OCTOBER 29, 2000 - NOVEMBER 5, 2000 This was our 37th cruise overall and our second cruise with Carnival. Being that I was in desperate need of a vacation, we booked this cruise at the last minute, and reserved a category 6A ... Read More
OCTOBER 29, 2000 - NOVEMBER 5, 2000 This was our 37th cruise overall and our second cruise with Carnival. Being that I was in desperate need of a vacation, we booked this cruise at the last minute, and reserved a category 6A guarantee. This was the first time I had ever booked under guarantee, and I must admit I was a little leery of not knowing my exact cabin until pier side check-in. I was expecting the worst, and what I got was a major surprise.....(more on that later). We arrived at the Port of Miami at approximately 11:30am with our luggage trailing behind us. As we did not have our documents or cabin assignment it wasn't possible to check the bags curbside until after we checked in. Upon entering the terminal building we were directed to a check in desk marked "Pierside Document Pick-Up." At that point we were given our documents, including the famous Paradise No Smoking disclaimer to sign. I noticed on our tickets that the cabin number and dining was not assigned and was told that we would find this information on our Sign and Sail Cards. I was a little nervous at this point to say the least. Upon completing our documents we passed through security (still with luggage in tow) and were queued up in the line for check in. The line was a bit long, but moved very quickly. We were at the counter in a matter of minutes, where I again inquired about dining and cabin assignments. I was given the same information as before, and was told that all of the information would be printed on our Sign and Sail Cards which we were to claim on the upper level of the terminal. Now I'm VERY nervous! We checked in upstairs and claimed our Sign and Sail Cards which also double as your cabin key. I immediately checked to see what cabin we had and boy was I shocked! We had been upgraded from a Cat. 6A (outside cabin) to a Cat. 12 SUITE! Category 12 is the highest category available on this ship and was very roomy. It's also important to note that our dining was confirmed for Second seating as requested. THE CABIN: Category 12 Suite with Verandah. This cabin was approximately the size of a standard hotel room. It contained 2 almost-queen size beds that can be pushed together to form a king. Large sectional sofa, coffee table, 2 chairs with cocktail table, bar, refrigerator, large vanity, walk in closet, 27" TV, mini-safe, and large bathroom with jaccuzzi tub and shower. The bathroom was very spacious and had ample storage space. The balcony was large enough for a full size lounge chair and 2 regular chairs, but did not contain any type of table. THE SHIP Upon unpacking we went to the Paris Restaurant (Casual Lido Buffet) for lunch. The buffet featured a variety of hot and cold foods as well as a huge salad bar, pasta station and the always available 24 hour Pizza Station which also served Calzones and Ceasar Salad. After lunch we explored the ship which was immaculate. The crew did a great job in keeping the ship spotless both inside and out. The atrium is less glitzy than other Carnival ships, and in the center of the atrium on lower level is a nice bar that had a large screen TV for sporting events and at other times a Trio played music which could be heard on the various levels of the atrium. Most of the colors throughout the ship were earth tones, and somewhat drab. One would think this to be an easy ship to navigate...not so. There were stairwells that went to "nowhere," especially the one at the rear of the ship that went from the Rotterdam Bar to the Dining Room and then you were at a "dead end." The atrium elevators only traversed the 4 or 5 decks of the atrium and were the only means of getting from one level of the atrium to another unless you used the main stairwells. I found it odd to design a ship with an atrium but not provide stairs to connect each level. Most of the bars and entertainment areas are located off Carnival Blvd, and each contained a different form of entertainment each night. The Majestic Casino was about the most glitzy part of the ship (and rightfully so) but never had much activity. I found the slot machines to be quite generous at times, although this was pure luck. One thing I noticed on this ship is the virtual lack of people out at night. The ship was a near ghost town past 11pm. From talking to the crew, it seems that the non-smoking aspect of this ship draws a more sedate crowd, and this particular cruise seemed more like a Holland America cruise than a Carnival Fun Ship. ENTERTAINMENT The entertainment on this particular sailing was the weakest point of the entire cruise. The Vegas style production shows were not very good, nor were the "celebrity" entertainers which only consisted of 2 comedians which were not funny at all. The poolside calypso band was very good, and were probably the most talented of the entire entertainment staff. A word of warning for anyone interested in watching the entertainment in the Normandie Lounge... Get there EARLY as there are only about 10 seats in the entire showroom that don't have an obstructed view and they are all in the first row. This was perhaps the worst designed show lounge I've ever seen in that there were columns obstructing the view of the stage from almost every seat in the place. FOOD We were pleasantly surprised with the food onboard. Breakfasts were spent in the Casual Paris Restaurant, where they had the usual buffet items, as well as a made to order egg/omlet station. The lines moved rather quickly and it seemed that most passengers opted for breakfast in this fashion. In addition there was also a large fruit bar, and coffee, tea, lemonade and fruit punch were available 24 hrs a day along with self serve ice cream. We ate 2 lunches in the main dining room and were pleased with the selection and quality of the food. The remaining lunches were taken in the Lido area and each day there was a varied buffet of hot and cold items as well as the ever present hamburger/hot dog grill and of course the pizza station. One point to mention here is there are NO trays in the Lido restaurant. You will definitely get plenty of exercise walking back and forth from the buffet to the table and back to the buffet, then back to the table etc. We were assigned a table for 6 in the Elation Dining Room, and during our second seating dinner, we never encountered a bad meal all week. The selection was varied and the service was good. The tables were a bit closer together than on other ships and it did cause a bit of trouble for the waiters to maneuver around at times, but this was easily overlooked. PORTS Since this was mainly a relaxation getaway and we had been to these same ports several times in the past, we didn't spend too much time ashore. In Nassau, we went to the Atlantis Hotel for the day and enjoyed their facilities for the daily rate of $50.00. In San Juan we stayed onboard the ship as this is our least favorite island. St. Thomas found us making a few purchases at the Havensight Mall and then we spent the balance of the day onboard Royal Caribbean's Enchantment of the Seas which was docked behind us. We were able to get onboard thanks to some friends of ours who are working onboard. We spent a nice day visiting with them and had a nice lunch onboard the Enchantment before we returned to the Paradise. SUMMARY All in all it was a very nice, relaxing week onboard the Paradise. Would I sail her again? Yes, but I still prefer Royal Caribbean for both the beauty of their ships and the excellent service provided by their crew. While the crew onboard the Paradise were nice, they only did what was required and never went out of their way to be friendly etc. The food and service were good, not overly exciting. The ship was spotless, the weather was beautiful and we were combining this with a back to back sailing on the Norwegian Sky when we got back to Miami so life was good. Read Less
This was our 15th cruise, 2nd on Carnival. My wife and I are in our early 50's. Much has been said about the Paradise and the smoke free environment that it offers. However most of what has been written can't do justice to ... Read More
This was our 15th cruise, 2nd on Carnival. My wife and I are in our early 50's. Much has been said about the Paradise and the smoke free environment that it offers. However most of what has been written can't do justice to the experience. At first walking into the casino or into any lounge or at any bar seems odd until you realize that there is no cigarette or cigar smoke to contend with. This aspect of the cruise was probably the one thing that most sets this ship apart from all others. We were booked into a Verandah Cabin 076. The cabin was nicely decorated with cabinetry of dark lacquered woods, a mauve ceiling finish and complimentary colors in the soft furnishings, carpets and spreads. Two end tables; a small table and a sofa that converted into a third bed completed the furnishings. The beds were pushed together to create a queen size bed. The room came with a well-stocked mini-fridge containing bottled water and a variety of sodas in 20 ounce bottles. Prices for these beverages were the same as anywhere else on the ship. The verandah was just large enough to hold two resin chairs and a small table. There was no cover over the verandah for weather protection. The bathroom contained a nice sized shower and the typical sink and toilet arrangement found on modern cruise ships. No hair dryer is provided so bring your own. Bring y our own shampoo as well as only a basket full of toiletry samples are provided. Our room stewardess kept our bathroom well stocked with towels and there were bathrobes for use during the cruise. Overall a pleasant room to spend a week's cruise in. The upper decks are devoted to sun in the fun. There is a stern lido area with two whirlpools and a shallow dip pool. Amidships there is a sundeck that surrounds the main pool one deck below. Farther forward is the top of the atrium and the Verandah cabins. Walk forward through the verandah cabin hallways through the doors and you come out onto a delightful deck that overlooks the bow. This deck is directly over the bridge. It is also accessible by stairways from either side of the deck below. The pool deck contains the spa forward with the main pool, water slide and a large performance stage. There is an outdoor lido grill and the enclosed Paris lido dining area farther aft. There are two small outside deck areas at the rear on the port and starboard sides accessible from the rear of the Paris lido for those who want to eat alfresco. The interior dEcor is themed to that of Ocean liners of the past. Lounges have the names of famous lines such as Queen Mary, Normandie, America, United States and