My wife and I have just returned from a 16-day, Long Beach to Vancouver by way of Hawaii cruise on the Carnival Miracle. This was our 29th cruise, 3rd on Carnival since becoming Platinum (its worth earning Platinum status!) and, overall, one of our best cruises ever. In February, we were on the Breeze, which we presumed would be a tough act to follow because the Breeze is brand new and truly beautiful, complete with all of the most modern amenities. Carnival ships can be a bit too ugly sometimes, witness the Carnival Splendor – ghastly! We enjoy being in pleasant and tasteful surroundings. The Miracle isn’t the Breeze, to be sure, but it is excellent in many ways:
When we first entered the Atrium, I was not initially impressed, partly because of its relatively small size and it has the gaudiest room decor, but interestingly, it is the Atrium that we have found to be most comfortable of all. I cannot recall a ship where we spent as much time in this central bar area. I attribute this to two factors. First, because the Atrium is fairly small, there was never an overwhelming number of people in there. The Breakaway (which we love), for comparison, has a huge screen there as well as game shows and movies. Too much bustle to hang out in. Secondly, the Atrium was so welcoming because of a man named Dylan Holton, a folk, blues guitarist that is surely one of the best cruise ship performers we have ever seen. We have never sought out a performer to find out where he’s playing before. But we did with Dylan. He is excellent.
The age mix on this long cruise was surprising. When we do long cruises, we tend to be among the youngest on the ship (and we are in our 50’s), but there was a mixture of all ages aboard. There seemed to be less entertainment than what you’d see on a 7 day cruise. Surely, there were more shows, but it just seemed that way. Some nights, the ad in the Fun Times just didn’t make a show sound interesting to us. They do seem to downplay them, oftentimes little more than the name of the performer. But it is important to understand that there was never a show that we didn’t enjoy. And the Beatles tribute – Ticket to Ride – is an absolute don’t miss. We’ve seen it before, we will see it again, hopefully. The magician was ill and didn’t perform; a minor disappointment. I had hoped that another magician would board the ship at some point, but it didn’t happen. There was a comedy show every night and every one was excellent. And this Punchliner doesn’t do what I really didn’t like on the Splendor and the Breeze; requiring everyone to vacate after each show. That is really annoying and it causes mayhem in the hallway outside. Everyone could remain in this lounge, show after show. Incidentally, the main show theater is spectacularly beautiful. The most beautiful theater we’ve seen on a ship, or probably on land too.
I don’t talk much about the ports of call in my reviews because I am not sure that it’s a relevant point. You can do a poor shore excursion on the best cruise ship and it should not affect one’s opinion of the cruise itself. That said, Hawaii is one of the most perfect places on earth. We did a helicopter tour over Volcano National Park (again), a Luau in Maui (again), rented a car for 2 days in Maui (again), did a Hollywood in Hawaii tour in Kuaui (excellent), walked around town in Kona and went to Pearl Harbor on Oahu (again). There is no place like Hawaii.
The food on the Miracle was generally very good. We did the Chef’s Table one night and it was simply of the charts. It was a new menu – different than on the Breeze a few months ago. I never ate so much. We went to Nick & Nora’s three times and it was good. I bit repetitive though as it is the same menu on every Carnival ship that we’ve been on. In the MDR, I have two negatives to point out: Service is erratic, sometimes slow, sometimes not and the food is sometimes not as hot as it should be. I may be part of the cause however. I sometimes get 2 or 3 entrees and I think that messes up the waiter’s timing.
We are accustomed to interior cabins, but we do get a balcony sometimes and an ocean view occasionally. The French door format of our cabin is silly. In fact, I recommend against it. You can't keep the doors open without dragging the chair over to keep it from slamming shut, so you never open it. There is a chest-high railing and a catwalk to the lifeboat. There were crew members out there a couple of times, so we couldn't keep the curtains open. We were ok with this becasue we usually have the inside cabin, but we paid more for this one. waste of money.
The staff was good. Some staff seemed a bit burnt out, but we see that on every cruise.
I really tried to come up with some negatives about this and my wife offered one. Oddly though, the negative has some positive aspects. She said that she would have preferred a choice of dining venues. I do agree, but I also know that if there were a variety of options, we would have paid extra for many more meals. There have been some cruises during which we ate at the premium places almost every day. This gets expensive. On this 16 day cruise the MDR menu was different every night.
I would sail the Miracle again. It might even be this year. We loved this cruise