My oldest sister has all of her cruise points with Carnival, and when she asked me and my other sister to join her and her hubby for a Thanksgiving cruise aboard Carnival Paradise out of Tampa, we decided to give Carnival a second try.
Our 1st experience cruising on Carnival Sensation in 2014 was very unpleasant, and we almost didn't return to cruising as a result of that trip.
However, we hoped for the best this go round, and while there were some highlights -- and it was a better experience than we initially had on Sensation -- it was mediocre at best compared to other cruises we have been on.
Excellent food, especially in the Elation dining room. We had anytime seating and went at 6:30pm on most nights. Our head waitress, Elena from Macedonia, was AMAZING! If you go on this ship, ask for her table. She is fast, friendly, and truly knows how to take care of her guests.
Back patio (dining area) of Paris Restaurant was lovely for dining. It overlooks the Serenity area, and was great for water gazing. If your table is in the sun however, it can be brutally hot.
- Older ship, dated looking.
- Horrible pools. They were small and felt like holding tanks for sea animals. You couldn't see over the edge of the pool.
- Shows were just okay.
- Not enough activities on port days; and redundant activities throughout the cruise.
- Embarkation/Disembarkation/Muster was slow and unorganized.
This cabin's location was great for easy access to the Paris Restaurant (main buffet) on Lido Deck. It was quiet, with a nice view. Spacious bathroom, though you could tell the room's age by the fixtures and worn decor. We didn't see our cabin steward until Day 3 of the trip. He said he kept missing us. He also kept missing the toilet paper, tissues, towels, etc. and we had to request those things almost daily.
Tampa is our hometown and was very convenient to access for cruising. Being a smaller port, it usually is an easy process to get on board. However we had a new staff member that was very confused about checking guests in, so that lengthened the embarkation process.
Grand Cayman is a port that requires tendering from the main ship to land. We waited a few hours before shuttling to port to allow the guest traffic to diminish. We didn't have to wait in line, and it was very easy getting on/off the ship.
We have been to Cozumel many times, but this was our first visit to the Puerta Maya pier. It was as nice as International Pier, but it's the furthest away from Downtown. We spent some time on lounge chairs overlooking the water -- they were free -- and a perfect spot beneath the palm trees to see the ships. Lots of shopping, dining, and sights to see.