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Sail Date: May 2005
EMBARKATION: This was very prompt. When we arrived there was only a few people in line. Very quick! CABIN: The cabin was a good size. Rather small, but that is to be expected on a cruise. THE SHIP ITSELF: I do not have any other ships ... Read More
EMBARKATION: This was very prompt. When we arrived there was only a few people in line. Very quick! CABIN: The cabin was a good size. Rather small, but that is to be expected on a cruise. THE SHIP ITSELF: I do not have any other ships to compare this one to, but overall I thought it was really nice. DINING: Dinner ranged from average to wonderful!! Breakfast and lunch we always ate buffet, and these were average to good. Nothing exceptional but nothing bad either! The fruit is WONDERFUL!! CRUISE STAFF: Everyone that we came in contact with was great, and did a wonderful job taking care of us!!! EXCURSIONS: (We chose to do all Carnival sponsored excursions) BELIZE: In Belize we did the city tour and zoo. This was very interesting and I was able to see many different types of animals. It was kind of sad as they are in cages but they did say that these animals were rescued from injuries in nature. ISLA ROATAN: We went to the Dolphin encounter and tabaya beach. This was a wonderful excursion and I would do it again in a minute!! If you get a chance please do this! GRAND CAYMAN: We went to stingray city on this tour, and it was amazing!! COZUMEL: We went to Tulum, the Mayan Ruins. This was spectacular!!! It is a must see, something not to be missed. If going from Cozumel, though, beware of that ROUGH ferry ride!!!! SHOPPING: Read Less
Sail Date: December 2004
This was our New Years cruise on the Paradise, our 4th cruise, 3rd on Carnival. For comparison purposes, we have sailed on the Destiny, and Conquest prior. I apologize in advance for sometimes jumping around and being wordy, but, as this ... Read More
This was our New Years cruise on the Paradise, our 4th cruise, 3rd on Carnival. For comparison purposes, we have sailed on the Destiny, and Conquest prior. I apologize in advance for sometimes jumping around and being wordy, but, as this cruise is over, This review helps us to relive some of our great times and share some of our ideas with others. As this is an older ship, the dEcor and layout has been penned by many other authors far more accomplished to the task than I could hope to, therefore I will relate more about our experiences. I hope you enjoy! EMBARKATION We arrived in Florida on Sat (giving us the 1 day buffer making sure we had no problems with storms or security) and relaxed at relatives. Got to the pier around noon. It took about 30 minutes to get through the security checkpoint and we handed our luggage to the porters at about 12:30 PM and joined the many others in the "fun pass" line. Even though the line was fairly long we had our boarding passes and were ready to board the ship by 1:30 PM. The one big plus we all noticed as soon as we stepped on is how clean the air in this smokeless ship was. Everywhere you went, especially the lounges, not having to walk through a cloud of cigarette exhaust was truly wonderful. After boarding the ship we headed to our cabin to drop off our carry-on luggage and decided to visit the first of our many trips to the buffet and pizza. We were happily greeted by waiters with champagne which was a very nice touch. Unfortunately then we were presented with the current standard of Carnival buffet. I don't know if other lines have also cut back on the buffet, but Carnivals offerings I felt were scant and just not all that appealing. Unlike the newer Conquest class, which offers burgers, chicken, and steak, the grill by the pool on the Paradise offered only burgers and fries. Maybe I am getting too much Carnival, but even the pizza was not as great as I remembered only 5 months earlier on the Conquest. Anyway after a bite for lunch we toured the ship as this was our first adventure on a Fantasy class. The layout was very easy to follow and nicely decorated. We then went to our room to check on luggage and meet the steward. We brought a small holiday gift along with a pretip. We were 4 people in an outside room, and with 4 of us I knew taking care of our cabin would be a challenge. Jerry, the steward was grateful and took great care of us the whole week. That service started when I mentioned the aroma which arose from the toilet when you lifted the cover. Jerry said he would scrub and make it better. I learned from this board that the aroma was something many people found on this ship. We went for dinner and were seated at a table for 10. All the people were very nice, however we had requested a private table for the 4 of us, as this was a special celebrations cruise and wanted to be just us for a change. The Matre'd was great and switched us the next night. Our dining staff, consisting of Vtor and Jolita. Vtor was right out of a comic book. He was a spitting image of Danny DeVito (size and mannerisms), and because he was from Portugal, he rolled every other word he said. We fell in love with both of them and mimicked them the rest of the cruise. Their service was outstanding by the way. We went to the welcomed show that night to meet the CD Shawn Bussey, who along with her assistants Tina and Brett, were a great team, certainly worthy of giving John Herald a run for the money. My only complaint is enough of the minister joke. Hey Carnival, write some new material. For those of you who have cruised Carnival before, I am sure you know what I am talking about, for those of you who are new to cruising, I don't want to go into more detail and ruin any experience you may have. The CD, her assistants, and all the entertainment staff, except for the magician, were all good. The magician just could not grab the audience. After the show it was back to the Lido deck for some late night pizza and then we headed back to the cabin to get some much needed rest for our first "Fun Day at Sea". FUN DAY at SEA: We were on the Upper deck by the rear of the ship. The ship was very rocky. Since we departed Florida, the ship was very rocky. Except for my dw, the rest of the family loved the motion, but it was rough for my dw. I'm not sure if it was the motion or the mere fact we were so exhausted that had us sleeping like rocks. We awoke around 10:00 AM to a continuation of the aroma. I again mentioned it to Jerry who said he will bleach the bathroom. We missed breakfast, as we will learn will become commonplace and decided to try the breakfast buffet. Carnival, move your omelets station!!!. It created long lines at the breakfast every day. We then moseyed out to the pool area to get chairs. See I can be a comedian too. Finding a chair was akin to winning the free cruise bingo. Chair saving was out of hand. This was when I really wished they had balcony rooms on this ship. We eventually found some chairs. Between the continued rough motion, and sun, and, OK, a few foo foo drinks, we fell asleep again. We got in time for one of our many trips to Karaoke. My 16 y/o daughter kept many people entertained with her singing and very contagious laughter. I should also mention at this point, our 4th member of our cabin was our 20y/o son who kept many of the women entertained during the cruise. Both of our kids had a great time due to the number of friends they met. According to Carnival, there were in excess of 800 people under 19 on board. Except for very few, too few to even matter, there were no problems at all on this ship with kids. The typical "running in the halls" and craziness other writers have mentioned on these boards in the past, were not to be found on this cruise. We then dressed for our first formal evening and ventured into the dining room. I'm not sure why, but the dining room did not open its doors for almost 20 minutes. We were cramped into the hallway and could not move until the doors opened. One teenager freaked out in the middle of this crowd, and they literally had no where to bring her. Suddenly an elevator opened and they managed to get her over to it and out of the crowd. We really felt sorry for her. Anyway, one outstanding meal they had was the rack of lamb. We had 3 portions, the lobster was just ok. Except for the lamb and the cold soups (mango and strawberry were not to be missed), nothing else was noteworthy. That of course did not stop me from gaining 10 lbs mind you!!! Night time was consumed with much the same each evening. Pictures, shows, buffet, drinks, and fun. Now you understand why we only made 1 breakfast. BELIZE: Awoke to the aroma, which we now nicknamed the "wild thing". Jerry was scrubbing as you could smell the bleach but it just did not help. I call the purser this time who said he would call the plumber to check it out. He arrived in minutes and said it could not be from the ship, it had to be cleaning. We told him our steward was scrubbing and he just said I will talk to your steward. At this point we figured this is just the way it will be and had to put up with it. Anyway, this was our first encounter with Belize so I wanted to take in some local flavor. We felt we had plenty of time for beaches later in the week. We tendered into a very nice dock area and found Fred. Fred was a local driver who talked us into seeing some monkey's, my daughter's favorite animal, at a local zoo. First after a short tour of the island, he brought us to the Belize Zoo. I was all set to be bored as the last thing I wanted was to walk around and waste my vacation at some local animal rest home, when if I really wanted to visit