I did not heed the warnings about the Paradise, thinking that it was just the naysayers who just like to complain about anything. Yeah, the cruise was cheap, but I've been on inexpensive cruises from Carnival before with much better service.
First the good:
Food was exceptional. I did not have a bad meal anywhere. Better than most Carnival cruises.
Food service was good as always.
Entertainment was fantastic. Great comics, a full live troupe of dancers and live music, and live music in front of the casino. The Lido deck had recorded music. Piano bar was fun. The cruise director was a fantastic fiddle player. One of the most memorable moments of the cruise was when he played "Devil went to Georgia".
Most of the crew members remembered my name. My wife had happy birthday sang to her twice!
Now for the bad:
When we arrived, our cabin had no ice bucket and only one glass. Figuring that we would not be back to the cabin until much later, we thought that they would just provide one when they came in for the turndown service.
There was no turndown service the first day. We called and got a bucket of ice delivered albeit it was two hours before it arrived. It makes me wonder if we even had clean sheets the first day.
There was no basket of anatomies in our cabin. When we called to get them, we were told we had to go to the gift shop and purchase them.
When my wife called customer service to get a hair dryer, they told her we had to call room service, who told us we had to call housekeeping. When we reached our steward Joan, she said she was sleeping. Imagine that, doesn't Carnival cover shifts while their employees sleep?
The room steward never provided us with the breakfast door hanger. We had to go to guest services every day and pick one up.
I know the ship is due for drydock soon, but the carpet looked dirty,and even had a burn hole in it. The drapes look dingy and the cabin just had an over all dirty feel, like you're staying at a cheap hotel.
Although we paid our tips for the Cheers card, bar waiters and waitresses were almost nonexistent. The only way to get to the drink would be to go up to the crowded bar. I ordered a martini as soon as we sat down for elegant night, it did not come until after we were finished with the entire meal. We complained to the maître d', but he did nothing. Bar service in the casino was nonexistent. If you want a drink you had to leave your game and go to the bar. You rarely saw a waiter or waitress on the Lido deck. My wife ordered a drink on the serenity deck, after a half an hour she got up and went and got herself. We stayed an additional hour and the drink still did not come. I ordered a beer to chase down the bloody Mary we got on sea day brunch, it never arrived. I guess Carnival went to self-service when it comes to drinks. Ironic because that is where they make their profit.
There was only one crew member that had a genuine smile throughout the cruise, Nina. The rest of the crew looked ragged or put out a forced smile. Carnival must be working these people to death. I know the ship is registered out of Liberia, but really, their work practices need to be investigated.
This is the first cruise were I should have gone to the purser's desk and demanded a refund for my tips. On a land base operation, the only one who deserved a tip was our food servers. I still may write them and request a refund. My wife already wrote them a nasty letter.
This may be my last cruise with Carnival. If they offer to make things right, I may give them a second chance as this was the first time we ever had a bad experience out of nine cruises.