My husband and I cruised on the Carnival Miracle, departing Fort Lauderdale on November 20th. This was our third Carnival Cruise but we are thinking that we will do something different next time. Not saying that we won't ever return to Carnival, just that we were expecting better based on our previous Carnival Cruises on the the Conquest and Liberty ships.
No cruise is all good or all bad. It it typically what you decide to make of it. We are not a high maintenance couple and generally are very easy going. Having said that, here are our observations.
Room - Cabin 7349 is classified as having an extended balcony. For those that don't know what that means for Carnival.... the extra foot of extension is only there because the glass and railing slant out at the bottom. It doesn't give you any extra sitting room. Very nice views from that cabin as it is on the stern of the ship and you get a panoramic view. Mohammed was our steward and he was wonderful. Very attentive, knew our names the first day and was friendly when we saw him. Kept our room in great shape. He was one of the highlights of our cruise.
Food and Beverage Service - Overall the impression we received was that the crew was tired and not very interested in the service aspect of their jobs. First night we ordered a drink on the Lido deck prior to going to dinner. The bartender made no effort to converse with us, smile or even look at us. He made the drinks, slid them across the bar and asked for our Sail and Sign card. That was it. This was an indicator of our experiences with the Food and Beverage staff all week.
In the Dining Room, we were relegated to the back room with the low ceiling, along with a number of other passengers, who we found out were also from Canada. They must think we are bad a**es. Anyway, the service we received was the minimum of what we could say was acceptable and nowhere as good as other Carnival ships we have been on. The Asst Waitress never spoke to us other than to ask what bread we would like with our meal. She poured water, delivered the bread and that was about it. No smile, no conversation, nothing. Our waitress did ok, but when she was having an off night it was very evident (3 of those). She continually reached across my husband to serve the other couple at our table instead of walking around the table and this was disconcerting. The bar waitress appeared on the first night to take out drink order for dinner, but then we didn't see her again that evening, or the second night at all. The third night she was missing again until we had opportunity to speak to Manuel the maitre d' of the Dining Room. Manuel resolved the service issues for us, however it became about much more than just not having bar service and poor table service.
For the entire week the meal service became about taking the order and delivering the food. The interaction, the interest, and conversation that we have enjoyed with the service staff on other Carnival ships was missing. The entire tone of the evening meal was flat. Thank goodness for great table mates. This is going to be a big problem for this Ship to address and it will certainly cost them repeat cruisers.
Can't beat the itinerary - ports of call are wonderful and shopping is the best in St. Maarten. Scenery is incredible in St. Lucia and St. Kitts. Recommend the Train Tour in St. Kitts.
So in summary, we may cruise with Carnival again at some point, however it won't be on the Miracle.