Sail Date: November 2014

My family and I were very excited to take a cruise that we’d been planning and looking forward to for almost a year. When the day of the trip finally arrived, everyone was excited as we climbed into two large Super Shuttle vans to ... Read More

My family and I were very excited to take a cruise that we’d been planning and looking forward to for almost a year. When the day of the trip finally arrived, everyone was excited as we climbed into two large Super Shuttle vans to take the 14 of us to Long Beach Harbor.

Unfortunately, only one of our vans made it to the ship on time as the driver of the other van went to the wrong harbor. We hadn’t even boarded the ship and yet we were already worried half our family would be left behind. Luckily we had ordered the shuttles to pick us up extra early, so the lost driver made it back to Long Beach in time.

We hoped that was going to be the only bump in our journey, but sadly, it was just the beginning. From the minute we boarded the ship we felt an intensely strong vibration in all five of our rooms. If you lay down on the bed, it was like laying on one of those old motel beds with a quarter slot-machine next to the bed to make it vibrate. Sadly for us the there was no “off” button. We hoped the vibrating might stop once the boat left the dock and heard a few others wondering the same.

We had five balcony cabins mid-ship on the 7th deck, which we were told was one of the better locations on the ship for rooms. When the ship finally left the port of Long Beach, the vibrating did not stop. Five in our family went to Guest Services to complain and ask what was going on and each of us were told a different excuse (each of which turned out to be fiction). You could barely focus on a book in bed because of the vibrating, but worse was that was it made it difficult to sleep. We were told once that the vibration was from the weather, but we had beautiful calm seas for most all the trip. We were also told that it was just the size of the ship and a little vibration was normal. Guest Services kept assuring us it would get better. It never did. It wasn’t just “a little” vibration, it was more like the ship had Parkinson’s.

We finally went online and discovered an article posted by Carnival in April of this year which explained that the Miracle actually had a propulsion problem and all they were planning on doing was to cruise a little slower and not make any real repairs until the Spring of 2015. It seems wrong to post your ships troubles on the internet and then turn around and lie to the faces of your paying guests. My family felt that the Carnival people must think us a bit “slow” to tell each of us a different excuse about the problem with the boat. We would have preferred an honest answer and an apology instead of being lied to directly.

We did enjoy the food very much, but our seating at Dinner was bad. We had requested two adjacent tables for our large group (like our previous cruise), but instead they slid two tables together to accommodate us all at one long narrow table which forced any on the inside to either crawl under the table to get out or ask everyone to get up and move coming in and getting out. It was not comfortable or enjoyable. The service was barely adequate (many ordered items were forgotten) but we tried to remain calm so as not to upset the staff and get worse service. We did, however, enjoy the shows onboard and the service for the cabins.

This was our second Thanksgiving Family Cruise with Carnival Cruises… and after this experience, it will be our last. My family and friends will never cruise with Carnival again.


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Sail Date: November 2014

We enjoyed our 7 day vacation on the Carnival Miracle to the Mexican Riviera. I will start with the many good aspects of our trip and finish with few areas for improvement. This review focuses on the cruise itself and the things we ... Read More

We enjoyed our 7 day vacation on the Carnival Miracle to the Mexican Riviera. I will start with the many good aspects of our trip and finish with few areas for improvement. This review focuses on the cruise itself and the things we experienced. We vacationed with a small child so we didn't spend much time on the night time activities.

The Good:

Value, we paid about $100 per person per day which is a great deal for your cabin, three meals a day (or more), onboard entertainment, pool area etc. You get a great deal for what you pay. Don't expect a 5 star luxury vacation without paying for a 5 star luxury vacation.

Food, we have been on several previous Carnival cruises and the food in the main dining room food used to be really good from about 2005 to 2010 then went down in quality the last few years. I am happy to report the food in the main dining room returned to very good to excellent on this cruise. Just about every meal was really good (flat iron steak, lamb, lobster, salmon, prime rib etc). It is like you're eating a fine restaurant every night. Get the chocolate melting cake for dessert, it was delicious.

This ship overall is nice Public areas were well kept and clean. Be sure to check out Gatsby's Garden. The public areas of the ship are on the lower decks and most guest cabins are on the upper decks. Even though the ship was full with about 2500 people, the pool area was never overly crowded like I've seen on the shorter 3 day weekend cruises. We always found some recliners while enjoying the pool and hot tubs.

Camp Carnival: we vacationed with our 2 year old daughter and she loved Camp Carnival. She actually ran down the row of cabins to get to Camp Carnival when she realized where she was headed. The staff seemed very nice and there are lots of planned activities to keep the children occupied and happy. We would drop off our little one for an hour or two here and there for a little adult time on the ship.

