Background Information--This was my 5th cruise solo. My second on Carnival. I work for a regional airline and enjoy traveling!!
Travel to Port of Embarkation--Came in a day early (always do this!!) Hotel Info---Enjoyed the city of Tampa. Stayed at the Holiday Inn at Rocky Point. Very nice hotel. Rented a car with Alamo. They offer free shuttle service to the Port of Tampa. Good offer, but their service is rather slow. Next time, I will use a taxi.
Embarkation-Carnival gets a A for this, very efficient and was on the ship in a hour. Arrived at 11:20 a.m. I was in group 16 and was on board by 12:30 p..
Stateroom-I had room 1257. An inside cabin on the Rivera deck. Very good room. Plenty of space for all my items. Small, but functional bathroom. Beds were heavenly!! I enjoyed all those afternoon naps!! Odd thing, the non Carnival TV channels were Denver, Co based. Showed the same movies every night. Room steward was ok I had better on other cruises. Did the basics, but nothing beyond that (I still left him something extra, but not as much as I have with other stewards). Room was near Aft elevators and employee's galley entrance. But no noise from either.
Ship--Very nice ship. Even with the size, it was never overwhelming. I enjoyed the Gatsby garden. Very nice quiet area to read and work on puzzles. Very clean ship, no wear and tear around.
Dining--Had dinner at the 8:15 p.m. seating. Upper dinning room, table 369. Great group of tablemates. An investment broker, scientist for a major company, a WW II veteran, and a gentleman that splits his time between New York and Israel. Our dining team were great!! Both always had smiles and very polite!! Gave both extra for the outstanding service. The food was good, got to try things that I wouldn't at home. Had dinner in Nick & Nora's one night. It's worth the extra $30 for the meal. Tip 50% because of the service. Lido food was also great!! Enjoyed the pizza and Asian station. The steak sandwiches were good also. The ice cream is very addictive and enjoyed it several times a day!!
Activities-I viewed the belly flop and hairy chest contest. They were fun. Went to bingo one time and to three of the shows. The Cruise Director, was so good!! He was the best that I had on any ship!! There was a lot to do on the ship, I mainly enjoy finding a nook to read and enjoy myself.
Children's Club-I traveled solo. There were about 80 to 100 children on board. Don't know the number in the Children's club. Saw children with their parents, but also in the Lido in the evening with the Club (they had a section closed off for the Club Carnival).
Service--Service was good on board. Willing to serve crew Shore Excursions-Only booked one tour with Carnival.
Caymans-This was the only port where I booked a tour with Carnival. Very pleased with the tour. Went snorkeling and out to a shipwreck. Only 15 people and worth the value. The tour guides were good with the first timers.
Belize-- Carnival need to use someone else in Belize with the cave tubing. One of the buses broke down and the people on this bus had to walk to the part entrance. People were all over in the caves with mass confusion. I was glad that I went with Cave-Tubing.Com. Great service compared to the ship.
Cozumel--I booked a beach break with Island Marketing. It was ok I enjoyed the beach, but the service was nothing to brag about.
Costa Maya--I also used Island Marketing at this port, but talk about a 360 degree difference in service. The people at Pez Quadro still remembered me from November!! Both the owners greeted me like I was an old friend coming back!! It was the perfect beach day and everyone was having a great time!!
The tendering was great on the trip. In the Caymans, I got on and off the boat three times with little or no wait. In Belize, I talked to the crew stating I had a private tour and they got me off the boat with no problems.
Disembarkation--I prefer Holland America's way for the general disembarkation. You are allowed to stay in your room until your group is called. But, I like the fact that Carnival allows self disembarkation early for those who want that option. Great if you are traveling light and need to get off fast. It was a mass of people trying to leave when they made the general disembarkation call. They suggested (which I did) to sit and wait for 20 minutes to allow the rush to slow down.
Summary--The Miracle is a great ship with great ports of call. The value is right and I would sail on her again.