amenities are few. Here is what made this cruise a "budget cruise". Pools: The pools were WAY TOO SMALL to accommodate guests. During days-at-sea, these pools were jammed packed. The main pool had a wooden divider that cut the pool into half. People using the water slide would constantly crash into people at the bottom because the people in the pool didn't have anywhere to go. The other side wasn't any better. Hot-tubs: THERE WASN'T A SINGLE HOT-TUB ON THE SHIP. Many guests would complain that the Hot-tubs weren't hot. In fact, we were told that none of the hot-tubs had heaters. You would think that the adults only serenity section would be hot but it wasn't. SPA: There were times where the sauna/steam room wasn't working. Shops: The shops were small and had limited selection. Did I like the cruise? Yes. Would I go on this boat again? No Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
It was a major disappointment when compared to our last cruise with Royal Caribbean. The food was a big part of that disappointment. It was mediocre at best. I also don't understand why they shut the buffets down around 6pm when ... Read More
It was a major disappointment when compared to our last cruise with Royal Caribbean. The food was a big part of that disappointment. It was mediocre at best. I also don't understand why they shut the buffets down around 6pm when people are actually more likely to eat. I know that's when the dining rooms are getting started, but I don't think I'm the only one that doesn't want a fine dining experience every time I sit down to eat. Sometimes I want to grab something on the buffet, scarf it down, and head back out to have fun. Speaking of fun... there isn't much to be had on board unless you like drinking and partying around a pool. If that's the case you'll probably love this ship. We have 2 small kids and they definitely didn't need to be around the idiots at the main pool. Case in point: In one hot tub on the main pool deck there were about 20 people gyrating inside it while one guy shook up a champagne bottle and sprayed it all over everyone around them. Then he proceeded to throw it up into the air and it came crashing down to shatter on the side of the tub spraying all those inside and near with broken glass. Classy. The other pool on the rear of the ship was shallower (I guess for kids, although the other pool had the large water slide attached) and smelled like a sewer. That was lovely. My oldest son (4) enjoyed the mini-golf and Camp Carnival. He asked to return to Camp Carnival several times on the trip. They also gave us a cell phone to use on the boat so they could contact us if there were any problems. We also used the phone to keep in contact with others in our party that were staying in other rooms. They should really think about renting those for other people on the ship because it was very handy to keep in contact while we were out of the room and kept missing each other. They had very few activities on the ship during the entire trip though. We passed a few trivia games going on during the trip and the guy that was hosting it sounded like he hated his life and everyone on the ship. I bet that was LOADS of fun. We did see another hostess during one game that actually did a great job. Cozumel was... just like any other port I've sailed to. Over-priced garbage hawked by over-eager sales people. The water and beaches were beautiful though. I've never seen water that blue before. Our cabin steward was great. He kept everything clean and always had a smile and personal greeting on his lips whenever we saw him. Others in our party didn't have as great of a steward as ours. Honestly, I'll probably try to avoid Carnival in the future unless they make some major changes. Read Less
Sail Date May 2014
My sister and I decided to take a cruise and it was very last minute. We stumbled upon the Paradise based off the islands it was sailing to and decided, “Why not”. My sister and I are both under 30 and we are VERY easy to please. We ... Read More
My sister and I decided to take a cruise and it was very last minute. We stumbled upon the Paradise based off the islands it was sailing to and decided, “Why not”. My sister and I are both under 30 and we are VERY easy to please. We don’t need bells or whistles which came in handy since this ship had neither. I will list the pro’s and con’s as best I can Pro’s: Embarkation was a breeze, we were able to basically walk right on and find our stateroom Staff was overall very friendly and helpful Night club was fun Finding a place to layout was never a problem Now onto the con’s: The carpet in our room smelled so foul that if an article of clothing happened to fall onto the floor for more than 5 seconds, it was unbearable due to the stench. So use the 5 second rule when getting dressed. It smelled like cat vomit produced by a feline that had gastric issues. The ship is very old and it shows. The décor is dated and you can see it throughout the ships overall appearance. This ship is tiny. Do not be fooled by its outward appearance, it is small so you feel every gust of wind, every wave YOU. WILL. FEEL. IT. There are NO and I mean NO activities to speak of. If you see or do them once, it’s over. The comedy club filled up an hour prior to the show so unless you wish to sit for an hour to wait on mediocre comedy you will find yourself without a seat. Now the food category gets its own section: There are no food options whatsoever. Breakfast is your typical powdered eggs, microwaved hard pancakes and other breakfast gems that will not please after one morning. The room service menu for lunch is sandwich items only. No other options are provided. Lunch is ONLY served on Lido deck and it’s the same things, over and over and over again. The lines are so long you don’t even want to waste your time. The sit down lunch restaurant has about 3 options of entrees and that’s it. It was so limited I actually lost 3 lb’s on this cruise and I’m not kidding. Dinner was nice but also limited. I am very disappointed with my overall experience because Carnival does a great job of acting like all their ships have the same or equal options onboard and that could not be further from the truth. That is why we nicknamed this ship “The Anal Wart of the Sea” because you will feel its pain from start to finish Take this cruise IF: You are very easy to please You don’t really enjoy food options You want to party nonstop You like a challenge when getting dressed in your cabin to avoid dropping anything You are with great company that can entertain you   Read Less
Sail Date May 2014
Worse cruise ever! Had problems with customer service and they could not resolve it had to go there 3 times and never an apology for their mistake. The cabin was not connected to the sail pass card. Their attitude was so it's fix ... Read More
Worse cruise ever! Had problems with customer service and they could not resolve it had to go there 3 times and never an apology for their mistake. The cabin was not connected to the sail pass card. Their attitude was so it's fix now. I ask to fill out a complaint form and was told they don't have them??? There were nine of us and half of us could not eat the food. This was not just one meal it was every meal. The staff is trained to call you by your first name which they did but that didn't mean the service was good. The beds can be put together to make one bed but then you can't get into the bed on both sides you have to crawl in from one side and that means crawling over your partner if they sleep longer than you! Luggage was lost on our return (5 passengers) all they did was tell you to keep looking until everyone had collected their luggage then they fill out a claim form. They give you a phone number nobody answers and they Never called to see if you ever get your luggage. THEY don't care   Read Less
Sail Date January 2014
Having been in 15 cruises before I had learned to take most reviews with a grain of salt. I had never tried Carnival before due to advice from many friends. My buddy and I decided that since the price was great and location close to give ... Read More
