223 Carnival Miracle Cruise Reviews

We just returned from the Miracle (8 day Caribbean out of NYC). Last year we had booked the Voyager OTS out of Galveston for 2/3/08 but complications from surgery in December forced us to cancel. We then booked the Carnival Conquest for ... Read More
We just returned from the Miracle (8 day Caribbean out of NYC). Last year we had booked the Voyager OTS out of Galveston for 2/3/08 but complications from surgery in December forced us to cancel. We then booked the Carnival Conquest for 5/4/08 in its place (same itinerary). About three weeks prior to the Conquest cruise, I noticed a mention of a do-wop cruise in a CCer's signature. DH had been interested in doing a do-wop so I asked for information from her looking toward a 2009 booking. She sent me the contact info and when I called they had just had a cancellation (wow, what timing!)on a balcony cabin for this year's cruise. I told DH it was out of NYC, was a do-wop cruise, and went to Tortola, all things he had recently mentioned he'd like to do. He got on the phone and booked the airline and all of a sudden we had two cruises booked in one month. The Conquest cruise was just about perfect and we were really looking forward to as good a time on the Miracle. As I do the review, I will compare certain aspects to the Conquest. The TA booked us at a Comfort Suites in Queens and I converted the reservation to use my Choice Hotel points. We flew in to LGA and aside from a rude flight attendant in first class, the flight was uneventful. The shuttle from the hotel picked us up quickly. He was very helpful, offering tips on where to eat close to the hotel. The hotel was on the edge of a residential, commercial area with a large Jewish cemetery across the street. We ate at a neighborhood restaurant/bar and walked through the neighborhood on the way back to the hotel. We asked at the desk about how best to get to the pier and were told we could take the subway (What!) or use a car service as taxis were not allowed to pick up guests on the property. I'm not sure whose rule that is. On Sunday morning, after breakfast, we called down for the car service and the driver was there within 20 minutes. Upon nearing the pier, traffic got really bad and was stacked up on the Hudson Parkway (forgive me if the terminology is not exactly right). He worked his way through the traffic on the inside lanes and was able to get us up to the luggage drop-off. We later found out that in addition to there being three ships in that day, there had been a wreck near the pier and the Norwegian Spirit had run into the dock that morning, delaying Miracle's arrival. All during the cruise we talked to people whose rides to the pier (taxis or even family members) dropped them off several blocks from the pier leaving them to haul their luggage. One couple was 89 years old and their son even made them walk. Some passengers from the Spirit helped them with their luggage. We arrived about 11:30 and found virtually no line. Within 15 minutes, we had our Sail and Sign cards and boarding pass (group 2) and had found a seat to wait for boarding. Passengers were still disembarking until about 12:30 and we finally got on about 1 p.m. On the Conquest, we were standing in the queue for over 1 ½ hours to get checked in. Galveston had about 6 agents checking in over 3000 passengers and there must have been at least 25 checking in the 2100 or so on the Miracle. We went up to the Lido Deck to Horatio's restaurant and had a DOD and some lunch. DH was laughing at the people who took the DOD from the server and returned it to him when he asked for their card! We went to the cabin (6141, fwd, starboard, 8D) and put our carry-ons down. Muster drill was easy and unlike the Conquest, sailaway didn't occur until after the drill was completed. We went up to deck 10 for sailaway, found a couple rocking chairs that we drug to the railing and found two more DODs. The weather couldn't have been nicer and we enjoyed seeing the Statue of Liberty and sailing under the Verazanno Bridge. We freshened up to go to dinner and that's where things started to go downhill. We had early seating with the other members of our group as there would be private shows most nights of the cruise. We got to our table (249, lower level Bacchus) and met our table mates. They were two couples from the same town in California who didn't know each other prior to that day. They knew several people in common and dinner was pretty much confined to people they knew, where they went to school, etc. One woman managed to work money into almost everything she said (how many houses they had, how much she paid for them, etc.) We didn't really feel like intruding on their good time so as soon as we finished, we went to ask for a new table assignment. We then went to the initial meeting of the group and were a little disappointed in the disorganization that followed. We got our tickets to the events for the week and returned to the cabin. Next table assignment was 380, upper level, two other couples and two women traveling together. This was elegant night and DH had decided to wear his tux. One of the men was in a suit and the other in slacks and a blazer so we were slightly overdressed. It became obvious this wasn't a good mix either. (Before you think that we're just hard to get along with, we loved our table mates on the Conquest and looked forward to dinner every night with them.) Poor table manners and one man wanting everyone's e-mail so he could send them some X-rated e-mails were just some of the problems. We did meet some really nice people on the cruise, especially at breakfast or lunch in the dining room. We ended up eating in the Lido several nights. The performers in the do-wop shows were for the most part, disappointing. From talking to other passengers, I found out that many of the groups perform in local clubs on the East Coast and a lot of the passengers were big fans of theirs. They were what I think you'd call "cover bands". We definitely wouldn't do that again. Ports-San Juan, St. Thomas and Tortola. In San Juan, we walked across the street to the Sheraton and sat down in the outside bar/grill area and met a fascinating man from LA and spent several hours talking with him. St. Thomas, we docked at Havensight Mall and headed straight for our favorite jewelry store where I got a belated (by a year and a half) birthday gift. In Tortola, we took a taxi to Pusser's Rum Bar and Store for "Painkillers" on the porch. We don't usually go to many of the production shows on the cruises and this trip was no exception. The one show we did see that we enjoyed was Happy Cole, a comedian. He was perhaps the best show I've ever seen on a cruise. Everyone who I talked to who had seen him loved him. The jugglers were mediocre, dropping several items even though the ship was docked. Jerome Dabney, a Mo-town singer, was on both of our cruises and managed to fool a good number of people with his "surprise guest". The last day at sea the seas got really choppy and many people got sea-sick including yours truly. I have been in much rougher seas and didn't have a problem so I don't know what happened. Debarkation was relatively painless. Upon arrival in NYC, we called the car service about a pick up and they told us to call again when we got our bags. We stayed in the cabin until almost 9 a.m. then went up to Horatio's to wait it out. At about 11:15 they finally called our number and down we went. We got a porter and the luggage and went out to call for the car. The service told DH there were "100 cabs at the pier, take one of those". So much for repeat business. It took about 10 minutes in the cab line and we were on our way. The driver seemed like he was taking the long way to get to LaGuardia but the fee was about the same as the car service so maybe he did, maybe he didn't. In summation, I'll hit the highlights and give the advantage to one cruise or the other. Embarkation- Advantage to the Miracle. Cabin- 9A aft on the Conquest, 8D on the Miracle. Advantage to the Conquest for the large balcony. Itinerary- Conquest- Jamaica, Grand Cayman, Cozumel. Miracle- San Juan, St. Thomas, Tortola. Pretty much a tie. Ship size- Conquest 2,974 passengers, Miracle 2,124 passengers. Advantage to the Conquest which didn't seem as crowded. DEcor- Conquest-slightly gaudy but I grew to like it. Miracle- Garish, ugliest dining room I've ever seen. (DH said it reminded him of a Las Vegas Hotel in the 60's, just needed girls in togas serving drinks). Advantage-Conquest Tablemates-Advantage Conquest Shows-Advantage Miracle thanks to Happy Cole. I'd go see him any opportunity I got. Dining room steward- Advantage Conquest (Carolina who has since gone back home). Room steward- Advantage Miracle. Maria was delightful. Disembarkation- A tie. Most memorable moment-Walking through Queens and seeing a memorial to a fallen Firefighter (9-11) in a yard. Overall- Conquest- we'd go again in a heartbeat. Miracle-probably not. Read Less