Staff: our cabin Steward was friendly and did a good job keeping our cabin nice. Our main Waiter Eva was excellent as well as her assistants. The crew on these ships work very hard and we appreciate all they do they take care of us. Unfortunately, some guests treat the crew poorly and are very demanding toward them.

Areas for improvement:

Embarkation: Awful, the worst ever we've ever experienced. It took 3 hours to get on the ship. Several other cruisers said the same, it was awful. I heard the reason was the ship was late getting into port but not sure if that was the reason or not. Rude Carnival staff in the Long Beach Dome yelling at people to move from here to there. Very disorganized. You would think since they do this process every Saturday embarkation would run smoothly. Lots of room for improvement here.

Debarkation: poor. It took us about 1.5 hours to get off the ship and we carried our own luggage. Again, they do this every Saturday and it should be well organized and efficient. Not sure what the problem was . I have exited other Carnival ships in about 30 minutes carrying my own luggage.

Rude people: this is not Carnival's fault but worth mention. Something about buffets that seem to bring out the worst in some people. Some people literally push you though the buffet line, cut in line, rudely grab and reach over you to get their food quickly. We have seen this behavior on several Carnival cruises we have taken, not sure if this happens on other cruise lines as well. There is so much food on the ship there is no need for people to be rude about filling up their plates.


Overall, we had real nice 7 day vacation on Carnival Miracle. It was our second time doing this exact cruise and we would do it again too :) Great value for all you get and even more so if you have kids that will likely enjoy Camp Carnival.


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Sail Date: November 2014

This review is for our seven day cruise on the Carnival Miracle sailing round trip from Long Beach to Cabo, Mazatlán and Puerto Vallarta. It will be our last cruise with Carnival. We have cruised 15 times and 4 have been with ... Read More

This review is for our seven day cruise on the Carnival Miracle sailing round trip from Long Beach to Cabo, Mazatlán and Puerto Vallarta. It will be our last cruise with Carnival. We have cruised 15 times and 4 have been with Carnival. We have been to these ports many times. This is not one of those “there was nothing edible on board or the crew was fighting all the time” reviews. To the contrary we had a great cruise, but read all the way through.

The weather was great. Sea days were balmy, with a slight breeze and calm seas. Tropical clouds filled the horizon. The seas were so calm the entire cruise we commented that one couldn’t feel the ship moving. Usually on the northbound return large swells are encountered in this part of the Pacific, but not on this cruise. Sunrises through the clouds were dazzling. Sunsets beautiful with an especially dramatic sunset in Puerto Vallarta. The sky was so filled with various shades of red that the high rise resort windows along the coast glowed like light sticks. The weather in ports was also mild. In fact, Puerto Vallarta was almost chilly in the morning.

We saw dolphins jumping and following us on several occasions, flying fish and at a distance whale spouts. As we sailed south the water turned a light blue.

The Miracle is in good shape. Saw nothing worn, broken or outdated. We loved the theme in the halls of posters of great literary works. The end of our hall had a profile of Sherlock Holmes and outside our stateroom was Hercule Poirot, my wife’s favorite. The Great Gatsby’s Secret Garden was well done and a relaxing hideaway.

We had a wonderful room steward and his assistant was a continuous source of laughs for us. Always smiling, joking and wishing us well on shore.

There were 438 children aboard. We must say, not because we have grandchildren, that the kids behavior was exceptional. Courteous, no rough housing or loudness and parents always accompanied them. Carnival does provide many supervised activities for youth and this can give parents some private time.

The slot machines were generous. Hit a $60 bonus and for the trip we made a few dollars. That’s a first. Of course the large Bloody Mary’s in the morning helped with the luck. I bought a deck used Carnival Casino cards for $1. There is a shaved groove on each side to prevent casino reuse, but otherwise like new with the Carnival logo. I believe most ship casinos offer these decks for $1.

We ate in the main dining room twice. The room is decorated in bright colors, globes and is awesome. The first day at sea dinner offered lobster and I asked for two and my wife asked for prime rib to go with her lobster. No problem. Service was friendly and fast. Ordered wine that arrived before appetizers. The second meal was prime rib night. Same great service and second portions. Staff did the farewell tribute to cruisers. Couldn’t ask for anything more.

We also ate at the specialty Nick and Nora restaurant. A cover charge of $35 per person applies. Another classic meal. Lobster and filet for me and a giant rib-eye for my wife. The table was along the window, semi-private and it seemed like our wait staff were only there for us. All courses were delicious.

