681 Carnival Miracle Cruise Reviews

Whew, what a trip! There were 4 of us traveling on this Cruise. 2 lived in Tampa and my husband John and myself (Dottie), we live in Illinois. On June 2, 2006, we flew out of St. Louis to Tampa International. We left 2 days in advance ... Read More
Whew, what a trip! There were 4 of us traveling on this Cruise. 2 lived in Tampa and my husband John and myself (Dottie), we live in Illinois. On June 2, 2006, we flew out of St. Louis to Tampa International. We left 2 days in advance because I had the fear that the airlines were going to misplace my luggage and I would be walking around on this cruise with the same outfit on. But, thankfully that didn't happen. We arrived in Tampa safe and sound with every bag intact. On June 4, 2006, the 4 of us took off for the Port of Tampa. It was a beautiful sunny day. Open getting to the port we stood in line maybe 20 minutes. Now they say you are to start the boarding process at 1:30 but...... we got there at 10:30 and by by 11:15 we were on the lido deck eating lunch. We were not allowed to our staterooms until 1:30 but that was fine as there was so much to see and try to figure out how to get from point A to point B that the time flew by. The Carnival Miracle is, simply put, a beautiful ship. Very very clean and well maintained. The staff were great. We only saw 1 gal that didn't seem to like her job very much and she was in the cake shop. Our stewards where Amira and Romero and they were the greatest. Both went above and beyond what they needed to do to make everyone's stay great. The first night, I being the hot natured one, needed a fan. I ask Amiro if that was possible and she said she would check on it. When we got back from dinner we had a portable fan plugged in and running. The tips that are included in the package seemed a little steep before we got on here, but after cruising it was money well spent. They are at your beck and call. Activities: We were involved in everything that we could fit time for. First off I was picked for the trivia in the Phantom Lounge. Got second for that. My husband was in the belly flop and got 2nd, I played the trivia on tv and got 1st and my husband got 1st in the corn roll contest. We ended up with 3 medals and 1 ship on a stick. My advice on the games is enter as many as you can. They are fun and who cares what anyone thinks. Remember what goes on in Mexico stays in Mexico. lol Service: The food is unbelievable. The choices that you have on dining is unreal. We did go to formal nights but on 2 nights we decided to eat on the Lido deck in the pick what you want to eat areas. Formal night, I expected everyone to be in their finest. We saw it all..... Formal long dresses, cocktail dresses, tuxes, suits and BLUE JEANS! They, of course, say you will be asked to leave but the ones we saw stayed at their seats chowing down. Our waiter in the Bacchus restaurant was a little stuffy, but not over bearing. I had read where some of the food would arrive cold but that was not in our case. It was sometimes just warm but never cold cold. The one person who stood out and shined was Junnel in Frankie and Johnny's. He was GREAT! After asking our names we were addressed by our names each time he saw us, no matter where he saw us. I can't say enough good about this gentleman. Shore Excursions: Carnival posts that it's in your best interest to buy excursions through them. However, we chose not to do this and go it alone. In Grand Cayman they had a tour though town. Carnival price was 89.00 and booked on your own was 20.00. Very same one, with people on the van that had booked though Carnival. You will save yourself lots of money booking your own. We never worried about getting back to port on time to make the tenders. There is lots of time to do everything. In Cozumel we rented a Jeep for 11.00 a person. Drove into town and did some heavy duty shopping. Cozumel was the best shopping! In Costa Maya we took a taxi (5.00 round trip) to the back roads flea market type area. Got great deals here also and got to see how they live. (Makes you appreciate your own home). Cayman Islands were the most expensive. Nothing was cheap in this area. But still glad we saw it. Traveling to Ports: We went to 4 ports and all but 1 we had to take tenders in. The tenders were nice clean boats and it did not take much time at all to get in or to get back. The hurricanes did a number on many of the ports and towns for that matter. Stateroom: Since this was our first cruise and we really didn't know what to expect, we choose an inside stateroom and ended up with 7315 on the Verandah deck which is on the 7th deck. What very little time you spend in your room from my point it would be a total waste of money to get a balcony. We literally changed and slept in this room. We were too busy doing everything else. The room was a very nice size and the bathroom was plenty big. The shower is wonderful and well the beds....... I wish I could of packed it home with me. They are great. Dining: The dining I have kind of hit on before now but the one thing that struck me was you receive a envelope at the end to tip the Maitre D. Well that would of been all find and dandy but we never seen the maitre D in the 7 days we were there. Granted, he takes care of the dining room, but as far as I was concerned.......the waiter took care of me. The food was above excellent with the exception of the desserts on the Lido deck. Beautiful pieces of desserts (right out of a magazine) but when you took a bite, it was like having nothing in your mouth. They had very little taste. Now in the dining room that was another story. They were melt in your mouth pieces. We did order room service twice. The first time it was Johnny on the spot and exactly what we ordered. The second time we wondered after a hour half what happened when it finally showed up and the guy told us that the cook dropped the whole order. But hey, they are only human. Room service is just as good as any of the dining rooms. Entertainment: We went to as much as we could. The Phantom Lounge has some wonderful entertainment. I personally think that 20.00 for 1 bingo game is a bit much though. The only show that I think they should back up and punt on is the hypnotist one. The man was overbearing. I was picked to go up on the stage and well, it just didn't happen. I think that the balloon boy was prompted before the show. No one that I talked to that was up there said that they were really hypnotized. This man that was doing this show would get right down mad if someone laughed or didn't do what he said. I saw him kick people off the stage for saying they were sorry. But one out of the bunch isn't bad. The late night Adult only comedian is down right funny. He is the true meaning of that's funny. Disembarking: This was a complete nightmare. They say not to leave till they announce your area. We did not. I went to customs early and stood in line for a hour and half (ok I wanted to be the first one in and out of there) and then we waited. And we waited. Finally about 10 they called our area to go. We got to the Atruim and it was a nightmare. People standing shoulder to shoulder trying to get off, nowhere to go. They need to come up with a system and let people off by colors or something. Customs after we got off wasn't bad. We had sent 8 bags out and did not have any trouble finding ours or a porter to help get them to the curb. This was just a great week. We met lots of new people that we plan on staying in contact with. Would we do it again? Yes, in a heartbeat! Carnival Miracle ...... we have some great memories! Read Less
Sail Date June 2006
Background Information: My parents and I (I'm 23...and they're in their late 50s/early 60s) booked this cruise to celebrate my graduation from college. We've cruised before on Carnival, as well as one other cruise line (and ... Read More
Background Information: My parents and I (I'm 23...and they're in their late 50s/early 60s) booked this cruise to celebrate my graduation from college. We've cruised before on Carnival, as well as one other cruise line (and will never go on anyone but Carnival again). This was my 3rd cruise and their 4th. Travel To Port of Embarkation: We flew out of Minnesota the day before our cruise and spent the evening in Tampa to avoid any travel mishaps. If at all possible, I highly recommend doing this if you're coming from a long distance to meet the ship. It was so enjoyable to just be able to leisurely get to the port the next day and actually feel at least semi-put together and relaxed instead of have the stress of flying all day. We were also some of the first people onboard so we were able to partake in some of the very first activities and grab some lunch instead of missing out as we had always done before when we did everything all in one day. Embarkation went unbelievable smoothly. I'm a huge fan of the VIP check-in process but even the normal check-in seemed pretty darn organized. VIP is a huge perk if you've cruised before (10+ times) or if you've booked a suite (cat. 11 or 12). Hotel Info: We stayed at the La Quinta Inn on Westshore Blvd. and Spruce St. It wasn't a 5 star hotel by any means but it was clean & comfortable and the (outdoor) pool area was nice. They had a free airport shuttle and a shuttle to the seaport for a nominal fee. Comparable to what a cab would've been and much more convenient. Stateroom: Carnival upgraded us to a Category 11 suite. Prior to this cruise we had always done an ocean view stateroom and our original plans for this cruise were to do something similar to that with a balcony. I think Carnival has an ulterior motive when it comes to upgrading guests...because once you've experienced suite life it should would be hard to go back to anything less!!! ;) We took full advantage of the extended balcony many times. It was great to just be able to go out there and relax after being in port while we waited to set sail for the next destination. Our room steward, Bogdan, from India was the BEST we've ever had. We always look forward to the towel animals but his creations were the most well done we've seen. He and his assistant took very good care of us right from the beginning. The double sink in the bathroom and the separate dressing room were other nice bonuses that were helpful when trying to get ready for dinner or bedtime. Ship Info: The Miracle is the newest ship we've been on and we loved her. I know some people think the decor of the Miracle is "gaudy" but we found it just to be colorful and fun. If you take the time to look at the all of the details it's really quite impressive. I see how spaces such as the The Madhatter's Lounge or the dining room could be too much for some people to take in but if you appreciate it for what it is, it's definitely quality. The ship had great art work all over too. This vessel has been voted as the number one ship in Carnival's fleet two years in a row (so basically since she's been afloat) and once you've experienced sailing on her it's very easy to see why. Dining: We always looked forward to checking the TV in our room to see what the menu was for that evening. Dinner was always an event. We ate there every night except for the last day at sea when we were busy doing other things. We tried lunch on that day instead and of course it was wonderful. The desserts were always my favorite part of the meal but the night that lobster was served I can't complain about either. I thought our waiter was just picking up the empty shell off of my plate for me when all of a sudden "oops" another whole tail magically appeared! He did the same thing for my mom without us even asking!!! SO delicious!! We never made it to Nick & Nora's Supper Club...didn't want to miss anything in the main dining room! The menu they had listed did look excellent though. Our waiters were a lot of fun...they were a little difficult to understand at times but then again they definitely did a better job with English than I know I'd do with their language in their country. Make sure to take in the Gala Buffet...and bring your camera! Activities: My parents and I didn't participate in a whole lot of shipboard activities. In ports of call we were always off the ship right away in the morning until we absolutely had to be back on. I do know though that people had a lot of fun with the bingo and the casino if that's what you're into. I won $20 on a Nickle slot machine but that's about the extent of my gambling. If you wanted to be busy on the ship there was definitely the opportunity to do so. Relaxing while we were on board was more our speed though. Maybe next time I'll catch some of the seminars that looked kind of interesting such as wine tasting and line dancing. I've always wanted to do the galley tour but always miss it because it coincides with port/shopping talks usually. That's on my to-do list for next time as well. Children's Clubs: Best part about cruising in May- NO KIDS!!! We heard someone say that there are usually around 600 kids onboard at any given time and we had 92 total! This was EXCELLENT. The few kids we did run into I over heard the parents say that they were constantly requesting to go to Camp Carnival so I'm assuming they were having a good time there. Service: The crew on this ship, as with any Carnival ship seemed extremely hard working and like they genuinely enjoyed what they do! It's a HARD job and they put in LONG hours. Please make sure to say your pleases and thank-yous. Your appreciation goes a long way and means a lot. The best thing Carnival ever did was develop their system for automatically adding gratuities to the final bill. We had especially good service from Lientjie, a gal from South Africa who works in the gift shop. She was just plain a joy to talk to! Cruise Director- Mark Hawkins has to be one of the, if not THE best at sea! He was hilarious and very involved and approachable. The Disembark talk always ranks right up there on the boring scale but after attending his I felt like I'd just left a comedy club. His personality is indescribable. His humor isn't scripted...it's just the way he is! Also, Captain Cupisti is a very charismatic gentleman. It was always nice to see him around the ship, and the best part is you actually did see him! I've never been on a cruise where the captain was so visible and available. Entertainment: The shows were marvelous. The dancers really care about their talent and give it their all. There were two main Vegas style shows. The first one was called "Generations" and included music from every decade and the second one was a Beatles tribute. During the week we also saw several comedians, a hypnotist, and a guy that balanced stuff. Shore Excursions: Grand Cayman- Turtles, Hell, & Stingrays 4 1/2 hours. The transportation for this excursion wasn't the best but then again you're not in America right? The tour says that you stop at Seven Mile Beach. Ummmm, you don't. It's more like you drive past it and get to snap a few pictures on your way to the turtle farm. The turtle farm was awesome. It was incredible to see how big the sea turtles really are and get so up close to them. It was a little rushy in Hell. I would recommend having your addresses and what you want to say on your postcards ready to go. There isn't time to think about it. I would also suggest buying whatever you want at the gift shops first and then going to take a quick picture of the rock formations because then there won't be a line to see it and you can walk right up instead of waiting because that's where everyone heads as soon as the bus/vans empty out. The Stingrays were cool, the water was really rough while we were there so I don't think it went as well as it could have but it was still a unique experience. Cozumel- Cozumel is devastated from the hurricane. It's still a wonderful port though, I can only imagine how beautiful it must have been in its prime. All of the water based excursions are cancelled until further notice for the most part because of the damage but shopping is all back up and running and that's what we did. Belize- My dad and I went reef bottom fishing. The tour operators were wonderful and their boat picked us right up at the side of the ship, we didn't have to take a separate tender. No one caught anything huge. Between my dad and I though, we caught about a dozen fish and some of the other people on the boat got some pretty good bites. After the excursion we took the tender into Belize City and did a little shopping. Just fyi, the tender ride is very long and it's even essentially on a speedboat. Belize is a very poor country. As long as you stay close to the touristy areas though there shouldn't be a problem. I never felt unsafe but I guess my mom had trouble with people trying to sell her tours and not taking "no" for an answer earlier in the morning when she went ashore by herself while my dad and I were out fishing. Costa Maya- ABSOLUTELY THE MOST GORGEOUS PLACE I HAVE EVER SEEN. Beats any island I've been to hands down. Majuahal is the actual town's name in Mexico. Costa Maya is the area the cruise lines put together. Go there before it becomes all built up and modernized. It's still pristine and unspoiled. We did a catamaran and snorkel excursion but I could have easily spent much more time in the Costa Maya compound itself. Disembarkation: Simple Simple Simple! First people that are carrying their own luggage and don't have anything to declare and early flights are allowed off...and then instead of disembarking by luggage tag color "the old way"...it basically goes like this ---> "We've received general clearance, thank you for cruising with us. You can go now." annnnd everyone heads to the gang way and gets off. We were off the ship, through customs with all of our luggage, and back at the hotel within 45 min (and the hotel was 20 minutes away from the pier!!!) Summary : It was very sad saying good-bye to the Miracle & her crew. It's funny how "attached" you get in only a week. This was the most incredible cruise we've been on. I really can't say enough good things about it. In fact, we've already booked this same cruise/ship for next year! Can't wait to be back aboard :) Happy sailing.... Read Less
Sail Date May 2006
Carnival Miracle 5/14/2006-5/21/2006 by Keith Brown Im writing this because I found the reviews posted here a great resource for me in finding out what to expect on my cruise. This was my first cruise. I am very happy with my vacation ... Read More
Carnival Miracle 5/14/2006-5/21/2006 by Keith Brown Im writing this because I found the reviews posted here a great resource for me in finding out what to expect on my cruise. This was my first cruise. I am very happy with my vacation and I am now planning my next cruise. I flew down the night before stayed at the Hyatt Regency Downtown Tampa. I purchased the room with a good rate on priceline.com. A taxi from Tampa Airport the hotel was $19 . Channelside and the port is a $5 cab ride. Channelside is a great place to grab dinner and hangout. Embarkation I got to the port at 11:30. For some reason my travel agent and Carnival were playing a blame game on where my boarding paperwork was, apparently Carnival mails it to the travel agent and the travel agent is supposed to mail it to me. Well it got lost in the mail. But this is all moot since I went online at carnval.com did my paperwork there and printed my Fun Pass. My Fun Pass was enough for me to get onto the ship. So not having my paperwork didnt turn out to be a problem. Also I didnt have any tags but the porter had a listing of cabins and I was able to fill my tags out right there at the curb. Once I checked in and got my group number, I sat down and boarding commenced at noon, and I was on the ship by 12:30. First Impression -- Once on the ship you arrive in the Metropolis Atrium. It is stunning, a little gaudy, but impressive never-the-less. Since they asked us to stay out of our room until 1:30, I sat down and ordered a beer. After the finishing my beer, I decided to tour the ship. I made a pledge that I would do my best to take the stairs all week instead of the elevators. That means I walked up 7 flights up to the Lido deck into Horatios and the pools. My first impression was that the pools are rather small but then again the pools were never overcrowded. Cabin -- I booked an 8A balcony guarantee, and that is exactly the cabin I received. My cabin was mid ship on the port side 8190 on the Veranda (8th) deck. The cabin was very quiet being on deck below the Lido deck and buffet. The only drawback is that you can hear the crew cleaning (rolling the dish carts) in the middle of the night but it isnt loud at all. The cabin was plenty spacious with two closets and a third closet with selves. Also there are additional drawers that can be used for storage. The bed was comfortable and it is nice to have a steward make it and turn it down every day. I also enjoyed the nightly towel animal surprises my steward left. The bathroom is good sized for me to get everything I needed to get done. The shower with the curved shower curtain is very good in eliminating the boxed feel. By the end of the trip I continued to be fascinated with the toilet and the vacuum flush. Entertainment -- The cruise director Mark was great. He is really funny. His presentations (I caught the two excursion discussions and his random introductions) are top notch and are worth the time spent for their information and comedy. I loved the bathrobe party. The comedians were OK. For some reason this cruise was efficient at heckling and seemed to get the comedians off their game. It all started with and I quote the quietest heckler I've ever run into and the other comedian told me about you. I missed the first show which was a Las Vegas style show and from all reports to me was good. The other show was a Beetles Tribute show and was excellent, not that I am one to judge. The last night they had the Stars of Miracle throughout the week auditions would be held for look-a-like and sound-a-like of musicians and have a show. I looked like fun for all involved. Best thing I can say is get involved. It is a fun when you do. Ports of Call -- Grand Cayman -- I woke up at 6:30. Since the ship arrived early, and to