Sail Date May 2008
This is my 5th cruise, 1st one with Carnival. The wait service and room service was excellent. Our balcony room was spacious and had lots of storage space. The wait staff worked hard and provided top service. The food was good. I enjoyed ... Read More
This is my 5th cruise, 1st one with Carnival. The wait service and room service was excellent. Our balcony room was spacious and had lots of storage space. The wait staff worked hard and provided top service. The food was good. I enjoyed my meals but my husband only enjoyed some of his meals as some were so-so bland. The dinning room has too many purple grapes, but the dEcor doesn't take away from the experience. There were many lounges; very nice. The entertainment was good on average. The hypnotist and comedian were fun but the musicals were just ok. We did not encounter any rowdy groups- an unwanted reputation I'm sure Carnival wants to shed. Not too many young couples without children. A various group of people ranging from seniors to families with children. I'm sure the boat is filled with children during school breaks. The trip had its frustrating moments. The ship didn't arrive in NYC until 6pm; 6 hours late. Embarkation was frustrating. We had a low number and still didn't get on ship for 2 hrs. We left NYC 5 hours late. I'm sure to make up time we sped it up. With already rough seas, the speed probably didn't help the extreme rockiness. Of course the weather is beyond Carnival's control. The mid-level staff/mgt did not impress us. The cruise just did not flow very well. It took 25 minutes to get off the ship and 30 minutes waiting in line to get back onto the ship. They only had one security gate working. It was so frustrating. This is my third cruise after 9-11 and the other lines used several security gates waiting 5 minutes tops. We also waited an additional 20 minutes for dinner seating at 8:15. Don't know why. Happened only once, thankfully. We asked a question at the excursion desk on board and her answer was "It's my first day, I don't know. You'll have to ask the info desk on the island itself." Not acceptable. The info desk on the island was really only a place to buy transportation tickets; another 20 minute wait. It was not a tourist info desk. Finally, the pursers desk also gave us wrong disembarkment information and it affected our transportation arrangements. Also, the excursion trips were so expensive. We traveled to Aruba in Jan 2006 and the same kind of trip cost $45 less per person (a two hour sunset sail). Maybe it is due to economics or maybe due to Carnival. I don't know. Overall, it is hard to not have a good time on a cruise. We still enjoyed our vacation; however, I do think it is our last Carnival cruise. If you have had top quality cruises, you will be disappointed with Carnival. Read Less
Sail Date April 2008
This was my 23rd cruise (6 on Carnival). Here are some things Carnival should do better: Why should embarkation take 2.5 hrs. Yes I know they had computer problems but they do this SO MANY times a week you would think that they would ... Read More
This was my 23rd cruise (6 on Carnival). Here are some things Carnival should do better: Why should embarkation take 2.5 hrs. Yes I know they had computer problems but they do this SO MANY times a week you would think that they would have redundant systems to prevent this. Being on deck 8 is great (we were on deck 8 forward on the Spirit and Legend and loved it. However NEVER book 8193 or anywhere close. The staff on the lido deck is wheeling carts through your ceiling 24 HOURS A DAY. Is late seating really at 8:15? Why don't they just tell you it's really at 8:30? The people line up at 8:10 and they don't open the doors until 8:25 or later. It just seems Carnival can't resist making people stand in line. I know it has been 3 years since our last cruise on Carnival but I can't believe the quality of food in the dining room has fallen to such a low level. I have always defended Carnival to the Cruise Snobs that would never even consider booking a Fun Ship. The dining at Nick & Nora's was excellent and we should have dined there every night. The ports: St. Marten. The shops are clean and friendly. The deals are not very good. I priced out an IPOD TOUCH 8GB the stores were asking 329.00 you can buy this at any big box store in the U.S. for $299.00. I also priced some higher end digital cameras and the prices were very high. St. Lucia. we did the Pirate Ship Extravaganza. Gotta love this excursion. The crew was great and they encouraged participation. My wife helped raise some sails and was able to troll a fishing line on our return to the ship. I would recommend a hat and lots of sun screen. The bottomless supply of RUM PUNCH was enjoyed by many. St. Kitts. We stayed on the ship. See below Perhaps the final blow was my wife contracting the NORO VIRUS on day 4 and was quarantined to our cabin for 24 hrs. I must say that I was impressed by the Infirmary Staff. Marjorie, the on duty nurse came to our cabin at 3 am and administered a shot and some meds to my ailing wife. The remaining 2 days at sea were very relaxing. My wife got back to her normal self after 48 hours (lots of water and bland food from room service). I will give Carnival another chance but I think I need a dose of Holland America for my next adventure. I did enjoy the late night comedy shows (Phat Kat was a little too crude). Debarkation: We booked the Everglades trip in Ft. Lauderdale because our flight left late in the day. This was a short bus ride to the Everglades from the ship. You get to go on an air boat and see lots of gators and wildlife. They take you back to the store area and you get a real cheesy show about gators from a guy missing most of his fingers. Lots opportunities to spend more $$ having your picture taken with gators...birds...etc. Read Less
Sail Date January 2008
My DH and myself live in NY and love the option of cruising from NYC. We have sailed on the EOS out of Cape Liberty and it was the most memorable cruise for our big family of 8. We needed a long weekend getaway and decided on the Carnival ... Read More
My DH and myself live in NY and love the option of cruising from NYC. We have sailed on the EOS out of Cape Liberty and it was the most memorable cruise for our big family of 8. We needed a long weekend getaway and decided on the Carnival Cruise To Nowhere on the Miracle. We have done the Cruise To Nowhere before and we had a wonderful time. Embarkation: After cruising out of Miami and Port Canaveral, NYC seemed a bit less controlled. We arrived at the Pier at 11:45am and thought for sure we would have at most an hour wait to board. People were still exiting the boat from the prior cruise at 12:30pm. They began to allow the "special guests" onboard first. A large group of travel agents boarded to tour and experience The Miracle. VIP boarded next, those who needed help and then the regular folks. It only took an hour from this point to board the ship. FOOD: The staff instructed us to go up to the LIDO deck for lunch and cabins would be ready at 2pm to drop off our luggage. The Carnival food is good. Lots of choices, the lines seemed small and the staff very friendly. I like the food choices on Carnival, there does seem to be something for everyone. We ate dinner the first night at Nick and Nora's Supper Club. The $30 charge per person was well worth it. The food was outstanding, the service was wonderful and the atmosphere was very romantic and NYC chic! Dinner in the Dining room was average. The bar waiter for our table, looked like he wanted to be anywhere but taking my order. The head waiter was average and did not go out of his way for any of the tables. ENTERTAINMENT: The shows on the Miracle were awesome. The comedians...mixed review! The first night comedian was very funny! He really connected with the crowd. The second night: Marvin Bell...was hyped up to be a big time comedian...and just thought he was average at best! He seemed a bit full of himself and thought his material was very much like the first night! CABIN: We had a AFT balcony, a beautiful room, and