243 Carnival Paradise Cruise Reviews

This was our second cruise. First time with Carnival and after seeing on the local news all the troubles with Carnival ships we were a little hesitant to book with them. We found a great cabin ocean view for around $200 per person and were ... Read More
This was our second cruise. First time with Carnival and after seeing on the local news all the troubles with Carnival ships we were a little hesitant to book with them. We found a great cabin ocean view for around $200 per person and were not sure what to expect. First impression of the grand atrium was late 70s Vegas and much smaller than Caribbean Princess (our first cruise). Our stateroom was clean and in good condition, everything worked. Yes, somewhat outdated but we found the bathroom and shower more specious than on the Princess ship. We love going to the shows so attended all Carnival Paradise and Caribbean Princess shows. Princess shows more like an actual Broadway production, Carnival more like High School Musical but still good shows. Food: We were a little disappointed in the variety, selection, and quality of the food but dining room service was exelent. We even got a table side magic show one evening. Cruise director Steve was a one man show. Very multi-talented and friendly. My biggest concern was the size of the ship and the windy weather made for an uncomfortable ride. But over all great value! Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
Where do I start. Maybe with my #1 recommendation that EVERYONE should do. Drink prices are absolutely outrageous now. you are allowed to bring on one small case of pop that you must carry yourself! and....one bottle of wine. I suggest you ... Read More
Where do I start. Maybe with my #1 recommendation that EVERYONE should do. Drink prices are absolutely outrageous now. you are allowed to bring on one small case of pop that you must carry yourself! and....one bottle of wine. I suggest you do this!!! People kept looking at us asking I didn't know you could do that! You have to read the contract. Last year on this boat was ok. Whenever you go at Christmas you can expect it to be packed so no surprises there. We WERE scheduled to be on a Royal Caribbean ship. We should have stuck with it. We found a great deal for this one and love Cozumel and Grand Cayman so we changed to this boat since last year was good and we knew what we were getting. Emilija our dining room waiter was beautiful she made up for the real problems I'm about to get into, and we also loved Putu our room steward he always greeted us and always has a smile!! Food on Carnival is also above par out of any cruise liners out there and the chef even came to our table to greet us which has never happened before! .......now the problems.... Who came up with this new point system for the cards!?!?!? It sucks!!! We were well on our way to Platinum when they changed this. our parents have upwards of at least 12-15 cruises from them and when they went to the service desk they could find only a few of their past twenty year cruises and are stuck at Gold level. And with this NEW system it's going to take us FOREVER to get to platinum!!! My parents have Diamond status on Royal Caribbean and are treated like royalty!! And it only took upwards of 15/16 cruises to get there! On this new plan with Carnival it's going to take us forever!!! And for what?? Just to have our own lounge for boarding?? Oh? We got on the ship within five minutes last trip and fifteen minutes this trip. You have no leg to stand on Carnival. They were late getting to every port we went to and considering the days were short to begin with by the time we were an hour and half behind at Grand Cayman we were furious because they only allowed their own paid excursions off first which p'eed me off!! So we only got 4 hrs in Cozumel and 4 hours in Grand Cayman. Keep that in mind when booking this boat!!! The Captain didn't seem to care about making up time either because by the time we got back to port in Tampa he was an hour and half behind and we sat and sat and sat waiting to get off the freaking boat and I can only guess that the New Years Eve people were late getting on. We have always had the Captains going faster to make up time. We've been on eight cruises and my parents the "We've lost count more than 70 plus now people" were absolutely aghast at the stupidity on board. 1. Lack of things to do period 2. Serenity is too small always packed can never get a seat 3. They take up Promenade completely with their picture taking after 4 pm and I couldn't sit anywhere with a good book without flashes going off in my face. 4. Oh I almost forgot! They constant battery of asking take your photo, and then it happened they started calling my daughters and I Barbie. Take your photo Barbie!!! I was so angry and later my daughter said she was asked by several of the photographers the exact same thing night after night. I was furious!!! 5. Then there was the captains party for past guests. They slipped what looked like a door hanging tag under the door. Pete and I read everything we don't want to miss a thing, but my parents thought it was just another piece of paper or something for their door so they threw it aside. It wasn't until my husband and I said something that they went "really? There was no announcement!" and in fact a lot of the ship didn't. We went in to Queen Mary lounge and there was very few people there!!! they had free drinks for past guests and no one got the message it seemed and they had all these hors d'oeuvres that they didn't have near the people to give to. We were shaking our heads. 7. I don't know what it is about smaller ships but they have the most ignorant passengers. Not the cruise liners fault but I think next time we'll pay a bit more because only one working pool on that ship sucks. The other one has the slide going into it and as usual no one is doing anything about the kids in the jacuzzi and at least Royal Caribbean actively tells kids to get out! All in all this ship should be tanked, the Captain should be ashamed, the only thing that saved their butts was our dining room experience. thank goodness for our servers and the food. All I can say is Royal Caribbean is looking good for next year. My husband wants me to mention this last slap in the face. We had to go to Normandy lounge last day for US Immigration and because they were an hour and half late getting to Tampa we had to wait there for an hour then another half hour and they promised that the dining room hours would be extended....well no surprise they weren't and we were forced to go to Lido for breakfast which we NEVER do and my daughter promptly got food poisoning from wet eggs. They could have announced the delay and we could have gone and ad relaxed breakfast first and THEN gone to do immigration when we docked!!!! Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
My daughter and I just got back from four days on Carnival Paradise. We were both very pleased overall with the experience. I was a bit unsure at first, given the age of the ship but all my concerns were immediately put to rest upon ... Read More
My daughter and I just got back from four days on Carnival Paradise. We were both very pleased overall with the experience. I was a bit unsure at first, given the age of the ship but all my concerns were immediately put to rest upon arrival. The Paradise is a great ship, even though it's not had some of the upgrades it's sister ships have had. It was clean and quite comfortable, not to mention a pretty vessel. This was daughter's first cruise, and she is prone to motion sickness so we booked an inside cabin. It turned out to be a very bumpy cruise even in the inside cabin, thanks to storms in the Gulf of Mexico. Luckily, someone gave her a patch to wear and it worked wonders. Service could not have been better. The crew went above and beyond all expectations. Our waiter, Israel, made dinner a lot of fun and our cabin steward, Gede, was always available when we needed him. Our cabin was kept spotless and serviced every time we stepped out for more than a few minutes. The food wasn't anything special but it wasn't bad either. Entertainment was good, especially the band "Blood Power" They were amazing!! We'd definitely book another cruise on the Paradise!   Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
My husband and I wanted to celebrate our anniversary but I was a bit skeptical to book on the Paradise since it's an older ship and I've sailed on the Destiny and the Sensation and wasn't too impressed. I was pleasantly ... Read More
My husband and I wanted to celebrate our anniversary but I was a bit skeptical to book on the Paradise since it's an older ship and I've sailed on the Destiny and the Sensation and wasn't too impressed. I was pleasantly surprised. The embarkation is the fastest and easiest of all ports we've sailed (Port Canaveral, Ft Lauderdale and Miami). Getting off the ship is a different story - a very long, slow process. The cabin - was bigger than I expected and very comfortable. We had a window room on the main deck - Cabin M59. Jay Jay our room steward, kept the room immaculate and was very friendly and attentive. The shower in the cabin was awesome - hotter than you can stand it (if you like hot) and great shower head. The decor is definitely dated (as has been stated in many other posts) but the ship is kept very clean. The food is decent - I know Carnival gets beat up pretty badly regarding their quality of food. But, again, this is a very economical cruise with a great itinerary. The buffets are OK and the dining room food is decent. It isn't 5 star quality, but I didn't pay for 5 star so I wouldn't expect it. I can say my husband and I dined in the Main Dining Room every night and enjoyed everything we tried. We usually had one appetizer, one meal and a dessert. I like the bread pudding, my husband loved the melting chocolate cake. The biggest reason for not being impressed by Destiny and Sensation was the buffet dining and service - Paradise was 100% better in both of these aspects compared the the other two referenced ships. Grand Cayman - we didn't choose an excursion in this port because the stop was short and we wanted to walk around the town and see what there was to do. Not much.... if we go again we will either do the Stingray excursion or one of the beaches. Spoke to several other guests onboard and they loved both of these. Cozumel - loved this stop! We chose an excursion outside of Carnival (Eagle Ray Divers) - best snorkeling ever! The boat is old - they have two Miguelito and Chucos Vivas (the Miguelito is the boat that takes you snorkeling). The hosts (sorry can't remember their names) were super friendly and more than willing to make the snorkeling experience excellent. We saw tons of fish, coral reefs, sea urchins, lobster, much more. They offered us drinks, cerveza, fruit and cookies. We chose the 2 reef snorkeling, which was more than enough time in the water and sun. My husband and I run 3 - 4 times a week and consider ourselves in Ok shape - after two trips in the water to snorkel, we were worn out! It's a different exercise and the sun beating down is very draining and we're from Florida - so we are used to sunshine. After snorkeling, we had the taxi driver take us to a mexican restaurant in downtown where the locals dine. I was definitely nervous about eating in Mexico and getting sick - but when we got there, there were other boat guests and ship personnel. I think the name was La Hoza (sorry can't remember that name either) but the food was excellent! I had chicken mole and it was the best I've had in years! We shopped at the shops by the port after lunch - found a great deal on silver and turquoise jewelry, bought vanilla (it's a must) and some small souvenirs. Then had a drink at three amigos before boarding the ship again. The shows were OK - we tried to watch a show a night. They are typical Carnival shows - the couples game show, gender shows, Shout (dance show), comedians, bingo etc. Fitness center is OK - my husband and I run and do a bit of weight lifting. Some of the treadmills wouldn't go above 3MPH - but we didn't go on the cruise to workout - the fitness room could use some improvement. We loved the Serenity deck - adults only - we went there on the sea days and read, laid out in the sun and napped. Only one bad episode happened and I didn't see it - just heard about it. Apparently a couple decided to "do it" in the hot tubs on the serenity deck and somebody said something - and they just ignored them! We have a hot tub at home, so i didn't plan on sitting in a communal one - but after that story - it pretty much sealed the deal on me never going in a public hot tub :( definitely gross and we aren't prudes! All in all - my husband and I had a wonderful, relaxing cruise - we didn't have to work, cook, clean, do laundry, or make beds! The food was decent, the room was nice, the staff were very friendly. We met some nice people every night at dinner (we had anytime dining) and we prefer this seating for future cruises if available. This is a party boat for sure - that's what makes it so much fun. Sorry so long - but I hope it helps anyone who might be on the fence in regards to this ship. Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