Having been in 15 cruises before I had learned to take most reviews with a grain of salt. I had never tried Carnival before due to advice from many friends. My buddy and I decided that since the price was great and location close to give it a try. First the good. The ship is older but for most part kept up and clean. Crazy way to adjust temp in room . You have to open and close vent in ceiling and no other way. The crew were very nice and the room large and bed great. The cruise director was great and man can he play a fiddle ! Now the bad. I got what I am sure was food posioning two times in five nights. First time not sure what it was from but second am pretty sure. For breakfast they had sausage cut in funny pieces . Guy in front of me asked if pork or chicken. The crew had no idea and no way to tell by taste as it tasted funny. I tried it but thank goodness very little, also the hamburger for lunch looked and tasted funny so only one bite. Was sick most of the last day and night. I heard several people had same problem as I did. The food at buffet was of very low quality . The eggs had to be powdered and the pastries looked and tasted awful. Long frozen I assume. Very few choices on buffet also. The dinner in the main dining was better but still not good. If the food served on board was offered by a resturant on land it would be out of business within a week.. The pizza was good but had to be frozen as was made in back and most posted if asked for you got whole pizza and it always told would be 10 minutes so assume frozen . The fellow passengers were a mixed bag but a lot were heavy drinking party type. Some were carrying on In The halls outside rooms very loud and very drunk in various degrees of undress one day for quite a long time. Some it seemed came to be on a drunk for 5 days and had managed to sneek on alcohol . As I said, been on many cruise and far from a prude or old stick in mud. It just seems a lot of them had no idea how to act in plublic . I post this just to advise people if you want a nice, relaxed, good food cruise this is not for ,you. This was my first and most likely last Carnival cruise. Perhaps the newer larger ships better but not betting my next vacation on it. I will stick with RCCL , Celebrity and Holland America where I have always received a quality product in the past.   Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
This was my fourth Carnival Cruise and the service, food and entertainment on this cruise was to be desired. This has been my worst experience with Carnival cruise lines so far. The Carnival Paradise is definitely in need of a massive ... Read More
This was my fourth Carnival Cruise and the service, food and entertainment on this cruise was to be desired. This has been my worst experience with Carnival cruise lines so far. The Carnival Paradise is definitely in need of a massive update. During the entire cruise the elevators were in need of repair. Signs were on mostly all of the elevators but by trial and error we discovered that they did work at times. We had to just take a chance, push the bottom and wait to see if it would open. I have cruised with my family of four before and have never felt as claustrophobic in a cabin as I did on this trip. We were on deck 5 with an oceanview. My son was a little bothered by the rocking but I dont think where we slept made a difference, we felt it throughout the ship. When we arrive and entered the cabin, the third bed was down was on the floor, which made it impossible to get to the bed closest to the window or to the television, without climbing over the bed. The bathroom was the worst. The showershower floor and wall tile was stained and looked unclean. The sink was chipped and very worn. Our cabin steward never said more than 5 words to usus during the entire trip. He never introduced himself or cleaned our room in a timely manner. I had to request service twice during the cruise. The food in the dinning room was okay as well as the buffet lunch. The breakfast buffet choices were limited and most items were not good. The entertainment was decent but I was a little disappointed in the lack of variety. The comedy shows were good. Each night a musical theater show was performed but were a little redundant. There was a country themed show one night then country music was featured again on the last night. I must say that I was very impressed with the Cruise Director. He was multi talented and very friendly. His fiddling and juggling was the best. We did not do any shore excursions through Carnival. Instead we did a local tour of Cancun which included stops to shop via taxi. It was reasonably priced compared to Carnivals. Overall I was very disappointed in this cruise. My previous experiences with Carnival's ships have not been the best, however this trip has been the worst by far. I am not sure if I will be cruising with Carnival in the future. Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
My Carnival experience turned out to be the worst vacation of my life and I have had some horrible ones. I should have known when my father was going through the security check and they asked him for his card. My father has ... Read More
My Carnival experience turned out to be the worst vacation of my life and I have had some horrible ones. I should have known when my father was going through the security check and they asked him for his card. My father has Parkinson's and it takes him while sometimes to be able to get an object in his hands. Instead of asking Can I help you with it? the gentleman (and I use the term most sarcastically) pushed my dad's wheelchair out of the way and said Just get out of the way. I should have taken that as a sign. The trip only gets worse from there. The conditions of the boat were horrible and the floors were often wet or coated in spilled food in the dining rooms on the Lido deck. I complained that I have slipped several times on the floor and the staff just shrugged at me and continued their conversation. It wasn't until I fell and a bunch of cruise goers had to help me up that the staff even took notice to clean up what appears to be dressing I slipped in spilled all over the floor. My nephew suffered cuts and bruises on his knees because of the same indifference to safety. We were part of a wedding party and supposed to be seated together in the dinning room. This trip was planned for 9 months ahead of time. Carnival inevitably screwed it up again and kept bumping people off of our wedding party in the dining room causing us to have to be split up for all but one night of the cruise. Finally, the disembarkation process was the worst. A porter was supposed to arrive at our room to help us the morning of disembarkation. This was part of the wedding party package that was paid for. The night before we confirmed this with both Guest Services and a supervisor because so much about this cruise was screwed up. At 8:15, no porter. 8:30, no porter. We called and he was on his way. 8.45, no porter. 9 am we called again and they sent someone. We sat in the lobby for over an hour waiting to disembark with our party. Guest Services lied and told us our party has already left the ship and we needed to do the same when in fact we were speaking to them on the phone and they said they were still waiting to be taken to meet us. By that time, I called Carnival customer service and loudly explained my situation to the customer service manager. Amazingly, the staff (all 5 that were standing around doing nothing but chatting with each other) were able to help us. It still took another 45 minutes to get the rest of our party (that was supposedly already off the boat) off the boat to meet us. Finally, once we were off the boat, we moved our bags and my father in his wheelchair to a designated handicap pick up area and I left to get the car. I returned to someone yelling, yes YELLING, at my father to move out of the way that he wasn't supposed to be there and he had to get all the bags and move NOW. Are you for real? With all of this drama going on, we had to contend with surly crew members, a less than helpful Guest Services staff, rooms that were either so cold my nephew had to sleep in two pairs of sweats and a hoodie and socks or rooms so hot they were uninhabitable most of the trip. The food was mediocre to poor at best and requests for no cheese on burgers and small special requests were greeted with a very poor attitude. We found the crew to be less than helpful and acted as if it was an imposition to help or do their job. Many of the crew were happier to stand around and converse than actually do their jobs. Finally, there seemed to be a sewage issue in many of the cabins for the entire trip. The smell permeated the hallways and was very unpleasant. When I asked about this, the staff shrugged at me and walked away. There were some amazing staff members aside from the horrible ones. The standout staff members were Ketut (our room attendant who tried to fix the temperature issue desperately), the kids club staff were excellent and always amazing to my nephew, and the dining room staff of the Elation were pretty good. They had no hand in the wedding seating disaster and made every accommodation to try and seat the party together. The rest of the staff needs to be replaced.   Read Less
Sail Date June 2013
My family and I have sailed 9 previous times on different cruise lines and enjoyed them all, this was our 10th cruise and we were extremely disappointed. We booked Carnival because of price, and time of sailing which fit our needs and we ... Read More
