241 Carnival Paradise Cruise Reviews

With the Paradise being the last built of the Fantasy class ships, and having had taken two cruises on the Fantasy itself previously, we knew that the ship was likely going to be somewhat dated and also knew what to likely anticipate. ... Read More
With the Paradise being the last built of the Fantasy class ships, and having had taken two cruises on the Fantasy itself previously, we knew that the ship was likely going to be somewhat dated and also knew what to likely anticipate. Call that lowered expectations if you will, but we found this cruise to be very satisfactory for the price paid. Embarkation: The Port of Tampa is, in my opinion, the best place for embarkation we have experienced, having also utilized Port Canaveral and Miami for previous cruises. The ease of arriving early and having great lodging options either close to the airport or the Port is very convenient. We chose the Embassy Suites Downtown next to the Convention Center, but the Marriott it faces would also be a great option. The streetcars make it easy to explore Ybor City, and you can easily walk to Channelside, or even the mile-or-so to the cruise terminal if need be. The embarkation process itself was expeditious and efficient. Cruising from Tampa will definitely be a consideration for the selection of future voyages. Cabins: Exactly what was expected in terms of cabin layout and amenities, with the exception of delivery of ice to our daughter's cabin. They stayed in a cabin adjacent to us, and for whatever reason, we got ice from the steward and they did not. Unfortunately, they did not bring this to my wife's nor my attention until the last day of the cruise. Not sure what the outage was here, but I certainly would have found out, had we have been aware of this. Ship Staff: Very cordial, moreso than we have experienced in the past. There seems to have been a bigger emphasis on making sure guests are addressed with a "hello" than we have been used to. The entertainment staff on this ship seemed to enjoy their jobs more, and I personally took to the cruise director more than on past trips. Loved our dining room wait staff. Food: This was a disappointment. Food in the dining room often arrived lukewarm at best, and there were a few selections during the week that were just not prepared well. We have come to expect better from Carnival. Buffets tended to remind one of those you may find on the lower side of Las Vegas casinos. Pizza was OK. Be advised that the dining rooms on this ship (as the other Fantasy class ships we have experienced) do not appear to have tables of 4 only, at least as far as we were able to tell. Most if not all of the tables in the dining room are the classic 10+ passenger variety. So be prepared to converse or feel uncomfortable. Entertainment: Others have discussed about the dearth of activities onboard for the Paradise, and this did seem to be the case. Sea days seemed to be a little slim on action. There were the usual trivia and other contests allowing for "ships-on-a-stick" to be taken home (and we took our share), but it just seemed like there was a lot of dead time. The two major shows were well-conceived, but the cruise-ending show--a country show--was really hurt by the sub-standard quality of the vocalists. Need an upgrade here. This outage was somewhat redeemed by an outstanding fiddle player and vocalist who made attendance at the show worth it. Sightlines from the balcony of the major ballroom, the Normandie lounge, are horrible, exascerbated by the presence of computer screens at the control desk of both ends. Avoid if possible. Lots of karaoke on this boat, which is great if that is your thing. Or if you think it's your thing. The "Fun Force" break dancers put on quite a show whenever they appeared, and would definitely be worth checking out. Gym Facilities: As expected, no gripes here, other than the steam room not being ready when the gym opened at 6. Some of us like to get started early. Ship Atmosphere: Although there is a certain level of crowding/jostling/line-breaking/oblivious standing in walkways/lousy staircase etiquette to be expected on any cruise, I did not find this ship to be nearly as crowded or annoying as I have other vessels. The Destiny cruise we took out of Miami two years ago set the bar pretty high for rudeness and general lack of regard for your fellow man, and this one didn't approach that level. Perhaps it was that we are now conditioned to ill-mannered crowds on cruises, but the line-breaking and absence of concern for others didn't seem to be quite as prevalent. I think the cruise director and staff went a long way to set a nice tone for fun, which are what these cruises are supposed to be about. We also seemed to meet many more passengers who were just downright friendly. At any rate, it was a nice group of people to go cruising with. Debarkation: Smooth as silk. Easiest time we've ever had leaving the ship, and with a late flight, we had plenty of time to go to the aquarium right next door, shop at the Channelside complex, and catch a shuttle to the airport. There is a great place right in front of the cruise terminal that stores your luggage--$7 for two people--and has discount tickets to the aquarium. Overall: Not a bad ship or cruise. A few gripes, but nothing to ruin an otherwise great vacation. Ship appears to be well run, and a short-to-medium length cruise on the Paradise is worth the money. Leaving from and returning to Tampa is a major plus. Read Less
Sail Date July 2012
This was my 2nd cruise in 2 years. Last year my wife and I went with the Holland America line for a 12 day trip in Europe. My teenage kids felt left out so we booked this Carnival cruise for 5 days to Grand Cayman and Cozumel. We live ... Read More
This was my 2nd cruise in 2 years. Last year my wife and I went with the Holland America line for a 12 day trip in Europe. My teenage kids felt left out so we booked this Carnival cruise for 5 days to Grand Cayman and Cozumel. We live within 2 hours of the Port of Tampa so we parked offsite at Premier Parking. It is only about 4 minutes from the port and the cheapest parking around. Use this link - http://www.longtermparking.com/COUPONS/cppremierportparktpa.htm to get 2 free days. It shows that it is expired, but it works. I dropped the family off first at the port (about 10:45 am) so I didn't have any luggage when I parked the car. The boarding process went very fast. The food on the Holland America ship was 5 star quality. The food on Carnival was closer to a 2 or 3 star. That's not to say it wasn't good but don't expect to get jumbo shrimp or quality steak. There was a lot of food which is what my kids wanted. There were usually lines at every food station. The Mongolian wok usually took the longest, but it was very good. The Pizza station was open 24 hours. They had a station to get hot pastrami and corn beef sandwiches. I would put the meat on one half of the sandwich since they didn't exactly stack it on. It was very tasty. We had the early seating for dinner. There was no problem with ordering multiple appetizers or main courses. I was not overwhelmed with the choices, but you could always order the steak or salmon. Some of the sides included with the meals were small, but you could order additional sides which were larger portions. The pools were generally crowded. They had a nice area called Serenity which had cushioned padded lounge chairs. Best of all, you needed to be 21 years to enjoy this area. The only negative at Serenity was there was no pool to cool you off, just 2 heated whirl pools. If you liked sports, you could play basketball, ping pong, shuffle board, or miniature golf. You always had to check out any equipment which usually had a line. The entertainment was non-stop. If you like to karaoke, you had plenty of opportunity. They had karaoke with a live band and karaoke from CD's. The Filipino band was great. Like the previous review, the band was fabulous. We were a little disappointed with the piano bar which usually is a highlight of our trip. He was an excellent musician, but he didn't seem to connect with anyone. To be honest, we only went in there once, but sometimes first impressions can do that. The comedians were good. They had family shows and shows for the 18+ crowd. They had 3 stage shows. The first was an introduction which I would suggest skipping. We missed the 2nd show which was a country themed show. I heard it was excellent. We did make it to the final show. It is definitely a must see. All the shows fill up quickly so I would suggest getting there early. We booked a 9:30am excursion with Captain Marvin's to go to sting ray city and snorkeling. The cost was $35 per person. If you pay by credit card, it is an extra $3 per person. You need to book this ahead of time since it fills up fast. We all liked this. We brought an underwater camera and got some nice shots. They have someone taking pictures and will give them to you for $40. Also, you need to remember that you gain an hour at the ports of call, but the ship is always on east coast time. We did the most shopping in Cozumel. The locals are a little pushy, but you need to just have fun with them. Our family had a good time bartering down the price. We walked to Margaritaville restaurant. It is right on the ocean and you can jump in and cool off. They have a roped in area in the ocean with some fun plastic toys to climb on. The food was very good but a little pricey. We had a nacho appetizer which was stacked very high. We also had a free 9oz margarita. We did the ATV jungle and snorkeling excursion which picked us up right outside the restaurant. It was $85 per person and well worth it. Again, we booked this ahead of time with Orbitz.com. They only charged you $2.00 to rent a large locker. They will give you goggles for a small deposit. It is best to bring some sunglasses since the goggles were a little scratched. Also, bring a scarf to cover you face and old shoes that you can throw away. Make sure you bring a little camera to take pictures. Like the first excursion, they have someone taking pictures and will give them to you for $50. After we finished with the ATV, they took us to a beach to snorkel. They supplied the snorkel gear. It was like having a nice dessert after the main course. There were lots of fish right off the beach. On both excursions, we took some bread from the ship to feed the fish. (Bring plastic ziplocs from home) Take the croissants instead of the white bread. It holds up better in the water. This cruise ship might not be a good fit for everyone, but for our family it was just what we needed. Read Less
Sail Date June 2012
Preface: Last year we did the same itinerary on the Carnival Inspiration twice. We enjoyed the two days at sea and Cozumel. When the Inspiration was in Tampa, the locals made it very popular ship. When I heard they were swapping the ... Read More
Preface: Last year we did the same itinerary on the Carnival Inspiration twice. We enjoyed the two days at sea and Cozumel. When the Inspiration was in Tampa, the locals made it very popular ship. When I heard they were swapping the Inspiration with the Paradise, there was a of bit concern and that was Tampa getting the bad side of the trade. Review: We arrive at the port around 11 am. We quickly dropped off the luggage and went to the port's parking garage. When we walked back to the terminal we were Zone 6, and we were called quickly after getting the paperwork completed. After photos (which we usually skip) we were on board. Went to the Lido deck, bought our soda stickers and headed to the buffet. That is where we saw the biggest difference. The seating area in the back of the Paradise is more user friendly. We had lots of room for our stuff. After everyone got their food, I went and ordered a lunch from the Mongolian Grill. It was awesome! We had two 4C rooms in the Upper Aft. We got into our room by 1:20 pm and had all of our checked luggage by 2 pm. The Muster Drill is definitely more involved than last year. The drill requires you to go to the Muster Station (for us the Queen Mary Lounge) and then they escorted your group to where you will be at the time of entering our life boat. It takes about 30 minutes. You can thank captain idiot from Costa Concordia. Since we have sailed out of Tampa many times, we watched the sail-away from the back of the boat. Not as crowded and very laid back. We ate in the master dining room under the Any Time Dining schedule. We never had to wait and the food in the Elation Dining Room was very good. We celebrated DW's birthday and it went well. Tampa is a great cruising city. Many locals are into cruising and the ship was about 65% full of Floridians. My guess is that 40% of the cruisers traveled less than 100 miles (we are included in the stat). This is not too much of a surprise since this was Memorial Day Weekend. When in Cozumel we took a taxi to Paradise Beach. This is our fourth trip in row to this resort. It is a bit pricey, but still very relaxing. The cab ride was about $15 dollars each way and we spent about $140 total between 4 adults. They need to buy new paddle boards. The bottom fins have broken off and it is like paddle boarding on a log. When it came to debark, we did the self assist. Had to wait a bit, but we sadly got off of the ship by 8:30 am. I asked our group, which ship did they enjoy more, Inspiration or Paradise. The vote was 3 to1 for the Paradise. I was the one that enjoyed the Inspiration a bit more, but I was torn between the nostalgia of the Inspiration. If you book this ship, you will have a good time. It is not the newest, nor does it offer the latest amenities, but it is a very good ship and fun itinerary cruise. Read Less
Sail Date May 2012
This is my 3rd Carnival Cruise and I've come to the conclusion that shorter cruises are drunken spectacles. I'm too old for this, but it was still a lot of fun. I'm going to break down the parts that I experienced and rate ... Read More