spacious for its category and tons of closet space. I think if you compare by category...the Carnival Cabins are bigger and have more storage space. I love the Carnival Bedding...and actually have it at home. I highly recommend an AFT Balcony, especially out of NY. The view from our balcony was something out of a movie! I did hear alittle vibration from the engine at night, but nothing that kept me from sleeping. The cabin steward never introduced himself to us, we rarely saw him except at the end of the hallway talking to his colleagues. We did not have Pool Towels in our room and I had asked for them and received them on day 2. Although the room was neat and clean, BARS/LOUNGES/CASINO: Casino was great, not enough machines...entered my first Slot Tournament and had a blast. A lot of people seemed to winning except me!! Bar staff seemed alittle overworked and some bars seemed understaffed. On day one before sail away. We decided to grab a cocktail at the piano lounge in the lobby. I mentioned that there were a group of travel agents on board touring the ship before sail away! One in particular Travel Agent had approached us on the elevator about transferring our future RCL cruise to their office, offering us onboard credits, room upgrades etc. We get up to the bar and see that the staff looked extremely busy. The travel agent and had made his way to the same bar and happen to sit next to us. He had placed a drink order and did not want to wait. He was very belligerent and obnoxious to the bar staff and they went right into defense mode. It was very uncomfortable! The lack of bar staff seemed to be a recurring theme throughout the cruise. Disembarkation: The easiest disembarkation ever. Since we did not go to any ports of call, we were off the ship in 2 minutes. This was a first for us! We were home in no time...and with no airport to deal with, it was a very good way to end the weekend! In closing, the Cruise was money well spent. Even with the rain on our only sea day, there always seemed like there was enough to do. The Activities staff did a great job of keeping everyone entertained even though we could not just lounge out by the pool! It was great to get away for a couple of days on a beautiful Fun Ship! Read Less
Sail Date October 2007
Background: My husband and I traveled with a group of 8 people (six adults and two children - 16 and 10 years old). This was my third cruise, my husband's second. We cruised together last year on the Norwegian Dawn. Travel to port ... Read More
Background: My husband and I traveled with a group of 8 people (six adults and two children - 16 and 10 years old). This was my third cruise, my husband's second. We cruised together last year on the Norwegian Dawn. Travel to port of embarkation: We chose to leave out of New York because my husband's parents don't like to fly (they live 30 minutes from the port). We hired a limo/van to take us Sunday morning. My husband and I chose to fill out all our paperwork online because we thought it would expedite the check-in process. We arrived at the port about noon. A porter immediately took our bags and directed us inside. Once inside I didn't see any special signage for those who filled out their FunPass ahead of time nor did I see a line for previous cruisers of Carnival. There were very few staff members inside the terminal directing. Essentially there were four waiting areas. One waiting area would fill up and they would rope it off. Second one would fill up, etc. They didn't move anyone into the next waiting area until it was completely cleared. Each waiting area was very large and once the staff moved people it became like moving cattle - hundreds of people trying to get out an opening in the ropes that was set for two people to walk side-by-side. My father-in-law uses a cane and as my husband was moving the stanchions apart so his dad could move more freely he got reprimanded by the terminal staff. It was only then that we found out about handicapped check-in. Once you got through the initial screening you were separated into lines based on your cabin numbers to give your credit card, get your Sign and Sail card, etc. Despite us filling out all the paperwork online we still had to fill out a customs declaration card for Tortola. Once you finished at that desk you went in another line to board the ship (this is where your picture was taken). Overall check-in took about an hour and a half. The staff claimed it was because a lot of people didn't have passports despite passports not being required. Apparently there was extra paperwork that needed to be filled out if you had your birth certificate. Our entire party had passports. We boarded the ship about 1:30 p.m. and went straight to our rooms. Ship: My initial impression of the ship was that it was very gaudy, just like other reviews. Everything was themed, right down to the hallways by all the staterooms. The worst room of all was the "Mad Hatter's Ball" which was decorated with red hearts all over the place and extra large white rabbits on the walls. The Bacchus Dining Room was a sight to be seen - two levels with tables packed in to every corner. The lights on the ceiling were shaped like grapes and there were bunches of grapes all over the place. When we booked through out travel agent she put a note to have our entire party together for dining. Unfortunately that didn't happen - the other two parties were together in the early seating (5:45 p.m.), my husband and I were in the later seating (8:15 p.m.). One quick trip to the Maitre'd fixed that. The Phantom Lounge was beautiful, although I might have been impartial because it is modeled after the Paris Opera House & Phantom of the Opera and I love the Phantom of the Opera. There was an adult's only pool & children's pool. A water slide that had very limited hours. There were a lot of empty chairs at each of the three pools but the chairs had items on them and no body to be found. My husband and I both agreed there was a lack of outside space on the ship. When we were on the Dawn there were several decks where you could walk outside. On the Miracle there were only three - and you could only walk completely around on one of the decks. Everything felt very closed in and small. Stateroom: The stateroom was of a nice size. I do have to say I like the closet space much better than the Dawn. The Miracle had three floor-to-ceiling closets with the third having four shelves. There were four additional drawers and a large cabinet next to the door to the balcony. There were a good number of hangars but I had brought about 10 extra just in case (which came in handy). The bathroom reminded me of a hospital - it was green in color. However, there was a lot of shelf space, with three tiered shelves on each side. There was shampoo & body wash in a dispenser in the shower. Each balcony had a partition that could be opened to join with the room next door (which I thought was a nice touch). My in-laws decided to open theirs with the other part of our party, my husband's aunt, uncle and their children. A word of advice though - both parties have to be present at the Purser's desk when requesting the balcony be opened. One caveat - the balcony was fastened to the railing, taking away about half the size of one of the balconies. There was a large couch/sofa in the room that pulled out. There are two drawers under the sofa that have extra linens. We took the linens out of one of the drawers and used that drawer for our dirty clothes. Our cabin steward was a doll - she cleaned the room with great precision and left us an adorable towel animal each day. Turndown was coordinated around your dinner seating each day. Dining: We ate most of our breakfasts and lunches in Horatio's, the casual buffet on the Lido deck. That left a lot to be desired. Everything was very spread out, with no one directing you to each station. For lunch there was a deli station that always had a line, a pizza station where you had to ring a bell to get service, a very small salad station, a dessert station and a themed station (each day it was a different cuisine - American, Mexican, Indian, etc). For breakfast there was an omelet station. Everything had a line and it was very difficult to find a table. I saw many couples taking up a table for six when there were plenty of deuces available. The food was not good, often cold. People would walk in front of you and cut the line and the staff wouldn't say anything. Bacchus was good - the portions are small, like you are eating at a gourmet restaurant. Our head