a zoo, could go to some great ones in the US. I was wrong. The BZ was a small intimate natural habitat with no cages or bars. It was wonderful and no zoo in the US that I have been, had me confront a puma, face to face, 14 inches apart. The animals were not drugged, sleeping (except for the puma), or shy. These animals were all moving and acting on their individual instincts. In the meantime, Fred took us around to show us all the highlights of both animals and local flora. He also was pointing out all the animals, which were using their natural camouflage. We would never have found those animals on our own. We saw many usual as well as unusual local creatures and heard all their histories. Fred then brought us back another way, giving more history of Belize, back to the tender. Just so you have a sense of comparison, Fred was with us all day. We originally agreed on $75.00 for all 4 of us, but I gave him $100.00. He was wonderful. All in all, a nice port stop. When we got back to the room there was a knock on the door. It was the ships engineer who came to sample "the wild thing". He said he would be right back and in about 10 minutes the plumber came back and said I have your new toilet here. Sure enough they brought this big cart with a new toilet still wrapped up and installed the brand new toilet and that was the last of "the wild thing". We played our version of bingo to see who would inaugurate it. ISLE ROOTAN: This was our least liked stop. We are ones who choose activities on our own. We research areas we are going to and read experiences of others on this board to help make our decisions. This is one of the very few stops I would recommend booking through the ship. This island is very poverty stricken. Its lush physical beauty is overcome by the sadness you have seeing its people. Reading others accounts of this island prompted me to do a little exploring while my family readied themselves. When you get off the ship, you are behind a fenced in area where you are pummeled by taxi drivers. I exited past the gates to be greeted by Harry and his brother. Harry was on break from school going into the 3rd grade while his brother was going into 2nd grade. They wanted a few dollars to be our guide for the day. They brought me to a driver who agreed to take us to the beach. I went back aboard to fetch my family and make up a quick care package for the kids. By the time we got off, they were already gone. The poverty is overwhelming. We found another taxi driver to take us to Tapiana beach where Carnival's excursion was going. When we got to the beach we were told it is a private beach for the exclusive use of Carnival excursions. By the time we got to the next beach it started to rain very hard so we decided to head back to the ship. The driver felt bad so he invited us back to his house. He said he would cook us iguana. He said it would be the best iguana we ever had. I told him I was sorry but on Atkins we were not allowed iguana. Carnival is very inventive here. They invested a large sum of money to create the only great beach around and forces you to purchase their excursion to use it. We were back on ship by 1pm and just vegged out the afternoon at the pool and spa. Later that afternoon, we received a letter under our door, sorry for the aroma and appreciate your patience and gave us a discount on our next Carnival cruise. Thank you Carnival. NEW YEAR'S EVE PARTY: At dinner time they gave out party hats and noisemakers. After dinner and show we made our way to the Lido deck. The hot tubs had been closed at 5:00 PM that day and a big cloth was draped over them. Later the hot tubs were filled with ice and bottles of champagnes for sale. By about 11:30 PM the waiters starting passing out the free champagne and we made sure to get our fill prior to the countdown. They had the 2003 sign up on the funnel and you could see the outline of the four behind the three. The band was playing loud while the CD and crew were doing a countdown. At midnight the ship kept blaring its horn, the band rocked, the champagne and drinks poured, kisses and hugs were everywhere. It was paradise on Paradise. What a wild party We partied until about 1:30 AM and then headed to get some late night food at the buffet. We finally made our way up to the cabin about 3:00 AM as we had Grand Cayman in just a few hours. GRAND CAYMAN: Once again we missed breakfast as we knew the tender lines would be long. Our last visit to GC brought us to stingray city via a great company "nativeway" and highly recommend it for anyone who has not done it before, so we decided this time we would just beach it. We got off the tender at about noon and headed to a cab to the beach opposite the Holiday Inn. It was a nice beach. Fun, sun, and snorkeling. GC was a quick stop so we did some quick local shopping, got back to tender and back on board. This was our next formal night. So we had plenty of time to pamper and take pictures. COZUMEL: Cozumel turned out to be the highlight of our ports. We rented an open air Jeep in advanced and had planned to go to Chankanab Park. Our ship was docked at a different port from the main dock so we had a little hike to Avis. Along the way I spoke to an American who was living in Cozumel and told us to go to Paradise beach on the east coast and Playa Bineto on the west coast. Both were free and only wanted you to buy drinks. Paradise beach was a beautiful beach with a floating trampoline and climbing ice berg. They also had plenty of non motorized boats and floats free for anyone use, as well as wave runners and parasailing for rent. There were plenty of chairs, chaises, and hammocks complete with stewards to clean off chairs, bring drinks, or adjust umbrellas. It was not crowded and just wonderful. We did not feel we needed to go anywhere else accept we decided after all we had the jeep, let's go for a ride. We were told the other side of the island had quite a surf and sandy beach instead of a rocky one. We found the other beach and felt we were on Gilligan's Island. There were about a dozen chairs with umbrellas and a small bar with beers at $1.00 each. The water was warmer with waves 5-6'. We had a blast. With a breathtaking sunset over the horizon, we set sail back to town for a little visit to Carlos and Charlie's. Along the way we found a small stand selling 15 flavors of Tequila. After sampling each one and buying several bottles we staggered to C&C for a yard. It was great staying in Cozumel til 11pm. We barely made it back on. FUN AND LAST DAY at SEA: Today I awoke feeling the same rocking though this time I think it was more post Carlos N Charlie's than the waves. We had a good time. My dw and daughter got up early in order to get on the list for talent night. We followed somewhat thereafter. Depression is starting to settle in as we know this last day means packing and goodbyes. Most of this beautiful day was divided between sunning, shopping, and thinking by this time tomorrow, someone else will be in our room listing to our Vtor and his great accent. We made sure we had our last slices of pizza and Cesar salad DEBARKATION: Par for the course we woke up late again. We did make it off in time to see our luggage sitting all alone in the luggage warehouse. We were truly the last ones off the ship. Each time we passed a security agent he would say into the walkie talkie, yes here they come now. Needless to say, we had absolutely no problems getting off our private yacht. No lines, no hassle and a porter just waiting to escort us and our luggage. LAST MENTIONS: Jill and Malcom, it was great meeting you. We wished there was more time to spend together, maybe in some future cruise. Spoobs, sorry we missed you and hope you had a great cruise. There is so much I forgot to mention I thought I would just p.s. them here. Our steward was not just a steward who left towel animals, but indeed a towel animal artist. One night he created a guy, must have used 6 towels, complete with sunglasses, the headset from a cd player, reading a copy of the Carnival Caper. We walked into the room and just cracked up, we named him Clyde. (don't know why). We attended all the shows except the Mexican evening. We had our own Mexican evening. As I mentioned all the stage shows as well as the visiting guests were wonderful. Room service was a game. It seemed no matter how specific, or how many times we went over our order, they would just change the order. We started wagering between ourselves, which dishes would be changed. We would order hot chocolate and get ice tea, order roast beef and get ham and cheese. It became comical For the life of me, I do not understand how someone who could design such a great ship could design such a lousy showroom. I sometimes thought there were more poles than seats. Downstairs was mostly OK except the seats were very uncomfortable. Up stairs, the seats were comfortable though 85% of the seats had obstructed views. Really obstructed. Avoid upstairs at all costs, get there earlier. The stage productions and especially lighting were excellent. Service and helpfulness throughout the ship by most all the crew were excellent. The casino was never crowded and the dealers were always willing to help a novice guest. Sushi offered 4 items each day. They left much to be desired. Sushi fans, pass on this. Sushi novices, don't judge sushi by what you taste here. Carnival collects and stacks chairs from around the pool by 7pm and closes the pool about the same. As we love to lie out late at night, under the stars, Carnival makes it troublesome to unstick the chairs you want. The dinner meals were good but the buffets were really a let down. GOOD: Cozumel, rack of lamb, new years eve party. The Grand Marnier soufflE. Carnivals response to "the wild thing". The Belize Zoo. The weather - not blazing hot, warm for swimming and yet great tanning time. The crew. The pizza, of course. Smokefree. BAD: chair savers, The upstairs in the showroom, Sushi, did I mention chair savers? This is an area that Carnival needs to address and hopefully makes corrections in the future. Overall, I think this may have been our best cruise yet. The hassle of dealing with flying and security has become a given so you just cannot factor it at all. It just exists and probably will for a long time to come until people start to learn to live in peace with each other (hopefully a dream to come true in the future), therefore you just realize if you need to fly to a vacation, don't think of your vacation starting until you arrive at the port!! We have become to feel every cruise is a combination of what you make of it combined with the rest of the people on board. I do not know if it was the holiday, the New Years celebration, or the drinks, but we rarely ran into any rude people. We loved the slightly smaller fantasy class ship, and the overall experience and will look forward to another New Years cruise sometime in our future. Feel free to ask any questions and I will do my best to answer them. Happy sailings everyone!! Read Less
