I reside now in Tampa, Florida so that also helped determine why i chose the Miracle. Its nice to drive 20 minutes and get dropped off at the port. Also, i had taken with me my 10 year old son who had never cruised so i figured also that he wouldn't know any better if it was bad. Like pizza when your hungry, even when its bad its good. But that was not the case. So Mommy 45 and son only on this cruise. This was booked last minute with 2 weeks advance notice for 499$ PP and that included all taxes. That was for a partly obstructed french door cabin. Embarkation took about 2 minutes if that and we were onboard at what i would consider to be a very decent welcome aboard lunch. At 1:30 we were let into our cabin and it was better i had expected. The room was very clean though slightly smelled of smoke since they don't have non-smoking cabins. The beds were ultra soft white sheets with a faux down comforter that was ultra perfect weight. Big soft pillows and the best mattress you will get to sleep on for any ship! Outstanding! I was on Costa Mediterranean and cried every night from the 1" mattresses. Not so here! Nice TV with CNN, PPV movies, cartoons, all the talks from the day before and some shows and cruise and port info always playing. Lets just say unless you want the Taj , you will be comfortable with 2 people in the cabin. 4 people i suggest get 2 cabins at 185 SQ Ft , was just fine for us! Bathroom has nice little surprises in there for you too!
FOOD: Breakfast was better in the dining room where they had eggs benedict. Upstairs its eggs or omelettes whatever way you like, fruit, juice, things like that. You can also order room service free of charge the night before. We only had it twice since we are not early morning people. Lunch was very good. Each day the selection changed little though but for the international dishes. don't miss the Chocolate buffet at lunch on the last sea day! Dinner in the dining room . Allright, so it is a little grapey in there so what. It was fun if you ask me. Im tired of stuffy, pretentious , snobbery anyway! Liven up a bit and have a laugh. Its all in YOUR attitude. If you go in expecting La vie masion then forget it. Remember, im from NYC and know good food. This food was better then good. It puts RCL, NCL, COSTA, and a few others to shame! Here is the deal. They are cooking for 2100 people here folks. Here are the main things i found to be right with the cuisine on the ship (at dinner only) The food was a) Fresh . The fish , meat, veggies, desserts, all fresh. b) this food was not over cooked nor under cooked. All the pasta i had was al dente. Cooked just right. The meats when i asked for Med rare , they were just that. Portions were just right. If you want more, just ask they will be happy to bring out as many lobsters or steaks as you can eat. The veggies that come with the main courses bordered on superb. Ask for pasta as an appetizer and you will not be disappointed! The desserts were all very good and we ordered at least one of each of them each night to make sure we didn't miss anything! Burgers at poolside were decent too. Fries hot and fresh. Again, if your looking for true 5 star dining, this is not it but i tell you it the presentations were fantastic, fresh, hot and seasoned to perfection. I didn't see too many people complaining and for sure i had none! Desserts were all made with real butter and not overly sweet. Great balance as with everything else on board i found. We had a nice booth for 4 on the side and they put us with a Daddy / daughter cruise couple. How did carnival manage that one? They were part of the highlight of our trip.
Worst meal of the cruise: Gala mid-night buffet. Looks beautiful! Go take pictures, grab a piece of cake and leave to order room service. Too much unidentifiable ground up fishy things.
Best meal of the week: Lobster dinner night
Best dessert: Grand mannier souffle last night of cruise
PS don't miss the little sushi bar on deck 2 in the late afternoons..
Entertainment: We saw most of the big shows. For the most part, i thought they were all well done with high energy dancers, singers and best of all Not dubbed or pre- recorded but a live orchestra in a pit. The Phantom theatre will tickle pink any fan of the Play! They 3 comedians they had on were all good, one guy from B.E.T channel named " Percey crews" had us rolling on the floor till we couldn't breath. He followed a guy who has this amazing ability to balance weird things on his head. A lot of fun to see. Beatles show is not to be missed. Also the Generations show i thought was excellent. The casino is HUGE but i stopped gambling a few years ago so i steered clear. Hey! If you cant get help at charter get help somewhere. Other shows you can take or leave, but the ones i mentioned are the front line winners. Get up close to the stage as they are interactive with the audience!!
PORTS: You are already at your destination. And that is the ship itself. That being said, anything else you do on this trip is a plus. Grand cayman Island we did stingray city with MOBY DICK tours. Smaller operation and personal service. The water is beautiful there and id been there before but my little one had not. He was a little scared going into the water with them, and once he was in it did take him a little while to settle down with them. But after i rubbed squid juice all over the kid..he couldn't help but love them as they were all over him! I had a good laugh and he got over a fear. WARNING: If you go to the snorkel sight the JELLY FISH are stinging people and it can ruin your cruise! They called us back in due to them and some were stung badly.
BELIZE: We went with the ever popular cave-tubing.com Yhonny and his crew were wonderful. don't miss it. Tip: if you are disabled or informed in anyway do not go on this tour. There is a 40 minute hike to the sight from the park entrance.
COZUMEL: Paradise beach: Dirty water, overly priced food and drink. Crowds. American owned operation. Do yourself a favor and find another beach. This one stunk. You want all that you can go to Miami beach and get the same thing. TIP: Most kids cant make it up that iceberg, and there is danger to be had from those falling people onto your child if you are not careful! Do not let your little ones go on it.
COSTA MAYA: Ok i am mad. They wont take you here till your last port day. Why? Because its cheap, beautiful and fun. We just went to Mahajual beach and the water was clean, the food good, cheap and fast, coke 1$, coconuts with juice ice cold for 2$ fresh you watch them hack off the top. We never got sick from anything we ate or drank here. Banana boat ride for 10 bucks for 30 minutes, also here you can rent a jet ski for 30$ half hour ! Wait till you get here to buy your gifts!!!!
BEST BET: When you get to the beach look up at the 2 story corona massage tent on the beach and walk up the steps for the best massage of your life. 20$ an hour! Will be the best hour of your cruise for sure! DO NOT go for the 110$ massage on the ship. They are not that good. Just relax and enjoy , this is what its all about.
Other info: I had the teeth whitening treatment done on the ship spa 199$. Gave me lip blisters for 3 days afterwards. Teeth are 3 shades lighter. Can get the same results with a good crest in home kit i think. Had the 2 hour spa treatment done called ocean spa. Again, not good value for money.
SERVICE: Dining room service was exceptional. Our kind waiter and his assistant were never far from us unless they were dancing on the tables or something. Service was quick! Cabin stewards the same. Quick, efficient, quiet if you were sleeping. Considerate. TIP: Take your tips off your credit card and personally hand them to your waiter and cabin steward. Otherwise the cruise line often pays other people out of the money that should go to them! They will love you for it!
Rooms were very quiet. couldn't hear any outside announcements which i love. We took our naps every day and read in bed also so as not to get overdone with anything. Even the day we got off the ship, it was unhurried and relaxed. You can sleep till 8 30 if you don't have an early flight! No rush at all. Again, I found everything to be balanced, in good taste, well adjusted to suit almost everyone. If you are really picky you will find fault with everything in life. As for us, we enjoyed the week, savored each moment. don't worry about tomorrow, only the moment because that is all that is real anyway. Make some new friends.. Go outside and view the beautiful sunsets and breath some sea air. Take the time to thank the creator for all the beauty you have seen this week and the wonders of nature and understand that you are truly blessed to be alive. What a wonderful gift is is folks.