I'm a loyal Carnival cruiser mainly because it is economical for my young son and I to cruise together that won't break the bank. I've been on now 6 Carnival ships so far including the Breeze when it was less than 6 months old. The Paradise was the oldest and smallest ship in the Carnival fleet that I have ever sailed (not to sound snobby or anything). I did not plan the trip, I was an "add-on" to my boyfriends family vacation when I suddenly became available for the dates they were sailing. After reading the reviews, I was extremely hesitant but I did not have much choice and it became worse after receiving the news that our Grand Cayman port (which is always my favorite and wanted the first time cruisers I was going with to experience it) was substituted with the Costa Maya port due to "mechanical issues". Again, my expectations went even lower.
We arrived at the Port of Tampa and aside from our check in representative being his first day and was a nervous wreck (we went easy on him ;) it was a super smooth boarding process. No super long lines, security was quick and easy, no crazy crowds and traffic. We boarded the ship fairly early (right after the Faster to the Fun crowd, for those of you wanting to pay that "extra" money) and our staterooms were ready by the time we got there around 12:30 (even though they said not until 1:30). Bags came fast with the exception of one of them, not sure why. We headed up to explore the ship and I kept thinking to myself "wow, we must have gotten here really early, theres not many people yet". Well, I was surprised when we set sail and I continued to think how nice it was being on this smaller ship where there were not mobs of people (other than the one and only pool on the lido deck during the day which was very very crowded). Because of that, the lines for the food were much shorter (and sometimes none at all), the bars and clubs were never overcrowded and hot, the elevators are the fastest of any ship I have been on and was never difficult to find an employee.
Yes, the ship is older and the decor is outdated but I've never expected it to be so clean. Yes, you can get weird smells here and there and some spots are noisier than others...its a ship, that happens.
The room stewards, in my opinion, are one of the greatest parts of every cruise. They are so warm, welcoming, friendly and always have a smile every day. Our steward Andre was no exception! He went above and beyond for us!
The only complaints that I have:
The food is eh. Its not bad...but its not great. But there were always lots of options no matter the time or day. The dining room dinner is of course better than the buffet and good variety, but again...its just okay. By far, the dining room breakfast or seaday brunch is your best bet for breakfast. I have found this to be true on every Carnival ship so I was not surprised.
The line for Guest Services pretty much any time or day was ridiculous. I waited in line for about an hour just to get a new room key.
There is no individual temperature control for the cabin. Although it never did get overly warm and was comfortable most of the time, when there were all 4 of us getting ready in our Quad room, it was pretty warm. At night, which is when we spend most of our time in the cabin anyway, it was comfortable but would have been nicer to make it a bit cooler.
Other than that, I would cruise on the Paradise again any day! I was so pleasantly surprised at great it was!
We did the Adventure park with beach break and we all had a blast! The only complaint is the amount of peddlers on the beach. Its hard to relax and enjoy your self because they come by every 3-4 minutes trying to sell you their goods. I have experienced some beaches where it is not so bad but it was quite annoying. The beach was beautiful and the food and service was fantastic!View All 32 Zip-lining Reviews
Tried to get in to Mr Sanchos to meet the rest of our family but were turned away because we did not have a reservation. Unable to reach any of them on their phones, we asked if we could just go in and make sure they were not there so we did not miss out on spending the day with them. They would not allow us and assured us that if they did not have a reservation (which they did not), they would not have allowed them in earlier in the morning. We went to beach club close by (which of course the taxi driver recommended because they get a cut for certain places) and searched for them there to no avail (and the cab driver followed us all around and down the beach waiting for us to pay for the day so he could get his money). We ended up at Carlos n charlie by ourselves and found out later that they were all at Mr Sanchos for the day. Was kind of disappointed in that.