We cruised on the Carnival Miracle from Long Beach, CA on December 7th of this year. This was our 7th cruise with Carnival. Because we drive from Arkansas to California once a year to visit friends, we decided to drive to Long Beach for our cruise. We left home on December 4th just 1 day ahead of an ice storm at home and a snow storm in Albuquerque, NM. We stayed at the Hotel Current in Long Beach the night before the cruise. We got a great deal, $149.00 plus tax for 1 night stay, breakfast (very good), parking for all 15 days of the cruise and transportation to and from the port. The room was very nice and all of the employees were friendly and helpful. Once we got to the port it was a little confusing finding out where we needed to go, but we finally found a carnival employee who pointed us in the right direction. We got there just before they closed the early boarding area on the Queen Mary. After we got checked in they directed us to the dome and there were 2 lines, one for people who had checked in and the other (really long) for those who had not. We went right through after going through security and got on the ship. It was about 1 hour from getting off the shuttle to getting on the ship. We went right to the buffet and had lunch, then went to our stateroom.
I really loved the colors and the “Fiction” theme of the ship. Gatsby’s Garden was very interesting and quiet. It you want to find a place to be alone, there are places to sit there. There were places to sit all over the place on the Miracle and that was different from the other ships we had been on. We were assigned to Early Dining, which we had requested and had been on a waitlist for, and we sat with 2 wonderful couples. Our head waiter was Simona from Romania. She was the first woman we had as a head waiter and she was amazing. Imade and Juliarta (both from Indonesia) were also awesome as her assistants. Simona even hugged us goodbye after our last dinner. Most of the trip was smooth sailing and warm weather with the exception of some rough seas on the first 2 1/2 days and the 2 days before we got to Ensenada. We were in an ocean view room on Deck 1, but we were at mid ship and that made it a bit better in our cabin than in the dining room or the Phantom Lounge, where we watched the shows.
There were 3 shows we really liked: “Generations” on the first full sea day; “Singing with the Big Band” on the 6th sea day (on the return trip); and “Ticket to Ride” on the very last night of the cruise. There were actually 4 shows we liked because there was a variety show that Troy Linton, our wonderful cruise director put together because the sea was too rough for “Ticket to Ride” on the evening of the 8th sea day. They had each of the musicians who had played throughout the trip on the ship perform a song or 2 then they did a finale that was hilarious with several members of the entertainment staff. It was called something like “If I were not upon the sea, this is what I’d be.”
Now, about Hawaii: Prior to the cruise I found the Pacific Whale Foundation online and booked us a Whale watching excursion for Maui. We rented a car and drove there. It was incredible. We saw 3 whales and a few flying fish. The drive was beautiful and we still got back to the ship by 7 pm. My husband was born on December 7th, 6 years after the attack on Pearl Harbor, so on Oahu we went to Pearl Harbor and while it was a somber experience, it is one I am very glad we did not miss. On Kauai we took the shuttle to Hilo Hattie’s and Wal-mart and walked around town. We took the tender to Kona and walked around a big fair like event with lots of booths set up. We stopped at Scandinavian Shaved Ice and each enjoyed a small shaved ice (small was huge!) It was a beautiful day but the waves were really high which made it difficult for the tenders and they were behind about an hour and a half. I heard some people complaining, but I don’t believe Carnival could have done any better with the conditions that day. Our last stop was Hilo. We took a shuttle to the farmers market, walked around, sat in a park, and then got on the City bus ($3.00 for both of us) to Hilo Hattie’s then walked around that area for a while then took the shuttle back to the ship. We did not get off the ship in Ensenada. Obviously we don’t do a lot of excursions, but we had a wonderful time.
Our cabin steward, Benjapol, was wonderful. On the first day we had to ask him for ice, but after that it was filled twice a day every day. The towel animals were great as usual. I always line up the animals in the window until I run out of room. On the last night we found 2 towel swans in the window making a heart shape in the middle of them. I had not seen that one before. We really loved all the sea days and the talks given by the Naturalist, Michele. The serenity deck was awesome and we spent a lot of time there. There were trivia games and music all over the ship. We also spent some time in the casino and I won $120.00 on the 3rd day of the cruise and used that for the rest of the trip for my gambling. I ended up with $40.00 left from my winnings at the end of the cruise. The shows I mentioned previously were great but we kind of wished there were a couple more production shows. That variety show was awesome and I would suggest they add that as a permanent show.
The food in the dining room was great. The buffet and room service were really good too. We went to the Seaday Brunch once and it was good, but not great. The menu is good, but they don’t seem to be able to keep up with all of the people that come to the brunch. My food was the last to come to our table and it was cold. The waiter forgot my dessert and after I reminded him he brought it, after everyone else was done eating. I got to tea time once and it was very nice. The food was great and the recorded music was nice, but it was not well attended. I went to the internet café 3 separate times during the cruise to try to go to the Carnival website to check on another cruise, but I was never able to look up what I wanted. I got to the carnival website a couple of times but it took so long I gave up. I realize it is hard to get internet at sea and I would not consider spending money on internet service on board because you pay by the minute and it is slower than dial-up.
Overall, this was our absolute favorite cruise and I would recommend it to anyone. We will do it again someday.