my surprise the tenders to the port was an informal process. We were able to leave the ship when we were ready. Excursion -- Beginners Scuba Diving. By far the best experience of the week. You take a simple intro to scuba diving class. You are provided with all the gear you need. And you have a guided dive off the cliff where the dive shop was located. Fortunately the reef comes up to the shore where the dive shop is and you can see a lot from that point. The family I ate with did a two tank wall dive and my tour actually saw more diverse than they did. Cozumel -- Since the hurricane came and wiped out the piers in Cozumel, only one ship can dock at a time here. Fortunately. this week was the Miracles turn to dock at the International Pier. The International Pier is a $6 cab ride to San Miguel and this is the best place to go shopping on the whole tour. Excursion -- The Atlantis Submarine was a great adventure. First you walk to the Tour center and then you are tendered 15 minutes out to the submarine. Since the night before a storm went through, there was a good amount of surf. So the transfers from the shore to the tender and from the tender to the submarine were adventurous. Once we were on the submarine and below the surface the surf was old news. On the submarine everyone had their own window and a good view. The submarine traveled in a loop route so that if one side saw something they turn around and the other side of the boat could get a view. I thought it was cool to be able to go 100 feet below the surface and see the ocean from that point. By the way to alleviate any fears you may have, the crew stresses that the submarine is capable of diving over 1000 feet and the floor isn't that far below. Belize -- Like all ships that visit Belize City, we tendered into the pier. This time the tenders were arranged in a more structured manner. Arriving in the Phantom Lounge you were given a number for your tour and then you proceeded to the tender when you number is called. Excursion -- I went to the Belize City and Altun Ha excursion. First we did the Belize City tour. Our tour guide was very informative and she was able to point out many details of the city as we drove through it. Altun Ha for me was the main attraction. It is a hour and a half drive to the site. Again our tour guide was informative. Costa Maya -- We docked right on the pier. While the location is fantastic, I was not impressed at all here. But I'd love to come back to give it a shot. I didnt book an excursion here. In the future I would book an excursion here my recommendation would be the Jungle Beach Break. The merchants in the port area were pushy. I just hung out at the pool at the pier and had a few drinks. Dining -- Horatios -- First I only attended breakfast and lunch at Horatios. Breakfast Breakfast was not good here. The best things were the fresh fruit, cereals, and made to order omelets. The toast was old and cold, the scrambled eggs were real runny so I passed. Lunch -- For hot food, the grill at the mid deck pool, serving grilled foods like hamburger, hot dogs, grilled chicken, is the probably the best bet. I should say I am not a fan of Asian food so I didnt try any. The rotisserie stand is a mixed bag with different offerings. The international food was a disappointment, every day was a different cuisine and none of it shined. Bacchus Dining Room -- I highly recommend eating here when you get the chance. I attended both breakfast and dinner at the Bacchus Dining Room. Breakfast -- Breakfast was a seated meal where you arrive at the dining room and tell the maitre d' how many of you are eating youll be seated appropriately. Breakfast is the same every day and is very good. I met many different people and had very good conversations while dining. Dinner -- As a single cruiser I was matched with a family of five at a table for six. The three children were all about the same age as me at 30 and we all had a fun time and great conversations. The meals were fantastic, I unfortunately ate way too much most every night but it was very enjoyable. Our servers were very good and attentive. Our main server was very efficient with his recommendations. The only problem I had is with the bar staff serving drinks and sodas. There were a couple of times that I would have liked an additional beverage (soda or beer) from the bar and the bar staff only came once if at all. Nick and Noras -- Overall this is an excellent, not to be missed experience. I attended Nick and Noras on Wednesday night for dinner. The presentation was fantastic for the entire meal. For an appetizer, I ordered the Baked Onion Les Halles Soup, your a superb variety of the typical baked French onion soup. This was really good. For my salad I ordered the Blue Cheese Salad. The 24 oz. porterhouse alone is worth the $30 for the restaurant and went well with the glass of Burgundy wine I ordered. Desert was a surprise with the Washington Apple Tarte Tatin, it is a medley of baked apples with pineapples, grapes, blueberries and raspberries. At the end of the meal complimentary sweets and truffles are given to you. Debarkation -- Debarkation was a simple process. We arrived at the port in the middle of the night and we cleared customs around 7 AM. General disembarkation was at 9:30 and my flight home wasn't until 8 P.M. I discovered at the port that there is a storage area for your luggage and they will arrange a taxi to the airport. The storage area closes at 4 so you need to retrieve you luggage by then. So I stowed my luggage and wandered around the Channelside complex (the dock is right there) and caught a movie and lunch. Overall -- This was a fantastic vacation on a great ship. If you are thinking of this trip do it and participate, it makes a difference. Read Less
Sail Date May 2006
Tampa is a great port to cruise from - getting on was a breeze and getting off was easier! The Miracle is a nice ship with your typical Carnival rooms. The place is clean and easy to get around. The decor and theme is fun - all except ... Read More
Tampa is a great port to cruise from - getting on was a breeze and getting off was easier! The Miracle is a nice ship with your typical Carnival rooms. The place is clean and easy to get around. The decor and theme is fun - all except for the main dinning room! Horribly tacky and way over the edge. Room steward was fine - forgot ice a couple of nights, forgot to deliver the Carnival Capers one night, and new towels were hit and miss. Dinning room crew was great - worked hard every night. Maitre 'd is a joke, only heard his voice over the loud speaker and finally got to see him on the last night when he wanted a tip. Cruise Director trays to sell too much stuff too much of the time. Every announcement mentioned a sale, deal, or the need to stock up on bulk candy. I think if he was announcing that the ship was sinking, he would mention for you to stop by the candy shop first . . . Grand Cayman is great - nice place and quick tenders. Cozumel is torn up pretty bad, but we got to dock and the other ships had to tender. Belize is a terribly poor country and the tenders take 20 - 30 minutes each way. Cave tubing was AWESOME! Booked through cave-tubing.com and I highly recommend it. 1/2 the price of the Carnival excursion and got a whole lot more. Costa Maya is a nice port but lousy place outside the port gate. You can skip this stop and you won't miss anything. All the ports have the typical shops trying to sell you there wares at every turn. Read Less
Sail Date May 2006
This was my 3rd cruise, all with Carnival (Victory and Triumph were the others). This was my fist cruise on a Spirit class ship and I was pleasantly surprised with how nice the ship was. Embarkation was a breeze; much simpler than ... Read More
This was my 3rd cruise, all with Carnival (Victory and Triumph were the others). This was my fist cruise on a Spirit class ship and I was pleasantly surprised with how nice the ship was. Embarkation was a breeze; much simpler than sailing out of Miami. We took a taxi from the airport to the terminal; this was much quicker and cheaper than taking the bus transport Carnival provides. It was about a 10 minute taxi ride and cost $35 for 6 of us. We were on the ship within an hour of arriving at the port. We sailed on 5/21 and one of the first things I noticed was there was a very large amount of first time cruisers on this voyage. This made for a very hectic first day around the buffet lines and the deck with a large quantity of people standing around with that "lost" look on their face, however things seemed to calm down a lot after that first day. I can not express how beautiful this ship is. It still does feel brand new and there is very little wear to be found anywhere on the ship. Stateroom: We had a category 8 stateroom with the extended balcony. The balcony was huge, it had more than double the room of balconies of the Destiny class ships. The room decor was fine, but I have to add that the room did seem smaller than the Destiny class rooms, especially the bathroom. We took the miniature table and set it on the balcony for the week and this seemed to free up a lot of space. For whatever reason the mini refrigerator was locked for the duration of the cruise; although we did not ask the cabin steward why. The beds and pillows were extremely comfortable, and the assortment of free goodies (shavers, toothpaste, energy drinks, etc) that can be found in the bathroom did get replenished when we completely emptied the basket midweek. The cabin steward was excellent. Entertainment / Activities: The cruise director, Mark, is a nut! He was by far the funniest we've had on any ship. He made the Rocky Horror Picture Show even funnier with his remarks and hand gestures. (Note: If you go to see this show, please note that they show the entire movie, which we did not know.) The comedians were ok, the first one was pretty good but the second was just ok. We did not see many of the shows, but I heard they were ok. They also have a Legends Show at the end of the week that features various guests on the cruise. One thing I noticed different on this cruise is that Carnival did make an effort to card everyone going into the dance club and I also witnessed them carding people in the casino. It was nice to be able to go into the dance club and not have to worry about it being overrun with 14 year olds. It was also common to see off-duty employees interacting with the crowd in various activities and it was nice to see them enjoying themselves and having a good time. Dining: The food on this ship was good. The buffet layouts were confusing to me since I was used to the Destiny class layouts, but I quickly got used to it and realized it was much better this way. Make sure not to miss the chocolate buffet! The dining room decor wasn't bad even though I heard so on numerous reviews. Don't get me wrong, it's not something I would decorate my house in, but it wasn't distracting either. We had 2nd floor seating, but I did notice that the first floor seating did have a "closed in" feeling with the low ceiling. The service was ok, but our server constantly seemed to be running behind and we were constantly one of the last 20 or so tables out of the dining room. The staff was extremely friendly and entertaining. Ports: At Grand Cayman we took a taxi to 7-mile beach and it was great. At Cozumel we did the Sail, Snorkel, and Beach Party excursion. I highly recommend this excursion, the snorkeling was great and the beach had volleyball, kayaks, places to layout, and not to mention unlimited margaritas and Mexican beer! Yes, the island did suffer extensive damage and it looks nothing like it once was. But the people there, especially on the excursion, do their best to make sure you have a great time. We did not get off the ship in Belize, opting to have the run of the ship. In Costa Maya we spent the day looking through the various shops. If you are not a shopper and don't have a desire to eat at one of the Mexican bar/restaurants, you may want to stay on the ship at this port. There were high winds this day, so the captain decided to leave about 2 hours early, however the crew was able to successfully get everyone back on the ship and no one was left behind. Debarkation: Debarkation was a breeze, we received our VIP passes from the Purser's desk, got off the Miracle at 8:30 and were sitting at our gate at the airport waiting for our flight at 9:30; this is by far the easiest debarkation we have ever experienced on any ship! Overall: Overall I highly recommend this cruise. The ship was great and this was one of the friendliest crews I have been around. Should you have any questions, feel free to send me an e-mail at ericv82go@aol.com and I'll be happy to answer any question you may have. Read Less
Sail Date May 2006
Carnival Miracle Review May 7th  14th, 2006 This was our honeymoon cruise. We sailed on a 4-night on the Imagination six years ago; this was our first 7-day cruise and our first time visiting 3 of the 4 ports on the itinerary. I ... Read More
Carnival Miracle Review May 7th  14th, 2006 This was our honeymoon cruise. We sailed on a 4-night on the Imagination six years ago; this was our first 7-day cruise and our first time visiting 3 of the 4 ports on the itinerary. I carefully researched ships, itineraries, tours and all sorts of other things on Cruise Critic for several months, which was valuable in choosing the right ship and route, and well as being more aware of things in general. We are both so glad that we chose the Miracle and its Western Caribbean itinerary! - Embarkation: My SO walks with a cane due to arthritis, so it was a breeze; the Carnival employees were wonderful and accommodating. We arrived at the pier at about 1:20 and were on the ship by 1:30, by which time our room was ready so we could go straight there and drop off our bags. We went up to the Lido to get a light lunch, and then I really wanted to take a nap, but we gave in to the temptation of the drink of the day. Then we hopped in a hot tub and basked in the bubbles. I paid for it when I began to get nauseous and headache-y soon after we set sail, even though Id taken Bonine very early that morning. Then a migraine kicked in. So, my first night was spent alternately getting sick and being curled up in bed clutching my head and moaning that I wanted to die. Eventually I took one of the Imitrex that Id thought to bring, and it kicked in fairly quickly and I mercifully passed out, awaking in the morning still queasy but not nearly as ill. After this experience, I would absolutely recommend flying in the night before and staying overnight. Our flight was changed to one that connected in Atlanta, and each of the two flights was an hour late for takeoff. Luckily, we booked our initial flight at 6am, so were fine, but there was definitely some nail-biting going on. It would definitely be worth it to spend the extra money for a hotel room for the night prior to sailing. - Stateroom: Wed booked an inside guarantee, and were upgraded to a 5A obstructed view on Deck 4 forward. It was great! We had French doors that opened to& a lifeboat. However, you could see the water rushing by below, and a bit around the sides of the boat, which gave an open and airy feeling to the cabin. It was nice to let in the breeze from the sea and we really enjoyed it. There wasnt an excessive amount of movement and there was never any noise from outside the cabin when the doors were closed. There was plenty of room and plenty of drawer, shelf, cabinet and closet space (though I wished I had brought skirt hangers, because there were only two and I had six skirts). The couch and table were very handy for room service dining, and the beds were extremely comfortable (I like a firmer pillow, but not so much that Id waste luggage space bringing my own). The lighting was plentiful and the dEcor was tasteful but interesting. One thing I did wish Id brought was some sort of clothesline to hang up our wet bathing suits and coverups. We used every hook we could find but there were never enough. Our steward was great  we never did find out his whole first name! On the first day he said we could call him K, so thats what we did. We couldnt get our safe open on the second day, and Room Service was very slow to respond, so he offered to watch out for their arrival and let them in so we could go to breakfast. Wed brought champagne that took us a few days to finish; we asked for a bucket of ice on the first day and he made sure it was replenished until wed finished the bottle. We got some cute towel animals too (our favorite was a monkey hanging from the frame over the vanity table!). We gave him little tips throughout the week, if our room was messier than usual or hed done something nice to help us out wed leave a few dollars, and we increased his tip at the end of the cruise. - Pool Deck: We loved it! With the three pools and three hot tubs, it seldom felt too crowded. We LOVED the pool design, with the low wall and the space to sit in the water and enjoy it without crowding up the pool, and the ability to just slide on over into the pool itself  also keeps the deck in much better condition. The adult pool was small, but there was almost always some space to be had. The music in the middle pool area was LOUD, too loud, so we didnt go there  another reason why it was fantastic having two other areas from which to choose  one with the same music but softer, or one with totally different and not-loud music. I absolutely loved that there was an Adults-Only area; it made lying out on the deck much nicer. - Chair Saving: We never had a problem with deck chairs! The first couple of days I easily found a nice chair on the Sun deck that was shaded for most of the day, but even after we decided to sit near the pool on Lido deck we never had a problem getting chairs. Im sure I saw some chair-saving going on, but honestly I didnt pay attention, because it didnt matter. The way the deck chairs are laid out can make it awkward to navigate, though I understand why they have to be crowded so close. I hope there werent too many drunk people with sprained/skinned ankles from trying to clamber through the Deck Chair forest! - Formalities: I had a problem with the Formalities shop  the worker there just wasnt very good at her job. I ordered a cake on the second day to be delivered on the last night, and hadnt been to the dining room the first night because I was sick. She told me to come back so I could give her my dining room table number  what I didnt realize at the time, but she should have known, is that it was right there on the Sign & Sail card that she used to put in my order. I shouldnt have had to go back the next day. Another problem I had was that a champagne-and-strawberries package I had ordered for my SOs birthday was delivered two hours late, thus killing the arrangements I had made for timing to be there for its delivery and have it be a surprise. Ah well. The strawberries were good though, the roses were stunning, and all was eventually delivered. But man, send that employee back to training! Shes nice enough, but does not meet even my very flexible standards. - Room service: Food from room service was good; we ordered breakfast twice and a snack once. Those who did the delivering were very nice and fast, though twice errors were made. We chalked that up to new employees, and it didnt ruin our day or anything. - Lido dining: Horatios was great! The setup was confusing and I never did really get the hang of it, but I just wandered around until I found what I wanted. The salad bar and fruit bar were both excellent. The pizza wasnt as good as I remembered it to be on our first cruise (which was also with Carnival). Id heard the coffee was bad, and it is! I lamented the lack of orange juice throughout the day, though I understand its the most expensive free beverage they serve. The toast was always cold. I hate eggs so I didnt have the custom omelets, but my SO loved them. - Bacchus dining room: We had so much fun in the dining room. We went 5 out of the seven nights (the first I was horribly sick, and after Cozumel we were just too tired) and had a ball. We were at a table for six, with great tablemates  all women in our age range, one traveling with her mother, and they were fun and interesting people. Our servers, head waiter I Komang and his assistant Komang, both from Bali, were awesome. After I let them know I was a vegetarian, I Komang brought me a plate of steamed vegetables every night, without even being asked, and he also let me know that a soup I had been going to order had chicken stock in it. The both of them were so sweet and adorable that by the end of the cruise I was calling them our boys and they gave us warm hugs goodbye the last night. We ended up adjusting their tip upward at the end of the cruise, because they really made our evenings a ball. As for the dining room entertainment, sure it was goofy, but it was also really funny. I loved that the waiters would put on funny hats or wigs or masks, dance with the diners, or as one very cute waiter in the next section did, hop up on a chair and whirl his jacket above his head (woo!). The conga line to Hot Hot Hot was actually really fun (normally I avoid idiot trains but you just have to go with it and enjoy). There was even a limbo pole made of napkins held up by two waiters. We have a fabulous picture looking down at the first level with a ton of people swirled around in the conga line. I can only judge a limited portion of the dining room menu, because Im a vegetarian (no stock, fish or any kind of meat) and a picky eater who actually doesnt like a lot of the things commonly served as vegetarian entrees (mushrooms, squashes, eggplant). Thus I wished for better salads, but they were adequate. My SO is a major carnivore and enjoyed the meat dishes. The cold soups were amazing! In particular, the lychee soup had me giving compliments to the chef; it was so good I wouldve had it every night if it were available. The desserts were all incredible. I think my only complaint about the dining experience was the amount of food. I dont normally do a three-course meal at dinner, nor eat such rich food, so I was only able to ever finish