Number of Cruises: 2
Cruise Line: Carnival
Ship: Carnival Paradise
Sailing Date: April 25th, 2004
Itinerary: Eastern Caribbean
This was our second cruise in six years and was far better than our first. First, sailing on a non-smoking ship is wonderful!! It was great not having to launder all my clothes, including the unused ones, at the end of the trip. The first cruise had started out well but soon went from bad to worse for me. Stablizers my eye! I spent the last two days of my short cruise seasick in bed. The last night of the cruise, so many were sick the the ship virtually shut down at 8 o'clock (even the casino). To be fair, it was January and we were in the Pacific Ocean. I had seasickness for over a week following the trip.
So you can imagine when my husband suggested a second trip for our 25th anniversary. He wooed me with the Carribean, which is calmer. Our honeymoon had been to St. Thomas and WDW.
So, off to the doctor I went and got the "patch". It worked well (except for a dry mouth)until I removed it at the end of the trip. That's when I found out, that, in rare cases, some people (me) have withdrawal 24-48 hrs after removing the patch. So I had dizziness for the next 9 days of our trip, AFTER the cruise.
As I said, the trip was great. We were seated this trip with enjoyable
couples celebrating long term marriages. Our waiter and his assistant were wonderful and it was great to have meals in reasonable portions that allowed us to desire and enjoy dessert. I enjoyed most all of my choices and was glad I went against one particular fish entree that wasn't a "hit". All in all, the food was a highlight of the trip.
We had an outside cabin on the Empress deck toward the center of the ship. It was very close to the elevators and only a flight down from our dining room. Our cabin stewart was like a ghost and our cabin kept immaculate.
Our experiences by the pool did not go well as it was too hot to lay out and shade was short. Probably went too late in the season.
We went on shore tours at each stop. In the Bahamas, we chose the Pearl Island Snorkeling tour. The woman running the tour treated the large group like five year olds and kept yelling into the mike. She was a real "character". We had a nice time but getting into and out of the ocean for snorkeling was difficult.
I was a bit worried about even getting off the ship in the Dominican Republic as there are State Dept. travel warnings in effect there. We docked in La Romana, which is somewhat away from things. We decided to take the Catalina Island Beach Break and had a great time. There was a small, so-so snorkeling area, but the water was perfect and the swim was well worth the trip. There were plenty of beach lounges and palm trees for shade. Best shore tour of our trip (warning: the beach had topless bathers).
Our final shore tour was to St John, Trunk Bay Beach and Snorkel. The snorkeling was great but, unfortunately, the the wind was up and the sand was blowing so sitting on the beach was uncomfortable. Again, the water was great. I was glad that we had gotten a burger at the park stand there before going out to the beach as the sand got into everything. The stand has a nice eating area back off the beach in the trees. It was a good choice for a tour but would be better with slightly less wind.
We were disappointed to hear that we had to go through customs in St. Thomas instead of back in Miami. It really cut into our time. Then, to top it off, it was Carnival in St. Thomas and it took over an hour to get back to the ship (3 miles)for our tour as practically the whole island popualation was in Charlotte Amalie. I was especially disappointed as we had spent a week in St. Thomas while our honeymoon 25 yrs. ago. Also, because so many cars were parked on the small streets, many businesses had to wait until the cars were towed to be able to get their doors open (most businesses have large storm doors that open toward the street.) As a result, we didn't have enough time to do all we would have liked.
I am disappointed that Carnival Cruises is most likely changing this to a smoking ship next fall. I can't say enough about the non-smoking atmosphere. It has no effect on how much I drink. I would drink the same amount on a smoking ship because I DON'T SMOKE! So their loss of revenue due to selling fewer drinks theory does not hold water. I'd just be on a smoking ship not enjoying myself as much.
As a last note, take my advice, if you take a cruise in conjuction with a trip to Walt Disney World, take the cruise at the END of your vacation. You'll need the rest and won't be dizzy when you go to the amusement parks.