After a surprisingly restful night’s sleep, I was up at 6:30 on Monday excited for another cruise. The Hyatt had a nice selection of hot and cold breakfast items, and they were serving Starbucks coffee. It was also 70 degrees and sunny with a forecast of a high of 80 degrees. Nice start to embarkation day.
Our check-in time at the port was scheduled for 10:30 – 11:00. The hotel shuttle was going to charge $30 to ride in their van. We decided to get an UberXL and it arrived in less than 5 minutes after the request. The cost for it was $20.
The port is about 6 miles from the hotel. Only problem I had with the Uber app is that I wasn’t able to find which dock the Paradise was berthed. If it was listed on any paperwork that I had, I never saw it. I chose berth 2 but the ship was actually at berth 3. I offered to change it on the app for the driver, but he said it was no problem. I was glad they weren’t too far away from each other.
We arrived promptly at 10:30 and were allowed to enter the port facility. I was glad to see that they had aisles roped off according to check-in time so if you arrived early for your appointed time, you were directed to your appropriate aisle. Keeps the crowds down. There are a lot of restaurants and even an aquarium around the port so if you have to arrive early, you can drop off your luggage and go have a look around. You don’t have to just stand in the aisle if you don’t want to.
We were through security and seated in our section by 10:40. We were the second section allowed to board. It was 11:15.
Our first stop was our Muster station which was the Leonardo Lounge. The person in-charge scanned our boarding passes and then we watched the life jacket demonstration. It was very easy. We were then instructed to watch the safety video on our room television and then dismissed. It is a very easy process and should be done as soon as you board. However, the cruise director had to make several announcements throughout the afternoon requesting people to go to their station. The ship is not supposed to sail unless everyone has checked in. If they have to track you down and you refuse, you can be disembarked.
As Platinum Carnival cruisers, we could have gone straight to the cabin and dropped off our backpacks. However, we know that the crew is working hard to get the rooms ready, so we waited until the 1:30 announcement said the rooms were finished. When we arrived, our room keys and luggage were there. Plenty of time to unpack before sail-away. Staff were bringing in the luggage by the cartful as quickly as they could.
For this cruise, we had an inside cabin. When our Carnival consultant booked it for us, he made sure that we had a room that we could keep for both cruises. Otherwise, we would have had to pack up the room at the end of the first five days and take it all to another room. I don’t mind inside rooms for short cruises.
Our cabin, M163 on the fifth floor (Main), was in a nice location – midship around the corner from the mid-elevators. It was sparsely furnished – king-size bed, desk with mirror and shelves and a stool, one bedside table, a small refrigerator, a safe, and a large mounted flatscreen TV. There were two closets and a number of shelves. We had one outlet and 4 USB ports.
However, I didn’t realize that this particular room was an adjoining room. Adjoining rooms are great if you have family or close friends next to you. They can be problematic if there are strangers next to you. The first thing I discovered was that the door between the rooms was unlocked so we had to immediately tell our room steward and he called Security. He came promptly and locked the door. Most of the time we have found that unless a person is yelling in the next cabin or has the TV on at full volume, the sound is muffled between the rooms. However, in an adjoining room, the sound leeches through the door and you can hear normal conversations.
We met the guys who had the room adjoining us. They were part of a group of 8 who were excited to be on this cruise as their boss had given them the trip as a “thank you” for all their hard work and dedication. We just gave them a “heads up” that we would be able to hear each other’s conversations. We wished them a fun cruise.
The first night, we were awakened by one of the guys who was mad that his roommate woke him up coming in the room. Think it was about 2 a.m. Next afternoon, we heard that same guy say (I assume to himself) that he was glad he now had the room to himself. That evening, he was talking to his girlfriend and saying he hated the ship, all the guys were drunks and had no class, and he wished he was with her on the ship. The next night was the worse one. He and his girlfriend were calling each other and arguing. He would tell her to stop calling and then would call her. Went off and on all night. We could have gone over there and asked him to lower his voice or called Guest Services, but we didn’t. We felt sorry for him. He was not having a good cruise. He had a falling out with his work buddies and now fighting with his girlfriend. He would have been better off with a bonus check from his boss.
I hope they were using WhatsApp or something with all the phone calls because he may have found himself with a huge phone bill when he got home. Our service provider said it would be $3 a minute to phone from the ship. I assume it might be the same with other carriers. We didn’t hear anything out of him on Thursday night. However, on Friday night, he left the TV on all night which was more annoying than the arguing. He was up and gone early on Saturday. I assume he took advantage of self-disembarkation and took off as soon as they allowed. I hope he and his girlfriend made up, but they sure said some harsh things to each other. We could hear parts of her conversation on that night, so we assume she was yelling into the phone.
We held our breath for the next week. However, we heard nothing the whole week from the new occupants. In fact, if we hadn’t seen the snooze sign on the room doorknob periodically, we would not have known anyone was even in the room. I hope that person(s) wasn’t annoyed with us.
The bathroom had only a shower which was fine with us. I was glad that it had good pressure and had plenty of hot water. Each shower is equipped with shampoo and bath gel. You need to remember to take your own conditioner. The shampoo might have conditioner in it, but my hair felt better when I used my conditioner too.
We had plenty of room to store our stuff and we could put the luggage under the bed. The room can also be set up with the beds separated.
The only issue is that I thought the room was on the warm side. Unlike newer ships, the Paradise didn’t have a thermostat, and you could only adjust the vent at the top of the room. I was glad that I had brought my small fan. It cooled me off enough to sleep.
Our room steward for the first week was Agus. At the end of the week, he was getting to go on a well-earned vacation. So the next week, Japhet took care of us. They were both efficient and friendly. They cleaned the room once a day, always provided us with ice, and left a cute towel animal. We tried not to be messy. As we walked down the hall, if the room door was open, we could see some rooms looked like hurricanes had hit them.
Some of our towel animals during the 10 days:
Once we got the room organized, we were ready for sail-away from Tampa. The music was playing, and the cruisers were dancing. Fun times.
After purchasing Florida from Spain in 1821, the United States built forts and trading posts in the new territory. Fort Brooke was established in January 1824 at the mouth of the Hillsborough River on Tampa Bay.
When the pioneer community living near Fort Brooke was incorporated in 1849, it was called “Tampa Town” and the name was shortened to simply “Tampa” in 1855.
During the first few decades of the 20th century, the cigar-making industry was the backbone of Tampa’s economy. The factories in Ybor City and West Tampa made an enormous number of cigars—in the peak year of 1929, over 500 million cigars were hand rolled in the city.
Teddy Roosevelt and the Rough Riders sailed from Tampa to fight in the Spanish-American War.
The University of South Florida was established in North Tampa in 1956.
Downtown Tampa’s Bayshore Blvd, at 4.5 miles long, earns the title of “the world’s longest continuous sidewalk.” It is lined with palm trees and features views of the bay.
The Gasparilla Pirate Festival, a large festival celebrating the legend of pirate Jose Gaspar, dates back over 100 years.
Movies filmed in Tampa include Edward Scissorhands (1990), Goodfellows (1990), and Magic Mike (2012).
In April 1919, during a spring training game of the Red Sox vs. the NY Giants in Tampa, Babe Ruth hit a record breaking 587-foot homer.
Trivia provided by Wikipedia and Tampa tourist literature