I generally don't return to cruise critic after a cruise and I, and my family, are relatively tolerant of imperfection.
I have been a member since 2004 and been on a fair number of cruises, most in suites and more on NCL than Carnival. I have to say there is no comparison if you are in a suite. Do not waste the large amount of extra money, particularly on Paradise, for a suite. In order to get a fair amount of space and a balcony that could fit chairs we had to book a Grand suite which is the best cabin available. First, do not expect any kind of VIP treatment. There isn't any. I kind of assumed that going in so I was banking on the cabin being worth the fare. It , and the ship, were not up to snuff. Worst of all the coveted and rare (on Paradise) balcony smelled like raw sewage for the whole trip. I had to complain and they said they had heard that before!! Things are not clean. The robe had someone else's dirt on the collar, the surfaces were all sticky when we got there, the windows (which are easily accessible from the balcony -- I was going to clean them myself) had old drippy streaks running down them. I don't blame the stewards, I'm sure they are overworked.
I can go on -- but I'm too busy coughing my lungs out from the second hand smoke in the casino which seemed to have no air conditioning or air circulation. Dining room wait staff at our table was excellent and we tipped them extra accordingly which I could tell was a shock to them as was the tip I gave our room steward. I don't think he had ever had a decent tip before. He said as much.
Carnival Paradise is a tired old ship, okay for a short CHEAP cruise. This is not the ship to book if you want the suite experience. I will pony up the extra for a suite on another line where VIP means something. It's always nice to get what you think you are paying for. I wrote this so others are forewarned and don't get the major disappointment we did.
Regarding service -- guest services often does not answer the phone. I had a message on the phone, tried to call them 6 times, no answer. I finally had to go to the desk and wait 15 minutes on a long line. Finally we were supposed to have priority disembarkation being in a suite and also with a wheelchair bound parent. We were completely ignored by the staff helping priority disembarkation until I steeped forward to ask several times why they were not letting us through.
The cabin was a decent size but was very tired and not very clean. The beds were so hard we could not sleep. I did not expect this in the Grand Suite. We had been in an ocean view before and the beds were bad but this was a surprise that Grand Suite beds were just as bad. I ended up on the vinyl couch to get a little sleep. The really bad part was the raw sewage smell which was so strong that it overwhelmed the room when we tried to step out onto the balcony. Bad smells even seeped through the air conditioning vents. It was not good. I can still smell the sewage which if you have ever smelled a bad diaper you have a good idea what it was like.