We have been on multiple cruises with our kids and prefer Carnival cruises for the more varied entertainment choices on board and the value. We went on a 5 night cruise, leaving from Tampa, Florida on Saturday and returned the next ... Read More
We have been on multiple cruises with our kids and prefer Carnival cruises for the more varied entertainment choices on board and the value. We went on a 5 night cruise, leaving from Tampa, Florida on Saturday and returned the next Thursday, with stops at two ports Georgetown, Cayman Islands and Cozumel, Mexico. We were pleased with our rooms (oceanview on Main Deck). The ship was rather worn, with the theme of the ship being stained glass/multi colored trim, which I did not care for. We were very satisfied with the staff that we dealt with, from the room stewards to the wait staff. Everyone was very friendly and went out of their way to help and answer questions (except for one girl training in the restaurant, but that's another story). Our last cruise on Royal Caribbean, we had multiple bad encounters with unhappy staff that were rude and would actually turn and walk away rather than speak to you. Our room steward, Arnel, was great and made our trip memorable with all the varied towel animals and great service. Our two kids, age 10 and 13, enjoyed the shows. There were several family oriented comedy shows and they attended several of the evening shows and game shows. The food was so-so at the Paris Restaurant, often overcooked and dried out. We were disappointed in many of the dishes. The outside grill was good and I got spoilt quickly to omelets every morning. The main dining room had several good meals, and great desserts. The dining staff was friendly and we enjoyed our meal times as a family very much. The only problem I can complain about is the behavior of many of the guests in the evenings. Drinking started early in the afternoon, sometimes at breakfast for some guests, and by evening many guests were out of control at poolside. I had to make sure the kids were up at the other pool or other activities by early evening to avoid the cursing, stumbling drunks that were yelling, hooting, and running and jumping into the pool on top of everyone else. Often the pool was very full in the evenings of guests (in their 20-40s) with drinks standing in the pool, with no room to move. No one could move in the pools, let alone come down the slides. It was dangerous for any kids in the evening to be in the pool. The pool on the upper level was supposed to be the children's pool but was more the size of a 3.5 foot deep hot tube with 25 kids in it. The water was also very warm in the late afternoon/evenings. I wish Carnival would make the 'children's pool' into a more child friendly area, with the slide and maybe some sprinkler/water features away from the bar scene so that kids can actually enjoy the pools, too. For the price, and the ports we visited, the cruise was worth the hassle of dealing with the bad behaviors of other guests and I know that Carnival makes more money on selling the alcohol and the casino/gambling than on the family fun aspect of cruising. I commend the staff for their great service and am amazed with them every time I cruise. Read Less
Sail Date August 2013
This was a rather last minute trip to celebrate our 10th wedding anniversay. We were looking a options we came across a cruise on the carnival paradise. I have been on one cruise before about 17 years ago on a carnival ship and this was my ... Read More
This was a rather last minute trip to celebrate our 10th wedding anniversay. We were looking a options we came across a cruise on the carnival paradise. I have been on one cruise before about 17 years ago on a carnival ship and this was my husband's first time cruising. I was so grateful for cruise critic as i had done a bunch of research thanks to the research we knew what to expect. First the Positives Very easy to board in Tampa. We flew in the night before and used priceline to get a hotel for $62 near the port and airport with an airport shuttle. Once at the port things went very smooth. Once on board we went to the buffet for lunch. Our room was ready by 12:30 p.m. The main dining room was a positive. We had 8:15 dining and sat with three other couples who were fantastic. They were all a big positive! We looked forward to dinner every night. A few tips we learned order the cheese plate on the desert menu as an appetizer. Order multipe appetizers, deserts and yes even entrees. The dining room service was fabulous. Padli and Rico were our servers and they were just great. We also ate breakfast as many times as possible in the main dining room. We had an inside cabin that was more spacious than we were expecting. Yes it is worn yes there were old spots on the carpet but overall it was clean. Our room steward Davis did a great job making sure we had ice, etc. I was very glad that i brough Febreeze (as there was an odor but was quickly resolved with some febreeze), lysol spray, power strip, night light all organized in an over the door shoe organizer. The beds were comfortable. In this cabin there is the issue with the life jacket cabinet making it impossible to walk around the bed. I just slid myelf out the front of the bed. After a while you get used to it. We had rough seas on our last sea day. I am not convinced that they were using the stablizers. I was concerned about being in just a foward cabin but learned that when it is rough the entire boat rocks. It wasn't any worse in our cabin than other places on the ship. Entertainment is what you make of it. We had no problem getting chairs by the pool where we spent a lot of time. We also played Trivia, attended the art auction, went to the adult comedy shows, the show Shout which was excellent, and gambled a bit - a tip right now when you order a "Classic Cocktail" on this ship if you take your reciept to the casino cashier they will give a $5 match play for every classic cocktail purchased. Once we found out about this guess what we drank the rest of the cruise.Ports of Call. We went to the Royal Palms Beach Club in Grand Cayman $4 per person cab ride and yes as other reviews predicted the cab driver tried to talk us out of going here. It was $5 to rent a beach chair. Drinks and Food are expensive but they are expensive everywhere on the island. Cozmuel. We rented a driver ahead of time through tours plaza. I highly recommend this company. Our driver was Alberto. He was fabulous. He took us all over the island - shopping, history, tequila tour (a must do), and some beach time. We wanted to avoid the tourist areas. He took us to the east side of the island which was wonderful. We had a great lunch at Playa Bonita. I would strongly recommend Tours Plaza and Alberto. Ok now for the Cons The buffet food wasn't really even average. I would compare it to Golden Corral at best. We ate as many meals in the Main Dining Room for this reason. Kids. There were literally hundreds of kids on this cruise. We were shocked at how parents allowed their children to have free run of the boat not only is it not as relaxing for fellow passengers but a real safety issue for the kids left unsupervised. In summary for the price we paid we felt like we got a great vacation. We knew going that this wasn't Royal Caribbean, Celebrity or Princess and we didn't have expectations for their level of cruising at the Carnival price we paid. If you have Celebrity expectations I think it would be better not to go on this cruise. We ran into other cruisers who weren't enjoying themselves because they had been on those other lines and where expecting the same at the Carnival price. Bottom line we will cruise again as my husband is hooked. Read Less
Sail Date July 2013
It was our daughters 18th birthday and my daughters had never been on a cruise. My wife gets sea sick, so our last cruise was while pregnant with our first son, 20 years ago. I was somewhat hesitant to book with CCL after all of the ... Read More
It was our daughters 18th birthday and my daughters had never been on a cruise. My wife gets sea sick, so our last cruise was while pregnant with our first son, 20 years ago. I was somewhat hesitant to book with CCL after all of the bad press, but we decided that the cruise length fit into our busy schedule and the port was local so we jumped in... We booked a stateroom for our children (R135) and a Jr Suite (V34) for my wife and I. Both cabins were clean. The decor, while a little dated, was clean and the sheets were comfortable, after-all the ship was built in 1998 so she has seen her days. There was nothing about the cabins to complain about, as everything functioned and was as expected for a ship of her age... The Suite deck was quieter than the stateroom decks simply because the number of people on the stateroom decks. I am glad that I upgraded my wife and I to a Junior Suite. I enjoyed the balcony if only briefly as there was simply too many other things going on. Our cabin was quite. We did not hear our neighbors. There was only one time when I was on the balcony that one of my neighbors was smoking a cigar, I had to come in. It is his right to smoke, I just choose not to breath it in. The balcony, while listed as obstructed, had a clear forward view. The aft-ward view was obstructed by a lifeboat, but the forward view was open... The on-board entertainment could use some updating, there were the typical game show type events but there could have been more of them. There were 2 comedians on board and they had several family shows and several adult only shows, both were good. I enjoyed the adult humor a little more. I would have liked for there to have been at least 1 open mike night to allow guests to try their hands at comedy etc. The Comedy Director Stephen was entertaining and seemed to genuinely care about the guests. I did not see any of the main Variety shows. I would have, gone to see a play, if there had been one. We enjoyed the Animal Towel folding class. The Craps table was in my favor as I repeatedly went back throughout the cruise and ended UP well over $300... The food was on par with what I expect for Carnival. You do not go on a Carnival cruise for 5 star dining. You go on a carnival cruise for the revelry and younger crowd. The food, while plentiful, was typical run of the mill buffet style food, hotdogs or hamburgers etc. If you like Golden Corral you will like the food. I did not expect Carnival to have a formal night, especially on a short 4 day cruise. I knew there was a lobster and Prime Rib night in the dining room, but I did not know that we needed to dress up. I had seen online where people had mentioned that Carnival was much more casual. I did not even bring slacks, much less, formal wear. It was OK though, as they were understanding just told to dress up as best I could. Again the food in the dining room, while a little better then the buffets, was not on the level of other cruises I have been on, but were satisfying and filling. One thing we noticed, was that the fruit on-board after leaving Cozumel was so much better than the fruit sailing to Cozumel. I assume they must have taken on supplies at Cozumel and the fruit was simply better. The reason I mention this, if you plan on getting a fruit tray, maybe wait to have it delivered until after Cozumel as it will taste so much better... There was a great deal of photo opportunities on-board and off, but at $20 a pop for each print we passed on most of them. Our kids had a great time and seemed to really enjoy themselves and actually spent a surprising amount of time with us, given the fact that they were in separate cabins on a deck far removed from ours and could have avoided us if they wanted too. I guess this says more about our parenting and the fact that our children, 18 and 17 wanted to hang out with their dull boring parents. My wife took advantage of the Spa and got a Pedicure, I brought her a sushi tray for her to enjoy while at the spa, more on the sushi later... My wife and I booked our shore excursion online before the cruise. We booked the Cabana at Mr Sanchos. We got a cabana, a