Rex. The library is devoted to the Blue Riband which is the trophy awarded to the fastest trans-Atlantic ocean liners. I found the interior decors to be far more subdued than those seen on other Carnival ships and thankfully neon was notably absent. Most everywhere there are small Tivoli lights instead. These must total in the thousands. The Main showroom is a two-story room with fairly good sightlines but there are support columns that do obstruct views from some seats in the lower level. Views from the back of the upper deck are not as good. I did not see any seat saving and finding seats fro the shows was not a major problem, at least for the late shows. The atrium is the ships centerpiece and provides a fully open seven-story view to a large skylight at the top. During the day the area is flooded with sunlight and at night it takes on a darker tone with dark wood and the sparkle of those Tivoli lights. There are two glass-enclosed elevators that face into the atrium. The social gathering place is the atrium bar where a string trio or a piano soloist played during most of the day on a stage directly behind the bar. This is a great place to meet friends or sit and people watch. Non-smokers seem to be far less of the party type as those on other ships. Many of the lounges went virtually unused and some entertainers performed for only a few couples in some lounges. Highly attended most nights was the karaoke. Entertainment consisted of two production shows (OK but not the elaborate productions seen on the larger classes of ships), individual performers in the main lounges on other nights, several two and three-piece bands in the smaller rooms and late night adult comedy. Overall the entertainment was a little better than average. We usually ate breakfast in the Paris lido area, and had lunch and dinner in the main dining rooms. There are two of these called Destiny and Elation. We were assigned to the Elation for the last late seating which was at 8:30pm. We found the found the food tasty, properly presented but it was not adventurous. Salads were the same each night with the same dressings offered. The main courses usually had meat, poultry, fish and vegetarian selections. Assorted cheeses and deserts are offered. Our table was fortunate to have a waiter and assistance that did a very good job, our glasses were always kept full and no mistakes regarding orders occurred during the entire week. Our assistant waiter also did duty in the lido dining room for breakfast. We would sit in his area and he always brought us our English Breakfast Tea without us having to ask. His attention was greatly appreciated, thanks so much Pastika! Our ports of call included Nassau, Bahamas; San Juan, Puerto Rico; and St Thomas, USVI. Having visited these ports many times in the past they have become like visiting old friends. We tend to do our own thing and do not take the ships excursions. In Nassau the time was limited to six hours so we simply walked the town, did a bit of window shopping and then spent the rest of the time on the ship. In San Juan we visited El Morro, then walked Old San Juan. After lunch we spent the afternoon at Isla Verde, which is a beautiful beach about 15 minutes outside of old San Juan, past the Condado area. We rented beach chairs for $3 each and spent the remainder of the afternoon on a nearly deserted beach. The water was warm, the sun was out, and it was great! That evening before dinner we went to the Wyndham Old San Juan Hotel and had cocktails on an outdoor second floor deck that overlooks the harbor. We returned to the ship for dinner and we sailed at 11:00pm. In St. Thomas we spent the morning at Sapphire Beach, departing before other cruise ship tours arrived. This is a small but beautiful beach with very clear waters and small living coral reefs that can be snorkeled. Beach chairs and snorkel equipment can be rented from the Sapphire Beach Hotel concession and there is a beach side restaurant that serves pretty good sandwiches. Afterward we returned to the ship for lunch and then did the shopping thing in Charlotte Amalie. The last two days of the cruise are spent at sea returning to Miami. The sea days are a favorite and the weather was simply perfect, allowing us maximum time for sunning, swimming or simply relaxing. Even during these days the expected crowds around the swimming pools were not to be found lounge chairs were always available. The one annoying policy that Carnival has is how they handle the beach towels. Very nice logo towels are provided for use at the pools or while ashore. There are left in your room along with strict warnings not to lose them. They are supposed to be exchanged each day for fresh ones but this didn't always happen for us. If you wanted an extra towel around the ship's pool it had to be signed for. Every other line I have been on simply had piles of fresh towels for the taking around the pools, which is a far more convenient arrangement. I can only surmise that towel thefts are a problem for Carnival. Maybe switching to plain ordinary towels for the pool areas would solve the problem. Other than this one minor issue we had nothing to at all to complain about. The ships is very well maintained and the interior is spotlessly clean, probably more so due to the lack of smoking. The non-smoking policy is rigidly enforced so if you think you can smoke and get away with it be warned, you probably can't and getting caught will cost you $250 and being put off at the next port of call. Five passengers on our cruise experienced this first hand. But for the non-smoker there is simply no better environment afloat in which to cruise. Considering the price paid for this cruise we certainly got our monies worth and more. Even more important we liked the ship and the smoke free environment enough to say that we would consider sailing on this ship again. Acerrazub@aol.comNovember 2002 Read Less
Well, here is my review; sorry it has taken me so long to write this, just now getting time to. Day before Embarkation: My family and I flew down to Miami on American Airlines from St. Louis. Security was tight as normal, but ... Read More
Well, here is my review; sorry it has taken me so long to write this, just now getting time to. Day before Embarkation: My family and I flew down to Miami on American Airlines from St. Louis. Security was tight as normal, but wasn't as bad because we had my grandma in a wheelchair, so we went through the metal detectors while my grandma was checked by the portable metal detector. We had 15 bags, so pre-check in was very slow. The flight down was ok except for lots of turbulence. Once we arrived, we had to sit on the tarmac for about an hour; there was an unclaimed bag on one of the planes, so security was very tight after that. While in Miami, we stayed at the Sheraton Biscayne Bay, where we had a very nice view of the port. We went to dinner that night at Bubba Gump's Shrimp Co. in the Bayside Marketplace. I highly recommend this for dinner, the waitresses are so nice, and they actually sit down at the table with you to take your order, and even give you Forrest Gump trivia while you wait for your food. There are some really interesting shops in the marketplace, so I suggest you stop by. If you find the marketplace, they give you free coupons. Embarkation Day: We pre-registered at 9:00 AM at the hotel, which anyone staying in Miami can do. This made the trip to the port so much easier. We took a van over to the port (5 people, 15 pieces of luggage, we had to have lots of room). We go to the ship around 10:30 and that it took about 20 minutes worth of traffic and fender-benders to get us there. Since we had pre-registered, we drove up to one of the people who took our bags and checked our luggage. He was very kind and helpful. We walked up to the building to go through security, there were hardly any people there. We went through security, which was a very easy process. Since we had already pre-registered, we passed all the lines to register. We went into the big room where you get your Sign and Sail Cards, and received those very easily. We waited about an hour and a half before they said we could board. Since we had my grandma in a wheelchair, we were one of the first people to get our picture taken, and to get on board. We were onboard the ship by 12:45. We walked into the atrium and all I can say is wow! The atrium is one of the most beautiful things I have seen. The walls all had a wood finish on them and from what I hear, they used a lot less neon lights than on some of the other ships. We went straight to our rooms once we got on the ship. We were on the Empress Deck in cabin 170. The cabin space was a lot bigger than I had actually thought. We had three people in our room, and there was still enough space. Our Room Steward's name was CuCu from Haiti, and he was very pleasant throughout our whole trip. He always said hi in the halls, and knew us by name. After unloading our bags, we went up to the Lido Deck for lunch. The Paris Restaurant had very good food for a casual restaurant, and I think the best thing in there I had were the hamburgers. After lunch I went to explore, and I used two way radios to keep in touch with my dad. Motorola T600's are really good radios, there was never any interference with other people talking, and the only place I really couldn't hear too well was in the cabins. The Ship itself: The ship was very nice, actually more than I expected. I'm sure that I didn't see all of it, but I really tried. J . Carnival Boulevard was very nice, and at night I usually spent most of my time on the Lido Deck or in the Rex Disco. The Cafe Ile De France was very nice. They didn't make very good coffee, but their milkshakes and cookies were awesome. I had one every day while we were on the ship. You can easily get lost on the ship. I went the wrong way many times, and even had to search for my room for about half an hour before I asked some where it was. The Normandie Lounge was very poorly designed. If you were up at the top you had to find a seat the very front to watch the shows. I didn't really go to a lot of the bars, but I did go to the Leonardo to watch Karaoke when it was on. The ship had many events for every age group. I'm 15 and I thought some of the ideas were really fun, even though I didn't go to most of them. I was really looking forward to going into the disco after they had the teen scene, but they have really cracked down on security after there was apparently some kind of incident on an earlier cruise with minor getting alcohol. The only nights I was able to get in were the first and last nights. The pizza and ice cream on the ship was very, very good. The weather was pretty bad during our cruise. It rained about 5 of the 7 days we were there. But nevertheless, I worked hard and finally got a tan! I chose not to get into the pools very often, they were salt water, and I