Summary of Carnival Paradise May 7-12, 2022 (2023)

I had a really hard time writing this review and toning down some things that went wrong with the good, especially with the COVID challenges. It takes a long time to be disappointed on a cruise! Everyone on this cruise has a different perspective, and your experience will depend on what activities and restaurants you choose, when you sail the ship, where your stateroom is located, and sometimes simply by being in the wrong place at the wrong time. We didn't get a roll call from Cruise Critic as everyone chose to use social media to discuss and make plans. Many of these people had negative experiences and some said everything was great. I also have a unique perspective with two cruises on other lines since January to compare to this carnival cruise.

On this cruise it was me (56), my husband (59), my daughter (21) and her friend (21). My daughter traveled as a child but she doesn't remember much and it was her best friend's first time there. My husband and I primarily sail with NCL but we are Mardi Gras Gold at 19 since we last sailed with them. We originally booked inside cabins and took advantage of a price drop and senior special to upgrade to sea view. So I got an offer to upgrade to a "suite" for $100 and I accepted while the girls got a sea view. The suite was basically a balcony stateroom on deck 12 with a little more space, priority embarkation and disembarkation, and a few cookies.

Our cruise was on May 7th.ºParadise 5 days sailing from Tampa that visited Roatan and Cozumel. I usually prefer a longer sail but the girls have work commitments that limit their free time. I've heard that the shortest trips are the party cruises and that's certainly true.

We flew to Tampa in two groups without incident. My husband is retired so he came 5 days early to stay in our apartment. The girls arrived the night before in time for dinner and bed. Our flight was originally scheduled to arrive at 9:30am but Spirit changed the flight schedule and we had to change to the afternoon flight. I never like to cut it so tight! They also messed up the return flight so the girls had to change at 12:30pm. M. on one of the 19:30 M.


DD and I had done our Covid testing at Walgreens two days earlier. It was super quick and easy at the self checkout and our results were emailed within an hour. Your friend took a rapid test at a local testing center and it was positive! After more than a bit of panic, a PCR test was done and it was negative. There are false positive results, so allow enough time to do a follow-up PCR if necessary. We printed everything on paper and the people at the port liked it.

Get in

We originally had a check in time of 10:30am. Our driver (DS) was having trouble getting out of bed after working most of the night so we drove to the port around 11:15am and arrived at 11:45am. We each had a small backpack, DH and I had our CPAPs, the girls had small rolling suitcases and DH and I shared one suitcase. We checked our bags with the porter, entered the building, rode up a few escalators and came out at 2North Dakotapiso. They put people in lines in front of the terminal because there wasn't much space in the security stations right inside. I don't remember what papers they checked at each point, but many workers kept us informed in front of the checkpoints. Nobody checked our opening times. They kept checking boarding passes to make sure I was in the right place and that was helpful as guests in suites have priority boarding. They allowed us to take our girls even though they were not a priority. Next were security x-rays, and next were priority guests in a special queue. I made the mistake of having a small pair of scissors in my carry on which was confiscated. Then we had a checkpoint for documents and health issues. After that we went to the counters where they checked the bill payment on board, checked if we had CPAP with us and checked the documents again. There were a number of suites but it was pretty empty on the tables so they moved us to the next one.I was the only one verifying this and didn't really save much time.Then we board the boat and take the obligatory photo. We took down the meeting station demo and went to our suite, which was supposed to be ready and it wasn't. I looked forward to the few perks we were to receive. Anyway we left our bags there and ate at the buffet until the announcement that they would be ready at 1:30pm. The key cards were waiting for us in front of the cabin door.


(Video) Carnival Spirit 2022- 6 Things That SHOCKED Us!

Paris (Buffet)- It was open for all three meals and closed at 3pm until dinner. If you need something to eat in the late afternoon, you can get burgers, pizza and ice cream or room service. The main gas stations have the same hot dishes on each side of the restaurant. The meal was okay. We mainly ate breakfast here, which featured succulent scrambled eggs, ham, potatoes, pre-made pancakes, sausage, and bread. There were also other stations with pastries, fruit, cold cuts and muesli. I never tried the omelet station because of the line. It was all self service. Lunch had a delicious dessert station where my DH fell in love with the cookies and we kept some in the room for snacks. We love fresh iced tea for breakfast (the idea of ​​pre-made tea was terrible) so we made hot tea (Lipton products) and poured in ice. Bacon wasn't available every day.

main food- Eaten every night in the main dining rooms at any hour. You need to register in the app and see the estimated waiting time in advance. This was one of the most frustrating things about the cruise. The time estimate failed every time, and not by a few minutes. One night he said 30-40 minutes and actually took 90 to be seated. "Less than 10 minutes" usually meant 30-40, but once it was 5. Not sure where the fault lies in the system but scheduling shows and activities was a problem. It seemed they were understaffed or perhaps inexperienced, but the dining room was far from being busy. On the third night we had excellent service (and magic tricks!) and we asked the same staff for the rest of the cruise. You do this in the host's cabin after signing up for the app. The food was really good and melted chocolate cake was on the menu every night! The bartenders danced and made my DD's birthday special by making him a hat and singing. If I had known the show times before the cruise, I probably would have picked dinner time. I'm not sure if you can change once you're on board. We've had Sea Day Brunch here twice before, but other than a good omelet and crispy bacon, I'm not sure I'd waste my time between seating and long service hours.