This is my 3rd Carnival Cruise and I've come to the conclusion that shorter cruises are drunken spectacles. I'm too old for this, but it was still a lot of fun. I'm going to break down the parts that I experienced and rate them. Food. This is my main reason for cruising. The food on this ship was on par with my other cruise experience with the exception of one point. They didn't have escargot. All of my other cruises had that at one point in the meal for dinner, but not this one. Not a big deal. Otherwise, the food at the main dining room was very good for the most part. This cruise offered sushi, but unfortunately, it was horrid. Sushi and cruises have not gone together well in my experience, but then again, sushi is very finicky, and needs to be ultra fresh, which cruises cannot do. In fact, I generally avoid fish altogether on cruises. The buffet was decent, and I particularly liked the mongolian grill. Activities. I found this slightly below par here. The night life was excellent. Between Karaoke and the absolutely funny comedian, the evenings did not lack any fun. However, during the day, I found their activities sparse to nonexistent. Considering this cruise had 2 sea days which i love, I found it to be a little disappointing. The shows, I found to be a little lacking and not making any sense. There was a country western show, that, didn't really do anything for me. The retro show, seemed to be all over the place and made no sense. It seemed like the show was made up of pieces they've put together in other shows, throw them together, and produce an "original" piece. Service. My room steward was a ninja. Never seen, but he did the job. However, he did interrupt me several times during the cruise, which i don't fault him. The service at the dining room was good, but a little slow warming up. I've been on cruises where the dining room staff was on the ball on day 1. However, it took a little longer for this dining room staff to warm up. And considering it was a short cruise, they could have done better, but overall, they were still good. Ship Public areas. The age of the ship really shows. There were amenities that I expected, that wasn't available. The one I noticed, was there was no movie theater. I've seen ships convert their show auditorium into the theater, or have the movie under the stars. This ship did not have either. Overall. It was a fun cruise. This midsize ship was perfect as it hit the sweet spot of population. It was crowded enough to diverse, but small enough to get to know your fellow cruisers and see them multiple times throughout the short cruise. I would probably not travel to do this ship again, as I feel shorter cruises do not give cruising justice, but this was an absolutely wonderful cruise. I would definitely do Carnival again. Read Less
Sail Date May 2012
I think we had bed bugs in V36. Itchy red bumps started on third night.I am going to call Carnival today. My one son and I both had them my other son on the trundle did not. Which make sense. Ugh. Overall was very happy with the ... Read More
I think we had bed bugs in V36. Itchy red bumps started on third night.I am going to call Carnival today. My one son and I both had them my other son on the trundle did not. Which make sense. Ugh. Overall was very happy with the ship/cruise. Food - tablemates who had cruised on the Sensation said that the food on the Sensation was good but the Paradise was OK. I thought it was good. There are so many choices nothing to complain. Got the recipe for the chocolate molten cake! Dinner and Staff: early sitting 6 pm in the Destiny. Wait staff (Marilee was great). During the last dinner it was announced the wait staff is in the top 5 for service for all Carnival ships. Went on the Behind the Scenes tour which was interesting. Received some chocolate covered strawberries and muffins as an extra thank you for taking the tour besides, the lanyard, baseball hat, and a picture with the captain. Cozumel - didn't like the maze of shops to get on and off the ship. Went to Playa Mia a bit dumpy and the water inflatables were too far off shore. Note: the taxi fare to the port is cheaper then getting back for some reason. It was $25 to get back to the airport. Read Less
Sail Date May 2012
We just returned from the 5-night Western Caribbean cruise aboard the Paradise. With one first-timer and one traveler with no recent experience aboard a "normal" cruise ship (several trips aboard the now-defunct Cruise West ... Read More
We just returned from the 5-night Western Caribbean cruise aboard the Paradise. With one first-timer and one traveler with no recent experience aboard a "normal" cruise ship (several trips aboard the now-defunct Cruise West small ships, and many dive liveaboards) we both found the ship in good shape and very clean. Our ocean-view cabin on the Upper deck was chosen for its proximity to travelling companions, and was comfortable. The beds were not converted from twins to a king as reserved, but was handled by steward Mario during dinner. Storage, bath/head space, etc. were all great, with the ubiquitous lifejacket box being the only impediment to being able to move freely throughout the cabin. We had only one complaint that plagued us the entire cruise: lack of water pressure in the shower. Specifically, there was no cold water pressure. With it fully on, there was less flow than a normal bathroom sink. The hot water was so scaldingly hot, that you could barely turn it on, so the combined water pressure came out as a small stream, rather than a spray. On a positive note, our steward Mario was very accomodating to any requests. We had brought aboard a small cooler, and by leaving a note & $5 bill (originally) asking for some ice, we returned to find it filled. Leaving an addtional $10 the next day kept it topped off the entire trip. Another poster's advice to bring insulated tumblers was a good idea (although they sell them aboard), coupled with our ordering of some liquor through the Bon Voyage service meant we could fix our own drinks as often as desired. We booked no onshore excursions through the ship, opting to take the advice we read here, and booked a Stingray City snorkel aboard Captain Bryan's Buccaneer via Island Marketing for our Grand Cayman stop. However, a monsoon decided to visit the island that day, so the trip was cancelled. The lady keeping us posted throughout the morning of the excursion called when the decision to cancel was made, and promised a refund of our deposit. In lieu of snorkeling, we wore our swimsuits & ponchos ashore and shopped for souvenirs, making the most of the inclement weather. Similarly, for our visit to Cozumel we followed the advice of posters here and booked a day at Nachi Cocom (again through Island Marketing), and a $16 cab ride deposited us at the beach. We enjoyed our day under the shade of our beach tiki, while Manuel kept us in drinks and food. Between the beach, ocean, pool, and bar, we enjoyed our day there, and add our recommendation to others posted here. We visited the onboard spa for a couples massage on the last sea day, and found the service and ambiance to be nice. However, the location of the spa facilities directly below the miniature golf and running track meant a bit of intrusive noise that we felt distracted from the overall experience. We used the fitness facilities (specifically the gym) on a couple of days, and faound the equipment and space in good order. Both visits were mid-morning (9:30 or 10:00) and had little problems with crowds. Overall, we enjoyed the ship, the staff, and the experience, and look forward to another cruise in the future. Read Less
Sail Date May 2012
Well first I want to say thanks to everyone on this board for all of the fantastic advice that I received before my family and I went on our 1st cruise, we just returned yesterday and the tips and info I got from Cruise Critic were a HUGE ... Read More
Well first I want to say thanks to everyone on this board for all of the fantastic advice that I received before my family and I went on our 1st cruise, we just returned yesterday and the tips and info I got from Cruise Critic were a HUGE help! So the least I can do is leave a review of our trip. We departed from Pittsburgh to Tampa early Sunday morning (Me, my wife, 18yo son and twin 15yo daughters) and arrived about 9:30a. We had reservations at the Best Western Bay Harbor and called for their shuttle after we retrieved our luggage. The shuttle arrived in about 15 minutes and was a newer van. The driver was very friendly, greeted us, grabbed and loaded our luggage and opened the door for us. After we were underway he also offered to stop at the grocery if we'd like on the way to the hotel, which we declined. We arrived at the hotel and he offloaded our luggage and let us know that our rooms wouldn't be ready yet. We then went into the hotel (which looked very nice and clean) they told us that the rooms weren't ready and probably wouldn't be until 1:30 (listed check in time was 3pm). We asked where we could get changed (we chose this hotel mostly due to a nice looking outdoor pool) and where we could store our luggage. They pointed us to the lobby bathrooms to change and to a door next to the check in desk with our luggage. This was one of two frustrations with this hotel, we waited for a few minutes for someone to meet us and when no one showed I asked again at the desk and was then told to "just go in and take care of it ourselves", when I opened the door to a very small room, it was crammed with luggage and had very little space. We moved things around a bit and made space but I was frankly uncomfortable moving others luggage and with the fact the room was completely unsecured and unsupervised. When I came back in from the pool a couple of hours later, all of our luggage was out of the room and sitting in the lobby while another guest was retrieving their luggage. In the end there weren't any problems, but there is huge potential. The property is very nice and reasonably priced ($135/night, water view). The pool sits right on the bay and they have plenty of lounge chairs, etc. There's a bar to get drinks, lunch, etc. My wife and I had a couple of beers that were reasonably priced. The hotel shuttle also took us to dinner and back, all at no charge (I of course tipped the driver), they apparently service about a 3 mile circle around the hotel. The only other negative was that the night that we were there, was a "foam party" that attracted a very young and very drunk crowd. I'm far from a prude, but when we walked into the bar that night my wife was instantly uncomfortable, and I got there pretty quickly myself, so we left. Once you left the bar you could not hear any noise from the bar in the hotel and I do believe that this particular party was a fairly rare event. Overall, we were very happy with the hotel, and frankly would stay again without hesitation. Monday morning we took a cab to the port, the fare was $25 + tip for 5 of us, far less expensive than any of the shuttles. We arrived at the port at 10:30,a porter took our luggage immediately and we went through 1st level security (hassle free) and then inside and upstairs, through the metal detectors, and around the corner to the registration. There we were greeted by a few hundred people in line ahead of us, but frankly the line move quickly and we were through registration in about 25 minutes. We then went to the waiting area. After about 15 minutes boarding started and about 15 minutes after that we were on board! We came onto the ship on the Empress Deck, which is where our rooms were; we couldn't access them yet so found out way to the Lido deck and something to eat. Good basic hamburgers, hot dogs, etc and by the time we were done eating our rooms were ready. I have to take a minute hear and say that the size of the ship and finding our way around was a little overwhelming. I know that this ship is on the small size, but it was a fun challenge to figure things out. We had 2 inside cabins next to each other, my wife and I had ours configured as a queen and the kids had a queen and 2 pull downs, we had concerns about room size before we arrived (let's just say that I am not a small guy), but once we saw the rooms, the concerns vanished. I had contemplated putting 5 of us in a room when we booked but didn't, that would have been a nightmare! The room size was really not a problem at all. Had a nice surprise when we arrived, a bottle of wine for my wife and I, and a cake for the kids from our travel agent! We got unpacked, plenty of storage for everything, including luggage. We then looked around a little more and went for the safety briefing; this took about an hour, but was relatively painless. We booked anytime dining and went to dinner at about 6:30 in the Elation dining room. Very short wait for our table and met our waiter the 1st night who was Noel, this was unfortunately they only time that we got him, despite requesting him every night, he was AWESOME! Very good at what he did and a fantastic personality, he really made it a great meal. That night we went to the opening show, went to the casino for a bit and the kids went to Club O2, my son is 18 but still a senior in high school. So although the age for Club O2 is 14 to 17, he was allowed in (this is one of MANY bits of info that I got here). Overall Club O2 was "just Ok" according to my kids, but it certainly let them meet people that first night. Tuesday was a Sea Day and we just spent time at the pool, didn't see much of the kids. We planned dinner for 7pm. Discovered that afternoon that I forgot my long pants (Tuesday was formal night) so although I didn't intend to get especially dressed up, I ended up being WAY underdressed, what an embarrassing experience! I went to the restaurant and asked for advice and they sent me to Guest Services, they sent me to the Formal Shop to rent a pair, which would have been $35, which I gladly would have paid, but they only had formal tuxedo pants, complete with stripes down the leg. So back to the restaurant, who said that I could some to dinner in shorts. I also asked them about having the wait staff deliver a present to my daughters for their 16th birthday which we had brought with us, and they readily agreed, told me to bring them down ahead of time. This night for dinner was one of my complaints, when we showed up they said 45 minutes but ended up being 90 minutes until our table was ready. After dinner, just when I was starting to think that they'd forgotten the gifts, the waiter appeared with them, my