Took our grandson on Miracle's Alaskan cruise..7 days out of Seattle..July 8-15, 2014. We generally cruise 3-4 times per year and have wanted to try the Alaska trip especially if we could take our grandson on his first cruise! We have sailed different lines, including other Carnival ships, Princess and otheres. Chose Miracle due to itinerary, departure date/location and price. We were not disappointed with our choice of Carnival again.
Let me say that we have many relatives and friends who have done Alaska, both cruising and extended travel....all forewarned us about the weather potential and we we prepared for cool, wet if needed. But we weren't prepared for almost 4 days out of 7 to be almost totally socked in due to FOG.
One positive note was that while we were walking around in the lousy weather, so were other passengers from other cruise lines....notably Regent, who paid a WHOLE LOT MORE than I did...and the higher price didn't assure them of any better weather More
either..BUT, they did carry Regent logo umbrellas. A nice touch.
So...We love to cruise...generally, the ports are sometimes secondary to our time on ship, but Alaska was intended to be primarily a SCENIC adventure.
First day at sea was nice....sunny but cool. Tracy Arm Fjord cruising was delightful....clear, mild and wonderful sitting on our aft balcony watching the scenery, ice chunks and other ships go by, without the crowds on deck. We could see both port and starboard without moving. We really looked forward to seeing much more of ALASKA.
Then, we arrived Skagway. Morning was cloudy, then just as soon as we climbed on our vehicle for a scenic tour up White Pass the clouds lowered to about 500 feet and stayed that way for the next three days! The tour guide was pointing out what we COULD be seeing if the fog wasn't so thick...stopping at numerous photo stops in the rain and clouds, cause he had to use up the time allotted for the trip.... for all I knew, I was in Montana....couldn't really see anything past 100 ft. or so........ Then we hit Juneau the next day. Same thing....low, rolling fog, with a cold rain. I had prepaid a helicopter/dog sled adventure..primarily for my grandson to experience but alas, that was not to be as it was cancelled, SO we moved our afternoon whale watch tour to the am...whales can still swim in the cold rain and fog, and we DID see whales. I have done about 8 whale watch trips, both in Mexico and Hawaii and I would rate this one in the top half. All of our pre-arranged shore excursions were not done with Carnival..in hindsight, I should have waited until arrival in port, THEN based on weather, find the appropriate excursion(s) at the pier as there are dozens of vendors as I have to go through the refund thing.
I know this is a Carnival review, but wanted to caution you regarding potential disappointment because of weather. My grandson missed a lot of what Alaska COULD be because of fog. Carnival can't control the weather, although some guests on board believed Carnival should compensate for weather.
Several also complained about the fog horn keeping them up at night and wanted it turned off !!
So, pick your stateroom carefully on an Alaska trip.
Ship Pros: Booked Aft extended balcony 4232. GREAT stateroom for a cruise that emphasizes scenery.
John Heald, Cruise Director-outstanding in every way. Professional, polished, genuine and funny, even the same old jokes you've heard over and over...seem fresh with him....Assistant entertainment staff can take lessons from him!
Both dining room food and horatio's buffet food, IMO, was above average. Great temperatures, variety and quality. Food service staff in all areas were great. The band MUSIC UNLIMITED kept us up later than usual due to their outstanding music! Camp Carnival staff took great care of our grandson the times he spent with them. Embarkation and Debarkation fast and easy....we were OFF the ship and through customs in 20 minutes. Ship was clean, all systems up and operating (except propulsion note below)
On our 6th day, we saw a large group of teens go ashore together...which surprised us as we hadn't seen (nor heard) them at all for the entire trip. Congratulations to them! (They were not crew)
A large demographic on this trip....all ages from the youngest of families to many seniors.
Cons: I would like for them to put the outside air temperature along with ship info on stateroom tv. Knowing the Alaska air temp and perhaps forecast for the day would help. I would like camp carnival to perhaps provide pager/beepers, like a restaurant. Should they need to reach you, they could just buzz you. They only provided cell phones for the youngest guests..our grandson became slightly seasick first day and they left a message on our stateroom phone to come and get him....if we had not returned briefly to our room, we would not have known for quite a while. AM room service was erratic, orders were incorrect first 4 days. Only one Phantom Theatre production show in 7 days. Other nights were staff singers/band or limited to comedy club. When we left Juneau, the starboard engine wouldn't start. As I had an aft view, I watched them try all sorts of things to try to spin the props on starboard side. The port engine was working overtime for quite sometime. Eventually they got it going, although to me, I don't think it ever reached the same rpm's as port pod......as the wake was quite imbalanced. We arrived Victoria and Seattle on time. Our bed in stateroom 4232 shook a lot from vibration....sort of like the old 'magic fingers'. Only vibrated while underway and got worse after Juneau. It did rock me to sleep though!
General: Another fine cruise with Carnival and we will be going with Carnival Miracle to Hawaii in January. Lousy weather from the state of Alaska. Would we go again? Probably not.....too unpredictable. I guess we can cross it off our 'bucket list' now. Less
GREAT stateroom for an Alaskan cruise, or any cruise where you have scenery. Problem was, the heavy FOG prevented us from enjoying that view for half the cruise.Room is way out the way, of course, so no hallway traffic or noise. NO noise from dining room below. Vibration from engine pods was a bit high. Long way to go to Camp Carnival. Laundry across hall diagonally..never heard a thing. Easy access to dining up or down. Short cut down to deck 3 for promenade.