Although I’m born and raised in Tampa, Florida, I’ve never taken a cruise out of the port in my hometown. On Saturday November 10, 2018, I got a baby step closer by taking a tour of Carnival Cruise Line’s Carnival Paradise while she was in port. Thank you to Vance for the invitation.
As I walked onto the nearly empty atrium lobby, I saw the dark saturated browns, greens, and golds of the columns and railings as elevators ascended to a fully glass roof skylight. This atrium was designed to celebrate the legacy of cruising.
Being one of the first on board, I had a rare opportunity to get photos of the ship’s public spaces without disrupting other passengers, so I went deck by deck capturing what the Carnival Paradise has to offer.
As I tried to walk every deck aft to forward and back again, friendly crew members were everywhere wishing me good morning. Several of them wore “Ask Me” t-shirts and had deck plans in hand to direct passengers to the parts of the ship serving food during embarkation.
Once it was time for me to eat, I figured I’d better try one of Carnival’s most known offerings and have a burger from Guy’s Burger Joint. While in the quickly moving line, I scanned the menu and decided on a burger with SMC (super melty cheese), donkey sauce, and pickles. I have to say, this was a really good burger. One of the best parts is how customizable the burgers are both at the service line and the toppings bar. It’s no surprise passengers give it high marks.
My second stop was the Paris Lido Restaurant, the ship’s buffet. Rather than small plated desserts, the buffet offered an array of cakes which crew members cut and served by the slice. I tried the elderflower vanilla cake and orange citrus cake. Both were some excellent cake. Light texture to the cake with a smooth and flavorful frosting. In the elderflower especially, the flavor was subtle and delicate. I truly enjoyed these cakes.
Now I had eaten too much sugar, I needed some protein. I found Pizza Pirate in one corner of the buffet, where I ordered a slice of cheese. If you’re a fan of very thin crust pizza, then this is good pizza. Because pizza is so subjective, it’s hard for me to rate this one. Not my favorite kind of pizza, but it was still good pizza.
Having taken photos and sampled the food, I had a 3pm deadline to exit the ship. As I didn't want to be considered a stowaway, I was ready to leave the ship.
In the slideshow below, please find photos of the following onboard venues. I'll preview one of my personal favorites, REX:
America Piano Bar — a red, white, and blue, and gold salute to our nation
Blue Iguana Cantina — Mexican favorites with a self-serve salsa bar
Blue Iguana Tequila Bar — the specialty beverage complement to the cantina
Blue Riband Library — a nautical-themed lounge with historical models and a one-of-a-kind ceiling
Destiny and Elation Restaurants — the ship’s main dining rooms
Guy’s Burger Joint — the famous burger at sea
Leonardo Lounge — a Greco-Roman retreat bearing bronze reliefs
Normandie Main Lounge — the ship’s theater
Paris Lido Restaurant — the ship’s buffet
Queen Mary Lounge — music venue
Red Frog Rum Bar — beer and rum with an amphibious backstory
REX — African-inspired and adorned with art deco and animal print, a lounge or lair
Rotterdam Bar — a classic ship’s bar for those who want subdued colors and atmosphere
Serenity — an adults-only sundeck with hot tubs
Spa Carnival — fitness center, fitness studio, sauna, and steam room