Sometimes I think only the people who are dissatisfied, hard to please or have outrageous expectations write reviews. I understand you can't please everyone but sometimes these reviews seem harsh. I'd like to start by saying my boyfriend and I had a cruise of a lifetime and it was mainly due to the staff and crew of the Carnival Miracle who from day 1 invited us into their home and made us feel like we were part of the family. We were on a Christmas cruise and many of the staff, crew and entertainers had family members aboard. This made the cruise even more special.
1. Embarkation : It doesn't matter what cruiseline you take, this is not a fun process. My experience on this cruise was that it was organized and considering we arrived at the peak, we were patient knowing there were fun times ahead.
2. Staterooms : We had a balcony room on deck 8. It was the largest cabin we've ever had on a cruiseship. The room was clean and sparkly. Our room steward, Aang, was very attentive and introduced himself right away. For us, there was plenty of closet space and drawers. We had one negative experience with the room, which the staff attended to immediately. For some reason cigarette smoke and onion/garlic smells seemed to escape into our cabin and linger. We were not angry or hostile, just wanted the ship to understand that there was perhaps a problem with the ventilation. We had no more problems with this for the remainder of the cruise. Also, for those deciding on balcony rooms, many smokers book balcony rooms. We had a smoker next to us, but they smoked infrequently, so it didn't really bother us.
3. Food: I think the most criticisms I've read has been about the food. Feeding a ship of 2100 is very expensive and considering the price you pay for a week's cruise, I think all the cruiselines do an exceptional job. I will say Carnival is not the top on my list, but there's always variety, changed out frequently for freshness. I particularly liked the grill where I dined on bagel and smoked salmon frequently. The main dining room food was varied and catered to all tastes. I enjoyed the lobster (who wouldn't) and the panko encrusted shrimp. My boyfriend dined on chocolate melting cake every night. The wait staff, beyond amazing. Everyone was friendly, accommodating, especially to my crazy food requirements and so many had a great sense of humor. One of the teens on board accidentally spilled water on my boyfriend; our waiter was right on it and the poor girl was in tears. Accidents happen.
4. Guests: I found everyone to be delightful and friendly. We met wonderful people and came home with email and Facebook addresses. Everyone is there to have fun and do what they do and respect goes a long way.
5. Someone complained about the photographers and how annoying they were. I'm never interested in having pics taken and so I always politely tell the photog, "no thank you, this time". I'm a photographer so I guess I'm a little sensitive to this. It's not a secret that the cruiseline makes money on the pictures and upselling. It is a business after all. Even at home at restaurants, servers try to upsell with drinks, appetizers and deserts.
6. Entertainment : Hiring performers, designing sets, costumes, makeup, choreography, scenic design, etc. is costly. The Miracle does a fine job bringing, again, a variety of talent. The Beatles show is the BEST! Lead vocalist Steven Parra, a very young singer, was a standout. During the course of the cruise we got to know him and his parents and learn a bit about the sacrifice and dedication it takes to do this job. We also got to know the band, Music Unlimited, playing nightly at Frankie and Johnnies. These guys are amazing. They cover music from the 50s -2000s. This band has been playing for 28 years on Carnival and they are exceptional musicians and a great talent. if you go on this cruise, please check them out.
7. Ports: We had already been to Cabo San Lucas and Puerto Vallarta before. For Cabo, we strolled over to Cabo Wabo to check out the club and restaurant and made our way to a small restaurant offering wifi with food/drink purchase. We weren't in a hurry so waited until the end to get a tender. In Puerto Vallarta I decided to take a hiking tour, which was listed as EXPERIENCED and it was indeed quite a hiking tour. I would highly recommend this to anyone who's an experienced hiker, especially with ascending elevations. (huff-huff) I will also warn you that this hike includes crossing a river 3 times and the bottom of the river has small, hard rocks. (keep your hiking boots on) At the end they offered great deals on drinks and food. Tourism is the #1 resource for PV, so vendors pedaling their wares is common - kindly say "no thank you" if you're not interested and move on.
An exceptional cruise director extraordinaire, Troy Linton, hosted all the shows, events, gave announcements, performed. . . I don't know when this guy got sleep. The SERENITY area for adults only. A great place to relax on lounges, hammocks, or cabanas. Marissa, an entertainment coordinator, had great energy and kept everyone happy. Going to a special VIP party and meeting Capt. Luca Lazzarino and Director Ron Ness. My boyfriend, who's a guitar player, sitting in with Music Unlimited almost every night and being asked by the Cruise Director to close the GUEST TALENT SHOW.
So in conclusion, if you enjoy fun activities, great shows, live music, delicious food, and being pampered by a great staff and crew, then the Miracle is for you.