Paradise Review – April 2019
5-night cruise from Tampa to Key West, Havana and Cozumel departure on Monday, April 8 and return on Saturday, April 13. This is a long review because we spent several days in Tampa prior to the cruise and have a lot to say about Cuba. We are a couple in our mid-50’s.
Our porthole stateroom on the Riviera Deck was near the bow. The carpet and furnishings were in excellent condition. The bathroom sink and shower were also in great condition. The shower curtain tended to drift into the shower. The water pressure was outstanding, and very hot (the warnings in the bathroom about scalding should be taken seriously). Our room steward did a great job keeping the room fresh while we were away having fun. A towel animal made an appearance every day. There was excessive noise and vibration overnight after leaving Cozumel and on the sea day. It sounded/felt like a heavy metal door being slammed below our cabin two or three times each minute. I assume these were waves hitting our side of the ship since we did not hear the noise the first three days.
Departure: Could not be easier. Arrived at Terminal 3 slightly before our scheduled time of 11:30. Dropped the luggage quickly (few cars dropping bags) and parked in the parking garage across the street, which had ample spaces available. We pre-paid parking before leaving home and handed the parking attendant our printed ticket and parked on the second level near the elevators. Although we were early, by the time we had competed check-in our group number had already been called. We were still on the ship before many passengers had shown up. We had Guy’s burgers for lunch, at 1:30 we went to our cabin to change and went to enjoy the hot tubs on the Serenity deck before it was crowded.
Return: Getting off the ship was quick and orderly and went much faster than the scheduled departure times. We learned that self disembarkation was starting with Deck 14 and we were on Deck 4 (Riviera), so we got luggage tags when they were offered at 10 am on the last day (Friday) and had a low group number (5 out of 28). Customs consisted of checking passports, and asking how many cigars and how much liquor (rum) we were bringing in from Cuba. We were under the duty-free limits and were on our way home.
We docked at the Outer Mole/Navy Mole and had to take the “conch train” to the depot near Mallory Square. We docked at noon and left at 6 pm so we only had about 5 hours. We had been to Key West on a prior cruise so we walked down Duval St as far a Truman Avenue, walked over one block to the Hemingway House and Old Lighthouse, then walked back toward Mallory Square and enjoyed some Key Lime Pie. A squall line came through late in the afternoon and it was very windy, delaying our departure by 2 hours.
We arrived in Cozumel at noon and left at 10 PM. We walked from the Puerta Maya Cruise Pier where Paradise and other Carnival ships dock about 2.5 miles to the Thirsty Cougar near the Punta Langosta Cruise Pier “downtown”. After enjoying various adult beverages and a late lunch, we walked back to the ship.