Monday, April 4, 2022

Carnival Paradise Cruise Review - April 4, 2022

Carnival Paradise Cruise Review

Just the Facts:
Ship:  Carnival Paradise,  Last of Fantasy Class, Launched Nov. 1998 @ 70,000 tons.
Sailing:  April 4-9, 2022 - 5 day cruise - Sailing out of Port of Tampa, Florida
Captain:          Cruise Director: Leilani Ross
Ports: Tampa, FL - Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands - Isla de Cozumel, Mexico - Tampa, FL

I am sailing as a solo guest. This is my 3rd cruise on the Carnival Paradise, my 97th Carnival cruise, and my 178th total cruise overall.

Day One -- Monday --  April 4th, 2022 -- Port of Tampa  — Embarkation  
This is another very easy embarkation day sailing from my new homeport of Tampa. I left the Villa in Meadow Oaks at 9:20 am and I was sitting in the terminal by 10:30 am. About a 50-minute drive, I parked directly across the street, rolled my one single bag to the ship, used VeriFly at check-in, and sitting in the terminal waiting for boarding by 11:00 am. Easy Peasy. I dropped my bag at the cabin and went up to the Lido Marketplace for lunch. I had a Reuben sandwich and a very nice salad from the self-serve Salad Bar (see photo). IMHO the Salad Bar was better than on the Mardi Gras. I returned to the cabin, an Upper/Lower on deck six. It’s big for one person with a lot of storage and I’m very glad I did not upgrade the cabin. I was greeted with a message on the mirror and a large towel animal alligator eating a small duck…interesting. I went to my Muster Station and checked in then did a tour of the ship. A walkabout doesn’t take as long on a Fantasy Class ship. I ended up at the Lobby Bar and enjoyed a Pilsner Urquell beer. Not sure the number of guests onboard as yet, but so much more comfortable than the recent over-full Mardi Gras cruises. Soon we sailed under the Sunshine Skyway Bridge. I have sailed under it more times (5) than I have driven over it (2). At 6:00 pm I went to the MDR for dinner. I was assigned a 10-top table and there were 9 at dinner, but there are few dining choices on this ship. Tonight I ordered both hot soups, the Roasted Tomato & Poblano Pepper, two Shrimp Cocktails, The fried Shrimp entree, and Tiramisu for dessert. I did a walkabout the ship picking up my Diamond gifts at Pixels and my bottled water from the Lobby Bar. I then retired to the cabin to watch a movie and follow the NCAA basketball finals. I needed rest from working on my garage conversion project the past few days.  It was an easy embark day on the Carnival Paradise.

Day Two -- Tuesday --  April 5th, 2022 -- Day at Sea 
Smooth seas overnight and I slept well in my interior cabin. I updated this blog and did some online business before going up to the lido deck for an omelet. It was very good as was the bacon and watermelon. The outdoor grill area is one large space with Guy’s Burgers on one end and the Blue Iguana on the other…Omelet Station in between. Very convenient as I had salsa for my omelet. A quick visit to Guest Services for some small $ change and no line at all, I like the fewer number of guests on this sailing for the ease of movement, especially the elevators. I went to the casino for my $25 free play and was given $25 in cash…Sweet! and thank you Carnival. The Diamond event was held at 10:00 am in the Rotterdam Bar and reminded me of earlier years as there were only a dozen Diamonds and a few guests. The staff mingled and the bar service was very good. I had my fair share of Bloody Marys, bottled water, and some Pepsi’s for the cabin. The Hotel Director, Martin Fowler, as host, welcomed all and was informative. The Paradise was the last Carnival ship back in service since the shutdown and this is only their fifth cruise. They are also limiting guests to approximately 1200 or about 60% capacity. I enjoyed the little Diamond gathering very much. After a short walkabout it was back to the cabin for a very restful nap…almost a new record at 4+ hours…super! Tonight is elegant night, but I did Guy’s Burgers before they closed at 6:00 pm. Then a small dessert and watermelon on the aft deck. It’s a beautiful evening and a good time to be out and about as most guests are at dinner. I enjoyed a nice cocktail at the Rotterdam Bar then went to the 
’80’s Pop to the Max show in the theater. I had forgotten how large the theater and stage are on this ship. The set was just six stools on the stage and two feature singers and four others singing to a soundtrack. Hopefully, they will present the full show with a set and dancers soon. Entertaining, but not memorable. A nice walkabout the ship before retiring...There was Music in several locations as well as Comedy.  It was a fun and restful sea day on the Carnival Paradise.
Day Three -- Wednesday -- April 6th, 2022 -- Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands
Smooth seas overnight and I slept very well. I was up very early, but not planning on going ashore today. We were already anchored off of Grand Cayman by dawn and they began tendering by 7:30 am. The Carnival Vista and Sunrise are anchored as well. A smart guest would have an early excursion booked in order to get an early tender space although with fewer guests it should be fairly easy today. A beautiful day today so guests will be happy. I again had a very nice omelet with salsa and watermelon from Blue Iguana. About 10:30 am I took a tender to shore just to walk for exercise, I walked an hour + then returned to the ship. Grand Cayman did not fare well from the decision to close to cruise ships. for so long. The majority of shops and storefronts are closed. Thankfully they still have the Seven-mile beach, the String Rays, and Turtle Farm as a basis for Tourism to recover. I had Pumpkin Soup and a Salad for a light lunch. I enjoyed sitting out on deck taking in the view (see photo) with some fresh fruit for dessert. Cabin time for some business work online then a short nap. I did a walkabout during sundown hours then listened to still drum music in the Lobby. I went to the Windjammer for dinner, I had two small Sirloin Strip Steaks and a unique Beet Root Salad with pearl onions. I am enjoying the ship very much as it’s refreshing not having 5600+ guests as I’ve been experiencing on my recent Mardi Gras cruises. It was an enjoyable day on the Carnival Paradise.