daughters were so surprised that they said it wasn't their birthday when the waiter asked them! Even though we'd already had dessert, they brought cake with a candle for each of them and sang a very multinational happy birthday that was really a fun and special moment! When we got back to our cabin they had left fudge and an apology note due to the long wait, nice service recovery. Finished the night making another casino donation and taking my son gambling for the first time, which he enjoyed a little too much. Wednesday was Grand Cayman and we had booked Sting Ray City and snorkeling through Captain Marvin's, which was another Cruise Critic tip. Less than ½ the price if booked through the ship and they could not have been nicer. Their office is less than a block from where you get off of the tender. We paid for our reservation and where on our way in the transportation that they provided, all I about 15 minutes. One note is that I wish I had cash to pay, as it would have been about $20 less than paying with a credit card. The shuttle driver was very entertaining and gave us lots of good info about the island while driving to the boat. When we arrived we found a very nice boat, crew of 2, and about 20 people, including our 5. Went out to Stingray City 1st and it was incredible, what amazing animals. We stayed for about 30 minutes and the crew was great with catching stingrays, letting people touch and hold them, etc. We then reboarded and headed to Coral Gardens for snorkeling. Spent about 30 minutes there and then headed back in. None of my family had done either of these activities before and all thoroughly enjoyed them both. The time seemed about right, didn't feel rushed at all. They had soft drinks and beer onboard (incl in the price), so we had a drink on the way back in. I gave them a $20 tip that they seemed pretty pleased by. Their shuttles were waiting when we got back and took us immed back to town. We really didn't have too much time, so we hit a couple of shops and bought a couple of souvenirs. We then went to the open air market on the water and grabbed a quick bite to eat at the Green Parrot, which was a little outdoor place next to the water. The food was mediocre and it was $70 for 3 hamburgers, 2 hot dogs, and 5 bottles of water, my fault for not asking first. We then tendered back to the ship. Time in port was 8am to 2pm, so it was a pretty quick visit. Thursday was Cozumel, we pulled in a little early around 10:45am and disembarked soon after, certainly easier not having to tender in. We had pre-booked the Royal Dolphin Swim at Chankanaab Park. This was more great advice that I got here, we pre-booked for $100 per person and told them a name of a hotel that I pulled from the internet. This is necessary because Carnival has an exclusive contract with them and if you say you're on Carnival they won't book you. Cost per person on Carnival for the EXACT same experience, $190/each instead of $100! Took a cab from the terminal ($15) and arrived in about 10 minutes. The process of registration and orientation was all pretty smooth. My wife and I each had to pay to get in (I think $22/each) since we weren't doing the dolphin swim. The kids LOVED the whole dolphin experience and afterwards also got to interact with a manatee, which my son did but my daughters didn't. We did not buy their pix, but our kids were allowed to use our digital camera to shoot each other. We then had lunch, which was basic but decent Mexican fare, $45 for the 5 of us. We then went to the beach and snorkeling area also at Chanknaab and it is absolutely stunning! Great sand beaches, lots of straw huts with chairs and chaises and beachside drinks and food. My only regret was we hadn't known this option before we ate after the dolphin swim. Beers were only $3 and service was great! The ocean here was very different in that the bottom was rocky but the water was beautiful and the fish were everywhere! We spent about 2 hours and then caught a cab back to town. The port side shops in town were nice, it was a little concerning that everywhere we went, they kept offering my daughters free tequila -- remember they are 16! After a while the ladies wanted to go back to the ship, so they did and my Son and I found a table at Fat Tuesday and he had his first couple of legal drinks. We stayed for about an hour and a half and watched lots of very drunk but funny people all around us. We got back to the ship right around 7:30pm and it departed promptly at 8pm. That night my wife and son and I went to the 1st adult comedy show, which was so-so (Mark Hawkins). Thursday was our last day and a sea day. We spent lots of time pool side and we're really looking forward to a nice sit down dinner as the menu looked the most to our liking yet. We arrived at 7 and were told it would be 45 minutes until we got a table. Based on this being the exact time that we'd been quoted on Tuesday (which was then 90 minutes) and the fact that there seemed to be the same amount of people waiting, and that the kids were hungry and therefore grumpy, we elected to go to buffet, which I frankly was pretty unhappy about. For anytime dining they quote "usually 20 minutes or less" of the three nights that we ate there/tried to eat there, they were WAY OFF twice and frankly very unapologetic the 2nd time. We finished by making a few more donations at the casino and then saw the other comedian, who was HYSTERICAL! And believe it or not, I can't remember his name, but he was only on the ship that week. We decided to get our luggage ready and let them take it. This was a bit of a logistical challenge for our teenagers, but we made it work. This was primarily because we didn't want to get off of the ship too early as we were going straight to the airport and wanted to kill time on the ship as opposed to the airport. I also went to Guest Services and lowered the tip amount. I did this because as we encountered people who really went out of there way for us, I tipped them directly. This included our Room Steward (Jose, who was very soft spoken and great at his job) and the waitstaff in the Elation Restaurant the two nights that we ate there (even the night that we waited so long, the service was great but it wasn't their fault). The Guest Services staff seemed to want to make a big show of the fact that I was lowering the tip. It took 15 minutes while many people were behind me in line and she printed out literally 12 different receipts that she had to sign and then I had to sign, that's right 24 signatures to lower the tip. In the end, I didn't save anything (that wasn't my goal) but purposefully or not, they made quite a spectacle of it. Overall it was a great experience and we will definitely cruise again. I had read many postings about the ship showing its age, frankly I just didn't see that. I know that it was in dry dock not long before our cruise and maybe that's why, but I thought she was great. We were docked next to the Carnival Elation in Cozumel and sitting side by side there was a stark difference, much more rust, etc on the Elation. I hope this helps, I'm sure that I left many things out (a typist I'm not!), but feel free to ask questions. PS - The best investment I made before we left? $70 for a digital underwater camera -- many, many great pix that we otherwise would have missed. Read Less
Sail Date April 2012
Our experience on the Carnival Paradise was a wonderful experience. The food was phenominal. The service and attention to detail on the ship was impressive. We had an issue with our suitcases being saturated with red wine from another ... Read More
Our experience on the Carnival Paradise was a wonderful experience. The food was phenominal. The service and attention to detail on the ship was impressive. We had an issue with our suitcases being saturated with red wine from another passenger bag. A few clothes items were affected. Carnival laundered the clothes and reimbursed us for the ones that the stains could not be removed. They made several phone calls to our stateroom to follow up on situation. They owned up to it. The beds and linens were comfy. We were impressed with the size of the staterooms.We are experienced cruisers and this cruise exceeded our expectations, especially cause it was a last minute booking. We requested an earlier dining time and that detail was answered as well the next day. The excursions on this cruise were as we expected with higher rates as Carvival must get their "cut too". In GCM we parasailed. That was fun, BUT, afterwards they took us to a beach and the $10 charge for beach chairs and umbrellas was disappointing. In CZM, we did our own thing. We got off the ship and purchased tickets to Playa Mia Beach REsort (an all inclusive resort). We paid $120 total for 2 including transportation. This was a $85 savings compared to the SAME excursion offered by Carnival. In CZM just head to the toursist info hut at the port and you can get most of the same excursions Carnival offers for alot less. The entertainment on the ship also exceeded our expectations. Our cruise director as Wee Jimmie, a very jovial Irishman, who is in the perfect line of work. The pools on the ship are very small, but served our purpose. On the serentity deck, it is reserved for adults only. The fitness facility on this ship was roomy and had all equipment in working order. Only thing was the $12 charge for the spin class. The spin bikes for the class were aged and broken and in a sad state. It didnt seem as though the "fitness director"/ spin instructor was certified as the class was barely so so and not worth $12. There is also a charge for Body Sculpt. We cannot speak for this class. Overall, the experience on this cruise/ship was one I'd recommend to anyone who wants to cruise. The quality of this ship in all aspects, far exceeded our 12 night Middle Eastern cruise that we did on Royal Carribean Vision of the Ses 2 years ago. There are families and kids of all ages on this sailing, bu Carnival does a great job at keeping the kids busy. Night life on ship is there. Karoke was fun. There is a nightclub for adults but we didnt experience it. Overall, the Carnival Paradise is well worth every penny and sailing out of Tampa was so easy and convenient compared to other ports. We will sail out of there again for sure! Read Less
Sail Date April 2012
Just off the Paradise and thought I would give my 2 cents. Traveled with Husband, daughter and her husband and 3 kids (2,4,6 yrs). Quick on & off the ship. We also valet parked which was not expensive and great with the kids. Liked ... Read More
Just off the Paradise and thought I would give my 2 cents. Traveled with Husband, daughter and her husband and 3 kids (2,4,6 yrs). Quick on & off the ship. We also valet parked which was not expensive and great with the kids. Liked the decor much better than the Miracle.. That ship gave me a headache everywhere I went. We have been on several carnival cruises and did not expect much.. Over 20 cruises on other lines. Easy to park in Tampa..only 1 hr from home. But we were delightfully surprised.Ship was very clean. Dining and room staff very friendly.. but other staff (bar, etc) did not really care if we were on board. Rarely spoke to us. Loved the small size of the ship. Our stateroom was larger than expected- esp as 2 grandkids in our room. loved the big bathroom and shower. Food was better than expected but not great. Loved the salad bar at the buffet.very fresh... and deli.... Had anytime dining after much banter with dining room captain (had us set for late seating & we changed it). dined at 5:45 each eve and no wait. Waiter was NOEL.... he was fantastic in every way. ASK FOR HIM in Elation dining room. Never made it to the mongolian grill. always long lines. I have a gluten free diet and for the most past, the dining room did great (remember to order the day before for dinner menu). Must be proactive with special diet. Choc lava cake was very good. Gluten free food was bland... I will bring my our sauces, bread next time. Sailed with kids ... years 2,4 and 6 yrs old. They LOVED the kids club. Staff was great here. Main pool area was always crowded but the kid pool on back deck was very nice...quiet.. and roomy. HATED HATED HATED the 'smoking' casino.... and as it is open to the at deck, when walked by... terrible smoke smell on entire deck. could not gamble due to smell. Saw the comedian. she was good.did not do fitness classes as they required payment. Grand Cayman... booked privately tour to stingrays with Capt Frank... he was GREAT. only 12 on the tour.. got great service and the rays & snorkeling was wonderful . he was also great with the kids. Only paid $30 adult and $20 per child. would definitely do again. Did cut into shopping time in Gr Cayman though as day is short. will definitely sail again. Great for a family. 5 nights was perfect and if booked ahead of time... can not beat rates.. Read Less
Sail Date April 2012
Okay, Let me just start off by saying although it was my first cruise, it was by no means my first vacation. I did a lot of research before our cruise, from the Internet and by asking a lot of questions to friends that I knew had been ... Read More
Okay, Let me just start off by saying although it was my first cruise, it was by no means my first vacation. I did a lot of research before our cruise, from the Internet and by asking a lot of questions to friends that I knew had been on cruises recently. I felt like I had a pretty good idea what to expect. Hopefully other people reading this can gain some insight as as they prepare for their cruise. 1. No, they don't feed you lobster (or crab, or ribeyes) every meal or every night. On our 5 night cruise I was offered lobster tail one night (it was good) and shrimp maybe two nights. Same with cheesecake. They had it--for sale. Now I'm not saying the food was bad, because it was pretty good, but honestly, the buffets did serve the same thing every single day. 2. The entertainment was weak. Maybe I expected too much, I don't know. I was kind of thinking each night at 8pm they would have a Broadway type show that repeated itself around 930pm. Could be we missed them in spite of scouring our nightly program for something to do. Were there things to see? Sure. We saw a couple of comics that were good, and there was a singing/dancing show the last night that was really nice, and a few other short mildly entertaining acts, but nothing like I expected. Most nights it was a choice between playing bingo or watching children sing bad karaoke over and over again. No, I'm not kidding. 3. Also, unless you're an absolute Coke/Pepsi fiend - don't bring them. They're heavy and there's plenty of other stuff to drink. We brought three twelve packs with us and brought two back. 4. Drinks are high. Miller lite cans were about 6 dollars a piece and mixed drinks between $7.50 and $10 dollars (plus 15% tip). Think about slipping a half pint in your pocket before you board. We spent about $350 dollars on drinks in just 5 nights!! Over all, it was a fun time (my 8 year old loved it) and we will definitely be going back, next time a little wiser and my pockets a little fuller. Read Less