waiter and assistant waiter were great - after the first day they knew what "free" beverages we liked and had them on the table within minutes. The gentleman who did the bar service was excellent as well - he brought me a fantastic glass of wine each evening based on my dinner selection and remembered my husband's drink order. The food was good - it ranged from lamb to lobster to steak. One night there was Beef Wellington. The appetizers were delicious. They allowed the 10-year-old to order from the "grown-up" menu if he wanted (although he just wanted pizza every night). On the last two nights the wait staff entertained the dining room with song and dance. My husband and I spent a lot of time at the bar right outside Bacchus on the second level. We got to know the bartenders Ally & Erwin quite well and they kept us entertained with their friendly banter. The would make fun of the bar staff as they came for their drink orders. Room Service left a lot to be desired - the first morning they "lost" our breakfast doorknob and didn't apologize. We were then told someone would call us each morning to let us know our breakfast was on its way. That never happened. They got our order wrong on the second day. Each time you called the person who picked up the phone sounded inconvenienced that you called. On debarkation day they "ran out" of bananas and forgot the milk for our cereal and coffee. However, there was a nice selection of food, ranging from turkey and BLT and ham & cheese sandwiches to chicken fajita wraps and Caesar salad. You could also order a variety of desserts to your room in addition to bar service. Each night you had until 5 a.m. to leave your breakfast doorknob outside. Activities: We didn't partake in a lot of the activities. We found that a lot of the activities ran together; there was a lot of overlap. Things rarely started on time. We felt a little left out of the evening activities because we had the later dinner seating. Bingo was fun. The scavenger hunt was fun. There was a "Fear Factor" and a "hairiest chest" and "belly flop" contest. On the last night of the cruise there was the "Carnival Legends" show where passengers dress up like a singer and perform a song. Go if you want a good laugh. The three social directors (Beef, Fuzzy and PeeWee) were entertaining. Lenny the Cruise Director and "Big Sexy" the assistant cruise director were entertaining as well. Children's Clubs: The 10-year-old didn't do anything with the children's clubs. The 16-year-old went to a couple of Club 02 events (XBOX tournament, black and white party) but felt there weren't a lot of kids there (school had just started when we went). Service: Overall I felt the service was lacking. I am a hotel manager for a five-diamond property so I am used to superior service. Staff in Horatio's had to be flagged down for silverware and to clear the tables. If you encountered staff in the hall most did not smile. There was a noticeable lack of drink service in the lounges - you had to go to the bar yourself. There were a few exceptions as previously noted. Shore Excursions: Our group did not do one in Puerto Rico. We walked around the city for about two hours before returning to the ship - we had the entire pool and hot tub to ourselves. In St. Thomas we hired a taxi to take us to Coki beach (beautiful view but not the place for children). In Tortola we purchased the Lambert Beach Resort excursion. The resort is in need of repair - although the actual beach was beautiful. The food was OK - basically enough for one serving each. Disembarkation: We received numbered luggage tags at turndown on the final night. We had our luggage outside by midnight. Once we arrived back in NY they let those guests who did self-assist (carry all of their luggage off themselves) go off first for about an hour. Then they started calling numbers. It was "threatened" in the disembarkation literature that if you tried to depart the ship before your number was called you would be sent back. After about an hour of waiting (and the numbers only been called to 15) we decided to leave (we were number 19). No one asked to see any proof when we left the ship. It took a while to claim our luggage between the eight people in our party. One piece ended up in the "unknown" section which caused a bit of panic. I waited in line for a porter which took about 10 minutes. Once we got outside we called out limo guy and gave him our location. Summary: I could have done without the singing waiters at dinner. There were a lot of rude and inconsiderate passengers on the ship. Horatio's needs signage and more attentive staff. Room Service staff needs an attitude check. The activities and shows looked like they were fun but if things started on time we might have been able to attend some of them. The ship's theme grew on me during the trip. The food in Bacchus was delicious, and the service there was exquisite. The ship advertises Mojitos and you will not be disappointed. On the last day there was a martini bar set up in the lobby. Overall I was not impressed with the Miracle and its staff. However, I would be willing to give Carnival another try, on a different ship with a different itinerary and out of a different port, far from New York. Read Less
Sail Date September 2007
I want to start off by saying that I love Carnival- it's the only cruise line I cruise.. I find they are the best value for your money- with that being said, I also want to state that the following things- are my opinion, how I saw ... Read More
I want to start off by saying that I love Carnival- it's the only cruise line I cruise.. I find they are the best value for your money- with that being said, I also want to state that the following things- are my opinion, how I saw things- and how I felt about MY TRIP overall.. Embarkation: Being that I was upgraded to a Cat 11 Suite from a Balcony Guarantee (very grateful for) we had VIP boarding. Although we had VIP boarding- it did seem it was a little bit of a cluster- but all in all we were on the ship rather quickly. This being my boyfriends first cruise I had done nothing but rave about Carnival-food, room, service etc.... We both went in with a very open mind, and both very anxious about our first cruise together. First impression of the ship- GAWKY, BULKY AND WHAT THE HECK!! For those of you that may have sailed on the Legend (many people on this cruise had- and agreed with my opinion) I find that this ship was way more bulkier interior which made the area's feel smaller and more narrow than it's sister ship. The one place I was anticipating being the most gawky was the dining room- but in fact wasn't as bad as I thought. This cruise was full- and unlike its sister ship- you knew it was full- lines everywhere- not something I had ever experienced on any other carnival cruise. Up to the Lido deck since our room was not ready- food on lido was not what it once was- don't get me wrong it was edible- Pizza was either overcooked, or had been sitting out for long periods of time. We would have many lunches and breakfast to come- and if it wasn't just for convenience we would have preferred to eat in the dining room. I will say the staff in the Lido deck (I am aware they are also dining room staff) were quick to clean off our tables, even though it was crowded we always found a seat. Up to the Cabin.. Ok hard to complain about this- what a beautiful cabin it was a suite. Very spacious, plenty of closet space and the balcony was awesome!!!! Cabin Steward- well I had to hunt her down after being in our room for 2.5 hours. She didn't come greet us, nothing.. Now mind you- I got upgraded to the suite- if I had paid the extra bucks myself for the suite- I would definitely be angry with the lack of enthusiasm on her part. We had to leave her notes everyday for the same things- you'd think she would get the hint that we wanted ice everyday- we had even tipped her in the beginning of the cruise. Ok so on to the big stuff.... Our beach towels- she would take them- and we would never get them back- everyday we would have to hunt her down for new ones, minor issue I know- but it did become a pain in the you know what to look for her. She left her cleaning items in our room on more than one occasion- and every day just seemed to be a cluster for her. Few other things transpired but there not important- one thing I will note is that Carnival should definitely do something somehow about People (carnival employees) coming in your room unannounced! Dining room- food was better than the Lido deck, if you order steak