My wife and I were very exited about our upcoming trip in October of 2013. We are from South Carolina. We booked a hotel in Atlanta [about a two hour drive from home] the night before our cruise. Great hotel, great service, and great transfers to the ship the next day.
We arrived at LAX around Noon the day of the cruise. A Carnival Representative met us at the terminal at the luggage pickup. We had to wait almost two hours for the bus to take us to the cruise terminal where the ship was. We were sent a couple of emails saying the embarkation would not take place until 2;30 PM instead of the stated time 12:00 to 1PM. Boy were they wrong. It was past 6PM when we finally got aboard. The sailing time was to be 4PM.The ship sailed after 9PM. No explanations whatsoever. Things happen and we could have accepted the delay without a problem. However after asking many Carnival staff members and getting shoulder shrugs and "I have no idea why the ship was 5 hours behind schedule". We have been on a few Carnival cruises and this is a first
The embarkation was about as expected; pushing, shoving, waiting in groups for an elevator,ect.
We reserved a balcony cabin since we were going to be 4 days at sea. The room was clean. The balcony was also clean. I read the reviews about the swinging doors instead of sliding doors. A might inconvenient, but no biggie. However we were surprises at the smallness of the cabin. We were in Ocean views that were larger. The cabin was not what we expected, but, again, no biggie.
The food and access to it was our biggest complaint. Lido deck buffet hours were incredible. They were open for breakfast and lunch, but closed after that and in the evening hours one or two stations were open. Not at all what we are used to on other Carnival ships. The food was passable. I do not eat sweets, but my wife does. She said the pastries, and cake [especially the cheese cake, was not good at all. She also hear many others eating near us commenting on this also.
The dinning room was OK as was the food. Nor was it great like on other Carnival ships, but warm and passable. The wait staff was fantastic [efficient and personable].
The ship's decor was fine.
The entertainment was so so. Two stood out as very good.
The debarkation was excellent. Baggage and check lines good. Transfer was much better that before.
We went on several tours, one through the cruise line , one on our own, and one on a third party tour.
The tours were great, Pearl Harbor was awesome. We spent most of the day there until about 3PM. The other tours were neat also. The Volcanoes and water falls, especially. Actually, it was not just nice seeing the sights, we learned a lot also about Hawaii and the nature and inhabitants.
All in all, we had a great time. Although we will never sail the Carnival Miracle again. Both of us were very disappointed in this ship. It was not like the other Carnival ships we sailed on before.