don't really care for it. The water slide looked very fun. In all I think I counted 3 pools, and lots of hot tubs. We had late seating in the Destiny Dining Room, and our waiter Joseph from Haiti, and Ilene from Brussels were very nice and by the end of the 2nd night, knew how we wanted our steaks prepared, and what we liked to drink. Niluh, our bar waitress, was very, very nice and always had a Diet Coke waiting for me. Cherry, a bar waitress in the main bar when you walk in, was always nice, and had a smile on her face. By the way, if you drink a lot of soda, get a soda card. You won't be sorry since sodas run 2.50 each. Ports of Call: Cozumel was probably one of the most fun times I have had. I loved trying to get them down on jewelry, and other goods. We went to a store called touch of gold, and looked at more jewelry. We walked down the streets just taking in the sites and looking around. You should really go to the bye bye shop in Cozumel, they had lots of nice souvenirs and larger size t-shirts. We went on the catamaran fury in Cozumel, which was very fun, I highly recommend you do this too. They let you snorkel for 45 minutes on the way to a private beach, and they give you free margaritas, beer, and soda. Everyone had a great time, but it is really hard doing the Electric Slide while on choppy water, everyone was up dancing on the top of the catamaran. In Grand Cayman, I had probably one of the most amazing experiences of my life. We took a small boat and went snorkeling with stingrays at Stingray City. The stingrays are huge. They are so calm and just come up beside you and let you touch them, and you can feed them too. During the afternoon, we just stopped at a few places around Cayman like the Tortuga Rum Company and Hard Rock Cafe. Hard Rock caught on fire while we were there. I have a nice picture with the Grand Cayman fire department. In Jamaica: We decided against doing Dunn's River Falls, as my parents had already done it, and I wasn't really interested in it. We went to Soni Shopping Center, and people there are REALLY pushy, but it was so fun to get them down to a lower price. My parents went to Margaritavile during the afternoon, and had an awesome time, I opted not to go. Debarkation: We got off the ship by 9:30 AM, we were the first color called. We searched for our limo driver, but there was some kind of security problem, so he was a little late. Our luggage was quite easy to find, surprisingly. I had to go to terminal security because the Paradise was a smoke-free ship, and I had bought a lighter in Grand Cayman. The customs agents came and checked the ship, and collected our claim sheets on the way out. We flew out at 3:30 from Fort Lauderdale. Overall: The cruise was an amazing experience for me, and I realize how fortunate I was to have a chance to go. I had a great time, but I was ready to come home. Just some general tips I have for the trip are BE NICE! There are lines and if you're patient, you will be fine. I actually got to know some people during the wait for food in the buffet line. Be outgoing, say hi to everyone you walk past. I have made some good friends from the cruise that I won't soon forget. Do stuff you normally wouldn't do at home. I sang in Karaoke for the first time, which ended up being very fun. Bigdog874@yahoo.com April, 2003 Read Less
Ok here goes-- please ask me anything I might have forgot--- Pre Cruise Stay Best Western Marina Park $89 for suite( I have pictures if anyone is interested) definitely worth the money- right across from Bayside Marketplace- we ate at ... Read More
Ok here goes-- please ask me anything I might have forgot--- Pre Cruise Stay Best Western Marina Park $89 for suite( I have pictures if anyone is interested) definitely worth the money- right across from Bayside Marketplace- we ate at Bubba Gumps and walked around that night. Cab from Airport(little bit of traffic) $25- very rude non helpful woman cab driver. Next morning Cab to port- great guy- getting on ship was a breeze- but once onboard there was problems with Sign and Sail cards—noone's keys were working—but we were one of first on so wasn't too long of an ordeal for us—but of course feathers got ruffled— Went right on deck to explore—went on spa tour—highly recommend—I won a free treatment—ended up spending 3 days in spa ( LT oxygen facial, manicure and pedicure and ionithermie (won this treatment) will answer any questions about spa—mixed reviews— Cabin E86—great location right outside atrium- room stewardess was amazing- put beds together right away- great personality—towel animals were great---we booked 6a got upgraded to 6D - all for $1000 per person—from what we heard this was a great price—of course had to compare with others on board!!! Dinner- Elation dining room---great table mates—loved our team waiters—ordered numerous dishes each night—became the table joke we all did it— Lido deck/Paris Restaurant—at most breakfasts and lunches here—although we did do dining room once for breakfast and once for lunch—Food on deck was okay—not bad but not great—pizza was a hit almost daily as was the ice cream!!! Dinner in dining room was great -nothing to complain about there—and I did order 2 lobster tails on formal night!!! Played Bingo a few nights—as well as spent time in casino—every person at our table won in the casino on slots—my theory is they are looser than most places because they want you to play for the entire cruise—we won over $500 but of course gave it back over the course of the cruise--- Pictures—took many only bought 2—the weird sizing (6X9) and the backgrounds didn't appeal to us--- Ports—we love to be on the beach and snorkel so we took many recommendations and rather than shop and tour the islands we snorkeled-- St Thomas/St John—went over to Trunk Bay on St john—the most beautiful beaches I have ever seen—highly recommend—the taxi to ferry to taxi did not take long at all—ended up being $15 per person each way—the tour did the same thing but were at the beach with us for such a short time. St Lucia—took the recommended St Lucia Jungle Tour—not thru the cruise ship-- $70 per person with lunch at a resort included—as well as drinks during the trip—I would recommend doing this although we were in port from 11:30- 6 so had to be back by 5:30—we didn't leave till 12:30 due to waiting for one couple—it was supposed to be over 6 hours ended up being around 5 - the late couple -one was crew so he didn't get off till 12:00 which is the reason they were late and then we find out at 4 during lunch that he HAD to be back by 5:30 no matter what so lunch was rushed ride back (1 hour) was stressful—and they were on the side of blaming the tour guide—yet they were an hour late—it didn't ruin the trip but put a damper on the end of it--- All in all—St lucia was beautiful—the tour was on ly 6 of us so I highly recommend—you were in open air jeeps def fun and you get to see most of the island--- Barbados—went to an underwater park that names escapes me right now—not much beach at all but was rated as great snorkeling—it was okay— Martinique—ended up not getting off the ship—I know boo hoo on us—it was 4th port day in a row - we were getting tired and the weather was iffy—it rained in 4 of 5 ports but only for 5 minutes at a time—expect Martinique was the worst so we were glad we were on ship at time--- it was nice to have a semi empty ship although most came back by lunch because it was a French holiday so most things were closed St Martin—we went over to Pinel Island of course for snorkeling ($25 cab ride, $5 water taxi, $60 total for both roundtrip) def worth it—Pinel Island is across from orient bay and many locals go there for holiday—which is was the day we were there—so many local families—def did not cater to the English speaking crowd!!! It was the only place we rented a locker—you leave the key with them—ends up by 4pm we decide to get the stuff—they had closed up shop and the lockers were all unlocked—so much for being safe with our stuff!! I had my new $1000 digital camera so we tried to be careful but should have been more careful on most of the islands we just left it in the bag—thank god nothing happened Overall the cruise was great—we did many of the shows, comedians, loved watching video diary on tv but cant imagine anyone buying it!!! Took a nap everyday (that had to be the best part) Bought soda cards—stopped counting after 50 sodas(wanted to make sure I got my moneys worth—husband thought I was crazy of course—had no problems whatsoever with them—and actually at dinner the bar service woman (Cherry) had a drink waiting for me before I sat down!!-Late dinner 8:30 was amazing—no problems with deck chairs—we are not early risers—usually ate breakfast by 11 and still got chairs by pool—not all days but most—upstairs deck was windy on some days but okay on others— Gala Buffet—we didn't eat at it but I took pictures—def amazing to see--- TIPS—we ended up giving $50 to head waiter, $50 asst waiter,$50 room stewardess and $20 to bar service woman at dinner. Getting off ship-- we were second color called (after early flights) from time color was called to in cab on our way to airport less than 20 minutes!!! I think that is everything—please ask questions because I am sure I forgot tons. Pictures can be viewed on webshots- the Paradise albums are at the end http://community.webshots.com/user/laurawymbs LauraWymbs@aol.comMay 2002 Read Less
Western Itinerary All in our group arrived safely from Alabama, Georgia and Kentucky and were able to get on the ship pretty quickly and without any problems. We arrived at the port around 1:00 pm and embarkation went smoothly - ... Read More