half of the enormous portions, and I felt bad about wasting so much food, especially when many of the staff are from countries where so many are starving. It made me feel kinda schmucky. It didnt occur to me until the end of the cruise that I shouldve asked if I could get half-portions of the entrees! Oh, and the legendary hot-pink lights: Yeah, they were really weird, but they werent as garish as Id expected; youd really study them and think gosh, thats ugly, but if you werent paying attention, they somehow just blended in with the rest of the decor. But yeah, what a weird choice they were. Otherwise the decor in the dining room was just beautiful  I will kindly say that it was& plentiful, but at least all of it was gorgeously done. We never dined at Nick and Noras because theres only one item on the whole menu that I can eat, and Im not paying $30- to eat a salad, no matter how good it is. - General ship design: It took a couple of days to get oriented, because it is a really big ship. It is beautiful, though! The Atrium was stunning, with its huge art murals. Actually, the artwork was gorgeous throughout the ship  in the elevators, in the stairwells, on the decks. We didnt spend time in Gatsbys Garden, but wow, it was beautiful. My SO was a little creeped out by the fact that the statues on the pool decks have no faces, which I hadnt noticed (I suppose its a maintenance issue). I really liked the layout in general, and never really felt too crowded, which I consider an achievement on a ship with 2,000 passengers. - We loved Mark Hawkins, the cruise director! He had a definite Denis Leary/George Carlin vibe going on and was very funny. - Photos: There were plentiful and well-varied photo opportunities, which gave a good range of choices for purchase. Besides our digital camera, Im very glad we brought our own disposable cameras (three water cameras and one regular one) as they were considerably more expensive on the ship. As for the photo developing, it wasnt cheap, but it wasnt too unreasonable either  29 cents a print. Ports of Call: - Grand Cayman: We booked with Captain Marvin for the Coral Gardens/Reef Snorkel and Stingray City, and they were wonderful; wed highly recommend them. We didnt do any shopping here, because the exchange rate is not in our favor and things are very expensive. Grand Cayman is a beautiful island with great snorkeling, and it goes without saying that Stingray City, which weve done before, was absolutely fantastic. - Cozumel: We had to tender in. The tourism village looks great, but the area just outside it is still devastated. We didnt take an excursion here; just went shopping. Mostly, we stuck to the tourism village. We loved Rocks and Rags, which is owned by Los Cincos Soles. We ate at Panchos Backyard and it was excellent! We both got frozen mango margaritas  my SO got it with tequila; I got it virgin. The food was delicious, and the portions were enormous! It wasnt any cheaper than a meal back home, but it was certainly worthy of the price. The dining area was beautiful, the bathroom was clean and our waiter was very friendly. Cozumeleños are wonderful people, very friendly and kind. I hope they continue to recover quickly from the terrible damage wreaked by Wilma. - Belize: We went with Hammerhead/Coral Breeze for Caye Caulker Reef/Shark Ray Alley snorkeling. We got into port two hours before the shops were open, and three hours before our tour, which was a shame because we only had a little time to shop and would have loved to have been able to buy more. The exchange rate is excellent and the prices were very reasonable. I was so pleased with the quality of the tour Hammerhead provided. The guides  Henny and Zach, with boat crew Tony the Tiger and Smitty - were extremely knowledgeable, friendly, helpful and most important of all, very careful about how the reef was treated As I mention in my review of this port, the last hour of this tour was extremely tense and nerve-wracking for us, and at the time it really put a pall over the whole day. We made it back to the last tender with four minutes to spare  way too close. Looking back, though, that was the only thing that was bad about what was otherwise a perfect and fantastic day with an otherwise excellent tour company. We loved Belize and would definitely go back to Caye Caulker. - Costa Maya: This port is absolutely fantastic  its quite new, so go there quick before it gets overdeveloped and spoiled. Avoid all the shops at the pier and go directly to Mahahual; its only $3- per person to get there and $2- to get back. Theres a sandy road with lots of vendors, and the Cats Meow, which was our tours meeting place, has covered tables right on the white sandy beach (and $2- beers with friendly service!). Our tour was booked with the fabulous David and Ivan, who rightly have such an excellent reputation on Cruise Critics boards. The ruins at Chacchoben were just stunning. David was a brilliant tour guide! He has a vast wealth of knowledge about all aspects of Mayan life, society, culture and religion, and I feel like we learned a college courses worth of knowledge in just an hour. He was able to answer our many questions and it never got boring or felt like a rote lecture. And the ruins! Temples, a town meeting place, foundations of houses, a funerary stone, all many centuries old. (One caveat about the Chacchoben ruins: if youre allergic to bees, make sure you have your Epi-pen  there are quite a few of them. My SO had forgotten it and it made us nervous, but luckily they never came down from their nests high up in the trees. Better safe than sorry, though, as there is quite a distance from the ruins to medical help.) When we got back to Mahahual, we had plenty of time before needing to be back on the ship, so we bought David a beer at the Cats Meow. We all relaxed and chatted for a while, then he had to go, so we said goodbye and headed our separate ways. If you go to Costa Maya, you absolutely HAVE to hire a tour from these guys. I cant imagine a better tour than we had, and David is not only a great guide, but also a really cool guy. We spent our last ten dollars here, and were happy to do so. I would absolutely return to Costa Maya to stay for a week. Its so unspoiled and so beautiful. - Debarkation: Very, very easy! The one thing I hated that morning was that the ship must have been refueling when we awoke very early, because the entire ship absolutely stunk of diesel fumes, which was nauseating. Luckily, that eventually went away (or we got used to it!). We chose to do self-assist, as we only had one carryon and suitcase each. The ship was cleared by Customs by 8:15, and we were off the ship, in a taxi and at the airport in under half an hour. We just walked through and handed our Customs form to the agent, and then got an elevator upstairs and walked out to the sidewalk. We were at the airport by twenty minutes of nine; our flight wasnt until 3:00! - Overall impressions of the cruise: We had an absolutely amazing week. There were a few little snags, but they were nothing compared to all of the good things. We would love to sail the Miracle again and would love to return to any of the ports we visited. Overall the entire staff was friendly and helpful, from the top crew right down to the deck-washers  even when the pitfalls of English as a Second Language made things pretty interesting. My only complaint now is that I no longer have chunks of fresh fruit and sliced cantaloupe waiting for me in the morning, nor someone to cook and bring me delicious food and do the dishes, nor someone to change my sheets and clean my room. Almost every aspect of the cruise, from embarkation through debarkation, was so effortless that we could really relax and enjoy every moment. It rates right up there as the best week of my life. I did learn one valuable lesson: when youve had barely any sleep and are dehydrated, dont think you can drink those Fun Ship specials right after you embark. Trust me. Read Less
Sail Date May 2006
First things first....I just came back from Baghdad. My wife and I wanted to plan a "get away" vacation. Since I'm from Tampa and seeing as how my mom still lives there, it gave us a chance to take our little one to ... Read More
First things first....I just came back from Baghdad. My wife and I wanted to plan a "get away" vacation. Since I'm from Tampa and seeing as how my mom still lives there, it gave us a chance to take our little one to Grandma's while we went on vacation. The night before we stayed at the Channelside Marriot hotel right down the street from the port - great choice. I remember when this hotel was built and have always wanted to stay there. I booked the room from Iraq and had no trouble checking in and they even provided transportation (yes, I know it was 2 blocks away) to the port the morning of. Getting on the boat is a snap. We booked the cruise in late November and I did the online fill out thing the next day, so all we had to bring was our passports (or birth certificates - we actually didn't need any of these things we just showed our military ID) and our paper saying we completed the online thing. We waited for about 25 minutes and we were on! I think we got there about 1145 and we were finished with lunch by 12:15. Our Room: We booked a guar. 8A and were upgraded to 8G(?) anywho the cabin number was 7300 which was on the back of the boat with a balcony on the verandah deck - simply perfect view. Our cabin steward Amilia (aka Sparky) and her team were the best. The room was always kept clean with new towels and we had breakfast on the balcony every morning - smoked salmon and fruit with coffee. I'm not picky on room size - since all I had a couple weeks ago was a tent to live in. The Dinning room: Head honcho waiter Juan and his assistant Carlos were great - Juan was always singing some random song (i.e. brittany spears - madonna) and always had a smile on his face. They knew our names and what we liked to drink after the first night. AGAIN the food was perfect - I've been eating chow hall food for the past 137 days -- let's not be so critical of things people! ALSO the pink lights in the dinning room were ignored after the first time we walked in - if you let the lights ruin your dining experience, try going to Baghdad. The Ship: Amazing sums it up, everything is extremely well kept and all the staff are willing to help you no matter the request. The adults-only pool on the back of the boat was a life saver, we asked Sparky how many people where on board and she said 2400 - not bad all things considered, but out of the 2400 there were 930 kids on board. I don't think we saw the same one more than once - other than the drunk 16-17ish year olds (read further down). The ports: We DIDN'T book one single excersion at all and had a BLAST at all of the ports. Grand Cayman: The cayman dollar is more expensive than the US dollar so don't plan on trying to get a deal. We rented a scooter ($40)for the whole day and traveled the whole island in a couple hours. We sent up camp at a small beach on the north end of the island - can't remember the name of the place, but the corona was cold. The water was amazing and the people very friendly. Cozumel: Again, we rented a scooter ($20) and did the same exact thing - only this time we did some shopping and found some really great stuff! Went to Senior Frogs --skip it if you have a choice. Belize: Hmm....maybe we should have booked an excursion on this one...we got off the boat walked through some shops and came to "the gate", where everyone wanted to take us somewhere. We bypassed most of them and decided to explore on our own...that lasted about 10 minutes - we then met Roberto(?) and he took us to a small beach (cucumber beach) which was nice. No shopping here. Costa Maya: This one I think was probably the best - the best shopping of the week, good food, great people...rented the scooter ($20) and took off. Saw some ruins, drank some very strong drinks. I think this was the one with the bar you can swim up to - I didn't though. They have a Mexican version of Wal-Mart here so if you need something "Wal-Martish" this would be the place to pick it up. We where a little delayed (10-15min) in leaving due to 2 young boys (16-17ish) who came stumbling to the pier, one almost fell in and the other was being escorted by carnival folks and local police - must make their parents proud! :-) Overall: We had the best times of our lives, next time (yes, we will go on the miracle next time) we will bring our daughter now that we know and saw the programs that carnival offers for the little ones. On a side note - If you posted a negative review due to one small thing (i.e. dinning room lights, lobster too rubbery, naked statues (yes there are some - its art folks and if you weren't paying attention to them you wouldn't see them), waiter forgetting what you drink, then you should think about the people who read your reviews like me - I've been reading them since we booked - I read every single one of them sometimes twice when I was in Iraq and laughed at most of the complaints I saw. Sure, you pay good money to go on the trip, but let the little things slide. E-mail me if you need some more info! Jason Read Less
Sail Date May 2006
This was our 10th Carnival Cruise which entitled us to Platinum status. This gave us priority boarding at embarkation and at the tenders for shore trips. They also gave us complimentary canapes one night. We each had several sheets of ... Read More
This was our 10th Carnival Cruise which entitled us to Platinum status. This gave us priority boarding at embarkation and at the tenders for shore trips. They also gave us complimentary canapes one night. We each had several sheets of personalized stationary in platinum. The pursers desk also gave us recognition which was nice. The cruise was terrific. We stopped at Grand Cayman Island where I took a cab to the Colony Beach Hotel at Seven Mile Beach. I had purchased a Beach Break from the ship for $23 and found that I could have bought the same package at the entrance to the beach for $15. The next port was Cozumel where we now had to tender out quite a distance because of the extensive damage to the dock by hurricane Wilma in Oct. 2005. It was interesting to go ashore and see the extent of the damage first hand. The next port was Belize where I went cave tubing with an independent operator called Yhoni at CaveTubing.com. The cost was half that of the ship and was longer going through two caves. We had 5 guides with us for a 6:1 ratio. This was very helpful. Our guides were hilarious, entertaining us the whole time. I am a lady in my mid 70's and they were very helpful to me when the path got a little rough. I do highly recommend them. The only dock where the ship could tie up was Costa Maya. It is a very long concrete dock but there is a shuttle that continually goes back and forth. After a tour of the shopping village and a Folkloric show that was very good we headed back to the ship. This is where the real story begins: My husband who is 91 years old was using a Hugo rollator walker. He tired and sat on the small seat while I pushed him. The dock was uneven and the front wheels got caught causing the walker to lunge forward and my husband to hit his head on the dock. The paramedic was there in an instant. They moved my husband to a wheelchair and then to the ship where the doctor and nurse were waiting. He had 8 stitches to close the wound and since the next day was a sea day the recommendation was to leave the ship and travel by ambulance to Cancun, 4 hours away. The hospital in Cancun is fantastic. They are a complete medical facility where my husband had a CT Scan and back X-rays which turned out negative fortunately. The only problem was that the nurses only spoke Spanish. The ship notified my travel agent who notified the travel insurance company and took care of the details for the hospital where the doctor was waiting for us. They couldn't have handled things any better. We are very grateful to them. I strongly advise any one planning a cruise out of the country to notify their Credit Card Company in advance. Our Visa was rejected for security reasons and it took several phone calls to get the $7000 charge unblocked. The other important recommendation is to get the travel insurance. If it is booked with Carnival all costs are paid by them immediately. The other insurance company with whom I booked requires personal payment and then all receipts must be submitted for reimbursement. Carnival Miracle is a fine ship with very pleasant staff. They do their utmost to make your cruise a success. If not for the unexpected accident this would have been our best cruise ever out of 21 cruises. Read Less
Sail Date May 2006
This was our first time on Carnival Miracle and we had a great experience. The ship was awesome, one of the nicest we've been on. The food was great in the buffet and the food in the dining room was good, but not great. Our cabin ... Read More
This was our first time on Carnival Miracle and we had a great experience. The ship was awesome, one of the nicest we've been on. The food was great in the buffet and the food in the dining room was good, but not great. Our cabin steward was awesome and so was the rest of the employees on the ship. The only complaint we had was that our dining room server was the worst we've ever had. I know that sounds crazy but he wasn't friendly at all and our whole group was kind of afraid of him. The server assistant was great! We were always the last table in the dining room still eating. One word of advice, ask to be seated in the lower portion of the dining room because the service is much better!! We had a balcony for our first time and it was worth every penny!!!! The cabins were very clean and updated! We booked all of our excursions outside of Carnival and had no problems what so ever!! Highly recommend booking through other companies, email me if you have any questions about what excursions we did through the dependent companies(: Cave Tubing was great, Stingray City Snorkeling was awesome too!! Overall this was a great cruise!!!!!! Read Less
Sail Date April 2006
We were on April 23 Miracle cruise. Getting on the ship was easy, we were on by 12:45pm and did the walk and look tour by ourselves. Finding everything was relatively easy. We went to our room at 1:30 and met Mr. Carlos (room steward). He ... Read More
We were on April 23 Miracle cruise. Getting on the ship was easy, we were on by 12:45pm and did the walk and look tour by ourselves. Finding everything was relatively easy. We went to our room at 1:30 and met Mr. Carlos (room steward). He was very polite and helped us a lot with information and answers to questions that we asked him. Leaving port was exciting and very smooth, and yes going under the bridge is something to see, (you could toss a ball straight up and hit the underneath) not recommended tho! Food (mmmmmmmm) deck 9, well the buffets -- well you want it it's there, never a bad meal from breakfast to dinners. We had coffee at room service every morning with melon slices, then 9:30 had a buffet breakfast. Lunches were totally awesome, we only had one dinner at buffet since we loved the sit down dinners. Deck 3 -- We had Mr Paul and his asst, awesome servers we had table 287. Dinner every nite was totally awesome -- so much to choose from and the service was just great. We did Nick and Nora's Tuesday nite (fancy 6 star dinning). This is a must do. Yessss you pay 30.00 a person extra but trust me it's definitely worth it. The food and service just amazing, and the entertainment was so mood oriented just a perfect nite. Well relaxing time he he he, well the mid pool has live entertainment, well ok ok we took the aft pool (adult pool) no under 18. This was nice and quiet, and a good time. We met so many new friends, some just for the cruise and some lifetime and future cruisers companions. Ohhhhhhhhhh get the drink server "Ming." He is from China -- awesome personality and just say badddd monkey, he will understand ha ha ha . (ok explaining monkey) -- one nite they serve a drink in a coconut carved monkey. Very strong but good so after 2 monkeys welllllll you get the idea soooooooo the term baddddd monkey arrived. The ship decorations -- well Carnival calls it the Fun Ships. Well they are. We loved the decor (lots pics all over the web) and if not email us we will gladly send you some. The ship cruise director and his staff to die for. Fun, friendly, always something to do. Overall for our first cruise, it was great, no complaints here. We will be cruising a lot in the future and Carnival has our vote. Any questions well ask us. Read Less
Sail Date April 2006
Background Information--This was my 5th cruise solo. My second on Carnival. I work for a regional airline and enjoy traveling!! Travel to Port of Embarkation--Came in a day early (always do this!!) Hotel Info---Enjoyed the city of Tampa. ... Read More
