We recently sailed on the Miracle - it was the 3rd cruise for my husband and myself and first for our teenagers a daughter 16 and son 18 - We all had an absolutely perfect vacation! - The ship was certainly wildly decorated (previous cruise was on Norwegian Wind -Hawaii) but in a fun way. We flew direct from Toronto (booked thru Carnival) and arrived mid-afternoon so we went straight on the ship almost and could get to our cabin - we spent time exploring the ship and enjoyed ourselves.
Cabin - Even with all 4 of us practically adults we managed fine in our cabin - we had an extended balcony and I enjoyed that - it was nice to get outside without having to go up or down several decks - lots of room to store all our stuff (even if my daughter did bring her whole wardrobe!)
Food -We thought the food was wonderful - all of it - the kids loved the pizza and icecream especially - we tried Horatios a few times and it was good tho the stations are spread out (the chocolate buffet the last day was best!) We had a table with just the 4 of us in the dining room and would have enjoyed being seated with others (esp since the kids ditched us several nights) but managed to meet with another couple with teenagers sitting next to us and we did eat with them a few nights and the kids ate together - Harris (from Indonesia) was our waiter and he was wonderful - we still make the noise he did for parmesan cheese and grinding pepper! No complaints about the food at all - also used room service to get breakfast for my slow moving daughter a few mornings which was great
Shows - We enjoyed the shows for the most part - tho my husband felt all the dancers should sing instead of lipsyncing - the hypnotist was good, Xrated comedy was enjoyed by my husband and son(too late for me) Ticket to Ride was very good - the band that played the Beatles was also in Frankie & Johnies and were incredible - they could sing and play anything!
Ports - I love to research and plan trips so I had it all planned in advance and booked most of our tours separately off the internet
Grand Cayman - We took the tour to the Turtle Farm (my daughter loves turtles) and Sting Ray City with Nativeway - it was basically the same tour as the ship at half the price - we all enjoyed it and kissed the stingrays!
Cozumel - this trip was booked thru the ship since the private tour I found would not take us (maybe cause of the time the ship was in port) We went to the ruins at Tulum (my son is history crazy) - the ferry picked us up right from the ship and took us to Playa del Carmen - short walk to the bus and then on to Tulum (with a stop at a very nice Mexican handicraft place where we bought a few nice things - esp an obsidian carving) our tour guide (Manuel I think) was very interesting and informative and really into the history and meaning of the ruins - he gave us a short introductory talk at the ruins and then we explored on our own - my daughter and I did less exploring and then enjoyed the beautiful beach for a bit - Great tour if you are interested in the ruins tho it took the whole day
Belize - I booked the cave tubing thru cavetubing.com - and it was great too - took a while to drive to the caves but once there we were put in the capable hands of "Fryjack" our guide who walked us thru the rainforest and pointed out some interesting trees and plants - and then took us all safely linked together thru the caves - I was so glad we were in this small personal group rather than the huge group from the ship that were all floating by themselves while the guide shouted at them! Especially since I didn't have to worry about the kids - this was an excellent tour and I highly recommend it.
Costa Maya - I also found a tour online and booked a day of relaxing and snorkeling at Maya Palms Resort - we had to get our own taxi there but it was easy (took a little bargaining) the resort is well past the town of Majuahal and the road is a little bumpy (they make speed bumps out of large braided ropes!) but was worth it - the resort was very small and quiet but that was nice after all the people on the ship and in port - we had to wait for the boat to get back but enjoyed the beach and their fresh water pool -they took us out snorkeling and the reef was incredible - so many types and colors of coral and so alive - lots of fish too - we were out there close to an hour and tho we could have gone out again the kids were kind of done so we went back to the resort - had a wonderful Mexican plate lunch and just relaxed - they got our taxi to take us back and we did a bit of shopping in the port there - another great day
Days at Sea - first day out of Tampa was a little rainy but we enjoyed ourselves anyway - the kids managed to hook up with a bunch of kids their ages thru the Club 02 and got involved in most of the activities and hung out the rest of the time as well (playing cards and chess til all hours of the morning but behaved themselves!) they made great friends and can't wait to go another cruise but only if their friends are with them! A Great trip all in all!