Carnival Paradise. It was amazing. Cruising is something I love. I love the water. I love the sun. I love being out on a ship. I love looking out and seeing nothing but the endless water in front of me. I love being “off the grid.” My very first cruise was with Carnival Cruise Line back in 2010. At that time we were just a family of 6, Victoria wasn’t born yet. I was so excited to take the boys on a new adventure and we just fell in LOVE with the cruise life! I mean – for families – it’s a breeze! Food served all day. Pools on deck. Kid activities all day. Excursions easily planned for the family. Entertainment all day long. You literally don’t have to plan anything except just book the trip! I knew we were going to have fun, but I wasn’t fully prepared for the convenience, the ease and the ultra relaxation that cruise life brought – even with 4 toddlers in tow!
We have gone on to cruise a bunch of other times since that very first cruise with Carnival. We’re water people, so for us – it’s a dream vacation come true! When we were working on Permission to Hustle and trying to think of the perfect spot for our retreat, we kept saying we wanted 3 things:
1. A true destination where attendees could feel relaxed
2. A destination that would allow for attendees to try new experiences
3. A destination that also doubled as a conference space, too
Honestly – a CRUISE – was the first thing that jumped into our brains. We thought it would be perfect and Carnival was amazing to partner with us for this first time retreat with us. They truly made our dream come to life and come true! We will forever be thankful.
When I got back to land and normal life last week, I started getting questions about Carnival:
What ship were you on?
What did you love about it?
How was it with Carnival?
What was your favorite part?
Did you love the food?
Were there things to do with kids?
Did you feel relaxed on the ship?
I loved it because I was over-the-moon happy with our Carnival Cruise. I loved all the questions! They were all questions that I would ask someone, too back from a cruise. I’m a natural born sharer, so I thought it would be fun to share information about Carnival Paradise, which was the ship that we were on for the 5-days at sea.
Photo from Carnival.com
Let me tell you a little about Carnival Paradise before I kick off my fave features!
We broke the mold after we made this one. The final Fantasy class cruise ship ever created, Carnival Paradise is proof that there’s plenty of fun to be found long before you reach your dream destination.
While we’ve never stopped adding the latest and greatest features to the ship, this ship remains classic Carnival — fun-packed from bow to stern. With so much of it indoors, outdoors and everywhere in between, Carnival Paradise features great times in and near the water courtesy of hot tubs, pools and a WaterWorks waterpark featuring a giant spiraling slide and dual racing slides. For those who appreciate a good story, there’s Seuss at Sea with an interactive storytime and parade!
On the food front, aboard this ship there’s two of our top casual spots: Guy’s Burger Joint, featuring the goods from Guy Fieri, and BlueIguana Cantina, with authentic south-of-the-border taco/burrito goodness. Refreshments — and good times — abound with RedFrog Rum Bar and BlueIguana Tequila Bar. And a little closer to home (well, your vacation home), Carnival Paradise now features even more staterooms with a balcony. Feel that breeze! Spend a vacation aboard Carnival Paradise, and you’ll find a little slice of cruise ship paradise at sea.
This is the first time I’ve ever been at sea for a 5-day cruise without my kids, so I feel like I really saw the ship in a different light. I was aware of the kid activities, but I wasn’t worried about making sure I knew everything about them because I didn’t need to think about it on that level. I was with 40 women, so I was fully immersed in the activities for groups of people!
What did I love about Carnival Paradise?
OK… I’m going to give you the 4 options that I experienced throughout the week:
(1) LIDO DECK FOOD BUFFET – OMG, this is everything and anything. If you’re a breakfast person, this is what you’re going to love. It’s a fabulous spread with something for everyone.
(2) 24-Hour ROOM SERVICE – You read that correctly! It doesn’t matter what time, you have the options. For early risers, late nighters or just if you don’t feel like leaving your room, this option is amazing.
(3) PIZZA PIRATE – I actually think I ate here every single day! The pizzas just hit the spot! They were made right there and so yummy! Exactly what you need and want!
(4) Destiny was my dining option given to me by Carnival when I boarded. I enjoyed a full course meal every night! The food was great and you can easily ask for substitutions or ask for something that you may be craving (I asked for a side salad every night). I loved how they really do help cater to your needs. Very helpful!
This is exactly what I went to first, call it the mom in me! And guess what I did!? I went and played!
