I never wanted to go on a Carnival cruise. My cruise experiences have been with Celebrity (the vast majority), 2 Holland America, and 1 Royal Caribbean. Carnival was not for me: too loud, too young, too "party atmosphere". I especially didn't want to go on Carnival's oldest ship! My late DH and I went on an older Celebrity ship (Millennium), and found that ship to be quite shabby (and the crew was terrible!).
But, a large group of friends were going, and they convinced me to give Carnival a try.
What a pleasant surprise! Yes, the ship is older, so the amenities are not all there. But my cabin was clean and spacious. True, some of the finishes could be updated, but I had plenty of room! My steward, Farhan, was great, and kept me well stocked in towels.
And the food!!!!!!!!!! Wonderful! It more than holds its own against Celebrity's Concierge dining. Our servers, Jeffrey and Russel (table 211), were so pleasant, professional, and helpful. I particularly enjoyed the cold soup appetizers, Chateaubriand (sp?), prime rib, grilled chicken with pasta, and meal loaf (!). With the exception of the cappuccino pie (not "coffee-y" enough), all the deserts were to die for.
The entertainment was the only mediocre area. While the 70's and 80's Rock show as quite good, the 60's show was boring. I did not go to the 80's show on the last night, but my friends said it was better than the 60's show.
All in all, I would definitely go on Carnival again, and especially on the Paradise.
Spacious, clean, great steward. Could stand a little updating, but very good as it is.
Not very crowded, but they REALLY call out to you to come in their store. One jewelry salesman was a little pushy, but no big deal.
embarkation and disembarkation went very smoothly
Crowded, and I didn't think the deals were great. But then, I wasn't really looking to buy.