My family and I have sailed 9 previous times on different cruise lines and enjoyed them all, this was our 10th cruise and we were extremely disappointed. We booked Carnival because of price, and time of sailing which fit our needs and we heard from others that carnival was a good cruise line, unfortunately we found out different. First some of the good: Embarkation was very good,as was the debarkation from the ship. The food at the buffet was adequate, and the pizza on board was very good, rooms were adequate in size, ship was well appointed and clean,the mini golf was nice and it was free which was a plus. however this was all that was good, Now for the bad: Customer service on board was very poor. As I do not drink and my daughter is only 14 her and I purchased the all you can drink soda plan (bottomless bubbles) Every time I ordered a Sprit from any of the wait staff I was treated very poorly and slowly, I think my average wait time for a soda was around 8-10 minutes, the wait staff was more interested in serving alcohol so that they could get there tips, on our last day at sea a waiter was trying to force a bucket of beer on me saying that I order it, as I said I do not drink and I did not order beer, he than took away the beer in a huff and did not bring me a soda. The food in the main dining room was awful, fish that wasn't cooked well, the flat iron steak was over cooked and tough, the prime rib was undercooked (RED) , the beef tenderloins tasted like pot roast and was extremely tough, meals were not eaten, sent back and of very poor quality, the waiters were very upset at our table and were telling us that the food was good, not very professional. Entertainment on the ship was very poor also, they had two comedians who were never heard of, the main shows lasted all of 30 minutes and the highlights of the show were the cruise director, Steve Cassel, who played the fiddle one night, which by the way he was very good at, and another night he juggled.Yes these were the highlights of the entertainment, No broadway style productions like on all the other cruise we sailed. I also feel that everything on board was very expensive, my wife had a cocktail at the bar which was $8.95, shore excursions were expensive and everything in the gift shops from souvenirs to jewelry was costly. yes the cruise itself was priced right but the cruise line nickel and dimes you once aboard. Speaking of shore excursions, we only did the turtle farm in Grand Cayman, it was nice but again I feel overpriced. I felt that after the Carnival Triumph disaster that the crew on this ship would be more caring towards there guest, but I think they were more concerned with themselves than the guest. After taking this cruise, Carnival makes NCL look like a 5 star cruise line, My family and myself will probably never sail Carnival again. Read Less
Sail Date February 2013
My wife and I sailed out of Tampa on the Carnival Paradise, a five day getaway cruise to Grand Cayman and Cozumel. The ship was remarkably clean and well maintained for it's age. Having cruised on the Carnival Dream last April, I ... Read More
My wife and I sailed out of Tampa on the Carnival Paradise, a five day getaway cruise to Grand Cayman and Cozumel. The ship was remarkably clean and well maintained for it's age. Having cruised on the Carnival Dream last April, I have to say I enjoyed the smaller ship, less people, shorter lines. On the other side of the coin, the activities and amenities offered are a fraction of what is offered on the larger ships. We found ourselves more often than not wondering what to do, as the ship really had very few activities planned that even came close to our interests. Come prepared to entertain yourselves. Carnival does not put a premium on entertainment on the Paradise. I will rate the behind the scenes people, housekeeping, maintenance, etc., as excellent. Again, the ship was very clean, our room steward was fantastic, and that staff worked diligently to keep it that way. I will rate the rest as poor. The dining room staff was inattentive at their best, the food itself was edible, but nothing to write home about. The entertainment staff knew they were riding a lame horse and couldn't wait to get back to the stables. The show(s) were painful renditions of the "Donny and Marie Show" Ala the 1970s. Ugh. I can best sum it up as execution. The housekeeping staff executed their mission, the other staff simply did not. Such a shame, because all the tools are there to have a great product. Would we go on this cruise again? Considering it was a very affordable getaway that matched our schedule perfectly, I have to say we would not. I would go out of my way, and pay considerably more for a better product. Read Less
Sail Date January 2013
I have traveled with Carnival about 20 times and now it has taken a drastic turn for the worse. Menu changes .... no more rack of lamb, no more pork chops, no more roasted pig buffet, no more Prime Beef. Salmon overcooked, chocolate ... Read More
I have traveled with Carnival about 20 times and now it has taken a drastic turn for the worse. Menu changes .... no more rack of lamb, no more pork chops, no more roasted pig buffet, no more Prime Beef. Salmon overcooked, chocolate melting cake overcooked, no more cheesecake at the buffet, no more quality !!! Caesar salad tasteless with iceberg added to fill it up. Ha!! The ship was not well maintained .... it's an older ship, but could be a lot cleaner. The cruise director, Steve, has decided that he is a major star !! He has put himself into all the shows and is the fiddler, the violinist, and now the juggler. I did not come on board to see the Steve show. Also, to get into Grand CAYMAN ..... NO MORE RAMP,,,, walk down stairs to get on the tender. Lots of stairs. Hate to see it when the weather is really bad. The library is open one hour ..... and the games were from the 1950's and pieces missing in all of them - bring your own. The maitre'd does not come to the table .... you only see him in front on tip day. I HATE TO COMPLAIN .... I REALLY DO.... I LOVE CRUISING - BUT THIS WAS THE WORST SO FAR. Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
My son and I set sail on May 24th aboard the Carnival Paradise. He is 12, with what promised to be a great trip. The water slide and the Circle C were particularly enticing to him. I was looking forward to relaxing pool side and meeting ... Read More
My son and I set sail on May 24th aboard the Carnival Paradise. He is 12, with what promised to be a great trip. The water slide and the Circle C were particularly enticing to him. I was looking forward to relaxing pool side and meeting some great new people. This was not our first cruise however it was our first with Carnival. We left the Port of Tampa late, but that was fine. Once we were on our way we were both excited. The first night was ok, exploring the ship and having fun. The second day people started getting rowdy from all the drinking that goes on. Our first encounter viewing physical contact between two drunk adults on the Lido deck where the pool and kids slide was. When we arrived at Cozumel we had a great time. The ship left early because of an incoming storm, about 1 1/2 hours early which was fine. Apparently everyone had been drinking in Mexico and once again a fight broke out on the Lido deck at the bar next to the pool with the kids slide. Not only was there fighting, the foul language flying back and forth was out of control. Security stood there and watched. Never intervening until one of the passengers had finally had enough and told them to do something. These boys were fighting over the UF FSU rival, Gators vs. Seminoles...really!!! That same night there was a couple at the bar literally having sex with their clothes on. Finally a passenger once again told them that "everyone on this ship has a cabin, there are kids out here, go to yours." We decided not to do the deck party because of all the drunks. My son had been hit in the head twice by two different drunk men. Now the food, the first night it was good. The second night in the dinning room I had the prime rib, it was terrible and full of fat. The buffet is better and that's not saying a whole lot. I believe they recycle food from the night before and it does not get any better than it was the day before. They also charged someone else's bar tab to my room. They did give that back to me however, I paid for the trip in cash daily. They owed me money at the end of the cruise yet still billed my credit card for all the on board purchases. So...I paid twice. And our room, it did us a lot of good to book a window. We had to climb literally climb across the bed to open the curtains. I will not cruise with Carnival again, I will stick with Royal Caribbean. The accommodations are better, the food is better, the people are classier and I have never paid my bill off only to be charged again for it. I was very disappointed on this cruise. NOT A FAMILY ORIENTED SHIP! Read Less
Sail Date May 2012
I will start off by saying Carnival is probably our least favorite cruise line. This being said, there always has to be a best and worst cruise. But the worst cruise is still better than being at work. I would have to rate this cruise ... Read More
