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Carnival Paradise Cruise Review
3.5 / 5.0
Cruise Critic Editor Rating
991 Reviews

Outstanding Cuba!

Carnival Paradise Cruise Review by grest

3 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: Jan 2019
  • Destination: Cuba

We chose this cruise for two reasons: we wanted to visit Cuba, and the ship was sailing out of Tampa, a short drive from my home. Just for a point of reference, I've previously taken 20 or so cruises on many cruise lines and am not loyal to any particular line.

The first hurdle was getting around construction around the port, but we figured it out and got to our terminal around 10:30. We had purchased FTTF so there was no line to wait in, but the people who were checking us in were a bit confused about new procedures in place having to do with Cuban requirements. At one point there were five associates across the desk trying to get it right. It was okay, just surprising that there was such confusion. We were directed to the FTTF waiting area, and before long we were on the ship, dropping off our incidentals and seeing our cabin.

We had an oceanview cabin on Main deck. It was quite small, but functional. I mostly missed surfaces to lay stuff on. The beds were comfortable, the shower provided a strong flow and lots of hot water, and it was quiet around our cabin, so that was fine.

Dining was just okay. Some food was delicious, such as the bbq spare ribs, the dinner rolls, the wonderful layer cakes in the buffet, the fresh made to order omelets. Otherwise it was food that was served to me and I didn't have to clean up, so I'll take it! The service in the dining room was quite good. We had anytime dining, and there was generally a little bit of a wait, just enough to have a cocktail in the library or the USA bar. Strangely enough, even during dinner times, there was no service in the USA bar directly adjacent to the Elation dining room.

We ended up not participating in many activities. They just didn't interest us.

We did not care for the decor of this ship, as it was quite dark and undefined. Also, the flow was not so good.

The highlight for sure was the port of Cuba, though there were issues getting off the ship. We had a private tour booked for 10 am, but we did not realize that to get off the ship you first had to go to Deck 9 to get a sticker with a letter on it which determined the place in line to get off. We were not alone, and many people did not get off in time to join their group. This did not apply to tours booked through the ship, but private tours only. My daughter and I had booked through Blexie tours, just the two of us with a guide and a driver (a 1955 Chevy BelAir), partly walking and then driving all over Havana....best tour ever.

We did not get off the ship in Cozumel, as we had been here several times.

Given an option, I would not necessarily go on this particular ship again, but for the itinerary I would.

grest's Full Rating Summary
Onboard Experience
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
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Shore Excursions
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Personal experience...my adult daughter and I with one tour guide, one driver of a 1955 BelAir. Saw more and learned more than any other tour ever. Saw the usual spots plus whatever we told our guide we wanted to do. She was knowledgeable and answered all our questions.

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