Carnival Paradise {5 Day Western} Christmas Cruise
Embarkation Day
We spent the weekend before Christmas in Spring Hill, FL visiting with Rob’s Gramma, Grampa, Mom, and others. We celebrated Gramma McMahon’s birthday that Sunday. Then, on Monday we loaded up and headed down to the Tampa Cruise port. We always arrive at the port around 11am. Even though the cruise documents say you start checking in at 1pm that’s not true.

Here’s everyone walking from the long-term garage to the cruise port and then Drew and Caitlyn after we checked in and were waiting for our group to be called so we could board the Carnival Paradise.
Carnival Paradise {5 Day Western} Christmas Cruise

After boarding we went straight to the bar to get our Bottomless Bubbles stickers, which you can purchase that allows you to order as much Coke, Diet Coke, Dr. Pepper, Sprite, and a few other soft drinks as you want during your cruise. Read more about that by clicking the following link: Cruise Eating and Drinking
Carnival Paradise {5 Day Western} Christmas Cruise

We enjoyed our first coke on board. While waiting for our cabin to open up, we played shuffleboard and corn hole and just enjoyed getting used to the ship. Later that afternoon we were able to go to our cabin and unpack and then went to the welcome aboard party after enduring the mandatory Safety Briefing and- Muster Station Drill. Rob shared the drink of the day with me.

Another reason to get on board early is so you can start taking advantage of the food. Here’s my first meal on board.
Carnival Paradise {5 Day Western} Christmas Cruise

The kids got their swimsuits on an enjoyed the slide a few times before dinner. This view…never gets old.
Carnival Paradise {5 Day Western} Christmas Cruise

Caitlyn took full advantage of the dining experience. At our first formal meal, she tried 3 desserts!
Carnival Paradise {5 Day Western} Christmas Cruise

The magician walked around and he came to our table and did a few tricks for us.
Carnival Paradise {5 Day Western} Christmas Cruise

After dinner we enjoyed some live music and then the Welcome Aboard show.
Carnival Paradise {5 Day Western} Christmas Cruise

Carnival Paradise {5 Day Western} Christmas Cruise

See more pics of Day 1.

Fun Day at Sea
The next day was a day at sea. We got up and went to Seaday Brunch, which is something new that Carnival is doing with all new menu.
Carnival Paradise {5 Day Western} Christmas Cruise

Our day at Sea consisted of getting our excursion booked for Grand Cayman, played bingo, listened to the Excursion talk by the cruise director, Brandon. We watched the Hairy Chest contest. The kids and Rob swam and did the water slide. That afternoon was a special Christmas event in the atrium lounge. We sang carrols and it snowed in the lobby! Rob and I enjoyed some quiet time on deck later that evening listening to the Caribbean Boyz.

Carnival Paradise {5 Day Western} Christmas Cruise

See more pics of Day 2.

Grand Cayman
Wednesday we arrived at our anchoring location, where we would tender in to Grand Cayman. We ate breakfast and went to our meeting location, where we waited to be called for our excursion. In Grand Cayman due to the coral reefs, cruise ships are not able to dock at the island. Cruise ships dock a ways out and smaller boats bring passengers to the island.

We were registered to do the Stingray Sandbar, Hell, & Turtle Farm Experience. When we got to Grand Cayman and gathered around with our tour group we found out that we would not be able to do the part we were looking forward to the most, which was the Stingray part due to high winds and the fact there were kids on our excursion. We were given the opportunity to back out or stay with the tour and just get $25 per person refunded. We were only given about 5 minutes to think about it. I was not excited about having to figure it all out with the limited amount of time there, so we opted to stick with the excursion.
Carnival Paradise {5 Day Western} Christmas Cruise

First stop was at the Tortuga Rum Store. Drinking age is 18, so Drew and Caitlyn go to have their 1st shot of rum. Drew tried not to choke it back up and Caitlyn gave a face. I adore the picture below.
Carnival Paradise {5 Day Western} Christmas Cruise

Then, we stopped at Hell, which was named that due to the limestone formations.
Carnival Paradise {5 Day Western} Christmas Cruise

Carnival Paradise {5 Day Western} Christmas Cruise

Our next was at the Turtle Farm. We got to see the different stages of development of the turtles and even go to get in the water and hold some.
Carnival Paradise {5 Day Western} Christmas Cruise

Our final stop was a quick one at the Seven Mile beach.
Carnival Paradise {5 Day Western} Christmas Cruise

See more pics of Day 3.

Cozumel
Thursday was our day in Cozumel. We got off the ship and hailed a taxi to take us to Mr. Sancho’s beach for the day. We paid for the all-inclusive section and the water park for the kids. We enjoyed relaxing, eating, drinking, swimming, snorkeling, and playing on the water blowups.
Carnival Paradise {5 Day Western} Christmas Cruise

Carnival Paradise {5 Day Western} Christmas Cruise

Drew and Caitlyn enjoyed lots of adult drinks since the drinking age is 18 in Mexico.
Carnival Paradise {5 Day Western} Christmas Cruise

Mr. Sancho’s closes at 5:00 and around 4:00 there was a quick downpour which cleared the place out. We hung out a little longer. In fact, I got in the water while it rained and took pictures of fish. After we got cleaned up, we took a taxi into San Miguel, so that Caitlyn could see it and so we could do a little shopping.
Carnival Paradise {5 Day Western} Christmas Cruise
See more pics of Day 4.

Fun Day at Sea<
The last day on board was another day at sea to make our way back to Tampa. The last day always seems to fly by. We enjoyed making towel animals, eating, a Christmas show, and taking some pictures that evening.

Carnival Paradise {5 Day Western} Christmas Cruise

Carnival Paradise {5 Day Western} Christmas Cruise

Carnival Paradise {5 Day Western} Christmas Cruise

See more pics of Day 5.

Disembarkation
Disembarkation day is never fun. We’ve learned to get up on deck early and find a table to plant yourself at until you are called. The kids kept themselves occupied with ice cream and playing a game. Rob and I caught up on catching up with the world through email and social media. Once we were off the ship we raced back home to get ready for Santa to come that evening!

Carnival Paradise {5 Day Western} Christmas Cruise

See more pics of Day 6.

Here’s a video of a few of the highlights from our cruise:

If you’re interested in seeing the Carnival Fun Times (daily schedules and more), I’ll be scanning those in over the next few weeks, so check back.