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7 Tampa to Mexican Riviera Cruise Reviews

Just returned from a 4-night sailing on The Paradise. Wondered throughout the trip why so many do not like this ship. Embarkation was totally without any problems. Once on board the ship impressed time-and-again as to the cleanliness; ... Read More
Just returned from a 4-night sailing on The Paradise. Wondered throughout the trip why so many do not like this ship. Embarkation was totally without any problems. Once on board the ship impressed time-and-again as to the cleanliness; fantastic crew attitude and all-around caring of the entire crew. Our cabin attendant was nearly invisible; yet, our cabin was kept neat and clean at all times. First time we were never greeted on embarkation day by our attendant. The dining room meals and waitstaff were very good to excellent. Carnival has cut back on waitstaff, so the wait was a tad longer - their attitude surely made up for it - - very caring and friendly. The Lido (Paris) restaurant was acceptable - nothing very fancy and not too much in the selection department for breakfast or lunch. The grill by the pool was very good. For breakfast, a suggestion is to eat in the dining room; in addition, try the "seaday brunch" - lots of great choices served by as great a staff. The Paradise is a smaller and older ship - and you can see that from low ceilings and dated things throughout the ship, including our cabin. However, this ship is very well kept by a very caring staff, so that many times you forget just how old (and small) she is in relation to the mega-ships in service today. The Paradise is not 5-star, in dining; cabins; or public areas. However, that being said, The Paradise crew and staff go out of their way repeatedly to make the experience on-board a great one. And again, the ship is very clean and very well maintained. The Paradise is very well worth the experience for a short(er) cruise. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
Was aboard the paradise from Tampa to Cozamel and back to Tampa FL in Jan 2015. Compared to other cruises we have been on, this boat was smaller but have to admit the cabins were same comparable size. the food was the usual for cruise ... Read More
Was aboard the paradise from Tampa to Cozamel and back to Tampa FL in Jan 2015. Compared to other cruises we have been on, this boat was smaller but have to admit the cabins were same comparable size. the food was the usual for cruise food, - dining room was very good. It was relaxing and we had a good time. Shows were very good and the cruise director was great. He was in one of the shows - played the fiddle as a pro. Our only real complaint was the bartending, some were great but quite a few were not so friendly. All bars were understaffed and it took a long time to get a drink. Worst of any cruise I have been on. The entertainment besides the shows was a bit lame as well. The piano bar, he could play the piano but didn't have a great voice. Karaoke was lame, normally the staff will make it fun but I think it was his last cruise and he was ready to be done. You could really tell. We sailed over SuperBowl and I would have thought they would have had a better setup for the big game. Maybe some type of entertainment. Some big screen TV's on the outside stage where more could watch the game. Otherwise the wait staff was wonderful around the ship. We had a very good time. Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
We've been on 6 cruises in the last 3 years, and being Canadian we pay extra in flight just to get here so we need a good deal! My parents however (who by the way come with us on every cruise) have been on 65 cruises!!! Snow bird ... Read More
We've been on 6 cruises in the last 3 years, and being Canadian we pay extra in flight just to get here so we need a good deal! My parents however (who by the way come with us on every cruise) have been on 65 cruises!!! Snow bird Canadians who hop onto one whenever they can. They are actually going on a Royal Carribean one next month. They've been all over the world so I always get them to review my work on reviews, just in case I'm being too sassy. Embarkation: Was a BREEZE!!! 