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elklemi

My Impressions on Carnival Paradise 1/5/19

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Have seen few comments on the smaller ships so here are my impressions on my 5 day trip, I am platinum 71 and sail solo.  Embarkation was the fastest I have ever experienced, I was amazed how quickly they got everybody thru and was on ship shortly after 11 am.  Disembarkation was even faster and going thru customs was hold your passport out and walk on by, amazing.  If they do this every cruise I would come to Tampa again and again.  I was in E187 interior upper/lower and with one bed the cabin was huge, the new makeover was really nice and made the ship seem fresh. I noticed no noise from the dining room above me.  I ate a few meals in MDR and wait staff were good but the food had no taste, stayed with buffet after and should have gone with them the whole time.  Ship was not full and it was cool and breezy so the pools were empty and saw very few kids anywhere on the ship.  I do not go to shows or  comedy shows but I did enjoy listening to a guitar solo artist, Emma Jude, who was very talented and easy to listen to her music. All staff I met were very friendly and ship seemed very clean.  Cuba stop was just little hassle getting off the ship but they do by zones to prevent backup for customs and money exchange.  There is a souvenir market close to ship and they will take US$ as will the official cigar shops.  Cruise Director was a woman and the only cruise director who did not bombard us with constant announcements, what a great change of pace.  One thing I missed after the dry dock was the old walking track.  The college championship game was shown on tv's around the ships bars but nothing special was done for the game.  I will also mention the carnival TV selections available and what a poor, poor, choice.  Really missed a local florida station to check on weather and a news outlet other or in addition to CNN. I did this cruise to get to Cuba so a cruise to me is transportation from a to b, my new found choice is smaller sailing ships that go to small islands and away from the usual cruise line stops and they do offer no single supplements which is a plus, but I know what to expect from Carnival and have fewer demands than most cruisers.

I prefer the smaller Carnival ships and the Paradise was a good choice and no real negatives to report.  If I can answer and questions I will try for sure.

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1 hour ago, Cruisegirl6 said:

Did they have the new late night snacks like grilled cheese, pasta and such?

I did not notice that but I was not up that late, sorry, the deli and pizza were open and not too busy but also the ship was not full

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Thank you, its good to know that there is something more than pizza to eat late at night.  

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What did you end up doing in Cuba? We are sailing there on the Paradise in April. Excited to see Havana!

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You are Platinum , you shouldn't have had to go by zone.  Is this something there doing in the Cuba port only ?

 

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12 minutes ago, MistyRo76 said:

What did you end up doing in Cuba? We are sailing there on the Paradise in April. Excited to see Havana!

We did a tour by Blexie who has a web site and it was very well done and we had a group of 5 and cost was $200 CUC or $230 US$ and that was for the whole group which was reasonable, I would recommend him and he answers emails quickly, our tour guide was Jorge.

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1 minute ago, elklemi said:

We did a tour by Blexie who has a web site and it was very well done and we had a group of 5 and cost was $200 CUC or $230 US$ and that was for the whole group which was reasonable, I would recommend him and he answers emails quickly, our tour guide was Jorge.

Thanks! We have a tour booked with I Love Cuba Photo Tours - 7-8 hours for $800 for our group of 14. What all did you see in Cuba on your tour? We can customize our tour and just wondering if there are any "not to be missed" things that you'd recommend! 

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12 minutes ago, BoDidly said:

You are Platinum , you shouldn't have had to go by zone.  Is this something there doing in the Cuba port only ?

 

Yes Cuba is different, there is not Platinum early departure since there is not a tender, they announce you need a letter sticker which was available near the coffee shop and when I got there the early letters were gone and I assume for Carnival Excursions, I got letter F and we were off the ship and thru customs and money exchange by 9:25 AM.

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since I really had no idea of what was the "must see" places I relied our guide and we started with a walking tour at areas where we got off ship, and we then got in old vehicles and we went to 4-5 different stops of different neighborhoods around Havana and along the Malecon.  We also saw Revolution Plaza and so many different places it was a lot, our tour was from 10-4 and it was a full day.  You should have a wonderful time as there are a lot of photo ops all throughout Havana.

