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1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2019
This was our first cruise so did not know what to expect. Sailed out of Tampa to be close to home. Easy access to ship. Be careful in the casino since they double the amount of cash you insert in machine if you answer yes to charge to my ... Read More
This was our first cruise so did not know what to expect. Sailed out of Tampa to be close to home. Easy access to ship. Be careful in the casino since they double the amount of cash you insert in machine if you answer yes to charge to my card. Just beware. The food in the Elation restaurant is not the greatest and there is a long wait for your dinner, but if you eat in the Paris restaurant you have many choices at the buffet. Drinking, gambling and the pool are the main attractions. All in all for us it was ok. The cabin is sufficient. You have to pay for room service. Just go to the buffet. 5 days at sea is kind of long. Went to Grand Cayman and Cozumel. Cozumel is a big tourist trap. No beach close by and many expensive stores. The ship was clean and organized. Make use of the daily schedule to partake in the extra curricular activities to make the cruise enjoyable. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
Embarkation in Tampa on the Carnival Miracle was the fastest and smoothest of our 10 cruises we have been on. We literally where on the ship enjoying buffet 15 mins after our Uber dropped us off at the port. No waiting at all - just ... Read More
Embarkation in Tampa on the Carnival Miracle was the fastest and smoothest of our 10 cruises we have been on. We literally where on the ship enjoying buffet 15 mins after our Uber dropped us off at the port. No waiting at all - just straight through. The boarding arrival appointment time is a great touch. Ours was 11:30-12:00. The ship is an older ship and is in need of a refurbishment to compare to some of the newer ships. The decor is to be appreciated and is themed. We like that most evening entertainment (casino, comedy and playlist shows) and fine dining were all on the same floor. Never had an issue getting loungers. However, pool and hot tubs areas where crowded (like usual). Family wise, I would not recommend this ship as it lacked kid deck activities (only one water slide, no splash pad, no bowling, etc) compared to other carnival ships. We ate in the main dining hall each night. Food and service was great. Ate buffet for breakfast and lunch everyday, did not take advantage of the restaurants during these times. Like all buffets stay away from peak times as it gets really busy. Food was good. Large selection and lots of seating. We had paid the extra for an extendable Balcony on deck 7, room 7165. Room was fine. Lots of storage. Unlike most ships our cabin boy only serviced our room in the morning. He just put your daily itinerary outside of our door in the evening, no turndown service. Cruise director, Frankie, was excellent and did his job well. Interacted a lot with cruisers and made activities fun. Playlist Productions - Heart of Soul (Motown) 2/10. Getaway Island (Beach theme) 6/10. 88 Keys (Rock & Roll Piano) 8/10. 80s POP 7/10. Went to the love and marriage show as always a blast. Great laugh! Highly recommend. 10/10. Went to carnival quest. This is new and our first time trying out this adult only activity. It gets pretty R rated but we had so much fun with friends 10/10! Lip sync battle 10/10. Piano bar with Tony was nice and relaxing. Dr. Frankenstein’s bar was cool. We only attended the R-18 shows. Mike Estime was 20/10 - Fantastic!! By far the best entertainment on the ship for us. Soooo funny! Tears rolling down my cheeks. Caroline Picard 9/10. Tony Esposito. 8/10. Myles Weber 7/10. As a birthday gift (be sure to get your travel agent to put it on your file) Carnival gave me a $50 credit to use at the Spa. I went and had a fire and ice pedicure and it was great. Of course the nail tech was trying to sell me moisturizers, scrubs and oils. She was trying to sell me all of her recommendations while I was trying to “relax”. I didn’t end up buying any products and I won’t be using the spa again. In Cozumel we did the Amazing Underground Caves through Costco Excursions. Highly recommend. It certainly was amazing! In Belize we did Athan Ha and Belize city tour through Costco Excursions. Guide was very informative and we enjoyed it. Nice half day excursion. In Honduras we just went to the right of the pier to the beach. Lounge chairs are free and you can pay nominal fee for wifi. For Cayman Islands, we just hung out on the ship as we have been there before. Quite the treat, serenity area, pool and hot tubs all to ourselves. Disembarkation was organized but took about a hour, which is the longest we ever had to wait. Overall, for the price paid we enjoyed the ship very much. Would we be rushing back on it again?!? Probably not until it has refurbishment as we have been on some of Carnival’s newer ships, but would not discourage anyone from trying the Miracle out. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
This was the absolute worst cruise we have ever been on. Severe lack of entertainment. Music was horrible no bands just violins an acoustic singers that were awful . Same soundtrack of 80s music throughout the entire cruise no ... Read More
