Hello everyone. I just went on my first cruise, aboard the Carnival Paradise, from Nov 25-30. It stopped in Roatan & Cozumel. I just wanted to share my impressions and highlights.
The boarding process went more smoothly than I expected. It could not have been better. We arrived at 1:15pm and got to our room by 1:40pm. But our room hadn't been cleaned yet. We waited 20 minutes, then decided to leave our carry-on bags in the closet and get lunch. It took until early evening for the room to be to our satisfaction. Because we boarded when we did, the buffet area wasn't the madhouse that I had been dreading throughout the many months of anticipation.
As much research as I did, and I did a lot, I was least prepared for this. It turned out to be considerably longer than anticipated. And we still really don't understand why, because all they did at customs was look at my passport, check to see that the picture matches me, and sent me on my way. Several seconds that took. What was explained to us was that cruises that go to Roatan require greater scrutiny from customs. My girlfriend said that we (meaning me) need to research which other ports of call require so much scrutiny, and avoid those routes. Can someone refer me to an expert on that topic, or if you're a seasoned cruiser, where are these ports with the tightest scrutiny?
Events we attendedSailaway party Hasbro the Game Show Welcome Aboard show Fun Aboard Fun Ashore presentation Captain's reception (long enough to get a photo with the captain) 80s Pop to the Max show Motown sing-along in atrium Comedy club (both PG and R-rated shows) Love & Marriage show The Morning Show taping Military Appreciation ceremony (my girlfriend served in the Air Force) Debarkation presentation Epic Rock show 90s Trivia (I came in second, by 1 point) some of 80s music sing-along in atrium
Her faves were Epic Rock show & comedy club. My faves were 80s Pop to the Max and seeing passengers get turned out in the atrium.
Roatan-we went to Maya Key beach. After lunch, did half of the guided tour of replica ruins and animal sanctuary. Spent majority of time going back-and-forth between beach & pool. I preferred pool, she preferred beach. Enjoyed it all, except my girlfriend had a few sand flea bites on her.
Cozumel-we saw the real Cozumel! We were on a small tour (6 in total, 2 didn't show). We visited a church, took group photo, toured an orphanage, and ate at a family-owned restaurant. My girlfriend didn't care for the restaurant's food. Otherwise, we enjoyed that as well.
She enjoyed the dining room food, but not crazy at all about buffet. I was OK with either venue.
For dinner, we did something different each night. Ate at buffet nights 1 and 4, went to Your Time Dining in dining room for nights 2 (early) & 5 (late). We got room service night 3 because she was feeling under the weather.
The room was good enough for us. We did interior cabin. Because she wasn't feeling well, we watched way more TV than I would have liked, or expected.
In addition, we absolutely loved the cruise director Jaime Dee. She is a bundle of energy.
We saw it, but I wasn't able to capture on video or pic of the ship passing under the Sunshine Skyway Bridge.
What we wished we had doneSlide on waterslide Mini golf Listen to musicians in atrium, promenade deck Bring our own 12 pack of soft drinks
What we won't do againEat breakfast in dining room Sail out of Tampa. Next time, we would go to Port Canaveral. They have the infrastructure to effectively move cruisers in & out, more reliable shuttle service from either nearby hotels or Orlando. Get interior room. Next time, move up to oceanview-even if obstructed
Will we cruise again?
Not sure about that. We went into it with an open mind. If it doesn't happen within the next 2 years, then it most likely won't ever happen.
The biggest stumbling block, in my honest opinion, is the excursions. She wants to try more adventurous activities. I don't want to put myself at risk of injuring myself so severely (paralysis, amputated limbs, head trauma) that I could never work a professional office job again, or worse. What she wants to tryATV (she suggested it for this cruise, but I shot that down real quick) Snuba-one of couples we met at Serenity Deck did that in Cozumel. Ziplining
Thanks for reading this. And thanks again to all of those who helped me during my research process.