Western Itinerary All in our group arrived safely from Alabama, Georgia and Kentucky and were able to get on the ship pretty quickly and without any problems. We arrived at the port around 1:00 pm and embarkation went smoothly - well almost smooth - my husband and I were being signed in  - the agent kept asking are you sure you are in cabin E94  - we said yes - she continued to check - then checked our names after some time went by and discovered we had been upgraded to a suite - now that is the way to start a cruise! Thanks goes to our wonderful "works magic" agent and Carnival Cruise Lines. We proceeded thru the process of getting our Sign and Sail cards -- picture taking -- all this went very quickly and smoothly.   Carnival has improved on the embarkation process and moves rather quickly. We proceeded to our cabin on Verandah deck -- the cabin was tastefully decorated and offered a bar with a refrigerator  -- TV with VCR - and a balcony!!  A queen size bed and a sofa finished off the nice and roomy cabin. Awaiting also was a bottle of champagne and chocolate covered strawberries and candies for our group -- all of our group gathered soon after we boarded with a toast to our cruise, our cruise travel agent and the Carnival Cruise Line agent that provided us this nice "bon voyage" gift. Since our cabin had been changed at the port - all our luggage was a little bit later arriving - we actually had to call the information desk and alert them to the fact that we had change our cabin at port - soon after this we received most of our luggage - later that evening we were able to pick up the smaller bags at the information desk.   Such a minor inconvenience considering the wonderful upgrade we received. Arriving at our table for ten (round) table 153 in the Elation Dining Room - we knew right away we were in for great service at our meals.   Henry and his wait staff were OUTSTANDING - I recommend if you are cruising the Paradise to request this table - we had the early seating at 6:30 PM in the Elation Dining Room - and this time worked perfect for our group - we all agreed that this time was one we hoped we would get on future cruises -- not too early -- and not too late!!!!  The food was prepared very well and was served in a timely manner -- no one at our table had any complaints at all. FYI - the way the two early seating/late seating work -- the Destiny Dining room has the earlier 5:45pm  and then the first late seating -- the Elation Dining room has the 6:30 pm second early seating -- and the second late seating  - I know I was not sure how the 4 dining choices worked prior to sailing. Having cruised the Paradise before, we were familiar with the 2 Las Vegas style shows in the Normandy Lounge and did enjoy seeing them again - we enjoyed the karaoke and the duo of Lucia & Levi in the Leonardo Lounge -- we enjoy live music of any kind and enjoyed all of the other entertainers as well -- our cruise director was quite good and we saw him mixing with the passengers all week and his assistants were very good - (think we will probably see them as cruise directors one of these days in the near future). Ports of Call   Cozumel We took the Fury snorkel trip in the morning -- need I say more -- it was a lot of fun and the crew was quite active with our group - I recommend this excursion highly!   Carlos and Charlies was our afternoon stop and we did stay for hours - fun was had by all there and we all came back with great memories(or blackmail material) according to how you might choose to use those memories LOL.  Our taxi driver must have been on tranquilizers as we must have been loud and he was a very good sport about it - thank goodness a number of our group could speak Spanish! Grand Cayman Captain Marvin was our group choice for Grand Cayman - three different locations included for snorkeling including Stingray City - our group said it was the best snorkeling ever and the crew, price, service was superior!!!  We booked this tour privately as Captain Marvin is not offered thru Carnival excursions - cost was 30.00 per person I think. Ocho Rios This port rated on the bottom of the list for those in our group. However I must say that the port itself was beautiful - it is the safety issue and rudeness of the people there that was disappointing - it was my first time to Jamaica and the first for all in our group- we all decided we hope we would not have this port again in future cruises with Carnival. We had a bad experience with one of the excursion operators that was a boat trip etc. to Dunn's Rivers Fall, Also one of the land tour guides was extremely rude to some in our group to the point one of our group began to cry - so we were not pleased with this port at all. Dunn's River Falls was a must to see and is so beautiful -- the harbor was pretty also - it is a shame that we encountered such rude people and unsafe procedures as I am sure Jamaica would have a lot to offer with it's beauty otherwise. Disembarkation This ran very smoothly for all in our group - no problem 'mon!!! Wrap-up On a scale of 1-10 with one being lowest, we all would rate this cruise a 10+. The Paradise is a great ship and we all would recommend this ship.   We did not encounter any rudeness with the staff and all seemed to want to make it the most FUN SHIP ever! We have already booked another Carnival cruise for the Spirit in Dec 2001, Western Exotic Ports and making final plans for the Spirit in Feb 2002, Eastern Exotic Ports. Since we get great group prices from our agent for our group we can cruise twice a year - once in Dec and once in Feb. every year. This was our 9th cruise with Carnival in about 3 years and we have two more booked now -- needless to say we love sailing Carnival. If any one has questions please contact via email at south324@aol.comFebruary 2001 Read Less
I just came back from the Paradise and it was my first cruise ever, and I LOVED IT!!! I have to say, for being my first cruise, I really enjoyed the Paradise. On the positive side, the ship was extremely clean! The sevice we received from ... Read More
I just came back from the Paradise and it was my first cruise ever, and I LOVED IT!!! I have to say, for being my first cruise, I really enjoyed the Paradise. On the positive side, the ship was extremely clean! The sevice we received from our waiters in the dining room was excellent!! The food was great!! Our cabin steward was wonderful and attentive!! The smoke free atmosphere was GREAT! I can't imagine taking a cruise where I'm surrounded by smoke, yuk! But, I'm sure I will be forced to in the future. Anyway, the overall trip was a marvelous experience. However, I will be critical of some things. I felt the entertainment lacked some humph. The Rex disco was geared toward the teenagers which was OK, if the other lounges such as the Leonardo had had better music. They should have made the Leonardo lounge for the teenagers and the Rex for adults and played better and longer music. The Rex had a better design for dancing than the Leonardo. There were evenings where we were looking for something to do!! And as for Kooshal...well... that's another story. The so called "classes" or "free demonstrations" were all gimmicks for suckers like me to buy buy buy... so, buyer beware. I felt a bit deceived and taken advantage of. And that was not the only time. We signed up for a tour that supposedly was a snorkeling tour. We asked at the information desk if our equipment was included and they said yes. Then when we went to the desk to pick it up, the guy said, "oh, you don't pick up the equipment here, the tour guide will give it to you on the tour." NOT! We got to our tour and no equipment. Sure we could have gotten the equipment, at an additional cost! So, be careful on your so called extra tours!! We paid over $200 in our group for a tour we could have paid $50 if we had done it on our own!!! Research where you want to go before hand and you may save yourself some time and money! Also, the drinks on the ship were VERY expensive, and the alcoholic drinks were somewhat watered down. So be prepared to spend lots for not much! In summary, for being my first cruise ever, in the overall, I had a wonderful time. I would go on the Paradise again, but not before going on other cruise lines to compare. I would recommend the Paradise, but with extreme caution. I do advise you buy the insurance! I heard horror stories of a few that did not, lost their luggage, and spent a miserable time on board! If you don't like being around a lot of smoke and could care less about entertainment, and you are determined to make your own fun and relax, and you do not care much for alcoholic beverages, then this ship is for you! March 2001 Read Less
Embarkation - so quick I was breathless. The only hold up was on the steps just prior to walking onto the ship because a photographer was taking the welcome pictures. Sail and Sign - Both the credit card version and the cash deposit ... Read More
Embarkation - so quick I was breathless. The only hold up was on the steps just prior to walking onto the ship because a photographer was taking the welcome pictures. Sail and Sign - Both the credit card version and the cash deposit version were very simple, easy and convenient. Money Matters - It was very easy to cash travelers' checks and very easy to break large bills into smaller denominations on at Pursers'/Information Desk. Free Goodies - Free decks of cards, post cards of the ship, ship's stationery and pens to be had by asking at the Pursers'/Information Desk. "Dumb" Questions answered 24/7 very nicely by ship staff/crew. Cabin/Stateroom - Category 1a - Roomy, not as worn out as some of the Cat. 4 cabins I peeked into. Comfortable bed, plenty of storage, and nice desk set-up. I walked around the ship and looked into any open door I could and viewed pretty much every level of cabin. I was quite happy with my 12 x 15 space. The bath was exactly the same as every other shower-only one I saw. I liked that the entry door into the room was not between the closet and the loo. I did not need air freshener or a nightlight. A bit of light comes from under the door and if you leave the bathroom light on and close the door that gives a bit of light as well. Steward - Loved him and wanted to bring him home in my luggage. He put ice in my small cooler and was very accommodating. I loved the towel animals. The only cleanliness issue I had with my stateroom was the mildew/mold in the shower grout. We all have it at home, but it is gross to think how many people have showered in that small space. I will take a small, unopened bottle of bleach and clean it myself next time. Stateroom Hallways/Elevator Areas - the carpet needs replaced in many of these areas. Some of the hotel-like hallways are just gross with water stains from what looked like backed up plumbing. I also noticed quite a bit of foot and other odors in some of the public areas, Atrium halls, and the Paris Restaurant where the carpet should be labeled a health hazard. I hope the public areas carpet is up for replacement when the Paradise dry docks in January. Overall Ship Cleanliness - lots of staff going through the motions, but only about half seemed to be putting good effort into their cleaning assignments inside the ship. Outside the ship, I saw folks painting both wood and woodwork very industriously. I also saw a gentleman washing the lounge chairs and he was doing a yeoman's job of it. I felt sorry for this one young man who was scrubbing the cove base in the Paris, but it needed it badly. Also, passengers need to be more responsible for cleaning up their own messes (by the ice cream machine, for instance) and also by not leaving behind dirty plates, glasses, and flatware (in the Paris). We can all carry our plates a few feet to a waiter's station. On-Board Shopping - overall ok. I discovered that one may buy Cruzin Rum in Big Bear for $9.99 a bottle. I purchased it for $7.95 a bottle on board, but had to stand in the Customs line for 45 minutes only to be told I didn't have to when I reached the Customs Official manning the door. So I'll buy Pineapple rum at home from now on. I purchased my water safe, a map, and