Sail Date March 2012
Background Information We have recently returned from the 4-night Carnival Paradise cruise from Tampa to Cozumel! We were on the 2nd cruise after the ship was dry-docked for a couple of weeks. Cruising this time was just DH and me: ... Read More
Background Information We have recently returned from the 4-night Carnival Paradise cruise from Tampa to Cozumel! We were on the 2nd cruise after the ship was dry-docked for a couple of weeks. Cruising this time was just DH and me: "forty some-things" with much cruising experience on cruises from 3 to 7 days in length. We cruise about every 9 months or so, and have cruised out of every Florida home port plus New Orleans and Charleston. Sometimes as a family, sometimes just us, and sometimes with friends. Most of our cruises have been with Carnival, a few with Norwegian, and one with Costa. Travel to Port of Embarkation We booked Southwest air for the "bags fly free" feature. We love SWA and would fly them again any time. I did get selected for extra bag screening at the gate this time. We noticed that on the way back too. There were so many TSA agents hanging around and doing random checks on the way to TPA and back. No worries...I welcome the added (if false) sense of security. Upon arrival in TPA we had about a 20 minute wait until our bags arrived. Hotel Info We booked the Holiday Inn Express Tampa Cruiseport, through an online site and got a great deal for a room and all transfers for like $115 plus tax. The shuttle showed up about 15 minutes after we called the hotel and took us for a 15 minute ride to the hotel. We asked the driver if there was a carry-out nearby, and he stopped there first so we could pick up some supplies. We checked in around 4:30. I haven't stayed at a Holiday Inn property in years and years. It was fine for what we needed it for, and the room was really big, with a King bed and plenty of places to sit. The pool area was nice and behind it was a pond with many types of water fowl and a walking path around it. Very peaceful. Their breakfast room is very large, and the food selections were adequate. Embarkation We were disappointed to find out the first shuttle wasn't until 11:30. I usually like to be at the terminal by 11:00! No worries, though. I was surprised how very easy and super fast the whole process was! We left the hotel around 11:35 with another couple on the shuttle and were ON THE SHIP in 30 (yes, thirty) minutes! We had carried on 3 quart-sized bottles of tonic and 3 -20 ounce ginger ales (to go with our pre-ordered Bon Voyage bottle of liquor), and two 500ml cartons of wine. I was expecting them to shake our bottles or stop us after seeing them on the scanner. I pulled the ziplock containing the 2 wines and showed it to the guy at the front of the line. He waved me by. After I went through the metal detector, I noticed them re-wind my one bag twice. They asked another security person to come hand inspect it. The thing that caused the scrutiny was DH's e-cig box containing a charger and several nicotine cartridges. The screener asked me to open it, and I did and told her they were electronic cigarettes. They were fine with that and we were off! We did have "priority boarding" since we booked a junior "suite". This was a first for us. After the security line, we walked into the boarding area and the woman there said, "Oh, you're VIP...right this way". The VIP boarding has two rooms each with two desks you can sit down in front of while they check you in. Literally 5 minutes to complete this. We were on the Lido deck by 12:10 pm! This was, by far, the easiest boarding experience we've ever had! The Ship The ship was just fine, but I found myself wondering what they did during the dry-dock. It was probably just outside/public area cosmetic and mechanical updates from what I could tell. It was clean and in working order, but I didn't notice any overt updates. My first impressions were (1) Very Very dark inside at night, and (2) Drydock? What drydock? The funnel (whale tail) looked really pretty with its new coat of paint. There were no new furnishings, carpet, or bedding that I could tell. None of this was a problem, as we thought the ship was great and love the Fantasy class of Carnival ships for size and layout. Stateroom We had cabin V-34 on the port side Verandah deck. It is a "junior suite" which is the only way (plus the grand suites) to get a balcony room on this ship. These cabins are only slightly larger than the ocean view cabins on the same class ship. Pretty much the same closet/drawer/bathroom space as any standard cabin on Fantasy class. My first impression was that the cabin was very dark! The decor included lots of dark wood. Usually Carnival cabins are bright and gaudy...not the case here. The cabin was sold as an "obstructed view" cabin for a slightly lower price than the unobstructed cabins in the same area. We were pleasantly surprised to find no obstruction! The cabin location was perfect for peace and quiet from the hallway (no one ever goes there unless they have a cabin there). The cabins just aft of us (two) had the obstructed views (lifeboats). None of those forward of ours had any obstruction. The very front ones were less private because anyone who found the "secret" deck above the bridge could see right onto those balconies. Although the outdoor promenade was right below us, we noticed that no one ever looked up as they were walking by! Also, not many people walked by below us anyway. The balcony is small by comparison to the newer ship standard balconies. Another 10 inches in either direction would have made it better. The balcony was really nice to have though! We spent an average of 3 hours/day out there. There is a refrigerator (not very cold) and a cabinet with a selection of glassware to use for your drinks. The TV was a flat screen. However, they still had a VCR (yes---I said VCR) hooked up to it. Who even has VHS tapes to play anymore? They should have just trashed that thing during dry-dock (or at least replaced it with a DVD player). The Carnival comfort bed was comfy, but a bit firmer than the last time. I like a softer mattress (my sleep number is 35 on our sleep number bed at home...lol). Love, love, love the pillows and duvet! Activities Our Cruise Director was "Sparkle". I never saw her until maybe day 3. She was not annoying at all. I'm not much into who the CD is, but like it when they are not annoying! The 3-4 times I did see her, she had something sparkly on. Once it was her shirt, once the shoes, and once the eye shadow. We went to the 70's music trivia the first sea day and scored 11/20. The winner had 16/20 correct and got medals (no ship on a stick). 70's was just a little bit before our time... We only did the comedy shows for evening entertainment (plus the casino). After dinner on elegant night, we did our usual donation to the casino and went to the 10:00 comedy show with Chris. He was OK. They had 5 comedy shows that night. Two were family-friendly, and three were "R-rated". More comedy was scheduled for the last night. These fill up quickly, so get there at least 15 minutes early if you want a seat. The last night, we went to see the other comedian, Thomas Brown at 10:00. I liked his show better than the first guy's. We spent a good deal of time in the casino each evening. We did not have any big winnings over all, but it was fun to play. They are now enforcing smoking rules (only allowed at certain slot machines and certain tables and only if you are actually playing). Drink service in the casino was pretty good. The slots are tight as ever. People seemed to be having the most fun playing roulette and craps. Carnival always has lots of things to do. If you can't find something you like, you're not trying! Dining We ate all our dinners in the main dining room, assigned 6:00 early seating in the Elation (FWD) dining room. Very convenient to get to from our room (as were all the public areas). We were seated at a 10-top with (presumably) other couples. When we arrived the first night, one other couple was there. Shout out to Brad and Misty (aka "At least she tried it!). Besides us, they were the only other couple who showed up for dinner every night. Each night it was fun to see who would show up and at what time. Pluses were the southern fried chicken, lasagna, escargot, pork steak, fried shrimp dinner, Caesar salad, spinach-artichoke dip, stuffed mushrooms, and jerk pork. Minuses go to the crab cake, lobster tails, and slow dessert service. We skipped dessert in the MDR at dinner a couple times and at lunch once because it was taking too long. Other than that, I thought the service was very good. We ate lunch in the MDR twice, and the food was great: Indian pepper pot, California rolls, rainbow trout, and apple tureen were all very good! Breakfasts were either buffet or room service. I only ate pre-packaged cereals and such at the buffet (I was germ-o-phobic this trip due to the recent norovirus outbreaks this time of year. DH did eat buffet selections and did not get sick though! Room service was always prompt at breakfast. We ordered late-night sandwiches there once too--which were great. I had the late-night pizza in the back of the buffet area one night, which was also good. Overall, food on this cruise was very good, with a few fair things here and there. Port & Shore Excursions We lounged around the cabin until 9:30 as we had a 10:00 reservation for Playa Uvas and It occurred to me they were probably expecting us at 10:00 Central time--not Eastern/ship time. We walked right off the ship and over to the taxi stand. We selected Playa Uvas this time after researching it on CC and Trip Advisor. We were looking for an all-inclusive beach option, but not Nachi Cocom again, as we'd been there 3 times already. Playa is located in an area near Chankanaab and has snorkeling from shore. The cost for open bar, lunch, snorkeling equipment, use of chairs/umbrella for the day was $43 per person. If you book through their website, you pay nothing up front and they send you a letter by e-mail with your confirmation, information about how to get there, and your balance due. When we arrived, our name was up on their board. We arrived around 10:00 ship time (it only took 30 minutes from the door of our room to the entrance to the beach!) and were the first there. I really do think they were expecting us at 10 island time, but they didn't seem to mind. We tipped the bar guy $20 up front and asked him to keep 'em comin'! The drinks were strong enough (we stuck to frozen drinks) and the food was delicious! We snorkeled for about 45 minutes and mostly just enjoyed the beach. They offer glass kayaks and some people did those. I saw a couple of kayak excursions come over to the area in front of us (where the fish are). A small jeep or 4x4 tour stopped there for lunch as well. Other than that, it was very quiet until after around noon. At the busiest, there were maybe 50 people there. They offer massages for an extra price (I told the girl, that's what I have him (DH) for!). Comparing to Nachi--Nachi is "nicer" as in more resort-like. Their beach is softer, but there is no snorkeling there. The rocky entrance to this beach is part of why there are actually fish out there to see when snorkeling. We thought the food and drinks and service were better at Uvas. The taxi was $10 each way and only took 5 minutes to get there in the morning. We spent about 5.5 hours there and definitely got our money's worth and more! We shopped a little in the shopping area at the port for some trinkets for the kids. I like "Los Cinco Soles" (sp?). It is a little more expensive, but no pressure from the sales people there, and plenty of space to move around. We stopped to watch the revelry going on at Fat Tuesday...what a riot! We could hear the party going on there from our balcony when we got back! Disembarkation I awoke before my alarm at 7 a.m. and we were already docked. The ship docked in the opposite direction than it had been when we left. Room service breakfast was delivered on time around 7:20. We hung out in the room and finished packing until about 8:45. The customs calls started around 7:20 (right when our breakfast was arriving). By 7:50, they were calling the names of 4 people who had not cleared customs yet. Around 8:10, there were still two people and they were announcing their names and cabin numbers! Come on non-US citizens--get it together with the customs clearance, will ya? If I were self-assist with an early flight, I would have been really ticked-off! Self-assist finally started a little before 8:30 I think. They call decks starting from the top down. We went to the library for zone 1/VIP debarkation and waited until around 9:20 when they finally finished all the self-assist people. Luggage pick-up and customs were a breeze! We were in a taxi within about 5 minutes and on our way to the airport. The whole thing took about 30 minutes from leaving the library to arrival at the airport. Taxi was flat rate of $25 to the airport. We had about an hour and a half before our 11:20 flight, but I wouldn't do anything much earlier than that. Summary While we have noticed a general downturn in quality and service (compared to when we started cruising together in 2001). Not just with Carnival--noticed it on NCL too. This time, it seemed to be a bit better than the 3 prior cruises. Perhaps Carnival has found a better mix of quality and value than they were providing in recent years. Time will tell. We will definitely cruise Carnival again, and wouldn't mind this ship and itinerary again either. Read Less