Sail Date: August 2004
I am a 72 year old great grandmother who traveled single on this cruise. This was my 4th cruise, second with Carnival. My plane was late in arriving in Miami so I was one of the last ones on board. No embark hassle at all! My love was an ... Read More
I am a 72 year old great grandmother who traveled single on this cruise. This was my 4th cruise, second with Carnival. My plane was late in arriving in Miami so I was one of the last ones on board. No embark hassle at all! My love was an inside cabin on the Riviera deck. This is the first time I had an inside cabin but it did not bother me at all, much to my surprise. The Paradise is a beautiful ship, yet I enjoyed the Celebration much more....I think maybe the Paradise was a little to fancy for my taste and caters to the more affluent crowd. The food was excellent and the service was great...I wish I had been seated at a table with more people...There was only three of us at a table set for eight. I guess they must try to seat single travelers together as all three of us were traveling alone. I chose to go on the excursions the ship had to offer...It was much easier for me. The ship was scheduled to go to St. Thomas, Bahamas and D Republic. Because of Frances we only made it to Nassau...The ship was rerouted to Jamaica and Cozumel. I was soooo disappointed....I really enjoyed Jamaica though. I had been to Cozumel three other times so I was not to excited about going there again. A seven day cruise ended up to be eight days.... All in all the cruise was OK but not the best one I have been on. I am sure all the younger crowd had a wonderful time..... Read Less
Sail Date: August 2004
My cruise on the Paradise was my second, and it was not any worse that the last cruise on the Carnival Glory! Size really doesn't matter in cruise ships, I guess. We cruised on August 28, 2004, to the Eastern Caribbean. Anyway, I am ... Read More
My cruise on the Paradise was my second, and it was not any worse that the last cruise on the Carnival Glory! Size really doesn't matter in cruise ships, I guess. We cruised on August 28, 2004, to the Eastern Caribbean. Anyway, I am from Toronto, Ontario, Canada, and I am obsessed with cruising, even though I've only been on 2. My family and I and my cousins and Aunt and Uncle came, too. Cruises are such great family activities! We are planning our next one now, and it will most likely be with Carnival again, since they have proved great to my family and I. We stayed in Miami for two nights prior to the cruise. I highly recommend this, since it is like a second vacation. I got an incredible deal for a two-night stay at the Royal Palm Crowne Plaza Resort, in South Beach through Hotwire.com. I guess this information doesn't matter now, since the Paradise is now cruising from Long Beach, but what the hey. We all got very excited when we crossed the causeway, and saw Paradise in port. I am still very upset that Carnival removed the No-Smoking rule, since it was the greatest thing I the world!!! We didn't have to kill ourselves by breathing in toxic fumes!! If I ever had the choice to be healthy and have money, or waste hundreds of dollars a month while killing myself, I'll take the former, thank you very much. EMBARKATION I was shocked at how fast the embarkation process took! We drove up to the port, dropped off our bag, then walked to the entrance. The port of Miami was very clean, and attractive. We walked into one of the two lines, to pass through security, which took no time at all. Then, we went into the line for people who have their FunPasses completed, like us, and that line just kept moving. There was no point in even putting our bags down. At the counter, we handed the lady our FunPasses, she checked our passports, and we were through. We went up a couple of deserted escalators, and then it did get a bit confusing. There was a big open room, with a few groups of people around. Then we saw the security officers, so we went to them. They were not very friendly. Then, we got into a second line, in that room, which was divided with a few ropes. Finally, we went up one more flight of stairs, and got our picture taken, then we embarked. What a first impressing!!! An amazing, huge Atrium, with crystal eggs all around, and on top of all that; no smoky smell!!!!! So, we went up to the Lido deck for a great lunch. DINING Carnival never fails to impress their guests with their exceptional food. It is prepared incredibly, it tastes great, and what a variety! The Lido restaurant is a great choice for someone who doesn't feel like dressing up, and going down to their restaurant. Surprisingly, even the buffet food was prepared exceptionally. There is a great salad bar, in the Paris Restaurant, and next to it there is a dessert station. Oh my god, they make the BEST Boston cream pie!!! If you ever walk by, and see the pie there, be very sure to grab a slice. Or five. The room service has never been known for an incredible menu, but it is a good choice when you are hungry, but your favourite movie is on TV. We once ordered about twelve plates of food (my two brothers, me, and my two cousins), and we barely even touched the food. The lady who brought all this food did not make us feel embarrassed at all. That sure was a lot of wasted food. Finally, there was the dining room. Oh my god, how can I sum this up to keep it short?!? The dining room was absolutely incredible, despite our awful waiter. He was so bad, and he never smiled. His assistant was very nice, but he could not make up for all the gloominess that came out of our headwaiter. He was extremely sarcastic, and quite rude (made mean hand gestures behind the other family while they were ordering, to impress us, which was a little funny). He also always mixed up our orders, and when we told him, he would refuse to admit that he was wrong. It was hilarious! Most people would complain about him, but they have got to lighten up. People should stop being so picky. Surprisingly, our headwaiter almost made our cruise even better. He was so bad, it was funny! We would make jokes about him right in front of him, and we had a lot of fun. Sometimes, you have to make the best out of the situation! Anyway, the food was exquisite, and delicious, and worth the money. The espressos are great; they are free after dinner, but they cost money at the cafe, so take advantage of the after dinner coffee! The ice cream and frozen yogurt were a big hit; and I can see why! Who would turn down free soft serve, at anytime that you wish, with any quantity, and a choice of 6 kinds (ice cream- vanilla, chocolate, swirl; frozen yogurt- chocolate, vanilla, swirl)?! What a deal. And who can forget the pizza... what can I say? It tastes better than any old pizza place back at home, and the hours are great- 24 hours a day- and the price is right- FREE!!! Food is a big part of cruising, and Carnival has got it down! PUBLIC ROOMS Since my aunt is English, we spent a lot of time every afternoon in the America Bar. The selection of tea was great, and the finger sandwiches were great too. And how could I forget the live piano playing? The America Bar is worth looking into. The Fantasy class ships do not have as many useless lounges, which is fine, since they are useless! On the Glory, there were tons of unused rooms, which were cool to look at, but pointless in the end. Instead, the Paradise took a different approach- there will not be as many rooms, but they will all be used sufficiently! This means less wasted space, and less travel time from room to room! The library has always been a mystery to me... why do they have one, when the books are rarely available? Can't the hire a librarian, or something? We did use it once; we borrowed a board game, that e never played, then returned it ath the end of the cruise. It looked like the Casino was a big hit... too bad I'm not old enough... CABINS We had an inside cabin, on the Empress Deck, which has yet to seize to amaze me. How can a great rom fit into a small space like this? Inside cabins really are okay, outside cabins are not necessary. We had a little basket o goodies in the bathroom, with Tylenol PM, Rolaids, trial packs of shampoo