Carnival Paradise

Carnival Cruise Line

Ship information

Carnival Paradise

About Carnival Paradise

Launched in 1998, passengers aren't cruising aboard Carnival Paradise for its snazzy new, over-the-top features. Instead, the Fantasy-class ship has created plenty of happy customers by delivering the experience Carnival is known for: friendly service and a fun-filled vacation at a bargain price.

The Carnival Paradise Deck Plan Is Easy to Navigate

Although we love Carnival Paradise for its laid-back, fun atmosphere, the ship isn't without its drawbacks; even though its capacity is 2,124 guests at double occupancy (a few hundred fewer passengers than some of its younger sister ships), Paradise feels crowded. Being an older ship, the Carnival Paradise deck plans have a more traditional design, with most of the action smack in the middle of the ship, making the central indoor promenade congested at times. Trying to find a quiet place can be challenging, but Paradise does have some quiet nooks like the adults-only Serenity area on Deck 9, soothing spa and fabulous library. There are also fewer restaurants on Carnival Paradise than on larger ships: a buffet, two main dining rooms, a couple of free specialty venues, and a couple of for-fee cafes sprinkled throughout the ship.

Despite Carnival Paradise’s size (855 feet), it’s not hard to learn – or at least guess with a high chance of success – where things are onboard. Cabins take up decks 4 (Riviera), 5 (Main), 6 (Upper), and 7 (Empress), plus compact sections on decks 11 (Verandah) and 14 (Grand). Plus, color coding on hallways makes it easy to find your cabin. The rest of the decks house the ship’s dining and entertainment venues and the pools. You’ll probably know your way around Paradise within 24 hours of boarding.

The Carnival Paradise 2018 Update Added Rooms and Amenities

Carnival Paradise was refurbished in 2018, adding some of the features found in newer Carnival ships, including a large waterpark, a mini-golf course, and upgraded kids’ and teens’ clubs. The renovation also added multiple staterooms and balconies to existing ocean-view cabins. New dining venues include two of Carnival’s most-loved restaurants: Guy’s Burger Joint and BlueIguana Cantina.

Despite the upgrades (or maybe because of them), it's difficult to pinpoint a theme for Carnival Paradise's decor because there are places where it feels like flashy Art Deco, and other areas where it is more subdued and contemporary. There are nods to nautical history throughout, and thrown in the mix are columns with turquoise Russian eggs perched on top. Don't overanalyze it; the ship's charm comes from a combination of it all.

Still, what Carnival Paradise lacks in consistent appearance it makes up for with a packed activity schedule that gets everyone involved. The ship also shines with its entertainment, including theater productions, dancing and live music: It’s difficult not to get caught up in the upbeat energy. If you’re going on a cruise to have a good time, you will do just that onboard Paradise.

Carnival Cruise Line COVID-19 Rules

For the most up-to-date testing, masking, and vaccination requirements aboard Carnival Paradise, please refer to 

Carnival’s Health and Safety protocols

. You can also use

 Cruise Critic's guide to health requirements

 on the world’s major cruise lines as we know them.