Day Four -- Thursday --  April 7th, 2022 -- Cozumel, Mexico 
Rolling seas overnight and I slept fair. We have a late arrival into Cozumel so no rushing this morning…I went up to the Blue Iguana for a Huevos Rancheros with fried eggs, Arepas, Salsa, & Watermelon. The Arepas were the best I have had…a slight crispness on the outside…very nice. I called home once we were docked just after 10:00 am. DW has the Garage remodel under control, they finished the floors this morning. The internet is so helpful when on a cruise...I paid the flooring contractor and also arranged for immediate pickup of the old washer/dryer. I use the Carnival value WiFi when onboard - $51 for this 5-day cruise. We are docked with the Vista and Dream, two Texas ships, and they were sailing full, the taxi line was the longest I have ever seen at Puerto Maya. I used my experience to share a taxi from outside the port and was dropped downtown by 11:30 am ships time or 12:30 local time. Strait to Woody's Bar & Grill my usual Cozumel hangout. I used the fastest internet on the island to get a lot of Travel work completed. I enjoyed a few Bohemia beers and Guacamole & Pico de Gallo as well. (photo above) Texas friends from the Dream stopped by so I had a large frozen margarita with them too…good times. I was back on the ship at 5:30 pm. Tonight I had dinner on lido and they had Sirloin at the carving station so I had a nice cut then had it grilled at the Deli. I had a selection of desserts and ate them out on deck as we had a late sail away. The weather cooled and it was very enjoyable sitting outside this evening. I watched a movie then retired.  It was a FUN and productive port day in Cozumel.

Day Five -- Friday --  April 8th, 2022 —Fun Day at Sea 
Rolling seas overnight and I slept better.  I went to the Seaday Brunch in the Elation Dining Room and had a very nice brunch. at a window table.  I ordered the Steak & Eggs, Bacon, Hash Browns, French Toast, Hot Milk, Tomato Juice, and a Bloody Mary.  I did a walkabout picking up a photo at Pixels and sampling some Key Lime Pie in the Marketplace.  The weather is great and guests are enjoying the outer decks today.
Rolling seas overnight and I slept better.  I went to the Seaday Brunch in the Elation Dining Room and had a very nice brunch. at a window table.  I ordered the Steak & Eggs, Bacon, Hash Browns, French Toast, Hot Milk, Tomato Juice, and a Bloody Mary.  I did a walkabout picking up a photo at Pixels and sampling some Key Lime Pie in the Marketplace.  The weather is great and guests are enjoying the outer decks today.  I watched two movies on TCM this afternoon, one of the few good TV channels available on Carnival ships.  The ship was really rocking and rolling this afternoon it made walking on deck interesting.  I attended the Platinum/Diamond Gathering in the Queen Mary Lounge, I sat at the Bar and certainly had my share of Cosmopolitans.  I was the high cruiser (most sea days of all guests), the first time I had the most on a cruise out of Florida.  I had a light dinner and retired early as I will be up early for debark.

Debarkation — Saturday --  April 9th, 2022 -- Port of Tampa
Rolling seas overnight, but slept well. I was packing about 6:05 am. Debark meet was scheduled for 7:15 am but I went down about 7:05 and was able to roll right out to the gangway. Walked to the parking garage and hit the road and at the Villa in Pasco County by 8:10 am in time to walk the dog.  Amazingly easy debark.

Personal HIGHLIGHTS of the Cruise
The ratio of Guests to Crew
The Diamond Gathering
Cozumel Port Day

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