Sail Date February 2012
This may be a little lengthy but I wanted to offer as much detail as possible. I scoured this site before our cruise and am so appreciative of all the information I gathered here. This was our first Carnival cruise and a first cruise ... Read More
This may be a little lengthy but I wanted to offer as much detail as possible. I scoured this site before our cruise and am so appreciative of all the information I gathered here. This was our first Carnival cruise and a first cruise for my children. I purchased this vacation as a surprise for my husband's 50th birthday and my son's 16th birthday. Gave it to all of them on Christmas Day - needless to say we were all very excited and very much in need of a vacation! We flew into Tampa on the 19th - didn't arrive until very late - about 1am. We stayed at the Courtyard Marriott as I had rewards and the hotel stay was free. It was adequate and certainly close to the port. Breakfast was horrible - I would not recommend staying here unless it is was free! Had a beautiful day Monday to head out to see - about 75 and sunny. We headed to the port around noon and when all was said and done we were on board by 1pm. Very easy! We were told our rooms would be ready around 1:30. We immediately headed to the pool area to lounge and have our first cocktail! Kids were pretty excited to see the size of the ship. We explored, played ping pong for a bit, grabbed lunch and then headed to our room. Muster was at 3:30 and then we headed to the front of the ship for sail away. It was incredible - going under that bridge! I got some great pix. We had all intentions of going to the dining room that evening but everyone was having a good time and not hungry for 6pm dinner so we skipped it. Wound up eating at the buffet later that night. After the sail away we headed back to our rooms to unpack. I had mentioned on John Heald's FB page that we were cruising to celebrate birthday milestones and he sent us some champagne, chocolate covered strawberries, 2 ships on a stick and Paradise medals. Nice surprise! My son met up with some kids in Club O2 and had a great time that night. My daughter who is 10 was still leery of going to the kids club. We let her stay with us that night but told her the next night Dad and I were going dancing! LOL! Tuesday was a sea day so after breakfast I headed to the pool. It was packed! But the smaller kid pool up at the front of the boat had a few empty chairs - so we moved things around and made ourselves comfortable. The boys didn't stay long and went exploring. My daughter swam and then we headed to one of the activities at the kids club so she could see what it was all about. Beautiful day over all. Formal night Tuesday night - that was fun and dinner was great. The bread pudding is to die for! I wanted it every night but unfortunately they only had it on Tuesday! Wednesday was Grand Cayman day. I had booked the Stingray/Snorkeling adventure online a few weeks before the trip and unfortunately our time slot was changed from 11am to 8am. Oh well. We met in the lounge as directed, but they never called our particular tour. I asked the person running the show and he confirmed that he had not called us yet to get off the ship. So we waited and waited and finally got into the tender line at 9am. It took nearly 30 minutes to get off the ship and then a 10 minute tender ride to shore. Well needless to say, our excursion left without us, and about 10 other people. A little ticked off to say the least and I let them know it! They refunded the excursion of course, but we were so disappointed. So, I took my chances and went with a local - George's Stingray tour. $100 for all 4 of us. I was a bit nervous when she walked away with my money and said I'll meet you over there in 20 minutes, and when we all loaded into 2 vans, and when I saw the size of the boat (can you say small????) but it all worked out. We had a great experience, some awesome pictures and good snorkeling. Oh, and besides the fact that the engine died on the boat on the way back and we had to be towed in while I and a few others were having serious panic attacks that our boat would leave without us in the next 30 minutes! But stress aside, it turned out to be a good time. Oh I almost forgot - my daughter also lost her sign and sail card. Yep and I can still say it was a good day! Thursday was Cozumel. We didn't book any excursions for this day and decided it would just be a day of walking around and some shopping as my daughter had way too much sun on Wednesday. I have to say I wish we had done the beach. Not a fan of the town or the shops - everything in every shop is exactly the same. We did buy a few touristy things. We hit Senor Frogs for lunch and a drink - always fun there and it was nice to sit and relax. Headed back to the ship early and played some bingo. Friday was another day at sea and another day of lounging for me. The kids were up late Thursday night so they slept in until 11 or so that day. We just relaxed all day - played in the arcade, walked around the ship, ate and drank. :-) And before we knew it Saturday morning was upon us and it was time to head home. Went by way to fast. I liked the Paradise - it was a little difficult to navigate, but that could just be me. The food was good - nothing to knock your socks off except that bread pudding! The deli was great and the omelets in the morning were very very good. Service was great at all the bars and the pool area - in the dining room, not so fabulous, but it didn't ruin it for me. The Caesar salads were awesome - something about the dressing they used just put it over the top. The entertainment was great - especially the comedy shows and the awesome band that played most nights at the casino bar. They were incredible! We had a fabulous time and I would definitely book a Carnival cruise again! Read Less
Sail Date February 2012
This was our 3rd cruise. 4th with Carnival. We booked it Christmas Day as a Xmas present for us after receiving our Green Cards Christmas Eve. My friend is TA in Canada and booked with her. We arrived at the port just after 1030. We ... Read More
This was our 3rd cruise. 4th with Carnival. We booked it Christmas Day as a Xmas present for us after receiving our Green Cards Christmas Eve. My friend is TA in Canada and booked with her. We arrived at the port just after 1030. We were told boarding would be around 1120. Which is fine with us we would rather arrive early and be one of the first onboard and start the Cruise experience early! Boarding started early and we were on the lido deck by 1120!! I sat down and wife went to get lunch right away. When we first boarded we were only 5th in line for the deli, but the deli team member seemed extremely overwhelmed and when the F&B manager walked over and asked if he needed help he said no. It still did not take more then 5 mins for our sandwiches which were wonderful. Now we have sailed on the Legend and the Glory. My wife thought the Paradise was a little dated, I didnt think so. But also I knew after the next sailing she was going into Dry Dock. After lunch we headed to the Serenity Deck and were the 2nd couple out there after boarding began an hour ago. It was wonderful to lay out there. Over the next 4 days we roateted between lido deck lounging and Serenity deck. While it is a smaller ship it never felt crowded. Our Cabin Steward Owen was outstanding and always willing to stop and chat and talk about our day and what we enjoyed. Said it was his 15th year with Carnival. Alot of people say Carnival's food quality has gone downhill. It was 2.5 years since our last Carnival Cruise and I couldnt disagree more! The food was still outstanding- the selection has gone down a but but everything we had was very good. Our server in the dining room could have been better. He forgot a few things on 2 nights for us and our tablemates. In his defense his assistant disappeared for 3/4 of the seating. Not enough to complain to the Maitre'd. Ate lunch in the dining room on both sea days for a change of scenery and it was really tasty. The shows were good. The country show ran a little long in my opinion, but maybe I am just not a fan of counrty. The Piano Player was not very entertaining. But maybe thats because we go to GREAT piano bars on land. The Table Artist AJ was a nice and funny guy and we checked out his Card Trick show both nights it was offered. As usual I made my donation to the Casino!! We watched the Casino Vault game for a while each evening and it was neat watching everyone with all their 'theories' on how to beat the machine. To sum it up our 4 days on the Paradise was a fun relaxing getaway and made us book 2 more Carnival Cruises in the next year!! Cant wait and happy sailing!! Read Less
Sail Date January 2012
We just cruised on 1/9 and had a great time. This was my 8th cruise, my DH's 1st. Also along was my 17 y/o son and my 20yr daughter and her boyfriend. The kids all have cruised before. The port is easy to get to. We arrived around ... Read More
We just cruised on 1/9 and had a great time. This was my 8th cruise, my DH's 1st. Also along was my 17 y/o son and my 20yr daughter and her boyfriend. The kids all have cruised before. The port is easy to get to. We arrived around 915am and were first in line for check-in. I like to get there early! They let us in at 0930am and we were on board and eating lunch at 1130am. Very easy check in process. The boat is in good shape overall, obviously not brand new, but kept clean and maintained. Easy to navigate. We had smooth seas all days except last sea day and even then, I thought it stayed pretty stable. Food was OK, not the best we have ever experienced, but definately not going to cause anyone to starve! My daughter loved the pizza, son the Ruebens at the deli. We had late dining everynite and waiters were great as usual!. Loved Eloy! Room was clean, towel animals everynite, but never really had much contact with the steward. Pool was always crowded, pretty typical. We had chairs but we also sat down at 9am and never really left the area until about 2pm. Our favorite spot was alongside the back outside the Paris Restaurant. Watched sunrise/sunsets everyday. Cayman was kinda of a bust. Kids wanted to see turtle farm. We decided to try one of the $20 "tours" because she said we would have about 30 min at the farm and get to see a few other things. Well, after being crammed into a van like sardines w/another group of 9 people, we zoomed by a few things, were given 10 min to see the turtles (and had to pay $10 just to get in for such a short time). Got rushed back to town because another ship was coming in. Never again. We did walk across from the Hard Rock area and looked at the beach there. Snorkeling is available right off the edge, in fact we saw quite a few fish from standing on the rocks. They rent equipment for $18 and beach chairs for $5. A great alternative to an expensive tour if you are just looking to snorkle a little and get off the boat. When you land at the tender, just walk to right a short distance and you're there! We went to Mr Sanchos at Cozumel. I cannot say enough about how wonderful this day was! Got a taxi from Playa Maya where you dock. For 5 it was $20. May be able to talk this down, but it seemed pretty fair so I did not haggle. Took us to the resort. We paid $50 for each adult and $40 for my son, this was the all-inclusive. We had drinks all day, and lunch and snacks. My son also had his "second lunch". We enjoyed the swim up bar/pool and the beach. Snorkeled a little but that definately is not their strong point. There is also free kayaks to use. It was beautiful! Would definately go again! Debark went smoth. We just waited in the Piano Bar until our group was called (18). We were off and waiting for shuttle by 0940am. Probably could have gotten earlier but we were in no hurry. Overall, would cruise this route again. I like the smaller boats, but I think the kids miss some of the bling available on larger ships, but still had a great time. Anxious to see what changes they make. You will have a good time! Read Less
Sail Date January 2012
Pros: Very easy Check-in and out. No long lines. I suggest the self-assist when it comes to your on luggage's. It's much quicker! The Room we had which was R187 was very clean and spacious!!! The steward we had named Daman ... Read More
