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Copyright © 1995-2002 
Linda Coffman

Carnival Paradise
Sailing: Eastern Caribbean
November 25-December 2, 2001

by Nancy Nelson

We sailed the Eastern Caribbean itinerary (San Juan, St. Thomas & Nassau) 11/25-12/02. I can say that it was a very pleasant week and a ship I would not hesitate to recommend to anyone, if they're a NON-Smoker. 

The ship was very clean and not as flashy as some of the other Fantasy class ships. It was decorated for the holidays and very pretty. The big shows were terrific, though the first one had to be postponed until we were in port in San Juan, due to very heavy seas. Remember, Hurricane Olga was out there and created some huge swells. Many people were ill and didn't show up for dinner or the evenings entertainment (comedian), but we were fine and enjoyed the quiet ship. When they did perform the shows, we were very impressed with the high energy and quality. I lost count of the number of costume changes, but they were very good. The entertainment on the other nights was so-so. They didn't intend for the comics to have to perform 3 shows (due to the seas), so we had to realize they were winging it.

The food was some of the best we've had on a ship in a long time. Our waiter, Vasel, and his assistant, Didi, were great. Very personable and attentive. It was great having waiters that seemed to enjoy what they're doing, which is something we haven't really noticed much of lately. 

Our cabin steward, Robert, was great. Surprised us every night with our towel critters. He was visible without being intrusive. The cruise line is now adding the gratuities to your onboard credit, which you can adjust or remove, if you so choose. The dinners are staggered (new since we last sailed Carnival). There are 2 early seatings (6:00 and 6:30) and 2 late seatings (8:00 and 8:30). We got stuck with the 8:30 (latest), and tried to change to earlier, but it was not available. Our dinner companions were super. We all hit it off well.

The casino was hard on me. We play roulette and I was up after the first night, but was down until the last night. I recovered a bit, so didn't feel too bad. I just can't say enough about how pleasant it was to be able to be in the casino and bars and not have that nasty smoke blowing in my face. I'm a smoke magnet. 

We were on this ship because of a contest for travel agents that Carnival had. They upgraded us to a 5A (portholes) on the main deck. It wasn't bad, except there was a horrible noise when we were coming in to port. Not sure if it was the thrusters or what. It never lasted that long, but you couldn't miss it. We took advantage of this cruise to really relax. We slept in, went to the gym, took naps every day, ate way too much, but did exactly what we intended, and that was to relax. The only tour we took was in San Juan. We went to the Bacardi factory. Had I been aware, I would have waited to buy the rum in the ships terminal. That was where it was the cheapest. Even beat prices in St. Thomas. That's the only shopping we did. I didn't even get a t-shirt! I wasn't very impressed with San Juan. It's been about 15 years since we were there, and it's really run down.

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