and conditioner, and more. I really like the Lever 200 soap! If you want an even better shower, check out the Spa showers, they have 5 jets; one from the top, and two from each side of you! You don't even have to move to rinse off!! More about the spa below. Anyway, again, our cabin stewards were not very good, but the did not ruin our vacation, like it sounds like in other reviews. Again, I will repeat myself, for all of you drama queens out there who hate vacations because their cabin steward made the same animal twice in a row—LIGHTEN UP!!! You're on a cruise, enjoy yourself! Our cabin steward was awful—she made the animals way too early, and she didn't even talk—But it didn't ruin our vacation. We just let it slide. Overall, we loved the whole cabin situation. ENTERTAINMENT I don't care what anybody says- Jeff Brrrrrrronson was funny!!! Maybe I am easily amused, but I really enjoyed him. I even got to meet him, and he was very nice. He may make some corny jokes, so if he does, laugh with him, and at him at the same time! Trust me, it works. The crew of the Paradise did a great job with all the shows—They were all great (I went to EVERY one!), and funny, and just plain shocking. The comedian was picking on my brothers, my cousins, and I because we are Canadian, and it was the best time of our lives!! We were the centre of attention in the Normandie Lounge, which is the biggest room on the ship! And it was full! He kept calling us punk teenagers, and making us laugh, and he even asked us questions, that we answered, and he repeated them to the audience! This was the best moment of my life--- on a cruise ship, that is! The midnight comedy shows, which I snuck into, were pretty bland. The jokes were not very funny, and he really didn't connect with the audience. The mini game shows, like Win, Lose or Draw, and the Newlywed Game, were all a lot of fun. Lots of audience participation, and lots of laughs. FITNESS & RECREATION The spa was the bomb!! Wow, there was a steam room, and a sauna, and the most incredible showers! There were also two Jacuzzis, and a fitness room, and private treatment rooms, and a salon, and massage rooms! At the beginning of the cruise, a lady walked up to my mom, and asked her if she wanted to be a model for the spa. This means that she gets a free treatment, and people who take the spa tour, at the beginning if the cruise, walk in and see how the whole spa works. Of course, my mom said yes, so she was off for a free treatment for half the day. Carnival, you know how to treat your guests. Of course, I had to see! So me and one of my two brothers (they are 17 and 19, the 19 year old came with me), went to go on the spa tour, to see our mom. She happened to be in the first room, getting some sort of seaweed treatment, to soften her skin. When we walked in, she was wrapped in a foil bag, lying on her back! How funny! She said it was an incredible treatment, and she would even pay to get it again. The fitness room, which is in the same area as the spa, was a bit small, but was packed with new, state-of-the-art equipment. Unfortunately, it was a little crowded, but what do you expect when you are on a cruise full of non-smokers- we care about our health! Now, I am not a girl, so I would never dare take one step into a salon, but it looked appealing to the women on board. There were tons of specialists on board. My mom and cousin both got braids done in their hair, and they loved it! The only problem is that, if you are under 18, the receptionists give you a very hard time. I find them very rude, and I really don't like their attitude, but this did not ruin my cruise! FAMILY With my first experiences of Camp Carnival on the Glory, I was not impressed. The activities were not organized, nor did they ever happen. However, on the Paradise, the Camp Carnival program was a lot better. I met a lot of kids my age, and I had a lot of fun. We played cards, danced in the teen disco, ate, and just chilled and talked. The only good part of the Camp Carnival, in my opinion, was the ease to meet kids. And that is all I wanted to do. FELLOW PASSENGERS There were not many groups of people who stood out, attitude-wise. Everyone seemed to respect each other, so it all worked out. The Americans obviously dominated the ship, but there were also quite a few Canadians, like me, and there were Mexicans, people from the United Kingdom, and there were some Asian people, too. There were no pushy groups, and no one gave anybody any trouble. ITINERARY We were scheduled to go to St. Thomas, Nassau, and the Dominican Republic, but because of Hurricane Ivan, we went to Nassau, Jamaica, and Cozumel. We also spent an extra night on the ship, for free, because the hurricane was in Miami on the day of return! How fun! An 8 day cruise is always better than a 7 day cruise! Nassau, Bahamas We decided to book through Carnival, and go to the Blue Lagoon Stingray encounter. I wish it could have turned out better for me! We sat inside the boat (not a good idea!), so I got extremely nauseous. My stomach kept flipping, and it ached sooooooo much! When we got off the ship, I threw up in the sand. And that’s not all. I found out that is I moved too fast for my body, my stomach would get angry, and would punish me by aching for another 5 minutes. Over the 4-hour stay, this happened about 20 times, including twice while I was snorkeling with the stingrays! Bummer. Despite this, I somehow had a good time. I fed the stingrays; then I got out and relaxed on the hammock, to relax my stomach. We finally decided to walk back towards the dock area, to watch people swim with dolphins. That looked like fun. On the way back from the Blue Lagoon, somehow, my stomach stopped aching, so I bought a T-Shirt at Senor Frogs. That was a cool place. Ocho Rios, Jamaica I love Jamaica!! The people there were very nice, and our shore excursion was great! We went outside and made a deal with a cab driver. So we were off to Dunn Falls, to climb them! How cool! When we arrived, we got water shoes, and then walked out to the Falls, to wait for a bit. I went with my brother (17 year old) and my cousin, to walk into the falls, for some reason. Do not do this!! Wait for your guide to take you to the bottom! Anyway, I knew we weren’t supposed to be in the water, so we all got out. Then, we could not find our group! We were lost in Jamaica! We looked everywhere, but we could not find them. I panicked, and started running around looking for my family, then, when I was turning around a corner, I slipped, and scraped my leg on the concrete. Ouch!! That ruined my day. Too bad, since the shore excursion really was a lot of fun. P.S. I found my family at the top, exactly where we started. Cozumel, Mexico Cozumel is and has always been one of the best places for beaches with action. We went to a beach, of which I forgot the name, and It was a lot of fun. There was a water trampoline, a big inflatable igloo, and lots of equipment to rent. We decided to get henna tattoos, at a booth, and that was a lot of fun. Then, we rented a really cool piece of equipment; it was yellow, and snorkelers and scuba divers use it for getting around easier. It has a fan, and you hold on to it with both hands. When you want it to go, you put the little piece of metal on your thumb, and you press it against another piece of metal on the equipment. This completes the circuit, and the fan blows, then it pulls you around! That was worth the money. OVERALL Overall, this was the best vacation of my life! Cruising is the way to go, and now my family knows that. I want to finish with one point—I am very ashamed of Carnival for removing the no-smoking rule, since it really was a godsend for non-smokers. Their excuses for doing so are all below-par, and they are not convincing anyone. I will always think just a bit less of Carnival now—you proved that you really do care more about money than your customer satisfaction. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2004
This was mine and my wife's first cruise. We're in our early 30's and wanted a "happening" line instead of a geriatrics boat like Holland America. The smoke-free environment made us immediate buyers. Our overall ... Read More
This was mine and my wife's first cruise. We're in our early 30's and wanted a "happening" line instead of a geriatrics boat like Holland America. The smoke-free environment made us immediate buyers. Our overall impression? 3.5 ribbons out of 6 (One ribbon going just to the fact that it's a smoke free ship). The ship: even though it was built only 6 years ago it looks like something that was designed in the mid 70's. Simply put the decor is VERY TACKY and it resembles more a Vegas casino. Although the ship is clean, we couldn't find a garbage bin anywhere to throw away napkins, paper, etc... The open-air decks: (nice feature) a lot of lounge chairs all over; (awful feature) not enough pools and the ones they have are FULL of kids. Our cabin: I've seen motel rooms with better decor... One thing that was good was the bed (VERY COMFY). The crew: I noticed that most crew walked around with a pout. We were situated at the very front of the ship not far from a storage room and it wasn't uncommon to see crew on break lounging around on the corridor floor. The restaurant and cabin crew were nice although the cabin steward was a little too chatty... The shows: again, we found them on the tacky side. The stand-up shows were funny but the variety shows too much glitter and cheap costumes. Finding seats was an adventure. The excursions: we had heard that it was cheaper to book the excursions in the port rather than on the ship. Problem is that the availability of port excursions varies tremendously as does the quality. We experienced very good service in this department although if you're in the USVI and absolutely want to go snorkeling to Buck Island beware that there are 2 Buck Islands: the first is just off St. Thomas (and it's a waste of time), the other is the world renowned snorkeling haven just off St. Croix. Make sure you are not taken in like we were. Bottom line: we had heard that the best way to start on a cruise line is to go with Carnival because everything else after that gets better. So if you're new to the cruise scene Carnival is just for you. Next time we'll work our way up to Royal Caribbean and eventually Holland America. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2004