or any type of meat- you must order it one under how you normally like it. Staff in there was good- again seemed like it was a cluster at some points in time. We ate at Nick and Nora's on the 2nd formal night- now we both were dressed nice- boyfriend in a button up long sleeve dress shirt- and myself in a dress- our neighbors decided to join us- they also looked nice and very presentable. On our invitation it stated smart casual- with no one stating to us that jackets required- with that being said- a issue was made due to lack of jackets- but as we looked around the restaurant most other people looked less dressed than us- we ate there- food and service excellent. We do not drink much- but did have a drink that night- they proceeded to bring us our drinks- and at the end of the night, brought us our bill and charged us twice for all of our drinks- well they stated it was for double shots in our drinks- WHAT THE HECK.. didn't ask for doubles and I wa quite upset they charged us double and gave us double shots without prior notice. This had also happened in the dining room- something I found to be upsetting... Entertainment- saw 3 of the shows all were excellent, stopped in a few of the bars to pop my head in- all the bands seemed to be good. Cruise Director Lenny was very good, funny and pleasant. As for most of his people underneath him as well were too. One thing that struck me funny- (I am not a prude and have a great sense of humor and do not get offended easily)however- the people that worked underneath him- had nick names that were indirect innuendo sexual- "BIG SEXY, "PEE WEE", "FUZZY",AND "BEEF"- HM!!! Ports of Call- didn't get off the boat for San Juan, St thomas- did a quick tour of the island- wound up at Coki Beach- beautiful rode jet skis.. Tortola- Cane bay Beach- beautiful- just not enough time. My boyfriend had a family emergency while we were on board- granted Carnival was quick to alert us- but I felt that they kind of left us on our own with no options, and not quite knowing where to turn for information.. Ship overall was kept in great condition, just didn't like the decor, or the bulkiness.... To me just didn't feel like it was up to prior Carnival Cruises- but that is my opinion and my experiences... I will most certainly cruise on Carnival again- just highly doubt it would be on the Miracle.... Any questions- please feel free to ask. Read Less
Sail Date September 2007
This was my 27th cruise, first time with carnival. Me my wife and children were amazed at how many people thought that this was the most Fantastic ship/cruise ever. Either our expectations were too high from passed experiences with other ... Read More
This was my 27th cruise, first time with carnival. Me my wife and children were amazed at how many people thought that this was the most Fantastic ship/cruise ever. Either our expectations were too high from passed experiences with other cruise lines or these people have never been on a cruise before or any other cruise line other than carnival and just don't know any better. People that we talked to who were on other cruise lines with and with out children in the past said that they were not happy and will never go carnival again. We had 2 joining cabins on the 7th deck plenty of room had the balcony partition opened, nice touch. On the 1st day the toilets in both rooms and at different times of the day were clogged. This seemed to be an on going problem through out the cruise. They were constantly working on the pipes in the hallway and had a large blower drying the hallway rugs for days. I did get a letter from Carnival apologizing about this. Also some in the past on the cc board mentioned about the rugs throughout the ship were stained. This was so true. I also had a faulty Hair dryer (frail wires) Blow in my hand. Called the front desk, immediately a maintenance guy arrived Removed the draw that the unit was in and replaced the hair dryer. Funny how I never received a letter for that inconvenience. On the Lido deck by the pool I myself had stepped on what appeared to be a piece of blue glass, I pulled it out and discarded it in an ashtray. Later on in the cruise I found another piece on the floor by the pool and brought it to the attention of their infamous Pool security guard and was told that it was a piece of tile that broke off from the pool. I was like, Are you kidding me... It wasn't that noticeable due to the pattern and colors of tiles on the outside of the hot tub, but there were tiles missing all over it. The pools are very small and only 4 ½ feet at max depth. The pools are salt water, didn't bother me but other people were caught by surprise. As far as chair hogging goes, Wow.... I have never seen any thing like this before. By 7:30 in the morning I would have to say about 98% of the chairs in the pool area were covered with towels, books, sunglasses, one left shoe and then the other shoe on another chair and various other items. And there was virtually no one around. People were hogging rows, and sections of chairs that they never used. You could just help your self to their towels and take them back to your room and home at their expense of $22 =) Carnival has a serious issue with chair hogging and they just turn a blind eye to this. For some odd reason the deck hands start collecting the chairs at about 3:30. I found myself retrieving chairs from the stacks that they made. I understand that some point of the day they need to collect the chairs but 3:30 is a little early. FYI the main pools close at about 7:30 the pool in the rear is open till 10:00 I believe. Also between both main pools there are 4 bars only 2 were opened the other 2 I never seen opened. Breakfast Get their early, Lunch go late. You will find your self walking in circles especially if you are trying to find a table for 4. Word of advice is find a table first, sit down then take turns getting your food. You will find that the food stations make the same thing every day, Day after Day after Day. Dinner was good but portions were small. If you order the Filet mignon Beware! It's Australian, Very Tough. Prime rib was great. Just make sure that when you look at the menu If it says Prime Rib "USDA" if it says that then It probably is, If it doesn't state USDA it isn't, Its Australian and chances are its very Tough. We were able to change entrees that we were not satisfied with. Service was good. P.S. Good luck finding any Italian food, none to be found. Pizza was not up to par. Shows were amazing. It appears that carnival allocated most of their funds and attention to the phantom lounge. Very impressed. All of the shows very well performed. I give them an A+. Horse racing was only done twice the whole cruise and only two races each. I was amazed that the horses were auctioned off for so little $20 to $35. The winner of the owner's race only received $105.00 70% of the total amount collected. The other 30% went to the owner of the most popular horse. "GASS" Congratulations guys. Kids club for the young kids seemed ok but for the older kids (teens) there was really nothing for them. They didn't have a place of their own like other cruise lines have that is dedicated just for them. In turn the kids were forced to create their own fun and hangout spots. Islands were beautiful. Went to Magens Bay in St. Thomas, Beautiful. Lost of fish in the water but nothing else amazingly clean. Tortola we did the dolphin excursion, this was fabulous. An experience that you will remember for a life time. Kids loved it, would highly recommend it. Warning it's $159.00 a person @ a family of 4 = $636.00 But well worth it. San Juan Just walked around and found Senor Frogs Great BIG Drinks. Overall we had a good time, but having past experiences with other cruise lines, I will not be sailing with Carnival again. Read Less
Sail Date August 2007
This was our 2nd cruise with Carnival. We traveled with 18 family members this year, including our daughters, ages 17 and 15 and their friend also age 15. My husband and myself had 1 cabin and the girls had the next one to ours. First ... Read More
