Who we are: 49 and 48 year old couple married 23 years. No children. 14 cruise. Third Carnival cruise, first Carnival cruise in over 10 years. 16 day cruise to Hawaii on board the Miracle. We haven't sailed with Carnival in over 10 years because the food was so horrid on our previous trips. But the itinerary, price and advice of friends had us take the plunge.
Food: well above average. While not everything was a hit, there were much more hits than misses. We were really blown away by the improvement in the food quality in the dining room. Food in the buffet was not the same standard, but that's the case everywhere.
Desserts: average. All cruise lines refuse to put the sugar in desserts. Most desserts are down right bad. Carnival was saved because they offered a molten chocolate cake for dessert every night. It was delicious. Other than this one dish, there were limited good desserts. We even broke down after a disappointing dessert at dinner which we didn't eat and purchased a carrot cake from the Fountainhead cafe. Good thing it was cheap because it also was bad! Again no sugar in the cream cheese frosting. We were eating a half inch of whipped cream cheese with cake. Yuk!
Room: avoid cabin 6106. We purchased an inside cabin because a verandah cabin can so easily be ruined with a smoking neighbor. I would be way to upset at spending the extra money and then not be able to use the verandah. So we choose an inside cabin well away from elevators, stairs, casinos, lounges, etc. cabin 6106 is at the front of the boat with just three flights up to the open decks and three flights down to most restaurants and lounges. The map shows nothing directly below this cabin. We thought it was a service area. It was actually the extended roof of the large show theater the Phantom Lounge. Drums and base reverberated into our room. The band practiced nearly every afternoon and a show each evening meant hours of noise. Usually the shows were over by 10 so it didn't keep us awake. One night the drummer decided to jam after the show. We had to ask him at 11:30 to knock it off. He did. But this is an area to be avoided when selecting cabins as it isn't relaxing.
Comedy: we had five different comedians in the comedy club. Some were average, some good and one was great. I want to warn people about the family friendly comedy. It isn't. The early comedy shows are labeled family friendly. This means no swear words but the content was still very adult. I wouldn't let young kids here jokes about noises from honeymooners cabins, the length men are endowed with, etc. I would advise parents to see a family friendly show without the kids first. The parent can then decide if the material is right for their child.
The ship: decorations are eclectic. You like it our you don't. What I didn't like is the buffet dining room. Not enough tables to accommodate the people and inadequate walking spaces. People were always jammed up. Poorly designed.
The staff: generally well trained staff that were friendly and accommodating.
Entertainment: we saw very few big productions as they just didn't sound good. We enjoyed the nightly comedy, the trivia and the up close magic by Rakesh.
Overall we consider the value of the cruise above average. Given the price and all that we enjoyed, it was a good deal and a nice long vacation.
I do have one story to share about the food and the employees. There was limited pineapple served. No pineapple was ever available at breakfast, occasionally chunks of pineapple was available at lunch in a fruit medley (usually well picked through) and dinner you could get two chunks in fruit medley appetizer. Apparently the staff of the spa like pineapple as much as I do. I was rechecking the fruit medley at lunch one day and noticed pineapple had just been added - about 20 chunks. I was reaching for the spoon when a spa employee jumped in front of me and took every piece of pineapple. Rude!!
Then about 10 days into our 16 day cruise, we found out the dinner buffet had lots of pineapple in the dessert section, plates of sliced pineapple were available. So it became my habit to get three or four slices on a plate and place it in the cabin refrigerator until morning when we would enjoy it for breakfast. The last night if the cruise they were all out of pineapple slices. :( But as we were walking out of the buffet we noticed three spa employees eating pineapple. Heaps of pineapple. Each had about ten slices in their plate and the serving plate of another 30 slices was in the middle yet to be divvied up!! Talk about a feeling of entitlement!