Had a great 8 day trip to Panama, Costa Rico, Belize. Embarkation was much better than we expected as the ship was late coming in due to the accident in St. Kitts the week before. We were on board and eating by 1pm. Our luggage was in our room by 2:30. Cabin was great as was our steward. We expected a disaster and was very pleasantly surprised. The Miracle is an easy ship to get around and exceptionally clean. We were very pleased with the friendliness of the staff (from embarkation to debarkation). We thought we would try an obstructed view cabin which I might do again. We were careful where we booked (in between lifeboats) so we had a good view for the most part. You can't look down and see the water and anything happening right on the dock is out of view as well. But it was beautiful to sit there and read or just get away from the noise up on deck and worth the price.
As stated in other reviews, the ship's decorations and theme is a little hard to understand. The dining room could use a complete re-do, but the grapes grow on you after a few nights. Food was excellent. Lunch service was spotty in the dining room. Buffet was okay - I'm not a buffet person but it was hot and fresh. Had breakfast at the buffet most days b/c the food was hot whereas the dining room food was tepid at best. Omelets were the best!! Our only complaint is the Your Choice Dining. There were 6 of us traveling together and we normally had to wait 90 mins or more to sit together. One time, we were told after 90 mins they weren't able to accomodate us and would be separating us. We are spoiled from NCL's Freestyle (there were no pagers) and Carnival could definitely take some lessons. Despite the wait and aggravation, the food was always excellent, always served with a smile, and mostly timely. Steaks were cooked to order, as was the prime rib. There was nothing to complain about.
Repeat guest party was very nice - free drinks and appetizers. Farewell party also had free drinks. And Superbowl Sunday was every where with free appetizers.
We took ship excursions to Panama City/Locks and Car. Train, Boat, Bus in Costa Rico. Both excurions were very informative and our guides were wonderful. It was very hot in Panama and Costa Rico (102 degrees) so bring cool clothes. Wouldn't hesitate to do it again. Have been to Belize so we just got off and shopped for a few minutes and then back on the tender.
Did the Behind the Scenes Tour (which you must book on board). Even tho it is $95, it was worth the $$$ and time. Wish we had it earlier in the cruise (it's done the last sea day). After seeing Nick & Nora's and meeting the chef there, we would have definitely tried it. Shows were ok. Nothing to write home about and could use some improvement. Would have liked a quiet bar with a quiet band or singer to relax in at night. Most places are noisy or have a DJ. Too much smoke in the casino and the slots don't pay at all. Debarkation - we self assisted and on the expressway by 7:45am.
Loved it and would cruise Carnival again (our 2nd cruise w/Carnival) but would be careful of the timing; i.e. kids vacations, spring breaks, etc. We had a mixture of all ages on our ship. We are in our 50s and found it to be a good mix for all. Pool hogs need to give it up .. there is always a lounge available some where and if it's not right next to the pool, does it matter? Also would select set seating if we were traveling in a group.