I will start off by saying Carnival is probably our least favorite cruise line. This being said, there always has to be a best and worst cruise. But the worst cruise is still better than being at work. I would have to rate this cruise as one of our two worst cruises. We are 48 & 43 and been on 15 plus cruises. We have never left from the Tampa port and it is VERY different from Miami or Ft. Lauderdale. Getting to the port and getting on the ship was typical. Lines were not bad and we were in our room in less than 30 minutes from reaching the Carnival port building. THE SHIP: Actually was VERY impressed with the way the ship looked. The atrium was very nice for a smaller and older ship. Must have took forever to wire this ship with the fiber optics used all over the ship. Overall the ship is still very nice for an old one. Being smaller and most all activities within 3 decks it did become crowded at times. POOL AREA: If you are looking for lots of pool time this is not the ship for you. Very small pools with not many chairs that are what I would call 'pool side'. About half the main pool area is taken up by a big stage and dance floor/show area. The back pool is nothing more than an oversized hot tub with a hot tub on both sides. The Room(s): Will have to rate the room we had as very BAD. 1) The suitcases will not even fit under the beds. Never seen this before, so your limited space is taken up by your suitcase. 2) The lifejackets are stored in a corner wood case that you have to CRAWL over to get to one side of the bed. So more wasted space and not sure how some folks that have trouble getting around even get into that side of the bed without crawling over each other. 3) TV is still a small tube that is in a big wood box thing that does not have good viewing angles. (oh by the way the tv movie service, 2 channels, was out TWICE in five days) 4) NO hair dryers in the room. NEVER not had a hair dryer in the room. NO big deal if they would have mentioned that, so you could bring one. So you are calling your cabin guy every day you need one and he is chasing the few they have down from another cabin. 5) NO thermostats in the room, just off and on for cold air only. (and they keep this ship COLD) 6) Our room did have a locker room smell to it. Nothing terrible and they did try to get rid of it but would only use an ionizer thing...NO chemicals. 7) The bathroom was nice sized and the shower was one of the best we have ever had on a cruise. THE FOOD: Don't go on this cruise if you are there for the food. The buffet area: This is a horrible set up and crowded as heck. The food is average and hard to get too. Two buffet lines the same (if open) in the back area, two buffets out by the pool (one burgers - one stir fry type?) if I remember right. Then in back pizza (if they had any ready) and a always long line for the one person fresh sandwich area. Then 2 salad bars on each side and a desert area. Breakfast & lunch food was almost always the same with a few exceptions. At 11:15 (on a sea day FULL ship) only 1 buffet line was open with a line that went on forever. AT 8:30 one nite only ONE buffet of the four open again LONG line. Breakfast lines were not horrible other than they put the omelet station RIGHT in the middle of the line so backups were bad there. Overall we ended up using room service most of the time and believe it or not this was almost as quick. Dinning Room: This was not too bad, but being a 5 day and not a 7 day cruise you don't get the good stuff so remember that going in. SERVICE: As with most cruises service is always good. The staff on most ships try thier best to do a great job and help in anyway they can. The staff on this ship are lots of fun and do a great job. ENTERTAINMENT: The main show lounge shows are below what we are used to. The comedy club was fun (we do like this about Carnival). The bands were ok and the dance clubs are fine. You can find something to do on this ship but it is somewhat limited due to the size of the ship. OVERALL: Just was not impressed with much about this cruise. Still a LOT better than being at work though. Read Less
Sail Date February 2012
This was my seventh cruise, and my second with Carnival. This is a "Fun Ship," and everything had "fun" in its name. If you are familiar with the fun size Halloween candy, you know that "fun" is really code ... Read More
This was my seventh cruise, and my second with Carnival. This is a "Fun Ship," and everything had "fun" in its name. If you are familiar with the fun size Halloween candy, you know that "fun" is really code for "cheap" or "bare minimum," which is the context of fun on this cruise. We only paid $78.61 per person per day (including taxes and tips) for a 4-day mid-week Los Angeles, Catalina, and Ensenada cruise. That is a real bargain. I only mention the price because if I paid more, I'd be upset. The ship was large and fairly well maintained. More Formica than fine hardwoods. As for the clientele, it looked like they raided local DMVs, Greyhound bus stations, and maybe a homeless shelter. The staterooms were adequate with the bulletproof finishes found throughout the ship. The sheets and towels were rough and cheap, but clean. The chefs and dining staff did a good job with the HomeTown Buffet-style commodity food. The buffet felt more like a cafeteria, with low-end plastic dishware and cheap stamped silverware. The food quality was generally poor and well below that of Las Vegas buffets. Lobster was served one night in the dining room and was actually above average. The international staff was kind, professional, hard-working, and attentive. This wasn't an awful cruise, and I went in with very low expectations. It was, after all, a real bargain. That said, this will be my last Carnival Cruise. I prefer even a hint of luxury to fun/cheap. If you're young and want to go on a cruise with a large group of friends and drink yourself blind, then look no further, this is the cruise for you. If you want a nicer inexpensive Mexico cruise departing Los Angeles, I'd suggest a slightly longer and slightly more expensive Mexican Riveria cruise on Princess or Holland America. Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
This was my 3rd cruise and by far the worst. I'd go as far to say that it was one of the worst vacations I've ever been on. First off, the cruise ship is severely out-dated. Second of all, the food was terrible. You can order as ... Read More
This was my 3rd cruise and by far the worst. I'd go as far to say that it was one of the worst vacations I've ever been on. First off, the cruise ship is severely out-dated. Second of all, the food was terrible. You can order as much as you'd like, but one serving is plenty. You won't want to go back for more. By day 3, I had sharp stomach pains that lasted for over 12 hours. The ship is much smaller than the other 2 ships I've been on, so you could really feel the rocking of the boat. It took me 4 days to fully recover from the swaying motion and the other girls who I traveled with also experienced this. One particularly annoying aspect of the cruise was that they try to extort money out of you during the entire cruise - from sparkling water at dinner, to shots from the chef, to raffles where you have to purchase something to enter to classes at the fitness center. We even had to pay $2 to take a shuttle bus from the port to downtown Ensenada(which was a total tourist trap). Save your $400 and go elsewhere, unless you want to eat Sizzler style food every night and spend 8 hours in Ensenada where every shop sells the same junk. Read Less
Sail Date August 2011
Our family has taken numerous cruises on almost every cruise line over the past 12 years. After my father past away last August, my 81 year old mother still was hoping to enjoy cruising. Since my dad had been sick, she had not been ... Read More
Our family has taken numerous cruises on almost every cruise line over the past 12 years. After my father past away last August, my 81 year old mother still was hoping to enjoy cruising. Since my dad had been sick, she had not been cruising for 3 1/2 years, so my sister, mom and I decided to try a short, easy cruise to see how she would do. We live driving distance from Los Angeles and have been on this particular cruise twice before and since Carnival is the only one that does this cruise now, chose Carnival. We had heard from others about Carnival being a "party" cruise line with younger crowds and many younger families so we tried to pick the earliest week in June before all kids were out of school and vacationing with their families. The GOOD things: very nice cabin- chose a Grand Suite with a balcony. There are only approx 24cabins with balcony and I believe they are all Grand Suites. They sleep 4 so we all had our own beds which were very comfortable. The only negative is the shower, which seemed to almost flood the bathroom each time we showered. The food was very good, no complaints there. The staff was extremely friendly and helpful. They were very good about cleaning up our dishes quickly after we ate. The BAD things: way too many unsupervised younger (pre teen) children. With a really good children's program, I really don't understand why this should be. I have two children and 2 grandchildren, so