Booked this last year with my older sister (69), her daughter and daughter's partner (mid-thirties) and her grand-daughter Chloe (aged 7). For us we needed something out of Tampa, and I had to be back before Saturday the 15th because of a time commitment. So we chose the Paradise, five days, stopping in Key West, Havana, and Cozumel. The ports of call were incidental to us, which turned out to be a good thing, as the week before we left the plug was pulled on Cuba. Our cruise was now Grand Cayman-Cozumel. The net result for us was a positive, as the ship seemed less crowded and we got a nice amount of on board credit between the five of us. I was afraid that the ship would be full of grumpy people, but not so. Overall folks seemed to be determined to make the best of it.
The ship seemed to be in remarkably good shape for her age, and I found overall the decor to be less over the top than many ships. The painting of the edging between the floors on the ship had an effect of Bavarian village to me. Did not see any signs of wear or tear in our rooms or on the decks. Very clean. No foul smells.
Both of our rooms were ocean view, deck six. Sister and I both a bit at a loss because we usually book balcony, and we missed that, but hardly Carnival's fault. The room itself had enough storage, except for the bathroom, where instead of the usual carnival long vanity with ample shelving, there was a single mirror with one shelf. Side note: somehow we were assigned an accessible room (partially accessible, as I could see it wouldn't work for someone fully disabled). Neither of us need or requested this. But there were extra rails around the toilet, an emergency pull cord, and an emergency call button by the headboards-which I accidentally hit trying to turn out the lights. Guest services called us within fifteen seconds, so I guess it works. Oops. We found the room temperature to be fine, but my niece reported hers to be too warm.
Crew overall was one of the most friendly I have ever encountered. Our room steward made a point when we said we'd take morning service, that he was happy to do both morning and afternoon, and he brought us ice daily without question. If chocolates had started appearing on our pillows, I would have sworn we'd had a time warp. We did miss the robes, however.
Spent a good chunk of time in waterworks with the great niece, which was awesome for her. Also noticed that Carnival had a worker stationed there to monitor the kids, which I have never seen before. However, placement of the waterworks meant the ship has only one pool. Still (perhaps because of not sailing at capacity) the crowding wasn't too terrible. In terms of chair hogs, one morning my sister and I were able to get three loungers near the pool at 9:30, so not the worst I have seen.
Lines at the buffets and at Guy's were not bad at all.
For dining, it was the usual Carnival food fare, so no surprises. Good, not great. Good bar service, however.
Ports of call...we were bummed to miss Key West as Chloe had her heart set on butterflies, but we ended up having a blast in Cayman going to the turtle adventure park. Saw turtles, held a turtle, sat by the pool and spent a good time swimming.
Cozumel we had been to 100 times before. Somehow, some way...we were the only ship in port, which I do not think I have ever seen before. We went to the Chakanab park and had a blast. Again, because of the smaller crowds, waiters were falling over themselves to serve us. I can see that with multiple ships in port the place could get overrun.
The entertainment was better than expected, with a few quirks. We only went to the piano bar once, but Ventzi was really good. The Hasbro Game show (my first time doing this) was great fun only because I was with Chloe. Saw the'80's Show and the Welcome Aboard show; two of the singer/dancers were great, the other two I found myself asking why they were there. Well, the night my sister and I went to the piano bar the rest of the family went to the (still on the schedule) Cuba show. Turns out those two singers are Latin specialists for song and dance.
Overall, one of the better cruises I've had, made so by the attitudes of the crew, lucky weather, and a ship in surprisingly good shape.
Accessible cabin (not needed, just was what assigned to us). No additional seating (probably because of a possible wheelchair). Bathroom different configuration than what we were used to, not as much space for toiletries in the bathroom. Two outlets, plus two usb ports. Cabin was clean and well maintained.
Very easy boarding. We were on the ship by 11:30am.
More than turtle farm, there was a pool and snorkel area.View All 329 Turtle Farm Reviews
All inclusive, excellent experience, however we were the only ship in port and I could see the facilities being overrun if there were a number of ships in port.View All 256 Chankanaab National Park Tour Reviews