This was the absolute worst cruise we have ever been on. Severe lack of entertainment. Music was horrible no bands just violins an acoustic singers that were awful . Same soundtrack of 80s music throughout the entire cruise no variation . Deck party was a joke because there's no room on the deck for a party . Cruise director was not visible and engaging as on other cruises I have been the cruise director was available and around all the time it seems like. Common areas were always empty. This ship is old, dirty, and in serious need of extensive refurbishment. There was consistent problems and maintenance going on every single day which was very inconvenient. The food was very subpar. The grill food was absolutely awful I don't know what they make their hamburgers out of that they don't taste real that's for sure. Lots of kids running all over the place almost knocking people over nothing is ever said to them about it. Dining room staff sneezing into their hands and then serving food. Guest Services is useless they don't address issues when they happen and say I'm sorry. Belize is a waste of port. Nothing to do except shop, rude people, and overpriced. Ship went through some windy weather so a lot of seasick passengers, the ship rolled and slammed for three nights straight. I don't know if it's missing stabilizers or something but it should not have done that as large of a ship as it is. Fellow passengers were not very happy with this ship. The main pool was closed for 5 days out of a 7 day cruise. Kids all over the whirlpool with swim masks on and 0 supervision. Water slide is old old old and boring. I would definitely not waste my time and money on another cruise on the ship. I have been on many Carnival Cruises as well as other Cruise Lines and this was the worst. Beware of Shandy in the Anthony's Key Resort gift shop in Roatan if you go on the dolphin encounter Excursion she's very rude and condescending. However, the dolphin encounter was absolutely amazing highly recommended I just wish we had would have had extra time with the dolphins. Overall the staff was less than friendly and looked miserable. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2019
This was an April vacation cruise for our 9 year old Grandson to visit the Grand Cayman Sea Turtle Research farm and have some fun in different countries. We booked a cruise on Carnival Miracle out of Tampa Florida. Being a Mini-suite ... Read More
This was an April vacation cruise for our 9 year old Grandson to visit the Grand Cayman Sea Turtle Research farm and have some fun in different countries. We booked a cruise on Carnival Miracle out of Tampa Florida. Being a Mini-suite guest, we had some "perks" which included priority embarkation, debarkation - little things that in theory made things better. The embarkation process was very good - I have to give Carnival credit for making that happen. The rest of the cruise was not to the same level. It all started with the Muster Drill which is mandatory before the ship leaves port. To say this was a giant circular firing squad would be understatement. The crew didn't seem to have a handle on what to do, the drill was disorganized, the management staff seemed confused directing crew members here and there, a lot of rushing around - it was not the most confidence boosting process to say the least in that if it had been a real emergency, I'm not at all sure the crew would have been able to get guests off the ship in a timely and safe manner. Having mobility issues, myself, wife and Grandson we were directed to be in the "handicapped" area which, as it turned out, was not the proper area to be in - the person who gave us that information (a white hat "supervisor") directed us to the wrong place. This of course meant that we weren't accounted for at the proper location. Eventually, we were "found" and were checked in, but our Grandson needed a wrist band which he was given. We found out a day later that he had been given the wrong wrist band with the wrong location which we corrected at Guest services. Having had this start to the trip, we were less than impressed, but it was what it was - onward and upward. We returned to our stern mini-suite and met our room steward Alit who was great - very friendly, helpful and really enjoyed interacting with our Grandson - he was entertaining and just a great guy. Unfortunately, Alit was the highlight of the trip - seriously. The mini-suite itself was interesting in that it gives an impression of being "roomy", but it most definitely isn't. Our bed was "king sized" and as I tend to stay on the outside wall side of our rooms, there was no room for me to get in and out the side of the bed - which at 73 can become an "issue" in the middle of the night if you get my drift. I literally had to crawl off then end of the bed, use the facilities, then crawl back which....well, it wasn't a lot of fun. Also interesting was the lack of 120 VAC outlets - there weren't any. Well, there was one, but it didn't work. All the lamps had USB ports which is an interesting change from the last ship we were one. Fortunately, I did have USB cables with me for all the devices we had, but a lack of 120 VAC I couldn't not charge my shortwave radio which was disappointing. However, the room itself seemed to be in decent condition given the age of the ship. The Miracle is