Background Information--This was my 5th cruise solo. My second on Carnival. I work for a regional airline and enjoy traveling!! Travel to Port of Embarkation--Came in a day early (always do this!!) Hotel Info---Enjoyed the city of Tampa. Stayed at the Holiday Inn at Rocky Point. Very nice hotel. Rented a car with Alamo. They offer free shuttle service to the Port of Tampa. Good offer, but their service is rather slow. Next time, I will use a taxi. Embarkation-Carnival gets a A for this, very efficient and was on the ship in a hour. Arrived at 11:20 a.m. I was in group 16 and was on board by 12:30 p.. Stateroom-I had room 1257. An inside cabin on the Rivera deck. Very good room. Plenty of space for all my items. Small, but functional bathroom. Beds were heavenly!! I enjoyed all those afternoon naps!! Odd thing, the non Carnival TV channels were Denver, Co based. Showed the same movies every night. Room steward was ok I had better on other cruises. Did the basics, but nothing beyond that (I still left him something extra, but not as much as I have with other stewards). Room was near Aft elevators and employee's galley entrance. But no noise from either. Ship--Very nice ship. Even with the size, it was never overwhelming. I enjoyed the Gatsby garden. Very nice quiet area to read and work on puzzles. Very clean ship, no wear and tear around. Dining--Had dinner at the 8:15 p.m. seating. Upper dinning room, table 369. Great group of tablemates. An investment broker, scientist for a major company, a WW II veteran, and a gentleman that splits his time between New York and Israel. Our dining team were great!! Both always had smiles and very polite!! Gave both extra for the outstanding service. The food was good, got to try things that I wouldn't at home. Had dinner in Nick & Nora's one night. It's worth the extra $30 for the meal. Tip 50% because of the service. Lido food was also great!! Enjoyed the pizza and Asian station. The steak sandwiches were good also. The ice cream is very addictive and enjoyed it several times a day!! Activities-I viewed the belly flop and hairy chest contest. They were fun. Went to bingo one time and to three of the shows. The Cruise Director, was so good!! He was the best that I had on any ship!! There was a lot to do on the ship, I mainly enjoy finding a nook to read and enjoy myself. Children's Club-I traveled solo. There were about 80 to 100 children on board. Don't know the number in the Children's club. Saw children with their parents, but also in the Lido in the evening with the Club (they had a section closed off for the Club Carnival). Service--Service was good on board. Willing to serve crew Shore Excursions-Only booked one tour with Carnival. Caymans-This was the only port where I booked a tour with Carnival. Very pleased with the tour. Went snorkeling and out to a shipwreck. Only 15 people and worth the value. The tour guides were good with the first timers. Belize-- Carnival need to use someone else in Belize with the cave tubing. One of the buses broke down and the people on this bus had to walk to the part entrance. People were all over in the caves with mass confusion. I was glad that I went with Cave-Tubing.Com. Great service compared to the ship. Cozumel--I booked a beach break with Island Marketing. It was ok I enjoyed the beach, but the service was nothing to brag about. Costa Maya--I also used Island Marketing at this port, but talk about a 360 degree difference in service. The people at Pez Quadro still remembered me from November!! Both the owners greeted me like I was an old friend coming back!! It was the perfect beach day and everyone was having a great time!! The tendering was great on the trip. In the Caymans, I got on and off the boat three times with little or no wait. In Belize, I talked to the crew stating I had a private tour and they got me off the boat with no problems. Disembarkation--I prefer Holland America's way for the general disembarkation. You are allowed to stay in your room until your group is called. But, I like the fact that Carnival allows self disembarkation early for those who want that option. Great if you are traveling light and need to get off fast. It was a mass of people trying to leave when they made the general disembarkation call. They suggested (which I did) to sit and wait for 20 minutes to allow the rush to slow down. Summary--The Miracle is a great ship with great ports of call. The value is right and I would sail on her again. Read Less
Sail Date April 2006
My husband and I cruised on the Miracle on April 23, 2006 for 7 nights. It was truly an unforgettable experience. Sunday  Embarkation -- Embarkation was a breeze. We flew into Tampa on Saturday night, and Carnival provided us with a ... Read More
My husband and I cruised on the Miracle on April 23, 2006 for 7 nights. It was truly an unforgettable experience. Sunday  Embarkation -- Embarkation was a breeze. We flew into Tampa on Saturday night, and Carnival provided us with a one-night stay at the Tampa Airport Marriott hotel. On Sunday morning, we waited for our shuttle to take us to the ferry terminal. We were at the terminal at approximately 11:30 am, and we boarded the Miracle by 12:30 pm. We immediately went for lunch on Deck 9  the Lido Deck. There was a great variety of food ranging from burgers, to homemade sandwiches, to fish and chicken. After we stuffed our faces, we went to purchase a Fountain Card (well worth it if you drink lots of pop and juice). We then did a thorough walk through of the ship, since we were waiting for our luggage to be delivered to our cabin. As Im prone to motion sickness, my travel agent advised me to book an inside cabin toward the middle of the ship. Our cabin wasnt large, but it was sufficient for the two of us. The bathroom was small, but clean. We loved the shower. After conducting a thorough tour of the ship, we were called to attend the muster drill (what a bore  but its absolutely mandatory all passengers of the ship attend the drill). Shortly after, we returned to our cabin, and our luggage was delivered right to our door. We unpacked, settled in, and then headed to the Bacchus Dining room for our first dinner (early seating). We asked for a small table, and we were given table/booth 117. The booth could have seated 4 people, but we had it to ourselves throughout the cruise. We were extremely happy with our table and the serving team. We had Ida (from Indonesia), Daria (from Russia), and Bu (from Thailand). They were extremely friendly, helpful, and fun to converse with. After our feast, we watched the welcome onboard show. It was all right. Monday  Day at Sea -- My husband participated in a game show trivia and won a Carnival medallion, then we watched the belly flop contest (large, hairy men doing belly flops in the swimming pool). We also soaked up some sun, sat in the pool, ate, drank, and walked around. It was formal night tonight, so we returned to our cabin at 3:30 pm to get ready for the Captains cocktail party at 5:00 pm. It was held in the Phantom Lounge, and there were free drinks and appies. The captain reminded me of Robert DeNiro. The Cruise Director, Mark Hawkins, is whacked or on crack..We then headed to dinner in the Bacchus Dining room, and to our surprise, the serving team remembered our names and what we wanted to drink. My husband ordered prime rib and a lobster tail (two main courses), and I ordered a lobster tail (it was all right). After dinner, we watched a Vegas-style show called Generations. It was pretty entertaining. Tuesday  Grand Cayman -- This was our favorite port of all. We did the Stingray & Island Tour, but we booked online through Nativeway Watersports (excellent! I highly recommend them). We swam with the stingrays in the beautiful, warm Caribbean water. Our guide Charlie, was a hoot. There were only 6 of us on the tour, so we all had lots of time with the stingrays. The Miracle group had about 60 people, and they were packed like sardines on the catamaran. We were lucky that we had such a small group. In addition, Charlie even took us to a small reef to snorkel (this wasnt even included in our tour). Afterward, we visited the Turtle Farm, Hell, and the Tortuga Rum Factory. Their rum cakes are sooo delicious. My husband and I were quite sad when the tour ended. Dinner as usual in the Bacchus Dining Room. Wednesday  Cozumel -- There was still some serious damage left from the hurricane. We planned on going to Chankanaab Park by taxi, but they told us it was closed due to all the hurricane damage. We were really, really disappointed. We had no choice but to venture to Playa Uvas, the beach closest to Chankanaab Park. Entrance fee was $7 US per person, but it included 2 drinks. When we arrived, we were awestruck by the beauty of the beach and the water. We were the first ones there, so we had first pick of the loungers. We rented a locker for $5 US, and a lifejacket. We soaked up some sun, got our drinks, and then headed into the crystal-clear water for some snorkeling. Luckily we brought our own snorkel gear. We saw lots of colorful fish (some blue tangs, a variety of angelfish, some gobies, and even a large puffer fish). The puffer fish was our highlight of the day. My husband swam/chased it until it hid under a small reef. I swam up to my husband, and found the puffer fish. We both stared at it for a good 10 minutes. The fish glared right back at us. We left it alone after a while, and swam to look at other species of fish. When I returned to the puffer fishs hideout, it already escaped. oh well. After snorkeling, we returned to the beach and ordered some nachos. It was absolutely amazing! Delicious melted cheese, and the best guacamole weve ever had! By mid-afternoon, the beach became quite crowded, so we left. We walked around Cozumel for a bit, and headed back to the ship. We ate dinner at Nick & Noras tonight. My husband ordered a massive 24 oz. Porterhouse Steak, and I ordered the Surf & Turf (lobster tail and filet mignon). The atmosphere and service was well worth the extra $30 per person. Unfortunately, I couldnt enjoy my entire meal, as a bout of motion sickness hit me. I think I had one bite each out of the lobster tail and filet mignon. The food was very good and impressive, but too bad I lost my appetite. Our evening ended shortly after dinner. Thursday  Belize -- Like other reviewers have mentioned, dont get off the ship unless you book an excursion. Belize is definitely a third-world country. I dont think Ive ever seen such frail dogs and cats roaming the streets. We booked a Cave Tubing excursion through Hammerhead Watersports (previously Coral Breeze Limited), and we had an awesome time. Our guide was Carlos, and he was quite entertaining. We only had 4 people in our group. We got there quite early, and walked right past the Miracle group (they had roughly 50 to 60 people). After walking for about 30 minutes, we reached the entrance to the river. The water was quite cool and refreshing, and Carlos joked, When you jump in, dont cry for your mama!! Carlos was very experienced with the caves and pointed out many stalagmites. He was very organized, and never left any of our group members behind. The Carnival Miracle group couldnt keep everyone together. We saw many single floaters drifting around. After approximately 1 hour of cave tubing, we stopped at a local restaurant for lunch. We had really tasty BBQ chicken, rice, banana muffin, salad, and fruit punch. On our ride back to the terminal, we were so bombed out we fell asleep in the air-conditioned van. Overall, we had a really great time. Friday  Costa Maya -- This was our least favorite port, although its the only one that didnt require any tenders. We checked out the resort which included a swimming pool, a swim-up bar, many shops and restaurants. We decided to take a cab to Majahual, the fishing village. When we arrived, I was quite disappointed, as I heard many glowing reviews about that place. There were street vendors in every direction begging you to buy something. We walked quickly down the street until we reached the end of the beach. We decided to spend most of the day there. The water was again crystal-clear, and the beach was quite nice. There was a bar with swings right next to us. After a few drinks, we decided to do some snorkeling, since we had such a blast in Cozumel. Boy, I was disappointed. First of all, I was told there were sea urchins in the water, then we snorkeled out a bit, and didnt see any nice fish (other than boring, silver fish  they all looked the same). To top it off, there were jet skiers and kayakers all over the place, and if you werent careful, youd get your head knocked off your shoulders. After playing in the water for a short time, I decided to call it quits. I then walked to a nearby restaurant to order some mixed ceviche (shrimp, conch, octopus, tomatoes, red onions, marinated in a tangy lime dressing). It was all right, but I didnt think it was worth $10 US. Shortly after, we left Majahual and headed back to the port. We had some nachos at the resorts restaurant, and it was awful. Definitely nothing like the nachos we had at Playa Uvas in Cozumel. After a disappointing day in Costa Maya, we headed back to the ship. Tonight was the second formal night, and we dressed up again. We took lots of pictures on the ship, and purchased quite a few onboard. After dinner at the Bacchus Dining room, we watched another Vegas-style production called Tribute to the Beatles or something like that. It was worth watching. Saturday  Day at Sea -- The seas were very, very rough today. Swells between 6  8 feet. Motion sickness hit me again (even after I took a dose of Bonamine). Couldnt eat breakfast or lunch. My husband and I tried to keep busy to keep my mind off of the constant rocking back and forth of the ship. We played bingo (won $200), went to the casino and won $60 from blackjack. Shortly after, we headed to the Lido Deck for dinner. I didnt have much of an appetite to have a sit-down dinner in the Bacchus Dining room. I was craving French Fries, so that was what I had for dinner. Afterward, we walked over to the Bacchus Dining room to say adios to the serving team, and to thank them for their excellent service. Then, we headed back to the cabin to pack our luggage, and we hit the sack shortly after that. Sunday  Debarkation -- Although motion sickness hit me a couple of times during the cruise, I must say we still had a very fun and relaxing vacation. We (especially my husband) were sad to leave the beautiful ship. As we were given VIP tags, we were one of the first to debark. We were off the ship by 9:00 am, and we boarded the shuttle to head back to the airport. Boo hoo. Read Less
Sail Date April 2006
This was our first cruise. This is something I have wanted to do all my life. I turned 60 last January. My husband is very tall, 64 and he always thought we would be uncomfortable in the cabins. Maybe we would have been on other lines, ... Read More
This was our first cruise. This is something I have wanted to do all my life. I turned 60 last January. My husband is very tall, 64 and he always thought we would be uncomfortable in the cabins. Maybe we would have been on other lines, but not on the Carnival Miracle. I am a planner. I get a vision in my head about what the trip should be like. This was my dream trip, and my expectations were met and exceeded. This is a wonderful cruise and I highly recommend it to anyone, old or young. Embarking Easy 10 minute drive for us. We live in Tampa. Arrived around 11 a.m., spent the extra $10 for valet parking for the week, and with the help of a very friendly agent inside, were on the ship and having a wonderful buffet lunch on Lido deck by 12:30. Went to our room promptly at 1:30 We were on the starboard side, (and if you are going to have a full moon, this is the place to be!), with a regular balcony. The bathroom was ample for us, and there is plenty of storage. Whatever you are packing, take about half of it back out, you dont need it. I over packed. We have favorite casual clothing, and we wore it all week, the washer and dryers were convenient and we washed shorts, t-shirts and bathing suits a couple times. Our Cabin Stewart was great. We wanted our ice chest kept iced and a few other things and tipped him going in $20, in addition to adding more tip at the end of the trip through the purser. It was money well spent!! The Dining Experience My favorite thing on the Miracle was dinner. Although you will read about how outrageous the dining room dEcor is, if you are downstairs, it really doesnt bother you, after you get through the first shock. All the grapes are way up high. I think you would be more unhappy if you were upstairs. We live in Tampa, and in Florida, we just dont get dressed for dinner for the most part. I loved both formal night, and casual nights. We bought a beautiful dark suit for my husband, and he looked wonderful in it. You can rent a tux on board for the trip if you want to go that route. For other nights, I pretty much wore long casual dresses and sandals to dinner, with some jewelry that doesnt get out much. I looked nice, but casual. The men tended to slacks and nice polo shirts, or short-sleeved dress shirts. The menu was wonderful. I cancelled my reservation at Nick and Noras, we didnt need to spend the extra money. The portions in the dining room were perfect for me. They are of a healthy size unlike what you get in a restaurant, and very nicely presented. If you want more to eat, you can order more. Most people at our table had two starters and sometimes two desserts or entrees, especially if you couldnt decide. I am watching my weight and actually lost a pound on this trip. I had what we will call a heart event last May, which included having an angioplasty with a stent. I was lucky, I had a blockage but no heart attack. Took me a while but I am exercising like crazy now and watching my diet, and the miracle really accommodated me on that score. The SPA menu was wonderful. The diet desserts were very good, and I was able to eat mostly on the healthy side and throw in a few interesting items from the regular side of the menu (the cold creamed fruit soups are a MUST from the starter menu). I never once felt deprived on this trip. I learned I can make good choices for my health, and still have a wonderful time!! Very important life lesson for the me. I have heard the desserts were nothing special on the Miracle. Accordingly to everyone at our table, they were glorious!! Carnival seems to do a good job of matching people at a table. We were a table of 3 couples, and very compatible, and it made the trip very enjoyable. We recommend if you dont have children, definitely go to the late seating. It is a much more leisurely experience, and you will get done in plenty of time for the shows. Casino We didnt win anything, but lots of people did. We also didnt overspend. We just had some fun in there. We did the slots tournaments and blackjack tournaments, which only cost $20 to enter. I probably spent about $200 donating to the slot machines, but it was fun. Photographs We loved having the photo sessions. We brought home some of the best pictures ever taken of us. Shore Excursions We stuck with Carnival shore excursions. I will always do this. They get you off the boat first and will WAIT for you if your excursion was late (and this happened to a few people). They will NOT WAIT if you didnt purchase one of their recommended excursions. Its insurance worth having, you dont save enough to take a plane to catch your ship!! The water was beautiful everywhere. We shopped and lunched in Grand Cayman. My husband has a knee injury and we needed that day to rest him a little. Our favorite day was our excursion called Passion Island Adventure and Lunch in Cozumel. It takes about 45 minutes by bus to ride to the north end of the island, and then a little ferry ride, but you end up on your own private island, where lunch is ready for you. Open bar on this trip, which we dont do, but we didnt feel we were being jipped. The beach was beautiful, the water was great, and we stayed in the water most of the 3 hours we were out there. Very nice restrooms for being on a beach, room to change your clothes. The restrooms had 2 stalls in each room and the attendant will put you into your own room so you can use the facilities or change your clothes. It was a wonderful trip. We went reef fishing in Belize. It was fun. There had been a storm the week before, and the fishing wasnt great, but it was fun, and the water was beautiful. We never actually went into to Belize City itself, the fishing boat picks you up at the cruise ship. Door to Door service. We went on a snorkeling trip in Costa Maya, the water was absolutely gorgeous here, I think the best color of all the stops. I was surprised by that, no one seems to talk about the water here. I would go to a beach next time, so I could spend more time in it. Other Areas I spent 30-45 minutes a day exercising in the Spa. Lots of very new machines, a beautiful adult only whirlpool, and the showers and saunas in the SPA are also available. Very impressed. It is very hot up there, take your water with you. We didnt spend much time at the pools. We preferred the lovely water on shore. We did use the Aft pool one day, which is for adults. There was a lot going on up front at the pool decks, however. Disembarking was not bad. Put all our luggage outside our room by midnight the night before. Had a nice leisurely breakfast (and these was the one time the dining room feel on its butt. Wait staff on the last morning was horrible. We had to ASK for a cup of coffee. Left the ship around 10:30. You have to vacate your room by 9:30 a.m. Now about the way you get your luggage. Your luggage is dropped in a "zone" that matches your original tags in a large room. Half of our luggage was taken by someone else and then dropped in another location when they realized it wasn't there luggage. One of our bags was taken by a passenger all the way to Atlantic City, New Jersey, which caused us a very bad 24 hours. We had all our souvenirs and pictures in the bag. It should NOT have happened. How about being a good neighbor and looking at the tags on the bags you take!! Make sure you have YOUR bags. I know I will add colored ribbons to my bags next time, so this might not happen. No one checks the luggage you are taking against your tickets, and that really should be done obviously. My best recommendation I can give the Miracle is, we are waiting for a sale to book our cruise on her for next year!! Read Less
Sail Date March 2006
The Carnival Miracle is exactly that a Miracle.... I traveled with five moms, five teenage girls, one dad and one teenage boy. This was a Girl Scout Mom & Me trip with a tag along...:o) Our token husband and little brother had their ... Read More
