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I had heard that the Paradise was an older ship, but that didn't prepare me for the poor state of the rooms. I could tolerate the rickety drawers, out-of-date features, and lack of storage, but the rooms were not clean. Windows, mirrors, walls all had visible signs of previous guests and were not cleaned while we were there. I never saw the room steward, and I even tried leaving a note. They obviously don't have enough staff. The other two rooms in our family had the same issues. They didn't always replace towels. 2 of us had days where they didn't clean our room at all. It's amazing what an unpleasant effect that had on our trip. There were electric issues: lights flickering, making noises. And there is literally only one plug (not an outlet with two) in the whole room, and none in the bathroom. They were working on the electrical system on our floor every day, but no improvement that I saw. We noticed a lack of personnel at dinner too. They were always rushed -- no time for chatting or warmth. They were working very hard, too many tables or not enough help. It is no fun at all to be with staff who are not having fun. Buffet felt very mundane and low budget. Restaurant was still great though. On the bright side, the shows were incredible. Energetic, excellent production value, terrific talent. Sets and technology were top-notch. We had a live band for the Cuba show! The lounge pop band and Latin band were both fantastic as well. Two problems: 1) everywhere the sound systems were much much too loud, especially the theatre. It was unbearable in some locations. 2) There are very few good seats in the theatre. Lots of obstructed view or really bad sound. Get there early for a good seat (center back, or balcony front row). Also great: Jamie the cruise director, plus many individuals who were fun and helped make it a good experience. We lucked out with one comedian who was a riot, and had the whole room falling off their seats. Other positives: Beds were excellent, very comfortable. A/C worked very well, so we could always cool off if needed. Water pressure was good. Seas were calm and it was a very smooth ride. Someone told us this is a training ship. We kept using that as rationale, "I guess they're in training!" This is one of only a few boats that can go to Cuba, but I would still look into another option, rather than this one.

Great shows, not enough staff, dirty rooms.

Carnival Paradise Cruise Review by rosedraws

Trip Details
  • Sail Date: September 2017
  • Destination: Cuba
  • Cabin Type: Ocean View
I had heard that the Paradise was an older ship, but that didn't prepare me for the poor state of the rooms. I could tolerate the rickety drawers, out-of-date features, and lack of storage, but the rooms were not clean. Windows, mirrors, walls all had visible signs of previous guests and were not cleaned while we were there. I never saw the room steward, and I even tried leaving a note. They obviously don't have enough staff. The other two rooms in our family had the same issues. They didn't always replace towels. 2 of us had days where they didn't clean our room at all. It's amazing what an unpleasant effect that had on our trip.

There were electric issues: lights flickering, making noises. And there is literally only one plug (not an outlet with two) in the whole room, and none in the bathroom. They were working on the electrical system on our floor every day, but no improvement that I saw.

We noticed a lack of personnel at dinner too. They were always rushed -- no time for chatting or warmth. They were working very hard, too many tables or not enough help. It is no fun at all to be with staff who are not having fun.

Buffet felt very mundane and low budget. Restaurant was still great though.

On the bright side, the shows were incredible. Energetic, excellent production value, terrific talent. Sets and technology were top-notch. We had a live band for the Cuba show! The lounge pop band and Latin band were both fantastic as well. Two problems: 1) everywhere the sound systems were much much too loud, especially the theatre. It was unbearable in some locations. 2) There are very few good seats in the theatre. Lots of obstructed view or really bad sound. Get there early for a good seat (center back, or balcony front row).

Also great: Jamie the cruise director, plus many individuals who were fun and helped make it a good experience. We lucked out with one comedian who was a riot, and had the whole room falling off their seats.

Other positives: Beds were excellent, very comfortable. A/C worked very well, so we could always cool off if needed. Water pressure was good. Seas were calm and it was a very smooth ride.

Someone told us this is a training ship. We kept using that as rationale, "I guess they're in training!" This is one of only a few boats that can go to Cuba, but I would still look into another option, rather than this one.
rosedraws’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Ocean View
Cabin 6E U201
Location was a little far from the stairs. Like most other rooms, it has two bunks that take up wall space. There was a too-small tv stuck in the opening where a larger tv once was. Drawers don't glide, not enough storage, only one single plug in the whole room. No fridge!! And ice was not available near the room. Not the same number of chairs in each room, some had no chair. But we did sleep great: Beds and bedding were luxurious and comfortable.
Empress Deck Inside Cabins, Outside Cabins, Balcony Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • City Tour
    The buses were new, exceptionally comfortable, great A/C. The tour guide was pleasant and professional, but felt scripted. The fort was spectacular, lunch was mediocre.

    We never actually had time with Cuban people, or buy cigars, rum, and coffee (I was so disappointed!). People wanted money from us, but otherwise were not glad to have us there. Some just begging, others really swindling to trick you into paying more (be careful in the "marketplace"! Seeing the decay everywhere was upsetting. We loved our stop at the cathedral square. The cemetery was also interesting. There were musicians playing at some stops, and that was excellent. I was happy to give them money. Be sure to get some crystal beer.

    I think people who created their own itinerary had a better experience, but I was so glad for the air conditioned bus.
    View All 212 City Tour Reviews
  • Tropicana Cabaret
    Driving through Havana at night was eerie and fascinating. We were inside for the show, and it was crowded. The wait staff kinda shoved my parents to some seats at the back and they ended up not being able to see much. They were so disappointed.

    The show was great. Good singers, wild costumes, tons of performers, lots of spectacle. Not sure it was worth the high price, but we were entertained.
    View All 70 Tropicana Cabaret Reviews
  • Key West
    We arrived as shops were open for the first time since the hurricane. They were all so happy to have people again! They had all worked very hard to get things running again. We rented a golf cart from HydroThunder, that was a fun way to get around. It was a little hard to find a cool, quiet lunch spot, but looks like there is lots to do. "Key lime pie on a stick" sounded good, but the chocolate dip drowned out the lime. I'll go for straight pie next time.
    View All 1,822 Key West Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Key West Cruise Port Review
  • Tampa
    The port is industrial, so it's not a fun start like Miami.
    View All 577 Tampa Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Tampa Cruise Port Review