definitely showing her age. Most of the common areas, including the theater, the upholstery was showing wear and tear. Carpeting in places was worn (but not through), two of the elevators in the stern had a mind of their own it seemed being very temperamental when more than four people were onboard. These elevators would go up, then down or just refuse to move occasionally - one learned to avoid those two affected elevators creating a traffic issue at times outside the Bacchus dining room. The forward restrooms near the theater entrance were horrible - the commodes refused to flush at times and the rooms themselves were dirty and clearly over used as there weren't enough towels to use after washing hands. The excursions were OK - our main purpose was to take our Grandson to the Grand Cayman Sea Turtle Research facility and that kept him fascinated the whole time he was there. Cozumel was a great excursion with the Mayan games, dancers and the other side shows. The only "issue" was Belize - that was flat out the worst of the excursions. Frankly, Carnival should have given Belize a pass - the sea state was awful, boarding the tenders was extremely dangerous and the access point for the tenders was low to the water requiring a rather hazardous trip down wet, slippery stairs with minimal personnel to assist those who may have needed assistance. The half hour tender trip into Belize City was rough and given my back and hip issues, not a lot of fun. We did the Top Ten Belize excursion and it was ok - not great, but ok. Camp Ocean was a hit with our Grandson so that was a plus - he liked the counselor and the kids were kept entertained which at his age (9 Years) is an accomplishment. Overall, the Lido deck buffet was adequate, but the service end was lacking in "service". Dirty dishes sat on tables for lengthy periods of time, there seemed to be a lack of personnel to clean off tables, clean tables, etc. The food was nothing to write home about - its pretty sad when the one highlight on the buffet was pepperoni pizza. It was certainly not up to the standards we've had on other Carnival ships. Dining was another issue. In the past, Carnival's dinners were more than adequate - again, not high end dining, but certainly acceptable. This time, the dinners were - well frankly, horrible. Either under cooked or over cooked - never consistent. For instance, I had the vegetable lasagna and it was a congealed mass of cheesy fat, not hot, but barely warm - just not good. Prime rib is one that I normally enjoy, but I like my meat medium - it came out well done and was shoe leather tough. The salad was good, but it's hard to screw up a salad. Debarkation was a disaster for us. We were given debark information from Guest Services that directly contradicted what we were told originally when we boarded. We were not given debarkation priority because of this misinformation. Again, it seemed as if the left hand had no idea what the right hand was doing. Overall, it would appear that the Miracle is having some personnel issues and perhaps some middle management issues. We have been on more than one Carnival cruise being Diamond level customers so when I say that by comparison to other Carnival cruises, this one rated the lowest of all - it has it's good/great points, but those were directly related to the excursions (with the exception of Belize). This appears to be an issue with Carnival as the trips we've taken each has been a little less enjoyable than the previous. Given our experience with this cruise, we feel that sticking with Princess or Royal Caribbean would be better. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2019
We took the cruise to see Cuba. The first stop was Key West, which was great (as always) but way too short of a stopover. Cuba is a beautiful country and most of the people we met were quite nice, but guarded, The tour guides could hardly ... Read More
We took the cruise to see Cuba. The first stop was Key West, which was great (as always) but way too short of a stopover. Cuba is a beautiful country and most of the people we met were quite nice, but guarded, The tour guides could hardly speak English and were propaganda robots for the Cuban government, but the Taxi driver was great (and he got a big tip). My biggest problems were the following: (1) the Cuban Government rips off Americans on the money exchange ($86.00 back per $100.00 getting off the boat and another charge to redeem the CUCs for Dollars); (2) the Cuban Government says Americans can't use Dollars and charge cards, but we saw numerous places and tourists who accepted them or paid with them; (3) We tried to do an evening cabaret show excursion through Carnival (for $75.00), but when we tried to board the bus, we were refused entry because we wore dress shorts; the ticket did say no shorts but the print was so small it was unreadable and had a line through it, which in legal terms should have meant it did not apply; the bus agent would not give us time to go back on the ship and change, even though we were told by friends the bus waited 20 minutes more for other people (of course, there was no refund for the excursion); and (4) even though Carnival sells onshore excursions in Havana after 8:00 PM, and knows the money exchanges close at 8 PM, and there is no way to exchange the CUCs upon returning to the ship because Carnival refuses to provide this service and leaves port before 8:00 AM. I wonder if Carnival gets a percentage of the rip-off. Overall, the Carnival dining experience has gone way down from past years (at least on the Paradise), and the company does not give a hoot about how its passengers get ripped off for money by being able to exchange CUCs for Dollars after coming back to the ship after an evening excursion. Also, what we saw of Havana was mostly very poor; there are many old classical buildings with great architecture, which have either collapsed or are in the process of collapsing because nothing has been done to preserve them. Bottom line: Save you money and tour another country - preferably on another cruise line. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2019