Cabins

Carnival Paradise has 29 cabin types available

Inside Cabins

8 Inside types to choose from

Inside Cabins

8 Inside types to choose from

Inside Cabins

8 Inside types to choose from

Inside Cabins

8 Inside types to choose from

Inside Cabins

8 Inside types to choose from

Inside Cabins

8 Inside types to choose from

Inside Cabins

8 Inside types to choose from

Inside Cabins

8 Inside types to choose from

Outside Cabins

8 Outside types to choose from

Outside Cabins

8 Outside types to choose from

Outside Cabins

8 Outside types to choose from

Outside Cabins

8 Outside types to choose from

Outside Cabins

8 Outside types to choose from

Outside Cabins

8 Outside types to choose from

Outside Cabins

8 Outside types to choose from

Outside Cabins

8 Outside types to choose from

Balcony Cabins

6 Balcony types to choose from

Balcony Cabins

6 Balcony types to choose from

Balcony Cabins

6 Balcony types to choose from

Balcony Cabins

6 Balcony types to choose from

Balcony Cabins

6 Balcony types to choose from

Balcony Cabins

6 Balcony types to choose from

Suite Cabins

7 Suite types to choose from

Suite Cabins

7 Suite types to choose from

Suite Cabins

7 Suite types to choose from

Suite Cabins

7 Suite types to choose from

Suite Cabins

7 Suite types to choose from

Suite Cabins

7 Suite types to choose from

Suite Cabins

7 Suite types to choose from

Deck Plans

12 deck images available

Activities and Entertainment

Theater and Shows on Carnival Paradise

When Paradise was built, the trend in the cruise industry was to put theaters, like the Normandie, above the water line and use blackout curtains to keep it dark. It is a beautiful space with Art Deco-styled geometric designs, a gold ceiling and orange and purple carpeting -- not to mention some of the most comfortable theater seats we've encountered with individual drink trays attached. (Carnival knows their audience.) The theater is two stories with a bar and cocktail waiters, plus a handful of half-circle booths with colorful glass mosaic cocktail tables.

The enormous stage hosts imaginative shows in the evening with a talented cast. We found that each evening they seemed to get better, but "80s Pop" was one of our favorites. There are two show times each evening, corresponding with the early and late dining times, and shows were well attended. Fun fact: After the late show on the first night the cruise director leads a parade of passengers to the bars on the promenade, with brief singing and line-dancing stops at the Atrium Bar to keep things moving. It works: The promenade deck stays busy late into the night and sets the tone for the cruise.

During the day, the theater hosts bingo, shopping seminars, the "Love and Marriage" show (which tests how well audience members know their spouses), general cruise informational sessions and lectures.

Carnival Paradise Daily Things to Do

There is always something going on aboard Carnival Paradise, with many passengers getting in the spirit and participating in activities. In the morning, there are exercise classes like yoga, stretching and abs to get the day started, followed by educational classes; on our cruise, these consisted of learning about herbal remedies, and basic Spanish lessons.

The bars and lounges host interactive board games plus plenty of trivia ranging from Harry Potter to Elvis -- complete with giant, colorful "pie" slices from the Trivial Pursuit game -- plus versions of Yahtzee, Scattergories and Cranium.

Other afternoon activities include a Champagne art auction (a cruising tradition), casino tournaments and fitness, spa and shopping seminars. Dance classes like Zumba and salsa get passengers moving, and live music on the Lido Deck stage keeps the atmosphere lively for pool-goers. The Lido stage is also home to ice sculpture carving and the "hairy chest competition" -- two traditional activities on any Carnival sailing.

Nightlife on Carnival Paradise

Nights are as lively as days onboard Carnival Paradise, with live music, games, dancing, and lots of drinking that keeps the party atmosphere going. The majority of the entertainment is on the indoor Promenade Deck, but on our sailing the Paradise crew did host a special outdoor deck party one evening with the theater performers, line dancing and Latin dance music. Paradise did not offer movies under the stars or other themed events (although longer cruises do have more than one deck party).

In addition to the theater shows, cruisers can head over to the Queen Mary Lounge (a secondary theater), for both PG-rated and adult-only comedy shows.

The Carnival Paradise casino is another happening place, and has about 15 table games like roulette, "Let it Ride" poker and blackjack as well as approximately 80 slot machines and cash-grab machines. The casino is the center point of the ship and was fairly crowded on sea days and in the evenings. Be aware that smoking is allowed at select machines and tables in the casino.

Carnival Paradise Bars and Lounges

The crew does a great job of keeping the fun going, and Carnival Paradise’s drink package Cheers! helps this along. A large variety of tropical cocktails are available like classic margaritas and mojitos, as well as a daily special for discounts on drinks like berry and vodka cocktails and variations of rum punch. (The only other drink package is Bottomless Bubbles, which includes juices and sodas only.) As the pulsing entertainment hub, Deck 9 is packed with people (and an abundance of photographers) but even when the bars were empty, drink service was slow. Note for those looking forward for some craft cocktails: there is no Alchemy Bar on Carnival Paradise.