table, our own waiters, a half hour massage for each of us, access to snorkeling equipment and lockers plus all you can eat and drink. The food was simple and fresh, we enjoyed the tacos and my wife enjoyed the coconut shrimp. They had a wide variety of food and we did not leave hungry. The drinks were OK. We enjoyed some time snorkeling, swimming in the swimming pool with the swim up bar. We did some shopping. Make sure you haggle as the first price is always much higher... As an example, I eyed a Chess Set, the first price provided was $160, when I left she was telling me I could have it for $90, which is a huge difference. We allowed our daughters to decide on-board what shore excursion they wanted to do, as Carnival offers a teen shore excursion to allow for the teens to go off as a group without their parents. Our children decided to hang with the "Rents" and they were happy that they did as they got to go on a private scuba diving tour at the local reefs with just them and the dive instructor. While they were scuba diving, my wife and I, were getting a massage. It was a great day ashore and I would highly recommend Mr. Sanchos to anyone considering it... Now onto the areas of improvement: The Sushi on-board, stay away... Do not order the Sushi platter through Bon-Voyage either, just skip it and get some at your favorite place when you get back home. I ordered, for my wife, a sushi tray, for her to enjoy while at the spa. Let me just say politely that she was unable to eat any of it and she LOVES sushi. My thought is, if you know you cannot do something even close to right, then it would be better not to do it at all than to repeatedly disappoint. We contacted the Bon-Voyage director and she provided us with a Fruit and Cheese tray that was so much better... I was surprised that the in-room TV's still had VCRs... The drink prices... Bring your Home Mortgage line of Credit, your going to need it... ;) I was very disappointed that there were NO MIDNIGHT BUFFETS. On previous cruises we oohed and awed at the elaborate carvings and fantastic looking dishes, not on this cruise. About the only thing open at midnight was the Pizza. I wanted more... To be fair, they did have a Mexican night, the evening we left Cozumel but again it was simply a buffet and not an elaborate spread... I would have expected a ship of this size would have had more entertainment... The last time we cruised, sodas and juices were included... Simply charge a little more for the cabins and stop nickle and dime-ing for every little thing. I sometimes felt like I was passing by beggars on the street trying to extract every penny I had... Because of the ships age, there were certain sections of the ship around the casino where you simply could not get away from the pungent smell of deeply ingrained cigarette smoke that permeated every fiber of the decor. Unfortunately to get from one end of the promenade to the other you have to walk through this section. Let's just say, I get Migraines from the smell of cigarette smoke and it is not pleasant. I would have liked for this section to not have been a main corridor for traffic... All and all we had a great cruise and I hope that we will do it again... I know my wife got a little sea-sick even with a scapolomine patch so I hope that does not color our future decisions. It was a great cruise for what it was. I think next time we might spend a little more money and return to our favorite Port of Call, St. Thomas VI. Our son will be 21 soon and graduating college going into the Military as an officer, maybe before he goes we will book a once in a lifetime cruise on the Allure of the Seas or the Oasis of the Seas. Big bucks but what else is money good for... Read Less
Sail Date July 2013
I know I am a little late writing the review, but I am getting ready to go on the same cruise next month and I thought I would recap our previous cruise from a couple of years ago. Overall we had a pleasant time on the ship. We only had a ... Read More
I know I am a little late writing the review, but I am getting ready to go on the same cruise next month and I thought I would recap our previous cruise from a couple of years ago. Overall we had a pleasant time on the ship. We only had a couple of bad experiences. The boat overall was nice. It was older and you could tell that part of it was aged, but at the same time we expected that when we went. We stayed on the Riveria deck and was satisfied with our room overall. The dining was good. I went with a few people that get motion sickness so we didn't get to enjoy the formal dining but one night due to them getting sick. The buffets were average. They had most anything you would want and was willing to accommodate most of our request. One of the bartenders was from Romania and she was very rude. We had two 4 year olds that tried to get sodas from her and she would turn them away and would not serve them even with us sitting two tables away acknowledging her. The other problem we had is getting on and off of the ships at the ports of call. They should have that portion a little more organized. They were herding people down the tiny hallways like cattle. It was totally a train wreck. We had an overall excellent experience on the ship. I think anyone can always find things that could be better, but you could definitely find stuff that is worse as well. I will let you know if they have changed anything after we set sail on June 13, 2015. Read Less
Sail Date June 2013
My family and I (Trudy and the Cruisers) have sailed 4 times on Royal Caribbean. But due to the fact that they went virtually nowhere in 2013 in the Caribbean (we prefer 5 nights), we decided to try Carnival. I have heard mixed reviews ... Read More
My family and I (Trudy and the Cruisers) have sailed 4 times on Royal Caribbean. But due to the fact that they went virtually nowhere in 2013 in the Caribbean (we prefer 5 nights), we decided to try Carnival. I have heard mixed reviews about the Paradise, and that's what I expected boarding the ship, an average cruise line. Day One Probably the worst out of the bunch. Boarding was a breeze. But there was literally no food at the buffet. Me and my dad waited 20 minutes on pizza that we never got. I think they were using the rest of the food from the previous cruise. But that is no exception. They know the ship will have about 2,000+ on it. I recommend that you go to lunch BEFORE the cruise if you go on Carnival, there were no problems on RCCL. To add on to the negatives, me and my mom didn't get our luggage until after 7:30. My luggage tag even had the wrong room number! Let's hope for better on day 2. Day Two We were at sea. Breakfast at the buffet was great. The pool was packed. If you ask me, I think it's too small to handle everyone up there. The hot tub in the back was more like a cold tub. The shops were fairly decent. The entertainment finally started to kick off and it was awesome! Day Three Me, my dad, and my uncle stayed on the boat while everyone else went to the Cayman Islands. I already went there in 2010, and we wanted the ship to ourselves since it was mostly empty. The Carnival Paradise finally started to turn into Paradise. The mini golf course was great, we got into the pool and it was nice. Day Four We all went into Cozumel for about an hour. When we went there in 2010, it was about 110 degrees. It was much cooler and relaxing this time around. Lots of shops, great views, and food. I recommend Cozumel to everyone! Day Five Last day. Make it count! We had all our meals in the main dining room, and they were amazing! I got more great views and pictures, and became friends with a lot of the crew. The best part was sitting with everyone on the back balcony of the Paris restaurant during sunset having a drink. This was probably the best day. Day Six We had one last breakfast in the dining room, and it was incredible as expected. Disembarkation was a breeze, we got off, got our luggage, and were on our way to the airport in less than 10 minutes. Although if you have expensive luggage, I would take it off with you. When I got mine, it was smashed up badly. I already needed a new one, but that just made it look worse. Overall If you are going on a first cruise or you have young kids, Carnival is great! But it doesn't compare to Royal Caribbean much at all. 4 stars. Read Less
Sail Date June 2013
I have sailed multiple ships in the Fantasy class, Paradise included (back in '03 when it was still no smoking). Due to this, I knew going in how this ship would compare to newer offerings from Carnival and competing lines. First of ... Read More
I have sailed multiple ships in the Fantasy class, Paradise included (back in '03 when it was still no smoking). Due to this, I knew going in how this ship would compare to newer offerings from Carnival and competing lines. First of all if you are capable of "making your own fun" you will probably have a good time on this boat. I started cruising in '95 (I was 21 then), so I'm familiar with the activities boats of this size typically offer. If you are content with the pool deck, casino, meals, comedians, and maybe a show or two you should be fine. If all you know is Carnival Fun Ship 2.0 (upgrade) boats (or RCCL for that matter) the Paradise may seem kind of boring. Cons: -Lido deck restaurants (outside or inside, including the deli and pizza) were always nuts. It seemed like 10 minute lines for at least an hour (sometimes more) during both breakfast and lunch. I only ate in the MDR during the day once (lunch), and it wasn't busy at all. It appears that the people on this boat prefer the buffet meals. Dinner (buffet) selection was very poor during the one evening I checked it out, although (again) this may be typical on this ship. -Yes the interior looks dated. No way to hide this given that you enter the boat and the first thing you see is the atrium (which looks as dated as anything on the boat). -Stateroom looked dated as well, and had a "yellowed" robe, but served its purpose as a comfy place to sleep. -MDR (we had my time dining) hostess didn't know the show schedule, as was surprised when they got crushed immediately after the show. Service was VERY slow that night. This was surprising as it isn't like they don't go through this every few days. -Seemed like the pool deck bars were understaffed. One bartender for a ~10 seat bar for extended periods of time. They were pushing buckets of beer hard, I assume this helps relieve the pressure some. -MDR food was average. Not necessarily a con, but as someone who has been on 9 Carnival cruises in 16 years the gradual decline is something I can't help but notice. -Stop with the bacon police. It only backs up the buffet lines even more. I'm sorry that people waste a bunch of food (sad really), but add $1-2 to everyone's fare and let people grab their own bacon. Deserts I get (they are separate anyway), but the primary buffet lines really need to move faster. Pros: -Less than $90/person/day (family of 3, not including tips). Cons aside, I felt that I got what I paid for. -Serenity deck + waterslide are a nice touch for this older boat. -Pool deck (pools, deck, chairs), while worn, was in good shape. -Bed was really comfy. In my opinion, if you have complained about Carnival in the past you will likely do so again if you sail on this ship. In addition, if you are familiar with the Fantasy class ships nothing on this boat should surprise you. If all you care about is some food, the casino, the pool, alcohol, a few ports here and there, this boat will do. If you want more, you need to pay more. Read Less
Sail Date June 2013
There are a lot of pretty bad reviews about Carnival and the Paradise, especially when comparing to other companies/boats. You Get What You Pay For. This cruise was as cheap as you can find and there is a reason for that; non-premium ... Read More
