My wife and I had one previous cruise. It was with RCL to the E. Caribbean. This trip was made with CCL because of the ports of call: Panama, Costa Rica, Belize. It was a great choice in every way!
Embarkation was incredible. Our party of eight arrived dockside at 11:20 and were aboard in less than 30 mins. We never had to sit or wait in long lines. Everyone we dealt with was professional and courteous and seemed to love what they were doing.
Our stateroom was clean and felt quite "roomy." Our Steward was attentive and helpful and provided the up-scale service we expected: ice twice daily, towel pets, help with a malfunctioning safe, etc.
The food and food servers were a delight! Horatio's was great for breakfast choices, especially the omelet bar. Very little wait in lines if one arrived at 8:00. The pastries were a wonderful way to put on the pounds. Light and flaky, we couldn't eat just one! The rest of Horatio's breakfast fare and luncheon fare was good, but pretty standard. The one let down was the weak, almost tasteless morning coffee. ( The coffee in the dining room was always really good, however.)
For dinner, we had asked for a table of eight when booking the cruise and got it without problem. The dinner menu and quality was outstanding. I never have eaten so well over a week! We all agreed that the duck, Lobster, shrimp, Fillet Mignons, grouse, salmon, Beef Wellington, prime rib, rack of lamb were fantastic! The salads were standard fare. The desserts were incredible, however. The chocolate melting cake was a must! The wait staff was friendly, attentive and efficient. They observed our particular eating and drinking traits and offered us choices accordingly. Again it seemed that they really loved their jobs!
Much to our surprise, CCL Miracle offered a greater choice of activities for the 50+ folks than RCL. The fun ship wasn't just for partying. There were lots of active competitive opportunities to have fun without over-doing it. The evening entertainment was quite good and, other than the last night Karaoke festival, we went every night and enjoyed ourselves.
The ports were as good as we had hoped. The various excursions we picked were enjoyed by all. We did appreciate booking via Carnival, especially when one of the tour buses broke down in Costa Rica and the ship delayed departure for an hour to get the people back on board. Debarkation was as smooth as embarkation. We were off the ship and on our excursion to the Everglades by 9:00.
If CCL has a cruise to other ports we desire to visit, we wouldn't hesitate booking.