Guy's Burger-Bar– We had some burgers and fries and they were really good and fast service.

Blaue Leguan-Kantine– The girls ate here and declared it delicious. Opening hours weren't as long as the takeaway and we never ate here as they closed when we were hungry.

Sushi- The girls ate here twice (extra charge) and loved it.

pizza and ice cream“I had a piece of pepperoni and the girls have eaten here a couple of times. The batter is super thin and crispy. It's good for a snack but lacks the side dishes to make a meal. There was always a line here when I walked past with nothing ready to grab. I tried the chocolate and I loved it, it also had vanilla and strawberry in it.

room service- I have never witnessed anything like this. The menu had breakfast sandwiches for $4 but if you need anything other than continental.


We stayed in a balcony suite on deck 12. The cabin itself had plenty of space with a large sofa, chair, coffee table, dressing table with lighted mirror, two closets and plenty of drawer space. Having two CPAPs wasn't a problem. I balanced mine on the back of the sofa and my husband used the small table by his bed. We routed the cords under the bed and plugged them into an extension cord I brought with me. Customer service called our room to see if we needed anything for the CPAP, so I asked for a bottle of distilled water. It was delivered for $3 plus service charge. We could have brought our own but it wasn't worth lugging another 8lbs in a carry on. The cabin attendant provided bathrobes and ice cream daily at my request. They also asked when we would like our room cleaned. There were multiple outlets on the table and USB ports on the bedside lamps.There was one glass of wine each day and two large bottles of water complimentary for gold status.The fridge was basically useless for keeping anything cold.The cabana service was good and we were given towels most days. No more turndown service. The ventilation system pumped good cold air, but also a lot of dust. He turned on our CPAPs every day and there was just no way the cabin crew could keep up with him everywhere. This increased the allergies a bit. Clean bath towels were provided every day. A "do not disturb" sign was posted on the door. My only complaint about the room was that the bathroom (and room) always smelled like urine. It appeared clean but somehow managed to have an extremely strong smell. We even washed the floor and walls around the bathroom just in case. The girls' bathroom didn't have this problem.


COVID Protocols

Just a few notes on how to deal with the COVID protocols. Passenger masks were not required either in the terminal or on board. A small number of passengers wore masks anyway. The two ports said they were required but no one used them. All carnival staff except the performers wore masks while enjoying themselves. Disinfection stations were everywhere. Unlike NCL and RC, no one advertised hand sanitizer in any of the restaurants. We played mini golf and they had boards and cloths to clean the equipment after use. I have never heard any communication about COVID cases.


The girls received the Cheers package and were happy to try many different drinks.Coffee specialties were included. They were probably near the end of the package but I wanted them to have fun and not worry about the cost. DH and I brought wine and bought some drinks. We also got a free gold status drink last night. We had two days of shore excursions with cheap or free drinks, so cheers didn't make sense to us. The price of the drinks seemed very reasonable compared to NCL but more so than RC. There was a beer dispenser for $0.45 an ounce. The waiters were hit or miss. The girls said some refused to make them the drinks they wanted and were a bit grumpy and dismissive. DH had the same experience when they insisted that a particular spirit should not be shipped but kept on the shelf for all to see. Other bartenders were great. He was upset when he craved a late night Bailey's and they made it. The waiters are usually the highlight of a cruise so it was odd to find some so rude and contradictory.


We have done independent tours and have been to both ports. The girls asked for relaxing beach experiences and we did.

Roatan– We chose the Bananarama beach resort and dive shop. They offer a cruise package for $35 that includes transportation, welcome drink, chairs/umbrella, and snorkel gear. The reef is very close to shore so no need for a boat and it was a lot of fun! We hadn't realized there was a 2 hour difference so I had to make a panic call and change our ship's boarding time. Guest services went out of their way to let me use their phone. Private tours are not allowed to pick up in the port area so we had to walk a little way outside the gate where we were picked up by our driver. It is about 35 minutes drive from Bananarama. Food and drinks were a la carte, free wifi. There was an armed guard on the beach guarding our bags while we were in the water. When it was time to return to the ship, our driver was on time and we had time to visit a few shops in the Mahogany Bay waterfront.

cozumel– I opted for the all inclusive Nachi Cocum for $59 each plus $17 cab fare each way. It was perfect. We had a palapa on the beach and a beautiful pool with a swim up bar. The team was fantastic from start to finish. Drinks and food were plentiful and the tropical beauty made it our favorite shore excursion. Everyone there was from a cruise and we stayed on the last one and had the place to ourselves for an hour. If you choose to participate, there are massages, banana boat rides, snorkeling, and parasailing for an additional fee. Nachi limits its capacity to 130 people, so it's never full.



