On March 16, 2013, the Carnival Miracle began it's repostition to the West Coast from New York City. Embarkation was slow on this snowy afternoon in New York City because several passengers from the previous cruise got sick on their way back to New York. The illness was a gastrointestional disorder that may have been picked up in the Grand Turks becasue several other people on other ships also got sick. The ship had to be completely cleaned from top to bottom to make sure that the illness was not caused by the Norovirus. After hearing the explanation as to why we were late boarding made the wait a lot easier. While waiting in the terminal, I got an email from Carnival saying that we would be cancelling our first port of the Grand Turks because of the illness. I was really glad that Carnival was looking after our well being because no one wants to get sick on a 15 day cruise. So with the Grand Turks cancelled, we had 4 wonderful days at sea until we reached our first port of Cartagena, Columbia. We took the "Best of Cartagena" tour and it was very informative and full of history. We headed for the Panama Canal later that afternoon and arrived early the next morning. We had a Aft-extended balcony so we could view the canal from both sides. The guys running the mules on the canal weren't very careful because a lot of paint was scraped off of the hull of the ship. Next we went to Puntarenas, Costa Rica where we toured with a wonderful cruise guide named Carla. On to Puerto Quetzal, Guatamala where we went to the El Barretal Coffee Plantation. I love coffee, but this was not my favorite tour because we were stuffed in minibusses that were very uncomfortable for an hour and a half each way.
Next we anchored in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico where we took the "Coastal Cruise and Whale Watching" tour. Without a doubt this was the best tour of the entire cruise. We saw whales and dolphins and the margaritas were very good. Then on to Long Beach, CA for a smooth debarkation. The water was smooth except for one night where we had 70 knot winds with 15-20 foot seas. The Captain prepared us well ahead of time and told us that this was coming at about 4 am and would last until about 10 am. The Carnival Miracle rocked and rolled but most of us slet thru it, but I am sure that some people got sick.
The food was wonderful. My wife and I had a chance to attend the Chef's Table with Chef de cuisine, Wellington Dias. This was a great experience. The Chef prepared wonderful dishes and the wine flowed freely. The food service in the Main Dining room was wonderful and our head wait staff was Simmona. We were lucky enough to have had Simmona on the Carnival Spirit a few years ago. Simmona and her team were good. Elvis, not the real Elvis, ran the dining room and did a very good job. The room stewards were superb. Last and not least was the Cruise Director, Tex. His wife was along on this repositioning cruise soe he was interacting with the folks on the cruise and participating like one of us, which was great. For one evening show, he and his wife sat across from my wife and I. Tex and his staff really did a great job. The Captain kept us all informed about what was happening at sea. Without a doubt, this cruise was the best of our 24 cruises. Thank you Carnival Cruise Line for such a wonderful experience.