I am used to being around kids and am used to noise and I work at a school. We repeatedly had children running down the halls at all hours of the night. One day we went to see the movie. There were 1/2 dozen children running in and out and jumping over the lounge couches during the entire movie. The mother did come in once and check on them, but did not stay more than 5 minutes. The last night, we tried to take our mom up one of the atrium elevators (there are two but only one worked the entire cruise) and when the door opened, there were 4 children screaming and sitting and laying on the floor laughing and just joyriding the elevator up and down. There was staff who noticed, but said nothing. In fact, I never saw anyone from the staff say a thing to any of the children who were misbehaving and causing a lot of racket. Because we were with our elderly mother, we tried to stay at the quieter parts of the ship. The ship is older and therefore is showing some wear. It was refurbished about 6 years ago. Some of the activities seemed a little unorganized and compared to other lines we have been on, the shopping is quite limited perhaps because of it being an older ship and less room for shops. My sister and I had massages and the massage therapist was excellent. However, the room is beneath the jogging track and golf putting so there was constant thudding on the roof of the room-hardly relaxing. The walls were thin and you could hear talking from the room next door over the supposed to be soothing music she had playing. The price was rather expensive for a short 4 day cruise, but this cruise looked to fit our needs so that is why we chose it. We had to have a cabin big enough for three separate beds. If you have children-young or older, or don't mind unsupervised children running around, this is a great cruise for you. If you are older with no children, be warned that you may have the same problems that we did. Catalina Island was great...we rented a golf cart and had a great time sightseeing around the island. It's a beautiful place and the golf cart was an ideal way to see it all! We have decided that we will not choose Carnival again...I can only imagine what this cruise is like when it is primarily younger families with more children! Read Less
Sail Date June 2011
We just came back from a 4 night cruise on the Carnival Paradise to Catalina and Ensenada. We've taken this cruise several times in the past and were pretty happy with it. But this particular cruise really disappointed us. The ... Read More
We just came back from a 4 night cruise on the Carnival Paradise to Catalina and Ensenada. We've taken this cruise several times in the past and were pretty happy with it. But this particular cruise really disappointed us. The service, food, activies all went downhill since our last cruise about 4 years ago. First of all, the ship was in poor condition, needs a major renovation. Secondly, the activites were not up to par to other cruises. Especially on the last day, when we were at sea, we found ourselves bored the entire day with nothing to do, other than play Bingo or lay out by the pool. Our 2 daughters (7 and 10) did not like Camp Carnival and were totally bored. They also had nothing much to do. As far as the food, the Dining Room food was good, but the Buffets were horrible. Basically they had Hamburgers, Hot dogs, fench friends and mushrooms, maybe a pasta or 2. Normally the Buffets offer a different selection every day, with a different theme. Sometimes we would prefer the Buffets over the Dining Room meals. It also did not offer any "Midnight" or "Gala" Buffets. Lastly, service. When we go on cruises, we feel like we're completely pampered and feel like Royalty. The Staff goes always goes above and beyond to make you feel special. On this cruise, we didn't feel pampered at all. No one went above and beyond. We feel this is mostly due to the fact that the Gratuities were pre-paid at the beginning of the cruise. Normally, gratuities are paid at the end of the cruise, so the Staff is trying really hard so they will get a good gratuity. Just our opinion. If you're thinking about cruising, take a different cruise. Read Less
Sail Date April 2011
I had been on a 5 day cruise with Carnival before and absolutely LOVED the experience so I was looking forward to this 3-day to Baja for quite some time with my mother and two friends. The first thing we noted upon the ship was that hardly ... Read More
I had been on a 5 day cruise with Carnival before and absolutely LOVED the experience so I was looking forward to this 3-day to Baja for quite some time with my mother and two friends. The first thing we noted upon the ship was that hardly any of the staff was smiling or at all friendly for that matter. We greeted a few and either the smile was brief and somewhat annoyed or they just looked at us as if we were aliens. We quickly concluded the second day on the ship that some of their reactions could've have been a direct result of the passengers. Chaos was the kindest way of putting it. There was hardly any order. People were getting horrifically drunk to the point of stumbling into complete strangers, throwing up, getting into fights. I was shocked. The cruise before was very elegant and had little tolerance for rowdiness but in this cruise even security just turned their gaze away. The Dinning room was the worse experience. Absolutely NO order. On one night in the dinning room Carnival typically has a black tie attire night. Meaning the ladies dress in their gowns and the men in their suits. At the 5-day ship if one wasn't wearing this they were not admitted into the dinning room. Wearing our dresses, we entered the dinning room that night only to feel extremely overdressed. Some women and men were in their black tie attire, while others weren't even wearing shoes! The entire atmosphere was ruined because of their lack of rule enforcement. And then came the last straw. My party had been eating two nights in a row in the dining area at our assigned seats. On the last night we enter and a different crowd has taken up our assigned area. Our waiter completely refused to speak to us, and we were forced to stand around for 30 mins until at last the maitre d approached us. When we explained our dilemma he moves us to the open seating area and doesn't even issue an apology! Completely unprofessional!! Upset and feeling very much like dirt at this point. We request that our waiter at least speak to us and explain what happened. And we demanded an apology. The maitre d claimed he was in a meeting and would be deterred all night. Failing to make eye contact after the same man who was pronounced in a meeting passed by on his way to our table with food. Concerning our apology he stated that none would be given because it wasn't their fault. They did the best thing possible moving us. After that, we waited another 30 min for someone to take our food which didn't happen until we flagged someone down. Who claimed they didn't even notice we were sitting there. I myself work customer service so I understand some unavoidable disasters, but that was atrocious service. Not only was someone else allowed to take our table where we had been assigned and sat at two nights in a row, but we were denied an apology and THEN promptly forgotten about. I booked a cruise to feel good and that instance made me feel humiliated. If I wanted to feel like crap I could've saved myself $400.00. Needless to say that's the last time I book anything with Carnival at least for the 3-day. Entertainment was alright, not very much to do on the ship besides getting roaringly drunk it seemed. Baja was fun but had very little attraction besides the blowhole, whale watching (in season) and horse back riding along the beach. Everything else was pure shopping. So if you aren't big on money spending I would suggest booking someplace else. Luckily myself and my party were so we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and I will visit Baja again. Read Less
Sail Date March 2011
My very first cruise, was the exact cruise, I just came back from. I was very disappointed to say the least. The service and food was sub-standard compared to our previous 3 cruises with Carnival. I was not expecting Carnival to be the ... Read More