In the theater we only saw the welcome show and Amor e Casamento. I hope there are technical problems with the singers because it started very badly. We never saw another show again so I can't comment on the rest. The smaller venue's musical entertainment was very good and varied, including piano, guitar, steel drums, comedy and live bands. The comedian was hilarious and we went to all his shows. The other, not so good. Much awkward silence in the audience and I felt sorry for her. No bingo, trivia or art auctions for me. I tried donating $20 at the casino and ended up with $33 after 90 minutes of fun.There were two parties on deck which we attended quite often. The first one had a lot of dancing led by the animation team and Lei Lei did a good job. The other was the glitter party. There were no craft, afternoon tea, or meet-the-captain events. The club was open late and it was nice to see so many people leaving after 10pm.

the ship

Paradise is from the loud and colorful era and is showing its age. We sailed this boat when it was smoke free and still enjoy all the smaller boats. The hardest part was figuring out which elevator took you to the floor you wanted. There was a noticeable lack of public restrooms around the ship, particularly in the buffet and pool areas.

dress code

dress code? Was there a dress code? The elegant soiree in the dining room featured everything from ripped and cut off jeans and jean shorts, bathing suits and T-shirts to beaded dresses and tuxedos. Leaky bathing suits were common at the buffet. I think you could do anything but go topless.


Of course, there was some chair hoarding and little pool availability, but we could always find chairs on a patio above or behind the slides. Bar service was not good outside of the immediate pool area or at the Serenity. Cheeky behavior wasn't hard to find, however. Groups of people took over the hot tubs, rolling, rolling, ass rubbing and filming. The language was terrible and all this in front of families with children. They drank cups in the tub, which sure didn't help, but seriously, get some class!

Other observations

We upgraded to gold during this trip and received gold amenities and a key card upon arrival.

(Video) Carnival Fare Codes

The free wifi in the app was useless most of the time. It was so slow that websites would time out or take forever to load. The girls had the social media package with no complaints.

I missed having paper copies of the instructions and fun times in the room. The electronic version was hard to find. There was a paper with QR codes for certain items but the slow wifi wouldn't load them. If it were a first time cruise I would miss the explanations of things like landing.The announcements were difficult to understand. I noticed that our girls had paper copies of other items than we had in our cabin, so we may not have gotten everything.

This itinerary attracted a wide variety of people and behaviors. According to a theater poll, the vast majority were Tampa residents, with very few out-of-state or international cruisers. I would say 80% were between 20 and 60 years old. Many were family groups or groups of friends traveling together. There were quite a number of scooters and wheelchairs and a handful of children in strollers. This was the rudest group of people I have ever sailed with! Age didn't matter when it came to disruptive behavior, as the most uncomfortable group were the middle-aged women in my hallway. It was more than 4 cabins traveling together and they loved to meet up and talk loudly in the hallway or in each other's rooms when the doors were open and music was blaring.As many times as I've been woken up after midnight, I wish I had ordered room service at 6am. How paid. Another booth (again middle-aged women) in my hallway had security multiple times to smoke, set off the smoke alarm and left the balcony door open, resulting in a loud hiss in the hallway that drove everyone crazy late into the night. There is also a lot of grass throughout the ship. Security reappeared and chased a group of teenagers running up and down our hallway. Heck, those were just the incidents I personally witnessed and just in my little hallway, so I'm sure there were more. One evening there was a fight in the casino bar.

Customer service is not open 24 hours a day. So if you have any problems after midnight, you'll have to walk around the ship to find a member of staff to help you.The phones don't have a message saying they're closed. Even during business hours, they never answered the phone.


We received priority luggage tags the night before and were able to meet at the theater at 7:15am. M. with our bags or wait until 8am. M without her. At 8 a.m. everyone had to leave their rooms. The last baggage tags were for 9:30am. We decided to leave at 8:15am! M. (not a priority) with our bags and that was a mistake! The lines were terrible and it took forever to get through customs. You can tip a porter for a shortcut if you like. Outside we hailed an Uber and got home 30 minutes later.

general thoughts

It was amazing? NO. It was terrible? NO. Was it worth the low price I paid? Sim. Would I sail carnival again? Yes, but only because I know it can be better based on previous experience. If this was my first cruise I would not return to CCL as I think that is the normal expectation.Does the low price attract people who don't know how to behave, be attentive and respect the rules? Perhaps. Is COVID to blame for long service hours and rude waiters? No, because NCL and RCI had great experiences months ago. Carnival just wasn't playing the same cards as all cruise lines. I agree with other Cruise Critic posters that the overall vibe didn't feel good, and that may be a mix of inexperience, understaffing, and passenger attitudes.DH and I still had a great time and look forward to planning our next cruise.


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