The Carnival Miracle is exactly that a Miracle.... I traveled with five moms, five teenage girls, one dad and one teenage boy. This was a Girl Scout Mom & Me trip with a tag along...:o) Our token husband and little brother had their hands full. Out of the group only three of us had cruised before. First off this ship has huge WOW factor when you board. The atrium was beautiful, the art around the ship was amazing, and the decor while over the top was awesome.... yes the pink lights in the dining room are a mystery but we all agreed that after the first night they seem to work. We all had 5A cabins midship on the Main deck... even though the windows had life boats in front of them it was nice to be able to open them and hear the ocean and have fresh air.... besides the fact the girls liked talking to each other out of them and when they would lock themselves out of their rooms found the grates out there to be very helpful in getting from one room to the other.... there was another deck below not just ocean... Our room steward Kay was wonderful...putting up with the messes these girls could leave behind.... I miss him dearly because the cabin steward on this ship sucks :o(. The food was awesome everywhere we went I never ate anything I didn't like. Horatio's has the best omelets for breakfast and Reubens for lunch. My daughter is a room service freak so we had many BLT's and chicken wraps in the wee hours of the morning and they were always on time with my morning coffee..... I do miss Ioan and Wayan in the dining room, they spoiled us rotten. From napkins in our laps to remembering who drank coffee after dinner... now the flourless chocolate cake for dessert is a must for anyone who has the chance and the rest of the group loved the Strawberry bisque and the variety of different chilled soups offered as appetizers... the Talapia and Grouper where wonderful. As far as excursions and things this is what our group experienced.... Grand Cayman-Most of us did the Reef and Wreck snorkel through the ship.... the snorkeling there is suppose to be the best. We had a 5 foot barracuda right below us and it was amazing.... we also shopped and had lunch at the Hard Rock Cafe. The rest of our group did the Butterfly Farm and ended up at Sea Grapes Beach..... they thought the beach was wonderful. Cozumel. Being as the group I was with was a Girl Scout mom & me trip we hooked up with the Chrysalis Group in Cozumel and toured the elementary school and gave them a cash donation.... it was suppose to be school supplies but we found out we couldn't get them through customs...the girls thought this was the highlight of there trip.... then we took a cab to Paradise Beach...if you just want to beach it this is a wonderful place ... I could have spent a week there alone. Belize-We did the cave tubing through the ship.... if I ever did it again I would book with an outside company like X-stream. First it was a 1 hour narrated bus ride telling us about the country. Then it was a 45-60 min hike through the rain forest ... it was a beautiful walk....and then about 1 1/2 hour float through the caves and the rain forest... I thought it was amazing and the water felt good after the walk. They then took us for a wonderful lunch ... best chicken I ever had. On the way back to the ship it was siesta time and we all took advantage of that... Costa Maya-The group I was with did the dolphin swim.... a once in a life time experience... we interacted with the dolphins and the jumped over us. They would swim through the group to be petted and flip over to have their tummies rubbed. Then my daughter and I rented a golf cart and drove over to the fishing village and ran into a few more of our group. This is the prettiest beach I have ever seen... my daughter got her hair braided and I shopped and sat on the beach.... some one else in our group did the Xstreme speed boats and thought they were a blast... the port village is wonderful there with a swimming pool and swim up bar, restaurants and shops... if you didn't want to you would never have to leave the port but to me the fishing village is worth the ride. The shows that we saw were great ... Generations and Ticket to Ride are not to miss.... the comedian we saw was funny .... and my daughter decided to try hypnosis from the top balcony and it worked she was doing all the group stuff ... I would bet my life she wasn't faking ... they were asking them to do things she would be to self conscious to do in real life.....we laughed so hard at her I think we missed most of the stage show and I almost peed my pants. All and all this was the most amazing adventure of my life. I would do this exact same itinerary again and do different adventures.... I would love to do the Lost World Canopy Tour in Belize.... go Parasailing in Cozumel.... the two man bubble submarine in Grand Cayman and just go back to the beach in the fishing village (Majahual) in Costa Maya. If you want to rest and relax on this trip you definitely can or if you are looking for adventure it is definitely there. Read Less
Sail Date March 2006
We had a wonderful cruise on the Miracle. This was our second Carnival cruise. Cruising were myself, 46; hubby, 50; our 2 sons, ages 20 and 23; and oldest sons girlfriend, age 22. We had ocean view cabins on Riviera Deck. Who knew looking ... Read More
We had a wonderful cruise on the Miracle. This was our second Carnival cruise. Cruising were myself, 46; hubby, 50; our 2 sons, ages 20 and 23; and oldest sons girlfriend, age 22. We had ocean view cabins on Riviera Deck. Who knew looking out a little window would seem like such a treat?? Ill probably never go back to an inside cabin. PRE-CRUISE: Flew Southwest Airlines from Portland, Oregon to Tampa on Saturday. We stayed at Chase Suites on their Ship & Shore package. We had a 2-bedroom suite, which 5 adults fit nicely into. Free shuttle from airport to hotel / hotel to pier/pier to airport. Very nice hotel, and great value with the free transportation and breakfast. Here is my complete review of Chase Suites: http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?p=6317149&posted=1#post6317149 EMBARKATION: We arrived at the cruise terminal a little before 11:30 a.m. The porter was right there to take our bags, we tipped him $20 for our 8 bags and got right into the terminal. Stood in line for less than 5 minutes and then checked in. We were in boarding group #11. They began boarding a little late, due to some kind of award the crew was receiving onboard. We didnt care, because we had our CC Roll Call bunch to talk to. We had exchanged photos, and some had already met, so it was pretty easy to recognize each other. It was funny to watch perfect strangers running up and hugging the stuffing out of each other while our kids tried to sink into the floor or pretend they didnt know us. I think it was around 12:30 when they started boarding. We were onboard by about 1:00. We took our carry ons down to our 2 cabins, which were ocean view on Riviera deck. Dropped the bags off, and went up to Lido for lunch. After lunch, we explored the ship and ended up at the Aft pool area, where we had our first official meet & greet for our CC Roll Call bunch. We had muster drill at 3:30, and then back up to the Aft pool for sailaway. Several of our CC group met up there again, and it was like we were old buddies. Great group of people! I was so busy unpacking, I missed going up to the Funnel Deck to watch us sail under the Sunshine Skyway Bridge. All of a sudden, there was the bridge out my cabin window, so it was too late to get up top. DANG! After dinner, we hung out in the casino for a while, then I went to the Piano Bar with a couple of my Roll Call friends. Joel, the piano guy was really very entertaining, and there was a good crowd in there. It was a fun evening. MONDAY, SEA DAY: We just hung out and relaxed after breakfast in Horatios (buffet). At 1:00, we had our second CC meet & greet. We met at the aft pool and then made our way to the midship pool area for the mens Hairy Chest contest. One of our CC guys was a contestant, complete with dorsal fin hat, and another CC member was a judge. We thought Scott would be a shoe-in since he had a fellow CC-er on the panel of judges, but alas ~ it was not to be. He had some phat moves, though! After the contest, we stayed by the pool the rest of the afternoon. Lounge chairs were not too hard to come by. Our 3 kids got 3 loungers side-by-side right after the contest was over, around 2 pm. My son dragged me to the gym and we worked out on the weight machines. This was the first formal night dinner. We went to the Captains Cocktail Party, had a few free drinks and some tasty hors d'oeuvres. We went to the late-night comedy show which was Frank DelPizzo. He was hilarious. We thought he was the best comic of the week. TUESDAY, GRAND CAYMAN: We did the Reef & Wreck Snorkel, which is a Carnival tour. The tour met on the pier at 10:00 am. I got mixed up and thought it was at 10:15 (my tour in Belize was at 10:15), so we were a little late getting to the tender line. The capers said go to the tender 45 minutes before your tour meets, so we headed there at 9:30. They made the announcement for general tendering right as we left our cabin. So, we missed the opportunity to get off the ship with the Carnival tours BEFORE everyone else. Even though I showed my tickets to a couple of Carnival staff, they told me just to wait in the LONG line. I was mad at myself, and worried that we would miss the tour, but we made it to the pier with 5 minutes to spare. If you happened to be in Grand Cayman that day, and saw a frazzled blonde frantically shoving her way past the photo op people, shouting I HAVE TO GET TO MY TOUR ~ that was me. I had originally scheduled a stingray tour with an independent operator, but changed at the last minute because I wanted more snorkeling time. I was glad I did that, because friends that did the stingray tours said the seas were very rough on the way out to the sandbar and at the sandbar and snorkeling stops. Our snorkel was right near where the ships anchor and it wasnt rough at all. There were lots of fish, some barracudas, and the shipwreck was pretty cool. Since the 2 snorkel stops were so close to the pier, we got in lots of ACTUAL snorkeling time, which was exactly what I wanted. We spent about 45 minutes at each stop. It was great, and the water was warm and nice. When we were done with the tour, we walked down the beach about 5 or 10 minutes to Rackhams restaurant, which was recommended by a local who told us to tell them Ron sent us and Jack lives here and they would give us a 10% discount. Sure enough, they did ~ and the food was really very good. Stopped off at the Tortuga Rum store on the way back to the ship and sampled the cake ~ yummy! I had decided to buy my rum cake on the ship so I wouldnt have to carry it around with me on shore. What I didnt realize is that they dont have all the flavors available on the ship. I loved the coffee flavor, and the ship didnt have it. Oh, well! I can be satisfied with Coconut, Original and Chocolate! Last tender was at 3:00, and sailaway at 4:00. Then, we all went to the gym. They have lots of treadmills and bikes, elliptical machines, weight machines and free weights, plus a hot tub. Its a nice gym. I did my treadmill interval workout. Before dinner, we went to the comedy/juggler show. It was very entertaining. After dinner, there was a 70s & 80s dance party up on Lido deck. It was really fun. Then, we went to the late night comedy show, which was the same comedian, Ronnie Bullard, from earlier in the evening and we thought he was very funny. WEDNESDAY, COZUMEL: Before breakfast in Horatios, I went down to get a tender ticket. The capers said they would start handing out tickets for those who did not have a Carnival tour at 9:00 am. I got there at 8:50 and there were only 4 tickets for tender #1 left. We needed 5, so we got tickets for tender #2, which they said should go around 10:00. One person can pick up the tickets for your whole party. We had breakfast, and they called for tender #1 just as we were getting back to our cabin. About 5 minutes later they called tender #2, just about 9:45. While we were in line we heard them call for tender #3, 4, & 5. They were loading tenders from two gangways. We got to the taxi stand and 2 of our CC friends were there, so we shared a taxi van with them. For 7 of us, they charged $30. We got overcharged and I knew it, but I just wanted to get there, so we didnt haggle. We were at Paradise Beach by a little after 10:30, and we had our choice of lounge chairs with umbrellas. Most of our CC friends were there, too, and we were all able to get chairs near each other. Alejandro (Alex) took us to our chairs right in the front row, by the ocean. He took care of us all day, bringing MANY buckets of beer, margaritas and tasty food. I tipped him $30 at the end of the day, and he seemed very pleased. I got a nice kiss on the hand, very gentlemanly. This was our favorite day. The kids used the floating trampoline, iceberg and kayaks, plus the float mats ~ all for $8 per person. There is no charge to use the chairs at PB, as long as you spend $10 per person there. We spent WAY more than that! Paradise Beach is gorgeous, the water warm, PB Tom very nice and comes by to talk to everyone. There are a few rocks in the water as you go in, but I had no problems when I wore my water sandals. Our taxi van back was $20 for 5 of us. Last tender was at 5, sailaway at 6. My son dragged me to the gym again, and then we went to the Past Guest Party before dinner. More free cocktails & snacks. After dinner, we went to the casino. THURSDAY, BELIZE: We did a Carnival sponsored excursion, the Private Island Beach Break. We met at Mad Hatters lounge at 10:00 after breakfast at Horatios. They took us down to the tender, which took us straight to Bannister Island. The tour operators warned us that there probably wouldnt be any chairs for about an hour until some of the groups that arrived before we did started leaving. They were right ~ no chairs available. We got our free rum punch from the bar, and sat down at a little pavilion with benches and started putting on our sunscreen. We were only there for about 15 or 20 minutes when people started leaving, so we were able to grab 5 chairs together in the second row of loungers. Bannister Island is nice, but not nearly as nice as Paradise Beach. We had a fun day, though. The water was nice and warm. We ate chicken strips that were pretty tasty, and we had no problems whatsoever. We had read about some food-related illnesses from cruise passengers that ate on Bannister Island, but they have addressed those issues, and everything was fine for us. Our boat came for us at 2:15. Its about a 20 minute boat ride, and they stopped before we got to the Miracle so we could take a picture of the ship. Back onboard, we had lunch and then went to the gym. The ship sailed at 5 pm. After dinner, we went up on Lido to the Bathrobe & Beers party. We did a few line dance type things, like the electric slide and a new one that one of the social hosts taught us. Then, a giant conga line. It was really fun. The Mexican Buffet looked and smelled fabulous, but we were too full from dinner to try anything. Afterwards, we went to the late-night comic, Carl Faulkenberry. He was good, but we liked the first two comics better. FRIDAY, COSTA MAYA: We docked right at the pier and didnt have to tender. YAY!! We had a tour with independent operators David & Ivan for the Chacchoben Mayan Ruins. We had room service breakfast and got right off the ship. Went past the shops to the back of the port area and purchased our $3 per person tickets for the bus ride to Majahual, where we met David & Ivan at the Cats Meow restaurant. Barbara, the owner of the Cats Meow, introduced herself and told us she is a Canadian and is trained in food handling so the food and water at her restaurant are safe. She introduced us to So-so the cat, and said it is HER restaurant. She is a cute black kitty, 18 years old, and very friendly. We were directed to a van, and started out for our 45-minute drive to the ruins. Our guide, Carolina talked to us on the way about the culture and made the time go quickly. Along the way, we stopped to buy fresh pineapple from some local ladies. They sell it with a small bag of chili powder to put on the pineapple. I thought it sounded gross, but I tried it and it was absolutely delicious! Once at the ruins, we were divided into 2 groups, one with David and one with Ivan. We were with Ivan, whose family actually lived at the site of the ruins until about 3 years ago. It was very interesting, and we actually got to see Ivans former home. It was very hot, and there were some mosquitoes, but the minute anyone found a mosquito, Carolina had bug spray out and sprayed anyone who wanted it. Going back, we had our choice of being dropped off at the port or back at the Cats Meow. We would have liked to eat at Cats Meow, but we didnt think we had enough time. We wanted to do some shopping in the port area, so we had them drop us off there. The pool with swim-up bar is nice, and looked like fun. We ate lunch and shopped a bit, and then it was time to get back to the ship. Hit the gym, and then got ready for the second formal night. In the Atrium lounge, they were having Martini Hour, so we went down and had a couple while we waited to get our photo taken on the staircase. If you only do one professional photo on the ship, do the staircase one. They are really beautiful. I had a chocolate martini and a cosmo ~ yummy! Later, we went to the late-night hypnotist, Glen Miller. This was the one show we did not like. I thought the people were all obviously faking being hypnotized. We thought it was really dumb, but I spoke with other people who enjoyed it a lot, so to each his own. SATURDAY, SEA DAY: Slept in, had breakfast, went to the Aft pool around 11:00 and there were still loungers available. Got some sun, then went to the chocolate buffet. YUMMY! Its one of those chocolate fountain things, and they dip pineapple, melon, banana, mini doughnuts, little cheesecakes in the chocolate. The pineapple and cheesecake were my favorite. Had lunch and met up with some of our CC friends, who gave us a tour of their balcony cabin. Its exactly the same as the ocean view, except for the balcony. Started the packing process. SAD. After dinner, spent the rest of the evening in the casino hanging out with our CC friends and saying goodbye. SAD. DEBARKATION: We were to be out of the cabin by 9:30. Went up to Horatios for one last breakfast around 8:45. Came back down and got our carryon bags, and were leaving the cabin just before 9:30. Walked into the terminal, found our bags easily. Gave our customs card to the official, he didnt even look at our passports. Walked outside, and called Chase Suites to come get us for the ride back to the airport. They arrived within 20 minutes. CABIN: We had ocean view cabins on Riviera Deck, #1230 and #1232, right beside each other. Last cruise, we had inside cabins which I thought were perfectly fine. After having an ocean view, I really doubt well go back to inside. Its very nice being able to look out and watch the ocean. We saw dolphins playing one day. The cabin was spotless. Bennie, our Steward, was from Indonesia and was very nice. His English was pretty limited, but he tended to our needs well. The cabin was quiet. We never heard a sound. Our kids next door had their TV playing loudly one day, and as soon as I got in my own cabin, I couldnt hear a peep from their room. Plenty of storage space with the 3 closets, 4 or 5 dresser drawers, 2 bedside cabinets plus another cabinet, and lots of space under the bed for the suitcases. The bathroom has shelves and I didnt need an over-door shoe hanger. Didnt need clothespins for the shower curtain ~ it stayed put nicely. FOOD: We thought the food was really very good. Breakfast at Horatios all but one morning. They have a pretty good variety, although you do get a little tired of it by the end of the week. Lunch at Horatios was always good. They have the best cookies, some kind of brown sugar magical disks that we loved. The pizza was good. The deli was good. Room service was always prompt. DINING ROOM: The food, we thought was excellent. I never had anything I didnt like. Our wait team was absolutely fantastic. Oli and Inga were friendly and entertaining. We saw them each morning at Horatios also, and they always stopped to visit with us. Yes, the pinkish purplish lights are a bit much, but they didnt bother me. The Red/White/Blue competition got pretty old by the end of the week, as did the nightly dancing of the waiters. The first night I thought, how fun!. The second night, oh, here they go again. The third night, what ~ AGAIN??! The fourth night they got a conga line going around the room, and that was fun, but by the end of the week it was enough with the dancing already! ENTERTAINMENT: We were very entertained all week. We did not take in the production type shows, not our cup of tea, but I heard good things about them, especially the Ticket to Ride show. The comedians were all very good. We thought the hypnotist was cheesy, but others we talked to really enjoyed him. The piano bar was fun. The band by the pool was good. The Lido parties at night were fun. The social hosts were pretty good, some better than others. The Cruise Director was Mark Hawkins. I thought he was entertaining. A bit hyperactive and kind of a goofball, but fun. CASINO: We enjoyed the casino a lot. They have a nice variety of slot machines, quite a few table games, craps, all the usual stuff. I am not a table game player, but my family played blackjack a lot. None of us won big, but we won enough along the way to ease the pain of losing. Pretty smoky at times, but when Im in a casino I dont expect it to be smoke-free. Most of the time it wasnt too bad. GYM: I thought the gym had a good variety of machines. Lots of different weight machines, plus free weights, treadmills, bikes, ellipticals, and mats and exercise balls for floor exercises, plus the spa. My son dragged me to the gym 5 of the 7 days and I grumbled, but I was glad when the cruise was over and I had only gained 4 pounds. And I ate A LOT! (Did I mention the cookies?) POOLS/HOT TUBS: There always seemed to be chairs near the pool. We were able to get chairs both sea days without problems. We spent time at both the main pool area and the aft pool. There were kids in the aft (adults only) pool and hot tub, but security soon came and booted them out. I heard about children in swim diapers in the main pools, but didnt see this myself. GRATUITIES/TIPPING: I prepaid my gratuities this time, and I really liked that. It was nice not to have that $350 show up right off the bat on the Sail & Sign account. I tipped $2 each time for Room Service, coffee each morning, breakfast one morning, and a sandwich one afternoon. We did tip the Maitre D, although not much. We gave him $5 in his little envelope. He was a pretty entertaining chap each evening, and he did come by our table most nights, although we didnt require any special services from him. We gave $40 extra to both our head waiter and assistant waiter. They were outstanding. We looked forward to seeing them each night and again at breakfast in the morning. STAFF: All the staff we encountered were excellent. Friendly, efficient, helpful, accommodating. Staff working in the buffet area, the shops, the casino, the dining room, the bartenders, the stewards, everyone was great. We didnt come across anyone who wasnt pleasant. The week flew by. We loved our cruise. It was really fun meeting the people from our Roll Call. The nightlife did seem a bit quiet. Much more so than the Pride 2 years ago. We were always able to find fun things to do, though. I would highly recommend the Miracle. It was a fabulous vacation! Read Less
