Carnival Miracle Cruise Review by Le Tigre: First and last time on Carnival
Overall Member Rating
First and last time on Carnival
Destination: Mexican Riviera
Embarkation: Los Angeles
We took a last minute cruise on the Miracle on February 8th. I used to work for Royal Caribbean, and have taken additional cruises on Princess. The Miracle has a long way to go to measure up, in all respects (and I doubt it ever will). We only went on this cruise because I wanted to introduce my husband to Cabo and Puerto Vallarta.
Before I go on, I want to mention that we took the OceanFriendly whale watching tour in Puerto Vallarta. If you are ever there, DO NOT MISS THIS TOUR! Oscar Frey, the owner, is an oceanologist. The other whale watching boats follow his boats, if they can catch up. He knows EVERYTHING about whales, along with Keith May. We saw probably 20 whales up close and personal. If you want more information, go to his website: www.oceanfriendly.com. Go, go, go!!! P.S. You cannot buy his tour on the cruise ships - you have to contact him directly. It will be the best thing you ever did in Puerto Vallarta. We will be going back.
Back to the review: I More read all of the reviews of this ship before we went and said to myself, "How bad can it really be?" My husband and I enjoy great food, but we are not fussy by a long shot. I am not exaggerating - this ship has the worst food I have ever experienced. Even the hamburgers, hot dogs and scrambled eggs are terrible. Colesaw, potato salad, etc. - ick. I finally gave in and tried some desserts - had two bites of the chocolate mousse cheesecake and threw it away. Everything in the main dining room was mediocre at best, and I tried pretty much all of it from the vegetarian dishes to meat to pasta. I actually lost weight on the cruise! We did eat one night at Nick and Nora's ($35 extra per person) and it was very good. Actually, it was like the regular food you get on Princess. The only food I would recommend is the 24 hour pizza (made fresh, and quite good), and the caesar salad (we had one every day).
Back to the dining room - I do not know what insane person they hired to decorate this ship. Good lord. The dining room is a gigantic explosion of lit up "grapes" - and they are everywhere. The entire ship is decorated horribly. Also, there is no open air feeling like you get on the other ships - every deck is closed in, narrow and chopped up. Even the "atrium" section is very small.
The shows? Meh. Casino? I like to think I am a very good blackjack player (won the tournament on Princess). You cannot win money in the Miracle's casino to save your life. I saw a lot of "regulars" every night and they all said the same thing.
People? Think extremely large "Walmart people" (no offense to Walmart, but you know what I mean). On formal night I saw - I am not kidding - three t-shirts imprinted with the front of a tuxedo on them. Honestly.
Anything good? The pool deck. The Serenity spa for adults only is lovely, but packed. The spa itself and the workout center are very nice. Pools are freezing, though - jacuzzis were nice. The slide was fun. The entire staff on ship was excellent. The best thing about the cruise was the show being put on by nature everywhere you looked - we went during the peak of whale season and saw blues and humpbacks, along with tons of dolphins, flying fish, etc.
Oh - we did attend the art shows and purchased five pieces of lovely art. The gallary staff are all personable, intelligent and really know their stuff.
Bottom line? The Mexican Riviera is always a wonderful destination (we will be going back to stay in each location - probably numerous times - LOVE IT DOWN THERE!).
BUT - do yourself a huge favor and TAKE ANOTHER SHIP. Less
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Cabin review: 6245
As others have said, Carnival's staterooms are a bit bigger than other ships. They also have a ton of storage. Bathroom is laid out well, for the size of it. The bed was divine - we both slept wonderfully. The ship is now 10 years old and the staterooms are showing their age - rust on the balcony, peeling paint, etc. Balcony was small.
Port and Shore Excursions
Don't get me wrong, I love, love, love Cabo. Haven't been there in 20 years and almost didn't recognize it - no more sleepy fishing town. Instead, the marina is now massive (mind-blowing vessels) and high end with shops and restaurants. Wonderful restaurants right on the beach where you can sunbathe on very nice lounge chairs and be waited on hand and foot. Wasn't in town long enough to really explore, but we will definitely be taking a non-cruise vacation in Cabo in the near future.
The reason I rated it so low is that I absolutely hate tenders to and from the ship. Disembarking and embarking takes FOREVER. And since you're only in town from 7:30am until 3:30pm (and no one was able to disembark that early), they need to come up with a faster/better plan.
Go, go, go, go, GO on Oscar Frey's tour (www.oceanfriendly.com)! Holy cow! It will be the BEST part of your entire vacation - hands down! It is on TripAdvisor's top TEN WORLD wildlife trips. Seriously.
If you want an extremely intimate experience with whales and one of the best (and funniest) oceanologists out there, then sign up. Oscar (and Keith May, if you get on his boat) knows EVERYTHING about whales and teaches you how to "monitor" and spot them. His passion is totally contagious. The other whale watching boats follow him everywhere because they know he is the best. His company is not just a whale watching tour, it is a research facility and he has to send all of his research up to NOAA. Plus, his tour is 4.5 hours as opposed to 3 hours on the other tours. This alone is great, because all of the other tours have to leave, and you have the entire bay to yourselves. We had whales breaching 15 feet from the boat! I am still flabbergasted about the whole tour - it blew my husband and me away!! GO! Re Puerto Vallarta, we will be returning often. Drop dead gorgeous, with tons of things to do. Think Costa Rica. Sigh, I miss it already.
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