Summary of my first cruise

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.

 

Embarkation
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.  

 

Debarkation
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 attended

Sailaway 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.

 

Excursions
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.

 

Food
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.

 

Room
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.

 

Disappointments
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 done

Slide on waterslide Mini golf Listen to musicians in atrium, promenade deck Bring our own 12 pack of soft drinks

 

What we won't do again

Eat 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.
Barriers

Has to fit our budget, and we both have to feel we are getting enough bang for our buck. Has to fit our schedules, and be during a slow time (Oct-Nov or Jan-Feb) Has to be on a better ship than Carnival's Fantasy class.  But not something relatively new llike the Vista or the Horizon that comes on line next year.

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 try

ATV (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.

William
 

Tags: first cruise Carnival Paradise newbie

13 Answers

Great review.  You must be exhausted.  

As far as cruising again, allow me to allay your fears.  Seldom, do people get injured on the excursions.  I’m not saying it doesn’t happen, just be careful.  As far as costs, great deals can be had with a little research. Most everyone here finds bargains, and then we check for price drops.

You might consider another cruise line, like Royal Caribbean or Norwegian.  

 

Good luck in your endeavors.

 

Thanks for your advice and words of encouragement.  We paced ourselves.

Thanks for the review!

If you ever have the opportunity to sail on Carnival Breeze or Magic, they may be more to your liking.  Plenty to do, but not monstrously big.  Try the Cove balcony on this class. Not much more expensive than oceanview, significantly cheaper than other balconies, and they are our favorite cabin class. Be sure to book a cabin forward of the midship elevators.  The more aft cabins are under the galley and can be extremely noisy.  We have stayed twice in the most forward coves, and they were quiet and peaceful.  We loved being so close to the water.

Jaime Dee was absolutely fantastic on our Sunshine cruise.  Carnival has a true gem there.  She and Mike Pack are our favorites, and really the only CDs we noticed on our cruises.  Other than Dr. E on the Magic.  He is a favorite of many, but he got on my last nerve.

We also loved RCCL Adventure of the Seas-lots to do, but also not overly crowded.

I think another cruise on a bigger ship could change your mind about cruising.  It's worth a shot :)

Thanks for your suggestions.

I agree that we don't want to go too big, it could be overwhelming.

I hope to have Rev. Dr. E as my cruise director on a future cruise, as well as Matt Mitcham.

The worry is once you go balcony, you can't go back to a mere room.  So we'll pray about that one. 

We will consider the mid to forward cabins if there is a next time.

 

 

We have been able to go back and forth between ocean view and balcony with no problem.  I just don't think an interior would work--I would be punching holes in the wall to put in a window LOL  We don't spend much time on our balcony, so it has to be a bargain before we will consider.  They are enjoyable, but not worth paying significantly more for us.  Good luck, and I'm sure you'll make the best decision for you.  Everyone is different so vacationing is definitely an individual decision.  Glad you at least gave cruising a try!

 

 

Thanks for the review. 

Very nice review. Well written and laid out.

Thanks

thanks

thanks

Thanks for the good review.  I enjoyed reading it.  I hope that your girlfriend  is feeling better now. 

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