Carnival Paradise - Berlitz Cruising & Cruise Ships 2017 (Berlitz Cruise Guide) (2016)

Berlitz Cruising & Cruise Ships 2017 (Berlitz Cruise Guide) (2016)

Carnival Paradise


Berlitz’s Ratings

Ship: 309 out of 500

Accommodation: 138 out of 200

Food: 212 out of 400

Service: 257 out of 400

Entertainment: 76 out of 100

Cruise: 244 out of 400

Overall Score: 1236 out of 2000

Carnival Paradise Statistics

Size: Large Resort Ship

Tonnage: 70,390

Lifestyle: Standard

Cruise Line: Carnival Cruise Lines

Former Names: Paradise

IMO Number: 9120877

Builder: Kvaerner Masa-Yards (Finland)

Original Cost: $300 million

Entered Service: Nov 1998

Registry: Bahamas

Length (ft/m): 855.0/260.6

Beam (ft/m): 103.3/31.5

Draft (ft/m): 25.9/7.9

Propulsion/Propellers: diesel-electric (42,842kW)/2 azimuthing pods

Passenger Decks: 10

Total Crew: 920

Passengers (lower beds): 2,052

Passenger Space Ratio (lower beds): 34.2

Passenger/Crew Ratio (lower beds): 2.2

Cabins (total): 1,026

Size Range (sq ft/m): 173.2-409.7/16-38

Cabins (for one person): 0

Cabins (with private balcony): 152

Cabins (wheelchair accessible): 22

Wheelchair accessibility: Fair

Cabin Current: 110 volts

Elevators: 14

Casino (gaming tables): Yes

Slot Machines: Yes

Swimming Pools: 3

Hot Tubs (on deck): 6

Self-Service Launderette: Yes

Dedicated Cinema/Seats: No

Library: Yes

Onboard currency: US$


A family-friendly, high-energy ship for ultra-casual cruising

Overview. Carnival Paradise is the eighth (and final, in a series of eight almost identical ships) in the Fantasy-class. Carnival Paradise has always been a popular fun ship for anyone taking a first cruise.

The Ship. Carnival Paradise is one of only two ships in the series of eight (the other is Carnival Elation) which has a ‘pod’ propulsion system; this provides a vibration-free ride. While the open deck space is reasonable, it is inadequate when the ship is full and everyone wants to be out on deck. The aft decks tend to be less noisy, whereas all the activities are focused around the main swimming pool and hot tubs (one with a thatched shade). If you prefer European-style sunning there’s also a topless sunbathing area, as well as Serenity - an adults-only ‘quiet’ lounging space on Deck 9 aft. There is no walk-around open promenade deck, although there is a short jogging track atop ship. The lifeboats (six double as shore tenders) are positioned high in the ship, rather than lower down, as in Carnival’s newer ships.

The general passenger flow is good, and the interior design - the work of Miami-based creative genius Joe Farcus - is clever, functional, and extremely colorful. The decor theme is all about the ocean liners of yesteryear.

The interior focal point is an ‘open’ atrium lobby, with a balconied shape; dressed to impress, it spans six decks, and is topped by a large glass dome. The lowest level of the atrium lobby is where you’ll find the purser’s desk and shore excursion desk, together with a popular Atrium Bar with live music, as well as a small sushi bar off to one side; it’s a good central meeting place.

There are many public entertainment lounges, bars, and clubs, with something for everyone (except quiet space). Most of the public rooms, connected by a double-width Carnival Boulevard Promenade and lead off from this boulevard - a sort of shipboard Main Street which runs between the showlounge (forward) and the Queen Mary Lounge aft. Gamers and slot players alike will enjoy the serious action in the Majestic Casino, with its blackjack and roulette tables, and an array of slot machines. The Blue Riband library is a pleasant room; although it has only a few books, there are several models of ocean liners. Another dazzling room is the Rock and Roll Discotheque, with its guitar-shaped dance floor, video dance club, and dozens of video monitors.

Carnival Paradise is a floating playground for the young and young-at-heart. This really is cruising Splash Vegas style. Because it’s a large resort ship, there will be lines for things like shore excursions, security control when re-boarding, and disembarkation.

The sine qua non of a Carnival cruise is all about having fun. While the cuisine is just so-so, the real fun begins at sundown when Carnival really excels in sound, lights, and shows. From venues such as the Rex Dance Club/Disco to the Rotterdam Cigar Bar, the ship’s interior decor will certainly entertain you.