In Cabo San Lucas we walked along the marina area and did some shopping. Talked to people from the ship. There is a cantina right on the walkway that we like where we had a couple margaritas and a giant nachos and cheese plate in our front row seats. Later we walked and shopped some more as the sun set. The temperature cooled down and it was refreshing for Cabo. There was quite a line for the tenders, so we had a couple more margaritas at the last cantina before the dock. Again, saw and visited with people in line that we had met on board. The group that had a wedding at one of the hotels arrived with gowns in tow. They said the wedding and party was great. We ended up seated in the bridge by the tender Captain for the ride to the ship. It was dark and the ship was pretty all lit up. The captain actually stopped the tender, moved into a good view position and his mate took a picture of us with the ship in background. Very nice.

Mazatlán was the next port. It was only the second time a Carnival ship had called since the security restrictions that placed the port off limits were lifted. We weren’t sure exactly what has happened that caused the cruise industry to avoid the port for two years. Rumor was tourist mugging and drug war lord activity. Also it was announced that agreement had been reached to enhance security, but no details were provided. We did see Tourist Police, Federal Police, Municipal Police, and Transit Police everywhere. Everywhere, in cars, on foot, in SUV’s, in trucks and on motorcycles. All with the red and blue lights blinking and speeding up and down every street. Many had troops standing with M-16’s slung over their shoulders. Even observed an “inspector” checking vendors along the beach where the tourist buses stop .Seemed like a little excessive but we felt safe.

We took a ship excursion to the beach area and saw cliff divers, many statues of sea life, a cathedral, the beach area, the highest lighthouse in the western hemisphere and a little of old Mazatlán .Our guide was very informative and always reiterated meet times and safety tips. The bus was a double decker but short. The aisles were very narrow and some people had trouble moving in them. We saw a “Folkloric” show that was awesome. The special theater was comfortable and the sound was good. The dancers and their costumes were beautiful. We had a chance to shop and had lunch at a place called Margaritas in the tourist area. Open air, waiters that balance margaritas on their heads when delivering, and good food.

The next port was Puerto Vallarta. We toured tequila factories with a ship tour. The guide, Jose was one we had in the past an excellent. The first factory had 10 different tastings. Besides the usual, there was coffee, amaretto (umm…good) and peach. Had some tacos and beans there. Very good with native cactus or nepal. The second stop also involved 10 tastings. Unique was vanilla crème and walnut. The latter was very good. We then drove through the country side, stopped to shop and drove through old Puerto Vallarta. Mandatory stops to observe iguanas, statuary along the malecon, the cathedral and the old cobble streets. As always, we ended the shore day at the old cantina by the entrance to the ship area. On our first cruise this place was all by itself along the water. Improvements in the pier area have hidden it somewhat, but it’s still there. It’s a gathering place for returning cruisers and ship staff. We always run into people we have met on board there.

As I said, we had a wonderful cruise because the important things, like the weather, the sea, the sun rises and sunsets, the ports and marine life that we enjoy and are there regardless of what cruise brand you are on. Sitting on the veranda feeling a gentle warm breeze while listening to the sounds of the waves moving past the ship is so relaxing. We don’t let things upset us and our decision not to sail with Carnival again is based on events that puzzle us.

Embarkation was terrible. They say you must board between 1 and 3 pm. We arrived at 2:30 and the line stretched almost back to the Queen Mary. Once in the building we were moved from catacomb to catacomb, sometimes having to side step in sync to move our line. Got aboard around 4:15. Many people were very upset.

I think the disembarkation discussion would fit here. Also a disaster. We reported to designated areas at 830 am. We finally got to curbside with our luggage at 12:15 pm. It was total chaos as all the people waiting to board were everywhere. It was almost impossible to get to elevators in parking structure. Many people were very upset. The cruise director said that the hold up was the dock workers not being ready, then he said the authorities were not ready and finally he said too many passengers were petting the drug dogs causing delays. Come on! He also said this delay was rare.

The guys helping with luggage say this is routine. I agree. The drop off /pickup area is small. There is one small exit from the building. Carnival does not provide enough customs agents to process in a timely manner. This will never change unless they overhaul the facility.

On our first sea day our cabin ventilation malfunctioned. It would start and stop, sometimes blowing cool sometimes hot. I woke up sweating first night. Call the ships service desk and was told they would send someone “to educate me on the use of a thermostat”. A guy showed up and said we were at 78 degrees in the cabin. I told him it was at the coolest now. He called for someone to come and make repairs. We got a note saying the repair man had come by and the thermostat is working correctly. I called down and said the problem must be with what the thermostat is connected to. I was told all was working, they could do no more and when I said “but it’s too hot” I was told, “Well sir, that’s just the way it is”.

On the first sea day we attended the cruise director welcome aboard and port talk. We were told to move our clocks forward one hour that night and also the night we leave Cabo. We did that. The next morning I was bewildered when none of the food stations were open. I asked why and was told I was an hour early. I brought up the cruise directors direction and was told that could not have happened. Several guys standing by me said they heard the same thing. Oh well. Came back a little while later and saw a breakfast station open, food in all the bins, the cook at parade rest and appearing ready to serve. I grabbed a plate and was told I had to wait. I asked why and was told they could not open for 3 more minutes. I couldn’t believe it and asked why. I was told, “well sir, that’s just the way it is.” Sound familiar already?