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We are on this cruise in August. Did those that had Carnival Excursions get off first with those that had private tours having to wait ? I’ve heard that if you don’t book thru Carnival you’re the last to get off the ship in Cuba. Thoughts? 

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34 minutes ago, BoDidly said:

You are Platinum , you shouldn't have had to go by zone.  Is this something there doing in the Cuba port only ?

 

 

Platinum only helps you for ports that require tendering, or for what they are now calling water shuttles. 

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1 hour ago, elklemi said:

Yes Cuba is different, there is not Platinum early departure since there is not a tender, they announce you need a letter sticker which was available near the coffee shop and when I got there the early letters were gone and I assume for Carnival Excursions, I got letter F and we were off the ship and thru customs and money exchange by 9:25 AM.

Understood ,knowing how Platinum use to work in the past it kind of threw me off for a sec.

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Thanks for you comments.   We are sailing Paradise on Feb.2nd.   We've been on her several times, but not since dry dock.  Looking forward to seeing the changes, Guy's Burgers, Blue Iguana, and the Grand Deck!

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We love the Paradise! We just sailed on her, too, over New Year's Eve.

We think the crew and staff is the friendliest and most helpful of any ship!

And we, too, think embarkation and disembarkation in Tampa is a breeze!

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11 hours ago, CruisingAgain said:

Sailing on paradise in 2 weeks. Was it cool and breezy every day or just first and last days?

Day before we arrived in Tampa it was near 80 and it rained day before cruise and was cool and windy from then on, Havana and Cozumel were warm but it rained late PM Cozumel and turned cool and breezy when sailing but in 2 weeks it may be 80 in Tampa again.  It was bearable but i wore a windbreaker on deck and shorts but the pools were empty, hot tubs full to capacity.

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Thanks for the review.  We are doing the Key West / Cuba itinerary on the Paradise in May and appreciate you sharing your experiences.  We were already considering Blexie, and are more likely to do that same tour after your positive remarks.

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We live outside Tampa and cruised on the Paradise 5 times in the past year. Love the ship, especially since dry dock last year. We did the overnight Cuba cruise last May and it was an interesting time. DH works part-time for the cruise lines at the Port of Tampa and I will tell him what you said about how great embarkation and debarkation went.

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When we went on the Paradise to Cuba in October, we did the old car tour through Carnival.  They stopped at several places and there was an English speaking tour guide.  Then we got into our cars and the driver didn't speak a word of English.  He'd point out buildings and say what they were but we had no idea of what he said.  

 

Be prepared that Havana is a poor island.  Lots of crumbling buildings with people still  living in them.  It rained most of the day that we were there so right after our tour, we went back to the ship and stayed onboard for the rest of the day.

 

We stayed in M62 and it was a huge mistake.  They eliminated the two cabins next to it for debarkation in Cuba.  We stayed overnight and all through the night, the passengers were coming back right next door to us, all talking and laughing.  Didn't get much sleep that night.   Passengers had to be back onboard by 5 AM.  Right at 5 AM, the crew started tearing down the gangway so that made even more noise.

 

We are glad that we got to see Cuba even though it was not what we expected.  

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Would love to see Fun Times for the 5-day Havana Overnite + Key West Itinerary!  TIA, Ken

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Thank you for your review. I'm cruising on the Paradise to Cuba in a bit more than a month. Very excited!  Did you do the afternoon tea or the brunch on sea days?

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On 1/14/2019 at 11:55 AM, elklemi said:

We did a tour by Blexie who has a web site and it was very well done and we had a group of 5 and cost was $200 CUC or $230 US$ and that was for the whole group which was reasonable, I would recommend him and he answers emails quickly, our tour guide was Jorge.

 

One more question....on your Cuba Guest Affidavit that you had to complete prior to the cruise, did you select P2P or Support of the Cuban people. Wasn't sure what we should select since we are using an outside tour vendor as opposed to Carnival. Our tour guide said to select Support of Cuban though. So just curious what you did. 

 

Thanks! 

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