This was our fourth cruise. We have cruised in the last five years on Disney, Princess and Royal Carib.
Carnival Miracle was a different experience partially because of cruising during the holidays with several hundred kids on board coupled with the glitz of Farcus decorating which is way over the top in comparison to Royal and Princess.
Overall, the Carnival staff did an excellent job but with a combination of the balcony doors being French doors with extremely loud closures and the number of kids, do not plan on getting to sleep till at least midnight and plan on being awake no later than 8 a.m. This was not a relaxing cruise but it was fun regardless of the 25 to 50 knot winds we experienced both night and day for the entire week. We were fortunate to get into Grand Cayman, as they has not seen a ship in two days before we got there because of the winds, and Costa Maya. Grand Cayman is a mess from the hurricane late last year and all trees are either stripped or down with a ton of reconstruction needed. It will be years before this island returns to a top tourist stop. Costa Maya was very much in the wild but fun for a beach break with a great barrier reef. Cozumel was great for the town and beaches coupled with snorkeling which we booked off the ship off the main pier. Belize was Third World all the way and most people felt they would not want to go back to that port again.
The ship, because of the constant high winds, constantly rolled and pitched making it very difficult to sleep most nights coupled with the wind whistling around the balconies which was surprising given the ship is so new. The French doors are not a good change for the balcony doors as we were accustomed to sliders which are much easier to use and much more quiet in the morning and evening than having people four cabins down slam the door and you can not only hear it but feel it.
Shows were very good with the Vegas shows coupled with the hypnotist, etc....
Food was very good but the main dining room as reported being over the top was an understatement. The colors are way too loud and make Vegas dining rooms look sedate.
Overall service on the ship was good and the cruise director was full of energy.
Other than the wind all week and being a very noisy ship, we had a good time but exhausting.
The ship was two hours late in arriving in Tampa because it caught an 87 knot gust at 4:30 a.m. in the Gulf that reportedly knocked a baby grand piano off of a stage coupled with the dining room china and plates hitting the floor given the ship listed 15 degrees. It was all cleaned up by the time we boarded and they were only about a half hour late in doing so.
The early debark where you wheel you own suitcases off was very early -- like meeting at 7:15 a.m. to assemble before doing so. We opted for an early flight debark that meet at 8 a.m. but then it took over an hour and a half to get off the ship which was not a good thing -- it is the longest debark we have experienced.
If you have teenage kids, as we have one at age 15, they will love the teen disco each night although waiting up until midnight and beyond is a different experience.
So, all in all a good trip but as they say, you cannot control the weather (wind) and I wish Carnival would go to a quieter stateroom with more insulation, quieter doors, both balcony and hallway, so you can get some sleep in comparison to Princess and Royal, which were much quieter.