This was our second cruise through Carnival. We had a wonderful time on the smoke-free Paradise! The ship was beautiful, clean, service was excellent, smiles everywhere and the food... food, and more food... they force fed you lobster! no ... Read More
This was our second cruise through Carnival. We had a wonderful time on the smoke-free Paradise! The ship was beautiful, clean, service was excellent, smiles everywhere and the food... food, and more food... they force fed you lobster! no lie! You can have your pictures developed on the ship for about $7 and they give you a free album. Drinks were reasonably priced, especially the morning specials. You can have professional portraits done, they can be pricey as you have to buy the 8x10 at $20 before you choose the smaller sizes.... all in all, can't wait to book another cruise. Belize: (tender port) tours were a little overpriced onboard. Cave tubing seemed to be the most popular.. about $85 per person.  Isla Roatan: This was paradise. We took the Taybana Beach Break tour, $35 per person. We had the beach all to our selves and ladies can get their entire hair braided for $25. Beer are $2 and very good. Grand Cayman Island: (tender port) We went on the beach break to the Beach Club at $21 per person. This beach was crowded....and very touristy. Cozumel! Who doesn't like Cozumel? We went to Paradise beach on our own $26 round trip taxi for 2 people. The beach is free, snorkel, water, trampoline, hammocks, iceberg etc.... We went shopping and you can definitely barter with sales people here. Great deals on silver and jewelry. All duty free. Our favorite spot was Isla Roatan, Honduras. This was an unspoiled island. Very quiet and relaxing! The people were so nice. Do a ship tour if ever on this island. This itinerary will no longer be available on the Paradise, as the ship is relocating to the west-coast and will no longer stay smoke free. Other Carnival Cruiseships stop at these ports though! If you have any questions about the ship, email me at jkylovesdolphins@aol.com and I'll be more than happy to help. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2004
My cruise on the Paradise was my second, and it was not any worse that the last cruise on the Carnival Glory! Size really doesn't matter in cruise ships, I guess. We cruised on August 28, 2004, to the Eastern Caribbean. Anyway, I am a ... Read More
My cruise on the Paradise was my second, and it was not any worse that the last cruise on the Carnival Glory! Size really doesn't matter in cruise ships, I guess. We cruised on August 28, 2004, to the Eastern Caribbean. Anyway, I am a 15 year old from Toronto, Ontario, Canada, and I am obsessed with cruising, even though I've only been on 2. My family and I and my cousins and Aunt and Uncle came, too. Cruises are such great family activities! We are planning our next one now, and it will most likely be with Carnival again, since they have proved great to my family and I. We stayed in Miami for two nights prior to the cruise. I highly recommend this, since it is like a second vacation. I got an incredible deal for a two-night stay at the Royal Palm Crowne Plaza Resort in South Beach through Hotwire.com. I guess this information doesn't matter now, since the Paradise is now cruising from Long Beach, but what the hey. We all got very excited when we crossed the causeway, and saw Paradise in port. I am still very upset that Carnival removed the No-Smoking rule, since it was the greatest thing in the world!!! We didn't have to kill ourselves by breathing in toxic fumes!! If I ever had the choice to be healthy and have money, or waste hundreds of dollars a month while killing myself, I'll take the former, thank you very much. EMBARKATION -- I was shocked at how fast the embarkation process took! We drove up to the port, dropped off our bags, then walked to the entrance. The port of Miami was very clean and attractive. We walked into one of the two lines, to pass through security, which took no time at all. Then we went into the line for people who have their Fun Passes completed, like us, and that line just kept moving. There was no point in even putting our bags down. At the counter, we handed the lady our Fun Passes, she checked our passports and we were through. We went up a couple of deserted escalators and then it did get a bit confusing. There was a big open room with a few groups of people around. Then we saw the security officers, so we went to them. They were not very friendly. Then we got into a second line in that room, which was divided with a few ropes. Finally, we went up one more flight of stairs and got our picture taken, then we embarked. What a first impression!!! An amazing, huge Atrium with crystal eggs all around and on top of all that no smokey smell!!!!! So, we went up to the Lido deck for a great lunch. DINING -- Carnival never fails to impress their guests with their exceptional food. It is prepared incredibly, it tastes great and what a variety! The Lido restaurant is a great choice for someone who doesn't feel like dressing up and going down to their restaurant. Surprisingly, even the buffet food was prepared exceptionally. There is a great salad bar in the Paris Restaurant and next to it there is a dessert station. Oh my god, they make the BEST Boston cream pie!!! If you ever walk by and see the pie there, be very sure to grab a slice. Or five. The room service has never been known for an incredible menu, but it is a good choice when you are hungry but your favourite movie is on TV. We once ordered about twelve plates of food (my two brothers, me and my two cousins), and we barely even touched the food. The lady who brought all this food did not make us feel embarrassed at all. That sure was a lot of wasted food. Finally, there was the dining room. Oh my god, how can I sum this up to keep it short?!? The dining room was absolutely incredible, despite our awful waiter. He was so bad and he never smiled. His assistant was very nice, but he could not make up for all the gloominess that came out of our head waiter. He was extremely sarcastic and quite rude (made mean hand gestures behind the other family while they were ordering to impress us, which was a little funny). He also always mixed up our orders and when we told him he would refuse to admit that he was wrong. It was hilarious! Most people would complain about him, but they have got to lighten up. People should stop being so picky. Surprisingly, our head waiter almost made our cruise even better. He was so bad, it was funny! We would make jokes about him right in front of him, and we had a lot of fun. Sometimes, you have to make the best out of the situation! Anyway, the food was exquisite and delicious, and worth the money. The espressos are great; they are free after dinner, but they cost money at the cafe, so take advantage of the after dinner coffee! The ice cream and frozen yogurt were a big hit; and I can see why! Who would turn down free soft serve at anytime that you wish with any quantity, and a choice of 6 kinds (ice cream -- vanilla-chocolate, swirl; frozen yogurt -- chocolate-vanilla, swirl)?! What a deal. And who can forget the pizza ... what can I say? It tastes better than any old pizza place back at home, and the hours are great -- 24 hours a day -- and the price is right -- FREE!!! Food is a big part of cruising, and Carnival has got it down! PUBLIC ROOMS -- Since my aunt is English, we spent a lot of time every afternoon in the America Bar. The selection of tea was great, and the finger sandwiches were great too. And how could I forget the live piano playing? The America Bar is worth looking into. The Fantasy class ships do not have as many useless lounges, which is fine, since they are useless! On the Glory, there were tons of unused rooms, which were cool to look at but pointless in the end. Instead, the Paradise took a different approach -- there will not be as many rooms, but they will all be used sufficiently! This means less wasted space and less travel time from room to room! The library has always been a mystery to me ... why do they have one when the books are rarely available? Can't they hire a librarian or something? We did use it once; we borrowed a board game, that we never played, then returned it at the end of the cruise. It looked like the casino was a big hit ... too bad I'm only 15 ... CABINS -- We had an inside cabin, on the Empress Deck, which has yet to cease to amaze me. How can a great room fit into a small space like this? Inside cabins really are okay, outside cabins are not necessary. We had a little basket of goodies in the bathroom with Tylenol PM, Rolaids, trial packs of shampoo and conditioner, and more. I really like the Lever 200 soap! If you want an even better shower, check out the Spa showers, they have 5 