Regarding the time changes. We set clocks forward two nights, then back two nights. So other than the first and last nights, the time was always changing. There was confusion on board. We’ve cruised with another brand that said use ship time. All ship excursions are ship time. If you go ashore on own, adhere to ship time. Pretty simple and not confusing.

At Cabo we anchored about noon. This is a tender port. The cruise director said excursion people got priority but that tender tickets would be available starting at 10 am. However, he said usually by 2 pm you can just walk off, there would be no wait. So about 2:00pm I went to the tender ticket person and was given #37. I said I just heard #2 called. How long before we would be going ashore with #37. He said to relax and enjoy the ship. I asked if he could please give me a rough estimate. He said over 2 hours. I said you’ve got to be kidding. The last tender back to the ship is 7:15pm, so why go ashore at 4:30pm? He looked away with that you are annoying me expression on his face and said, you you guessed it, “Well sir, that’s just the way it is”. Others said they were told the delay was because two other ships were here. I’ve been here when there were 4 ships. Also, they said it was too rough to use the lifeboats as auxiliary tenders. However I saw that the other two cruise ships were using their lifeboats with no problem.

So it was announced that ship arrived would arrive at Mazatlán an hour later than planned. So 9 am instead of 8 am. We had pre purchased excursion tickets that said report to the theater to stage at 8 am and the tour would start at 8:30 am. So I assumed these times would be also be moved forward, that is, theater at 9 am and tour start at 9:30am. After all, we couldn’t leave for a shore excursion a half hour before the ship docks. So I called to verify. I was told to do what the ticket says, regardless. I asked how could we eat if the food area did not open until 7:30 and get to our room to prepare for shore then get to the theater all in 30 minutes. You guessed it, she said “Sir, that is just the way it is” Well, we showed up around nine, but many had been waiting for an hour already. We still waited an hour and 15 minutes for some reason. I might add we were give labels with a tour number and assigned to a numerical waiting area. However the call to go was by tour name, and very difficult to understand. This resulted in a lot of confusion.

Some observations regarding the Horatio’s food court area. Seating is great. A lot of ocean view seats, comfortable booths and chair seats. The layout is such that food stations are separated into quads that some distance apart. In each quad there can be 4 stations. For example there may be a grill, oriental food, Italian food and a deli in a quad. But they may not all be open. In fact none are open except very specific times. Like say 11 am, and you want to have a snack, nothing will be open. Don’t try to eat dinner early, nothing open. People were perplexed and did not understand the intentional deprivation of nourishment. This is a cruise after all. I saw many people asking why they did this. They all left shaking their heads.

Also, say you go to the omelet bar. Good ones they are. But the toast is at the breakfast grill a hundred feet through a crowd away. And drinks are at a central location. No trays, so if you want a couple orange juices and coffees, it is a two trip journey through the crowd. Makes no sense to me, but I guess that’s just the way it is. On other cruise ships we sat, a server asked what beverages we would like and brought them. The food lines were organized so that in one easy pass you had what you needed.

On disembarkation day, as 12 noon approached and we had been waiting to disembark for over 31/2 hours, I went to the food court area in search a small morsel of nourishment. It appeared the Deli was open. I took a plate. Three voices yelled “we are closed”, and one officer said to me “move along”, as if I were a vagrant or petty thief. Unbelievable! I mean come on, throw an old dog a bone!

Well I got thinking. How can all this this be? It makes no sense. Carnival had 2400 eager happy cruisers show up on disembarkation day. I enjoy reading the blogs and roll calls. You know, people who post the number of days until we cruise, sharing packing tips, what to do at the ports, and so on. All very excited and happy customers. Then think of the ship, a beauty. And of course the best venue of all, the ocean, with its breezes, sun rises and sunsets, marine life and mystical diamond like sheen in the wake of the sun. It shouldn’t take much effort to keep your guests happy. A dream scenario for someone in the customer service business. You would have to intentionally go out of your way to make someone upset in this situation. That is what Carnival did. That’s the only conclusion I can come to.

So what is the root of the problem? It starts at the top. The description that best describes the ship staff attitude is “disdainful arrogance”. Check your dictionary. They look at the cruisers as those people that will come aboard and want this, expect that and do these things. How do we put up with them? That position is supported by the managers and I’m sure they have had training and have been told to resolve issues by saying “Well sir or madam, that just the way it is.” Translation, jump in the lake (ocean in this case!), so what, we don’t care and so on. Plug in your own more vulgar expressions.

It’s too bad. They had it made and blew it. What a shame. No need to tolerate that.