My sister and I wanted to see Cuba and I am glad we went when we did since it seems now restrictions for travel there may be put back in place very soon. The ship is older and smaller but went through renovations last year. Rooms were ... Read More
My sister and I wanted to see Cuba and I am glad we went when we did since it seems now restrictions for travel there may be put back in place very soon. The ship is older and smaller but went through renovations last year. Rooms were adequate in size but no sofa or table and a very small desk area. We ended up rearranging the 2 beds from side by side set up, which gave almost no clearance between a bed and the desk, to putting the nightstands next to the desk and placing the twin beds at a 45 degree angle (head to head along the window side and the wall opening up the middle of the room. We had one of the recently added balcony rooms near the aft of the ship (U215). We great for popping out for photos and air drying my hair in the breeze! There are 2 drawers and some shelves when you first walk in and 2 closets. We didn't even use one of the closets! The shelf area had your safe (number code, not swipe a card) and a small "chiller"/cooler (not really a refrigerator) Our cruise director was Mel (Mellesa D) She was a great Tina Turner at the Motown party and also an energetic hostess at the 80 music trivia party. Our favorite Fun Squad member was Texas Ty (Tyler). He kept the games and trivia hopping & fun! Be on the look out for his red cowboy boots! We did not gamble, nor attend any big shows. Our shore excursions in Key West and Havana we done on our own. Embarkation was a breeze but we are platinum. On board by 11:15am. Debarkation was super fast as we took off our own luggage and were street side by 7:30AM. Key West: we were at the Naval base and had to take Conch Trains into town. No biggie but if you are not in a hurry, wait about 45 mins before getting off and you will get right on the train. We rode the Free air conditioned Duval Loop bus and got on & off where we wanted to. Havana: got up early to get a sticker for groups getting off the ship on their own. Carnival lets their excursions off first then they call groups by stickers letter. We had group A. They must have been waiting for stragglers for the Carnival excursions because they called A, B, & C to get off if you were ready. We planned on meeting our I Read Less
Sail Date: April 2019
We chose this cruise on the Carnival Paradise for one reason and one reason only - CUBA. The itinerary was exactly what we were looking for: only 5 days as we were leaving our 4 year old home w/ the grandparents and two ports Havana and ... Read More
We chose this cruise on the Carnival Paradise for one reason and one reason only - CUBA. The itinerary was exactly what we were looking for: only 5 days as we were leaving our 4 year old home w/ the grandparents and two ports Havana and Key West (which we also love). SHIP: We had not cruised on a Fantasy class ship in over 10 years, so I wasn't sure how we would like it compared to the larger ships we've sailed on (Breeze/Vista etc.). We actually really enjoyed the smaller ship. It had the Funship 2.0 upgrades (Guy's Burgers, Blue Iguana Cantina, Waterworks) that we loved on other ships but not nearly the crowds we've experienced in the past. We never waited more than a couple minutes for anything - drinks at the bars, lines for foods, elevators. We knew the ship was sold out, but it never felt that way. The ship itself was in good condition - I didn't notice any major areas of disrepair and we didn't get any of the bad odors that I've seen mentioned elsewhere. The only thing to note is that the water in our toilet and sink had a yellowish tint to it on occasion. I first noticed it in the toilet - I thought it hadn't been flushed so I flushed it again and when the bowl refilled it was still yellow. It took several more flushes for it to fill up with clear water. If we would fill the sink it would also sometimes be yellow. I didn't notice anything in the shower though. It didn't really impact us other than I would use bottled water to wash my face and brush my teeth. CABIN: We booked cabin M230, a balcony near the aft of the ship on Main deck (deck 5) on the port side. The cabin was great. We had adequate storage for the two of us which included two closets (one had a shelf in the middle so could not be used for long dresses) and four of five shelves for storage. The safe was huge - my sister could fit her laptop in her safe easily! The bathroom only had one shelf above