My very first cruise, was the exact cruise, I just came back from. I was very disappointed to say the least. The service and food was sub-standard compared to our previous 3 cruises with Carnival. I was not expecting Carnival to be the quality that I have always experienced on Princess, but at least acceptable. Boarding went smooth and fairly quick. We met our cabin steward and other then calling him to the cabin for bed rearrangement, that was the only time we saw him. I am use to seeing my cabin steward during the cruise, which I enjoy. Our Dining Room Waiter was seen once to take the order and then to deliver our entree, the assistant did the rest. I can't even tell what his name was. The food in the dining room and on the Lido deck was poor to fair and the choice was poor. The entertainment was way below the standard of any cruise line, it was like they found anyone at the pier to hop on and try to entertain us. Now I know Carnival, especially the 3 & 5 day cruises are known as the Party Cruises but it was 75% full of drunks, yelling down hallways, banging on the walls and floor. It really was amazing that no one fell over board, to be honest. I know Carnival wants to earn that alcohol revenue but they really need to be a little more responsible on over serving, when it is apparent that someone is close to alcohol intoxication. I also noticed many under age drinkers and the crew just choose to ignore it because after all that would be more tip revenue. I have to say that had my first cruise with Carnival been like this cruise, I probably would of never cruised again, with any cruise line. Read Less
Sail Date March 2011
Last minute decision to go on a quick 4 day cruise for our 17th anniversary. We booked only a week before and felt at the time we got a great deal. We had never been on a Carnival Cruise before and were used to a higher quality cruise ... Read More
Last minute decision to go on a quick 4 day cruise for our 17th anniversary. We booked only a week before and felt at the time we got a great deal. We had never been on a Carnival Cruise before and were used to a higher quality cruise experience. Stateroom - We upgraded to a suite with a balcony which was our first mistake. The room was nice but we were used to a big sliding glass door to the balcony. This room had a small door with no window leading to the balcony. This would have been o.k. but the weather wasn't really warm enough to really use the balcony like we had hoped. Otherwise the room was fine. Our steward was great. He did an outstanding job. Ship - The paradise is almost 14 years old and it shows. It has a poor design and a very strange layout. Everything felt very small for a 2000+ passenger ship. The public rooms were nice and the theatres were very cool. Dining - This is where we were most disappointed. Breakfast in the buffet was always lukewarm. 2 toasters for 2000 people led to big bottlenecks if you wanted a bagel. Had oatmeal most mornings and it was borderline cold. Ate breakfast in the Elation dining room one morning and it was only o.k. Lunch was better but only due to the Mongolian grill. It is only open from 11-2 each day and they are very very slow so there is always a huge line. The 2 times we got it we loved it. We ate on shore the other 2 days. Dinner was a big downer. The appetizers were usually good but the main entree was only good once. Pork chop was dry as a bone. Steak was cold. Pasta was dry and old. lasagna was awful, turkey was chewy and don't even ask about the lobster. Dessert was the saving grace. The warm chocolate cake was to die for when it was warm, which was only twice after we asked for it to be warmed up. My wife loved the apple pie but other than that the desserts were pretty bland. Entertainment - Terrible. My wife likened it to a couple of drunk frat boys trying to put on a show. I really felt bad for the cruise staff. They were trying but they were given no training, no props or equipment. The cruise director, Jeff Brrronson, was rarely seen which is not the norm on other cruise lines. The comedians on adult night were pretty good. Ports - Catalina is cute but small. Ensenada is a waste of time. Nothing to do if you don't want to get drunk at some crappy bar. Fellow Passengers - Well I'll do my best to keep this politically correct. Let's just say you get what you pay for. I am far from a snob but hanging out with people who want to get hammered drunk daily, then show up to dinner in sweats and a tee shirt isn't for me. One lady was so drunk at the muster drill she had to run into the bathroom and throw up. I was raised by a very proper mom. When you go to a nice dinner you dress appropriately. I am not talking about a suit each night but a pair of slacks and a Tommy Bahama shirt is fine. People were coming in in sweats, football jerseys, basketball shorts and sweaty tee shirts and more. My opinion if you want to dress like a slob then go to the buffet. Again - what do you expect on the Burger King of cruise lines? Embarkation and debark were quick and painless but we were given special access because we were in a suite. Summary - If you want a dirt cheap cruise with the riff Raff than this is your trip. Wife and me will stick to Royal or Princess. Read Less
Sail Date February 2011
I just returned yesterday from a three night cruise to the Baja on Carnival Paradise. First, to put this in perspective, I am certainly not a Carnival fan. I choose my cruises based on itinerary, timing and other factors. ... Read More
I just returned yesterday from a three night cruise to the Baja on Carnival Paradise. First, to put this in perspective, I am certainly not a Carnival fan. I choose my cruises based on itinerary, timing and other factors. Therefore, I have cruised on 7 different cruise lines over the years. I am cruising four times in 2011 on four different cruise lines. This was my fourth cruise with Carnival. I will try to be as evenhanded as possible. I will tell you both good and bad and may compare some things to other lines on which I've cruised. Also, please note that I cruised on the Royal Caribbean Allure of the Seas last month and there is no possible way that the Carnival Paradise compares with that ship in any way, shape or form. A fair warning that some of what I have to say may really upset some Carnival aficionados, but, again, I will be as honest and objective as possible. I know it will result in some bruised feelings, but, I really do have to call it as I see it. If it offends some of you, so be it. Hopefully, it will help others. Embarkation: We arrived at the pier around 3:15 in the afternoon and the embarkation went fairly smoothly--line was only moderate in length and we were on the ship in less than half an hour. Dining arrangements: We typically prefer early seating dining (This ship has two seatings--6:00 pm and 8:15 pm--also some passengers are allowed anytime dining). We booked a little late in the game (we were a party of four), so we were confirmed for 8:15 and told the 6:00 seating was full. When we got to the ship, we went directly to the Maitre d' and he told us that the 6:00 was full but he'd put us on the wait list for 6:00 (of course, the computer already had us on a wait list, but he apparently had no information as to that). We had dinner that night at our assigned 8:15 table. The following night, we again went to the dining room for the 8:15 seating--and 6 new people showed up, making 14 of us at a table for ten! The Maitre d' came over to sort it out and told us that we had been reassigned to the 6:00 seating! It would have been nice, of course, if someone would have informed us! Any of us--by any means--We were two couples in two different cabins. Neither of us got a note sent to the room or a phone call or any other type of message. Being too late to do much else that night, we remained at that table--and moved to the 6:00 seating for the final night only. Interestingly, when we got there, our new tablemates told us that there had been 6 empty seats at their table the first two nights and that the next table over had no one sitting there the entire cruise! Food: One of the high points for us was that the food was consistently pretty good. Selections were varied, presentation was nice, always some good choices on the menu. I think Carnival has improved significantly in this department over the years. Service: This is an area where Carnival falls way short of other cruise lines. It is not the waiters themselves--they are hardworking, eager to please. It is more of a case of insufficient personnel working too hard, too fast to properly cover their assignments--classic understaffing. If one only cruised Carnival--or was accustomed to the typical service in typical chain restaurants on land, the service may seem excellent and the deficiencies go unnoticed--BUT--among the things we noticed were that: **Whereas it is customary to take the orders from the ladies at the table first and to take orders from everyone from behind them, over the shoulder, on this cruise AT BOTH dinner tables as well as breakfast and lunch, the waiters generally just went around the table regardless of gender and sometimes took orders from across the table (I'll get to one of the reasons why later). **The courses were often brought out in seemingly random order and not well timed--often, though four of us all ordered, say, soup and an appetizer, soup may be brought to one person while the other three had nothing, then two of us got appetizers followed by a second person getting soup, and so on. **several times they just messed up the order. One night, I ordered a crab cake appetizer and never got it. Another time, I ordered sugar-free ice cream (I always made this clear, as I am diabetic) and received ice cream with sugar (yes, it's easy for me to tell the difference)--another time, at