So I quote from Shakespeare’s As You Like It, (Act III, scene II, Orlando) with a message for Carnival;

“I do desire we may be better strangers”

…and that’s just the way it is!


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Sail Date: November 2014

We're local to Long Beach, so this was our latest in many Mexico cruises we've been on. Overall it was great, but just a few little annoyances and issues that need to be addressed on this ship and in port.

Embarkation was a ... Read More

We're local to Long Beach, so this was our latest in many Mexico cruises we've been on. Overall it was great, but just a few little annoyances and issues that need to be addressed on this ship and in port.

Embarkation was a mess, just like others have said here. We were lucky enough to be priority guests, but it still took a couple hours. Others said it took 3-4 hrs from the time the shuttle dropped them at the port - crazy. Promptness and scheduling is not this ship's strong point - more on that later.

The decor ranges from attractive (atrium and most public areas), to quirky (mad hatter's lounge with giant rabbits and such on the walls), to downright hideous (the purple-pimple room where you eat dinner - yuck).

Pools were great. Not very large but several to choose from, including the adult-only (aka: drinker's) pool.

The crowd this time seemed very experienced with cruising, and had their favorite routines all down to a system. Most I talked to had been on this cruise as many times as we have, or more! This made for good conversation in the hot tubs about excursions and activities.

Food was great for the most part. Flat iron steak was greatly improved over the shoe leather we had on the Inspiration. Chocolate melting cake was awesome as expected. Service for anytime dining was fast and wait-free. Was disappointed the Mongolian Wok wasn't on this ship, but the steak house was unbelievably good! Grilled 8-10oz lobster tail and a filet in a full 3-course meal with sides for $35? Hell yeah! ... and my wife's ribeye took up half the table!

Cabin was terrible. We were cabin 1218 (ocean view, but in almost in the bilge we were so low). Our steward was mostly MIA, frig didn't work well (and had someone's old empty cans in it), and there was almost no hot water pressure. Nothing like a nice cold shower when you're done using the ice-cold pool out in the cold Pacific. This ship also wobbles and rumbles along like an old Winnebago with a bent wheel, so sleep was at a premium all week.

As for the ports; this is what made it great! Cabo was a good time, albeit a short one because the ship was late (again, promptness and scheduling not a strong point). Had FTTF priority for tender, and a crew member literally escorted us to the door. Took us about 10min tops to get off the boat - others not so lucky with 2+hr wait. Went straight to Cabo Wabo and listened to a band. Eagles songs are great with the accent ("welcomb to de O'tel Cah-lee-fornia"). LOL!

Two days with an overnight in Puerto Vallarta was the highlight of the trip. We actually stayed at the Hilton all-inclusive resort about a 15min walk from the port. Huge edgeless lagoon pool on the beach, rooftop infinity pool overlooking the bay, free drinks, 4 free restaurants (one with cheeseburgers and fries on the beach), a sushi bar, and a huge room. Well worth the $200-$300/nt. We'll be back!

The ship then freaked us out by starting up the engines and blowing her horn for a drill at 8:00am. Thought it was leaving without us - "oh, sure, NOW it's early!" is all I could think of at breakfast. Actually turned out to be a false alarm and everything went as planned. Hated to leave that rooftop pool! Oh, well, back to the ship.

Entertainment aboard was mostly poor (again, back to the issues). We watched maybe 2min of the Beatles-themed stage show and left. It was tuned to a very elderly crowd. Then we discovered EVERYTHING was Beatles-themed that night - we went to the casino instead.

Piano bar was nice, but boring. The "sing-a-long" was more of a "watch a guy sing" session every time we went there. No effort to tell jokes, sing anything funny, or encourage participation or engagement of the audience at any time, so naturally people would walk in, have one drink, walk out (us included).

Most other entertainment options filled the time with annoying karaoke or talent shows.

The comedy club was good fun! Comedians were all very funny (a rare thing! Usually at least one bombs hard).

Debarkation was as much a nightmare as embarkation. Too few customs agents and long lines, but the porters were fast and efficient getting your luggage to the car - well worth the tip.

Suggestions: be prepared to gamble most of the time. Entertainment in the casino was much better than the main shows.


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1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2014

JeeperGirl said it best in her review on the Carnival form - The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.

PRICE - The price was great for us. In fact, it was super cheap. BUT ... you get what you pay for.

VIBE - When we first ... Read More

JeeperGirl said it best in her review on the Carnival form - The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.

PRICE - The price was great for us. In fact, it was super cheap. BUT ... you get what you pay for.

VIBE - When we first boarded, the vibe was good. There appeared to be a good mix of people and ages. By Day 2 we realized that we were on a Spring Break cruise in November. Saw people rudely demanding bar service at 8 am or earlier often.