the sink, but it was ok for the two of us. The vanity area had two small corner shelves for storage and one drawer which housed the hair dryer and had little extra room for other things. There was also an in-cabin refrigerator which we didn't use. We had our two twin beds converted into a king size bed which was very comfortable. Unlike balcony cabins on larger ships, this cabin did not have a sofa or table. The balcony itself seemed like it was the same size as other ships' standard balconies. We had two chairs and a table on the balcony. I did note that the doors to the balconies did not have the tendency to slam shut like on other ships. Our cabin steward was Giri and he was great. He kept our ice bucket full and our cabin cleaned and stocked each day. One day he wrote a Happy Anniversary message to us on our vanity mirror! It was super cute and sweet! FOOD: Overall, the food we had was very good quality. We had breakfast in the main dining room 2 or 3 times and our service was always very quick even on ordering drinks. I had just eggs and bacon both days for breakfast. The other days we had breakfast on the Lido deck (either breakfast burritos or food from the buffet). Lunches were almost always from Guys or Blue Iguana. I don't think we ever got lunch from the buffet. Several in our group got sandwiches from the Deli and raved about the BLT, but lines here could be a little longer. I also got Sushi from the small Bonsai Sushi stand one day and it was great. You really get a lot of sushi for $7.50! It more than filled me up! We had dinner in the main dining room three of the five nights. Since we had a larger group, most of us elected to have our bookings linked so we could be seated together at the late seating in the aft dining room. The first night our service was pretty slow, but things seemed to improve as the week went on. We did get drink service at our table at least once each night. The food in the main dining was very good. I usually ordered a couple appetizers and one main dish. One evening I upgraded my dinner to the Filet Mignon on the Steakhouse Selections menu ($20 cost). On the last night of the cruise, 5 members of our group participated in the Chef's Table. We had a little bit of a snafu with our Chef's Table reservation. I had reserved for our group back in June, 2018 and had a confirmation email from the Paradise Maitre D. I had read that you would get a note in your cabin once onboard letting you know what night your Chef's Table experience would be. By day three we hadn't received anything, so I went down to the Guest Services to inquire. The girl working the desk said she did not show up signed up for the Chef's Table. I showed her the email confirmation and she said that she would have to reach out to the Maitre D who was currently off duty. My sister and I went back to Guest Services in the morning and talked to someone else. They had the Asst. Maitre D and another dining room staff member come out and talk to us. They told us that both that night and the following night's Chef Tables were already at capacity but they would see what they could do for us and let us know that evening at dinner. Ultimately they were able to accommodate us on the last night of the cruise. The Chef's Table is $75 but it was so worth it. It started with our group meeting in the lobby area where we were given glasses of champagne. Then we took a short tour of the galley where we had four different small appetizers served to us and were shown how Carnival's famous Chocolate Melting Cake is made. We then were seated at tables in the Library for a 7 course feast - dishes included gourmet breads, a beet/panacotta appetizer, crab stack appetizer, duck, a tomato bisque soup, sea bass, beef wagyu and a dessert plate with four mini dessert options. During the entire dinner, both red and white wines are free-flowing. We did have someone in our group with some dietary restrictions which were accommodated for her. SERVICE: As is the norm in our experience with Carnival, the entire staff was friendly, hard-working and courteous with the exception of the first Guest Services person I spoke to about our Chef's Table reservation. Not sure why, but I find Guest Services to usually be the least helpful people on the ship. Everyone else from our dining room staff, maitre d, bar servers, cabin staff, spa staff, etc. SHIP ACTIVITIES: My sister and I had a "couples massage" on one of our sea days (her treat as a birthday present for me). The massage itself was very good and the two girls working on us were great! The room itself was a little on the cool side and they didn't have heated tables so I was a bit chilly during most of my massage. They did give us the product sell afterwards, but I'm pretty good at saying no to that stuff! LOL We went to one of the comedy shows and I did not find that guy funny. We did not catch any of the production shows this time around. The band playing outside of the casino bar was awesome! They usually played 80's music and always had a big crowd! Even when the nightclub had an "80's Party", this band drew a bigger crowd. They were so much fun to watch! Karaoke seemed to be a big draw as well. I really never felt that any of the bars or lounges were over crowded. I also spent some time in the casino. I did fairly well on blackjack but gave it all back playing