There are a lot of pretty bad reviews about Carnival and the Paradise, especially when comparing to other companies/boats. You Get What You Pay For. This cruise was as cheap as you can find and there is a reason for that; non-premium company, older boat, etc. For what my wife and I paid (under $1100 including tax and tip for two people, 5 nights, window room) it was a VERY good value. I never wanted to cruise, but frankly the price was too good to pass up. Note - we got an even better deal because of all the bad PR from the recent Carnival problems...apparently they weren't getting a lot of bookings. The room/cabin was acceptable. It was clean and there was enough space. It wasn't "nice" at all, but it did the job. For those people saying it was akin to a cheap hotel, I have to wonder if you've ever stayed in cheap hotels. It was NOTHING like a cheap hotel...it was more like a Motel 6 (budget, not cheap).The public rooms were better than I expected; they were pretty nice. Again, nothing to write home about, but they were better-than-adequate. You could almost always find tables/chairs except for the peak times of use. The fitness room could have been bigger. There is a lot of room in the spa area, and they easily could have given several hundred more feet to the fitness room. Of course I tried to work out at 8AM which is prime-time...but still. The machines that I used were in good working order. (Again, this was a YMCA gym - not a Yourcityhere Athletic Club or JCC). The recreation - this is hard to judge since different people like different things. My wife and I didn't go to much; we hit all the trivias (we're from St. Louis), and those were a lot of fun. We won twice and tied once! Advice: The shopping-advice shows are a WASTE of TIME unless you plan on spending several hundred dollars on big-ticket items. The service was okay, but much of the staff was frustrating to deal with. MANY of the employees speak heavily-accented AND limited English, and this was the major complaint I heard from fellow passengers (kind of ironic since most of the cruisers were from Texas and Georgia). This is especially true for the lower-level staff, to the point where they will avoid discussion, pretend not to hear you or give you, or give a canned/memorized response to a question. Food - Biggest Disappointment. If you like Hometown Buffet or Sizzler, then you will be fine. Let's be honest...Carnival tends to cater toward a non-premium crowd, and I saw many guests chowing down on hotdogs, hamburgers, chicken fingers, and fries. Presentation/appearnce of food was awesome; Carnival does a great job making lame food look appealing. Mongolian grill was terrible- they used WAY too much water during preparation it killed the flavor! SERIOUSLY!!! We ate sit-down every night. This was a second/third-rate meal. Wait staff did a good job, but 2/3 of the food was just plain BLAND AND BORING. There were some appetizing items. KEY ADVICE: Order a couple different appetizers or entrees. My wife and I would usually order a third meal between the two of us, and that really helped. Formal nite was a joke - I felt overdressed in a sports jacket and tie. The dinner "entertainment" (the staff singing goofy songs/dancing) was painful. The songs and dances picked out were fine, but the staff didn't really participate (maybe because they were foreign and didn't feel very comfortable?). It was awkward. The speakers were blown out and sounded terrible, and hearing someone sing out of them just made it worse. Also, I suggest you get the 3 bottles of wine for $60-dinner-deal. A little pricy, but it was nice to have. You get access to your purchased three bottles every night at dinner; they store the half-drunken bottles for you.The crowd. Carnival is the biggest cruise company in the world, and this is an older boat, so don't expect to find The Joneses. There were families, but the crowd was often a lil' raunchy (for lack of a better word) as this was mostly a working/middle class group of cruisers. A little more upscale at dinner, but not much. When we went (June 1st), it was 85% Texas and Georgia. Many people would classify this as a working-white-trash cruise. It didn't bother me at all, in fact I found most of the cruisers REMARKABLY friendly and awesome to hang out with. Personally I prefer this crowd more than the New York/New England tourists, coming from my many experiences working at/and visiting, Disney World. And don't get mad that I feel this way; it is a truth that people tend to be friendlier when coming from rural areas or small (surrounded by rural) cities. Ports - Advice: You can save a LOT of money by forgoing the Carnival excursions, doing a bit of online research, and booking independent. Yeah (in theory) you may get left behind, but if you own a watch and aren't stupid and you'll be fine. Tons of cruisers do it, especially experienced ones.Grand Cayman - Advice: Use the Grand Cayman bus system. It "circles" the island, so just tell the driver where you are going when you get on. SUPER CHEAP and easy! Drivers are really friendly, and will often set up a pick-up time from wherever you are. FYI they are vans, not busses. Just ask the policemen when you get off the boat, they are very helpful. Hell is a waste of time. The rum factory is just a store, and another waste of time. The Royal Palms is an AWESOME beach bar/restaurant. That is where the ship dancers go, so you know it is good. You can rent a chair and umbrella for a couple bucks, they have beach showers and changing rooms, food isn't that expensive, and they have tropical drinks served in coconuts. Caybrew is also a great beer. Cozumel - It is much for fun to take a taxi into town and skip the shops by the dock. Check out cozumelmycozumel.com. GREAT website!!! Cozumel is not mainland-Mexico, so please don't feel like it is dangerous. The island makes 95% of their money on tourists, so it is very safe. FYI The shops by the pier get a kickback from the cruise ships, and you can't haggle prices. Advice: If it is a mom/pop store in town, HAGGLE!!! We bought a king-size blanket (not a striped Mexi-blanket, but a decent one) for $25 (he asked $85..which was a joke, but I had to walk out of the store to get my $25 offer). Get $1.00 Modelos at the corner store and drink them as you shop. We ate at La Choza - half locals and half cruisers. We saw the ship dancers here as well, so you know it is good. Get a michelada and the guacamole. Other - Sneaking alcohol onto to the boat shouldn't be a problem. Use rumrunners (google it) and hide them in luggage in your shoes. I carried a small rumrunner around with me on the boat (in a pocket) and just refilled in bathroom...it wasn't an issue. Also, you don't have to sneak the trip's supply when you first get on. Buy more and sneak it on at ports with rumrunners in your pockets or burried in a bag surrounded by stuff (not towels). Just don't wear cargo shorts with a ton of zippers on them that set off the metal detector like I did...although, the security agent felt my pocket, and (had to have) felt my full rummrunner, and didn't care. They did want to see laptop charger in my backpack, which tells me they care more about weapons/bombs/drugs. - Carnival is selling cruises almost at-cost, and make their money on extras like gambling (much worse odds than your local casino for a lot of games), alcohol (HUGE mark up), all the spa stuff, the stores, and excursions. - Do your shopping in Cozumel and not Grand Cayman. MUCH cheaper. Would I do this again?? For the price I paid, ohmygosh yes...maybe even a couple hundred bucks more. But it is a VALUE cruise, so expect that. I know this was a painfully long review, but I did a lot of internet research before and really appreciated detailed reviews, and I wanted to share for like-minded people. Read Less
Sail Date June 2013
Up front we knew the cabin would have problem but figured how bad can it be? Very disappointed that Carnival knows this problem exists but does nothing to alleviate it. The outside cabins with room over head to store life vests and extra ... Read More
Up front we knew the cabin would have problem but figured how bad can it be? Very disappointed that Carnival knows this problem exists but does nothing to alleviate it. The outside cabins with room over head to store life vests and extra pillows still have a 3X3 box in the corner under the.V. that holds these items. If, as we did, you want a kingsize bed, the person near the window must crawl around to get out of bed. I am 70+ and night visits to the Loo are required. Why they have to maintain this status is beyond me. But since this is the latest ship in this class I do not see resolution any time soon, so seniors be aware! That being said, it is a lovely ship and quite navigable after a day or so. Furnishings and decor are pleasing. Shops are smaller than most of the ships we cruise. Even Triumph seems to have a better variety. All else is comparable to other ships in this class. Not a drinker but there is a bar every three feet it seems if that is your reason to cruise. Food is acceptable but nothing special as we have come to expect from most Carnival chefs. More than enough for most folks. Our table of ten was a real joy. We were with 3 couples from Tampa area and one couple from Pennsylvania. We all ran into each other often on the trip and enjoyed the shows with sometimes most of the rest of our tablemates. Shows were above reproach and we were reunited with an old friend,Steve Cassals from the Ecstasy a few years back. Comedy shows were OK. All the family shows were funny and one of the adult comics was hilarious but the other gentleman felt the need for F words to frequently. Although it was his family show where my lovely bride went on stage with him and made the show!! Not my opinion, but the staff and other cruisers all said so. She was very poised and in control all the time she was on stage. Excursions are a big part of cruising but we have been on most of the ones of interest to us. Once in a while we will revisit one of the tours so we went to HELL in ,not a handbasket but an air conditioned bus with a great guide. We saw the Cayman car Museum and it was okay. Small but with a couple of million bucks worth of R.R.'s and BENTeLY'S AND OTHER HIGH DOLLAR AUTOS MOSTLY eUROPEAN. (darn caps lock). Went next to Tortuga Rum factory and had some samples. Finally found me a couple of Diet Dr Pepper's. They are scarce in the Caribbean so take a six pack with you. Serenity deck is a blessing for we older folks who desire nothing more than a quiet place to drowse, soak up a little sun and read the latest from Robyn Carr. The weather was very cooperative this trip. We have seldom seen much unacceptable weather conditions but we all know it happens from time to time. Not on this 5 day cruise. I honestly never felt any ship movement. Unless we were looking at the water we would not have been aware of going anywhere. It was like being at a 6 star hotel, plush decor and music all around. Well if you haven't figured it out yet, yes we had a good time, met some great folks and gained about 4 lbs each. Back in September when we go on 4 day Triumph out of Galveston. We will clue you in on whether or not they fixed it. Read Less
Sail Date June 2013
Sailed on the Carnival Paradise on 4/25/13. This was our 3rd cruise on the Paradise in the past 12 months. Let me start by saying we booked this cruise before Carnival had their ship problems in the gulf. They dropped the price to fill ... Read More
Sailed on the Carnival Paradise on 4/25/13. This was our 3rd cruise on the Paradise in the past 12 months. Let me start by saying we booked this cruise before Carnival had their ship problems in the gulf. They dropped the price to fill this ship and would not drop our fare to meet the current price. Not a good policy or the way to treat your Platinum cruisers. Embarkation was a breeze. Flew into Tampa morning of the cruise, cabbed to terminal and was on board in about 1 hour total time from plane touchdown. We chose the same cabin on the upper deck that we had previously used. We like this location in relationship to the lido, the theater, the dining room , and the casino.The cabin was in good shape and to reiterate this ship has the best sized showers we have experienced. The cabin steward had just got on board that day replacing the steward we had had last time on board. He was an experienced person and was very good. The food in the dining room seemed better than the last cruise. It was always hot, had a good taste, and it was served professionally. The wait staff has adjusted to the staff cuts instituted about a year ago and the service was better. The lido food, is another story. No improvement here just your standard Carnival buffet food. The salad bar was always fresh and the deli was good. The rest of it you can keep. The port of call was Cozumel. We love this port. You can do anything you want to do. We prefer to go to Paradise beach which is a great spot. Nice pool, good beach, excellent service, and just a nice day in general. One thing carnival needs to address is their policy of allowing smoking in the casino. The casino is now the place to go to smoke. Most of those smoking are not playing just standing around watching. There is no good reason to allow the smokers to impact the rest of the people trying to have a good time. There is nothing worse than standing at a crap table or sitting at a table game with someone blowing smoke all over the place. Come on Carnival get with the rest of the world. It will not impact the casino take. Think of the casino employees, I don`t know how they can stand it. Debark was just as easy. All in all, a very pleasant short cruise. As long as you know what to expect and are not a hugely demanding person it will be a good value for the money. Read Less
