UGAGirl

UGAGirl
Purser

Hometown: Tampa, FL
Joined: 05/17/2014
5
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3
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7
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Carnival Paradise

May 2017 - Carnival Paradise to Caribbean - Western

Hell on the Paradise

Because I live in it's home port of Tampa, I've been taking the Paradise 1-2x per year since 2008. And while it's never been a "luxury" cruise, it was worth it for the low price, fun vibe and at least it was clean. However this boat and it's crew have been in a steady decline over the past two years. 

1) The boat- OLD!! Mildew/ mold all over the old grout in the bathrooms, leaking pipes & shower in the bathrooms, surfaces are torn and ratty, bar stools wobbly, broken deck chairs, inoperable elevators, half-dried pool towels with  tired and tacky decor. 

2) Staff- they are working very hard but there just isn't enough of them...which makes for unhappy/indifferent/grumpy staff. The only ones smiling were the room stewards and the entertainment crew. 

3) Food- it's always been mediocre (you get what you pay for) but now it's just plain inedible. AND unavailable! Reduced hours and long lines. Even the dining room takes forever! Perhaps if Carnival worried less about getting everyone's photo 20x a night, they would have more time to serve the food. (enough with the stupid pirate already).

4) Bar Service- ever since the beverage packages became popular, the bar service has been a problem. It's plain to see that Carnival is trying to reduce their costs on the program by making it nearly impossible to use it. Every cruise has fewer bar tenders and cocktail servers. The staff they have are literally running from open to close, but they just can't keep up. Which makes for a lot of very aggressive and angry passengers. NOT FUN! Waiting for 30 mins to get a beverage is not acceptable. By the last night, it was a mutiny in the casino bar. People screaming, pushing, arguing with pit bosses....a real mess. 

5) Casino- always been a problem on this boat- the dealers are the most unhappy group of people I've ever met. Not sure the cause, but if you're going to take my money, you could at least smile and make it fun. 

Unfortunately I already have another cruise in July booked on Paradise. But if I have the same experience I had on this trip, I will never be taking Carnival again. There are just too many other options to waste money on a low-quality operation like Carnival Cruise Lines.

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Carnival Paradise

April 2017 - Carnival Paradise to Caribbean - Western

Gets a little worse each time....

My friends/family and I take this cruise a couple of times a year because it's quick, convenient and inexpensive. This was probably my 6th or 7th time. Sometimes we take the RC Brilliance of the Seas if the dates match up. The Brilliance is a nicer ship with better food but usually the Paradise is more "fun". 

First let me say the Paradise is always clean and the beds are comfy. We had a problem in our room (shower leaked a little onto the carpet) but it was fixed and we were given a small bill credit and a fruit/dessert plate in our room without us even having to mention it. A+ for service.

However, the boat continues to decline. It's tired. It's always been tacky, but now it's just plain old. You can only clean something so many times before it's just worn out. All over you see evidence of repairs/band-aids to fix old equipment and facilities. My shower had been caulked so many times that there was black mildew IN the caulk. I heard Paradise was going into dry dock in Feb of 2018 and frankly it desperately needs it. I hope they make some real improvements and changes instead of just replacing old stuff. Sadly, there are some areas this boat will never be able to compare to RCCL Brilliance- like the balcony staterooms, which are practically non-existent on Paradise. 

What will really make me think twice before booking on Carnival again is the food, the bar service and the casino.

1) The dining room food is horrendous. Inedible. And served to you by waiters who look like they'd rather be anywhere than on that boat. And enough with the cheesy pirate photos and dancing. Concentrate on what you're serving before you get into table side entertainment. Not even the best Macarena rendition will compensate for smelly seafood and stringy steak. There is only so much pizza and grilled sandwiches one can eat in a weekend. 

2) Since the pre-pay beverage package became popular, the liquor and wine choices have steadily declined. No more Kettle One or Prosecco. The bars are under staffed with unfriendly bar tenders and dwindling choices. 