This was our 2nd cruise with Carnival. We traveled with 18 family members this year, including our daughters, ages 17 and 15 and their friend also age 15. My husband and myself had 1 cabin and the girls had the next one to ours. First things first--Due to booking procedures, we booked the 2 cabins as 1 adult in each room, with 1 daughter in with me and the other 2 girls with my husband. I wanted to get an extra card for my husband to get into my room, so off we went to the pursers desk--major problems erupted. We had put money in each account,so the brand new purser emptied one account instead of just giving me extra card. After 45 minutes, she assured me that the situation was fixed. My husband then goes to buy a drink and of course, his card was no good. He was furious. After another 45 minutes, he was given another card and no apology. Cabin: We had french balcony rooms. We loved our cabin and our steward, Buddy. He took great care of our whole family, giving special attention to our girls. He always brought them cookies for their evening snack. Rooms were large enough for all of us, plenty of storage space and the bed was comfy. Last year we had an interior room my husband still calls the cave. He prefers the cave to any other room. Our room lock did break and we were locked out of the cabin for over an hour one night at midnight. Although, the maintenance guys came to fix it pretty quickly. PORTS OF CALL: We loved Puerto Rico last year, but this year was awful. There was construction everywhere. It was not fun. St. Thomas is beautiful. We took a snorkeling excursion and it was just ok--last year was much better. Tortola was AWFUL. We were not there very long, but we found it dirty, the people were very pushy and extremely cagy about money. We observed the shop owners not very attentive unless you were actually showing them money. I would NOT go there again. FOOD: As usual, it was a food feast. We ate like crazy and on the whole, everything was pretty good. We did eat in the dining room most nights, and we did go to Nick and Nora's, the supper club. I can highly recommend going there for the dining experience. We celebrated my brother's 50th birthday there and it was great. The buffet was good most days, but we would've preferred a bit more of a selection. It can be very limited in choices. Drinks were basically good and fairly strong. My husband did have 1 bad experience with almost raw turkey--the cook seemed not to understand why we didn't want to eat it. Very strange.... I have one MAJOR complaint. This particular cruise was OVERRUN with kids--over 700 according to the pursers desk. All ages, from infants to teens, and most were not supervised. This was a HUGE problem. The kids were amazingly rude, running wild all over the ship and had NO supervision. This was VERY disturbing, especially when a group of young teen girls began harassing my daughters. Things ended up in a physical altercation and one of my daughters was actually hit by 2 other girls. I called security. They made me feel like I was bothering them, although they acted professional. They assured me that the trouble makers would be dealt with, but no actual plan or explanation was given to me. I was extremely dissatisfied with this. I would NOT take my daughters on another cruise with that many kids again. This was NOT the only incident that happened to my girls. Overall, I do like the Carnival cruise lines and I'm sure I would go again. But, in saying that, I would MOST definitely plan better to avoid these types of situations. I am disappointed in this particular trip and would not travel again with that many kids on board. Read Less
Sail Date August 2007
Background Information We are a family of four, we are in our late 30's, have 2 boys (2 & 5), and live in Long Island, NY. We are well traveled, but this was our first cruise. My parents (from FL), who are veteran cruisers (but ... Read More
Background Information We are a family of four, we are in our late 30's, have 2 boys (2 & 5), and live in Long Island, NY. We are well traveled, but this was our first cruise. My parents (from FL), who are veteran cruisers (but first carnival), joined us on this voyage. Ship Info We chose this ship for convenience: we didn't want to fly with the kids and the Carnival Miracle departed right out of NY (8/15-8/23). We also liked the itinerary and had never been to Tortola. Because of bad weather, our trip was re-routed to Turks and Cacaos, Half Moon Cay and Nassau. While we were a little disappointed about this change at first, it really didn't bother us because we had smooth seas and great weather (and we gambled booking during the middle of Hurricane Season!). Embarkation We hit traffic on our way the port and did not arrive at the pier until 12:00. The scene in the Pier was a mad house. We were herded from line to line (four in total) where we waited for over 3.5 hours. I ran out of food and drinks and the kids were tired and cranky when we arrived on board at 3:45. Waiting on those lines we were able to get a look at our fellow passengers, and it was definitely a NY crowd -- the majority of people hailed from Brooklyn, the Bronx and Queens. I felt like I was on the subway on my way to work, rather than embarking on a cruise. We got to Horatio's at 3:50, starving, and were almost turned away at a food line because of the muster drill -- my hungry kids softened the officer and he let us get them some food. Moral of the story: Get to the port in NY early to avoid a long wait. Stateroom We booked late and were unable to get a suite - we instead got a cabin for 4 : #6225: King bed, sofa that converted into a bed and an upper berth - it was a little tight in our cabin (approx. 10 x 16) but it was pleasant, clean and the balcony was lovely. We were centrally located at midship right near the main elevator bank. We struggled with storage space and just made it. Our 5 suitcases fit neatly under the king bed with room to spare. My five year old slept in the drop down bunk - he loved it and we had no problems (we removed the ladder during the day to discourage any playing up there). We also brought a bed rail from home and this worked out well as the one provided is tiny (maybe three or four inches high and 24 inches in length). The room was clean and our Stewardess, Xiamora, was courteous and helpful. We left her a tip at the beginning and the end and she was more than accommodating. We did have some noise issues a few nights: people running up and down the halls and slamming doors at all hours. The Food I love good food. The food in the Buffet: B-; the food in the dining room: B+. The Service: A-. Nick and Noras: A. The Buffet The buffet on deck 9 (Horatio's) was crowded on the first day and every time we entered for lunch (we ate lunch in Horatio's everyday). There were long lines and when you got up to the front, people were always cutting in line and reaching in beside you (to get "just one more thing" to their overflowing plates). There was a good variety of food: a deli, a pizza place, a Chinese station and one special section that featured different food every day (Indian, French, and Mexican). There was also a decent salad bar and the pizza place had great Caesar salads (although we got a few frozen, wilted salads toward the end of the cruise). My kids loved the pizza, hot dogs and French fries. The fruit bar was not that great -- it usually just had melons, apples, bananas (overripe) and oranges (grapefruit for breakfast) but no grapes or berries. On the last day they had a fruit bar and that was a big hit. They always had some nice looking desserts, but I usually waited until after dinner (or tea) for my sweets so I never sampled sweets at lunch. I found the food pretty greasy and heavy in Horatios, but considering the amount they prepared every day, it was above average. There were lots and lots of people just in bathing suits, dripping wet and with bare feet. It was really gross to see all these people parade their hairy, nearly naked selves around while we were trying to get our food and eat. Tattoos, piercings and all sorts of skin issues. We always managed to get a table eventually, but it was just not a nice dining experience -- it was a bit like a feeding frenzy. Bacchus We enjoyed the Bacchus dining room for breakfast (most days) and dinner. We had an early seating in the evening which we tried to have switched to the late seating, but they were unable to accommodate us. I would have preferred a late seating, just because of the timing and the size of our meals.... We very much liked the wait staff - they worked very hard and were always smiling, courteous and entertaining. We also had a great corner table next to the window with a wonderful view of the sunset on our way to the Caribbean -- table (#301). Most meals were very good - especially the soups and appetizers. Eating in the dining room was, for the most part, civilized. The decor in the dining room was gaudy and over the top, but we got used to it - it was really the ceiling