Sail Date March 2006
This was my first cruise and i loved it Food- The food was great and the ship had the best omelettes I have ever had. The dining room was filled with pink lights but the food was great and so was the service. Best food i have ever had ... Read More
This was my first cruise and i loved it Food- The food was great and the ship had the best omelettes I have ever had. The dining room was filled with pink lights but the food was great and so was the service. Best food i have ever had and no disappointments with it. Rooms- The rooms were big,clean, and roomy. I had a balcony stateroom and thought it was great. The room service always made the room nice and neat and they always left chocolates on the beds Weight room- The weight room was big, 2 floors and the treadmills look out to the ocean. My wife was able to do all of her exercises with all the equipment Shore excursions- I recommend the cave tubing at Belize. It was great. The tour at Grand Cayman was great. It went to the turtle farm, Hell, and Stingray sandbar. The stingrays were about 6 feet in diameter but never bit. Kids- This is a great kids cruise ship and my kids had a blast there were activities all day and every night. Also a dance club for the older ones. Overall this cruise was great and if I had half as much fun as I did on this one I would still of had a GREAT time. Read Less
Sail Date March 2006
We just returned from our 1st cruise. It was a wonderful experience. We traveled on the Miracle from Tampa to Grand Cayman, Cozumel, Belize and Costa Maya. The ship was large ,comfortable and very well organized. No problems on ... Read More
We just returned from our 1st cruise. It was a wonderful experience. We traveled on the Miracle from Tampa to Grand Cayman, Cozumel, Belize and Costa Maya. The ship was large ,comfortable and very well organized. No problems on embarkment or excursions. We had an extended balcony and would recommend to anyone. But keep on the 7th floor-8th floor too much noise from swimming pool and Lido deck area. Food was great in dining room but the food station alternative was like eating at the fast food counter of the mall. And not much open at night. I ate a lot of pizza. Late night buffets start just too late for us when we have to get up in the am for shore trips. Earliest buffet started at 1130pm. We never did make it to one. Kid's club was just spectacular-never did see my daughter much after 400pm she is 10 and wanted to go to kids club every night. Shore excursions we took -- Grand Cayman- Turtle farm, Stingray City and Hell you must swim with the stingrays very good time. Cozumel- Took the Atlantis submarine great underwater view to 105 feet. Belize- Private beach the highlight of my trip white shell sand and cold beer. Could have stayed for a week. Costa Maya- Only docking of the cruise. Everything in stores the same as Cozumel. Hubby and child took the jeep tour to beach meet the monkey and saw what a real Mexican town was like -- very poor people and cops with big guns. Overall was a great time but the shore time with ship is just too short to do much or see a lot. Would i do it again? No. way too much money spent in a week. 1200.00 spent on ship card not including three excursions paid prior to leaving . no gambling charges. Read Less
Sail Date March 2006
Overall: We (a family of three, couple and one child) along with another family (couple plus three children) cruised on the Miracle this spring (3/4/06). I will speak only for our family. We loved it. The Miracle is a wonderful ship with ... Read More
Overall: We (a family of three, couple and one child) along with another family (couple plus three children) cruised on the Miracle this spring (3/4/06). I will speak only for our family. We loved it. The Miracle is a wonderful ship with much better than expected food, decor and accommodations. Embarkation and Disembarkation: No problems either way. All went smoothly without any difficulties. I need to tell interested parties that at disembarkation we obtained a very efficient entry into the Tampa Aquarium after leaving the ship. Once we collected all of the bags for both families, we hired a porter to cart them through customs and over to the aquarium. He took us immediately out of the terminal, passed a line of patrons waiting to purchase tickets (the aquarium had not opened for the day) and into the lobby. He arranged for a place in the storage room, we purchased our tickets inside without waiting in line and we were the there shortly prior to its opening. The Ship: The ship is beautiful. It is adorned with attractive murals and paintings that are abundant throughout the ship. There are several remarkable passageways and rooms that offer pleasant surprises for the first time passengers. My wife particularly enjoyed quiet reading time in the Gatsby passageway. Look, I wouldn't like my home with the same decorations as the ship but after all I am, regrettably, only aboard for only a week. I actually enjoy the "over the top" dEcor of the Carnival cruise ships especially the Miracle. I even liked the dinning room, yes, including the grapes! Our room (balcony) was plenty large enough and very comfortable. I used the fitness center three or four times. It is fully outfitted with most any kind of exercise equipment one might want. It was clean and never crowded. I used the elliptical machines and weight machines without waiting. The lounges (Mad Hatters, Frankenstein's, etc.) and theaters are eye catching and interesting.. The main theater was comfortable and we were always able to see and hear without obstruction regardless of the variety of places we sat. The food: Bravo for the food! I was surprised at the quality and presentation of the meals. Everything was prepared well and nicely presented. I never heard a complaint about the food from anyone in our party, including my son who has a very narrow range of tolerable foods that he is willing to consume. The meals in the bistro grill were also wonderful. I particularly liked the international dishes and salads offered there during the lunch meal. We ate every breakfast and lunch in the bistro and never had much difficulty locating a vacant table. The shore excursions: This is the feature of the cruise that could use improvement. We have read so many entries in Cruise Critics about the benefits of booking with private tour operators rather than the cruise line. After this trip we will join that chorus. We did not do this on our trip but will do so in the future. On the first port day, Grand Cayman we took the Coral Garden and Stingray City excursion thorough Carnival. The operators were late picking us at our designated location. There was an about a twenty minute drive to the loading area if they had been traveling on a direct path at normal speed. Apparently the boat were going to board for the excursion was late so the bus driver drove very slowly eventually stopping at seven mile beach to wait about 15 to 20 minutes until he received the signal to continue. We were told to just walk around the beach for a while. Once we got on the boat the tour was okay, although the snorkeling at the coral area was abbreviated and they did not issue the inflatable vests since they were running late. We would have benefited from using life vests. Several of us did not master the art of adjusting our a leaking masks while treading water. A rope was slung out in the water I suppose to enable us to grasp it at the last minute before drowning. The stingray portion of the tour was great - we enjoyed seeing and touching them. Of course, when we at last arrived back at the dock late and were on the last tender back to the ship, whew! The next stop was Cozumel. I read so much in Cruise Critics about Paradise Beach that we chose to go there. We arrived at Paradise about 10 or 11 in the morning. The beach was beautiful, our kids enjoyed a wonderful time on the trampoline and kayaks and the food and beer were great. The beach was never too crowed but by the afternoon most of the lounge chairs were occupied. Hiring a taxi for delivery and pickup was a breeze. Once we left the beach we returned to the pier area and spent about two hours shopping, snaking and walking around in the pier area. We all agreed that this was our best day of the cruise. Now often find my daydreaming thoughts drifting back to that day at Paradise Beach. The next port was Belize. We signed up for the snorkel tour from Goff's Caye. The wind had built up over night and by morning we were experiencing some rough seas. The Carnival crew announced that we could cancel our tour without penalty because of the rough water. We didn't! The ride to Goff's Caye was about as rough as it gets. We would bounce out of our seats, landing with hard thuds as the boat transversed the waves. Any loose teeth would have been jarred out. Goff's Caye is a very, very small and picturesque patch in the Caribbean. It would have been a lovely trip on a calm day. But with the turbulent seas, snorkeling was impossible. At least was impossible on the side of the island where our mindless guide took us. We quickly gave up, most of us didn't have enough strength to get beyond the mask ripping, raging breakers. If I had continued to follow our guide I would have swallowed enough Caribbean Sea to achieve complete insanity. After an hour or so of hanging out on the island, our group ventured out off the other side of the island where the surf was calmer we did see many interesting fish and coral formations. We were careful to stay at the edge of the coral so as not to disturb it. As it turned out, the snorkeling was not too bad. I cannot say as much for the guide and tour operators. I suspect that they would not have been any more helpful on a calm day. The next port was supposed to be Costa Maya but the seas were too rough to dock the ship and so we enjoyed another day at sea. We cannot really complain about this. In sum, I would say the Carnival tour operators are not the greatest. We highly recommend Paradise Beach for those of you traveling to Cozumel. The Entertainment : We really enjoyed all but one of the shows that we attended. The juggler and comic combination were good. The singer, Christina Machado's singing act was brutally silly. The ship performers (singers), on the other hand, were excellent. The first performance, Generations, and the later, Ticket to Ride shows were both first rate! Hey! We even enjoyed the hypnotist. The Crew: Goose, our high energy cruise director was fun. We enjoyed his presentations and multiple antics (chorus girl costume was great!). The rest of his staff, the two social hosts (James and Noortje) were professional and entertaining. Our waiters were flawless and the crew in the bistro were courteous and efficient. We had an occasion to use the security staff when we mistakenly thought that something had been stolen from our room. The officer who met with us, could not have been more helpful or pleasant. We remain enormous Carnival fans. This was a wonderful cruise apart from the shabby shore excursions and high seas. We would go again tomorrow if we could. Read Less
Sail Date March 2006
We loved this ship and the destinations! Grand Cayman was a little rainy - we booked the Rays, Reef and Rum Point excursion through Nativeway. They were terrific. In Belize we booked the Zipline Canopy tour through X-stream tours ... Read More
We loved this ship and the destinations! Grand Cayman was a little rainy - we booked the Rays, Reef and Rum Point excursion through Nativeway. They were terrific. In Belize we booked the Zipline Canopy tour through X-stream tours (belizecruiseexcursions.com) Can't say enough good things about this - the guides were top notch and the zipline was a rush! JP & Elisa were the best!! Costa Maya is now my favorite port though - rent a golf cart and drive to the little fishing village, Majahual. The tourism village they have built where you dock is very nice but we really liked the little village and the bartering there was great - better than anywhere else! We found everyone aboard the Miracle to be very friendly and helpful. Elisabeth, the drink girl at dinner was always smiling!! Our cabin- which by the way was upgraded by Carnival from an 8I balcony room to a category 11 suite at no charge - was awesome!! Yes the lights are a bit odd in the dining room, but I can't believe people can be in such a magnificent setting and complain about light fixtures - that's some crazy stuff! Our advice on what not to miss: The Beatles Show - Ticket to Ride - was unbelievable. However, you need to be in the Phantom lounge about 30 minutes before showtime because they show a great filmography on the Beatles prior to the show. We also enjoyed the music - Carnival had great musicians booked this week. The band in Frankie & Johnnies could play anything as could the solo guitarist, Glenn Symmonds. They were both great, in fact I felt like we turned into "Glenn Groupies" since we tried to catch his gig every day. The comedian, Carl Frankenberry is also one not to be missed. Only downfall was the Tampa port. It seems that there are two tankers that if they are in port, the Miracle can't get by them so the Miracle docks at the 21st street dock and they bus you to the cruise terminal to be processed. Unfortunately due to a rain storm just before we got there, one of the tankers was in port the day we were to leave and when we came back, the other was there. So the embarking and disembarking wasn't as smooth as if the ship were at the cruise terminal, but Carnival and the port authorities handled the situation great and we were still on board with a drink in our hand by 1:30!! We'll cruise Carnival again!! Read Less
Sail Date February 2006
Our trip on the Carnival Miracle was nothing short of just that.. A Miracle! I knew it was going to be great and it was! We flew in the night before, stayed at the Quorum hotel, used their free shuttle from the airport, and then again ... Read More
Our trip on the Carnival Miracle was nothing short of just that.. A Miracle! I knew it was going to be great and it was! We flew in the night before, stayed at the Quorum hotel, used their free shuttle from the airport, and then again that night to a nearby mall for a great dinner at a sports bar, then the next day to the port. Embarkation was easy (although little tip here, sit in the chairs while waiting to embark, they really dont like standing!) We were bussed to a different port because of the tanker in the way but it literally added 10-15 mins. And was easy. We went straight to the Lido deck (cuz it was only noon-ish) and had our first of many drink of the day . Came home with lots of cups! We then went exploring, found our cabin which was upgraded to 5A. Yay! Then made our way to the sports bar for Super Bowl party! That was sooo fun! We had to leave for the muster but came right back to our same table and stayed there the rest of the night. Yes we missed dinner in the dining room the first night but they set up all this bar food and the sushi bar was just outside the door so we didnt feel like we missed anything. It was crazy in there and everyone was having a blast! I wont go into what we did every minute of everyday, cuz frankly, some of it is a little fuzzy - did I mention drink of the day? But overall, the dining room: yes, pink lights&didnt care at all, loved dressing up for dinner every night, long dresses on formal nights, sparkly tops and cocktail dresses the rest of the time. The food was amazing. Our waiter was knowledgeable and friendly but we loved the assistant Ricky. Bonded with him way more. We had early seating. Probably will do late next time, we just found we really needed a nap before dinner. We often felt like we had to hurry to get ready for dinner and then by early evening were pretty tired. That is the only thing I would do differently. We loved having a drink in the Metropolis lounge before dinner, it felt elegant and they often had specials there. We took tons of portraits so that we could find a few we really liked. ( my husband didnt love that part but indulged me anyway) The Lido deck was just absolutely fun! Bathrobes and beer night was great! We loved the aft bar and pool area. The water slide was great. Even played chess with the giant chess set. We only made it to one show but it was awesome! We did the stingrays in Grand Cayman and snorkeled the reef - incredible. We shopped and played in Cozumel (hello Carlos and Charlies) We went to the Great Barrier Reef and snorkeled with more stingrays and (gulp) a nurse shark in Belize - a blast! (note: we went from the ship to boat and back to ship so we really didnt set foot on land in Belize, but had way fun!) We did the Uvero beach in Costa Maya and then played in port - yep we want to live there! A special note about Nick and Noras - we ate there the last night and I cant tell you how impressed we were. It was nothing short of amazing. The food was beautiful to look at, and incredible to eat. The staff was so attentive and professional. We left there stuffed. I got up once to go to the ladies room, left my napkin on my chair, it was folded on the table when I returned. The chef sent us a special dessert to our table. It was well worth the extra charge and part of me wanted to eat there every night. It was so elegant. Disembarkation was easy, we had an early flight and were given VIP tags to leave first. Finding the luggage was only a little tricky because lots of people had VIP tags, and we packed entirely too much stuff, but customs was easy, a taxi was waiting and we were at the airport in time for breakfast before our flight. All in all we just had an amazing time and are so looking forward to another funship vacation. Read Less
Sail Date February 2006
We recently took our very first cruise on the Carnival Miracle. It was sort of an impulse decision to take a cruise. We booked it six weeks prior to our Feb 26th embarkation. Thanks to www.cruisecritic.com for guiding me through the ... Read More
