Sept. 5, 2018
Just returned from a cruise to Havana and Cozumel on Carnival Paradise and would like to pass along our views.
Embarkation at Tampa was quick, painless and an improvement from years past. Living in the area we used Lyft for drop off and pickup at the curb.
Stateroom was small with a window and stool under desk, but otherwise plain.
Food quality and service has suffered over the last 10 years. On the Paradise, since February, table cloths have been eliminated in favor of smudged wood tops. Only one night they were used. The buffet featured the same food as the dining room, but without the grilled selections. You can choose from a number unseasoned offerings.
First night in the dining room was chaos appearing under staffed. It took 45 minutes to be served. Felt sorry for the girl covering our area.
Guy’s hamburgers closes along with the Mexican offerings at 6PM. If you try to avoid the dining room the only choices are pizza or sandwiches.
Enjoyed Havana on the overnight by making online reservations at 5 Sentidos Paladar six blocks from the dock. Great food with exceptional service.
Next morning we had online reservations with Free Walking Tours. Had a 2 1/2 hour trek through the streets of old Havana by nice young lady fluent in English. She was a school teacher making $25/mo. when she decided to become a tour guide. In order to get the license she had marry someone in that area, once issued they got a divorce.
They live on tips so be generous.
Most have been to Cozumel and enjoyed water sports or a trip to the ruins. Standard stuff when you really just want to go to Cuba.
The only entertainment were a solo guitar singer and with a band. There is no show.
It maybe worthwhile to note that shore excursions and not necessary in spite of the active promotion. On the affidavit choose 'Support of Cuban People' and you're good to get off the ship.
Lower your expectations for this ship, then lower them again. With this ship you must remember it's the destination, not the journey.
Noisy room and section, according to Carnival crew, was being caused by steam pipes banging early in the morning. Don't plan on sleeping past 0745.