jets; one from the top, and two from each side of you! You don't even have to move to rinse off!! More about the spa below. Anyway, again, our cabin stewards were not very good, but they did not ruin our vacation, like it sounds like in other reviews. Again, I will repeat myself, for all of you drama queens out there who hate vacations because their cabin steward made the same animal twice in a row — LIGHTEN UP!!! You're on a cruise, enjoy yourself! Our cabin steward was awful — she made the animals way too early and she didn't even talk — But it didn't ruin our vacation. We just let it slide. Overall, we loved the whole cabin situation. ENTERTAINMENT -- I don't care what anybody says- Jeff Brrrrrrronson was funny!!! Maybe I am easily amused, but I really enjoyed him. I even got to meet him, and he was very nice. He may make some corny jokes, so if he does, laugh with him and at him at the same time! Trust me, it works. The crew of the Paradise did a great job with all the shows — they were all great (I went to EVERY one!) and funny, and just plain shocking. The comedian was picking on my brothers, my cousins and I because we are Canadian, and it was the best time of our lives!! We were the centre of attention in the Normandie Lounge, which is the biggest room on the ship! And it was full! He kept calling us punk teenagers, and making us laugh, and he even asked us questions that we answered, and he repeated them to the audience! This was the best moment of my life -- on a cruise ship, that is! The midnight comedy shows, which I snuck into, were pretty bland. The jokes were not very funny, and he really didn't connect with the audience. The mini game shows like Win, Lose or Draw and the Newlywed Game, were all a lot of fun. Lots of audience participation and lots of laughs. FITNESS & RECREATION -- The spa was the bomb!! Wow, there was a steam room and a sauna and the most incredible showers! There were also two Jacuzzis and a fitness room, and private treatment rooms and a salon, and massage rooms! At the beginning of the cruise, a lady walked up to my mom and asked her if she wanted to be a model for the spa. This means that she gets a free treatment and people who take the spa tour at the beginning if the cruise walk in and see how the whole spa works. Of course, my mom said yes so she was off for a free treatment for half the day. Carnival, you know how to treat your guests. Of course, I had to see! So me and one of my two brothers (they are 17 and 19, the 19 year old came with me), went to go on the spa tour to see our mom. She happened to be in the first room getting some sort of seaweed treatment to soften her skin. When we walked in she was wrapped in a foil bag lying on her back! How funny! She said it was an incredible treatment and she would even pay to get it again. The fitness room, which is in the same area as the spa, was a bit small, but was packed with new, state-of-the-art equipment. Unfortunately, it was a little crowded, but what do you expect when you are on a cruise full of non-smokers -- we care about our health! Now, I am not a girl, so I would never dare take one step into a salon, but it looked appealing to the women on board. There were tons of specialists on board. My mom and cousin both got braids done in their hair and they loved it! The only problem is that if you are under 18 the receptionists give you a very hard time. I find them very rude, and I really don't like their attitude, but this did not ruin my cruise! FAMILY -- With my first experiences of Camp Carnival on the Glory, I was not impressed. The activities were not organized nor did they ever happen. However, on the Paradise, the Camp Carnival program was a lot better. I met a lot of kids my age, and I had a lot of fun. We played cards, danced in the teen disco, ate and just chilled and talked. The only good part of the Camp Carnival, in my opinion, was the ease to meet kids. And that is all I wanted to do. FELLOW PASSENGERS -- There were not many groups of people who stood out attitude-wise. Everyone seemed to respect each other, so it all worked out. The Americans obviously dominated the ship, but there were also quite a few Canadians, like me, and there were Mexicans, people from the United Kingdom and there were some Asian people, too. There were no pushy groups, and no one gave anybody any trouble. ITINERARY -- We were scheduled to go to St. Thomas, Nassau and the Dominican Republic, but because of Hurricane Ivan, we went to Nassau, Jamaica and Cozumel. We also spent an extra night on the ship for free because the hurricane was in Miami on the day of return! How fun! An 8 day cruise is always better than a 7 day cruise! Nassau, Bahamas -- We decided to book through Carnival, and go to the Blue Lagoon Stingray encounter. I wish it could have turned out better for me! We sat inside the boat (not a good idea!), so I got extremely nauseous. My stomach kept flipping, and it ached sooooooo much! When we got off the ship, I threw up in the sand. And that's not all. I found out that is I moved too fast for my body, my stomach would get angry and would punish me by aching for another 5 minutes. Over the 4-hour stay, this happened about 20 times, including twice while I was snorkeling with the stingrays! Bummer. Despite this, I somehow had a good time. I fed the stingrays then I got out and relaxed on the hammock to relax my stomach. We finally decided to walk back toward the dock area to watch people swim with dolphins. That looked like fun. On the way back from the Blue Lagoon, somehow, my stomach stopped aching, so I bought a T-Shirt at Senor Frogs. That was a cool place. Ocho Rios, Jamaica -- I love Jamaica!! The people there were very nice, and our shore excursion was great! We went outside and made a deal with a cab driver. So we were off to Dunns River Falls to climb them! How cool! When we arrived, we got water shoes, and then walked out to the falls to wait for a bit. I went with my brother (17 year old) and my cousin, to walk into the falls, for some reason. Do not do this!! Wait for your guide to take you to the bottom! Anyway, I knew we weren't supposed to be in the water, so we all got out. Then, we could not find our group! We were lost in Jamaica! We looked everywhere, but we could not find them. I panicked, and started running around looking for my family, then, when I was turning around a corner, I slipped, and scraped my leg on the concrete. Ouch!! That ruined my day. Too bad, since the shore excursion really was a lot of fun. P.S. I found my family at the top, exactly where we started. Cozumel, Mexico -- Cozumel is and has always been one of the best places for beaches with action. We went to a beach, of which I forgot the name, and it was a lot of fun. There was a water trampoline, a big inflatable igloo and lots of equipment to rent. We decided to get henna tattoos at a booth, and that was a lot of fun. Then, we rented a really cool piece of equipment; it was yellow and snorkelers and scuba divers use it for getting around easier. It has a fan and you hold on to it with both hands. When you want it to go, you put the little piece of metal on your thumb, and you press it against another piece of metal on the equipment. This completes the circuit, and the fan blows then it pulls you around! That was worth the money. OVERALL -- Overall, this was the best vacation of my life! Cruising is the way to go, and now my family knows that. I want to finish with one point — I am very ashamed of Carnival for removing the no-smoking rule, since it really was a godsend for non-smokers. Their excuses for doing so are all below-par, and they are not convincing anyone. I will always think just a bit less of Carnival now — you proved that you really do care more about money than your customer satisfaction. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2004
Background information: We were a party of 6 that flew in from Washington, DC. We are all from VA and our group consisted of two married couples and two single girls and we are all affiliated with EMS. My husband and I have sailed Carnival ... Read More
Background information: We were a party of 6 that flew in from Washington, DC. We are all from VA and our group consisted of two married couples and two single girls and we are all affiliated with EMS. My husband and I have sailed Carnival Fantasy class ships 5 x's and the other couple have sailed the same class twice before. The two girls were new cruisers. We flew in the day before to FLL and spent the evening at the Comfort Inn Airport/Cruise Port Hotel. They have a shuttle to and from the airport and you just contact them from the baggage claim when you arrive. We got an internet rate of $69 per night. We decided on a limo from "A Family Limo" vs. the Carnival transfer b/c it was only $4 more pp and they picked us up at the hotel so we did not have to shuttle back to the airport. They picked us up at 11 AM, we were driven to the cruise port, checked in and were on the ship by 12:30PM. We all had completed our fun pass which helped expedite the process. The two couples did a guarantee 6A cabin and using the method of looking at the back of our sail and sign forms in our cruise documents, it showed that we were on the Empress Deck, which was a nice upgrade. However, when we arrived, we were even more surprised to find out that we had been upgraded even more - Verandah Deck, Cabins 1 and 3! These were very nice and the balconies were not obstructed by life boats. I was even more surprised to have a dozen yellow roses in my room that my husband had sent me. :-) Once we had checked out our