This was our 12th cruise. We have cruised to Mexico, Alaska, Caribbean and Transatlantic. This was our 4th cruise to Mexico. Our first on Carnival to Mexico. 3rd Carnival cruise. Other lines we have cruised are Royal Caribbean, Norwegian, Princess, and Costa. We are equal opportunity cruisers. We have sailed on the large ships over 4000 passengers and smaller ships under 2000. And the best deal gets us as passengers. We are both gamblers so we usually get casino rates or free cruises through the lines. We are in our mid 50's and have been cruising since our early 40's. (wished we had started earlier.) Now that is our background
We did a faster to the fun pass on this cruise. (best thing ever) I almost hate to even mention it here as only so many are allowed and I want it the next time I cruise Carnival (maybe Dec). You are treated as priority on the same level as diamond and platinum. When we got to the port to check in there was a long line. We were taken to the front. Then we went to the holding area. (Long Beach is not my favorite port because it is not as well organized as other ports I have been in) Once they put all of the special needs people in 1 line they opened a line for us. Once we got to the ship we were welcomed as the first to board. We went and dropped our carry-ons (luggage was already there). I unpacked and pored a glass of champagne. and then set out to explore the ship. had some lunch and went back to the room so I could see the wake as we sailed off. All of the people above and below us were talking and laughing. It was a good way to start a cruise
The Miracle is one of my favorite cruises. While holding over 2100 passengers it never felt crowded. I love to spend my days at the pool and there was never a problem finding a chair open. That was a big plus. Waiters were plentiful but not too pushy as other ships have been. Was always comfortable at the pool.
We always book a balcony room. Usually the first room forward that we can go. I used to be a smoker so there was no other option. now there still is no other option as I still love to sit on the balcony and also love sleeping with the door open. (my only drawback to Carnival is that their doors are not sliding doors so they have to be propped open.) This trip I wanted to try an aft balcony and I was able to. It was glorious. I would highly recommend. There are usually only about 20 of these rooms on a normal size ship so book early. I was lucky to get one that was saved for 3 people. And I had to keep checking the website to be able to get it. finally got it 2 weeks before the cruise.
For dining we choose the anytime dining. I usually like the late seating and sitting with a group of people and getting to know them. This time we went this route. We are people that like to go in, eat and get out. sometimes you cannot do that with a large group. We were luck to get the same waiter every night. and he never forgot our names or what we liked to drink. I do not eat any seafood so he always would suggest what I should eat. And if there were 2 things he thought I would like and he would suggest we get 1 of the other and both at least taste it. I also eat the warm chocolate melting lava cake every night on the cruise. (best ever) he would always have that waiting and then while I was eating it make sure that I also got one of the special desserts of the night. I might not eat them all but I at least tried it. His name is Pong. And he never failed when he saw me anywhere on the ship to come up and say hi and call me by name.
We also ate one night at Nick and Nora's steakhouse. It is an extra $35 but so worth it. One of the best steakhouses I have eaten at. They bring the steaks to your table to choose which you would like. They explain about each steak. I would suggest ordering the steak without the special rubs on it. And the cook it in the room where you are sitting. Nice touch.
Horatio's buffet is really one of the best buffet's on a ship that I have had. There was more variety than I have seen on other ships. There were never lines because there were so many sections. They have pizza 24 hours a day. Best pizza ever. I highly suggest the 4 cheese. They also have a deli to order. I loved being able to order a sandwich and have a panini made right there on the spot. There was a Chinese food space, Salad space, a few hamburger stands, all American food sections, dessert section, omelette station. Too many to list all. These are the ones we went to.
We were supposed to be at sea 1 day then stop at Cabo, Puerto Vallarta and then 2 days at sean on the way back. Well as we all know how mother nature works there was a storm near Cabo. (didn't hit but did make the water rough there and the tenders would not have been able to make it to shore) so we bypassed it and did 2 days at sea, then Puerto Vallarta, Cabo and 1 day at sea. All great weather.