Sail Date April 2013
My husband, myself, and our 16-year-old daughter took a Carnival Paradise cruise at the end of March, 2013. It was one of the best vacations we have ever taken. We did cruise once before on Carnival on a 3-day cruise to the Bahamas, about ... Read More
My husband, myself, and our 16-year-old daughter took a Carnival Paradise cruise at the end of March, 2013. It was one of the best vacations we have ever taken. We did cruise once before on Carnival on a 3-day cruise to the Bahamas, about 12 years previously, with the daughter we had with us and our two older children. Carnival still had a record of this cruise. Embarkation and debarkation went fine. BAD - The music on the Lido deck was too loud, alcohol is pushed too much all over the ship, smoking is not confined to smoking areas, the late comedy shows cross the line to offensive. We tried to play shuffleboard but the court is in a bad place. It is windy and people kept walking past us. GOOD - The food in the Paris restaurant (buffet) was good and there is a good variety for all meals. The length of lines varied. The chocolate and other desserts on the last day were really good. We usually had breakfast and lunch there. Would have liked to eaten outside more often but it was usually crowded. We had enough space in our cabin. The shower was a good size with enough hot water and water pressure. I was glad I brought a hair dryer. Shampoo and body wash are in dispensers in shower. Our bed was fine and we kept the porthole curtain open most of the time. Our daughter slept in the bunk and was fine with it. We did not use the TV much, mostly for the debarkation instructions. The crew was serious about the safety drill. My husband and I enjoyed the comedians family shows. They were funny without being crude. We attended the art auctions, learned about art and opinions we didn't realize we had, and brought home some art and ordered more. In Grand Cayman we went on the "Stingray Excursion" booked through Carnival. See review below. We had lunch outside on Paradise. Our daughter raved about the Mongolian Grill. The food on fiesta night was very good but again the music was too loud.VERY GOOD - Our daughter spent every evening and some afternoons in "Club O2". She really enjoyed it. They had lots of activities geared toward teenagers. They can come and go as they please. The onboard shows are probably not Broadway quality but are at least very good amusement park quality. "8 More Seconds" is country and the lead male singer was very good with this type music. "Shout" had more pop music and very cool lighting and the female singer was better in this show. The dancers and show band were very good in both. Cruise Director Steve Cassell performed in both shows. We saw the ship's band "Blood Power" in a lounge one evening and thought they were very good, especially as musicians. We took the "Mayan Ruins and Sightseeing Tour" booked through Carnival. Our tour guide, Angel, was excellent. See review below. My husband and I took the "Behind the Fun" Tour. It was very interesting and informative. There were some surprises along the way. EXCELENT - Our cabin steward (Johnson) kept the room clean, beds made, etc., responded to requests, and made cool towel animals. The food in the Destiny dining room and the service, including main server Sisuanto, were excellent. We tried things we had never eaten before. The warm chocolate melting cake is unforgettable. I think dining in Destiny was our daughter's favorite part of the cruise. Overall, our cruise on Carnival Paradise and the ports of call were an entertaining, fun, and learning experience. I would recommend it and do it again. Read Less
Sail Date March 2013
EMBARK Went smooth. Disappointed that our traveling friends couldn't go to VIP with us to check in since we were together. As it turned out, they were just one minute behind us. The VIP lady left us for several minutes when I told ... Read More
EMBARK Went smooth. Disappointed that our traveling friends couldn't go to VIP with us to check in since we were together. As it turned out, they were just one minute behind us. The VIP lady left us for several minutes when I told her I had a C-pap machine. Don't know where she went or what she did but it did hold us up. We had done our boarding stuff on line and nowhere on line is there a part for special needs. She asked if I needed distilled water and I said yes and she told me when I board to go to Guest Services. Guest Services said they couldn't do it and told me to order it from the room under "Room Service." Carnival needs to make this clearer. I was on a Holland American this summer and my travel agent ordered my distilled water for me and it was in the cabin room when we entered. ROOM Ocean view, large room, large bathroom. Disappointed that there were no couch, refrigerator, soda or hair-dryer in room. You could call housekeeping for soda or buy it at bar, in the cans, and take to your room. There is large bottled water and when you run out they replenish the water. Our room Stewart was Wiryajaya and he was very friendly and always called us by name as they were trained to do. A very nice touch. He did a great job. We always had ice and he was very quick at doing our room. I did take Lysol wipes and cleaned everything myself, along with Lysol spray. (We have got Nora virus on the ships before). The vanity in the living area was not very clean when I used my wipe. Had dirt all over it. There is shampoo and body gel in the shower. No clothes line. The waste basket is very small and attached to the wall under the sink. I missed it and my friend told me where it was located. No makeup mirror which I really missed. I did bring my own...along with a hairdryer. There is a plug in the medicine cabinet, strictly for electric shavers. Don't panic if charging and it goes off. It's designed to go off after a certain amount of time. Small gift bowl in bathroom had the following: one small travel shampoo; one small travel toothpaste; two small cellophane wrapped candies (turtles) and that was it. Very pitiful compared to past freebies. Room was worn, small rip in carpet, scuff marks but overall not bad. The air-conditioning knob is in the ceiling. Very hard to hear announcements in room. The grab bar in the shower is above the shampoo and body wash. Strange place to have it. It belongs on the back wall where you could hold onto it getting in and out of shower. There are six towel racks in bathroom and a double medicine cabinet with plenty of shelves and space for two people if not more. Enough closet and drawer space is provided. We kept beds separated due to the box at the end of the bed under the window. Could smell smoke in the hallways. Apparently, guests were smoking in their rooms. FOOD This is the department where Carnival is really slipping in my opinion. The food is edible, you don't go hungry but nothing compared to the food in the past. Dining room food just so so. One side of the menu (left side) has the same every day. Fried chicken, salmon, flat iron steak (don't get...very tough), shrimp cocktail, etc. The right side changes daily. Desserts are the only thing I raved about on the whole cruise and they have a wonderful pastry chef and baker. Lido was the same but I did enjoy the soups. Salad bar doesn't have shredded cheese and one day didn't have olives. The hamburgers are always good but on this trip very overcooked and dry. The chicken tenders (by the hamburgers) are good and the mashed potatoes and mac & cheese are wonderful. Over-all the food at Lido isn't too bad at all. They did have wonderful desserts and cheesecake every day. The banana cream pie was soooo good. What they need on the breakfast menu in the dining room or up on Lido at Breakfast is shredded potatoes and sausage gravy and biscuits. If ordering an omelet in the dining room for breakfast, make sure you mention you want a two/three egg omelet. Omelets made very small with one egg. Eggs benedict wonderful, turkey dinner in dining room a laugh. The stuffing is made with apples and raisins, not too good. Maybe it's the India chef...hasn't got the hang of American food. The waiters are tired and bored. No glamorous feeling in the dining room. I can understand why not too many people dress up, especially on the Paradise. The dining room has low ceilings and very non-descript. Saw lots of jeans and shorts in the dining room (not on dress up night). Actually, I'm glad. I love the fact that you can dress up or dress down (no cut-offs). Of the five nights in the dining room, we were offered coffee only two times. One couple said they were there, at dinner, for 1 ½ hours. On Lido, they had only one guy making sandwiches. The line is very long. There were times that no one was manning the pizza counter. Some days there was no pizza or just cheese pizza. We walked away. CASINO I had a good time in the casino. Won enough money the first two days to carry me through the next three. With 1000 points you get free drinks, I had to ask. They put a drink card on your bungee cord. Drink employees working the casino were very friendly. One Casino Host was not too friendly. She had long hair, in a ponytail and was rude. An oriental girl in the cash cage was very friendly. A bleached blond, long hair and a sour puss face, was very unfriendly and definitely didn't want to be there. She constantly played with her hair and couldn't have care less about the customers. She wouldn't say hello and she doesn't count your money back to you. Beware of her. ENTERTAINMENT The oriental band by the bar was wonderful. The shows in the theater were good...not spectacular. I missed the Vegas style appeal and costumes. The girl singer was very good, the guy...not as good. The dancers were very good and worked so hard. Loved our CD Steve Castell. He does a wonderful job and is a true asset to Carnival. Not only is he a super CD but he is so talented and very accessible. Saw him on deck 3 whenever we were going to shore. He was also at Debark wishing us all a safe trip home. He truly is wonderful. The Break Dancers were very good. Very entertaining. The dance classes were a joke. You couldn't understand the girl giving the lessons and she pulled mostly children on stage. The dance moves she was trying to teach, were so hard, no one could do them. Very long and boring. VIP GIFTS The pins with the ship's name and year were nice...throw them in the drawer with the others. The Turvis cups are great. Finally a gift we can use. The "sweet" plate was very good. So glad they did away with the sushi plate. Always gave it to the room stewart. DEBARK Went well. Security was very friendly. COMMENTS A young lady that deserves mention is SUNCICA. She was a Hostess in the dining room and we would see her up on Lido. What a wonderful person. So friendly, she always took time to talk to us and seat us in the dining room when she saw us. She is another asset to Carnival. Read Less
Sail Date February 2013
This was our (my wife and myself) second cruise on Paradise - the 1st being several years ago when the ship was non-smoking. Overall, this cruise shows that Carnival is putting some needed emphasis on service and food quality (as compared ... Read More
This was our (my wife and myself) second cruise on Paradise - the 1st being several years ago when the ship was non-smoking. Overall, this cruise shows that Carnival is putting some needed emphasis on service and food quality (as compared to our last cruise on Carnival about 2 years ago). The friendliness of all staff, from cabin stewards to waiters to all other staff, is apparent. We used the Your Time dining where we had some wonderful waiters, including Rey, Joel, and Darwin. The quality of the dining room food was good, items were well seasoned, and a wide variety was available. Some items could have been hotter, but this is an issue with almost all ships. We splurged on the Chef's Table - it was one of the best meals we have ever had on a ship. The seven courses were inventive and beautifully presented. If you are a foodie - this is money much better spent than on a short excursion! We have been to Cozumel and Grand Cayman several times, so we only took one excursion - to the Cayman Motor Museum outside of Georgetown. Not the biggest museum, but some beautiful cars, including Ferraris and Rolls Royces (including the actual "Yellow Rolls Royce" from the movie of the same name). The entertainment was good - and Eric, the cruise director is full of energy and enthusiasm. while not a 10 yet, we would rate our cruise experience as a solid 4. We are pleased with the improvements we have seen in Carnival, and will cruise with them again. Read Less