rooms, we went to the lido deck for lunch. Here we met the bar waiter that made our trip even more fun - Richard. He is from India, has a great sense of humor and is a super nice guy. If you sail the Paradise before December '04, please tell Richard hello from Cyndi, Mike, Tammy, Sarah, James and Lisa. Nassau was our first port on Monday. My husband and I had been to Nassau several years ago and not much had changed - the straw market was moved due to a fire a couple years ago, but they still sell the same stuff. We negotiated a cab to take us around Nassau. He took us to the beach and came back 2.5 hrs. later and then took us downtown shopping. The cab driver did not take payment until the ride was over, which I thought was nice. We did some shopping and went to Hard Rock Cafe for lunch and then back to the ship. Monday was the first formal night. We took advantage of the pictures b/c typically they are good. We pick out a couple to take home but it is nice to have such a variety to chose from. Tuesday we were at sea and we spent the morning up on the Verandah aft deck beside the smaller pool. There was an emergency around 11 AM and everyone was cleared from the aft area. Apparently, someone was very ill and a coast guard helicopter had been called to come and pick them up. This was very exciting for us as I mentioned earlier, we are all EMS, so we were all interested in the rescue, as well as the other 2000 guests. The coast guard helicopter came in and hovered over the aft deck, a member was lowered down to the ship to assess the patient and then a stokes basket was lowered down to bring the patient into the helicopter. All in all, the rescue took about 30 minutes from the time they arrived, but it was done without incident and the Coast Guard deserves a lot of credit for this. It was very windy on this day so I am sure this made it much more difficult. Wednesday we were in the Dominican Republic. We took a tour to Catalina Island for $45 pp. This was your tender ride over to the island (approx. 30 min.) and 4 hours on the beach. It was cloudy and rainy most of the morning, but some of our group took some time to explore the island and got some great pictures from out on the point. Once back at the ship, we took a cab ride in to the city to shop. What we saw was a very poor area - kids knocking on the windows asking for money, run down housing, etc, The place we went to shop did very little negotiating but they were friendly. The cab ride cost our group of 6 $15 plus tip. Thursday we were in the Virgin Islands. Everyone had to clear immigration that morning b/c we were back in a US territory, but this did not take too long. Carnival has this type stuff down to a science. As long as all passengers pay attention and get to where they should when they should, all is well. USVI was the highlight of the trip. I had reserved on-line, a tour with Godfrey Tours. For $20 pp, you get 2.5 hours of beach time, 3 hours shopping and 2 hours of city highlights. We were transported in a open safari type vehicle which was very clean. Shopping in St Thomas is great. Lots to chose from, some great local stores with locally made merchandise. One store, Local Color, right on the water front downtown, was my favorite. If you head to the Hard Rock from the open air market, it is on your right mid way down. Thursday night we all went to a deck party. I believe our group of 6 was the party! People were telling us the next day that they were surprised we were even up and about! We had a great time, met some great people and most retired to our cabins around 3 AM. Friday (formal night) and Saturday we were at sea and nothing too eventful happened. My husband and I were invited to the Senior Officer's table for dinner on Friday night, which was a pleasant surprise and a nice event. We dined with the Staff Captain, the Head Purser, the Chief Engineer nd the Spa Manager. There were only two other couples at the table, so it was a nice evening. Disembarking was very easy - we put our luggage out and our cabins were called by 9 AM. The two girls traveling with us on Empress were about 20 minutes behind us. Because we had to clear immigration coming into the USVI, this had been done and did not slow things down on Sunday. Some things I noticed about the Paradise: 1. everyone was friendly - I never passed a staff member that did not speak and smile. 2. security was good - they were on the decks at night, walking the blvd., etc. I felt very safe. 3. the ship is very clean. The food was really good. I did not care for some things, but they were things I probably would not eat at home either. The Caesar salads at dinner and the pizzas were good. The frozen yogurt is also good and available 24 hours. We took advantage of this a lot. All in all, I loved the Paradise and staff, but the only port I would return to is St Thomas. If you have any questions, email me. Happy cruising! Read Less
Sail Date: June 2004
We went on the Paradise June 20th and did the Eastern cruise. Embarkation went very well, do not try to sneak any liquor on a carry on, they do check and they do take it away. We meant to put a bottle of rum in a checked bag and forgot to ... Read More
We went on the Paradise June 20th and did the Eastern cruise. Embarkation went very well, do not try to sneak any liquor on a carry on, they do check and they do take it away. We meant to put a bottle of rum in a checked bag and forgot to do that and they did find our bottles of soda and a bottle of rum. We did get to keep the soda but had to leave the bottle of rum at port, we did get it back when we got off the ship. We got on the ship and it was a very pretty and clean ship. It is nice to go on a ship that is smoke free, but won't be for very much longer. They will be stopping the smoke free ship in September. Our room to us didn't seem as big as on the Sensation, but we also had 4 people in an inside room. There was plenty of storage for all 4 of us. The cabin was very clean. We requested early-but the later seating and got the 5:45 instead of the 6:15. We went to the maitre 'd' and he told us that the later one was full unless we wanted the late late seating and we declined. We wish we had gotten the later seating because trying to get 4 people ready for dinner by 5:45 was nearly impossible, especially when you have 2 teenage girls. We ate in the Destiny Dining Room, which to us was the prettier one of the two. The food was very good! The service wasn't all that great, and it seems since they switched to the automatic tipping, the waiters and waitresses do not go out of their way for you. The waiters and waitresses sang every night, which was very entertaining. As for the entertainment, not as good as on other boats! The theater has very poor seating, and you have to get there early to get a good seat. They have huge posts that are hard to see around. They didn't have much to choose from as far as shows go. They had bands playing in the small lounges that weren't bad. The drinks on board were not too bad in price. We bought the drink tickets ahead of time and it did save some money. We did not buy the soda card since we did bring some soda and water on board with us. There was always iced tea, punch, apple juice and orange juice and lemonade 24 hours a day. There was also soft serve ice cream 24 hours along with their pizza. Their main pool was rather small, but there were always plenty of chairs available. Excursions, we did our own in Nassau, took the bus #10 to cable beach, very nice beach, and then we went back and went to the straw market. We also did buy some liquor, and ended up walking on the ship and they never took it away from us. The ship does sell their own liquor too, which is also reasonable. The cheapest liquor that we found was in St. Thomas, Bacardi Rum was $6.49 a bottle. CHEAP. In the Dominican we were suppose to do 2 excursions, the excursion desk said that we would have plenty of time to get 2 excursions in, NOT. We did the catamaran experience to Catalina Island, we were suppose to be back by 11:30, and didn't get back until 2:30 so we missed out Outback Safari. The catamaran excursion was fun, free beer, soda and rum and coke. Also fresh fruit. We went and anchored near Catalina Island and snorkeled and then swam up to the beach. On the way back, the party started going and they got everyone to dance. We all did have a good time. When we got back we hired a taxi with 8 others and went into La Ramona and did some shopping. Amber is really reasonable. Coffee, best coffee, buy it at their supermarket, it is cheaper $1.50 a pound. In St. Thomas we went on our own and took a taxi to Magens Bay. We stayed there about 3 hours and then came back and were dropped off down town. Went and did some jewelry shopping at our friends Ballerina, we have dealt with them for 10 years. And then went to the open market and back to the ship. Our days at sea were very relaxing! Laid by the pool. Disembarkation went very well, we were off the boat before 10:00. As far as this being our best cruise we have taken, it probably wasn't, but the food was very good. The ship was in great shape, and it was worth the money. This was our second time we have been on a Carnival ship, we usually go on Princess. If you cannot have a good time on any cruise you take, then there is something wrong :} Read Less
Sail Date: June 2004
This was my wife's first cruise and I had cruised about 15 years ago. I wanted a simple vacation that would keep my children's interest and allow us to relax. My children are 15 months, 4 years and 6 years old. Many friends and ... Read More