I have a friend who lives in Puerto Vallarta so we spent the day with him and his partner. I suggest that people go to Old Puerto Vallarta. There are a lot of cute stores there. The cruise lines will not advertise them because they do not pay the cruise lines to advertise their stores. A lot of people own the from the U.S.
We booked an excursion in Cabo San Lucus. I was not sure if we would since we have been there a few times. (I prefer to stay on the boat but my husband likes to get off on land. Since he lets me cruise when I want, 3 times in last 13 months, I get off on shore.) I booked at the last minute and it was one of my favorite tours ever. Camel & Mexican Outback Adventure. We had Chicas as our tour guide. He was great. This was a 30 minute bus ride and before we knew it we were on our safari trucks. They took us to a section of the beach where there was camels waiting to be rode. We took photos with them and then we climbed the stairs to get on the camel. We got on and my first thought was (we need to get off this) but I stayed on and we were lead down to the beach. a camel ride is not what you expect. very strange feeling. after about 30 minutes of riding on the beach we were taken back and got off. we then got back in our safari trucks. we were driven about 4 minutes away and lo and behold there was a desert with lots of cactus. We got out of our trucks for a 30 minute walk. Chicas gave a wonderful nature talk. then we went back to the truck and took a short ride to an outdoor eating area where the cooks were making us some lunch. It was fantastic. Some very spicy. (which I like) I also added sauce. Well when Chicas saw me doing that he took me back to where the employees get their sauce and I had that. muy caliente and delicious! We had some tequila learned how to make tortillas and then back to our truck for the ride back to the bus. I don't ever by photos from tours (even the dolphins) but I did buy these. really worth the $50.
I am glad I did not book my shore trip thru a private company as we would not have been there the day we were supposed to. To me it is worth the security and extra money to know I will make my tour and that the ship will not leave without me if we are late getting back. (we weren't but I have seen ships leave without people as they are standing on the dock yelling for the ship to wait, it won't)
We then had another day at sea. I have always wanted to take a behind the scenes tour of a ship. I booked this one. (only 16 passengers can go on the tour) worth the $99. 3 1/2 hours of all the workings of the ship. If you have ever wondered how they run it, this is for you. everything from the freezer where ice cream is stored, meat locker, engine room, the crews dining rooms, laundry rooms, to bridge and visiting with the captain. With photos that they gave us. They wash the sheets and then have a machine that dries and folds it all in one. amazing. Also was taken to the kitchen where we saw how everything was run. It is hard to believe that they can put out so many meals like clockwork. (our waiter Pong saw me and came over to say Hi Ruby and at dinner that night ask me for details of the tour.)
The people who worked in the casino were excellent. From the 1st night we got on the ship I was offered a free drink and every night and day they would come and talk and offer me drinks. My husband always wonders why everyone knows my name as we walk on the ship. He is shy. I am not.
My only problem was I had read about the chef's dinner here on Cruise Critic, so as soon as we got on the ship I went to book it. They had 2 dates. I choose the second one (only 12 people on each date) Extra charge but I wanted to try it. Well the next day ours was cancelled and then they moved us to the 1st day. Then they called the next day and canceled. I was disappointed. After we got back from port on day 3 there was a message that it was back on so we were happy. Until the next day and it was canceled again for the final time. When we took the tour of the ship I ask the head check, Wellington, (I could not make that up) about it. He explained how there has to be at least 8 people as it is a big production. He also said that this was the 1st cruise he has ever been on where there was not one. And usually they are booked before a ship every sets sail. I now know for the next cruise to call the line and book ahead of time. And everyone on our tour heard us talking about it and had never heard of it and everyone said they would have done it. It is not advertised.
Since we were faster to the fun we could get off of the sip when we wanted. Our luggage was in a special area. We got it and was heading to the car before most people were even out of the room. 10:30am arrival in port so it was not too early. Made me sad to see all of those people waiting to get on "MY" ship as I was getting off of it. a little jealous as they were heading to Hawaii for 15 days.
Until next time "Bon Voyage"