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This was my 8th cruise. Previously, I had gone on a 3 day Carnival from Port Orlando to (ugh) Nassau…..but that was my first cruise and I did manage to have a lot of fun. My second cruise was on Royal Caribbean’s Liberty of the Seas, which was pretty nice. The other five were on Holland America (HAL), and maybe I got spoiled by the great entertainment and classy treatment that HAL offers. We embarked on the Carnival Paradise (????) from Tampa during a driving rain storm. Embarkation was efficient. But when I first stepped onto the Paradise I thought that the atrium was one of the ugliest spectacles I had ever encountered. And I noticed that there seemed to be no staff members to direct passengers in the right direction. Then I noticed that my fellow passengers made me feel that I was in a Wal Mart on a busy Saturday. We did help each other find the right elevator, floor, and stateroom. But this was certainly not the mix of people I met on other cruises, especially HAL. My stateroom met with my approval. It was an oceanview on the lowest (Riviera) deck, and so far aft that there was only one room between me and the emergency exit. Later, I experienced some engine vibration at certain times, but that was not the case at least 90 percent of the time. The room was quiet, and the steward was friendly and eager to please. I was hungry, so I made my way to the Lido deck. It was still raining, so nobody was outside, and I had to fight my way through an ugly crowd to get something to eat and ANYplace to sit. I was starting to get very depressed. The weather improved, as did my experience. Otherwise, I would have been tempted to jump overboard! Oh…..then there was the safety drill. On my 7 previous cruises, this was always a joke. But Carnival really made it hilarious. They crowded us into one of the nightclubs, then some dude came around with a clicker and counted heads. On Royal Caribbean, they used hand-held scanners to check peoples’ cards. At least they knew whether everybody was there! We then sat (or stood) through a brief demo of donning a life-jacket. That was it……God help us if one of those ships has a real emergency…..nobody will know what to do. My biggest gripe about this cruise was the lack of entertainment. The “Shout” show on the last night was excellent. The other four nights???? Two comedians and lots of Bingo. The mostly young passengers seemed to enjoy bouncing from club to club and getting as drunk and rowdy as possible. Some of the best “entertainers” I saw was in the Karaoke bar. “Do it yourself” seems to be the Carnival approach to entertainment on these ships. The shore excursion in Grand Cayman (Coral Garden & Stingray Sandbar) was GREAT. This was my 6th time snorkeling, and the best! The excursion in Cozumel (Deluxe Beach Catamaran Sail and Snorkel) was lousy. Overcrowded boat, poor snorkeling, and mostly just an excuse to get drunk and dance the Macarena with the crew. Not too much different than being onboard the Paradise! Disembarking was the worst I’ve ever encountered. I had a flight that was 4 hrs after the Paradise hit land. I was advised by staff to take my luggage with me. They must have told a lot of people to do that. Spending way more than an hour fighting your way to the gangway, with people generally carrying way too much luggage (cases of booze??) was not my idea of fun. I just about kissed the ground when my feet landed in Tampa. To be fair, the service aboard the Paradise was generally very good. And I think that Carnival is just playing to a demographic that works for the line. But my next cruise will NOT be with them……it’s cheaper to just go visit WalMart.

Paradise Lost

Carnival Paradise Cruise Review by JEBG

Trip Details
This was my 8th cruise. Previously, I had gone on a 3 day Carnival from Port Orlando to (ugh) Nassau…..but that was my first cruise and I did manage to have a lot of fun.

My second cruise was on Royal Caribbean’s Liberty of the Seas, which was pretty nice.

The other five were on Holland America (HAL), and maybe I got spoiled by the great entertainment and classy treatment that HAL offers.

We embarked on the Carnival Paradise (????) from Tampa during a driving rain storm.

Embarkation was efficient. But when I first stepped onto the Paradise I thought that the atrium was one of the ugliest spectacles I had ever encountered. And I noticed that there seemed to be no staff members to direct passengers in the right direction.

Then I noticed that my fellow passengers made me feel that I was in a Wal Mart on a busy Saturday. We did help each other find the right elevator, floor, and stateroom.

But this was certainly not the mix of people I met on other cruises, especially HAL.

My stateroom met with my approval. It was an oceanview on the lowest (Riviera) deck, and so far aft that there was only one room between me and the emergency exit.

Later, I experienced some engine vibration at certain times, but that was not the case at least 90 percent of the time. The room was quiet, and the steward was friendly and eager to please.

I was hungry, so I made my way to the Lido deck. It was still raining, so nobody was outside, and I had to fight my way through an ugly crowd to get something to eat and ANYplace to sit. I was starting to get very depressed.

The weather improved, as did my experience. Otherwise, I would have been tempted to jump overboard! Oh…..then there was the safety drill. On my 7 previous cruises, this was always a joke. But Carnival really made it hilarious. They crowded us into one of the nightclubs, then some dude came around with a clicker and counted heads.

On Royal Caribbean, they used hand-held scanners to check peoples’ cards. At least they knew whether everybody was there! We then sat (or stood) through a brief demo of donning a life-jacket. That was it……God help us if one of those ships has a real emergency…..nobody will know what to do.

My biggest gripe about this cruise was the lack of entertainment. The “Shout” show on the last night was excellent. The other four nights???? Two comedians and lots of Bingo. The mostly young passengers seemed to enjoy bouncing from club to club and getting as drunk and rowdy as possible. Some of the best “entertainers” I saw was in the Karaoke bar. “Do it yourself” seems to be the Carnival approach to entertainment on these ships.

The shore excursion in Grand Cayman (Coral Garden & Stingray Sandbar) was GREAT.

This was my 6th time snorkeling, and the best! The excursion in Cozumel (Deluxe Beach Catamaran Sail and Snorkel) was lousy. Overcrowded boat, poor snorkeling, and mostly just an excuse to get drunk and dance the Macarena with the crew. Not too much different than being onboard the Paradise!

Disembarking was the worst I’ve ever encountered. I had a flight that was 4 hrs after the Paradise hit land. I was advised by staff to take my luggage with me. They must have told a lot of people to do that. Spending way more than an hour fighting your way to the gangway, with people generally carrying way too much luggage (cases of booze??) was not my idea of fun. I just about kissed the ground when my feet landed in Tampa.

To be fair, the service aboard the Paradise was generally very good. And I think that Carnival is just playing to a demographic that works for the line. But my next cruise will NOT be with them……it’s cheaper to just go visit WalMart.
JEBG’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
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