This ship, however, is not for those seeking a quiet, relaxing cruise experience. There are annoying announcements, and the never-ending hustling to get you to spend money. Also, shore excursions are booked via the in-cabin ‘Fun Vision’ television system, so obtaining advice and suggestions is not easy.

Families. Youngsters have their own play areas, with children’s programs divided into five age-specific groups under Camp Ocean (ages 2−11 - with children ages 2−5 called ‘Penguins’; 6−8-year-olds called ‘Sting Rays’; 9−11-year-olds called ‘Sharks’). Tweens have ‘Circle C’, while teenagers have their own ‘Club O2’ - a chill-out (no adults allowed) room/disco.

By the end of 2015, the words and world of Dr. Seuss will have been rolled out as part of Carnival’s children’s program (check before you sail) − from ‘green eggs and ham’ for breakfast, served by waiters in Dr. Seuss-inspired uniforms, and characters such as the Cat in the Hat, Thing One and Thing Two, and Sam attending, to special showings of movies such as The Cat in the Hat and How the Grinch Stole Christmas (these will be shown outdoors on the poolside Seaside Theater screen on Lido Deck).

Accommodation. There are numerous price grades for accommodation, by facilities, size, and location. The standard outside-view and interior cabins have decor that is rather plain (uninspiring). They are fairly comfortable, yet spacious enough and practical (most are of the same size and appointments), with good storage space and practical, well-designed no-nonsense bathrooms. With a queen-bed configuration instead of the standard twin-bed layout, note that one person has to clamber over the bed - an ungainly exercise.

Choose a suite and you get more space, whirlpool bathtubs, and some rather eclectic decor and furniture. These are mildly attractive, but so-so, and they are much smaller than those aboard ships of a similar size of competing companies. A small gift basket of toiletry samples is provided in all grades.

Room service items are available 24 hours a day, although in standard cabins, only cold food is available, while those in suite-grade accommodation get a greater range of items (both hot and cold) to choose from.

Dining. The two large main dining rooms, Elation and Destiny, are located amidships and aft. Both have ocean-view windows and attractive, but very bright decor, but they are noisy. Choose either fixed-time dining (6pm or 8.15pm) or flexible dining (any time between 5.45 and 9.30pm).

The food is best described as uneventful, with simple presentation and a lack of garnishes. Many meat and fowl dishes are disguised with gravies and sauces. The selection of fresh green vegetables, breads, rolls, cheeses, and fruits is quite unimaginative, and there is too much use of canned fruit and jellied desserts. There’s a decent wine list, but no wine waiters. The waiters sing and dance, so it’s really more about ‘foodertainment’ than food quality. For something really simple, there’s an ‘always available’ list of ‘Carnival Classics’ that includes mahi mahi (fish), baby back ribs (beef), and grilled chicken. Note that the two main dining rooms are not open for lunch on port days.

Other dining options. A Lido café, called the Brasserie Bar & Grill, features the usual casual self-serve buffet eats, most of which are non-memorable. The venue includes a deli counter and pizzeria. At night, the venue morphs into the Seaview Bistro, and provides a casual alternative to the main dining rooms, for pasta, steaks, salads, and desserts. The food variety, though limited, makes a change from the large, crowded main dining rooms.

A patisserie offers specialty coffees and sweets (extra charge), and a so-called sushi bar off to one side of the atrium lobby bar on Promenade Deck is open prior to dinner only; the sushi could not be called authentic.

There is no specialty (extra-charge) restaurant, as aboard some of the larger ships in the fleet.

Entertainment. The 1,010-seat Normandie Main Lounge is the showlounge, and the venue for large-scale production shows and major cabaret acts - although 20 pillars obstruct some views. During a typical cruise, there will be one or two high-energy production shows, with a cast of two lead singers and a clutch of dancers, backed by a large live band.

Spa/Fitness. SpaCarnival is a large, glass-wrapped health, fitness, and spa complex. It is located on the uppermost interior deck, forward of the ship’s mast, and is typically open from 6am to 8pm daily. It consists of a gymnasium with windows that look out over the bow and the latest in electronic machines, an aerobics room, changing rooms, sauna and steam rooms, beauty salon, and body treatment rooms. Some fitness classes may incur an extra charge.

Sporting types can play basketball or volleyball, or table tennis. There is also a banked jogging track outdoors on the deck above the spa, and a mini-golf course.