The Carnival Paradise is among the Oldest Carnival Class Ships still in use. It has some wear and tear on it, but we still love it. It is laid out completely different than most of the other class ships and that is part of its charm. Because of its size, you have fewer fellow cruiser and you are able to get more acquainted with the crew. Venues on the ship are not as crowded for this reason also.
We booked this cruise last minute because our Motorhome was in the shop for 5 days and it was cheaper than a hotel and eating out every meal during this time.
Passengers 2052- 2462
Total decks: 13
Decks with cabins: 5
Since we live just 53 miles from the Tampa Bay Cruise Port, it is a very convenient ship for us to get on for quick trips. We dropped our Motorhome off at the repair facility and headed for the port. We parked at Parktologist offsite parking and road the shuttle the whole 1 mile to the actual port.
Its been freezing cold in terms of Florida weather the last few days and this day was no difference. Glad we brought a coat. The computers were down from Ship to Shore today so it made it a little more confusing in embarking. They had to take our pictures as we boarded and not in the port so it added a few more minutes to the process.
Muster process was nice. We had Muster Station “A” so we met in the Theater lounge. Was nice to have it inside especially with the weather. They then after the life jacket procedure proceeded to escort everyone outside just to show them where the life boats we and then we went on our way around the ship. This was one of the easiest muster drills we have ever done.
We were in U82, which is an Interior Room.
Our stewards name was Joseph. The roam was clean and ready when we boarded. It was interesting as the last few cruises we have taken we made it a point to do inside rooms but this one was laid out different from any room I have ever had. There was no headboard or wall to the end of the bed. The bathroom was at the head of the bed and only one side of it had a way of getting into it. The other side of the bed was against the wall, so you had to climb over to get in. It was okay for my wife and I, but if you were an older couple with mobility issues it may have been a concern getting in and out of it. t was interesting. We kind of liked it but not sure if it was because it was different or just nicer.
The cruise director on this cruise was a lady named Jamie Dee. We have had her on a few different cruises and she always seems to be the most energetic of all the crew. She is wonderful, and we would love to have her on all cruises. She makes the cruise enjoyable even when things go wrong.
Workers throughout the ship really seemed to be enjoying their jobs. They were all very friendly and courteous. We were standing at guest services to have something fixed in out room and we listened to a guest almost yell at the guest services lady about some noise their neighbor was making late the night before. I do not know how they can be so courteous to rude people. People onboard seem to have the attitude that since they paid for the cruise they should get what ever they want. I think this is more and more common to see as we cruise more.
First sea day was 80’s Rock. It’s a nice show but the singers were not near as good as many of the other Carnival ships. The head women singer just cannot sing in harmony with the rest of them. She has a very high pitch voice and it over powers all the other singers.
Second show was a new one for us to see. It was Cuban themed called Amor Cubano. Not sure if it just was me or not but I did not like this show. It may have been appropriate if this cruise was going to Cuba, but we were not. None of the songs were in English and I could not follow along with the theme of the show at all. Someone mentioned It was a love story but not understanding the language it made no sense. I will say though that the lead singers on this show sure could hit the high notes.
We spent a lot less time than I would have liked in the casino. These have become so tight on the ships that unless you are a high roller you are not going to do very well. Trying to earn enough points for the free drink card is almost impossible as a non-high roller also. This ships casino is one of the smallest of all their ships, If you don’t smoke you better have a high tolerance of the smell as it gets terribly hard to enjoy yourself as a nonsmoker. People will sit next to you and just puff away and don’t care if the smoke is blowing in your face. Because of this we didn’t spend much time there.
The first and third night it was held in the Leonardo bar. This is always one of the more popular thing for cruisers to attend. You would think they would hold it in a lounge that had enough room for people. The second night it was in the comedy lounge which had plenty of seating for everyone. In fact even in that lounge the majority of the seating was taken up.
Dan Chopin- He was one to the more typical comedians on the ships. They all seem to really struggle to come up with material to give to a PG group. They are all so use to use profanity to make themselves funny that without it they are not.
Tommy Drake- He was hilarious, even in the PG show. He had no issue what so ever in having material that was truly funny for all ages. Even his adult shows were not full of profanity. He used to it make a point on something but was not every other word out of his mouth.
Because this ship does mostly short itineraries, the trivia games are not as enjoyable. With so many younger clients that don’t attend because its not there thing, or the ones that do feel they must win and any costs and use their phones to look up the answers. I have never seen so many people fell they have to cheat just to win a “Ship on a Stick”. Also, they always seem to have someone doing the trivia that can not pronounce the questions and answers making it hard to even understand what they are asking. The cruise members doing it though do try with all there might to make it fun and enjoyable.
We ate on the Lido for all meals. It was the standard Carnival Lido buffet food. Nothing outstanding but was okay. I am not a big fan of the MDR as the time frame it takes to eat. Also with the waiters singing and people twirling there napkins, I have had a instance in the past where someone’s food landed on my plate from this. That is the one thing I think needs to stop. The singing is nice but not he audience participation. We normally only go the MDR when we are cruising with friends.
Port of Call:
Grand Cayman: See Separate Review Here
Cozumel: See Separate Review Here
The process was quit slow. They apparently had a new customs officer that expected to do everything by the book. You would think the ships after all these years would have the procedure down pat as to what needs to be done, bit apparently they still cut corners and when someone demands the proper way they are lost as to what needs to be done.
I am a big fan of the new customs procedure. There is no more filling out the blue custom form. It appears to make things a lot quicker. Now the customs officials will just ask you if you have something to declare and possibly a random question. If they suspect something they then will take you aside.
Overall, this was a average cruise for us. You can tell the ship is old and in need of some repairs, but it is going into dry dock in the next 2 weeks, which I expect will take care of everything. As the saying goes, Any day cruising is better than a day of working.