10 minutes on the boat no waiting! I am very PROUD of Carnival for improving on this as our first time trip with the INSPIRATION ship was a nightmare getting on. Stateroom: We had three back to back. R204/206/208 (outside window)Unfortunately no adjoining cabins (bummer) but if you have kids just ask to hear the dead bolt before bed. The room was I must say, far bigger than any other I have ever been in and the beds were not bad at all. The TV's however were pathetic!!! Walls were good though didn't hear any noise. TAKE NOTE: you would think you would want to be in the middle of the ship for less rocking BUT we found that this area was always the most crowded most rowdy and OMG! the smell!!!! If it wasn't smoke, it was any number of foul bodily smells (use your imagination here). I was sooo glad to be on the back of the boat. Also take note, NO blowdryer. NO refrigerator. BUT the shower was huge and we never had a problem with temp of water. Dining: This was our first time using "Your time dining" in the Elation dining area. I liked it! Just show up and they get you a table. We found that one waiter loved my Dad so he always made sure we were in his area! Food was good. We're used to having the best in the dining room, and I'm a sucker for their flat iron steak and lobster night. They kind of left me flat on the deserts though and I ended up getting the melting cake (my favorite) every night as nothing else appealed to me. The food court area was always crowded! But you can always find a seat and they had many outside with great views!! The food was actually great for a food court! Get away from the ALL AMERICAN eatery and try the mediteranean fare and Mongolian WOK!!! That stuffed tomato was to die for and I want back for thirds! The sandwich station was great too! My girls always had ice cream no probs there. Childrens clubs: I have had the younger kids ones in the past but this was the first time my girls were in two different areas in a while. Daughter #1 was in the teen 15-17yr club and she loved the freedom. Meghan was the team leader from Texas and was a great co-ordinator. She found all guys to hang around with being a double black belt (what a shocker she finds most girls to be catty and trampy)and my other daughter found some friends to hang with in her 12-14 group one from Japan (also double black belt but speaks Japanese). She also had a blast they have all new interactive games and the Group leader was from Ontario (Bailey)and was a riot! JJ loved her! Spa Carnival: It's difficult to give a bad review for me. Since it was personal and doesn't always apply to everyone. My daughter got her nails done in the Fire and Ice. $55.00 (a rip off but it was her money) and they did a poor job, but that wasn't the worst of it. I gave a five dollar tip....the woman charged us twice!!!! I had to go to two different places and finally talk to the manager about getting charged twice just because the woman want double the tip. The manager gave a "brief" appology and we were mocked by the girls at the opposite counter which I broke into tears after and will never use the Spa facilties again. The worst of the worst: The workout facilties. I'm a workout girl. And love to watch the ocean go by as I work out. But this was the worst workout facilty of any ship I have ever been on and my Mom being 65+ cruises said it was deplorable and they should be ashamed. Entertainment: I only went two a few shows and they were quiet good. A little repetative in their moves (I used to dance competitively)but fun especially for a small ship! The actual interactive shows like MEN VS WOMEN were a blast! Activities: Everyone wanted to play and the WOMEN WON no matter what the men say! She declared it a tie but we know btter! I did lots of Bingo, and we went to one of the nights for comedy. Above fair, it takes a while for the MacDonald guy to get going with his jokes. Service: Okay we're getting into the more controversial element. I thought most of the employees on this ship were very good, from our amazing room steward (Suganga) to the entertainment director. HOWEVER.....my big complaint has been one that STILL isn't taken care of from past ships. If you are not paying your wait staff enough money in the dining area during breakfast PLEASE take care of this!!! There was this one European gentleman my husband wanted to tell off. He was rude and aloof. Sorry to bother you about our complimentary specialty coffees but they are complimentary!! Most of the staff didn't want to be there and were generally angry looking individuals. Getting simple ketchup from them was a crime! Shore Excursion: Cozumel....this is our FAMILY FAVORITE! Always will be a favorite - nothing will top Paradise Beach. I will have my youtube videos up shortly. Paradise Beach is 12 from port and only a 2 dollar charge for the chairs each...and if you want the water toys it's an extra fee (all inclusive which was awesome -snorkel eqiupment-kayaks-water toys which are many!