This was our 5th cruise, and our 4th with Carnival. It was far and away our favorite so far.
We live in Orlando, so we drove to the port and did not have to stay at any of the local hotels.
This was the easiest embarkation of the cruises we have been on. We arrived at the port around 2pm and had a very short wait for check-in (we had already completed our fun passes online.) We did not have to wait in any of the holding rooms since it was after 1:30. We were immediately able to go up to our room.
This was our first balcony room, and it was an extended balcony. The room itself was very spacious with lots of drawer and closet space. Both my husband and I are famous for over-packing, but we had plenty of room for all of our stuff. The colors are very inviting and not as overdone as some of the other Carnival ships we had been on. Everything was very clean and inviting. The bathroom was also bigger than what we had experienced on the Fantasy-class ships, so that was nice too. The balcony itself was one of our favorite things. It had one chair that laid back and one regular chair, along with a little table. It was very spacious and we found that we spent a lot of time out there.
We had incredible service during our trip. Our room steward, Bogdan, was absolutely incredible. I told him on the first day that I love the towel animals and he made sure to surprise me every day with something new. A couple of times he even did two in a day. It really made me feel special. Something else that we really loved was that he remembered our names from day one. He actually addressed us by our first names the first time he met us-- this really made an impression with us and was indicative of the excellent service levels we would receive the remainder of our trip. Our dining room waiter, Komang, was also wonderful. He had a great sense of humor and always made us smile. He was also good about remembering our names and our preferences. For instance, on the first night I asked for extra cheese on my caesar salad and he remembered that every night thereafter. He also remembered my husbands love of dessert and frequently brought him extras to try. Our bar waitress in the dining room, Marta, also remembered our names and what we liked to drink. It was so nice to sit back and be taken care of!
As I mentioned, the dining room service was great. The food was also good as well. It seemed to us that Carnival had put some extra focus on this area since our last cruise with them in 2004. They really seemed to improve both the selection and the quality of food since then. The buffet on the Lido Deck (Horatio's) always had a nice selection of food too. One word of caution here, check out each of the four stations before selecting, you may find many things you want to try from each station. The 24 hour pizzeria was always good, we ate there many times! Great salad bar selections too. My husband loved the soft-serve ice cream stations located around the Lido deck and had a cone or bowl every day.
We also tried the supper club, Nick and Nora's. I have to say, this was one of the best dining experiences we have ever had. The food was magnificent (premium cuts of steak, lobster, etc) and the service was spectacular. The ambiance is just perfect and you can have a nice intimate table for two, or a table for your group if traveling with more people. I highly recommend this experience. It costs and extra $30 per person (that includes tip) and is worth every penny in our opinion.
PORTS OF CALL
We selected this trip for the ports of call and it did not disappoint.
We booked the kayak safari excursion through Carnival for this port. They took us to a beach a few miles from the port and introduced us to our guide, Andrew. It was a small group of 11 total for the excursion, so we got a lot of personal attention. Andrew explained how to maneuver the kayaks (none of us had ever done it) and off we went. We would make stops for Andrew to tell us about the local culture, environment, etc and point out areas of interest. It was too choppy to go out to the snorkeling area, so he took us to a jellyfish area where we got to see and even hold jellyfish! They were a type that don't have much of a sting (it felt like hot sauce - a tiny tingle.) We then had a little snack (granola bars) and headed back to the pier. We had plenty of time for shopping and a quick drink before heading back to the ship.
This was our third time to Cozumel, so we chose to do our own thing. We walked down to the shopping district and bought some authentic Mexican crafts. We then headed over to our favorite establishment, Carlos N Charlies and had margaritas and some great food.
Our favorite excursion (again booked through Carnival) was here. We did the Canopy tour, which is ziplining through the mountains/rainforest. It was absolutely amazing. You take a 1 1/2 hour bus ride out to the mountains and then hike up to your launch point. You are harnessed in very well and it felt very safe. There are 5 ziplines that range from 100-500 feet long and a couple of rappels. I highly recommend this to anyone feeling a little adventurous. It was one of the highlights of our trip.
This is a great place to relax and enjoy the beauty. We took taxis to Majahaul, which is really just a small village. They have a lot of crafts for sale, but the best part was sitting at a table on the beach and enjoying great food and drinks. This was a very inexpensive, relaxing day for us and was probably our favorite all-around day.
We saw one stage show which was just okay in my book. My husband said that I was just being too nitpicky though, but it drove me crazy when the dancers were out of synch. The late night (R-rated) comedian was hysterical, we laughed until we cried. The ships social directors were great and organized some great games and activities. We ended up on the voyage video and bought a copy to bring home!
I highly recommend this ship and this itinerary. The Miracle is relocating to NY with a new itinerary in April, but both the ship and the itinerary are so good you can try them both on different cruises. We were so pleased with our Carnival experience that we now plan to work toward our Platinum membership with them. Only 6 more voyages to go!