Atrium Bar (Deck 7): Located in front of the shore excursions and guest relations desks, the Atrium Bar rests on the lower level of the lovely six-story, glass-domed Carnival Paradise Atrium. The horseshoe-shaped bar is rarely empty, but calmer and more sophisticated than some of the others on the Promenade, making it perfect for a glass of wine and conversation.

**America Piano Bar (Deck 8): **The theme here is obvious with red, white and blue stained-glass walls, starry carpeting and oversized porthole "windows" with bronze sculptures of iconic American images like the Old West and the swamps of Florida. The central piano is enclosed by seats so guests can sit around and sip on musically named drinks and throw their song requests into the jar for the piano player. This was one bar that wasn't as crowded.

United States Bar (Deck 9): Not to be confused with the America Piano Bar, the United States Bar is almost always a happening place, sandwiched in the Promenade hallway of Deck 9, just behind the casino. Guests often face the barstools outward to watch a live band, dance competitions or karaoke on the small hallway stage area. It's also one of the few places indoors on Carnival Paradise where you can smoke (at the very end of the bar).

Leonardo Lounge (Deck 9): A hub for live Latin music, the lounge is also where salsa dance lessons are held. The walls have copper- and bronze-colored murals of Greek mythology, and there's a decent-sized stage and dance floor to keep things lively.

Rex Dance Club (Deck 9): Just a few steps from the Leonardo Lounge, the decor in the Carnival Paradise nightclub feels straight out of the 90s -- but it works. Cheetah prints and stripes cover every inch of the club, and there is plenty of seating if you need a break from dancing. The entire rear area of the club (almost separate from the action) is a large lounge area full of cocktail tables, although few people used it. The club was always popular with a range of modern hits and theme nights (70s, 80s, etc.).

Queen Mary Lounge (Deck 9): Spanning the entire width of the ship, the Queen Mary Lounge is home to Carnival's Punchliner comedy shows, movie nights and karaoke; as well as a few daytime activities like seminars and Build-a-Bear workshops. We caught all the comedy shows, and although they were enjoyable, the comedians were average.

The lounge has a sophisticated feel, with seating that caters to larger groups with comfortable, circular booths as well as a handful of smaller, two-person bench seats. The bar here is massive and stretches across the rear of the room, so passengers can also take in the shows from a barstool.

Rotterdam Martini Bar (Deck 9): In keeping with the classic ship names, the Rotterdam Martini Bar is just outside the Queen Mary Lounge, and is perfect for a drink (particularly specialty vodka martinis) before a show. This bar was far less crowded than some of the others. A stairwell leads down to the Destiny dining room, and cocktail tables are situated in front of the windows.

Paris Bar (Deck 10): This bar is located in the back of the Paris Restaurant, and serves the buffet crowd. It's also the closest bar to the Carnival Paradise adults-only Serenity sun deck -- just one deck up.

**RedFrog Rum Bar (Deck 10): **If a piña colada is calling your name, make a beeline for the Rum Bar, where all your tropical favorites -- blended or straight up -- are made with your choice of rum. A midday fruity cocktail is an easy whim to appease, with RedFrog's prime location right off the pool. Carnival's RedFrog ale is also available on tap.

BlueIguana Tequila Bar (Deck 10): Also on the pool deck is a bar for those looking to down a shot of tequila or two on their cruise. Flights are available in addition to a variety of refreshing frozen margaritas.

Pour Your Own Beer Station (Deck 10): This digital machine lets guests swipe their card and pour a pint of icy-cold Miller Light beer -- without having to wait for a bartender. Oddly, the machines turn off after dinner. The stations are located within the Paris Restaurant.

Dining

Trying to eat healthy on Carnival Paradise is difficult, and dining options are limited. The only specialty restaurants onboard are 

Guy's Burger Joint

, from Food Network personality Guy Fieri, and 

BlueIguana Cantina

, Carnival's popular Mexican restaurant -- both are free. There’s also only one other for-fee dining option onboard Paradise: the Chef’s Table, which is only available once during each sailing.

As for the main dining choices, cruisers can choose from either the Carnival Paradise dining rooms or the buffet. We preferred the dining room to the buffet but found Carnival Paradise food to be heavy at the included main venues. Although the quality of dining could be improved, the desserts were some of the best we've had on mainstream cruise ships -- not dried out, but moist and flavorful.