that was the most offensive thing and we were usually looking out the window. During our dinner we had a table behind us which was occupied by a mother and her two daughters. Several times during the trip she was loud and drunk and was cursing at her daughters. Nick and Noras This was a very nice dining experience. The food was good and the service excellent. We wanted a 7:30 seating but they could only seat us at 8:30 --- however, we observed that the restaurant was not filled to half capacity at either time. We enjoyed this experience and it was worth the additional amount ($140 after wine and coffee). Tea Me and my mom love to go to high tea so we couldn't wait for afternoon tea. Tea was served in the Jeeves Lounge, just off the dining room, and each day they had live classical music (chamber music). For those familiar with high tea, this was not a real high tea, but still enjoyable (this is not the Ritz Carlton). Tables were set up with napkins (no table clothes) and you were served cups of tea rather than pots. Your choice of tea was different Lipton brands (individually wrapped) presented in a wooden box. They had small cucumber sandwiches (made with cream cheese), lox on bread and assorted pastries. The scones were two cookies stuffed with cream. They had cream puffs and choc. tarts. The setting was nice but for the people (usually teens) walking through the lounge to get to the elevators. I've been to lots of high teas, and this one ranks about C-; but it was a vast improvement over the hairy chest contest. Service Everywhere we went we encountered helpful smiling faces on the part of the crew. The crew was always cleaning and polishing both inside and outside and we were impressed by how clean the ship was, considering all the people and all the goings on. The crew is great and we appreciated their hard work. Shore Excursions At Turks and Cacos we just stayed at the beach and the pool. Mom did a little shopping and we took the kids back early before the drunks shed their clothes (and they did during the bikini contest in front of a bunch of kids). Half Moon Cay-- what a great beach for kids! Water slides and all sorts of other cool toys. Very nice for the 3-8 set. A little crowded, but such a beautiful beach. We went ashore in the early afternoon so we didn't have to deal with the crowds. We took a tender back at 3:45 and this worked out great. In Nassau we went to Paradise Island and visited Atlantis -- make sure to take a water taxi and not a ferry! Camp Carnival We had a very good experience at Camp Carnival. Both my 2.5 and 5 year old boys loved it. There were anywhere from 4-12 kids in the 2-5 group when we dropped the kids off (quiet in the mornings, more crowded in the evenings - we never used it in the afternoons). My eldest is shy, sweet and sensitive. I was a little worried about him, but he loved it and didn't want to leave at the end of the day. Even my 2.5 year old who loves to be with his mom ran happily to play in the playroom (although he was much more eager to leave in the evening). My kids went to camp everyday, 9am-12 (while dh and I were at the gym). They spent the afternoon with us or their grandparents and, on five evenings, went to the club for dinner and stayed until 9:30/10. We were given a phone and I called to check in on the kids each morning and evening. I instructed the counselors to call me if my kids cried or wanted to leave. (Btw, having a phone was great. We all kept in touch using it.) Whenever I picked up my two year old he had a new diaper on and they informed me of his activities. FYI - they have no food there (only cold drinks) and remember to ask for all your stuff, because on a few occasions I forgot the kids cups and blanket and had to go back down to get them. I also had to tell them not to give my kids soda b/c that is normal procedure at camp. I witnessed one incident with a little boy (about 2-3) who cried the 2x I saw him there -the counselors basically ignored him. I guess they had their hands full with the other ones. Nevertheless, we did not have any incidents and I was very happy that my boys enjoyed themselves. I tipped the counselors at the end of the cruise. The Shows/Nightlife Caribbean Music with Motion on the Lido (afternoon)- too loud for our boys. A rowdy crowd of big drinkers around the pool. If it is your scene they are a good reggae band. Sam's Piano Bar - Larry. I like this type of entertainment; low key. But this guy was terrible. He had an awful affectation of someone who goes to the UK and then tries to adopt a British accent (think Madonna). While he plays the piano well, his singing was just plain bad. Frankie and Johnnie's -- Music Boardwalk. My husband thought they were the best cover band he's ever heard. They were good and I enjoyed them. Best entertainment on the ship. Jazz- Matt Hadaway Trio. My husband liked these guys a lot. I thought the saxophone guy got a little carried away. Lobby entertainment -- Lizl Strauss. Very enjoyable and calming. Music at Nick & Noras -- somewhat cheesy keyboard and singer. This is where they should stick Larry. Have him play piano -- he plays well. Karaoke. Not a big fan, but it attracted a big crowd. Generations. Enjoyable show Ticket to Ride. Good quality production. We enjoyed this - go early, sit close and bring the kids. Jugglers - not great Comedian - "Adult" = foul language Disembarkation We did self Disembarkation, meaning we carried all our bags off the ship ourselves (unassisted). If you can do it, this is the way to go! We got in line at 8:45 and were standing in front of our parked car by 9:20!!! A little difficult to do with two kids and 5 bags, but my parents had a plane to catch so we were motivated. Summery. We all agreed that, while we enjoyed our time together on the sea, Carnival Cruise line was not for us. Cruising is a communal experience, and we would not choose to be on board with the people who joined us on this trip. Fellow New Yorkers? We saw people who personified the worst characteristics of NY: Rude, pushy, crude and somewhat scary. We witnessed lots and lots of bad behavior. Again while the Miracle was a lovely ship and her crew pleasant and accommodating, we don't think we could bring ourselves to sail Carnival again. Read Less
Sail Date August 2007
Our last cruise was in the 1980's on Royal Caribbean so we have been out of the loop for a while. Took Carnival because it was leaving NYC. My husband, my 6 year old and my 16 year old (celebrating her Sweet 16). We had adjoining ... Read More
Our last cruise was in the 1980's on Royal Caribbean so we have been out of the loop for a while. Took Carnival because it was leaving NYC. My husband, my 6 year old and my 16 year old (celebrating her Sweet 16). We had adjoining cabins, one with a balcony, one interior. Cabins were wonderful - tons of storage space - really well designed. TV stations very, very poor but I don't suppose that is Carnival's fault. Embarkation was smooth, steward there right away to open the fridge and the door between the adjoining rooms. Points to note: 1) 6 year old loved Camp Carnival but you should know it is in the front of the ship and very rough. If your child gets motion sick, know this in advance. 2) Club O2 for my 16 year old was the absolute pits. Why that group cannot use Frankenstein's Lab for some dances is beyond me. They are tucked away up on 10 with no supervision and hardly any activities. A big let down and definitely not something Carnival should even advertise. 3) Dinners in Bacchus were great but portions are small. 4) Lunch in Bacchus is almost always empty. So why we were seated in an empty restaurant next to another couple (who clearly wanted to be alone) makes no sense. 5) Carnival MUST ENFORCE RULES! I know people are all paying to cruise but guests cannot be allowed to walk all over the ship and on the food lines soaking wet and dripping. 6) I took my 6 year old into the pool one day only to have it bombarded with about 15 drunken people who started to push each other into the pool and were floating a tub of beers amongst them. Come on. Carnival "security" should have moved them to the adult pool at least. Security stands there but does nothing at all. 7) Another day in the pool and we were assaulted with 8 10 year old boys pushing each other in the pool and diving in. Parents obviously dumped them there. Again, a disruption to all others. I'm not against fun but I paid my money too. Carnival basically treats the cruise as a free-for-all. The pool area is a mess unless you just like to drink, eat, and ignore your children all day. 8) What happened to midnight buffets? Just one per cruise these days? What a letdown! 