We kept hearing people say there were hardly any kids on board yet we saw numerous herds of kids running loose without adult supervision (ie, running loose on upper decks in extremely windy conditions, without parents present at the water slide, mini golf and basketball court, and more disturbingly in the hot tub and pools). This is not Carnival's fault. Thank goodness there were no serious incidents. We like kids. We like kids even more when parents actually act responsibly in parenting their children. We were on vacation. Parenting other people's children is not our job.

BAD BEHAVIOUR - Please people, wear some clothing in the dining areas. No one wants to see the hairy beer bellies when eating breakfast, nor the shoelace up womens' butts when having lunch. See Spring Break comment above.

Everyone likes to have a good time. When it becomes non-fun is when certain passengers are falling down drunk by mid-day and arguing with the staff. This starts to make it non-fun for the rest of the passengers. Saw this situation several times. A favorite episode was a drunk man arguing with bartenders, who cut him off at the bar, and then they told him his credit card had maxed out. That was Day 3 of our cruise. Again, not Carnival's fault.

Another memorable moment was at dinner in the Bacchus dining lounge. It was an "elegant evening", meaning formal attire was required. We managed to dress up (ie, long dress and suit and tie). As we were entering Bacchus a very drunk woman with a drink in hand, slopping her drink everywhere, wearing shorts and deck sandals, was hollering and stomping away barking that "they" (assuming Carnival staff) refused to seat her in the dining room. Again, not Carnival's fault. The maître-d was simply doing his job. These types of incidents were happening quite often throughout the ship.

STAFF - We found our cabin steward Kammie and our dining waitress Eva to be exceptional. The waiters in Bacchus and in the bars, as well as the casino staff in particular were great too. Overall, we found the staff friendly and helpful overall. We noted that the staff on the Lido deck were quite young and not overly motivated. We found ourselves cleaning tables and shifting used plates, glasses, etc. constantly. Ashtrays were overflowing, surfaces (tables and seats) were sticky, there seemed to be garbage on the floor chronically. Carnival could definitely improve in this area.

FOOD - Dismal. There is no other word. Everything was cool or cold. We nibbled what we could through the day and hoped to fill up in the Bacchus dining room at night. Again, the food was cool and alternated between overcooked or undercooked on the same plate. By the looks of what we were served, food was simply slopped and dumped on plates in the kitchen. Waffles one could not poke a fork into. Spraying PAM on the top of buns before grilling deli sandwiches. On the final day of the cruise, the tepid pasta at the lunch buffet on the Lido deck was served in Bacchus dining room as a gourmet dinner option. We know because we ate it twice that day. Blecght!! :p

SHOWS - The shows were great!! We thoroughly enjoyed those we went to see. We saw others' comments on this forum and must point out that if one expects to see a Vegas blockbuster entertainer, then those folks should be going to Las Vegas.

DECOR - Wow. There was an area with tables and chairs in a hidden corner near the chapel that was like a quiet garden space. Lovely. The glass elevators in the atrium were cool. The colours were disjointed, and definitely mismatching. We found it all to be overwhelming. But that said, it did lend to a distinct party atmosphere. We found the library uninviting, once we did find it. Why the need to lock up the books?

ACTIVITIES - The water slide was fun. We played mini golf and ping pong. The basketball court had lots of kids in it every day having a good time. Perhaps Carnival could assign a staff member to pick up after the kids (ie, pick up golf clubs and place them back on the racks, etc.). The giant chess set had broken pieces.

MAINTENANCE - We saw burned out lights, broken and chipped table tops (tiles missing), wooden stair treads loose. Perhaps maintenance work could be done at night when the guests are sleeping (ie, hosing down decks (not only mopping), cleaning glass panels, cleaning surfaces (tables and chairs), etc.).

TOWELS - We enjoyed using our 2 Carnival blue towels when out on the decks during the day. Perhaps towels could be placed near the pools like other cruise ships do. Using the same 2 Carnival blue towels for a week (unlaundered - do cruisers have to pay to launder pool towels?) seemed inappropriate and cheap.

CRUISE DIRECTOR(S) - Troy and Mel did a great job. Keeping over 2,100 human beings of all ages entertained, happy and informed is a Herculean task. Add to this the hurricane in Puerto Vallarta that had the Captain scrambling to keep us safe and scheduling alternate ports of call, further complicating Troy and Mel's jobs. We thought that Troy and Mel and the officers all were exceptional in dealing with the hurricane and all the drunk partyers. Until it came time to disembark in Long Beach. People generally do not listen, pay attention nor necessarily follow instructions well. Carnival needed to get people off the ship quickly so that new passengers could be loaded. We get it. But literally announcing for people to disembark in their designated groups as instructed with their room cards or, as Troy so eloquently stated, "I WILL SERIOUSLY KILL YOU", was the final straw for us.