breakfast, they made the same mistake with my pancake syrup! **I always order Iced Tea. On most cruise lines, they will bring you a separate glass with iced tea. On Carnival, they apparently make you decide between iced tea and water. Despite my requesting iced tea, they filled my glass with water and, when I told the waiter I had wanted iced tea, rather than taking away the water glass and emptying it--or bringing me a new glass for iced tea, she merely filled small wine glass with tea. There were more faux pas, these were just the ones that came directly to mind. You may not think any of these are all that bad, but when you take them all in totality, the overall impression of service is not good. A lot of the service problems I can attribute to the understaffing. Other problems stem from this--general overcrowding. The dining room is far too densely packed. There are a great number of places where no one, and, of course, no waiter, can move between tables. This really impacts the service--not only is it densely packed, but ceilings are low--which affects the acoustics and makes table conversation harder. The tables along the windows on either side of the dining room are, basically, cut off from any access whatsoever--the second row of tables are all booths (apparently placed to maximize the number of guests, but also causing service problems to those tables)--and there is NO break anywhere between the booths. The only way to enter or exit this are is THROUGH the waiters' stations at either end--and, most of the time, the waiters are there coordinating trays of food. On all of the cruises I've been on, seven different lines 20+ different cruise ships, Carnival alone seems to have these crowded dining room issues. Entertainment: Best to split this into two parts, comedians and main shows. **There were two comedians onboard, Paul Lyons and JeRome. Both worked quite a bit, each doing a small bit in the opening night, then alternating shows, two or three each in the Queen Mary Lounge on subsequent nights--a family friendly show early, then adult shows later in the evening. Both were pretty funny though some in our party though Paul Lyons a bit crude. The only negative here was the amount of time each took to plug their own books or CDs which they were selling after the show--not that I haven't seen this on other lines, just that it could have been done more subtly. Main Shows: In this department, Carnival grades out at a rather weak "D-minus". Perhaps it relates to my just getting off the Royal Caribbean Allure of the Seas with its spectacular entertainment, but I tried to ignore that and just compare it to other ships on other line--and, by any measure, there was just no justification for finding much redeeming here. We attended three shows in the main showroom in three nights. Night number One was the "Welcome Aboard" show. It started off with the band doing a number, "I'm a Believer" accompanied by a singer named "Kelsey". Bad Karaoke at best. If this were American Idol, she would not have made it past the audition round--and she wasn't helped by poor sound engineering with the band drowning out parts--or, maybe that was a plus. Then each of the comedians did a few minutes, just a bit or two, but, obviously saving their best material for their individual shows--based on this show, we almost did not bother seeing their other shows. Then the show ended with the cruise director, Jeff Branson, pulling people out of the audience and doing little interview bits with all of them--boring and worthless. I guess you risk that pulling in arbitrary cruisers--but, really, shouldn't Carnival be able to pull together a show that is something more than "amateur hour"? Night Two was a production show--"Eight More Seconds". The show was all singers and dancers doing a collection of very uninspired Country Music numbers, a couple of which were even recognizable. Now, to be honest, I am NOT a big Country Music fan. I listen to it occasionally, know some of the more popular songs and am familiar with an artist or two, so I am not completely ignorant--but, you've got to consider your audience--and I am probably not atypical of the audience here--remember, this is not a ship sailing from Galveston, Texas. This is a ship cruising out of Long Beach, California--and 90% of the crowd is from California and the West Coast--and though, yes, they do play Country just about everywhere nowadays, that certainly would not be the first choice in music among most Californians. The comments we heard throughout the ship were a resounding "HUH?!?". Now, had the show been more inspired or more spectacular in terms of vocals or dance, they may have pulled it off--but, it was neither. Night Three, yet another production show--we all figured we'd survived Country Night, hopefully there'd be a change in theme. Well the show started off with some "oldies"--and then, uh-oh, MORE COUNTRY!!! Did they think we hadn't had enough? About 25-30% of this second production show was more obscure country music. Then, they got into a Beach Boys medley, followed by some Motown. I guess they were trying to please everybody--they failed miserably. First, note that there were only TWO vocalists, one male, one female--the shows had very little variety, very little production value. It's almost as if a high school glee club NOT AS GOOD AS THE ONES ON "GLEE" all decided, "hey, let's put on a show". Comparing this with shows on other ships--well--the competition puts on shows with four lead singers, with a variety of supporting acts like aerialists and acrobats, jugglers, magic and more. This was so far below par that it was inexcusable. Even the dancers were so often out of step as to be laughable. The Showroom: This had to be absolutely the worst showroom we have been in on any ship. The best thing going for it was that the rows were very wide--perhaps to insure that the bar waiters could make it through. The bad part was that the seating on the lower level was abysmal—almost like sitting on benches. Deep seats with short backs that provided little back support and zero neck or head support. The seats in the balcony, or most of them, were more comfortable, with higher backs. The problem was that the view was obscured from most of them--the two largest obstructions were the lighting/technical booths, one left, one right, and equipment, that rose up above the sight lines from the seats and blocked the stage from the majority of the balcony--add in the railings and badly placed structural poles and there was little chance of seeing more than 50% of the stage from any balcony seat. Other parts of the seating, both lower and upper levels, were circular, lounge-type seating which does not suit a showroom well--many of the seats were oriented perpendicular (or worse) to the stage and cause some to be looking sideways into the back of the head of the person sitting next to them. Activities: We really expected something billed as a "Fun Ship" to have a pretty good slate of activities throughout the day—especially on a "Fun Day at Sea". We were extremely disappointed to find this wasn't the case at all. With the weather being rather chilly and rainy, most of the passengers were driven indoors and there was just little on the schedule to keep anyone entertained. We tried going to a couple of the Trivia events—and I am a BIG TIME trivia person—but the trivia games were poorly run and largely unsatisfying. One, for example, was a cruise staff member setting out 20 numbered photos on a table and letting everyone go up and try to identify them, then reading off the answers--not really like the group activity one finds on most ships. I walked out on Bean Bag Toss and "Towel Folding"—and those were among the few activities that weren't thinly disguised sales promotions. On the last day, in the late afternoon, they had a local high school kid's operation from Nipomo, California (Central Coast area) onboard and turned over the showroom to them to put on a show. These kids tried hard but were sabotaged by the poor sound equipment. Oh, yeah, that and the fact that maybe only 3 or 4 of them really had much talent. The kind of show that mostly would be viewed only by the parents of the kids performing. Of course, since there was so little to do on this ship, they performed to a packed house. The Ship: Clearly, the Paradise is getting old—and maintenance does not appear to be a priority. One of the aft elevators (near our cabin) seemed to be not working and out of service the entire cruise (though it kept opening as if it were usable, only to close and not move, leaving passengers frustrated. We were surprised at how many lights were out (including a good number in the ceiling of the show room) and no one seemed to consider replacing them. I laughed when the poor assistant Cruise Director came out to host a Pictionary-type game (again, poorly organized and a waste of time) and the "white board" he was given looked like it had been through a few wars. We are not talking about a dent or a ding that might have happened last