three card poker and texas hold 'em. The casino itself did not seem very smokey, but the smoke was noticeable at the one side of the casino bar that allows smoking. PORTS: Tampa - This was our first time cruising from the Port of Tampa and I would do it again in a heartbeat! We flew down the day before and stayed at the Hampton Inn & Suites Ybor City. The hotel was just okay - standard Hampton Inn. The pool area was tiny and only had a few lounge chairs and was not fully in the sun. The rooms were pretty standard. Our only real complaint about the hotel room was the volume of the a/c unit. It was very loud which made it hard to sleep. The hotel provides a free shuttle anywhere within a three mile radius of the hotel. We used Lyft to get to the port as we didn't want to wait for the shuttle and go with a crowd of other people. Embarkation and disembarkation at the Port of Tampa were the fastest and easiest of any of my 18 cruises. We arrived at the Port around 10:50 and were able to walk right through the priority line and were through security in a matter of minutes. When we got to the check-in desk, there was no line whatsoever. The agents checked our paperwork, gave us our Visa's and sent us to the Priority waiting area. We only waited there about 5-10 minutes before boarding began. Since we are Platinum, we were among the first to board and were on the ship by 11:15. Disembarkation was the same way. We were heading to the meeting area for those carrying off their luggage by 7:25. My husband stopped at the little cafe area on deck 9 and ordered a coffee and by 7:34 they were calling for Self-Assist passengers to head to the Lobby to disembark. Getting off the ship was easy, customs was a breeze and we were outside the building waiting for our Lyft by 7:50. In fact, we were at the airport, checked-in, through security and at our gate by 8:45! So easy! Key West - We have been to Key West several times on cruises and also honeymooned there. Most of our group elected to book the Key West Pub Crawl tour through Carnival. This was my third time doing the tour. It's always alot of fun. For the cost of the tour, you visit 5 different Key West bars and are given a ticket for a free drink (either their specialty drink, well cocktail or domestic beer). It's a walking tour, but you aren't going that far between stops. We visited Tree Bar, Flying Monkey (where you can get any of their frozen concoctions), Hard Rock Cafe, Sandbar and Rick's. Along the way the guide talks about Key West and engages with the group. There is also a conch blowing contest for those inclined to give it a try (NOTE - I won this last time we did this tour!). After the tour, we walked around the Mallory Square area a bit and then headed back to the ship. We did not dock at the main pier on this trip. We were docked at the military base. They had conch trains set up to shuttle people between the ship and the Mallory Square area. The trains ran about every 15 minutes or so. Havana, Cuba - This was the real draw of this cruise. Our ship was scheduled to be in Havana from 7AM until 6AM the following morning. 15 of the 18 in our group booked a private tour through I Love Cuba Photo Tours. We were to meet our guide, Yosel, at 9AM. One member of our group got up early and got in line to get stickers to get off of the ship. We were in group C. We had planned to meet at 8AM at the Blue Iguana and exit the ship together. By 8AM, Carnival was well past group C so we were able to pretty much just walk off the ship. When we got to the customs area, there were several lines formed. Of course, I picked the slow line! But it still only took us about 7-10 minutes to get through the customs line. The customs agent takes your Visa and Passport and they supposedly do a infrared temperature scan. If your temp is over 98.6 you are sent for further screening before being allowed to enter the country. No one in our group had this issue. Once through customs, we headed to the currency exchange line. This also went very quickly. We exchanged $300 US dollars for 261 CUCs. There are restrooms near the currency exchange so everyone decided to take care of business before heading out of the terminal. Once we got outside, we took a right and walked about 5 minutes to a bus stop. This is where we were to meet Yosel. We were initially supposed to meet him at the rum factory to the left once you exit the terminal. But Yosel contacted me the day prior while we were docked in Key West and said they were no longer allowing tour pick ups there. He had also contacted a friend who works on the Paradise and asked her to relay the message in case he wasn't able to reach me. We were able to find him easily at our new meeting spot. Our tour was a full day tour with four hard top Classic Cars with A/C. Each car fit four of us plus the driver and our guide who is also a professional photographer. You provide them an SD card and they take all of the photos for you. It was great cause I was able to just enjoy the tour and not worry about capturing moments on camera. After the tour, you get to take your SD card (and photos) with you! They did a great job of capturing candid moments as well as staging us for group pics. We visited the following places: Fusterlandia - artistic area of Havana Forrest area located in central Havana - this is where a lot of religious sacrifices