Pros: Very easy Check-in and out. No long lines. I suggest the self-assist when it comes to your on luggage's. It's much quicker! The Room we had which was R187 was very clean and spacious!!! The steward we had named Daman was AWESOME. He was always helpful and friendly whenever we saw. He is really DA-Man! The Paris Restaurant-Buffet had different choices everyday from breakfast, lunch and dinner. The longest time I waited was probably 5 minutes, no big deal. It went pretty quick. They had lots and lots of desserts. The omelet station was quick and made to order. It's no 5 Star by all means. It is a Buffet! And it is VERY CASUAL! The Staff was always smiling and friendly. The Pizza Bar was really good for a late night snack after The Rex Club. I didn't even realize you could also order Calzone. Next Time. Mongolian, Rotisserie was great for back up if The Paris Restaurant was busy. The food there was either the same or different as The Paris. I would walk to both :-) and check it out. The Sushi Bar was great. You get 3 different samples every night, so you never know what your gonna get. The line wasn't so bad; you just needed to go at the right time. It was ALL YOU CAN EAT, even if you went back for 3rds :-) or 4ths. MDR Destiny AFT at 8:15pm Assigned Dining or should I say 8:20pm is PERFECT! The food was great, Especially Captain's Night. I ordered a Shrimp Cocktail/2 Lobster w/butter and garlic shrimp/1 Prime Rib/Caesar Salad and 2 DESSERTS plus more ice cream. This is the night YOU DON'T want to be shy! Frank and Buddi was Awesome! They were always at our service. Frank always remembered our names and always had my soy sauce for my rice. That was a huge PLUS :-) Room Service, OMG Take ADVANTAGE of it! NO Charge 24 hours. They were very Quick and handy after drinking soooo much. We must of ordered room service 3x a day. No matter who it was they were very fast. The Lido Deck layout was pretty good. The hot tub for adults was Great when it worked ;-) We met a lot of people there from different ages. It was VERY RELAXING on a nice sunny, breezy or overcast day. I suggest hot tub before going on the wet slide. The pool water doesn't seem to be too cold after you dropped in. The Calypso Jams music was nice to listen too, but I preferred the DJ music they put on while on break much better. It sounded better with the buzz I had all day, lol! The Serenity Area AKA "Adult Only" was very quite. The only pro about it is that it really is for adults only and we met a lot of people there from different ages. See Cons. The Fitness Center was very useful and lots of amenities to offer. The best time to workout would be after 8:45am if you don't want to miss out on any machines. They also had an outdoor track. It was very small. It is 11 times around to make a mile. The Promenade was a very nice area. There was a bar there and it was the center of everything. The Casino was fun if you have the extra cash to spend. Electronic poker is the way to play and the roulette table is great when it hits your number. We won $200 on Keno ;-) and won more on roulette. The Rex Club was Great! DJ Clyde played good music from Top 40 to 80's music. I LOVED the Decor. We had FUN TIMES in there every night. If you like dancing, especially Top 40's this is the Club. The Queen Mary Lounge had Comedy Nights on Tuesday & Thursday. Stanley was stale, it wasn't our kind of humor, but Jerome was HILARIOUS!!! Make time to see him for sure. The Live Music was all right every time we walked by it to go to Rex Club. The music didn't bring us in to dance. The Casino Bar had different music like DJ Clyde or The Top 40 Show band and there was JD who played some good country, he looked either lonely or sad :-( when he was singing. I think he should have had a partner to sing with. Maybe that would have perked him up every night. Day At Sea was our FAVORITE DAY to Relax and do NOTHING ;-) We enjoyed our last day of vacation to the fullest. FUN TIMES and Good Memories for sure!!! Cons: The Paradise Cruise was very Rocky! Fun Times but Rocky! Let's start with the Noises in the middle of the night that we heard in our cabin. Something kept clanging against the boat and once you woke up in the middle of the night you couldn't go back to sleep unless you were knocked out from drinking, which happened a few nights. Those were the nights I could sleep. There was a bad odor by The Paris Restaurant outdoor seating because of the lifeboats, so we never ate outdoors, but we did bring our food near the pool or the hot tub area. We noticed that the up keep of the boat in different areas needed attention, because they looked rusty, but they did keep the windows clean. One suggestion for the window washers, use a bigger bucket for the squeegee. The Serenity Hot Tubs both had issues with either not being hot enough, the jets not working or it had lots of bubbles. We did meet a lot of people there from different ages. People and their BATH ROBES, come on. OMG! They were aloud to wear their bath rob practically everywhere, anytime, to any show, breakfast, lunch and dinner. There is a time and place for wearing your BATH ROB. I know your on VACATION but so is everyone else ON THE SHIP. Come on now! Breakfast, to the pool or hot tub and nighttime snacks after midnight should only be aloud. Dinnertime at Destiny AFT was always rocking or vibrating. For being on the 8th floor you would think you couldn't feel anything on that deck. Don't get me wrong, it didn't affect dinner at all it still tasted great. The only issue was on the first night when we ordered the fish. It was too dry, but the swaying and vibration is forgotten after the 3rd night, lol. All and all The Paradise wasn't so bad after all. We had a great time! We can't wait till our next Cruise. We are hooked!!! Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
My husband and I chose to cruise the 4-night Mexico cruise on Carnival Paradise to celebrate our upcoming anniversary. While the price for our Grand Suite was similar to that on the Carnival Splendor's 7-day cruise, we preferred the ... Read More
My husband and I chose to cruise the 4-night Mexico cruise on Carnival Paradise to celebrate our upcoming anniversary. While the price for our Grand Suite was similar to that on the Carnival Splendor's 7-day cruise, we preferred the itinerary to Catalina and Ensenada since we had not been to either of those ports. We had already visited Puerto Vallarta and Cabo on other cruises. Not sure why Carnival is now spending two days in Cabo, but it is definitely not a 2-day port, in our opinion. Overall, we really enjoyed our cruise on Carnival Paradise. I do want to share some of the things we did not like because as a frequent reader of Cruise Critic, it really helps to know what people like and do not like. It definitely helps manage your expectations! I also suspect that Carnival reads the reviews as well, and I am sure it is helpful for them to understand customer preferences and areas for performance improvement. The embarkation/disembarkation process from Long Beach was smooth with our VIP access. We arrived at the port earlier than expected since the crazy Los Angeles traffic took a break for the Labor Day holiday! Boarding began at approximately 11:45 a.m. Rooms were ready by 1:30 p.m. Our room was excellent. Our cabin steward was totally out of sight, although our room was always clean and refreshed. I particularly enjoyed the family of towel animals she created for us each evening. We enjoyed breakfast on our balcony each morning. Room service menu is really limited, but we were happy with coffee, fruit, and a croissant. Just fill out the room service request form, hang it on your door, and breakfast magically appears in the morning. NOTE: If you are a stickler for arrival time, be sure to note it on the form. On the first morning, we requested delivery between 7 and 7:15 a.m., but our breakfast arrived promptly at 6:40 a.m. We weren't out of bed yet, so there was a frantic moment to find a robe and tip. Next day, we were careful to write "not before 7 a.m." so our alarm could go off and we could be ready for coffee pot arrival. We took the Inside Adventure tour of Catalina Island. Our driver, Magdal (spelling?) was outstanding! We enjoyed hearing the history of the island and trip out the road to the airport. We saw several bison/buffalo, as well as other wildlife. The views from the top of the hill were just beautiful. Some of our dinner mates took the Scenes of Catalina tour, and they indicated our tour sounded better. Of note, the road is not an asphalt-paved highway. The trip is a bit like Mr. Toad's Wild Ride at Disneyland. If you are offended by potholes, this would not be a good trip for you. We enjoyed it so much, we would even considering doing it again. We appreciated learning about the great history of Catalina. In Ensenada, we took the Beach Resort tour. We really enjoyed our tour guide, Martha, who provided great narration and history of Ensenada on our way to and from Estero Beach Resort. We had an excellent relaxing day, and the weather was beautiful. The pool area was enjoyable, particularly the swim-up bar. They turned on the pool heater, which was much appreciated. I would have loved a floating mat, but they did not have any floatation available. A Mexican buffet lunch was included. The food was definitely what I would call "Americanized." Living in Southern California, we have easy access to authentic Mexican food. The buffet was fine, but we definitely would have preferred local cuisine, carne asada, tamales, etc. Would I consider the facility a resort? I was not expecting a Four Seasons, but this hotel was definitely not my idea of a "resort." If you go with reasonable expectations, you are sure to have a good time. I have read a lot of positive and negative comments about the Paradise. We found all of the staff to be extremely friendly. The food was hit or miss. We were surprised the dining room service was not of the same quality we experienced on Carnival Spirit. We had to ask for water refills, bread, etc. Even though all of the orders were taken at the same time, the food never came out at the same time for everyone at the table, which makes people feel uncomfortable as to whether or not it okay to start eating. Several times, the food delivered was different than what was ordered. It seemed like maybe our waiters had too many tables for them to handle efficiently. None of us really complained, but it was definitely a topic of discussion and a reason to compare service on different ships and cruise lines. I definitely agree with another review about the pool being too cold. In our opinion, it was ridiculously cold, but definitely fun to watch the kids come down the slide. On the At-Sea Day, they anchor up in the channel. Apparently, it consumes less fuel. I would still think the ship is generating enough power to bring the pool water to a reasonable temperature. In our opinion, the cruise director staff was definitely not at the same level we experienced on the Carnival Spirit. Danny and Laura, both of whom are very nice, were definitely not as interactive or enthusiastic as Stu and the "Bingo Dude." The show schedule seemed odd. First night no show, second night jammed with show and comedy, third night no show, fourth night again jammed with show and comedy. We did not enjoy the country-hoedown show. No offense to the singers and dancers, as they are great. We just did not like the theme or music. We found the comedy to be hilarious, and we particularly liked Jerome. We did not find the adult comedy to be offensive. While there is some adult language, we did not find it to be unreasonable. Just before I wrote this, I read in another review about an erroneous in-room charge. Interestingly, we experienced the same thing. We did not use anything in the room because we brought our own beverages. We had to take our room bill down to Guest Services to have the charge removed. They did not give us any problem about removing it, but it was definitely inconvenient. Overall, we enjoyed our time on the Carnival Paradise. We particularly liked meeting all of the other cruisers we encountered along the way. Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
This was my second cruise and my husbands first cruise. My husband was expecting really good food. He thought the food at dinner was just so so. What made it better was our server German. He was great. We ate at the Elation dinning room ... Read More
This was my second cruise and my husbands first cruise. My husband was expecting really good food. He thought the food at dinner was just so so. What made it better was our server German. He was great. We ate at the Elation dinning room for most of our meals. The soups are good. The meat was tough in some cases. Desserts were so so. The dessert they served at Tea Time were actually much better than what you got at dinner. Our room was really quite because it was located close to the front of the ship. No one walked by our room making noise. Quiet until the ship docked or stopped at 7 am. Then for the next hour or so it was noisy. It would have been nice to be warned about that. In Catalina, we booked a golf cart on line. That was a good deal. In Ensenada, if you just want to shop, just take a van that was parked outside the shopping place at the dock. For $3.00 round trip, they take you in and drop you off, bring you back when you have had enough. The only place we saw anything remotely different in terms of treasures to buy was at the casino across the street from the cruise ship terminal. It is about a two minute walk. If you want quiet and a deck chair during the day at sea, find a chair and put your stuff on it before breakfast. Overall it was a nice cruise, but it would be great it the cruise line warned you about some things, like the anchor going up and down in the morning. Read Less
Sail Date July 2011
Embarkation, well organized. It took about 1 hour from drop off to boarding. Stateroom: Outside with window. Inadequate sitting area. One chair,not upholstered or stool under desk/vanity. No settee. Shower larger than most. Water didnt ... Read More
Embarkation, well organized. It took about 1 hour from drop off to boarding. Stateroom: Outside with window. Inadequate sitting area. One chair,not upholstered or stool under desk/vanity. No settee. Shower larger than most. Water didnt adjust well, either cold or hot,scalding. Blow dryers are no longer in the rooms. On the last night I give up and call the front desk and they brought me one. Room steward barged in on me 2 times in 4 days when i was getting ready for late dinner. I told him 3 of 4 days I had late seating. Tipping: Its automatically billed to your room. I noticed a huge difference in service by room stewards & dining room staff. Why try for a tip when it is automatic. It sure shows in the service.Food: Room service, 3 lunches delicious sandwich, no chips, no salt & pepper, no utensils, no potato salad or chips which was supposed to come with the order. just a sandwich. Dining room. 4 nights. Waiter never introduced himself, never asked our names, no personality. Food portions has diminished, along with any vegetables unless asked for. Selection is much smaller. Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
We are in our early 50's and have cruised from three days to sixteen days from an inside to a Balcony Suite, so a Porthole cabin was a new experience for us.Drove to Port from Reno area taking a few days to visit with folks. Hotel ... Read More