-floaters all included for 20 bucks a person well worth it if you have young energetic kids!! They will sleep like a log once back on the ship!!The food AMAZING!! Beach AMAZING!!! Service AMAZING!!! They even brought our 2-Mexican platter trays beach side to our loungers!!!!! It came to only $30.00 bucks and the four of us feasted on a variety of Mexican food!! We had other people looking over to us saying...ummm whatcha got there!!! We had drinks brought to us by friendly NOT pushy servers and when they brought our tally to us they had already included the tip (which is well deserved!!! don't you dare argue!!) was $90.00 and that included the food, a bucket of beer $16.00, two margaratias yard glass ($15.00 more expensive what can I say I loved them!), and drinks for the kids. We like cozumel downtown but it has become quite pushy and some stores don't like you to touch stuff or they'll make you buy it if it falls to the ground like my husband when a shirt fell off the top pile. We had just purchased $30.00 worth of stuff and when he picked up the shirt to put it back the lady said you have to buy it now. He said politely ok...then refund me for all the things I just paid for and I'll buy the shirt. She recinded and allowed us to leave but I was really put off. There are some great deals but BEWARE!!! The taxi drivers take you all the way down to the end where they get a kick back for sending you into Diamonds International. DON'T go in!!!What a rip off place. We had to walk quite a distance to get to places that weren't over priced. When we started at the end Angie's hammock was being priced at $55.00. I told her forget it, don't be fooled. We walked further 45$ walked further and down one of the side streets...$35.00 I said not bad but really Angie....we got to Paradise beach and the man saw Angie getting her hair braided and asked what the lowest price of any item we saw in his shop...We said 35$ for the hammock....He said $25.00 we said DEAL!!!! It was colourful one seater and we have a stand for it already. She was thrilled, but learned a lesson from her Mommy. My husband had the same thing with Vanilla. The second largest bottle by the time we got to a side street went from $20.00 to $8.00. And Mexican vanilla is the best! I love shopping there, but beware they love to get unknowing vacationers. Final day at Sea: We finally decided to spend some real time in Serenity Deck. It was wonderful! We showed up late at 11:45am and figured we weren't going to get anything but to our luck someone left not liking the wind, but we loved the hot sun out there and it got even better half and hour later! The view was fantastic the hot Tubs were SOOOOO HOT!!! So you won't be in long! It was two and half hours of heaven away from our teenagers. The state of the ship: Another controversial subject it seems. Some people say it's run down....well it's an older ship. My parents have said it again and again...if you want a younger ship pay more!! I found it colourful and a happy place to be for the money we paid and my parents agreed. Problem is people love to nit-pick every little thing. Yes there were bumps along the way. Some of the poeple (that is patrons) on board were rude and obnoxius. Well it's the Holidays and it's a cheap trip. You're going to get all kinds on a trip like that, and believe me we did! There was one staff member last day at the stores who was absolutely the most rude employee of Carnival I have ever seen. He told a passenger to have another drink and bugger off. Mind you the customer was being obnoxious too, but NEVER should a member of Carnival cruise lines tell a passenger off like that no matter how much of an idiot he's being. He was removed a few minutes later by the manager and he made a joke and made everyone feel better, but the damage had been done it was our last day on the ship and there were great deals on merchandise and contests so the shops were full! That aside the ship is quite nice and it was never too full at any of the venues at least if you don't get there 5 minutes before the show. We still found a spot usually last minute BUT don't for the comedy skits!! Debarkation: A nightmare, didn't get off until last and that was at 10:30 the latest I have EVER been off a ship before. A GREAT BIG THANK YOU to the piano playing woman who sat down and entertained us on Carnivals piano for an hour and half with Christmas Music. She was a hit and everyone sang along. I don't know your name but you and your husband were wonderful and you will be in my prayers of thanks for the next month!! Both my Dad and JJ needed assistance should have used that maybe would have been off sooner. Would I return to this ship....hmmmmm maybe not during any holidays. The ship was fine, the food was fine and crew fairly great....but the type of "people" you get going on this ship during the holidays is rowdy and 800 of the 2100 passengers were kids! So be warned it was loud crying - loud screaming - Loud yells in hallways even at 3AM. I knew what we were getting into but I'm not sure I'll do a Holiday cruise again. Would I go if it was off season....you bet!!! Slower crowd, less kids. Must be getting older can't stand bad parenting any more. Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
Been on a few cruise with my kids and Jewel was just average. Not RCCL's most up to date ship with a very small pool area (and pool), and next to no deck chairs available if you don't reserve one before 08:30. Do this even ... Read More