and rituals like baptisms take place. Revolution Plaza - where Castro used to hold his marathon speeches Lunch at El Cocinero - we researched and picked the place we wanted to eat lunch at Hotel Nacional - landmark hotel El Morro fort Cigar factory/store Malecon Also drove through other various parts of Havana including the "ghetto" and central business district After the tour, we were taken back to the port area. Some of our group explored near the port area for a while before taking a taxing to the Vedado area of Havana for dinner. We had dinner at a Paladar (private in-home restaurant) called La Narajos. The menu here constantly changes based on what they can get at market. Our waitress set up a chalkboard and easel next to our table and ran through the options with us. My lobster dinner was huge and was only $25. After a great meal, we took a taxi back to the port area where we spend the next couple hours just hitting up a few bars sipping on mojitos and listening to the local musicians. We headed back to the ship around 10:30PM. A few things to note about Havana: * We never felt unsafe at all even walking around at night. The people there are very friendly and not aggressive at all. * Buildings and streets are often in disrepair. You do have to be aware when walking at night because areas of the sidewalks have holes or other hazards which are hard to see because the streets are not well lit. * Overall we found things to be very reasonably priced. Our lunch was about $50-60 total for my husband and I and that includes a couple shared appetizers, two entrees and a couple drinks. Our dinner was a bit pricier, but still not bad for a nice dinner out. Taxi prices seemed to depend on whether you flagged down a classic car or regular yellow taxi (classic car was $20 for four of us from the port to dinner, yellow taxi was $10 for four us from dinner back to the port). Supposedly you can negotiate, but we didn't attempt to. These people make so little, that it didn't feel right to try to talk them down. * English speaking in Cuba is hit or miss. Our tour guides spoke flawless English. But in the stores and bars, most people seemed to know just enough to take care of our drink orders. At both restaurants we went to, our services spoke great English. * We had heard prior to getting to Cuba that you had to pay to use restroom facilities and that most do not provide toilet paper. We took a handful of tissues off the ship with us just in case. But we really did not encounter this. At the last bar we went to, a lady tried to get my husband to give her money after he came out of the bathroom, but he just said he didn't speak Spanish and walked past her. *It is VERY hot in Havana and also humid. I wouldn't book a Convertible for a full day tour. You would get pretty beat up by that hot sun! Our tour did include about an hour in a convertible and that was enough for us! The rest of the time we were in hard top cars with AC. And the drivers are VERY particular about their cars - do not slam the doors shut too hard and watch the curbs when you open the door so as to not scrape them on the pavement. Overall, it was a great trip and I wouldn't hesitate to visit Cuba again. There is so much to see and do there! We do regret not taking in the Buena Vista Social Club show and would love to do that next time. I hope our government keeps the options for visiting Cuba open long term! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
I chose this cruise to go visit Cuba and Key West with my husband. Carnival has found a way to nickel and dime you even when you pay for all such as drink package. No bartenders except in serenity that were eager to serve you. Anton was ... Read More
I chose this cruise to go visit Cuba and Key West with my husband. Carnival has found a way to nickel and dime you even when you pay for all such as drink package. No bartenders except in serenity that were eager to serve you. Anton was awesome and the only one to come back and keep us happy. All other bars you had to go to them and wait! Since they do automatic gratuity you get poor service. Food was ok....best thing was guys cheeseburgers. Tiny cups for water. Soda was flat that was part of my drink package. Not much entertainment during the day. Comedy shows were pretty good. One pool for whole ship. Definitely outdated even though it says remodeled in 2019. Would not recommend. Budget vacation/ budget ship! Very disappointed. We bought alcohol and was told by airport that cruise ship should have given us a bag for carrying it on plane-nope didn’t happen so we lost alcohol at security. Mel the cruise ship director was kind of rude. She didn’t have great things going on to engage cruisers. We could have visited Cuba on Tuesday and spent more time in Key West. Went on Monday to Cuba and all Museums are closed on Mondays...... Had to pay a $75/pp visa to go to Cuba. Our room attendant did a great job! Greeted us by first name every time we saw him! Asked me what I wanted done on a daily basis whether I needed more towels etc. he was always smiling!! Read Less
Sail Date: April 2019
We chose this cruise because the ship was sailing out of Tampa and was going to Havana. We are avid cruisers and have sailed out of Tampa before. This trip provided us with opportunity to visit with family in the Tampa area and to go ... Read More