We are in our early 50's and have cruised from three days to sixteen days from an inside to a Balcony Suite, so a Porthole cabin was a new experience for us.Drove to Port from Reno area taking a few days to visit with folks. Hotel reviews will post to the Trip Advisor Site.Down and Dirty - Ship is in very good shape. Cabins are a bit rough around the edges. I would reface the cabinetry on the next dry dock. I love the size of the bathroom especially the shower on this class of ship. TV in the cabin is old and outdated - we don't go on a cruise to watch TV - but it would be great to be able to view your digital pictures on the TV when you come back to your cabin. I have been on the Paradise before so the floor plan was familiar - we just wandered around a bit until 3:30 when we went to the welcome aboard talk by Jeff. We have sailed with Jeff before, but wanted to see if there was anything new. We went to our Muster Drill and then it was up on deck for sailaway! We had late seating for dinner so we wandered about and went back to the cabin to freshen up. Around 6:30 the banging started again. Now I realize the ship must be maintained - but you would think they would give some thought to when they perform these types of things. I have no idea what they were doing - I can say this individually has no rhythym! We just tried to ignore it - but it did go on for a very long time - until we left for dinner. Who knows how long it went after that. Our room stewrd Jatmika and his assistant kept the ice bucket full and the cabin neat and tidy. Pretty darn good towel animals too!We had a great table and great tablemates! Our Wait Staff of Ketut and Roger were pretty darn good! Food was good - nothing really wowed us - and where or where was the Lobster Bisque? I did have one meal that was sub par - Ketut told me they did not prepare it so we had to wait - but my thoughts are that is was prepared and left somewhere for a very long time under a heat lamp - chicken was dry and the noodles rubbery. I also had to ask several times about getting a pitcher of beer. I finally asked Rameesh our Maitre D on Wednesday and low and behold the bars had signage and pitchers available the last sea day.So back to the rhythmically challenged worker banging away under our room. I lost an earring at the show on Tuesday night and when I went to check on it Wednesday morning and also reported the repeated banging. I was/am not looking for anything from this - only to make staff aware that this type of thing is not acceptable. Well we did get a plate of strawberries and cookies delivered by guest services - but the banging continued that night. I would have rather had quiet. I did get a follow up call on Thursday and told them they were still banging and please to just wait for us to go to dinner and then bang all they wanted! Guest Services apologized again and if they were banging that night - they waited for us to leave the cabin!Food wise - I noticed that the quality is still pretty good, but that there does not seem to be as much of a variety as before. All soups were VERY runny - French Onion soup, Navy Bean and Clam Chowder used to be a bit thicker - and what happened to Lobster Bisque? I think that the Bisque is most likely only served on 7 day or longer cruises.Activities - seemed like there was plenty to do onboard. Service was good - we have had better, but met our expectations. I was very disappointed with the Karaoke Host - I signed up to sing and was told there were 4 people ahead of me. She still had not called me up after nine songs so I left. Sadly, there were some really good folks doing some songs and some VERY BAD ones too. I would not have minded waiting - just don't lie to me. She even had one fellow decline to sing - then she let him pick out another song a few minutes later and put him up before me. Not the way things should be done in my opinion. I did not go back because of this.Shows - Great Shows - they changed the female lead singer on Tuesday and while the gal from Monday was good - we preferred Rachel. The shows were very well done and entertaining. Welcome aboard show - we have cruised with Jeff before so as soon as he started the routine with washing the dog, we knew where it was going. It is funny how you remember stuff like that, and it was still a good time.Ports - Catalina - Always a good time, Catalina Island is a great day trip. We wandered around town and purchased a piece of art. If you are in Catalina for a day, we recommend you stop in the Ruth Mayer Gallery, what an incredible talent. We also strolled to the Casino and back - then onto Luau Larry's so we could get our Wiki's Whacked! Great beverage..... I suggest you limit it to one.Ensenada, I was last here three years ago on the Paradise and it has not changed all that much. The tourist buses went up in price and take you to an area that is away from Hussongs, etc. so bring yourself a map. We took a tour to the blowhole and were accosted by the folks trying to sell you items along the street. Almost as aggressive as Ocho Rios! Blowhole was not that great - I am thinking it was not the right type of swells and perhaps the tide was out too. Back to the center and then back to the ship.Some suggestions.... Try to get a bit more organized for embarkation. Too many opportunities missed there. You need a PA system to regularly announce that guests that have not yet checked in and gotten their Sail and Sign Cards to do so by going to XXXXXX. You need clearer lines for the Zones. There were folks standing in VIP who shouldn't have been, people just kind of milling about and seemingly at a loss as to where to go. We did early check in at the Queen Mary but they were late opening up by about 15-20 minutes.Elevators - I can't believe I just noticed this on the last day - but two dings are down and one ding is up - let the guests know this! The lighting for the up and down arrows was so bad that folks just got in and went for the ride. Also in the elevators.... Announcement should be something like Deck 10, Lido Deck not just the deck name. So many times folks would get in the Atrium elevator and say I need to go to deck 8 but the buttons only have names, not decks. That is very confusing for some.Ship maps - Your Cabin floors should be color coded the same on the maps at the Guest Services Desk and the hand out ship maps. For example, we were on the Main deck and it was blue. On the Ships maps at Guest Services it was pink (or Salmon - whatever) - again, not really necessary - but more esthetically pleasing.Debarkation - I don't think I will ever do Self Assist and cannot see the reasoning for the most part (OK, an early flight would be a great reason) why anyone would want to. But all the yahoos who got off before I did certainly made my exit from the ship quite smooth! Read Less
Sail Date April 2011
We are in our early 50's and have cruised from three days to sixteen days from an inside to a Balcony Suite, so a Porthole cabin was a new experience for us.Drove to Port from Reno area taking a few days to visit with folks. Hotel ... Read More
We are in our early 50's and have cruised from three days to sixteen days from an inside to a Balcony Suite, so a Porthole cabin was a new experience for us.Drove to Port from Reno area taking a few days to visit with folks. Hotel reviews will post to the Trip Advisor Site.Down and Dirty - Ship is in very good shape. Cabins are a bit rough around the edges. I would reface the cabinetry on the next dry dock. I love the size of the bathroom especially the shower on this class of ship. TV in the cabin is old and outdated - we don't go on a cruise to watch TV - but it would be great to be able to view your digital pictures on the TV when you come back to your cabin. I have been on the Paradise before so the floor plan was familiar - we just wandered around a bit until 3:30 when we went to the welcome aboard talk by Jeff. We have sailed with Jeff before, but wanted to see if there was anything new. We went to our Muster Drill and then it was up on deck for sailaway! We had late seating for dinner so we wandered about and went back to the cabin to freshen up. Around 6:30 the banging started again. Now I realize the ship must be maintained - but you would think they would give some thought to when they perform these types of things. I have no idea what they were doing - I can say this individually has no rhythym! We just tried to ignore it - but it did go on for a very long time - until we left for dinner. Who knows how long it went after that. Our room stewrd Jatmika and his assistant kept the ice bucket full and the cabin neat and tidy. Pretty darn good towel animals too!We had a great table and great tablemates! Our Wait Staff of Ketut and Roger were pretty darn good! Food was good - nothing really wowed us - and where or where was the Lobster Bisque? I did have one meal that was sub par - Ketut told me they did not prepare it so we had to wait - but my thoughts are that is was prepared and left somewhere for a very long time under a heat lamp - chicken was dry and the noodles rubbery. I also had to ask several times about getting a pitcher of beer. I finally asked Rameesh our Maitre D on Wednesday and low and behold the bars had signage and pitchers available the last sea day.So back to the rhythmically challenged worker banging away under our room. I lost an earring at the show on Tuesday night and when I went to check on it Wednesday morning and also reported the repeated banging. I was/am not looking for anything from this - only to make staff aware that this type of thing is not acceptable. Well we did get a plate of strawberries and cookies delivered by guest services - but the banging continued that night. I would have rather had quiet. I did get a follow up call on Thursday and told them they were still banging and please to just wait for us to go to dinner and then bang all they wanted! Guest Services apologized again and if they were banging that night - they waited for us to leave the cabin!Food wise - I noticed that the quality is still pretty good, but that there does not seem to be as much of a variety as before. All soups were VERY runny - French Onion soup, Navy Bean and Clam Chowder used to be a bit thicker - and what happened to Lobster Bisque? I think that the Bisque is most likely only served on 7 day or longer cruises.Activities - seemed like there was plenty to do onboard. Service was good - we have had better, but met our expectations. I was very disappointed with the Karaoke Host - I signed up to sing and was told there were 4 people ahead of me. She still had not called me up after nine songs so I left. Sadly, there were some really good folks doing some songs and some VERY BAD ones too. I would not have minded waiting - just don't lie to me. She even had one fellow decline to sing - then she let him pick out another song a few minutes later and put him up before me. Not the way things should be done in my opinion. I did not go back because of this.Shows - Great Shows - they changed the female lead singer on Tuesday and while the gal from Monday was good - we preferred Rachel. The shows were very well done and entertaining. Welcome aboard show - we have cruised with Jeff before so as soon as he started the routine with washing the dog, we knew where it was going. It is funny how you remember stuff like that, and it was still a good time.Ports - Catalina - Always a good time, Catalina Island is a great day trip. We wandered around town and purchased a piece of art. If you are in Catalina for a day, we recommend you stop in the Ruth Mayer Gallery, what an incredible talent. We also strolled to the Casino and back - then onto Luau Larry's so we could get our Wiki's Whacked! Great beverage..... I suggest you limit it to one.Ensenada, I was last here three years ago on the Paradise and it has not changed all that much. The tourist buses went up in price and take you to an area that is away from Hussongs, etc. so bring yourself a map. We took a tour to the blowhole and were accosted by the folks trying to sell you items along the street. Almost as aggressive as Ocho Rios! Blowhole was not that great - I am thinking it was not the right type of swells and perhaps the tide was out too. Back to the center and then back to the ship.Some suggestions.... Try to get a bit more organized for embarkation. Too many opportunities missed there. You need a PA system to regularly announce that guests that have not yet checked in and gotten their Sail and Sign Cards to do so by going to XXXXXX. You need clearer lines for the Zones. There were folks standing in VIP who shouldn't have been, people just kind of milling about and seemingly at a loss as to where to go. We did early check in at the Queen Mary but they were late opening up by about 15-20 minutes.Elevators - I can't believe I just noticed this on the last day - but two dings are down and one ding is up - let the guests know this! The lighting for the up and down arrows was so bad that folks just got in and went for the ride. Also in the elevators.... Announcement should be something like Deck 10, Lido Deck not just the deck name. So many times folks would get in the Atrium elevator and say I need to go to deck 8 but the buttons only have names, not decks. That is very confusing for some.Ship maps - Your Cabin floors should be color coded the same on the maps at the Guest Services Desk and the hand out ship maps. For example, we were on the Main deck and it was blue. On the Ships maps at Guest Services it was pink (or Salmon - whatever) - again, not really necessary - but more esthetically pleasing.Debarkation - I don't think I will ever do Self Assist and cannot see the reasoning for the most part (OK, an early flight would be a great reason) why anyone would want to. But all the yahoos who got off before I did certainly made my exit from the ship quite smooth! So, in closing I want to say that Carnival Cruise Lines is still in my opinion the best cruise for the buck - We had a good time, the table we sat at was good and food was OK - I think my expectations would have been greater if this had been a longer trip. The other passengers were for the most part very well mannered and we saw very little over indulgance as far as alcohol - surprising on a Spring Break trip. Would I do this trip again? Yes, but not at this time of the year - ship was crowded with many kids on board. Never again in a Porthole room - WAY too noisy for me.Where will we go on our next cruise? No idea.... but I plan on having a good time wherever it sails to! Read Less
Sail Date April 2011
The cruise was fun. There really is no down time if you're willing to participate in many activities. You do need to get to activities early to get seats or tables. We arrived to the deck party 1 hr early and got the last table. We ... Read More