Sail Date January 2013
We've been on 6 cruises in the last 3 years, and being Canadian we pay extra in flight just to get here so we need a good deal! My parents however (who by the way come with us on every cruise) have been on 65 cruises!!! Snow bird ... Read More
We've been on 6 cruises in the last 3 years, and being Canadian we pay extra in flight just to get here so we need a good deal! My parents however (who by the way come with us on every cruise) have been on 65 cruises!!! Snow bird Canadians who hop onto one whenever they can. They are actually going on a Royal Carribean one next month. They've been all over the world so I always get them to review my work on reviews, just in case I'm being too sassy. Embarkation: Was a BREEZE!!! 10 minutes on the boat no waiting! I am very PROUD of Carnival for improving on this as our first time trip with the INSPIRATION ship was a nightmare getting on. Stateroom: We had three back to back. R204/206/208 (outside window)Unfortunately no adjoining cabins (bummer) but if you have kids just ask to hear the dead bolt before bed. The room was I must say, far bigger than any other I have ever been in and the beds were not bad at all. The TV's however were pathetic!!! Walls were good though didn't hear any noise. TAKE NOTE: you would think you would want to be in the middle of the ship for less rocking BUT we found that this area was always the most crowded most rowdy and OMG! the smell!!!! If it wasn't smoke, it was any number of foul bodily smells (use your imagination here). I was sooo glad to be on the back of the boat. Also take note, NO blowdryer. NO refrigerator. BUT the shower was huge and we never had a problem with temp of water. Dining: This was our first time using "Your time dining" in the Elation dining area. I liked it! Just show up and they get you a table. We found that one waiter loved my Dad so he always made sure we were in his area! Food was good. We're used to having the best in the dining room, and I'm a sucker for their flat iron steak and lobster night. They kind of left me flat on the deserts though and I ended up getting the melting cake (my favorite) every night as nothing else appealed to me. The food court area was always crowded! But you can always find a seat and they had many outside with great views!! The food was actually great for a food court! Get away from the ALL AMERICAN eatery and try the mediteranean fare and Mongolian WOK!!! That stuffed tomato was to die for and I want back for thirds! The sandwich station was great too! My girls always had ice cream no probs there. Childrens clubs: I have had the younger kids ones in the past but this was the first time my girls were in two different areas in a while. Daughter #1 was in the teen 15-17yr club and she loved the freedom. Meghan was the team leader from Texas and was a great co-ordinator. She found all guys to hang around with being a double black belt (what a shocker she finds most girls to be catty and trampy)and my other daughter found some friends to hang with in her 12-14 group one from Japan (also double black belt but speaks Japanese). She also had a blast they have all new interactive games and the Group leader was from Ontario (Bailey)and was a riot! JJ loved her! Spa Carnival: It's difficult to give a bad review for me. Since it was personal and doesn't always apply to everyone. My daughter got her nails done in the Fire and Ice. $55.00 (a rip off but it was her money) and they did a poor job, but that wasn't the worst of it. I gave a five dollar tip....the woman charged us twice!!!! I had to go to two different places and finally talk to the manager about getting charged twice just because the woman want double the tip. The manager gave a "brief" appology and we were mocked by the girls at the opposite counter which I broke into tears after and will never use the Spa facilties again. The worst of the worst: The workout facilties. I'm a workout girl. And love to watch the ocean go by as I work out. But this was the worst workout facilty of any ship I have ever been on and my Mom being 65+ cruises said it was deplorable and they should be ashamed. Entertainment: I only went two a few shows and they were quiet good. A little repetative in their moves (I used to dance competitively)but fun especially for a small ship! The actual interactive shows like MEN VS WOMEN were a blast! Activities: Everyone wanted to play and the WOMEN WON no matter what the men say! She declared it a tie but we know btter! I did lots of Bingo, and we went to one of the nights for comedy. Above fair, it takes a while for the MacDonald guy to get going with his jokes. Service: Okay we're getting into the more controversial element. I thought most of the employees on this ship were very good, from our amazing room steward (Suganga) to the entertainment director. HOWEVER.....my big complaint has been one that STILL isn't taken care of from past ships. If you are not paying your wait staff enough money in the dining area during breakfast PLEASE take care of this!!! There was this one European gentleman my husband wanted to tell off. He was rude and aloof. Sorry to bother you about our complimentary specialty coffees but they are complimentary!! Most of the staff didn't want to be there and were generally angry looking individuals. Getting simple ketchup from them was a crime! Shore Excursion: Cozumel....this is our FAMILY FAVORITE! Always will be a favorite - nothing will top Paradise Beach. I will have my youtube videos up shortly. Paradise Beach is 12 from port and only a 2 dollar charge for the chairs each...and if you want the water toys it's an extra fee (all inclusive which was awesome -snorkel eqiupment-kayaks-water toys which are many!-floaters all included for 20 bucks a person well worth it if you have young energetic kids!! They will sleep like a log once back on the ship!!The food AMAZING!! Beach AMAZING!!! Service AMAZING!!! They even brought our 2-Mexican platter trays beach side to our loungers!!!!! It came to only $30.00 bucks and the four of us feasted on a variety of Mexican food!! We had other people looking over to us saying...ummm whatcha got there!!! We had drinks brought to us by friendly NOT pushy servers and when they brought our tally to us they had already included the tip (which is well deserved!!! don't you dare argue!!) was $90.00 and that included the food, a bucket of beer $16.00, two margaratias yard glass ($15.00 more expensive what can I say I loved them!), and drinks for the kids. We like cozumel downtown but it has become quite pushy and some stores don't like you to touch stuff or they'll make you buy it if it falls to the ground like my husband when a shirt fell off the top pile. We had just purchased $30.00 worth of stuff and when he picked up the shirt to put it back the lady said you have to buy it now. He said politely ok...then refund me for all the things I just paid for and I'll buy the shirt. She recinded and allowed us to leave but I was really put off. There are some great deals but BEWARE!!! The taxi drivers take you all the way down to the end where they get a kick back for sending you into Diamonds International. DON'T go in!!!What a rip off place. We had to walk quite a distance to get to places that weren't over priced. When we started at the end Angie's hammock was being priced at $55.00. I told her forget it, don't be fooled. We walked further 45$ walked further and down one of the side streets...$35.00 I said not bad but really Angie....we got to Paradise beach and the man saw Angie getting her hair braided and asked what the lowest price of any item we saw in his shop...We said 35$ for the hammock....He said $25.00 we said DEAL!!!! It was colourful one seater and we have a stand for it already. She was thrilled, but learned a lesson from her Mommy. My husband had the same thing with Vanilla. The second largest bottle by the time we got to a side street went from $20.00 to $8.00. And Mexican vanilla is the best! I love shopping there, but beware they love to get unknowing vacationers. Final day at Sea: We finally decided to spend some real time in Serenity Deck. It was wonderful! We showed up late at 11:45am and figured we weren't going to get anything but to our luck someone left not liking the wind, but we loved the hot sun out there and it got even better half and hour later! The view was fantastic the hot Tubs were SOOOOO HOT!!! So you won't be in long! It was two and half hours of heaven away from our teenagers. The state of the ship: Another controversial subject it seems. Some people say it's run down....well it's an older ship. My parents have said it again and again...if you want a younger ship pay more!! I found it colourful and a happy place to be for the money we paid and my parents agreed. Problem is people love to nit-pick every little thing. Yes there were bumps along the way. Some of the poeple (that is patrons) on board were rude and obnoxius. Well it's the Holidays and it's a cheap trip. You're going to get all kinds on a trip like that, and believe me we did! There was one staff member last day at the stores who was absolutely the most rude employee of Carnival I have ever seen. He told a passenger to have another drink and bugger off. Mind you the customer was being obnoxious too, but NEVER should a member of Carnival cruise lines tell a passenger off like that no matter how much of an idiot he's being. He was removed a few minutes later by the manager and he made a joke and made everyone feel better, but the damage had been done it was our last day on the ship and there were great deals on merchandise and contests so the shops were full! That aside the ship is quite nice and it was never too full at any of the venues at least if you don't get there 5 minutes before the show. We still found a spot usually last minute BUT don't for the comedy skits!! Debarkation: A nightmare, didn't get off until last and that was at 10:30 the latest I have EVER been off a ship before. A GREAT BIG THANK YOU to the piano playing woman who sat down and entertained us on Carnivals piano for an hour and half with Christmas Music. She was a hit and everyone sang along. I don't know your name but you and your husband were wonderful and you will be in my prayers of thanks for the next month!! Both my Dad and JJ needed assistance should have used that maybe would have been off sooner. Would I return to this ship....hmmmmm maybe not during any holidays. The ship was fine, the food was fine and crew fairly great....but the type of "people" you get going on this ship during the holidays is rowdy and 800 of the 2100 passengers were kids! So be warned it was loud crying - loud screaming - Loud yells in hallways even at 3AM. I knew what we were getting into but I'm not sure I'll do a Holiday cruise again. Would I go if it was off season....you bet!!! Slower crowd, less kids. Must be getting older can't stand bad parenting any more. Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
We went on our first Christmas Cruise in December, 2012. We left on Christmas Eve from Tampa, and returned 5 days later. Since we live in Tampa, we drove to the port. We arrived at about 11:30AM. This seems to be the perfect time to ... Read More