Been on a few cruise with my kids and Jewel was just average. Not RCCL's most up to date ship with a very small pool area (and pool), and next to no deck chairs available if you don't reserve one before 08:30. Do this even though they say reserving is not allowed. Nobody pays attention. Unfortunately no pool side BBQ's, you have to hike somewhere to find food and bring it back to your deck chair. While the service and entertainment was great as per RCCL's standards, I found that family activities were sadly lacking. Parties in the bars were the main focus as this is a revenue generator for RCCL. Food on board was only average. While at the pool area on day 2, was sitting in the jacuzzi talking the previous nights dinner and most seemed to agree the prime rib didn't really taste like beef!!!!! While I would do RCCL again, I would steer clear from the smaller ships and go to the newer ones such as Oasis. They do tend to nickel and dime you as well. You must buy the soft drink package for the kids (free on Disney) and ship board drinks are extremely expensive, so smuggle if you can!!!! Disney allows you to bring a bottle or 2 of booze without smuggling, they just ask that put it in your checked baggage. They won't make you feel like a criminal and you won't get surprised by a two ton bar tab at the end of your trip!!! Happy cruising. Read Less
Sail Date March 2012
Our group of 4 drove to Tampa from New Orleans. Looking back we should have flown but we still enjoyed the drive over. Finding the terminal was a bit challenging. For some strange reason Terminal 2 has quite a large sign. So here we are ... Read More
Our group of 4 drove to Tampa from New Orleans. Looking back we should have flown but we still enjoyed the drive over. Finding the terminal was a bit challenging. For some strange reason Terminal 2 has quite a large sign. So here we are looking for a similar sign for Terminal 3- none exists (at least that we could find). After a second wrap, I spotted a smaller green sign pointing out Terminal 3. Unloading was a breeze and we opted for the valet parking. It was only $15 more and during departure,(which it was pouring rain) we were glad we did. We walked into the terminal with our paperwork and passports in hand. The lines were non-existent and were signed in by an older gentlemen. He could've been more cordial but we let it go since he was elderly and maybe was having a bad day. Other than that, embarking flowed smoothly and R.C.I. definitely has it figured out well; it took us less than 10 minutes from vehicle drop to boarding. Entering the Radiance was a bit of a different experience for us. There was no hoopla over you while boarding, no music, and no one pushing drinks. Looking back I do miss the announcement of the "Robichaux" family, as it makes you feel special and like your vacation is actually beginning and it was kinda lame to not even have tropical music being played. It was more like entering the lobby of a hotel. However, I did not miss being hassled to buy a souvenir drink every two seconds! After reading the board on this ship I was a bit concerned at its age. I have to say that being the age it is, it is well kept and hard to find many wear and tear. We made our way to the Windjammer, which was absolutely lovely and had a nice selection. I was happy to see that the tables were being cleaned (disinfected) quickly after each passenger. We had breakfast and lunch in the Windjammer everyday. The food offerings changed a bit each day and I have no complaints about the quantity or quality of the food. After lunch we headed to find our stateroom (3110). Our luggage was there when we arrived and the room was ready to go. This room had two drop ceiling beds for our teenagers. We were able to hang most of our garments and unpack the rest into the drawer space provided. All of our luggage was put inside of each other and slipped neatly under the bed. Though the room was small, as most are, we never felt cramped or like we were stepping on each other. I also have to say that our room steward was exceptional. He cleaned the room constantly, we had a never ending supply of ice and water, and fresh towels. There was also a curtain partition that made it very easy for my daughter and me to change while the men were still in the room. One negative I have to admit was that at some point it felt like the a/c in our hall just stopped working. I called twice to have it looked into but, nothing changed. We were hot most nights and slept without covers. We never did experience any smells or wet carpeting as reported by others. Our commode refused to flush one evening, but one call and a few minutes later it was back in working order. Our main dining time was 6pm and the Cascades room was very nice. The food was excellent and so was the service. Our glasses never stayed empty more than 2 or 3 minutes and our waiters were