The Fantasy-class ships are quite popular even though the basic design is over 20 years old. Obviously don't expect them to compare to the big ships of Royal Caribbean that you've been on, but when we were aboard Elation in 2010 it was a great cruise and the ship is very comfortable and easy to get from one place to another quickly. Try the Mongolian grill aft of the main pool. My favorite lunch place. Note that the buffet restaurant can get crowded often, making finding a table an annoyance if you go at the wrong time. Thus the Mongolian was a good alternative.
Paradise does not have all of the Fun Ship 2.0 upgrades, so there is no Guy's Burger Bar, Blue Iguana Cantina, etc. So what you will be getting is pretty much the vintage Fantasy-class experience.
Thanks Dave. I've been on the Imagination and rather enjoyed that ship, so I was hoping it was somewhat similar the same experience. By and by it's a cruise and I am sure I will make a great time of it. Going with a bunch of wonderful folks.
I remember the big production Carnival made out of the Paradise initially being a smoke-free ship, even during construction the workers were banned from smoking on or near the ship. Then they were quite strict with the guests, even booting wedding couples on embarkation day once or twice for violating the policy, among other guests who pushed the envelope.
But just a couple years later they moved it to California and quietly dropped the smoking ban like it never happened. I think at the time the story was Carnival was not making as much money from Paradise because it attracted the types of guests who also didn't gamble or drink much. Remember, at the time it was the only mainstream ship to ban smoking. Renaissance cruises were no smoking but also priced out of many people's budgets and mostly in markets you had to fly to, mostly in Europe. So the bottom line won out and the ash trays were laid out on the bars and lounge tables.
My memory also is that Carnival discovered that its life blood, the BIG GROUPS, were not booking into the Paradise as much. The theory was that most big groups would have at least a few smokers, and the non-smoking ship was causing them to book elsewhere.
Well I will be sailing on her in 27 days and I don't smoke so that doesn't bother me at all. A cruise on an old ship is better than no cruise at all. IMO. This will make 2 cruises this year for me. Allure of the Seas in May and now Paradise this month. Oh happy happy joy joy!!!!!. My addiction has kicked in full and fierce. LOL
The "Basic Design" of the Fantasy Class is much older that 20 years. It is an evolution of the original Tropicale design, which was Carnival's first ever custom built cruise ship. This design was later refined into the Holiday Class and then the Fantasy Class - much like the original Carnival Destiny morphed into the Triumph, Conquest, Splendor and Dream Classes.
That being said, there are a few things I like about the Fantasy Class - the biggest is that they do not mix up the entertainment decks. The Fantasy Class has 4 decks of cabins, then on top of that you have the restaurants, promenade, lido and sports decks.
Booking a Verandah suite is on my Bucket List. My wife and I booked one on the Imagination for our honeymoon, but Hurricane Wilma wrecked the schedule and we had to rebook in a regular cabin in the Fascination.