3) I would cruise Disney all of the time IF they had a casino. This is one of the major draws of cruising for me. And while I expect to ultimately loose my money, I hate doing it to rude, unsmiling, condescending dealers. You (dealer) can at least return a smile when you take the whole pot. Gambling should at least be fun. 

I'll be going on the Paradise again in 25 days. We booked it a long time ago. If I could, I would cancel and spend the extra time and money to try something else out of Miami. I feel like given the age of the boat, the price and the duration of the cruise, my expectations were pretty low. Sadly, Carnival didn't even meet those.

What Tampa needs is a cruise line willing to send in a new/nice small boat for these long weekend cruises. Large boats can't come into Tampa, but the cruises are always fully booked. We LOVE to cruise here and I think we're willing to pay a little more for the luxuries offered on the new mega-ships but in a smaller size on a shorter trip. Listen up Carnival- first cruise line to give Tampa a better option is going to get mine and probably many others' business. 

 

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Carnival Sensation

May 2014 - Carnival Sensation to Caribbean - Bahamas

Getting worse every year..

We've taken this boat on this weekend for 4 years now as an inexpensive Mother's Day trip. We know it's an old boat and you get what you pay for. The decor has always been old and tacky, almost comical. But what's gone down hill is the service and the food. We felt rushed from the moment we got on the boat to when we left. The staff seem to just want to get through it. We could never find our stateroom attendant to ask for ice. When we asked anyone in the halls, they always said that they weren't our attendant and that we'd have to wait for ours to come on duty. Used to be the attendant always came by and introduced himself as soon as you got to your room. Dinner is nothing short of a cattle call. The servers are in such a hurry to get you watered, fed and out of there that it's impossible to catch anyone's eye to get a condiment or a drink (other than the bar drinks of course- because they're extra). The food was mostly inedible. It's never been fantastic- but this year even the pizza was gross. I lost 2 pounds if that tells you anything! The casino dealers all seem bored, harrased or indifferent. If I'm going to loose money, at least make it fun. Not to mention there are never enough tables. The bar servers act as if your drink requests are an inconvenience. I will say the ONLY staff we had a good experience with were the servers on the Serenity deck. They were fun & attentive. And the boat is still pretty clean. And and the asian rock band that's been there forever is still really good. But we will not go on this boat again. In stead we're going to pony up for the  4-night with Royal Carribean next year. 

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UGAGirl's Tips

Carnival Paradise Carnival Paradise - **I heard that Paradise is set for dry dock and updates in Feb. I hope Carnival listens to it's customers and takes the time to do a MAJOR overhaul. I would give it another chance if they did.
Carnival Paradise Carnival Paradise - The Serenity deck is the best part of the ship. But get there early because they only have 4 umbrellas even though there's room for 8-10.
Carnival Live Concert - This was the one highlight- Foreigner was awesome! Didn't expect much, but was blown away.
Carnival Sensation Carnival Sensation - Stay on the Serenity deck and eats lots of bread at dinner- it's the only good thing you're going to get.

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received a helpful vote on their Carnival Paradise cruise review - Hell on the Paradise

shared a quick tip for Carnival Paradise"**I heard that Paradise is set for dry dock and updates in Feb. I hope Carnival listens to it's customers and takes the time to do a MAJOR overhaul. I would give it another chance if they did."

added May 4, 2017 cruise on Carnival Paradise to their profile.

reviewed their Caribbean - Western cruise on Carnival Paradise and gave it 2 stars!

received a helpful vote on their Carnival Paradise cruise review - Gets a little worse each time....

received a helpful vote on their Carnival Paradise cruise review - Gets a little worse each time....

received a helpful vote on their Carnival Paradise cruise review - Gets a little worse each time....

received a helpful vote on their Carnival Paradise cruise review - Gets a little worse each time....

received a helpful vote on their Carnival Paradise cruise review - Gets a little worse each time....

shared a quick tip for Carnival Paradise"The Serenity deck is the best part of the ship. But get there early because they only have 4 umbrellas even though there's room for 8-10. "