few scarves for co-workers. Nothing in the shops was name brand, so it was hard to know if it was a deal or not. The fake cocktail rings, loose gemstones, and chains sold by the inch did nothing for me. Ok, I must admit it. I loved the liquor tasting and learned a bit about what I like and don't like in alcohol (and got rather buzzed in the process). Entertainment: Las Vegas Style Shows - enjoyed both Dream Girl and Shout. The dancers earn their pay with the many quick changes and non-stop movement. The production singers were quite good, although a bit mismatched. Dancers that stood out were Roman #1 and Roman #2. They were adorable. Comedy Acts - as a whole salacious, unfunny, mean-spirited, just plain stupid. The only funny comedy moment was when Tony Capone who otherwise was really terrible bent down on one knee to kiss the Captain's "ring." And that wasn't during a show. Music - String quartet, Paradise band were very good. Male country singer (American Bar), piano player Roberta (Destiny Dining Room), and a male/female duo I saw in the Leonardo were just barely acceptable. Activities - I skipped all activities by the Lido Deck pool, so no opinion there. I liked sunning by the kiddie pool at the back of the ship a lot. I liked walking on the Promenade deck. I liked the karaoke and arts and crafts. Bingo, horse racing, and gambling all easy ways to add to Carnival's coffers. I liked playing slots but lost back every quarter I won, which was not very many. Art Auction kind of lame. A word about the Arts & Crafts activities: GO. It is so interesting to get a multicultural, multi-age group of women together. Women talk about the same things everywhere and it is really fun. Food: Lido Deck - embarkation lunch was turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy etc. and was strange for a very hot Miami day. The rum cake was good though. I would have preferred a much lighter kind of luncheon buffet. Room Service - ham and cheddar on whole wheat toasted, roast beef and brie on baguette, fruit salad, veggie cruditEs, raspberry danish all yummy. The brownies and cookies were a disappointment. Also, take a pass on the dessert of the day unless it is Chocolate Fantasy. Paris Breakfast - same thing every day. Lots of fruit and raspberry danish, but I missed having a wake-up diet Coke. I also could have used some toasted English muffins drowned in butter and jam. Paris Lunch - amazingly good - lots of choices. Baked potatoes and bbq shredded chicken were great. Paris Dinner - I did not like the hot food choices at all. The food was similar to what was being served in the dining room, but overcooked and ick. The leg of lamb was truly stinky. I usually ended up with salad and pizza or a room service sandwich if I was too lazy to dress for dinner. A baked potato bar would be a cost effective and yummy addition to the Paris. Bread, rolls, fresh fruit, salad bar were all good all the time. Pizza Bar - Go early and go often. The calzones are great! Destiny Dining - quick, somewhat mechanical service by team of two. The starters were usually the high point of my dinner, i.e. shrimp cocktail, seafood salad, pasta as starter, sea scallops, deep fried prawns, pumpkin soup were all excellent. Steaks served first few days were good (NY strip, prime rib, t-bone). Ribeye was soaking in a yucky sauce and the flavor permeated the meat. The crab legs were good. Mashed potatoes were good. Desserts - pretty to look at. Rum cake good. Chocolate fantasy good. Baked Alaska good. I understand from a friend that the bread pudding with vanilla sauce was good. Nothing else was good. Avoid any of the cheesecakes and the Crème Brulee at all costs. Misc Food: The unlimited lemonade was delicious and a high point of each hot return from visiting a port of call. Ice cream was good when I wanted a nosh. I was impressed that real pears were always available. I ate 5 lbs of pineapple and 10 lbs of melon during the voyage. Dressing Up - overrated. Get a pair of black dressy slacks and several sparkly tops and be comfy. Carnival Photo Services - plentiful chances to get pictures taken and the photographers really work hard to show you in your best light, changing poses and taking 3 or 4 shots. Pictures are very expensive $21.95 for 8 x 10 that you must buy in order to get any 5 x 7's @ $9.95 or wallets 4 for $5. I was a bit disappointed. On the other hand 24-hour photo developing at $8.88 for double prints was excellent. Ports of Call: Cartagena, Columbia - a surprise and the showstopper for me. I loved meeting real people and really enjoyed the bus tour, even though it was hot as Hades and all manner of folk were hawking all manner of goods. The sellers wanted our business, but it wasn't uncomfortably touristy. Driving on the city's streets was a hoot with everyone doing their own thing. Four busses abreast all trying to get through the same small space. I would have liked to tour the Fort and definitely want to return to the City. Colon, Panama - not as jaw-dropping as I expected. Everything was pleasant, but since I had already done my homework about the Canal, I didn't care to go for a live history lesson. I still would like to experience transiting the Canal on a cruise ship and will return for that. Aruba - I liked the excursion to De Palm Island for snorkeling. I had researched the operator fully and got a free t-shirt because I took a coupon I had printed from their website. I didn't like that the water was full of fish poop. I thought snorkeling was supposed to be in crystal clear water. This was more what I thought scuba might be like with murky water. The blue parrotfish were awesome as were many of the smaller varieties. The coral was a total disappointment because it was just like brown rocks. I wore my sneakers in the water and I was glad since it was so rocky. The lagoon in front was awesome. I enjoyed the ride through town and the ferry ride to the island. The chicken satay was quite good and I was shocked at all the free booze. The drinks were strong! I want to return to Aruba for a longer period of time as well. Costa Rica - Rios Tropicales (RT) White Water Rafting on the Florida section of the Reventazon River with Class 3+ rapids. I had researched Rios Tropicales fully and they have a really excellent reputation in Costa Rica and among all the cruise lines who offer rafting in CR. However, I will be sending them a detailed letter and copying Carnival Corporate. There are definite comfort and safety issues that must be addressed, as you will see below. To begin: Cushy tourist buses picked us up at the Port. There were two busloads of Paradise passengers and one of ship's crew. A 75-minute bus ride was filled with cultural and safety information. We all filled out our waivers and a tour guide/rafting guide gave us a bit of CR history and began preparing us to be safe on the river. We drove to RT HQ and had a chance to change, purchase last minute necessities and visit the loo. Then we were taken to what was described as a "pleasant ½ mile walk." Ha Bloody Ha. The grade was 7 to 10 percent of shifty unlevel rocks that might slide under your feet at any moment. Temps were extreme for typically overweight American tourists. The high level of activity and effort was supposed to be on the River, not on the walk to get to the river. The tour guide/rafting guide on the bus claimed that buses couldn't travel the steep grade and bumpy last bit. It is true that the big cushy buses could not. However, trucks were doing it just fine. I would not have minded being on a rickety small bus or even herded like cattle on one of the trucks. I had five 16 oz bottles of water and I drank four of them on the way down the track. Thank God I had my sneakers. I cannot imagine the damage to peoples' feet who were just wearing their water shoes. If I had not flagged a commercial truck down and sobbed until the three guys in the front seat agreed to bring me the rest of the way, I would still be sitting by the side of the road. Two of the guys moved to the back of the truck after helping me in. I gave the guy $5 for having mercy on me. We were on our own to find and correctly fit our life jackets. After getting our personal equipment on, we ended up standing around in the hot, hot sun for over an hour while the guides got organized. Nothing was ready up front. The guides were inflating the rafts as fast as they could. Getting assigned to a raft was also a long drawn out ordeal. Standing in the sun in the smelly equipment was just a joy. Then we had the requisite safety talk from our guide (the most important person in our lives for that afternoon). I have never experienced a rafting trip quite like that one before. I like technical rapids and love sitting in the first seat. But the combo of serious dehydration and trying to overcome heat exhaustion, I am just glad I managed to stay in the raft. The take-out sucked pretty good too. The challenge: scale a 5-foot high embankment on rubbery legs on wet slippery muddy rocks. Two guys helped me. I don't know who they were, but I am eternally thankful. I could not believe they put us back on that cushy bus as wet and filthy as we were. Our guide said that we were running late and could not return to RT HQ to look at the pictures and change. The photographer was not prepared to sell pictures in the bus. I purchased the entire CD with cash by giving him my home address and email address. Hopefully they will arrive sometime. These are the changes that need to be made ASAP: 1) transport all rafters down to the put in point on the river; 2) provide cold drinking water on bus (even if we have to pay for it, although for $89, they could afford to give us a couple bottles); 3) have guides help guests choose and put on equipment; 4) have rafts ready to go when guests arrive; 5) provide bottled water and insist that guests drink it during calm parts of raft trip; 6) Change the take-out spot to a flat area where it is simple to disembark; 7) plan time better so that guests can return to RT HQ and clean up and refresh themselves; 8) if situations similar to the one that occurred with us, send an email confirming our picture order. Nassau, Bahamas - I enjoyed the walk through the shopping district. I like being able to go into some of the historical buildings. I like the $1.25 for a liter of cold bottled water at the liquor store. I did not like the straw market at all. The sellers were too pushy, too many, too expensive, and the experience was so overwhelming I immediately got a headache and needed to walk away. I want to return to see all the other things Nassau has to offer. The fact that people offered tours on the dock for $30 and people offered the same tours for $20 later on the sidewalk confused me. I also did not like all the hair braiders insisting that they could braid my short hair. The large linens shop was great. A sales clerk at the British Import shop that sells