kind, funny, punctual,and full of information. The selection during dinner was nice as well. There were 8 of us at one table and no one during the entire trip had any complaints. As for entertainment, I personally found the entertainment aboard the Radiance much nicer than that of the two Carnival cruises I've taken. The shows were excellent and the dancers got really involved down at poolside. Some points that I preferred on other ships were: -music by the main pool was exactly the same everyday and throughout the day, consisting of oldies and disco. By the time you hear Staying Alive 7 times, it is just frustrating. -Radiance had no "night clubs" for those of us who wanted to have fun with our 17/18 year old. When they decided to open it, it was only open to 18 and above. Sure there were other lounges open earlier but my teen doesn't want to hear big band music or Elton John hits (neither did I for that matter). -This ship was also very limited on it's gaming as well. -Though it is posted everywhere, seat holding on this ship was ridiculous. I could walk out at 7:30am and every chair had a towel, shirt, or book but no people on them. I actually found one without, sat and timed how long the chairs were being 'held' before someone came to actually use them - try up to 2 and 3 hours! And forget the Solarium, which by the way is really nice, but forget trying to sit in there. It is worse than the main pool for seating. Instead,we hung out in the library, read, played trivia, played pool in the Scoonger lounge, hit the arcade, and played putt putt golf. We took advantage of the Spa during the evenings instead of dancing. We took the teens and did the thermal spa which was great. My daughter did the Spa sampler and loved it. My husband and I did the Rasual, which is a must. On our Cozumel day, we did the Fury Catamaran and beach break. The catamaran and snorkeling was really fun and the gentlemen crewing the catamaran were great. The beach was awesome and we didn't have to fight for chairs or much else. The day was beautiful and I would recommend it to anyone. On our Costa Maya day, we just walked around, shopped, and lounged in hammocks. It was a nice change compared to being on board and having to fight for a place to sit in the sun. We were haggled a little but nothing as bad as some other ports we've been to. We were also able to get close to watch the dolphins being fed and played with. Basically this turned out to be just what we wanted, a very relaxing, laid back vacation. The ship is beautiful and full of things to do. Though I didn't get to sun poolside much, the other offerings easily took its place. Read Less
Sail Date March 2011
I just got back home from my first cruise on the Carnival Inspiration. It was amazing!!! The fun force was great and had many activities. The deck party at Christmas had great music, and we had a 185 member congo line. The slide and putt ... Read More
I just got back home from my first cruise on the Carnival Inspiration. It was amazing!!! The fun force was great and had many activities. The deck party at Christmas had great music, and we had a 185 member congo line. The slide and putt putt were fun, and the food was good, not great. Cozumel was a lot of fun, we took an excursion not sponsored by the cruise ship and enjoyed it very much. There were a lot of space to enjoy the sun, and each floor was always bustling with fun activities. The best part of about the cruise was the teen (15-17 year old) club 02. Our directer, Ilijah was the bomb. I had the chance to mix and mingle with other teens on the ship which was great. My only negative things about the ship is that many areas require extra fees, or require an age requirement. Also, the last "fun" day at sea, we drove into a massive all day storm, and half of the ship was seasick, and that really dampened things, along with the fact everything outside was closed for high winds. Lastly, our CD Stephanie Meads was annoying, her PA announcements sounded sarcastic, and woke me up on multiple occasions. Overall, Carnival's Inspiration is a great cruise. From the evening dinner "Shoooowtime!" to parties and all the "fun", it was a welcomed Christmas experience. Great for all ages. Read Less
Sail Date December 2010
A little background info: We have cruised about 10 times. This was my second cruise on Carnival. I am 40ish with hubby and 3 teens.We live in Orlando. This cruise was a graduation gift for my 18 year old daughter and her friend. It was ... Read More