We went on our first Christmas Cruise in December, 2012. We left on Christmas Eve from Tampa, and returned 5 days later. Since we live in Tampa, we drove to the port. We arrived at about 11:30AM. This seems to be the perfect time to arrive at the port, TSA security was less than 5 minutes, and check in took nearly no time at all. We were on board by 11:50. Note that you board this ship in Tampa on level 7 (Empress deck). With the exception of a few cabins on the Veranda deck, this is the highest level with rooms. Above us was a conference room. Cabin: E240. This is an aft cabin on Empress deck. The window had a 2 foot shelf before it, which was very useful as a place to store "stuff". A great extra. The room did not have a refrigerator, something we have never experienced on a cruise ship. In addition, in the corner of the room, there was a 3 foot by 3 foot by 3 foot box, which held the life jackets. To get out of the bed on one side, one had to crawl over the "box" to get out. I don't know why the life jackets aren't kept under the bed, or in the closet. The room also had 2 small end tables, and a single chair. No sofa. It had a large screen TV. The shower was a full size shower, the largest I've ever seen at sea. I mean a real shower. We had no trouble with water temperature variation when taking a shower. Storage drawers in the room were limited, as was the number of hangers. Adequate for a 5 night cruise, if you don't pack to heavily. The room was tired, but clean. Our steward operated in the background, and did a great job. The room was quiet, we heard no one. We generally try to be under something that doesn't have a lot of night time activity, and were successful.Food: This is a cruise, lots of food, of generally OK quality. I'm on a low carb diet, and they were unable to offer me food with low carbs. They simply brought the carbs, and told me not to eat them. For example, I don't eat potatoes. I couldn't successfully request to "hold the potato, substitute additional veggies". They simply brought the extra veggies. A waste. Our wait staff made the extra effort to get to know our preferences (decaff coffee) and the like, and were quietly efficient. We had the early seating, and everything went smoothly. Note that one member at our table was on a gluten free diet, and had arranged for this special diet ahead of time. This need continued to mystify the wait staff, I don't believe any meals were served without some sort of problem. Lido deck food was good, lines were never bad if the peak time was avoided. Cruise Director: Steve Cassel was the best cruise director we have ever had the pleasure of sailing with. He was excellent! He also plays a mean fiddle! I'm not sure what he is doing on a small ship like the Paradise, but he was everywhere on the ship, doing his best to make everything fun. Entertainment - Main Shows - Excellent. We were on the Carnival Freedom in September, these shows were better. The performers seemed to be having fun, which came through on the performances. The Cruise Director also played the fiddle in one of the shows, adding another dimension to the entertainment. Entertainment - Comedy. we went to only the adult comedy, both performers were sub-par compared to what we had seen on previous ships. Funny and "R" rated is OK, but just "R" rated is just dumb. Maybe we hit them in the wrong mood, normally we really enjoy the comedy. Entertainment - Live Karaoke - Absolutely terrific. This is a must see. Karaoke with the house band playing instead of a CD. The band was great, and the singer was excellent. One of our table mate performed, and the band got into it. This is a really good time. Casino - We never went. Other Entertainment - My only grip is that things seemed to be clustered together. Shows and comedy were on the same night. We did not go to the guest talent show, I cringe at Karaoke taken to the next level. Ports - Grand Cayman - A great port. We snorkeled at Eden Rock, a 5 minute walk from the tender port. $5.00 for a locker (we bring our own equipment) for some of the best snorkeling in the area. If you are a first timer, Stingray City is a must visit. We have done that multiple times. Grand Cayman is a clean, safe place to wander around and explore. We were only there from 8AM to 3PM, a bit short. Ports - Cozumel - We arrived at 11AM and left at 8PM, a bit strange. We went snorkeling with Mystic Divers, and Rosie arranged for us to snorkel the Columbia and Palancar reefs. We have been to Cozumel many times, and the snorkeling from the shore isn't very good The best we have found is at the Money Bar, that is OK at best. The the offshore reefs were fantastic. Lots of large fish, and very beautiful. For $70.00 each we received a small boat tour. From Carnival a similar tour was available for about the same price, but there were close to 200 folks on the boat. We had 2 people. The Carnival tour included booze, Rosie's did not. Fitness Room - Tired. Everything worked but it was old equipment. It was clean. Ship - When we get on and off the ship,there is rust streaming down from the portholes. This concerned me, as it indicates a lack of maintenance. Our cabin window was also filthy (from the outside). It seems like they are saving money on the little things, kind of sad since the cruise was so nice. Conclusion - This cruise was fun, and well worth the money! Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
We sailed out of Tampa on Dec. 29th on Carnival Paradise. We had an oceanview cabin, and it was bigger than we expected. It was very clean, and well stocked with fresh towels and water all of the time. The rest of the ship was in very ... Read More
We sailed out of Tampa on Dec. 29th on Carnival Paradise. We had an oceanview cabin, and it was bigger than we expected. It was very clean, and well stocked with fresh towels and water all of the time. The rest of the ship was in very good shape, although it could use some updating. We traveled to Grand Caymen on Dec. 31st which was simply beautiful and amazing. We did a snorkel/stingray city excursion. It was fantastic! The water was a little choppy, but all in all we had a great time. New Years Eve aboard Paradise was AMAZING!!!!! By 10:30 p.m. most guests made their way to the Lido deck for a great party. The band was very good, and there was a lot of dancing and celebrating. It was about 80 degrees, and the champagne was flowing! The following day we went to Cozumel. We did the "GO JEEP" excursion which was AWFUL!!!!! I would not recommend this excursion to anyone. The brochure promised an exciting "through the jungle" off road experience with tequila tasting,and 1.5 hours on a great beach. It was a two-hour ride, back and fourth, on a highway to nowhere in the most broken down jeep. The tastings occurred in small roadside places which were "sketchy" and scary. We were on a beach for about a half hour, and it was horrible. The beach was dirty and smelly. The restaurant was very overpriced, and the food was well below par. Many other passengers paid only $20 for an all inclusive beach tour and were very pleased with those excursions. Beside the "Go Jeep" excursion, another complaint would be that the food on Paradise was not as good as other cruise lines. It was compatible to Bob Evans or Cracker Barrel. If your looking for gourmet top-chef prepared meals, you would be disappointed. The only time lobster was available was on New Years Eve. The desserts were amazing, though. Another complaint would be the lounge savers on board. You literally have to get up at 7:00 a.m., get a towel, and "save" your lounge chair. Some guests saved lounges for their entire group, or family,even if they never showed up. Some "saved" chairs would be vacant for most of the day. Also, we were not able to enter Tampa Bat until 3:00 p.m. on our day of departure due to fog, causing us to miss our flight. Luckily, we had a travel agent who was able to make all of our arrangements for a hotel and new flight. It did cost quite a bit to get a new flight for three the next day, and a hotel room. If you are cruising in December or January, I would recommend flying in a day before, and out the day after, the cruise. You would only have to pay for a hotel room, and not have to worry about making arrangements from the ship.At times, it was difficult to get a free line out. All and all, we had a great time. New Years Eve was worth all of the other little problems. And, hey, you're in 80 degree sunny weather, swimming in the ocean, in January!!!!! Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
My husband and I joined our son and his two teenage boys for a five night, four day cruise out of Tampa on the Carnival Paradise, because that was as long they could be away, and we all wanted someplace warm to escape northern chill. We ... Read More
My husband and I joined our son and his two teenage boys for a five night, four day cruise out of Tampa on the Carnival Paradise, because that was as long they could be away, and we all wanted someplace warm to escape northern chill. We were not surprised to encounter multiple other families doing the same thing, and the ship was loaded with happy children. We went from the airport to the cruise terminal by taxi, for $25 plus tip, somewhat less than the Carnival transport folks were asking. The terminal area was a bit hectic, but the porters were very efficient. I didn't feel particularly welcomed by most of the staff, but I must say the check in people did a good job and we were moved along briskly, much more efficiently than I had expected. No one on board was there to greet passengers or suggest they get lunch while waiting to got to cabins, but we knew the drill. The sight of the quite beautiful atrium, decorated with greens for the holiday, was a welcome in itself, and remained a high point of our travel. Carnival's "Fun" theme is followed through with constant, overlapping activities that no one could possibly do justice to. We found ourselves having to choose from a menu of games, shows and entertainments, so we were never bored. We carried around the list each day, as did many other passengers. The hot tubs were filled up with kids and adults, but because weather was cool and windy the pool was usually unused. There were plenty of deck chairs available, but having to wait in line to get a towel was a bit annoying (not my experience on other lines). There were plenty of opportunities to get served on deck, but none of the staff were pushy about it.Food, always a subject to be discussed: The Elation Restaurant chef was very good at beef (his roast beef was a high point), but less so at vegetables, and really mediocre with fish, which was often inedible. The black forest cake was fantastic, and my grandson enjoyed the melting chocolate cake at every opportunity. The deck ten cafe could have been bigger, with more stations, given the population on board, and lines tended to grow at every station during peak times, especially the deck area where food was cooked to order and not enough staff were there to deal with it. When you had the patience to wait, the Mongolian hot pot cooking was excellent, and included properly done vegetables. As a reader, I was disappointed in the so-called library, which was basically just a venue for other things, and books seemed no part of it. Good thing we had our own! One complaint, our cabin reeked of smoke from day 1, and was clearly getting it through the ventilation system from the outdoor smoking areas. Avoid the starboard side if that will bother you. The tender system to Grand Cayman was poorly managed, given that so many folks had trips booked there. I thought this was a place the cruise director should have stepped in and sorted it out--preferably before people got annoyed--but he left that job to his assistants. A better system altogether is needed here. Disembarkation was much smoother, directions clear, and early departures made possible. Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
I took my two teenagers (19 & 17) on a quick Thanksgiving break, and ended up on the Carnival Paradise because of cost and location. I've been on cruises with Celebrity and Royal Caribbean, both 5 star ships, so wasn't ... Read More
I took my two teenagers (19 & 17) on a quick Thanksgiving break, and ended up on the Carnival Paradise because of cost and location. I've been on cruises with Celebrity and Royal Caribbean, both 5 star ships, so wasn't expecting much. Needless to say it at times exceeded my expectations, other times it didn't. Embarkation was easy and fast; we had been upgraded to an Owner's Suite, so had the VIP status. Checked in about 1:15. Having never cruised out of Tampa things were a little complicated on parking, etc., but since we have moved to the area next time it won't be. Because of orthopedic issues I did Valet parking, definitely worth the price. Check In was a breeze and we were on the ship in less than 20 minutes with the VIP status. That being said there were no lines anywhere excepted to get our picture taking. Even without VIP we would have probably been done in 30 minutes. The cruise wasn't full, but either way it didn't seem to crowded. Out room was nice; the room was ready when we got on the ship. Guest Services wasn't either very busy or not at all. Never had more than 2 people working so debarkation day they only had 2 people working, so it took almost an hour to get your account settled. Overall it was an OK trip, my daughter who was 17 enjoyed it but wished more of the teens went to the O2 club. Food at the buffet was so/so. Was not that good so rarely ate there. Usually was cold, hard or not that tasty. Kids mainly at the grill which was OK. We had seating in the Destiny dining room. Never had a bad meal there and service was great. Even with sharing with 2 tables of 10 people and then 2 booths of 6 I never had bad service. The staff always remembered our tastes, and since my kids are HF Autistic they ate the same every meal, they always had their meal waiting for them. Housekeeping was good, bartenders good. Had an issue with all the smoking. Not very good ventilation so could always tell when my neighbor was smoking on his balcony (even when indoors). Also smoke poured out of the casino so that you couldn't get off the elevators without smelling and walking through it. Ship itself seemed clean; although there was at least 1 elevator out on each bank. At times had to wait 10-15 minutes for one. Spa was good, but expensive (but loved the massage and body seaweed wrap). We did a taxi tour in Grand Cayman, picked it up on deck. Tour guide was great and was on $20 (as compared to $50 on ship). On Cozumel we did a ship tour since it was the first time on the island, had a good tour guide, got a great history of the Mayan history and the island. Definitely found that you don't do shopping at the port, you need to go out a little more to get the best deals. Overall, even though the trip wasn't bad, I wouldn't do the ship again unless I got another real good price. We were spoiled by our first cruise with Celebrity and the service there. Since the Paradise is the only ship permanently in my home port I will probably end up on the ship again, but expectations will continue to be low. Read Less