the 60-inch wide cotton Baltic-style fabric ($16 yd) was quite rude to me when I asked if they carried plus sizes. I told the chickie that I had lots of money to spend and that she wasn't going to enjoy the commission on any of it, EVER. Shopping at the Ports of Call - Carnival has this thing called the Buyer's Guarantee that covers purchases made on ship and at their approved stores. If I were to buy something really expensive, like watches, jewelry, electronics, name-brand leather etc, I would use their stores. For general souvenirs, trinkets, rayon vacation clothing and t-shirts I suggest looking for the best price. Debarkation: Customs - we were told that if we had more than the allowed amount of alcohol to go and declare it. I stood in a 45 minute line to be told at the door by a Customs official that he didn't need to see me. Waiting for our Color to be Called - nice that we could stay in our cabin until 9:30 a.m. When color was called, it was a long long line to get off the ship and people were really cranky. Immigration - piece of cake. A customs dog sniffed us and that was interesting. I am afraid of steep escalators and very nice Carnival staffers directed me to elevators as needed and were very nice. Finding luggage - hot and overwhelming. I thought our bags were identified quite well and it was still difficult to find them. Turning in our Customs Declaration - they didn't even look at it. Transportation to Airport - we had not prearranged private transport and a guy outside hooked us up quickly with a service. Overall - Carnival Rocks and I am already planning my next cruise. jojocat295@ameritech.net December 2002 Read Less
Being first-time cruisers, I can definitely say that we were impressed with Carnival Paradise! We couldn't have chosen a better way to celebrate our 20th anniversary. Now we are hooked! We booked our own flight and arrived a day ... Read More
Being first-time cruisers, I can definitely say that we were impressed with Carnival Paradise! We couldn't have chosen a better way to celebrate our 20th anniversary. Now we are hooked! We booked our own flight and arrived a day early in Miami, staying overnight at the Wyndham Hotel in Biscayne Bay. We found the hotel on the Internet; room was $79 (Internet special). The hotel stay was fine, as was our shopping at Bayside, which was just a tram ride away from the hotel. Area around the hotel was somewhat dirty, and we noticed many vacant buildings. EMBARKATION/DEBARKATION After taking a taxi from the hotel, we unloaded right in front of the building for the Paradise. The porters quickly grabbed our bags. The wait in line was not too bad, approximately 30 min, then you have to get in another line to get your sail & sign cards, then another line to go to the ship. Seems like it could have been streamlined a little better by Carnival. Maybe one less line. However, it still was not a bad wait. Debarkation wait was about 1 1/2 hrs, which seems comparable to everyone else's experience that we have been reading. No problems getting to or finding our luggage. We were in a taxi within 10 minutes of leaving the ship. After being welcomed aboard by smiling staff, we were standing in the atrium gazing at its splendor. This is a beautiful ship, and is kept very clean. I could hardly notice the motion of the ship unless I was looking out a window. Very stable! We found our room, ate lunch on the Lido deck, then walked around checking out the rest of the ship until it was time to sail away. We had a yelling contest with the ship Destiny as they passed us on their way out to sea. (they would be rerouted and meet us in Cozumel because of Floyd). This got the crowd lightened up a lot. Seems like it took us a day or two to leave work and worry behind and enjoy ourselves but Troy Linton, cruise director, helped that along. As soon as we set sail (about 2 hours late) it was back to our cabin to get ready for dinner, which was first seating in the elation dining room. Our luggage was finally at our room so we could change for dinner. We met our room steward Richard, who would do an outstanding job keeping our room neat and clean. DINING / FOOD The meals in the dining room were all superb, as was the service we received from Charlie our waiter, and Raphael our busboy. They both did an impressive job. The maitre'd and headwaiter were both friendly and cordial. We ate in the dining room every night including the night we were in Cozumel until midnight. The dress was resort casual but I was wishing that I had taken more sundresses. I found myself one short. No one wore shorts in the dining room just as it was unusual to see anyone in the Paris restaurant without a swimsuit cover-up. There were exactly 4 places to eat on the ship. The Elation dining room (which we were assigned to, table 164), the Destiny dining room, the Lido deck (buffet in the center of the ship usually serving breakfast, lunch, supper and special events like the Fiesta Party) and the Paris Restaurant, also a buffet usually serving the same as the Lido deck with some extras like ice cream, dessert, etc. The Paris was also where the 24-hour pizzeria was located. They made all pizzas that they had on display but sometimes we had to ask for something that wasn't out. Sometimes I felt a little bit of a language barrier on the ship especially with those taking an order in the Paris. I figured out that if they just smiled and nodded when you ask for something, that meant that they understood only 4 words, veggie, pepperoni, cheese or salad! One thing that really disappointed us was that the fresh squeezed orange juice machine was broken. We spent quite a bit of time finding someone who knew what we were talking about and when we finally did, our dreams of waking up and getting a glass of that juice went out to sea. The experience of being served like royalty in the dining room made up for it. I only tasted one thing that I didn't like and it really wasn't that bad. If you are 100% vegan, you will not likely find a main course that doesn't have cheese. However, with very little creativity you will be able to order from beautiful and delicious appetizers and salads to create a complete protein and balanced meal. If you just like veggie stuff like us, you must order the vegetarian lasagna the night it is offered. We found everything was cooked to perfection, which was amazing considering the number of people served. My favorite dessert was the tiramisu. Absolutely perfect. Except for those great desserts, we like to eat healthy and found that it was easy to do. There are very few restaurants that offer the variety of fruits and vegetables that we found on the ship. And there was always a supply somewhere available for snacking so no excuses for gaining 10 lbs. on our cruise! In the Paris restaurant, the salad bar bowls were more like serving bowls. There was just about every kind of fruit and vegetable you could imagine. We were given the privilege of sitting with the BEST table companions on the ship! Hi to Alanna & Doug, Ray & Irma and Jamey & Lisa! You made our trip more enjoyable! Keep in touch! THE SHIP We cannot say enough great things about this ship. It was nice to see all of the cleaning and maintenance provided to it while on the cruise. Each time we docked at a port, workers could be seen painting the outside of the ship! Every morning while walking around, it looked like everything was neat and in it's place. Of course, the best part of all is that the ship is smoke free! Kudos to Carnival for being the first in the industry to implement this. We hope that other cruise lines will follow! The shops on board are very small but we were surprised to find a few things that we needed. We were told to take bug spray to Cozumel by the cruise director and since 2000 other people heard him say that, they were out. But we did find nail polish remover and emery boards! We were very pleased with the pictures taken by the Carnival photographers. They even showed up at Dunn's River Falls and got us sitting under the falls! We spent about $140 on pictures. It was $19.95 for 8x10's and 6x9's were 2 for $15 if I remember right. They had all the pictures in a long hall and you got to look for yourselves. The cruise director said he heard that someone asked how she was supposed to know which ones were hers. Hmmm... The beds were uncomfortable but we can't complain since we didn't mention it to anyone to know whether there was a solution to that problem. We asked to have them pushed together but they were still made up separately. This ship is the only place I have ever been where young children were allowed to be in a lounge late at night. I am not sure how I feel about that but I don't think that I would do it. Particularly since children can be sound asleep with ship child care for only $5/hr. giving Mom and Dad two free arms to wrap around each other. We were always able to find a chair on one of the decks without any problem. They may not have been right next to the pool but who wants to sit that close anyway? ENTERTAINMENT We took the suggestion of other opinion writers and sought out the group "Bestsellers" who played in the Queen Mary lounge. We immediately became Bestseller groupies! We set out to tell everyone we met about them. They made every night of dancing so enjoyable! The lead singer even sat down and chatted with us while on his break! He and his wife are terrific singers. We think Carnival should advertise more for this band! They were awesome! Go see them! We found the after dinner shows in the Normandie to be O.K. If you don't sit on the main floor in the Normandie you will not get a good seat because of all the poles & equipment that are in the way. If you absolutely must see the show, spend about 45 minutes of your evening guarding your seats before the show. The band that played on the Lido deck while at sea set the mood for the day out on the deck. Lay out and listen to reggae! We found the game show and the newlywed/not so newlywed game to be very funny. Troy Linton was indeed a quick-witted host! We enjoyed him very much! PORTS OF CALL COZUMEL/PLAYA DEL CARMEN It was very hot and humid in Mexico. We decided not to book an excursion offered by Carnival, choosing rather to wing it on our own. After taking a cab to town for $5, we purchased tickets to take the ferry to Playa Del Carmen on the mainland. It did take us a while to figure out how to do all of this, but we found the cab drivers to be very helpful! (and polite!). From Playa Del Carmen we bartered with a cab driver to take us to the ruins of Tulum and back for $45. The cab ride took about 40 minutes (going 140 km/h!) and he agreed to wait for us while we walked around the ruins. Tulum was very pretty and we got many scenic pictures. After an hour and a half, we were ready to go back to the ferry. On the return cab ride we noticed it started to cloud up outside. By the time we arrived