week, we're talking about pieces pulled off and sharp metal fragments, etc. Can someone at least spring for some new equipment? The ship, for my tastes, is WAY TOO CROWDED. Over 2,600 passengers on this sailing—on a 70,000 gross ton ship. That's less than a 26.9 gross ton to passenger ratio. Our recent Allure of the Seas cruise had 6,000 passengers on a 225,000 gross ton ship—that is a 37.5 ratio. We've cruised on the Celebrity M-Class ships with a 46.7 ratio. The crowding doesn't mean much to some folks, I guess. It does to me. Also, the walkways in and around the ship are NARROW and often far too crowded. The cabin: I will give them some credit here--our cabin bathroom was decent-sized and the shower ample. They are also generous in providing free sample sized items—razor, mini-foil-toothpaste, some lotion, breath-right nose strips and shampoo. The storage and closet space was ample as well (not that it's needed on a 3 night cruise). The cabin, however, had no sofa. Also, the safe is an old version, not really well thought out—it requires a credit card magnetic strip to open and close—which means that you need to leave OUT the one item you really want to protect in a safe—YOUR CREDIT CARD! The dEcor, of course, was dated. Ensenada: I won't say much here. Three of the four of us decided to skip Ensenada entirely. It was cold and rainy and we'd all been there often enough before. I walked into town and purchased my obligatory bottle of Kahlua and bottle of Anejo Tequila. Upon return, I was forced to check it in and pick it back up the last morning—the pick up process was quick and easy. Disembarkation: This should have been a whole lot easier. It took us around forty five minutes to get off the ship. A line to leave the ship, followed by a line to pass through passport control, followed by yet a third line just to hand in our customs form. Each line seemed to back up and not move for an indeterminable time. And we didn't even check luggage! And I AM comparing this to Allure of the Seas where 6,000 passengers disembarked (as opposed to 2,600 here) and we DID check luggage and we were off the ship in about 10-15 minutes! I don't know if this is Carnival's fault—or the port of Long Beach/US Customs—but it was bad. Overall: It is what it is. It's a cheap weekend cruise. You get what you pay for. They do feed you. And they entertain you, albeit as flawed as it is. And, you can find something to do. They do "nickel and dime" you—like $55 per person for a ship tour. And constant urgings to play Bingo, buy watches, gold chains and other merchandise. And attend any of a number of "Fee" activities. And, for anyone who thinks they do all of the same on every other line, NO, they don't. Not to the extent and amount they do here. But, again, it is a cheap cruise. They have to make their money somewhere. So, they do the nickel and diming. And they cut corners all over the place. Staffing. No paper towels in the public men's rooms. $18.95 to go off the menu in the dining room (and not just for lobster). Drinks of the Day at a higher price than on Celebrity or Oceania. Deferred maintenance. OTOH, it certainly satisfies the needs of a large portion of the clientele. Lots of young people on board, drinking and partying well into the night. Loads of noise and activity. Food. Shows. Dancing. If you don't mind the crowds and just want to get away, it works. Read Less
Sail Date February 2011
We cruise regularly with our children (12, 6) and were curious about Carnival having sailed on NCL and Disney exclusively. We chose this itinerary (Ensenada and Catalina) based on convenience and were aware that they weren't the most ... Read More
We cruise regularly with our children (12, 6) and were curious about Carnival having sailed on NCL and Disney exclusively. We chose this itinerary (Ensenada and Catalina) based on convenience and were aware that they weren't the most exciting of destinations. Hence, we weren't surprised to find that it is barely worthwhile disembarking at these locations. We did one excursion (a Carnival booked one) which I will discuss later. First of all-- we were impressed with the efficiency of embarkation. The early checkin at the Queen Mary made for a quick and painless entry to the ship and we found the staff on shore helpful, if unenthusiastic. The food overall was quite impressive (wayyy better than NCL, not as good at DCL, but they are exceptional). The variety on the menu was good and our vegetarian daughter was thrilled with the tasty offerings available to her. We discovered that we do not like shared tables, not because we had bad tablemates but because of the fear that we would. I cruise because I like to have all my cares attended to and it was like waiting for a blind date to show up. There was a reason I hated blind dates! Further, the kids have come to see meal times (at home and during travel) as our chance to catch up with each other and reconnect. Having others at the table interfered with this. Also, it appeared that there was no attempt made to match families with similar aged children together. Seemed odd. At least on DCL, they work at matching diners (and dining times) to family composition so families with young kids, for example, are on the same rotation. That said, food service overall was excellent and the variety offered pleasing. The cabins on this ship are spacious although there did seem to be wasted space. It was a poor start when the steward admitted to us that he hadn't checked the manifest and had prepared the room for only 2 (rather than 4). No problem, except that despite asking at least one time per day, we never received 4 pool towels or 4 water glasses. The room was kept adequately clean, although it appeared very dated and worn (chips in furniture, peeling paint). This lack of upkeep continued throughout the ship. We never saw anyone doing regular upkeep (on NCL for example, someone is always polishing something or scrubbing the pool deck) and the cleaning we did see was perfuntory at best. For example, we watched the windows being cleaned in the Paris restaurant (buffet). the cleaner used a dirty rag, in dirty water and merely streaked the grime around in circles. The table cleaning was similar. What was really gross were the public washrooms. A dirty mop in the corner, sticky and wet floors, toilet paper stuck to the floor and left there for hours. No soap. It was like the bathroom at a seedy bus station. My husband said that the men's rooms were worse and walked out gagging one day. The level of cleanliness lacked generally and the ship is patched up everywhere. It looks like a ship which they plan to retire. What was most sad, was the crew seemed disengaged. The dinner 'shows' were so sad. Our waiter tried and got my kids up with him dancing, but other servers were more than half hearted and didn't give any effort at all. The entertainment seems entirely focused on a young adult crowd and almost nothing starts until 10pm. Which, coincidentally, is when the kid club starts charging. Only one show was kid friendly (excellent hypnotist), the dancing act was really lame. The game show was very funny, but not family entertainment. The kids programs had odd and limited hours. You spend a lot of time in line waiting to drop off and pick up the kids and they are only open for about 2 hrs at a time. The activities in the mid age program are horrible. Sand art, for example, took 15 seconds per kid (not hyperbole) to fill a small vial necklace with a few different colors of sand. The rest of the time was spent with video games. I did not hold them to Disney standards, but seriously they did nothing with the kids and didn't engage with them at all. I went to the family build a bear workshop and besides asking for my room card to bill me for the bear (whose presewn head fell off that night-- talk about horrifying to a little kid), not a single staff member even said hello to me or my child. In summary, none of the staff seem to care. About anything. The ship (which was in disrepair or downright filthy), themselves (often their uniforms were stained and there was no evidence of collegiality) or the guests. I almost forgot the excursion. We did the family friendly resort getaway in Ensenada. Save your money. You go to a really old resort out of town with a tiny beach with beer bottles broken all over it and loads of cig butts. The pool is nice, but you can get that on the ship. The food was good (but you can get that on the ship). Really not worth the money. Would we do Carnival again? Maybe. But... with the same expectations one has when you stop at an old motel on the Interstate. I would really hope that the lack of care on this ship was ship specific and not indicative of the line in general. We prefered the food on Carnival to NCL. Prefered the NCL freestyle to Carnival's and DCL's set dining. Prefer the kids programming on NCL (and of course Disney). Read Less
Sail Date June 2010
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

Find a Carnival Paradise Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click