WaterWorks, Carnival’s onboard waterpark. First up, there’s the Twister Waterslide, hundreds of feet of spiraling awesomeness that starts you off high in the air and gets you down low with one of the fastest, wettest rides you’ll find anywhere. Select ships have side-by-side racing slides, which make serious competition seriously fun. Wear your speed suit for Speedway Splash, which features hundreds of feet of racing action, plus special lighting effects you’ll experience on the road to victory. DrainPipe ends with one major swirl of a finish, while PowerDrencher takes soaking seriously — imagine the biggest bucket of water you’ve ever seen, raining down on you from above. And this isn’t just kids’ stuff — the young at heart are encouraged to zoom and splash around too!
3. MEET-UP SPOTS
Leonardo Lounge – Since we were there hosting a conference, I really got to know the Leonardo Lounge up close and personal. It’s a cozy room, filled with cushiony seats and tables. It’s fantastic for hanging out at night in or just relaxing during the day if it’s open. I loved the vibe of it, you didn’t feel like you were actually on a cruise ship! There’s a full bar, too! There’s also a fabulous stage (velvet curtain and all) with a band set-up. It’s a really cool space! If you’re heading there with a group, it’s a great area to meet up in at night!
Cleanliness! This is a biggie for me! Every second your turned around, someone was cleaning. I loved that because that’s the one thing I feel like people get worried about our cruises in general. I was highly impressed with the amount of cleaning I saw going on. It made me feel safe and that Carnival was being extremely proactive in this important arena.
I was on the 6th level, which was a level I really enjoyed being on. It was high enough for me.
I was also towards the front of the ship, my cabin was U26 to be exact. I was thrilled with the size. I had 2 HUGE suitcases and since I was running the retreat – had a constant flow of stuff through my cabin all week – I found it plenty big. I was solo in it, but it was meant for 2 people. I can easily say that 2 people would fit! As you can see, there was a ton of light!
6. PERSONAL STEWARD
Each cabin is assigned a steward. My personal steward was Francisco… he was exceptional! He helped me with my gift bags for the conference and was there whenever I needed ANYTHING! Your steward makes sure you have everything you need for the amount of time you’re out at sea. They’re with you the entire time. I can’t say enough as to how helpful they are and they really do cater to anything you need!
There are dozens and dozens of different excursions offered at the ports – we stopped in Grand Cayman and Cozumel. I highly recommend you take some time to explore everything that Carnival offers. I went to checkout the Stingrays in Grand Cayman and enjoyed a Catamaran ride… it was EVERYTHING! I loved it!
I actually decided to stay on the ship when we stopped in Cozumel. Well… let me rephrase that, I did get off the ship, but just to explore the port and do a little shopping! If you’re someone like me who just wanted to sit back and relax, it was amazing to head back on the ship in Cozumel and enjoy the pool! It was like a private pool! Everyone gets off, so if you want a little R&R on your cruise, take my advice and stay on during one of the stops, you will enjoy the ship all to yourself!
8. SERENITY ADULT ONLY RETREAT
This is where I spent a good deal of time! I never, ever get to go to these types of places when I’m with my family!
Somebody at Carnival knows just what you need, and it’s pretty much exactly the Serenity Adult-Only Retreat. Look, you’ll still be on the same ship as the kids, the hoopla, and all the Carnival-style excitement… but you could easily forget, because when you’re at Serenity you could not be further from it all. The world you’ll find yourself in is one of complete peace, sea breezes, swaying hammocks and, of course, a nearby bar. It’s the place to get done the kind of stuff you just can’t seem to do anywhere else — reconnect with your partner, finish that book, or do absolutely, blissfully, nothing at all.
The Carnival Paradise was a lot bigger than I thought it would be! It was fun exploring early in the morning on my own! That was my favorite time, before everyone was up and all around the ship! The deck layout was pretty easy to get once you spent a day or so walking around.
All in all – I HIGHLY suggest you booking a Carnival Cruise! The Carnival Paradise was the perfect ship for us and I would go back there with my husband and family in a heartbeat! It was important for us to find a ship to fit our needs for this retreat and the Paradise did for us!
Thank you so much for partnering with us, it was MAGICAL!
Disclosure: This was a Carnival Sponsored posting. All opinions are my own.
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