OVERALL - You get what you pay for. We met some really great people on the cruise (you know who you are!) and thoroughly enjoyed spending our time with them.

We were unable to see our ports of call due to a hurricane. That is no one's fault. Carnival did a great job organizing a last minute stop in La Paz which we really liked. La Paz was a pleasant surprise and we hope to fly back there in the future. We were unaware that the stop in Los Cabos was only for 3 hours in the morning. If we had known the stop was going to be that brief, we would have organized ourselves better. Again, not Carnival's fault. Maybe better announcing of the brief stop on Carnival's part and us paying better attention would have had us visiting Los Cabos. Regardless, it was fun seeing it from the ship.

FINAL ANSWER - Carnival is a great deal for the money. But be aware that, in our opinion, this is what we would term as being the "Wal-Mart of Cruising". We wanted a relaxing vacation "off the grid" and we got it. When problems arose, we removed ourselves from the area or wandered off to do other things elsewhere on the ship.

Would we cruise Carnival again? Yes and no. Carnival would definitely be our last choice. However, if we could get a screaming deal to cruise 3 days on a repositioning basis (ie, $99 for two), we may do it. But it would have to be a super crazy cheap deal.

On the upside, we did lose weight.

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Sail Date: November 2014

This was our second cruise with Carnival. The first was on the Spirit which was 3 hrs ago. Rated 6 out of a score of 10 being the best. We had a Vista Suite and the food in the main dining room was good. The cabin steward was excellent ... Read More

This was our second cruise with Carnival. The first was on the Spirit which was 3 hrs ago. Rated 6 out of a score of 10 being the best. We had a Vista Suite and the food in the main dining room was good. The cabin steward was excellent and our cabin was very nice. That is why we decided to try one more time this last November 2014. This time it was the Miracle. Same cabin type which was fine and this best part of our cruise as were the ports of call which we had a great time. Our cabin was 8273 Vista suite and was a great location with huge balcony and plenty of cabin space. The food on this cruise at every level was the worst in presentation, temperature, and taste. Our best meals were on land. We had priority boarding and even that was slow. Those with regular boarding took up to 3 plus hours to get onboard. We tendered in Cabo San Lucas and it too us 2 hrs to get off the ship, we had a tender ticket # 8 and other folks had tender numbers into the 30's. Some I am sure never got off. The reason being was that Carnival used the port tenders for transport instead of their own tender/lifeboats which could have easily handled all the passenger efficiently. Efficiencey is not part of the Carnival mission statement. We had orginally book with another cruise line and switched to Carnival because of the enticing intenary- 2 days in Cabo- which got switched to one day and then added Mazatlan. We had also booked an excursion for Rythms of the Night at Las Caletas when at port in Puerto Vallarta which was offered by Carnival. It was canceled due to port time departure. A 15 mins difference. Well that night we left 45 mins late. We were late arriving in Cabo and left late in Mazatlan and Puerto Vallarta. This cruise line is very disorginized and I don't recommend it on any level. The public bathrooms could have been cleaner and why in the women's bathroom they don't offer seat covers is a good question as well as bathroom automatic deodorizes.

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Sail Date: November 2014

This was my 18th cruise on Carnival and DH 17th. We are Platinum and always book suites. The cruise did not start out well. They could not print our sail and sign cards at the Captain's Lounge. This would not have been a problem except ... Read More

This was my 18th cruise on Carnival and DH 17th. We are Platinum and always book suites. The cruise did not start out well. They could not print our sail and sign cards at the Captain's Lounge. This would not have been a problem except this was the 3rd time in a row we have had this problem upon embarkation in Long Beach.

We had an aft suite. We have had the same suite on every Spirit class ship. We enjoyed the suite. Our room steward was good but not great.

The service, as well as, food in the dining room was good. Denis our head waiter and his team were outstanding. They worked very hard to make sure we had good service, fun, and left feeling taken care of.We went to the Steak House one night. The steaks were outstanding!!! The service was very good too!!! We also attended the Chef's Table. It was very good as well. Chef Wellington did an excellent job. This is well worth the $75 dollar up charge.

Ports were Cabo, Mazatlan, and Puerto Vallarta. We enjoyed each port. Cabo is still reeling from the hurricane but is coming back. We did city tours in Mazatlan and Puerto Vallarta through a private company.

All in all, it was a good cruise but probably our last cruise with Carnival. We are moving to Princess as we get more bang for our buck when we sail in a suite. It is worth it to us to pay the extra to receive the amenities. Carnival has basically no suite amenities and what we get for being platinum is trumped by Princess. The only good point about a suite with Carnival is the price point.