back to the ferry, it had started to rain. Then it REALLY started to rain. We had to wait about an hour for the ferry to arrive because they stopped running due to the storm. It eventually cleared up and we caught the ferry back to Cozumel. We took a cab back to the ship so we could eat dinner and change clothes. After dinner, we headed back in to town for our night out. We visited the world famoso Carlos & Charlies and slugged down a few. We found the crowd entertaining, but a little too wild for us. We were afraid we might forget to go back to the ship if we stayed there too long! It was a fun place though! We left there and walked around doing some browsing at the various shops in town. We found the shops in Mexico to be more pushy and desperate to sell than any other port. The people just did not seem friendly except for the cabbies! Our impression of Mexico is that it is a depressed country and not very clean. Seemed like there were quite a few stray dogs around. We hope next time to look for more of the positive aspects of this country. GRAND CAYMAN We decided not to be as brave in this next port of call and booked the Stingray City and Island tour. After a brief stop in Hell, (it wasn't that bad) we went to the turtle farm. It was interesting to learn about the different kinds of turtles and to actually pick one up! These things can get really big! Neat place! Another brief bus ride took us to a ferry where we were taken a mile off shore to the sandbar where the stingrays hang out. We could hear the screams from the people as we approached. Once in the water, you were able to feed and handle these creatures if you chose to. This was a great experience for us. We took a lot of underwater pictures of the stingrays. Those of you traveling with children should not pass up a chance to swim with the rays. We were only in the water about 30 minutes when a storm approached and were ferried back to the bus. From there, we were driven back to the pier and we decided to walk around town and find a place to eat lunch that served good local cuisine. With the help of our trusty guide (and dinner compadre) Doug, we found an out of the way place that offered what we were looking for. We woofed down our food like we hadn't eaten all day! Back outside, it started to rain. We walked around town anyway, checking out the shops (next time I will buy that diamond ring for her!) Because of the rain, there was a long line for the ferry back to the boat. We needed more time in Grand Cayman! JAMAICA Jamaica would prove to be the best port for us. We booked the Mountain to Sea bike adventure and just loved it! We were bused to the top of a mountain (900 ft up) and were given mountain bikes and helmets. The scenery was awesome! Great pictures! A word of caution though: the ride was mostly downhill, riding on dirt/gravel roads and through dry riverbeds. Unless you are in somewhat decent shape and can squeeze brakes for 2 hours, you may think twice about this excursion. My wife, who is in shape, took a spill on the gravel and got banged up pretty good. An x-ray at home on her swollen elbow showed no break though. We descended back to the polo club, and got to go snorkeling in the cove at the rear of the farm. It felt really good after the bike ride! We would book this tour again! After a bus ride back to the pier, we were told that the bus could take us to Dunns River Falls for another $5 a person which was a better price than a cab, so we were on our way. The ticket booth at the falls was inept. We had to wait about 10 minutes for them to find American money to make change with. Don't they deal with tourists every day?? Oh well. The falls were neat. The water was cold and strangely not salty. There were definitely too many people there, however, we still enjoyed the climb. You will get soaked, so wear appropriate attire. SUMMARY We were sad when the cruise had to end. It was a great time and the ship was everything and more than we expected. We look forward to our next one and hope it is just as enjoyable. If there are no other cruise lines offering smoke free ships with different itineraries, we will be booking with Carnival Paradise again! Probably the Eastern Caribbean. Next time maybe we will even take the kids! We will have many fond memories of this vacation. geng1@gosupertech.com March 2001 Read Less
My review of Carnival Paradise on April 6th, 2003 sailing of the Exotic Western Caribbean... Overall, we enjoyed this non-smoking cruise. I loved not smelling like smoke after exiting the casino or the bars. The room stewards and the ... Read More
My review of Carnival Paradise on April 6th, 2003 sailing of the Exotic Western Caribbean... Overall, we enjoyed this non-smoking cruise. I loved not smelling like smoke after exiting the casino or the bars. The room stewards and the dining service were wonderful. There are lots of activities for all types of people. We even experienced some excitement when our ship turned around to check on a boat floating in the middle of nowhere. I was upset that they did the drill as we sailed from Miami. I lost my chance to video tape the departure. The first couple of days were a bit bumpy, but not too many people were affected. My biggest disappointment was the food, although the sushi rolls were good. There were a lot of older kids running loose around the boat. Many of which were running up & down the halls. They closed the pool kind of early, too. Belize and Roatan are 2 fairly new ports. They are not commercialized like Cozumel. I highly recommend buying a shore excursion to see the beautiful parts of these ports, since the areas at and around the port are very third world. For Belize, we purchased Carnival's Cave Tubing and Rain Forest Exploration excursion. It was a great experience. They will provide tubes, life jackets, and lunch. It does require good physical health and good shoes. It started off with a bus ride (with AC) through Belize City to the rain forest. Our host gave a wonderful tour & talk of the areas that we passed through. Next, we walked about 40 minutes through the jungle carrying our tubes. Insect repellant is a must have! I was ready for the cool water by the time we reached the river. The tour took us through a cave system and we ended up close to where we started. After the excursion, we went to many of the port shops. There weren't any great deals, but you can get prescription items over the counter at the pharmacy. Be careful in some shops, we found that many items (i.e. Silver) were also sold in Cozumel for less money. For Roatan, we purchased the Horseback Riding excursion, which was also well worth the money. They took us along a private beach and some of the richest areas of the island. We also saw some volcanic rock formations along the coastline. This is a very beautiful island. After the excursion, we hired the taxi driver that returned us to port to take us to West End Village. This village is mainly a dive and snorkel community with a few shops and dining places. We also stopped at a grocery store where we purchased 2 bottles of Nicaraguan Rum, 3 sodas and a candy bar for $12 US. For Grand Cayman, we purchased the Reef and Wreck Snorkel excursion. I do NOT recommend this one. I experienced better snorkeling in Cancun. Grand Cayman is a clean island. There are lots of expensive stores and banks here. We ate some delicious Jamaican Patties at the Tortuga Factory Store for only $1.50. In Cozumel, we did some shopping at the port and in downtown. We were able to negotiate some good deals. Be aware of some of the stores - they will rip you off! Shop around, if time permits. Drinking is cheap here. I noticed lots of happy drunks on board. If you are non-smoker and want a good bargain, then you would probably enjoy this cruise. alexnita@netzero.com July 2003 Read Less
It's been a week since we returned from our [June 2000] cruise aboard the Paradise, and I'm finally ready to summarize our experiences for those of you who, like me, appreciate a bit of information about the cruise they are ... Read More
It's been a week since we returned from our [June 2000] cruise aboard the Paradise, and I'm finally ready to summarize our experiences for those of you who, like me, appreciate a bit of information about the cruise they are contemplating. We've traveled twice before on Carnival vessels, and chose the Paradise after seriously scrutinizing RCI ships. However, the non-smoking aspect sold us. And, to that end, we were not disappointed. However, this ship is more than just a great place to breathe! It was a fantastic cruise experience, from start to finish. We left home (Wisconsin) a day early, and enjoyed a relaxing evening in Miami, touring Bayside, and watching the ships in port from our balconied window of the Sheraton. We were especially glad to have chosen the Sheraton when, on Sunday morning, we discovered (between the hours of 9 and 11am) a Carnival agent who was able to process our boarding information, saving us time and energy at the port. She was pleasant and efficient, (we were a group of two families, ten people total) quickly handling our paperwork. This service is available to anyone sailing Carnival, not just those travelers who have purchased transfers with Carnival. From the Sheraton, we took a 5 minute cab ride to the pier, and in a light drizzle, carried our own luggage to the terminal (our choice). Little side note here-since our group consisted of 10 people, adults and teenagers, we opted to split up and take 3 cabs to the pier...our three fares differed by as much as $3, and the driver who took 3 of our teens hassled them loudly for not tipping enough-and theirs was the highest fare! That poor start was immediately eliminated when a gentleman (who, we learned, has a van service) approached us and asked if he might pick us up the following week, after our cruise, to return to the airport. His quoted fare was very reasonable, he asked for no money upfront (which we would have refused) and indeed, he was waiting for us when we disembarked in Miami a week later. For a large group, such as ours, this was perfect! On to the ship! We bypassed the Skipper's Club, available for us as Cat. 12 travelers, since it was only 11:30, and no one was boarding yet. We spent about 3 minutes, going through security, picking up our Sail and Sign cards, and then waited very comfortably for embarkation to begin. About 12:15, we starting boarding, and by 12:30, we had found our suites, and starting settling in. What rooms! The closet space was tremendous, and the balcony was wonderful! While the suite itself is about as large as a standard hotel room, compared to the inside rooms we had taken in the past, this was ecstasy (no ship-pun intended). We then explored the ship, and sought out the Paris restaurant, on the Lido deck, for embarkation lunch. And, while other reviews I've read speak of good food, or poor food, I'm going to