We purchased a category 6A oceanview room as well as "Faster to the Fun." We arrived in Tampa on July 15, and stayed at the Hampton Inn and Suites/Ybor City/Downtown. We purchased a "Park and Cruise" package which worked out nicely. The hotel was clean, comfortable and convenient. The shuttle service began at 830 am and ran every half hour throughout the day. We left at 10 am and were on the ship eating lunch by noon. As I have sailed on the Fantasy, Ecstacy and the Inspiration, I pretty much knew what to expect as far as the lay out and size of the vessel. Our cabin steward kept things very tidy for us, and our wait staff in the main dining room were also very good. Bar service in the main dining room was slow. We attended one show, The Welcome Aboard show, which was very good.
Carnival has revamped their bingo. They no longer have the tabs on the cards which can be pulled back or folded over. Guests can now use a pen, lipstick, or purchase a bingo marker. We very much enjoyed our short, but sweet 4 day cruise. While in Cozumel (our only port of call), we booked a day at Melia Vacation Club, an all inclusive resort. We enjoyed the unlimited food and beverages, as well as the private beach and the adult pool.
The Paradise was a very nice ship, and the only ship I have ever been on where you can get a deck chair next to the pool at noon. It never felt crowded as it has on some of the larger Carnival ships. My only complaint: The Chef's Table. We were sold on this experience during lunch on embarkation day. We were told by the waiter that this up close and personal experience with the Master Chef would include unlimited and different wines with each course, champagne, and entrees such as surf and turf. He also encouraged us to make suggestions to the chef during the experience. He also told us that this included a tour of the galley. What we got was a introduction to the Master Chef outside of his office in the galley and a choice of red or white with dinner. The menu served during this activity is predetermined months in advance and there are no deviations. They do ask if you have any food allergies. I was not impressed with the food or the menu. It included things outside of the mainstream such as duck etc. When I voiced my dissatisfaction with guest services, they did nothing. $75 went down the drain!!
I would definitely cruise on the Paradise again, but would never partake in The Chef's Table again!
We stayed at the Hampton Inn/Ybor City using the park and cruise package. It was well worth it!