With the exception of the sea day brunch in the Elation dining room, the only true lunch options on Carnival Paradise are at the buffet on the Lido deck, grabbing a burger at Guy's or a taco at BlueIguana.

Carnival Paradise Restaurants Offer Flexible Dining Times – Except for Destiny MDR

Food on Carnival Paradise is available throughout the day at different venues: breakfast at the buffet, the man dining rooms, or even BlueIguana Cantina; lunch at all restaurants except for the main dining rooms, and dinner at either the buffet or the main dining rooms. Room service and Pirate Pizza are available around the clock.

The main dining rooms have two options for dinner: the flexible Your Time Dining in Elation, or a set time each evening in Destiny. Cruisers who select the set times are seated with the same tablemates and waiters at the same table each evening. Your Time Dining allows for more flexibility but you'll have different tablemates and waiters, and may have to wait until a table is available.

Carnival Paradise Free Dining

Destiny and Elation Restaurants (Deck 8): Both of Carnival Paradise's main dining rooms have low ceilings and a mix of booths and tables, with simple decor and a handful of massive oval mirrors and maroon light fixtures. Destiny is reserved for set seating dining, while Elation is where Your Time diners go for dinner.

Trying to get to the Destiny Restaurant was a challenge in itself because the galley is situated between the two main dining rooms, thus blocking the flow of traffic. The restaurant has a center stairwell that leads to the Rotterdam Martini Bar, so cruisers can grab a drink before -- or after -- dinner before descending to the Destiny Restaurant. Both dining rooms are only one floor, so you don't have that elegant, grand feeling with high ceilings as you sometimes find on other ships. Decor is limited to lighting fixtures that unintentionally look like small spaceships, and orange string lights that blink during the crew's fun musical performances (on formal night and the final night).

On port days, Destiny offers open-seating early breakfast, with items like cereal, omelets, yogurt, pancakes and French toast on the menu. It's a great alternative to the crowded buffet, especially if you enjoy a sit-down breakfast with waiter service.

On sea days, breakfast is replaced by the sea day brunch and is moved to the Elation dining room. It consists of mostly breakfast items like steak and eggs, huevos rancheros and omelets with a handful of lunch options like Caesar salad, grilled pork chops and tomato soup.

We found dinner in the dining room to be significantly better than in the buffet, and it is also much easier for vegetarians, vegans and those with food allergies to have requests accommodated. Dinner menus vary each night, with well-known appetizers like shrimp cocktail and chicken quesadillas, as well as more exotic choices like chilled Vietnamese spring rolls or tiger shrimp creole. There are also side salads and soup du jour (including some unique choices like lychee bisque with lemongrass). With Carnival, you can order as many appetizers and entrees as you like, so don’t be shy if there’s more than one you’d like to try. Carnival also offers a "rare finds" section, where guests can sample more unusual items (like frog legs).

Entrees range from honey-glazed pork loin and braised beef brisket, to sweet and sour shrimp or vegetable lasagna. A selection of grilled items like salmon or chicken and an array of sauces are on the menu as well. Plus, passengers can always order side dishes like ratatouille, broccoli, mac 'n' cheese or baked potatoes with the fixings.

Some of the excellent dessert options include Carnival’s fantastic melting chocolate cake, cheesecake with fruit toppings, varying flavors of creme brulee and tiramisu, plus a selection of ice creams and a cheese plate that is always available. After-dinner cocktails and specialty coffees can be purchased.

On Cruise Elegant nights, the main dining room menu switches to American Feast. The "feast" is a lively celebration during which time the captain and crew are introduced. On this night, there is a dedicated one-page menu with appetizers like lobster bisque, a pasta selection, high-end entrees like filet mignon and a creative dessert of sticky toffee brioche with coconut lime and strawberries.

Although Carnival Paradise lacks a steakhouse, the main dining room menu includes steakhouse selections such as lobster, filet mignon and New York strip steak; each carry a surcharge.