The cruise was fun. There really is no down time if you're willing to participate in many activities. You do need to get to activities early to get seats or tables. We arrived to the deck party 1 hr early and got the last table. We arrived to a few shows 45 min early to limited seating. The cruise over all was nice. The boat is small and from what I heard a little outdated. I did not find issues there but I guess I am happier to be away and with good company. The ship just came out of dry dock but the upgrades are not really noticeable it was a few carpets and the outside painting, redid the ships name on the boat things like that. The crew on this ship is friendly and more then helpful. Don't be shy participate in all events. You will never see these people again. Try new foods. If you don't like your meal don't be afraid to say I don't like this I want this. They are more than happy to accommodate you and get it for you anything order two starter if you wasn't to try two my son did the skinny minny he is tried all types of seafood he normally would never have tried. The wait staff is great all of them. The pool is always crowded on these size ships if you're going to sit by the pool be early after 10 Am it's pretty filled. We are booking a cruise Feb of next year on the new ship the Breeze. I will say this if you have children ages 10 to 17 this cruise is perfect. We have kids 12, 14, 16 and 17 between two families we really did not see much of them they had events up till midnight or later parties and stuff for the kids it was great! So the kids on days we are not in port will be busy all day! We did a dolphin swim and stingray Island kids loved it swimming with the dolphins was fun in Grand Caymans and Cozumel we did a party boat reef swim with Fury and was fun. Both were fun and a good time I think I would opt for a different event Cozumel next time this was great to do once, so do it if you're looking for a party event but if you looking for laid back try another event. Over all was fun and can't wait for my next cruise. My main down was we left port 2 and a half hrs late and that made for no fun we were in dinner missed the sail away and that was a bummer we had 6 Pm dinning set sail at 6:30 for being our first cruise we missed out there and Carnival needs to remember that and work on leaving on time 30 min to 1 hr late ok but 2 and 1/2 half hrs makes for a lot of people to miss the fun in set sail! My only other issue I found was an elevator was down making for issues for the elder and people with small children this was one of the glass elevators down the whole cruise. The kids really enjoy the events especially the picture taking at night. The deck part was a blast they should have a few of them throughout the cruise different times of the day it's a crowded event. Also we bought the CD don't waste your money what you see on the TV is it so if you see it on the TV why purchase it? Over all it was fun and exciting and a good event a few mishaps but some Carnival could have fixed. We watched the packing and loading from our balconies and well a lot of talking and standing around the forklifts. Did the stay and sail Holiday inn express and that was perfect. Read Less
Sail Date February 2011
There were 12 of us (6 couples) that set off on a cruise out of LA on 1/28/11 looking for some rest and relaxation. We boarded the Carnival Paradise about 1pm, headed for the buffet for lunch, and were able to check into our cabins shortly ... Read More
There were 12 of us (6 couples) that set off on a cruise out of LA on 1/28/11 looking for some rest and relaxation. We boarded the Carnival Paradise about 1pm, headed for the buffet for lunch, and were able to check into our cabins shortly thereafter. Everything about the cruise went well - we enjoyed the food, entertainment, activities and amenities the ship has to offer. The Paradise is an older ship, and the cabins are rather "dated", especially the bathrooms, but everything was in working order and clean, which is most important to us. We sailed to Ensenada and spent the day on a bus tour that took us to the "Blow Hole", and thoroughly enjoyed the day. Our tour guide "Elizabeth", was fantastic - shared many personal stories and gave us a very relaxed, informative narrative about Ensenada and Mexico. The weather was perfect that day - mid to upper 70s, no clouds, and according to Elizabeth that is a rare occurrence. She told us there is most generally fog in that area, which is why it is such a rich area for wine grapes and also many vegetables which are grown in the area. We were lucky to be there on a clear day and could actually see a long ways out to sea. The next day the weather didn't cooperate - we were at sea all day, but the weather was cool, cloudy and even "spit" rain from time to time. Not the perfect day for a day on board ship, but we were able to find other activities to keep us busy, but would have preferred to hang out in the sun by the pool with a good book or a game of cards. Just can't control the weather I guess! We took in one of the comedian shows and two of the dance/music shows in the evenings. Again, they didn't compare to the high standards of NCL, but we did enjoy them and would recommend them to others. Our group was always seated promptly at our dinner tables and the service was excellent. The meals we had at dinner were good, but not up to the standards we were used to when we cruised with Norwegian Cruise Lines. The food wasn't bad, it just wasn't as exceptional as NCL. This was our first Carnival cruise, and also our first short cruise (3 days), and we felt it was a long way to travel to and from the pier for such a short cruise. Next time we will go back to the 7 day cruises so we get the most value from our travel dollars. All in all it was a fun time - we had two couples that were "first timers", so it was fun to see their reaction to everything and it was also fun for us to compare Carnival to the outstanding quality, value and service we've come to expect from Norwegian Cruise Lines. We love cruising and would recommend that everybody try it at least once! And we'll most definitely be returning to cruising with NCL in the near future! Read Less
Sail Date January 2011
We found this cruise to be excellent! What it is: -Fun! If you were bored... it was your fault! There was plenty to do! -EXCELLENT service from the Carnival Paradise staff (from the embarkation staff to the ship) -GOOD ... Read More
We found this cruise to be excellent! What it is: -Fun! If you were bored... it was your fault! There was plenty to do! -EXCELLENT service from the Carnival Paradise staff (from the embarkation staff to the ship) -GOOD food (this isn't a five star restaurant, but the food is good) -CLEAN rooms and ship. People were always cleaning around the ship! -Catalina is excellent! Beautiful city, good excursions. -Ensenda blow hole tour is an absolute must. We booked with the ship on this one and are glad we did. The city looks difficult to navigate and work with. -Affordable! Where else can you get room/board/entertainment/food for this price?? What it isn't: -A "fancy" cruise designed for anyone used to 5 star service. You will be disappointed. -A quiet environment. Yes, you can relax and find a quiet place to read, sleep, but many children are on this cruise. Be prepared for kids! Read Less
Sail Date January 2011
EMBARKATION My husband and I flew down on JetBlue (love that airline)the day before. We stayed at The Hilton in Long Beach. Great price $94, included a free shuttle for sightseeing and the trip to the ship the next day. We got to the ... Read More
EMBARKATION My husband and I flew down on JetBlue (love that airline)the day before. We stayed at The Hilton in Long Beach. Great price $94, included a free shuttle for sightseeing and the trip to the ship the next day. We got to the pier before 11:00 and was directed to the Queen Mary next door to do early registration. That was quick and painless. On the walk back to the ship I bought a straw hat. When we got their people were already checking in there. Should have waited the few minutes and just done it there, oh well. We were on the ship before noon. We had a late breakfast buffet at the hotel so we just sat up on the Lido deck and waited for my students and their parents to get on board. We must have been asked a gazillion times if we wanted a cocktail. We weren't ready for any, but did buy a wine package for dinner. I got 3 bottles for $58. Ended up in the Paris for some iced tea and ran into many from our group, including Robin from Dancin' At Sea. She's been escorting dance groups for 15 years and is FABULOUS. CABINS We had an ocean view on the Main Deck, real close to midship, loved the location. Not as big as our cabin on The Splendor last Thanksgiving, but for an older ship it was fine. The bed was comfy. Plenty of space for clothes. I was impressed by the size of the shower, bigger than most. Our cabin steward's name was Irish. Kept everything nice for us. Lots of ice all the time too. DINING The food was good, not great. Our waiter had our wine stolen from the area it was kept. She replaced it, I think she had to pay for that herself. She was great but the assistant waiter didn't always get our orders right. The french onion soup, baked mushrooms, short ribs and prawns were good. Didn't care for the Tilapia, blah. Chocolate Melting Cake, yummo. Our dancers 10 - 17 yr olds had fun getting up with the waiters and dancing each night. Pretty cool in the dinig room, bring a sweater. We ate breakfast in the dining room most every day. Eggs Benedict, very good. Didn't eat much in the buffet but had a Reuben from the deli and veggie pizza, both were good. OTHER STUFF Our dancers got to take a class from A.K. one of the Carnival dancers, she was a fabulous teacher, the kids loved her. We enjoyed the dancers and singers alot. The comedian, not so much. Our girls got to dance on the Main stage on Thursday afternoon, the house was packed. What an awesome experiance for our girls. The families liked the pools and the kids loved the slide. Read Less
Sail Date July 2010
I had been on four Holland America cruises but decided to try a short Carnival cruise just to try it. That plus the fact the cruise was pretty cheap so I wanted to try a fun ship from my home port, plus I had taken two frineds that had ... Read More
I had been on four Holland America cruises but decided to try a short Carnival cruise just to try it. That plus the fact the cruise was pretty cheap so I wanted to try a fun ship from my home port, plus I had taken two frineds that had never cruised before to get their reaction. In a nutshell,,,weel worth the money, this really was a Funship. BTW I am 57 and my wife is 56 years young. We arrived early so were sent to the early embarkation desk. I took all of 10 minutes to get checkd in. However the ship wasn't ready for boarding. we arrived at 10:55 but were onboard by 11:45 and going to the Lido for lunch. If you get onboard early may I suggest the Mongolian grill, lines get really long during the week. Our ocean view cabin was smaller then what I was used to, but I had only had balconies in the past on HAL. I will say there was a lot of storage, it was very clean, the bathroom was pretty large, in all it taught me I can live in an OV cabin. Our cabin stewrad kept it immaculate. The food on the ship was pretty good. There are more choices on HAL, but you won't starve ont he funship. We ate all our meals in the main dining room. I am not fond on buffetts on cruiseships so I cannot comment on that. My friends did try the sandwich bar and liked it. The food was not 5 star, but it was good. I would suggest trying anytime dining. Seems the earlier you eat, the fresher the food is. We ate every day between 645 and 730 pm. There are a lot of age groups on this ship, from babies to older people. Carnival did a good job arranging activities so all ages could be represented, hence the Funship moniker. I found I could do the same things on Carnival as I do on Holland America with no problem. I am used to HAL ships with a little older crowd but this was actually more fun to me. The teens and younger kids and families I observed seem to all be having a good time. The Vegas shows were pretty good too. Of course this is not Vegas but the singers and dancers were pretty talented, my wife hates cruise ship shows and said the one called Xtreme Country was the best she had ever seen, and we don't even listen to country music. One of my friends tried the spa and she stated to me it was about he same caliber as the ones she uses in Las Vegas so she was pretty happy with it. Our first port was to be Avalon on Catalina but the winds made it impossible for the tenders to get us off the ship so our first day became a sea day. It was pretty rocky but the Captain did his best to try and find us a calm sea but that took until about mid-day. We did port into Avalon the next day. they did a really good job to change the daily program to add ship board activities for our unplanned sea day. Debarkation was a bit hectic. There was no announcements over the PA as to which zones were to disembark as we were expecting. Seems that US Customs had a few passengers they had to do "raids" (for lack of better word) in the staterooms and that slowed us down. So the line to get of the shipw as very long, but it probably took no more then 30 minutes once Customs cleared the ship. All in all I think Carnival does a really good job for the price. Given the choice, if I had an itinerary that was the same on Holland America as Carnival, I would take the cheaper fare which probably would be Carnival. If the fares were the same I would go with HAL, but as I stated, Carnival gives you some bang for your buck.t Read Less
Sail Date March 2010
Carnival Paradise Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 3.0 3.9
Dining 4.0 3.7
Entertainment 4.5 3.7
Public Rooms 3.5 3.9
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.7
Family 4.0 3.7
Shore Excursion 4.5 3.8
Enrichment 4.0 3.3
Service 4.5 4.2
Value For Money 4.0 3.8
Rates 3.0 4.2

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