November 2015 - 5 Night Western Caribbean (Tampa Roundtrip) Cruise on Carnival Paradise
This was my first cruise with my college daughter. From the moment we stepped on board, disappointment followed everywhere. The ship was much older and smaller than thought. The interior room was adequate and actually quite quiet. Our cabin steward was mainly MIA during our stay. We never received our ship activity schedule so trying to figure out where to go for dinner or what to do was left up to us. We got itinaries the next few days, but they were always a day late! So much for hitting that comedy show. We received no towel animals like everyone raved about until the night before the last, and only on the day that we received the info. On tipping. Same sheets the entire trip, wet towels left on floor for washing were neatly re folded and placed back on the racks!
The best way to describe the food was "school cafeteria". Everything was not special or that tasty at all. Even the presentation was to be desired. Our dining room staff was the only shining light. They were entertaining, extremely attentive, and very fun. Kudos Diana and Alex! The other locations to get other types of food (pizzas, chicken nuggets, baked fries, etc.) consisting of long wait in lines only to get a meal that one could get at a convenience store. Even the ice cream was gritty. I was hoping for at least one decent meal by the end of the trip, but none was to be found. We were charged approx. $25 a day for gratuities, PRIOR to departure which was the main reason why we had such poor service. The majority of the workers seemed angry or blasé as if they didn't want to be there. What incentive do they have to insure proper service when they are automatically assured their tips? Activities were lame, casino was small and had people waiting 1 back to get a seat at a table, while other higher bidding tables were left empty.
They charged me $3 for gluten free bread that my daughter requires! When I tried to complain on departure day, I was told that I should have let them know as things happened so something could be done. Most of the issues like the lousy food or poor service could not really be addressed after the fact. I told the guest service host that if I came down there to complain about every issue, I would be spending all my vaca waiting in their line to complain.
And to add insult to injury, Every time you turned around, there was some sort of table set up in the hallways trying to sell you jewelry, make up, etc. they should use these employees to provide better service, and quit trying to get more money out of you.
The water was rough the entire trip (no fault of the ships), so that didn't help matters. Fortunately,the crew was kind enough to tape vomit bags on the walls by the elevators for us!
Believe it or not, I am not usually a complainer. I just don't want others to waste their hard earned cash on this particular trip.
But if you like waiting in long lines for absolutely everything, horrible workers with bad attitudes, poor to mid level meals, and "Carnival" foods...
Then this is the cruise for you.