I was a first time cruiser and I loved the Carnival Miracle. We arrived a day early in case of bad weather in our area. We stayed at the Hilton Airport Westshore and it was a great hotel. We had the hotel shuttle get us to the Port at 11:15 and waited in line for probably 15 minutes and was on board at around noon. Such an organized and easy process. We had a room with a balcony on 7th floor and I loved having it-well worth the extra money. We had breakfast ordered in the morning and drank coffee and had our toast on our balcony overlooking the ocean. At night, we'd leave our door open and have the breeze come in and listen to the waves crashing...heaven. Our rooms were clean and nice. The tv station was out of Denver so it was nice to have some news out of the states. Plus, they played new movies on different channels. They played Pirates of the Caribbean 2, Little Miss Sunshine, Click, etc. We had late dining and our waiter was TaTa. He was great, always came to our table first and we were the first ones out of there too. The food was fabulous...much better than I had anticipated. The prime rib, mahi-mahi, tilapia, and quail was excellent. The only thing that wasn't fabulous was the pasta and I'm usually such a fan. You have to try the warm chocolate melting cake for dessert! The food at Horatio's was excellent as well. The Taste of Nations buffet was always tasty-especially Caribbean theme. If all else fails, have the pizza-it's brick oven and delicious. We came with a pizza connoisseur and he said it's the best he's ever had.
Grand Cayman-we did the Stingray and Snorkeling excursion. It was fabulous. We really enjoyed the stingrays....our shore excursion people really made it fun by holding up the stingrays for pictures and rubbing them on our backs as a massage...Crazy I know...but they are the smoothest creatures ever. Snorkeling was fun too, but I took in a big gulp of saltwater and kind of wrecked it for myself. Belize-We booked cave tubing through cave-tubing.com and highly recommend it. It's about half the cost and we got first rate service. Keith was our tour guide and he was smiling and full of energy. Make sure he gives you a sample of the cashew wine. There will be someone waiting with a sign with your name on and you get on the bus and they take you on a short tour through the city and then about a 45 minute ride out to the rain forest where you get your tube. You hike probably 25 minutes through the rainforest and then get in to the water. We all had a light attached to our head so we could see in the caves. The caves were beautiful and we got some great pictures. On our way back the bus stopped at Amigos, a local restaurant so we could eat. Their special was rice and beans made with coconut milk, and seasoned chicken that fell off the bone it was so tender, and coleslaw and a Belize beer for $5. It was one of the best meals I've ever had. They made sure we were back for the last tender to the ship also.
Cozumel-We didn't do a whole lot in Cozumel, we walked up and down the streets stopping for a beer to cool off now and then and we actually saw the Crocodile Hunter's family on vacation as well. Walked right by his wife and two kids. We then stopped at a restaurant/bar by the pier and drank coronas and had pico di gallo and guacamole. It was refreshing. Costa Maya-By far my favorite port. We went to a beach, I think it's referred to as Tequila Beach. It's a $2 cab ride about 10 minutes away. Here there is a lot of shopping that you can barter on and endless beach and relaxation. We found a bar that had swings for seats and spent the whole day there. The waiters were great and made the best pina coladas ever. Also have them make you a muchilada...wonderful. They advertise 6 beers for $10 and free pico di gallo. What a deal! They also had massages on the upper deck which we had to do of course. 30 minutes for $15. It was amazing to have the gentle breeze on your back while someone is rubbing warm oil on your back....you must partake in one! We loved everything about the Carnival Miracle and totally felt pampered. The staff is always smiling and asking you if you need anything. I strongly recommend this ship to anyone.