This was my wife's first cruise and I had cruised about 15 years ago. I wanted a simple vacation that would keep my children's interest and allow us to relax. My children are 15 months, 4 years and 6 years old. Many friends and family members of mine had recommended carnival for a vacation. We were leery of taking such young children but several people had told me that carnival makes it very easy to take children on vacation allowing the parents to enjoy themselves. Carnival told us that whenever the ship was in port there would be available babysitting for a fee. Embarkation and debarkation: relatively simple requires no explanation The ship is very nice, somewhat tacky in its decor but a lot of attention has been paid to the appearance of the atrium, and public areas. The ship is laid out well and is fairly easy to get around. The ship has a great .1 mile jogging track with great views on one of the top decks. Our rooms were reasonably sized. Much bigger than I had remembered Royal Caribbean's rooms (But that was 15 years ago). There is only one outlet so bring a power strip with you. The cabin steward was great, easily available and really made the trip a lot nicer. Pools were small and crowded; the waterslide usually had a line of about 10 people which would take about 5 minutes to get your turn. The height requirements seemed absurd and sporadic attention was paid towards its enforcement, leaving several people irritated that one day their child is out there having fun and the next they are being told that their child is not tall enough. There seemed to be ample chairs for sunning or relaxing in the shade although the pool areas were always crowded. Entertainment: this depends on what you like, Karaoke, comedians and many Vegas like shows occur nightly. All were good but not great quality. I will qualify that response by stating that I am no connoisseur of singing and dancing shows. Food and service were good to very good. Meats were better than seafood. My wife and I theorized that bringing on fresh seafood in third world ports was probably impractical and I would say that most if not all seafood had that "previously frozen taste". There were some things that were poor quality, but this was negligible and insignificant because we were always offered multiple choices and one to many of them would be great. Cruising with kids. Don't do 7 days with kids and don't box your family up in one 190 sq foot room, put a wall between you and your kids with a baby monitor. People that crammed into one room did not enjoy themselves. We found that one child would perk up while one needed to sleep and having two rooms gave us the flexibility to put one down at a time. We also placed voice activated walkie talkies in their room to allow us some freedom to get something to eat or get a drink. Other people just used camp carnival for childcare. The problem with this was 1. My son hated it; 2. After you were done with your activity you had to round up your exhausted child and put him/her to bed at obscene hours and 3. The next day the child is too tired and cranky for excursions or activities. This is probably unethical but we checked in on our kids every 20 minutes regardless of what we were doing and tested the two-way radios from every place that we went to. Another comment on this is that we heard every sleep taking peep and bump in our children's room whereas the one night we left our daughter in camp carnival late at night she got pushed and punched by two other little girls—no bruises. My son saw the whole event. The attendants at this function only saw my daughter upset after the event. They thought she was upset because she wanted another cookie. So they gave her a cookie and she felt better—according to them. They also seemed to rely heavily on television for crowd control. My daughter (age 4) loved camp carnival despite the event above. Infant childcare is not worth having. The hours are ridiculous and do not allow you to leave the ship on any excursions, there is not one excursion short enough to get back on the boat by noon to pick up your child. They made special accommodations for us in Grand Cayman but made it clear that this was not regularly done and we cancelled our Cozumel excursion because they could not accommodate us. In the evenings they do not take infants until the babysitting time of 10:00pm. I don't know what time you put your infants down but consider whether or not you want to wake them up at 10:00pm and then again 2 hours later at pick up and try to put them back to bed again after midnight. This is in stark contrast to what I was told over the phone by Carnival representatives whose obvious job is to make sure you book and send non- refundable money. Plan on keeping children under and around two with you at all times. Excursions: Do not book your excursions on the ship! Because they are 1. overpriced; 2 overly time consuming; 3. less interesting 4. You are less likely to be charged for your children's ticket on shore. When you book on board you are to assemble in the Queen Mary Lounge where you will sit with every other booked tour waiting for a carnival rep to escort you to your tour meeting place on the island or the appropriate tender to bring you to the island. On our Grand Cayman Stingray city-Island tour we were to report to the QML at 9:30 for a 9:45 excursion we did not get on the bus until 11:30 which meant of the 9 hours we had to see Grand Cayman island 1:20 hours were spent in the hurry up and wait holding pen on the ship followed by tendering, customs, and reassembling on shore for 15 minutes to gather and organize the tour goers into groups. The bus driver then brought us to a turtle farm and said if we were not back on the bus in 20 minutes we would be left. This was incredibly crowded making 20 minutes tight. There is not a lot to see but my kids loved holding the turtles for 2 minutes before we fled to our bus. Stingray city is very exciting and we had ample time there to play with and feed the stingrays. Belize: Altun Ha: Too long of a bus ride and too hot for kids. However, this is the shortest Myan ruins tour available. And the grounds are very impressive. Belize is impoverished and not very charming in that quaint third world tropical paradise way, do something on the water like snorkeling or stay on the boat. If you go to the zoo, or the Monkey preserve consider just hiring a cab for the day on shore to save money and better manage your time. Roatan: The ship won't tell you this but Tabiana beach is a tour for $30 or $40 per person. This is really just part of the beautiful west bay (not west end) beach which is free to every one and only cost $10 by cab which will hold 4-5 people. We hired a cab (The English Speaking Taxi Drivers was the name of the cab company) for the day for $70 + I tipped him $15 to take us to the island ship wrecks, fishing village, iguana preserve, butterfly preserve and west bay beach we also paid $10 at the iguana and butterfly preserve for admission. All were dilapidated but interesting and kept my kids fascinated. The island is also impoverished but it is beautiful at the same time. The Beach was absolute paradise, with crystal clear turquoise blue water and clean white sand beaches. I rented snorkel equipment from a dive shop at one of the resorts for $10, where they also lent me extra towels for no extra charge. Later my kids played with the worlds most needy monkey outside of the dive shop. Our driver gave us no restrictions on how much time we spent at any of the sites and even waited at the beach for us for hours and brought us back to the ship promptly, he even watched for when the other cruisers left the beach to ensure we were on time. Ask for Alvin he looks just like the guy who plays Theo Huxtable on the Cosby show, he was knowledgeable, patient and well connected on the island getting us a discount at the butterfly preserve as well as knowing the guys who operate the horse back riding on the beach and all of the staff at the resorts. Cozumel: Cozumel has some great excursions. With kids the easiest thing to do is to go to the beach. If you want to you could pay $40 per person to go through the cruise or for $12 you could take your whole family to Paradise Beach via taxi. There you will have access to snorkel equipment, kayaks, a floating inflatable climbing iceberg and floating trampoline, chairs, beach umbrellas all on gorgeous white sand beaches with clear blue ocean, great service and believe it or not they do not charge for any of it. I did not get a chance to eat there, but friends of ours said that the food was very good. No one got sick from the ice in the drinks. Drinks were reasonably priced at $3 for Sol or Corona beer and $4.50 for a margarita. They also have clean bathrooms and showers. Available massages, hair braiding etc. for a fee and a gift shop. I would highly recommend this place for a simple and inexpensive outing. You will not get information on this or other nice beaches while on the ship. Overall, we had a nice time and enjoyed the ship. We just had to realize that there are no easy fixes for traveling with kids despite what carnival told us over the phone. I do not think that I'll spend the money on another cruise until the kids are over 10 years old. Read Less
Carnival Paradise Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 3.0 0.0
Dining 4.0 0.0
Entertainment 4.5 0.0
Public Rooms 3.5 0.0
Fitness Recreation 4.0 0.0
Family 4.0 0.0
Shore Excursion 4.5 0.0
Enrichment 4.0 0.0
Service 4.5 0.0
Value For Money 4.0 0.0
Rates 3.0 0.0

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