Sail Date November 2012
Getting on and off the ship was made simple for cruisers from the first arrival to the final disembarking stages. That was the best I have experienced in terms of speed and efficiency. We are used to balcony cabins so this was an ... Read More
Getting on and off the ship was made simple for cruisers from the first arrival to the final disembarking stages. That was the best I have experienced in terms of speed and efficiency. We are used to balcony cabins so this was an experiment for us getting a window cabin without a balcony. It was a short 5 day cruise and the lack of balcony proved not to be an issue at all. The cabin was comfortable but oddly configured in terns of the TV in the corner and this big box thing under it that required you to crawl over the bed to look outside (what were they thinking?) The room steward was fa ntastic and no matter when we left the cabin we always came back to a cleaned roon. More so than most times we've criuised. It was great. The bathroom soaps and goodies are not so good. They appeared to be free samples handed out at grocery stores. LOL. You may want to bring your own. That part was a turnoff but I guess expenses have to be saved somewhere. The fun all happens at the karaoke in the Leonardo room and I can't carry a note so we went just to enjoy listening to some great talent. Who knew? You never know what you are going to be treated to by other cruisers. A lot of talented people cruise it seems. Pretty fun! In Grand Cayman we just booked a tour when we got there. We paid $15 for a tour listed as approximately $50 if booked with the ship. In Cozumel we just took a cab for $7 to the Plaza which is where we always go. I was not feeling good so we just laid low. We have gone to Cozumel many times so it was as great as usual. Seemed like prices were up a bit there but not bad. I thought this more intimate ship was charming and has its own benefit for a laid back and fun setting. It seemed that on this ship we all got to know people more as the odds are you'd run into them now and then. I expected not to like it because I am used to the larger ships but this was just a great short cruise and well worth sailing on this ship. Read Less
Sail Date November 2012
sailed on the paradise leaving 11/12/12 out of Tampa. We did this ship over Memorial day on the four day trip. Just my wife and I this was here reward for letting me play in a senior softball tournament the weekend before the cruise. drove ... Read More
sailed on the paradise leaving 11/12/12 out of Tampa. We did this ship over Memorial day on the four day trip. Just my wife and I this was here reward for letting me play in a senior softball tournament the weekend before the cruise. drove up from Naples Florida on Morning dropped the rental and off to the cruise terminal. This cruise made us platinum carnival cruisers. Tried to check in at the VIP area the carnival employees there acted like they had never heard of what we were talking about.The line was not long so I said to my wife to forget it and checked in with the regular people. The lady behind the counter noticed our status and was outstanding. She checked us in and walked us to the head of the line to board the ship it actually was a little embarrassing. On to the Lido for lunch. No problem with lines or seats. The ship did not seem to be full. As you would expect this time of year very few children. My wife and I are not considered young anymore but on this cruise we felt like we were as the crowd was definitely mostly "older" For those who sail Carnival you know what to expect and this cruise was no different. Same shows, same jokes, same food. It was a nice relaxing five days but its what you make of it. Service was great by the room steward. Dining room waiter Praseh was outstanding. He is a real professional. The ports of call are grand Cayman and Cozumel. we love Cozumel you can do anything you want there. We try to go to Paradise Beach. The pool is great. Its right on the beach only $2 to get a lounge chair and use the facilities. Which include bathrooms, changing rooms,very clean, good food and great service. The only complaint is the drinks seemed to be watered down this time around.If its correct not a good reputation to have. This was the most non- gambling cruise I have ever seen. The casino was dead the whole trip. That was a sure sign to stay out of there. I should have listened. The CD was Steve Cassel who is a talented guy.As CD`s go he was as I expected on a Carnival cruise. Debark was breeze and back home again. Read Less
Sail Date November 2012
I originally booked the cruse as a present for my 19 year old son. He wanted to do an intro to scuba class and , as we loved Cozumel, we booked a cruise to that destination. i had been on one Carnival Cruise years ago and was not overly ... Read More
I originally booked the cruse as a present for my 19 year old son. He wanted to do an intro to scuba class and , as we loved Cozumel, we booked a cruise to that destination. i had been on one Carnival Cruise years ago and was not overly impressed. I had also been on Royal Caribbean (and Windjammer and Big Red Boat--now defunct lines) and preferred RC. This cruise fit out schedule and was very well priced so we decided to try it. When my son could not go we decided to go anyway for our 25th anniversary. First--the bus ride to the ship. we purchased this from Carnival. It was pleasant but required a wait. After looking at taxi rates I think I would skip this next time Embarkation was a long line--much more than I remembered on any other cruise. I accidentally left my carry all at the check-in desk and they at first told me I was going to have to go through the long line all over again to retrieve it. A nice carnival employee (supervisor I think) overheard the conversation and directed me backwards to the desk and I retrieved my carry-on. Thank you whoever saved me the 1/2-3/4 hour wait in line again. Getting on the ship was easy and our luggage showed up right on time. Food at the buffet style lido deck was surprisingly good. The deli and salad bar were wonderful. We ate here several times during the cruise and found the food to be much above average for a buffet. The only thing that needs improvement is their orange juice--a mix between frozen concentrate and tang. Most of he time we ate in the dining room. I ordered mostly seafood and it was all well prepared. My husband was also impressed. My only comment--if you want more than one item --order it at the beginning because it is much easier. Our waiter was Andrew who was very kind, personable and efficient (and his assistant Jose was also). He actually remembered our names which was thoughtful. Again, I expected only fair quality food and was very impressed. Our room was large compared to other ships we have been on. It had a king bed and a large bathroom with tiled shower. There was a large window in the room . Our porter introduced himself and was very personable and efficient (Wayan) The ship is am older ship but has been kept up. We gambled a little and went to the shows--we really enjoyed the comedy club and went to almost every show,. The cruse director was very talented and had wonderful violin and fiddling skills!! The pool was typical cruise type pool. we went to the hot tub at the adults only deck (serenity) We did one tour--the behind the scenes tour. I would recommend it if you are at all interested in the nuts and bolts of cruising. The galley was SPOTLESS. The employees who did the tout were all personable. We had been to Cozumel several times and to Grand Cayman once before. So we did our own thing at the ports. we snorkeled at Eden Rock in Cayman and went to Chankanaab in Cozumel. I had not been to Cozumel since the last big hurricane and was sorry to see how much of the reef had been destroyed. Getting off the ship was super easy. we toted our own suitcases and breezed though customs and then took the bus back to Tampa airport I would recommend this cruise to anyone who would like a relaxing mid-length cruise to interesting ports. Read Less
Sail Date September 2012
There are plenty of reviews about the Carnival Paradise that can provide more "average" info that people look for on these boards. I would like instead to try and provide some more specific info for those who are looking to, or ... Read More
There are plenty of reviews about the Carnival Paradise that can provide more "average" info that people look for on these boards. I would like instead to try and provide some more specific info for those who are looking to, or have already planned a cruise on the Carnival Paradise out of Tampa, Florida. First - Parking: My wife and I live in Orlando, so we are approx 2 hours for the Port of Tampa. We drove over Monday morning. The port of Tampa has the process down pat so they will get you through as quick as possible, and our wait time was minimal between arriving at the port and boarding the ship. Now here's a quick tip. You can pay $15.00 per day to park in the parking garage or you can utilize Capital Parking. I was apprehensive but several good reviews forced us to take a chance on them. 2 thumbs up. Very professional, courteous driver. Prompt drop off and pick up. You park your car in a parking lot surrounded by nice condos, roughly 1 mile from the port, security looks good, and you keep your car keys. Price $25.35 for the week. Second - Food: Food was OK. I've been on several cruises and had better but when you have cruise food options and such a larger variety it's really hard to complain too much. Third - Alcohol: Carnival charges an arm and a leg plus 18% gratuity per drink. If you do drink, well budget for the cost as it adds up quick. TIP- if you drink beer (and can drink Fosters) order Fosters. The cans are big, I'm guessing 2.5 beers per can for $6.25. Regular beer? $5.25. Fosters is the best deal for beer drinkers hands down. Fourth - Smoking: There are smoking areas available on the ship, BUT, they are minimal. The Paradise was Carnivals first totally non-smoking ship and while they may have given that up they still aren't as smoker friendly as other ships. You can smoke on the Lido deck in one section only, (there are 4) also the bar that serves that section is split, one half is smoking the other is not. You can also smoke in the Casino IF you're gambling. The casino bar outside the Casino is a smoking area but again the length of the bar is split smoking and non. Also you can smoke in the REX nightclub. That's it for smoking areas and you can expect to be sharing ashtrays. Note- Not necessarily a bad way to meet fellow cruisers....ie "Hi, can I share this ashtray? So where are you from? We're from etc etc" Final note: The Paradise is a nice ship, and this is a good cruise. Remember, a vacation is what you make it. If you expect 5 star dining, service that exceeds what would be expected of a personal butler, and high dollar excursions to wondrous, exotic ports of call this may not be for you. But, if you simply want to have fun in the sun, get away for a week, and stay somewhat affordable, you can't beat this. Read Less
Sail Date September 2012
Carnival Paradise Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 3.0 3.9
Dining 4.0 3.7
Entertainment 4.5 3.7
Public Rooms 3.5 3.9
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.7
Family 4.0 3.7
Shore Excursion 4.5 3.8
Enrichment 4.0 3.3
Service 4.5 4.2
Value For Money 4.0 3.8
Rates 3.0 4.2

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