This wasn't our first cruise to Alaska and we have also been on several cruises to the Caribbean so we are not reviewing this cruise out of context. Getting on the Carnival Miracle went off without a hitch and our bags were delivered to our cabin in a timely fashion. While placing my face cleaning machine in the shower I found a big, black gob of hair on the shower wall. After the steward cleaned it up I assumed my cleaning machine was still in the shower. Not so! The steward thought it belonged to the former cabin occupants and without asking me, threw it away. By the time I realized what had happened, it was long gone. It took almost all week for the powers that be to give me a credit for the loss.
The food on the first night in the formal dining room was fine as was the lunch in the buffet. After the first night however, the food was less than expected. I know cruise lines are cutting back wherever they can but the quality of the food in the formal dining room, especially, was so bad I couldn't eat a couple of the meals. I ordered a filet mignon which turned out to be a very thin, rubbery piece of mystery meat. My husband ordered a fish filet which was overcooked and tough. We complained and the next night the food was better.
The entertainment was pretty sparse probably because we didn't really like the crass, adult comedians. The funniest, most entertaining thing about the cruise was John Heald, the cruise director. Loved him and his quick wit. The singer in the Atrium was atrocious. I've heard better at local eateries and bars.
We had booked our cruise back in the Fall of 2013 and found out in April 2014 that the ship couldn't get into one of our ports, Ketchikan because the engine wasn't functioning properly. That didn't inspire a lot of confidence but as Carnival said we could cancel our trip with no penalties or they would credit us if we went ahead we decided to stay with the trip. The first night out of port at 1 AM we were woken by a public announcement by John Heald stating "Bravo, Bravo, Starboard" which means "man overboard." Of course, this freaked everyone out, especially as the seas were a bit rough that night and the ship began to turn back to where the last sighting of the person was. Our friends and us were still shaken the next morning but were glad no one had actually fallen overboard.
We were told that to make up for not getting into Ketchikan we would have a longer day in Victoria, BC which is a lovely city. We booked the high tea at The Empress Hotel hoping for some better food than we had on the cruise. Alas, due to "foggy conditions" our arrival time was bumped from 3 PM to 6:30 PM. If you know Victoria at all, you will know that all the shops that are worth seeing are closed at 6:30. Also, all the shore excursions were cancelled. So we wound up having dinner at a local pub rather the high tea we had all anticipated. The only stores open were crappy, little tourist traps. We spent more time on the ship than off and we all thought it was to get more money out of everyone whether in the shops or the casino. The smoke smell from the casino permeated the air on 2 levels.
The best part of this cruise was the scenery and being with our friends. The shore excursions were very good, especially the Sled Dogs experience in Skagway. The cabin steward, after the initial incident, did a great job on our room and all the other service on the ship was impeccable. I have a question about the route the captain chose to take. Why, on an Inside Passage cruise, would he steer the ship out to sea, where many people were affected by the high seas to the point of having to buy the Dramamine from the customer service desk. Why didn't the ship just stay on the Inside Passage where the waters are calmer?
We had heard horror stories about Carnival Cruises before and always chosen a different cruise line. I now see we were correct in our choices. My friend, who booked the cruise, was not only disappointed, but a bit embarrassed too. I will definitely go to Alaska again but not on a Carnival Cruise.