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1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2014
Being a man of color and loving music (e.g. Jazz, R&B or just plain Old School) I heard none of this while on the ship. You would think going to a Hawaiian port you would hear some type of island music rather then Pat Boon or Frank ... Read More
Being a man of color and loving music (e.g. Jazz, R&B or just plain Old School) I heard none of this while on the ship. You would think going to a Hawaiian port you would hear some type of island music rather then Pat Boon or Frank Sinatra. The line need to get versatile and see who your guest are so you can try at least to bring a little home to the cruise. The cruise itself was good, however, on the down time we had we should have been able to listen to some good music. My wife and I loved walking to the different shops and around the ship. The buffet along with the dinning room gives you the eloquent feeling of dressing up and taking your loved one to a good meal and be happy about it. There's sites to see while at sea and walking around the ship. Try taking 5 different pictures a day and see what you come up with. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2014

There are no bad vacations...only varying levels of memories and laughter. There were 9 of us meeting at the Long Beach terminal for an anniversary cruise for our niece and nephew. 5 of us drove out the day before and stayed at the ... Read More

There are no bad vacations...only varying levels of memories and laughter. There were 9 of us meeting at the Long Beach terminal for an anniversary cruise for our niece and nephew. 5 of us drove out the day before and stayed at the Quality Inn near Long Beach Airport with a Stay and Park package while 4 flew in from Boston. Keep a small rolling travel bag with you and have a bathing suit and change of cloths with you just in case your luggage arrives late. It is also helpful for rolling around your soft drinks, water and wine that you are allowed to bring on board at no charge. We arrived at the Terminal at 12:45pm. Embarkation was fairly quick and smooth in comparison to previous cruise (this was #14 and our 4th on the Miracle).

Our connecting balcony cabins on deck 7 were ready so we proceeded to change into bathing suits and go to deck 9 for lunch and then to Serenity, the adult only pool area, deck 9 aft. There are swings and pods for sunning or sleeping but get there early every day as they do quickly. They actually put time out slips on the beautiful lounge pods so people could not claim them with a towel and leave for hours. 30 minutes to grab a bite or go to your cabin or the bathroom was enough time. They also have plenty of regular lounges and lots of comfy couches and chairs that are shaded! There is a bar there also. We went there every day as we had no young children in our group. There are two other pools for kids and families.

The food is exquisite. I have a Gluten allergy and I was super impressed with all the choices and that my meals were pre-ordered each day made in a special kitchen and excellent. They have gluten free pizza made to order, pasta, breads. I had made my own bread and brought it with me but I did not need it! Everything I had was perfect. They also have Gluten free beer and hard cider. Our dining service team of Wyan, Erick and Nipaporn were the best. With 9 people ordering multiple appetizers and sometimes multiple meals, they always smiled and gave excellent service. Of course we all tipped them extra for the extra work involved. We also enjoyed breakfast/brunch in the dining room almost every day because being waited on is preferable to buffet style always. Also, the steak & eggs (lean filet mignon) and the boneless pork chop or eggs Benedict were so worth it.

Our room steward Ashley was incredible. He was the most attentive we have ever experienced. Our room was stocked with ice and clean towels. He greeted us by name and smiled always. While the ship is older now and getting tired, it was always clean and attractive. They are putting it in dry dock this January for an overhaul.

The comedians were funny but we didn't go to the shows. The trivia and activities are plentiful. We played bean bag toss (Corn Hole) every day and sometimes twice a day. The casino was hopping but I only dabbled a very little as I don't think people win much. I played table games and did leave up $65 after losing $20 in machines That was it for me.

Everyone in our group had a good cruise and while on board we booked our Hawaii cruise. They were giving a $200 on board credit if you booked. You do have the ability to change your itinerary or travel day if you want.

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Sail Date: October 2014

Lots of fun...thought the ship was a little small. The food was okay not great except for our Steakhouse meal which was excellent.I thought 3 out of the 4 comedians we saw were pretty funny, but if you have sensitive ears don't go.The ... Read More

Lots of fun...thought the ship was a little small. The food was okay not great except for our Steakhouse meal which was excellent.I thought 3 out of the 4 comedians we saw were pretty funny, but if you have sensitive ears don't go.The main shows were okay, about what we would expect on a cruise ship.Our room was good, but there was hardly any water pressure in the shower. Not a big problem for me considering I don't have much hair, but my wife took a long time trying to get the shampoo and conditioner out of her hair. Our room steward was great and the service in the dining room was good too.

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Carnival Miracle Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.5
Dining 4.0 4.0
Entertainment 4.0 3.9
Public Rooms 4.0 4.3
Fitness Recreation 4.0 4.1
Family 5.0 4.1
Shore Excursion 3.0 4.0
Enrichment 2.0 3.5
Service 3.0 4.4
Value For Money 4.0 4.1
Rates 3.0 4.4

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