A little background info: We have cruised about 10 times. This was my second cruise on Carnival. I am 40ish with hubby and 3 teens.We live in Orlando. This cruise was a graduation gift for my 18 year old daughter and her friend. It was selected solely on price. I was looking for the cheapest thing less than 6 weeks out in high season. Embarkation: We drove over and parked in the garage. It was close to where we needed to load and very easy. We got there later than planned ,as usual, but boarding was fast and efficient. The counter help was very friendly.we headed right up to the buffet as we were starving. Cabin: Our luggage showed up promptly. our cabin was large. I expected in a triple to have a pull down bunk but the third bed was a cot. I expected to feel crowded but it was fine. Given that we had the "worst" cabin on the ship, it was much nicer than expected. The bedding was a very nice new option, feathery and comfy; however I was not on the cot. The teen did not complain about it being uncomfortable but I am notsure she would have even if it was terrible. Public Areas: The ship was a little worn but very pretty.I hated the Glory and thought it overdone. This ship was done with many of the same neon colored light that Carnival favors but at night it was really pretty. They had it mixed with pretty wood inlays and gold toned mirrors.The mirrors were a big hit with all us females because they gave you the illusion of being tan. The buffet area had these crazy purple pipe things on the ceiling that looked like an octopus, very interesting. Pool Areas: As on most ships there was not enough chairs available down by the main pool. There was a large stack of chairs and when I asked one of the employees to help me move 3 chairs, he told me no. I unstacked them and drug them across the deck to an open spot by myself. Later on, I did see an employee unstacking the rest and setting them upright by me. What is great about this ship is that at the front of the boat is another pool and hot tub area. It had a million chairs and a great breeze. The heck with the main pool. There was also a hidden third small pool that seemed to have a lot of space available The worst experience came with getting the elusive pool towels. My daughter stood in line for 10minutes , only to be told "No towels". I came down in about 15 minutes and stood in a long line while they searched a clipboard for children returning towels. Once again they ran out of towels one person in front of me and told me I could wait about 15 minutes. After about an hour, we were finally given 3 towels. This was a very inefficient system. Restaurant Meals: The food was very pretty good. We always ate breakfast in the buffet area and it had your standard nice selection of hot and cold items. They always had a person wandering around refilling drinks. There were many stations available for the lunch buffets. They had great items, ethnic themed, every day on the hot line. Iam not a vegetarian but the vegetarian choices were outstanding. Things like baked stuffed tomatoes and a greek spinach mushroom pie. They also did a nice job with the fish dishes. They had a sandwich station that was slow but made everything. They had a pizza area that stayed open all the time. The desert area was a manned station with a nice selection of cakes and ice cream concoctions. They had a nice little sushi area that was available from 5:30 to 8:00. They would have 3 types featured and they gave you a plate of it. It was good quality. We ate every night in the main dining room at the second seating. We were in a 10 top. The service was adequate. Our team was nice but a little disorganized. Our lead seemed like he was new. The people next to us kept trying to order a soda and a glass of wine and were unsuccessful. They finally got them at the end of the meal. I ordered a bottle of wine and it came fairly quickly. The appetizer soups were always very good, whether hot or cold. The salads were boring, Caesar or some variety of a garden. The various types of steak, prime rib or filet was always nicely done. I eat my meat rare but it was usually closer to medium. The little lobster tail and shrimp that was available on formal night was quite nice, very tender and not over cooked. my daughter tried the curry one night, the vegetarian choice. It came in a very nice presentation with interesting bread and sides. The one disappointment was the desserts. None of them were outstanding. None were bad just so so. They had a chocolate melting cake that was available every night that was by far the best. You could also get fruit and cheese that was good. Excursions: We did not book through the ship.We chose to rent a car in Cozumel and explore the island on our own. Bars: They had a really pretty champagne bar called Violins. Nice service,strong drinks. They had a neat Picasso themed bar that played rock music.The disco was disappointing. Oldies music that bored even me and I am an oldie. The girls were very disappointed as they like to dance. Shows: They were standard. Silly dancers and average comics. The late night adult comic was racy but very funny. They had a funny game show.Karaoke was available every night and was especially horrible. Read Less
Sail Date June 2007

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