We recently took our very first cruise on the Carnival Miracle. It was sort of an impulse decision to take a cruise. We booked it six weeks prior to our Feb 26th embarkation. Thanks to www.cruisecritic.com for guiding me through the cruise process w/relative ease. I was able to research cruise lines and particular ships within each cruise line to determine who we wanted to sail w/ and where we wanted to go. After reading many reviews, one of the ships I had narrowed it down to was the Carnival Miracle. Seeing as we were heading to Tampa at the end of February anyway, the Miracle became the obvious choice. In the weeks leading up to the cruise, I would check travel websites every day to see how full the ship was and if the price had changed. By doing this, I was able to get an upgrade in our cabin (we had originally booked an interior room and were upgraded to an obstructed view w/ French doors - room 4193) and also received a $300 onboard credit. So before we even boarded the ship, we were pleased. We arrived in Tampa on Friday night and spent time w/family and friends. On sailing day, we arrived at the Port of Tampa just after 11 am. Drop off and check-in were extremely easy. We were in Group 2 to board the ship. When our group was called, we got in line to get our sign & sail cards and were exposed to the Carnival photographers for the first time. I think I have taken enough photos w/ ring buoys to last me a lifetime! We then boarded the ship. You walk into the Metropolis Lobby, which is an 11-story atrium w/ glass elevators that run the entire length. It was very dramatic. And there was a lot of Renaissance style art onboard. We headed straight to Horatio's on the Lido deck for our first introduction to cruise food. And the drink of the day! We thought that the drinks were complimentary - they were everywhere. But we soon found out they weren't when the server asked for our sign & sail card. By 12:30 we were done eating and ready to tour the boat. Great time to walk around and explore. And we were very excited to be there. Just before 2 pm, we were able to get into our cabin. Heck - even w/ an obstructed view (great view of the bottom side of the lifeboats), we were happy to have natural light and to be able to hear the sounds of nature. After we dropped off our luggage, we decided to explore some more. This is when I was asked to "model" for the Spa and received a free facial, valued at $109 and lasting an hour! It was divine, even though it was in the elevator area right in front of the Spa. We then went back to our rooms. Our luggage arrived safely, including our "refreshments". We unpacked everything and didn't even notice when the ship started to sail - it was so smooth. We then headed outside to witness the Miracle passing under the Skyway Bridge - a beautiful cable suspension bridge in Tampa. We had late seating for dinner (8:15), so we had plenty of time. We stood on the Funnel deck - and it was the only time we were up there because the rest of the cruise it is also used as the topless deck. Very few people joined us up there to watch as we went under the Skyway. The ship appeared to barely pass under the bridge. For someone who used to design and inspect bridges, it was a fun experience. DEcor: The ship was nicely decorated, in very good condition and exotic. Dining: We ate breakfast and lunch in Horatio's which was usually good. We aren't extremely picky. Both were buffet style and had a large selection. All but one of our dinners was in the Bacchus Dining Room. The dEcor was different, but fun. The room had several Pepto-Bismol colored pink lights everywhere that I believe were supposed to represent grapes. We arranged our seating so we sat w/ a guy we met after passing under the Skyway who was sailing alone and had just booked the cruise that morning. He was wearing a Seminoles jacket, and naturally, Scott, being an FSU grad, approached him. They hit it off and we asked him to join us for dinner. In Bacchus, our servers were Julian (from Indonesia) and Winston (from India). Both were extremely entertaining and we really enjoyed our conversations with them. Julian was obsessed w/ Scott's muscles and was himself concerned because he'd gone from a 28 waist two years ago to a 30 waist recently. So he wanted all these workout tips from Scott and even got Scott's email address so he could send Scott his workout routine. Too funny! The food was decent. The appetizers were usually good. The salads were pretty bland and we learned quickly that if we ordered vinaigrette dressing, that we needed to order it w/ balsamic vinegar, otherwise they just brought a serving of oil. The entrees were good. I ordered the fish most every night and was pleased. Scott quickly learned that he could order as much as he wanted of whatever he wanted. So he quickly loaded up on all the protein he could. I tried a dessert most every night and enjoyed each one. Every night the waiters would entertain us by dancing to a song. They'd invite the guests to join in with the dancing. Neither Scott nor I minded and found ourselves sticking around for it and even joined in the conga line, following Winston who was sporting an afro wig. It wasn't hard to finish up your meal and leave before the entertainment started if that wasn't your cup of tea. We ate one night at the supper club, Nick & Nora's. It had an extra charge of $30pp for the food. The atmosphere was nice, the service was good and the food was also good. We both ordered the filet mignon and enjoyed it. Scott was much more pleased w/ the overall experience than I was. I felt we got what we paid for. Atlanta has so many fine-dining restaurants that eating at Nick & Nora's didn't blow me away - well - except for the dessert because it was just overindulgent. But it was still a nice experience and a nice change of pace from Bacchus. It wasn't crowded and we had a beautiful view of the sunset. Shows: We didn't experience much of the entertainment on the ship. We did see the Welcome Aboard show the first night. The dancing and singing was decent and entertaining, but we left during the comedian's act. He just wasn't very good. We went to see the show Generations - which was very enjoyable just for the songs they were singing. I enjoyed the disco generation the most! We saw the Newlywed, Middlywed and Oldlywed game (as the cruise director Mark Hawkins called them). That was hilarious and the couples that participated were good sports. Other than that, we didn't watch any other shows. We witnessed the belly-flop contest, which was funny, and took part in the parties on the Lido deck in the evenings (Jamaican Sunsplash, Mexican Mardi Gras, Disco Fever, and the bathrobe party). There was always something to do on the ship, if you wanted something to do. Basketball, shuffleboard, swimming, the Spa, a gym, the casino, trivia, movies, plus much, much more. Oh yeah - and the cruise director Mark has a silly sense of humor but we enjoyed it. He's easily recognizable w/ the mismatched pair of shoes he always wears. Other: The formal nights were fun. It was nice to just people watch. We discovered we enjoyed the opportunity to utilize the Photo Galleries and the different backdrops each night. Saw several families use it as a way to get family portraits done. We took a couple of photos ourselves and bought two of them. You're never obligated to buy but if you do want to buy, you have to purchase the 8x10 print for $20. Then, and only then, can you buy smaller prints of that one particular shot. They can be scanned at home. The age on the ship ranged from babies to senior citizens. We neither noticed nor cared the age of the people onboard. We met several people and covered most generations and enjoyed each encounter. Everyone was so friendly. The crew was exceptionally friendly. They were all pleasant and most every crewmember we passed had a smile on his/her face and enjoyed talking to the passengers. And it was educational talking w/ them. Besides listing their names, the nametags they wore listed which country they were from. And what a great job they did keeping that ship clean. If I could only keep my house that clean..... And our room steward, Thana, was really sweet. We loved the towel animals she left in our room each night. Definitely the little things really stood out for us. One thing I did enjoy was watching the sunset most every night. Having the late dining time allowed us to relax in the evenings on deck while it was still relatively warm out. A few mornings I got up to run. I tried to use the treadmills but most were busy, so I opted for the Sun Deck instead. Deck 11 had the track on it - but it was just too small. The Sun Deck had to have been close to 400 meters and if it was early enough, it wasn't too bad running on it. But once 8 am rolled around, it was just getting too crowded to continue. Excursions: We booked all of our excursions independently. The ports of call were Grand Cayman, Cozumel, Belize and Costa Maya. Never once did we have a problem getting off the ship. The only port that wasn't a tender port was Costa Maya (tender is when you have to take a boat from the cruise ship to the port). Grand Cayman: We booked the Rays, Reef and Rum tour w/ Nativeway Water Sports. Scott and I didn't have any problem getting off on the first tender. We took the elevator down to Deck 1, got off, and just joined the masses of people streaming down the stairs already to Deck A to load onto a tender. The tender ride to shore was relatively short and we were onshore much earlier than needed. We decided to explore a little and stop at the liquor store - where a few bottles of rum were purchased. We finally met up w/ our tour and rode approximately 30-40 minutes to our launch point. The group was relatively small - which was nice - and our first stop was Stingray City. This was definitely fun and worthwhile. The seas were a little rough that day so it was tough battling the waves crashing over you. But feeling the stingrays brush up against you felt like rubbing a mushroom across your leg. Those suckers are heavy too. I tried holding one in my arms but he had to weigh at least 60 pounds and swam off before the instructor could grab hold of him. On the way to the Reef to snorkel, one of the two motors in the boat stopped working. In addition to this, two little kids on the boat got sick. So between diesel fumes and puke, it wasn't the best moment. But everyone onboard had a great attitude, so no one minded. We putted over to the backup Reef (because the seas were too rough to go to the normal reef they snorkel) on one motor and met up w/ the other boat from Nativeway that was only doing the Rays and Reef. After trying to snorkel (the seas were just too rough for a novice swimmer like me and there wasn't much down there to see), and no success in getting the second motor to work, in order for us to make it to Rum Point Beach, the two boats had to get cozy and every passenger had to switch boats. This took several minutes, but the staff from Nativeway was very cautious with everyone and took great care. They definitely were a great bunch. After getting on the much smaller boat, we set sail for Rum Point. After reading the descriptions of this place, I was expecting paradise. What I got was a tiki bar. Yes - the water was beautiful, but there wasn't much beach and it was crowded w/ tables and lounge chairs. So I wasn't overly impressed. We ordered lunch on the boat and when we got it, it was good. But we made the mistake of also ordering - in addition to our sandwiches, a conch chowder. First of all, it wasn't very good. Second, we had to pay extra for it - $7 and some change. Third - when I went to pay, they tried to give me back Cayman dollars - um - no thank you. So then I dug around for smaller bills - and was told they don't take American change - or give American change. So - just remember - only order 1 item off the menu!! We had just about an hour at Rum Point due to the delay at sea. The last tender for the Miracle left at 3 pm - and we just made one of those last tenders. It took us awhile to make it back across the bay to the other side of the island. When we finally got to the dock, there were several others from the Miracle that were frantic about missing the tender, so I let them worry and wasn't really concerned. Our driver made good time back to the port, and we were able to board a tender at 3 pm. We noticed one other tender come in after us. Even with all the unfortunate events of the tour, I did enjoy the staff from Nativeway and thought they did a good job. Cozumel: We didn't book an excursion here and figured this would be our shopping day. We weren't in any rush to get off the ship. This also was a port where you had to get a number for your tender and they would call you. We took our time and headed to Cozumel around noon. We took the advice of the Shopping Guide from the ship and took a taxi from the port to the Forum shops in Cozumel. There was so much devastation from Hurricane Wilma. They definitely are working hard to bring back the buildings and I saw very little work on the piers that used to exist. Vegetation was completely wiped clean and several shops were still destroyed. We were in Key West at Christmas after Wilma hit - and saw what damage it did there. But after seeing Cozumel, Key West was lucky. Shopping in Cozumel was a rude awakening - and you learn real quick how to say "no thank you" and just keep walking. It got annoying and to the point that we didn't want to shop there anymore. We picked up a few tiny things - but were glad to leave. If we ever go back, we'll book an excursion. We did get lucky w/ the tenders in Cozumel. These tenders are huge - hold about 400 people so they take a long time to load and unload. Well - getting off the cruise ship, we were one of the last ones to board the tender and then were the first ones off in Cozumel. And the exact same thing happened upon our return. Not sure how we got that lucky - because it can be a 20-minute wait each time you load or unload. Belize: Oh boy - where to begin! Well - we had no trouble getting off on the first tender. We did the same thing as we did in Grand Cayman. So again we were early - better to be safe than sorry. We booked the Cave Tubing and Zip line w/ Belize Cruise Excursions. They were great. Definitely no complaints there. There were ten of us booked for this excursion. Six of us were on the Miracle and arrived early. We had to wait for the other four who were on a different ship and arrived 45 minutes later. We then headed off on our hour drive through the Belizean countryside. Belize is a third-world country and definitely different by American standards - but never once did I feel unsafe there. We drove through the rich part of town and even saw where the Prime Minister lives. Just looks like an ordinary house you see in Florida that is about 30 years old. Definitely a lot of poverty in Belize. We also came across several people wearing red shirts standing outside a large building. We found out they represented the UDP (United Democratic Party) and were awaiting the results from the elections the previous day. We finally leave the city and make our way across the countryside. The last six miles of the trek is on a gravel road - with some segments a lot rougher than others. We get to the site and head to the zip line first because there weren't any lines. Definitely a lot of fun - with six runs and eight tree stands. The highest stand was 85 feet off the ground - looks pretty high when you're in the treetops! And they were definitely safe. Went by way too fast. Next was the cave tubing. We were done early enough and were able to hike fast enough, that we were able to do two caves. The river was "refreshing" but after awhile got a little chilly. When you're in a dark cave floating along a river - there's a tendency for a chill to set in. And the caves were long! A few rapids but not many. The second cave was much more exciting than the first cave - with a waterfall inside, some light w/ vegetation and several dramatic openings. We also saw a miniature loch ness monster - aka - a dog - swim by in one of the caves. After the second cave, we were able to float further down the river in the nice, warm sun. The scenery was amazing. When we finally got to the end and out of the water, little did we know; the journey was only just beginning. We pulled our tubes out of the water and started our 5-10 minute hike back to the vehicles. It was about 2:45 when we got back. The last tender for the ship was 4 pm - and we were still about an hour outside the city. I wasn't worried because we had not driven fast on the way out - so I felt we had a buffer built in there. Several of us changed while the driver ordered our food. We hopped in the minivan at about 3 pm - ready to hit the road. And let me say - the food was fabulous. For $5, I was more than stuffed. We leave the site and start our journey down the well-graded gravel road. They had been doing road construction on a portion of it on the way in. Apparently they were still doing road construction on the way out. We were about 1 mile from the site and stopped in traffic - about fifth in line. The crew had placed tar on one side of the road - but left the other side closed to traffic for some unknown reason. Our driver gets out and starts to walk around asking questions. In the meantime, we're stuffing our faces in the car. The food was great. I was happy. After about 10 minutes, he gets back in the minivan. He wasn't in a good mood. I look behind us and notice that several other vehicles have gotten in line, including a bus. Unfortunately it was a Royal Caribbean bus - which didn't help us Carnival Miracle cruisers any. About 5 minutes later, a dump truck filled with gravel passes us in reverse and starts backing down the vacant lane. Our driver decides to follow him until the construction worker stops him. That didn't last too long as our driver decided that he really needed to get us back to the port before the ship set sail. As the dump truck approaches the end of the tar strip in the right lane, he stops - therefore blocking traffic again. So here we sit, with tar to the right of us, a dump truck in front of us, and brush to the left. After several minutes, the dump truck decides that he should continue to back up and allow the traffic to pass. Ah - freedom at last. So here we are with 35 minutes to go before the last tender takes off and we're still an hour outside the city. So the driver puts the pedal to the metal and we gun it down the add'l 5 miles of gravel road (and the final three miles were not nicely graded. Scott compared it to Mr. Toad's Wild Ride). We hit the pavement a few minutes later and the driver proceeds to get on the phone to his partners at the port informing them that we were stuck in construction and running late. After talking w/her, he hung up the phone confident we would make it back in time. And then he proceeded to gun it down the highway. I still wasn't worried. We weren't the only ones late from our ship. There was comfort in numbers. We made good time and hit the outskirts of the city at 4 pm. We proceeded through town and came to a dead stop. Wouldn't you know it - we hit town just as school was getting out and the political rallies from the election results were in full force. Traffic was at a standstill. The partners start to call our driver about every three minutes "Where are you?" The phone calls were getting frantic and I was coming to accept the possibility that we might have to find our own way to Costa Maya. We probably had less than a two-mile drive from the time we came to a complete stop until the time we hit the port - but it took over 20 minutes. We FINALLY pull into the port at 4:25 (25 minutes AFTER the last tender). I jump out of the van, hand the driver a tip (because he was fantastic) and run through the terminal. I came flying out the other end, sign and sail cards in hand, and head straight for the security guards. They ask how many are in the party and what our room numbers are (our room numbers - we thought we were in some real trouble now - but we later realized they knew what guests from which rooms were missing) and let us proceed to the tender. Ah - there it was - just sitting there - waiting for us. All six of us jump onboard and proceed to the back to sit down - ready to sail. But do we set sail - no - we wait. And wait. And wait. Finally, someone got up and asked what we were waiting for. That's when we found out there were still two people missing. After about 15 minutes, the boat finally set sail, without the two missing passengers. It's a 20-minute tender ride to the cruise ship - and the ship was scheduled to depart at 5 pm. I felt terrible for those people left behind. They had to have been caught up in the same mess we were. We arrive at the boat, wave to all those watching from the Lido deck, and the crew kicks us off the tender. By the time Scott and I made it to our cabin, we were already going 5 knots. So - we made it by the skin of our teeth. Never again will we cut it that close. But that's not the end of the Belize story. The next day I started to itch on my neck. Just periodically and nothing that really alarmed me. But by the next morning, I started to feel bumps. And what do you know - a perfectly shaped rash around my neck in a symmetrical pattern and down my chest to where the top of my swimsuit was. Hmmm - this rash was mysteriously in a shape similar to how a life preserver would sit around ones neck. And I do recall the guide saying how there were several poisonous bushes along our walk through the rainforest. So who knows what crazy Belizean bush disease I brought back with me. All I know is about ten days later - the rash is mostly gone. The memories Belize will hold for us! Costa Maya: This was much less thrilling. It was a dock port, so we could get on and off the boat at our leisure. The water was incredibly blue - just beautiful. We had signed up for the Chacchoben Ruins tour with David. Great tour. A wealth of information and definitely a nice, relaxing time. The ruins were about an hour outside the city. We went over speed bumps made of rope and a security checkpoint that said if we had any complaints to call - but they never provided a phone number. Otherwise, there wasn't much to see on the ride over. After we made it back to the pier, we just relaxed on the beach. It was a nice, man-made port. There was a bar w/ a pool that you could swim up to order your drinks. The colors were very vibrant on the buildings. A few restaurants opened up towards the ocean. We relaxed on some lounge chairs and hammocks on the beach. It was very relaxing. Finally, with plenty of time to spare, we made our way back to the ship. I wanted to watch to see if there was anyone running late like we were the previous day. And there was. About 10 minutes AFTER we were supposed to have set sail, and 30 minutes after they started to page two women, racing down the pier was a golf cart carrying the two women. According to one of the members of their party, they had gone scuba diving on their own that day. And as soon as they boarded the ship, they were pulled into the Purser's office. A travel agent told me that the ships are charged docking fees for whenever they are docked past their departure time. Now whether or not they were charged w/ anything, I don't know - but I'm just called we didn't get called into the Purser's (Principal's) office! Debarkation: What a breeze. We packed our bags the night before and left them outside our room. For those that had items to declare, they had to go to customs between 6:30-7:30. I had read the lines were extremely long at 6:30, so Scott went down at 7:30 and there was no line. We then ate our last breakfast on the ship and headed back to the cabin for our carryon luggage. We were in no hurry to get off the ship as Scott's mom wasn't picking us up until 10:30. So even with lounging around and waiting until they almost kicked us off the ship - we were off and found our entire luggage by 9:30. Vacation was over - and all that lay ahead of us was the long drive back to Atlanta. Oh well!! It was fun! Read Less
Sail Date February 2006
Three of us, all adults, my son, a friend and myself. We arrived the night before, being in NJ we tend to worry about the winter weather, so we arrive always the night before to avoid snow delays or to leave room for alternate travel ... Read More