tell you exactly what the food was like, so you can decide if it reaches your epicurean standards. I might add, as a former cooking instructor and amateur gourmet, I was pretty critical. However, we were not disappointed. From one meal to the next, food on the Paradise ranged from very good to incredibly delicious. And, even when we tasted something that was not stellar, other choices were available. That first lunch in the Paris was fantastic, although the desserts failed to hit the mark. The buffet consisted of beef bourguignonne, (deliciously tender, with large pieces of onions and mushrooms) chicken breasts wrapped around a spinach and cheese filling (even the kids loved them!) and carved turkey breast. Side dishes included crisply sauteed vegetables, rice, and stuffing. There was a huge salad bar, with one nice addition since our last cruise-larger individual serving bowls, so one didn't have to worry about skimping on the salad choices. The pizzeria was busy, turning out that delicious pizza everyone raves about. I learned what makes this pizza so great-it's the crust, which is light, tender, and fluffy. They use plenty of toppings and cheese as well, and serve it in large, hot slices. The grill, directly outside of the Paris, and near the pool, was preparing hamburgers and French fries, which smelled delicious, although we didn't sample any until later in the week. As for the desserts, suffice it to say we tasted more wonderful sweets throughout the rest of our cruise, but that day, the Baba au rum was flavorless, and the blueberry cheesecake had an unusual rubbery texture. Strolling about the Paradise, we saw many of our fellow cruisers for the upcoming week, and I was struck by what a courteous, well-mannered group they seemed to be, including the children. In fact, aside from the rare child running around, families with children seemed to be keeping their charges under control very nicely. There was exuberance on the decks and around the pool, of course, but most of the time, the various age groups at Camp Carnival seemed to be having a wonderful, yet non-intrusive time. And how did our teenagers fare? The first night teen-mixer, held in the Rex lounge, helped them meet other teens aboard the ship, but, then again, they had each other for company. We NEVER encountered any youngsters who appeared to be drinking, and, in fact, never witnessed any adult out of control. This cruise reminded me of our holidays at Walt Disney World, where vacations are family oriented, not a bacchanalian adventure. And, lest one think this was a ship full of stuffed shirts, people were definitely partying. However, they were not imposing themselves upon others. The atmosphere was pleasantly festive, and relaxing. Throughout the week, we enjoyed the entertainment by the staff, including the two musical reviews, Dream Voyage and Shout!, as well as the talents of the various onboard entertainers. In particular, the string trio in the atrium was wonderful, as was Mark, the piano player. The entertainers brought aboard included Al Ernst (a very funny comedian) Lubo and Lucy, (a balancing act, which will remind any 'boomers out there of the old Ed Sullivan shows) Tia Thompson, who is NOT to be missed, and Manual Zuniga (even if you've seen him before, don't miss this funny, and fantastic, juggler). The cruise director himself, Larry Garlutzo, is a talented entertainer, which spoke volumes about the quality of the cruise. We appreciated his slightly PG humor, and our teenagers found him hilarious (that's saying a lot). Unfortunately, the Normandie lounge cannot afford everyone a great view of the stage, so arriving early for any and all entertainment is recommended, while saving seats is rude and NOT recommended. Compared to our other cruises, it seems the Normandie was more often crowded, which seems reflective of our fellow travelers on the Paradise; we all desired to see the shows and entertainers. Try to avoid the back row bar stools, which are too close to the ceiling, and have very poor sight lines to the stage. Our meals were served in the Elation dining room, by Cuthbert from St. Vincent (he preferred to be called Steven) and Lavinia, a young lady from Romania and the only female assistant waiter in the Elation dining room. Marino was our head waiter, and Francesco the maitre'd Both were attentive all week, and certainly had the staff's performance well-polished; our service all week was quick and attentive. We noticed a wonderful change in the choices on the menus, though the breakfasts remain the same (yet varied enough) as they were years ago. If you are not a foodie, you may want to skip the remaining paragraph, as I recall some of our repasts, with delicious detail! We were served appetizers of smoked salmon, (with a tiny dab of tasty caviar!) pepperpot soup, (very good) chicken satay, (peanut sauce, quite wonderful) wild mushroom soup, (one of the best I've ever had) shrimp cocktail, (large tails, sweet, succulent) tropical fruit and berries, (sweet, light) pumpkin soup, (unusual taste, delicious) smoked duck breast, (the teen that ordered it loved it) French onion soup, (with plenty of melted cheese and toast baked onto it!) langoustine etouffee, (spicy and wonderful) and marinated grilled mushrooms, (I died and went to heaven!). The salads were typical restaurant-type salads, and the portion was adequate. Entrees included lamb chops, (perfectly done, juicy, delicious) grilled steaks, (again, perfectly done, tender, great beef taste) sweet and sour shrimp, (huge shrimp, lightly tempura battered) roasted prime rib, (always perfect, with waiter-served au jus and horseradish, enjoyed it two different evenings) lobster tail, (ahh, wonderful, sweet, succulent) shrimp and leeks in chardonnay sauce, (the single BEST thing I ate all week...I still dream of it) beef Wellington, (teens all loved it, even after learning it had goose liver mousse on it) veal parmesan, (two large pieces, delicious and rich) and seafood mornay, (caused some serious moaning around the table!). Basically, every menu had a beef choice, a poultry choice, a seafood or fish choice, a vegetarian choice, and a pasta, which you could order as an appetizer. One of our children is a vegetarian, and she typically ordered the vegetarian entree, but did not care for many of them, saying they were tasteless, or too spicy in some cases. Often, she would enjoy the pasta of the day, picking out the meat, if included. She also ordered vegetables on the side, choosing from those which were offered with the various entrees. On that matter, while I enjoyed the main courses, I must add that the side dishes, such as risotto, steamed or sauteed vegetables, baked potatoes, or other starches, were delicious accompaniments, not afterthoughts. We ordered multiple entrees or appetizers, and sampled the various dishes, however, our astute waiter frequently noticed our enjoyment of a particular dish, and brought us an additional serving! And, lest I end this verbal feast without mention of the last (and best!) course, the desserts in the dining room were exquisite! We had grand marnier souffle, passion fruit indulgence, guave-cheese napoleon, German chocolate cake, lemon cake, tiramisu, hazelnut creme brulee, chocolate mousse, strawberry cheesecake, chocolate eclairs, apple pie, and coconut cake, to name but a few of the sinful treats. Fortunately, following the embarkation buffet, we never encountered another dessert that wasn't wonderful! Like the entrees, we would recommend ordering several choices, and sharing them...and if you're lucky enough to have a waiter like Steven, he'll notice which ones you love, and bring you more! One evening, we missed our early seating dinner, (we were exploring San Juan) and later had casual dinner in the Paris restaurant. The meal of mushroom tortellini, prime rib, sauteed summer squash, rice and beans, and tofu in black bean sauce was delicious, and though it was buffet food, it could easily have been served by a waiter, and no one would have thought it less tasty. And, recall that during this time, we could also have chosen from six to eight different types of pizza, and a full salad bar, not to mention room service, including an awesome shrimp sandwich, and spectacular fudgy brownies. In a word, the food on Paradise was terrific! Our itinerary was Eastern Caribbean, and I'll spare you the details, but will say that we had a wonderful three days at four very different islands, and having done our homework before we left home, we did exactly what we wanted to do, saved money instead of buying the ship's tours, and had a blast! If anyone would like, I am willing to email details of our time in San Juan, Virgin Gorda, St. Thomas, and St. John. We enjoyed historical sites, snorkeling, beautiful beaches, shopping, and island touring. The week ended, and we had to leave the beautiful Paradise, but we will certainly return, since this vacation was one of the best we've ever shared. Some final thoughts: -We booked this cruise through our local travel agent, and would do so again, since: 1) she got us a great rate to start with on our Cat. 12 suites, and 2) whenever the price would drop at the Carnival online site, she would call, reducing our rate to BELOW the lowest rate, which was fantastic (in all, we experienced four price reductions for passengers 1 & 2, and one reduction for passengers 3, 4, & 5). -We would love any cabin on the Paradise, but the suite was the best--great location, little motion, larger bathroom, and a refrigerator, which we found handy for cold drinks. -We would order MORE drink tickets, since they were never refused, at any bar, even for the more expensive drinks, such as Pina Coladas, Mudslides, and Miami Vices, which are $4.50, plus 15% gratuity. -We would take advantage of the tuxedo rental again, as we did for our sons, to avoid carrying formal wear on/off the ship--and, they looked like Prom night in our formal pictures! My husband also wore his tuxedo, and I enjoyed my time with three very handsome men! -I would have more photographs taken by the ship's staff, since they turned out so well, and are beautiful memories of our special moments. The photographers are so much less pushy than I recalled on our former cruises, and instead, you go to them, as they are set up all over the ship, with different backgrounds. Whew! That was a long review, but I had fun remembering our time aboard the Paradise. If anyone wants further information, please email, and if you are sailing in the near future on this cruise, prepare for the time of your life! Read Less
Carnival Paradise Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 3.0 0.0
Dining 4.0 0.0
Entertainment 4.5 0.0
Public Rooms 3.5 0.0
Fitness Recreation 4.0 0.0
Family 4.0 0.0
Shore Excursion 4.5 0.0
Enrichment 4.0 0.0
Service 4.5 0.0
Value For Money 4.0 0.0
Rates 3.0 0.0

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