Just came off Fascination. The food was nothing to rave about, and the informal meals at the buffet did not vary much from day to day. Only plus was a larger cabin, comfy for two adults and two children. Have sailed Royal Caribbean before and it is much nicer, food better, and better kids activities. Overall, ship decor is dated, and signage is poor.
I like the Paradise, the food is not the best but the shows are very good.THE BEST PART OF ALL IS IT IS A NON -SMOKING SHIP. The worst part is it is going away, I think to California.It is really a beautiful ship and well laid out.
And the nonsmoking part is going away too. In September, Paradise is being transferred to the west coast to do the 3- and 4-night cruises, and Carnival felt it wouldn't draw enough business unless they converted it to a regular ship that allows smoking in some areas. Too bad.
As far as favorites go, I have heard - as brendab posted - that Conquest is a favorite of those who have been on her. And the new Miracle will probably be similarly popular.
I have been on the Conquest as well, but I do not agree. The layout was horrible. The decks are layed out in such a way that you walk 50 feet, go up a flight of stairs, walk 50 feet, go down a flight of stairs. It seemed like the architect wanted to keep you indoors. Don't get me wrong the ship was beutiful, the staff was good, and the food was excelent. But the layout of this ship will keep me from taking this class of ship again. My favorite was the RCCL Rapsody of the Seas. Easy ship to navigate, but Conquest's food was better.
It seems there is no one perfect ship, doesn't it? I had a similar experience with the Norwegian Wind, which after the "stretching" felt all chopped up - like you described, up one flight, walk a little, then down another, etc.
So far, the fascination is the prettiest of the 2 different cruise ships Ive been on, but I've been on 3 carnival vacations. I sailed on the Imagination twice because i had so much fun. They had a great social host, cruise director, etc. otherwords, a staff 2 die 4