We chose this cruise because the ship was sailing out of Tampa and was going to Havana. We are avid cruisers and have sailed out of Tampa before. This trip provided us with opportunity to visit with family in the Tampa area and to go to Cuba . Embarkation is Tampa is usually better than Port Canaveral and this proved no exception. We also had FTF for the first time. THE GOOD DINING ROOM -----our experience here was not just good it was excellent! Ayu and her staff were the best that we have ever had. The staff shows were fun and the food was better than on the Breeze. At times it was very good. We ate all of our breakfasts and dinners in the Dining Rooms. Dinners were Early Dining in the Destiny. The décor is modern, with no tablecloths(except for elegant night). I liked it. Bacon, Hash Rounds and eggs cooked your way were the best. Pancakes were rubbery and the cereal crusted French toast at brunch was terrible. CABIN-----Spacious, modern and clean with new features such as soft close drawers and USB ports. However, only small bench at desk and no other seating. Our cabin R35 was noisy with the bow hitting the waves often. STAFF------This is the friendliest staff that we have encountered. EXCURSION------Ship excursion, Easy Fusterlandia in Havana was the BEST that we have had. Our group of 7 all thought that it was excellent and the highlight of our cruise. It included a professional show with music and dancing ; we also had a gourmet lunch with Mohito and wine included. CASINO-----The casino was small but had all new machines. The BAD KEY WEST--Getting off of the ship in Key West was a total disaster(in my opinion) Since the ship docks at the Navy Pier, everyone has to be shuttled into town. The halls were jam packed with people and you could not get an elevator. It was the worst that I have ever experienced. ELEVATORS---extremely slow PIZZA----In my opinion, it is just plain bad and not worth waiting for. This has been true of the pizza on my last 3 carnival cruises. They need a new recipe and a new system. THE UGLY--- THE ATRIUM---the atrium and promenade, in my opinion are just plain ugly! The brown on brown and mustard colors are dark and depressing and the first impression as you board is not a good one. It screams old and ugly! Overall we enjoyed our cruise because we were with family and seeing Cuba was awesome. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2019
First off embarkation and debarkation were a total breeeze. Everything went smoothly and getting off the ship in Cuba and through customs was about a 10 minute process. Everyone was extremely organized. I have read other horror stories ... Read More
First off embarkation and debarkation were a total breeeze. Everything went smoothly and getting off the ship in Cuba and through customs was about a 10 minute process. Everyone was extremely organized. I have read other horror stories about going through customs in Cuba and in my experience they were all exaggerations. The upgrades to the states rooms were well thought, as we all know outlets are usually an issue in older ships. There were four usb plugs in my interior room which was spacious with plenty of closet and storage space. The ship itself is a little quirky but I got the hang of it. I am not a fan of a ship that you can not walk straight through (it’s a minor inconvenience and mainly something you adjust to after the first two days on board) the atrium is beautiful but has a lack of seating. This ship also has one pool which wasn’t an issue on our cruise but I can imagine it being packed on a cruise with more families/children. Food overall was great. Guys and blueiguana are my go to for lunch on this ship as the lido deck is more limited than other larger ships. Dinning room service and meals were some of the best I have had. The one thing that fell flat was the pizza. Carnival usually has the best pizza and it’s something I enjoy having late at night once the day is wrapping up but there was something so off about the pizza on this ship. Had it once and didn’t bother trying it again. The standout port on this trip and the reason I even booked it was Cuba. I mentioned above reading several “horror” stories of getting through customs in Cuba and either those were inaccurate or Cuba and the cruise line have learned how to stream line this process. You will have to fill out your visa which carnival gives you at embarkation. If you’re not sure how to fill it out or want to make sure you do it correctly guest services can give you an example of a complete visa or it will be in your fun times printout the day before you arrive to Havana. We booked an excursion through carnival. Culinary traditions and Cuba. It was hands down the best excursion. Our tour guide Viviana made the excursion she was informative and answered everyone’s questions. We started with a walking tour then drove down the Malecón. Had an amazing lunch at the Habana Libre hotel with a band and dancers. From there we went to plaza de revolucion, took pictures with old fashioned cars before finishing our excursion with shopping and a Cuba pairing of cigars, coffee and rum. If you’re thinking of going to Cuba do it and do it now. Cuba is changing that much is obvious and if you want to see it before it does don’t wait just go. Read Less
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