We took our first long cruise (16 days) in April/14 as a retirement celebration aboard the Carnival Miracle. We decided to fly into Long Beach instead of LAX, a stroke of genius as we landed about 5 miles from the cruise port. Used the best western shuttles at no cost. During the voyage seas were relatively calm even though we had high winds on several days. It was not until we approached Canadian waters that a 15 foot swell picked up but it was hardly noticeable. The weather was overcast every day except 3 but we saw very little rain. Pretty favorable weather considering what I have sailed in as a Navy man in these areas in past years.
We did excursions every day but one and the best of the bunch by far was out of Hilo with Marylou's Big Island Tours. With Kyle Smet (Kyle also operates Fallon's Islandwide Family Tours) as our guide we saw just about everything you could want on the Hilo side of the island. He was a knowledgeable and talkative guide who respected our interests and time frame. The company is very accommodating and we never actually paid until after the tour. A rare situation and we were delighted with the cost of $75 for about 7 hours of tour with six people in a van. Certainly outdid any of the shipboard or Roberts Hawaii tours we took. I highly recommend that you contact Marylou if you are going to be on the big island.
We also took the Roberts Hawaii tours including; Best of Maui which was interesting, Beach day at Maui which was a disaster as we were dropped off at the wrong beach and the pickup driver could not find us and Pearl Harbour tour which was disappointing as we could not get out the monument due to high winds. After the treatment we received from Marylou's son Kyle the 40 passenger buses were a bit of a let down.
We did two excursion from the ship, both seriously overpriced. The luau in Maui was $155 each and include what should have been a 45 minute ride to the venue that turned into 2 1/2 hours due to traffic and a flat tire. We did arrive in time to eat and the show was very good but still high cost and a lot of time sitting around on a bus with no bathroom. We also did the ship tour for $95 each. Very interesting but significantly overpriced.
We really loved the classic decor on Miracle. Interesting that it included a wide range of eras from greek mythology to civil war art. The Bacchus room was decorated in grape, not wine but a purple grape deckhead decoration. We decided to eat on the as you like time and so were on the upper deck of the dining room, usually with a great view out the stern of the ship. We really enjoyed the dining room meals with a nice variety of regular and unique dishes from steak to frog legs. Horatio's restaurant had reasonably good food except for the scrambled eggs which were constantly runny. They had one corner that was similar to the regular menu in the Baccus dining room but none of the finer foods. The other areas had a good variety from the deli corner to the asian/Italian/Good food corners. The entertainment was okay although we only saw two big productions with the dancers. We also had individual performers; a magician, ventriloquist, hypnotist, operatic soprano and singers. The comedy club was in our minds a great hit from family friendly comedy to pretty raw stuff late in the evening. There were several shows a day and we laughed at most of them.
Overall we had a very good time despite the little hiccups and the cost turn out to be reasonable.