Paris Lido Restaurant (Deck 10): The Carnival Paradise buffet has two outside stations and four main stations inside. During lunch on sea days, it can get crowded but there are often a few under-the-radar seats outside the rear of the buffet that have great views. The salad bar is located in the center of the dining room next to the deli, and has a good variety of options for making your own salad as well as a changing cold salad choice (ratatouille, zucchini and other chilled vegetables). The dessert area has a variety of cakes and desserts, as well as two self-serve ice cream machines with vanilla, chocolate and sometimes strawberry. The chocolate cakes were rich, tiramisu was flavorful and not soggy, and parfaits and other desserts also exceeded expectations.

Beverages include coffee, tea and juice machines, as well as filtered water that tasted crisp and fresh.

Breakfast has classic American favorites like oatmeal, eggs, grits, pastries, sausages, bacon and fresh fruit as well as baked beans and a make-your-own omelet station. Lunch tended to have hearty options like fish with sauces, cheese vegetables and pastas and was similar to the dinner selections, although dinner at the buffet included some specialty items that were also found on the dining room menus, like chicken Florentine or blue crab ravioli.

The main section of the buffet has a changing themed menu like Italian favorites, Latin options or American fare. We found that oftentimes some of the dinner options at the buffet were also offered in the dining rooms. The lines (especially at breakfast and lunch) are long at the grill, and finding vegetarian/vegan options that are clearly labeled isn't easy.

Attached to the salad bar, the chef at the deli prepares Reubens, corned beef, turkey sandwiches and other favorites that can be pressed on the grill. There was usually a short wait for the deli.

Pizza Pirate (Deck 10): Rarely is there no line for this pizza joint, which many consider a cut above the pies on other ships. It's also the only dedicated food venue that is open 24 hours. Pizza options include Margherita, mushroom, four cheese, pepperoni, and prosciutto; gluten-free pies are available by request.

Guy's Burger Joint (Deck 10): Also located on the Lido deck, Carnival Paradise’s Guy’s Burger Joint -- in partnership with Chef Guy Fieri – is a good spot if you just want to grab a quick bite for lunch or a snack between meals. It's hard to come here just once, especially since this venue is typically open until mid-afternoon and conveniently located on the Lido Deck with shaded seating.

BlueIguana Cantina (Deck 10): Burrito-lovers take note: BlueIguana is a pool deck favorite, featuring burritos, tacos, arepas and more (for lunch -- and breakfast). A stellar toppings bar means you can customize your plate with salsa, cilantro and even a slice of watermelon. This is one of Carnival Paradise’s best dining options.

Room Service: Free room service options include breakfast and all-day items. Basic Continental breakfast choices include yogurt, pastries (a gluten-free bread option is available), fruit, cereal, coffee and orange juice (not freshly squeezed). Place the form with your selections on the door knob the night before and it should arrive within the half-hour indicated. The all-day options include a variety of deli sandwiches with chips, pretzels or potato salad (which we found bland), salads and a vegetable platter with blue cheese dressing. We ordered room service twice and it took about 30 to 45 minutes each time.

Carnival Paradise For-Fee Dining

Chef's Table (various locations); prix fixe: For a change of pace from the dining room or the buffet, the once-per-cruise Chef's Table is a great option, typically held in the library. The multicourse dinner is hosted by the chef and includes a behind-the-scenes galley tour and cocktail reception. It can be reserved online or onboard.

Cafe lle de France (Deck 9); a la carte: Although the buffet has plenty of American coffee, Cafe Ile de France serves up Italian espressos, lattes, frozen coffees, and even "spiked" coffees. The shop also has a small variety of pastries and sweets for a price. Cafe hours vary, but it is open surprisingly late.

Green Eggs and Ham Breakfast (Destiny Restaurant, Deck 8); prix fixe: On one morning during the cruise, Destiny hosts a special "Green Eggs and Ham" breakfast with costumed characters from Dr. Seuss' books. Yes, the eggs are green, but there are other options on the menu like French toast and pancakes. The characters perform a dance number that kids love and pose for photos with anyone who wants.

Room Service: Additional items like chicken tenders, quesadillas, fried shrimp and Philly cheesesteaks can be ordered for a fee.