* I decided to book this last minute cruise for my husband's birthday. I read all the reviews and set our expectations prior to boarding. Check-in process was fast, our rooms were ready when we boarded (12:30pm) and our luggage made it to our rooms prior to leaving the dock. The main entry was quite cramped and I felt claustrophobic however I was not spending much time there so it really did not matter.
* The buffet on the Lido deck were nothing to write home about. Unless you have to have a cheeseburger or fries, avoid that line as it stretched 15+ people the entire trip. They did have a Mongolian Grill which was pretty decent.
* I avoided the pool area as much as possible. At any time of the day or night, there were always way more people in the pools and hot tubs than should be. The music was so loud that I could not hear my husband talking to me and he was sitting next to me. I avoided the pool area all together.
* The shows were great. We were happy to see that the dancers and singers performed almost every evening unlike some other Carnival ships. I hope you like country as most of the shows evolved around country music.
* On most Carnival ships, the cruise director always has an accent and was a strikingly good looking guy. The Cruise Director on the Paradise is Steve Castle. He was a tall thin gentleman who was quite dorky but you can see that he loves his job. He also plays a mean fiddle. He cracks jokes and by the end of the cruise he grows on you.
* We signed up for the Chef's Table which was an enjoyable evening. You are treated to a 10 course meal that takes 3 hours to eat. That also includes a tour of the kitchen. If you love food and don't mind trying new things, this is something you want to pay the extra money for. There is a limit of 14 people for this event so sign up ads soon as you get on the ship at Guest Services.
I read the cabin reviews regarding the lack of room when the beds were made as a king so I decided to request the beds remain as two twins. I am not a spring chicken and don't want to have an issue in the middle of the night. When we arrived in our cabin, our room steward Serin greeted us and welcomed us to our cabin. I told him that with the beds as a king, there was an annoying corner storage cabinet (which I knew in advance) did not allow me to walk around the foot of the bed and asked for him to make the beds as two singles. He insisted that I contact Guest Services about the issue but said no more. I headed to Guest Services and by the time I got back to my cabin, there was a man with a screw driver removing the annoying corner cabinet, relocated the life jackets to our closet and they hauled the cabinet away. My room steward just winked and said that a husband and wife should not have to sleep in separate beds because of an annoying cabinet. BTW, I tipped him well.
I booked Mr. Sancho's which is NOT an excursion through Carnival. This was the first activity that I have booked outside of the cruise line and I was a bit leery. We took a cab for the 2 of us which cost $16 total. After a short 10-15 minute drive from the port, we arrived. The beach if free and you can purchase food and drink separately. We decided to go for the all-inclusive package which includes all food and drinks for $55 per person and is in a separate section. We rented a locker for $10 and we received our $10 back when we returned the key. We arrived around 10am and we were the first in the pool. The staff were wonderful, explained everything. Bring cash for tips. I was worried about getting a cab back in time to get back to the port but there are people arriving non-stop of the taxi concern was not an issue. If we came back to Cozumel, we are going to head back to Mr. Sancho's for another relaxing day.