Three of us, all adults, my son, a friend and myself. We arrived the night before, being in NJ we tend to worry about the winter weather, so we arrive always the night before to avoid snow delays or to leave room for alternate travel plans. We stayed at a Howard Johnson in Ybor, which I heard afterward was not a safe place, but we had a great time. They had a bar and great country band and music and we played pool and hung out there all evening. Looked to be a neighborhood place, and lots of trucker business. We were only a mile or two from the port. If you stay at this HoJo, call for your own taxi as the manager forgot to call or just did not call, we do not know what happened. We waited over an hour after we asked them to call for us. We wound up calling a cab for ourselves,. and waited another half hour, but we were in the terminal by 11:00 am with plenty of time to spare. It only took us 15 min to check in and seated in the boarding area. We were called by #. We were # 10 so it was about 35 min and we were on board. They made announcements that the cabins would be ready by 1:30 so please go to lunch first and explore the ship so the stewards could finish the cabins. We went to our cabin at 2;00 and they were already dropping luggage off to the cabins. We had all our luggage by 4:pm. We did the fire drill at about 4:45 and we were to leave port by 5:00 which we were maybe 15 min. late but we were on our way. The ship was really awesome. We enjoyed every bit of time we were on her. I am a gambling nut so most of my sea time was in casino. I won over 900.00 over the course of the cruise. My son is a Karaoke nut and sun worshipper and our friend sun worships and drinks a bit, so we only saw one another at dinner and breakfast while we were on board. We did book tours off ship, Capt. Marvins in Cayman Stingray City. In Cozumel we went to Playa Mia on our own only because I have been there many times before and like the beach there and the price is great for a whole day, food, drinks inclusive for 42.00. Costa Maya was a first for us we loved it there. We rented a golf cart and toodled off to the beach and spent the day at a beachfront bar and got massages for $20.00 and swam and ate and shopped. Was really nice, had two sunshowers while we were there but the sun came out right after so we still got sunburned. We headed back to the port the Valor came in right after us so it was such a sight to see these two ships side by side docked. We were to depart at the same time and it was a g competition to see who would cast off first. Everyone was on their balconies and on the sun decks and Lido cheering the pax back on the ship to see who would leave first. Everyone was into it, the cheering and clapping. It was too cool. Needless to say we won. We left first and as we were pulling away the last of the pax were going up the gangplank of the valor, they took it in stride and cheered back and waved as we pulled away. Belize is not my favorite port. I went there last Jan 2005 with the girls I work with, and I did not see anything there, it was poverty abounding and children begging for money and really nothing to see. Maybe in a few years it will have a better economy and things will change. I opted to stay on board and do the laundry for the 3 of us. My son and our friend went on a jungle boat tour and got some great photo ops of the Mayan temples. They booked it the night before on the ship as we had not planned anything for Belize. We only dined 2 nights in the dining room. Our waiter was not very attentive. We were in a booth and he was too busy fluttering around a large table of 8 guests and a table next to them of 6 guests. We waited over 20 minutes before he came to take our orders. He was very hard to get his attention, without yelling (we did not yell we stopped other waiters to fetch him) to have him come over to us. This happened 2 nites in a row. We forgave the first nite as we know how hectic it is. The second nite was no excuse. This is the first time I ever had a waiter not get to know the people at his tables and to be sure they were well attended. He forgot one of our meals and we had to stop another waiter to ask where the plate was. No apologies, so we opted to buffet the rest of this cruise and we did notify the maitre d' as he asked my friend how we enjoyed our dining on the 4th night of our cruise out on deck, they ran into one another and my friend told him we had not been there since the second nite due to the poor service. Other then that we had a great time. We had no complaints about the stewards or anything else. Everything was an A grade, other then the dining experience. This was my 7th cruise, and my first encounter of poor service in dining room. My son won a drawing at the past guest party for dinner for 2 at Nick and Noras Supper Club so we went there on Friday nite -- that was a treat!!! The real highlight of my trip was disembarking. Coming down the escalator I notice someone very familiar standing directing pax to ground transportation. When I got to the bottom and the lady turned it was my Aunt who I found out works for Carnival. I have not seen her in 2 years -- what a great surprise. So we chatted a moment and headed on to our bus to head home to book our next cruise on the Ecstasy April 8. This year 7 of us are going, family and friends, wahoo counting the days!!! Read Less
Sail Date January 2006
Miracle January 22nd-29th, 2006 It all started January 21st @ 2:00 PM leaving our hometown of Delphos, Ohio by personal vehicles to all meet at Comfort Suites Hotel at Port Columbus Airport. Once at Comfort Suites we realized they only ... Read More
Miracle January 22nd-29th, 2006 It all started January 21st @ 2:00 PM leaving our hometown of Delphos, Ohio by personal vehicles to all meet at Comfort Suites Hotel at Port Columbus Airport. Once at Comfort Suites we realized they only had reservations for 5 rooms instead of 10 like I had requested. They did find rooms for the others. They had better since all 10 rooms were reserved on my credit card! We found out they have a free shuttle to the Easton Mall so we all took the shuttle to eat at Max and Ermas. Ive never eaten there before, but was well pleased with their food and service. January 22nd we got up at 6:00 AM to have the continental breakfast before taking the shuttle to the airport. Once at Port Columbus went to the self check-in counter at Delta. All of my group that was flying (24) of us were checking in and realized they had moved the flights up by one hour. Without Delta contacting me the group leader. We had a direct flight from Port Columbus to Tampa International. Once we arrived in Tampa I had checked at the ticket counter to verify our flight going home. They too have been moved up by one hour. I had them print me a confirmation to show Carnival so we could get off the boat early.(At this point I was a little stressed but after I found out with the group leader we could get off, I was okay) We went to baggage claim to get our luggage and headed to the area where we get the Mear Shuttle to the Port. (Cost $36.00) They would not leave until the complete bus was filled so that took an extra hour. I had called my Carnival Representative who was meeting me at the Port and she advised that there was another bus coming in before us that had 365 passengers as there was a group of 600 on board the Miracle for the Grand Ole Opry. With guests: Charlie Pride, Pam Tillis, Little Charlie Dickens, Roy Clark, and Rebecca Howard. These guests were for the Grand Ole Opry group only! Regular guests of the Miracle were not allowed at the performances. But Charlie Pride and Roy Clark and his wife did venture the vessel so you could get pictures and autographs. Getting on the vessel there were Carnival Employees greeting you and giving you a map of the vessel, in which you might need as I got lost a couple of times but once I found where the bow was and where the aft was I was Ok. I used the steps as I only had to go down one floor and the mass confusion of everyone coming on board the elevators were in use all the time and slow. Once at the Port we gave our bags to the porter (which I had found very rude) all they are out there for are for tips and they even tell you no tip, bad service. Not sure how much my roommate tipped but her bags were completely ruined she had to find new luggage for her trip home. I have been to Miami, Port Canaveral & Tampa. Tampa was the worst for Porters being rude! Once inside My Carnival Representative got our whole group through security past the long line then inside they formed into two lines, which moved rather fast. I was very impressed with this organization, much better organized than Port Canaveral& Miami by far. They collected your boarding pass, accepted your credit card or cash then handed your Sail and Sign right there unlike Miami or Port Canaveral where you have to stand in yet another line. From the time I got off the bus handed my bags over to the porter we were boarding the Miracle 45 minutes later. I think that is awesome response. Found my room (1265), which was a fantastic one. Very spacious I had a window (6A) so that helped too. I had two (2) other roommates and with three (3) of us girls we never had a problem. Dropped off carry on luggage and headed up for lunch. Since my Carnival Representative was on board with me we checked our tables for dinner was happy with them no changes for me. Then went to Pursers desk to make sure everything was lined up with the group coordinator, yes it was and was fine with everything. Spent some time with my Carnival Representative until it was time for her to get off (3:00 PM). After dropping off and saying good-bye to my Carnival Representative,we went up on Deck 10 to take pictures, use my cell phone to call home, get the drink of the day. And just hanging out awhile, then it was time for the muster drill. I had already had my life jacket so just went to the required station. They had five rows of people. The Carnival people were making sure that your life jacket was on correctly. This is no goof off procedure. After the drill took back the life jacket to the room and found my roommates as I did not see them at the drill but there were so many people there. Then we went up to Deck 10 again and watched us sail off. Wow time sure does fly by when having fun looked at the clock and it was time to get ready to experience our first night of dining. We had early dining 5:45 PM lower level. I loved where we were placed!(Note: some of my table guests wanted to see the sunshine bridge, they left after the appetizer and one table did not come down the 1st night.) After dinner it was time to meet up with my group again on the Lido. We meet there every night after dinner before the show. I must say the Miracle had the most friendliest people on board no matter what they were doing, all stopped to talk or find out how your day went. Was very impressed! Keep up the good work! The ship was easy to get around enjoyed the layout there was only one exception that needs attended too. I had some rooms on the 6th floor (bow) and they heard every piece of music coming from the Phantom Lounge. They could not get any sleep until after the midnight shows so it makes it hard if you have an early excursion. Carnival did there best to compensate and make them happy, but it is a situation that needs taken care of, maybe more insulation??? I dont know. So heads up if you have a room in the bow middle. My rooms on the outside heard nothing it was just the middle. PORTS -- GRAND CAYMAN- I have been to this port before and loved the Grand Cayman Island tour but wanted to something different so booked the Sting Ray tour it was different, but was glad that I tried it. If you decide to take this tour there was not much time to shop. I only wanted to visit the Hard Rock Hotel so this excursion worked for me. Saw Sylvester Stallones personal home as the tour place we booked through uses his channel to go out to the ocean. COZUMEL-I also have been to this island too. But everyone I had talked to by Cruise Critic said to do the Mexican Folkloric Show. It was okay but I thought it would explain more about their culture. Basically this tour shows their dances, music. Would I do this again? No but was glad I did it the first time? Yes Then we went shopping with I loved the Lapis rug place for jewelry. BELIZE - The shops at the pier were okay. I did the best shopping and bartering at Diamonds International, as I wanted to buy a piece of emerald. The cave tubing tour was cancelled, as there was plentiful of rain in the caves. People I talked too that had done the Canopy tour was well impressed and said they would do it again this is something that was not up my ally but had some good reviews on Cruise Critic as well as my Carnival Representative has heard many reviews from her customers on this particular excursion all said well worth the money. Belize you can tell is very poor and Carnival suggests not leaving the pier without an excursion from them. They said a lot of people say they are taxi drivers but then they are not and you do not get your money back. COSTA MAYA- Was my favorite port on this trip as the water is a much brighter turquoise blue never saw before ands most of the Caribbean ports were the green water. The shops were just ok but I enjoyed just going to the end of the pier and sitting in the sand or going to the bar. Great sites. My sea days were great I enjoy them just as much as I can actually venture the ship a little more with leisure. I must say you have to use the showers in the Spa/Gym area. My aunt loved the dry steam, but I never found the time to try them. I did take advantage of the whirlpools. Miracle: Liked the Reuben but not as good as the Glory. My favorite this ship seemed to be the steak burgers with cheese and the fries (made just the way I like them) and all the fresh fruit on the bar. We ordered room service a lot for their BLTs my roommates fell in love with them. I one but the rest of the time they ordered room service I ordered pretzels. Debarkation: Had an early flight we got VIP tags from group coordinator but they put VIP, early flights together in the Phantom Lounge it was packed. They need to let early flights go first. We had a flight of 11:00 AM and arrived at airport at 10:00 AM They boarded our flight at 10:40 AM. This was the first time I had and early flight. I think Carnival should let these people off first as they had two lines and my people you drove to Tampa used self assist and were off at 8:15 AM, where it was 9:30 AM before we got off the vessel. I think I have covered everything. I hope this review helps someone out as I have read lots of reviews before planning all of my cruises. I went through a PVP and was very happy with the service unlike my travel agency last time we had a major mess. My next adventure is Alaska. 1st group cruise 40 people/2nd group cruise 113 people/3rd group cruise 45 people/Next cruise& unknown Thanks for taking the time to read my review Kimmer1 Read Less
Sail Date January 2006
This was the first cruise for my husband and 2 teenage sons. It was my third cruise, but first with Carnival. We flew into Tampa from Michigan the day before the cruise, and stayed at an absolutely terrible motel. We were hoping that this ... Read More
This was the first cruise for my husband and 2 teenage sons. It was my third cruise, but first with Carnival. We flew into Tampa from Michigan the day before the cruise, and stayed at an absolutely terrible motel. We were hoping that this would not set the tone for the rest of the vacation. Fortunately, it did not. Embarkation was a little lengthy. The Miracle could not return to her regular port, as there was a vessel impeding entry, so we all had to be bussed to a different port. The lines were long, as was the wait, but we were very excited about the cruise, so none of us let it ruin our day. When we made it onto the ship, we checked out our cabin first. It was much bigger than we expected, and there was plenty of room for all four of us. The bed was comfortable, and the bedding was very nice. We chose late seating for dinner, which we really liked. However, our boys only joined us for dinner one time, as they had too much going on with the other teens on board. We learned that early seating is probably better if you are traveling with kids, but late seating worked out very well for the two of us. The food was awesome. Both our waiter and assistant waiter were great. We never ran out of things to do on the ship. We made it to most of the shows,and although they weren't perfect, they kept us entertained. The boys went to a couple of the activities put on by Carnival, but most of the time they just 'hung out' with the new friends they made on board. We saw them sitting in Horatio's, visiting with their friends, a number of times. The service overall was very good. The golf pro that was on board, we found to be rude and inconsiderate. The other staff was usually friendly and helpful. We did not book any of our shore excursions through Carnival, thanks to the advise of many members on these boards. Our first port was Grand Cayman, and we did a snorkel/stingray adventure with Captain Bryan. It was excellent. There was a small group of us on a 50ft catamaran. We saw the bigger groups from the cruise ships, and were very glad to be in our much smaller, more personalized group. I am so glad that we swam with the stingrays. It is something we will never forget. In Cozumel we did not participate in any excursions. We walked all day, and visited the shops. We bought several items, and picked up Kahlua for $9 for the large bottles. We had a lot of fun. In Belize we did the Xtreme cave tubing. It was a blast. Once again, we were in a much smaller group than the people with the cruise lines. We had an excellent meal after tubing, at a little shack that was located right at the tubing site. The food was excellent. In Costa Maya, we didn't do any excursions. We rented golf carts for a couple of hours and drove down to a fishing village where we bought a few things and did some sight-seeing. When we got back to the port area, we sat around the swim-up bar, had a couple of beers, and relaxed in the sun. Overall, we had a great day. Disembarkation was fast and easy. We found our bags, got through customs very quickly, and boarded a bus to the airport without any problems. We had a wonderful time, and would recommend the Miracle to anyone. We had so much fun that we have already booked another cruise for next January, and are hoping to take at least one a year! It was the best vacation we have had. We were able to totally relax, and we didn't worry about anything at home. I think we forget there even was a 'home'. Read Less
Sail Date January 2006
This was the 5th cruise for my husband and me. This was our second with Carnival as we usually go with Royal Caribbean. Glad our TA talked us into Carnival this time! CABIN: We booked an inside guarantee and were upgraded to a balcony ... Read More
This was the 5th cruise for my husband and me. This was our second with Carnival as we usually go with Royal Caribbean. Glad our TA talked us into Carnival this time! CABIN: We booked an inside guarantee and were upgraded to a balcony with an obstructed view; however it was not that obstructed (there was a life boat when you look down off the balcony but you were able to see over it). The room was wonderful and very spacious. There was a lot of closet space and drawer space! Dont forget the bungee cord for your door and an extension cord. SHIP: I read all the other reviews before I went and was a little scared about how gaudy the ship would be  We did not find this to be so  it was a bit over the top but thats what a cruise is all about. We loved it! FOOD: We ate in the dinning room every night but the last (bad weather made the ship a bit too rocky to eat). The food was awesome! We have not been big fans of cruise food in the past but this week changed our mind. We had planned to eat and Nick and Noras one night but the food in the dinning room was so good that we didnt want to miss it. The service in the dinning room was also A+! They have a team that is with you each night. My husband and I only had to tell the bar person we drank diet coke on the first night and after that our glasses were refilled when emptied. We ordered 2 starters and 2 desserts each night and on most nights my husband ordered 2 main dishes (no we are not large people)  however I did gain 7lbs. The buffet on the Lido deck was okay  breakfast got kind of boring as it was the same each day  eggs, pancakes or French toast, sausage, ham, bacon, hash browns (the frozen kind like at McDonalds) then of course pastries and an omelet could be made if you wanted. We are not big breakfast people so this was just okay for us. Lunch was good. They have several stations so you need to walk all the way around there are 4 different kinds of foods. I loved the Asian one! Then of course they have the hamburgers, deli and pizza. Ice cream was good and available 24-hours (sometimes the machines were down probably due to being emptied but we always found at least one open). PORTS OF CALL: Grand Cayman  shopped only - did not do an excursion and would recommend booking one  there isnt much to do. We went back on the ship and laid by the pool. Cozumel  We always rent a jeep and drive to San Francisco Beach  it is an out of way beach - we laid out for a few hours used the chairs and umbrella - They did not charge for the chairs and the people were very nice and not pushy. They have a pool that is not salt water and wonderful to swim in. We then take the jeep, put the top down, and drive around the back of the island where you can stop at road side shops - and the beaches are empty around the back. We always feel very safe, have done this 3 other times and have never had any problems. Belize: We were told to make sure we booked an excursion so we booked the private island tour  it was nice the beach was not very busy. The ride there was a bit scary as they put about 40 of us on what seemed to be an old fishing boat with teenagers driving it, but it worked out fine. The food on the island is not included and it rather expensive. Costa Maya  Rented a jeep again but it turned out to be a waste of time, there wasnt much to see. Id book an excursion here also. We had to tender at all ports except Costa Maya - but that did not seem to be a problem getting on or off the ship. Embarkation was easy - they gave you a number and when your number is called you board the ship. Debarkation was the best of any cruise I've ever been on. You either stay in your cabin or wander the ship and when your tag color is called you exit the ship. They were dredging the port in Tampa so we had to get on busses which took us to our luggage - which was a hassle but not Carnivals fault. Read Less
Sail Date January 2006
Carnival Miracle Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.4
Dining 3.5 4.0
Entertainment 4.0 3.8
Public Rooms 4.0 4.3
Fitness Recreation 3.5 4.0
Family 4.0 4.0
Shore Excursion 3.0 4.0
Enrichment 1.5 3.5
Service 4.0 4.4
Value For Money 4.5 4.1
Rates 3.0 4.4

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