9) If you feel like a romantic stroll on the Lido deck at night, beware. The Club O2 kids leave the club (can't blame them there) and run amok spilling salt shakers and turning over chairs. Again, I'm not against fun but good manners and consideration for others seems to be lacking on this cruise line. 10) Horatio's for dinner adequate. Great for breakfast. 11) Casino is nice - big and fun even if it does take all your money. 12) Room service for the kids was great - they ordered at all hours. 13) Stewards were incredible and almost all staff was excellent. Camp Carnival staff appear a bit gruff at first but kids love them. 14) Pools are small and naturally crowded. Inadequate activities for people who do not want to sit by the pool and eat and drink all day. 15) San Juan was "OK". Walked to the Fort - really interesting and HOT. Senor Frogs, shopping, quite pleasant. 16) St. Thomas as a winner. We took the Sunny Liston tour. $25 per person for 3 hours of shopping, 1 1/2 hours sightseeing, and 2 1/2 hours at the beach. Very reliable and a whole lot of fun. 17) Tortola. My husband and daughter went snorkeling - great experience. I went shopping with my younger daughter. Pleasant for an hour or so. You definitely need a shore excursion on Tortola because there is not much near the dock. 18) Debarkation was weird. They never called our "color". Finally they announced that anyone who was left could leave. 19) Overall the cruise was OK. We will not repeat Carnival though. It's probably incredible for people who live to overeat, overdrink, and dump their kids somewhere else. Not enough to do otherwise and we are not into playing bingo at $20 per card! Art auctions were fun and the seminars. They could have used another island stop as well. Too many days at sea with not enough ship activities. Gym was fine but very crowded - sure, people had nowhere else to go! 20) And one last mention. Why do people feel it is OK to leave their dirty plates/cups in elevators? And yes, someone even left a dirty diaper on a tray in the elevator. We will cruise again but will definitely try another line. Read Less
Sail Date July 2007
I've been meaning to write this since we (me, my wife, three teenaged children and my parents) got back on 7/22/07 from our Eastern Caribbean cruise but alas life intrudes. Nevertheless I feel strongly enough about what I want relate ... Read More
I've been meaning to write this since we (me, my wife, three teenaged children and my parents) got back on 7/22/07 from our Eastern Caribbean cruise but alas life intrudes. Nevertheless I feel strongly enough about what I want relate that I'm carving out a little time so that the readers on this fine site can be a little more informed about what they are getting for their vacation dollars and perhaps just as importantly their valuable time. Embarkation It seems that many writers touch on the embarkation process in their reviews and I guess I'll start there as well. All in all it wasn't quite as bad as I thought it would be. Yes there was some waiting around (we arrived about an hour early), and there were lines to stand on. We observed a number of chairs in a large seating area in the middle of the cavernous pier but found that we couldn't sit there as the seats were reserved for VIPs. And let me tell you there were quite a few of them. No, we had to stand in line against the wall while Carnival staff assigned to the pier repeatedly asked us to move closer together so that more people could enter the roped off area that we were in. Despite being treated like cattle, the wait wasn't terribly long (we were near the beginning of the herd) and the boarding process wound up going pretty smoothly once the VIPs were settled in. Note that it was during the boarding process on the pier that we were first accosted by Carnival photographers. Maybe it's me, but I just didn't feel like posing for a photo at that point. I was a good deal more interested in finishing the boarding process and getting on the darn boat. Dining After checking out our cabins, the first thing we all did was head to Horatios for lunch, so I may as well write about dining next. Most of the family ordered sandwiches from the deli area and sampled a bit from the other food stations. We found that throughout the cruise the food choices in Horatios were many and there always seemed to be something that we liked. While we ate most of our dinners in the Bacchus dining room at the early seating, Horatios was more than adequate for breakfast, lunch and late night snacks. My boys and I thought the pizza wasn't half bad and I enjoyed the Philly cheesesteak I had as a midnight snack one evening. I was particularly pleased with the dessert station and on one of the last days was surprised to find myself eating three desserts after lunch. (I'm not that big an eater and it would be quite rare for me to consume three desserts in a week's time while at home!) I thought the various dessert items were quite good. Dinners in the Bacchus dining room were fine. We weren't impressed with the number of menu choices, but we all managed to find something we liked each evening. And while the portions weren't that large, when dinner was over no one with the possible exception of my fifteen year old son was left wanting more. And he knew he'd be grabbing a snack later on anyway. My youngest son loved the chocolate melting cake which was available as a dessert choice every night, and which he ordered every night. I had it one evening too and don't blame him. It was a chocolate lover's dream. The food service was excellent and I was impressed with our waiter's efforts to remember our names and food preferences. For some reason however, the person responsible for drink service rarely made it to our table. There were a couple of nights where had someone asked, we likely would have ordered a drink or two, but the person responsible never materialized. We didn't make an issue of it as we knew we would be having drinks later on anyway. I was a little uncomfortable with the way the waiters and waitresses all had to perform for us several times during the week upon the command of the Maitre'd. On at least three or four occasions, toward the end of the dinner seating, the Maitre'd would get on the microphone and shout out a hello to everyone and the next thing you knew music was playing and the waiters and waitresses were wearing silly wigs, dancing, singing, and clapping their hands. It was cute the first night it was done, but by the third time it occurred I thought it a bit ridiculous and to me a bit demeaning for the men and women (or indentured servants that most of them are) who work so hard trying to keep us vacationers satisfied. Maybe it's just me, but it made me a bit uncomfortable. Accommodations I was actually quite impressed with our accommodations. My wife and I had booked an outside cabin on the Riviera Deck. The room was well appointed with a comfortable bed, a small couch and a large window. This being my first cruise, I had been concerned that the room would be a bit claustrophobic, but that was not the case at all. It was quite comfortable, and I thought an efficient use of the space. The bathroom was also well designed with a spacious shower area that was not the cramped space I expected it to be. Our three offspring were confined to a smaller interior room directly across the hall, but they had no complaints either. My parents opted for a room several decks higher which was a carbon copy of our room but with a balcony outside. They were quite pleased with their room as well. Entertainment/Activities We found most of the entertainers employed by Carnival to be first rate. The ship's orchestra which played in the Phantom Lounge was comprised of top notch musicians. The Miracle dancers were incredibly talented. We thoroughly enjoyed the "Ticket to Ride" Beatle show, the Sammy Davis Jr. tribute show and even the show with the jugglers, which I expected to be boring but wound up being quite fun. We weren't too crazy about the shows that were the main entertainment in the Phantom Lounge on two nights and was comprised primarily of fellow guests who thought they could sing. One fellow performed a remarkable Ray Charles impression that had me thinking that perhaps Mr. Charles had come back to life. The remaining performers were mediocre at best and had me squirming in discomfort in my seat at times. Of course we all dutifully applauded when they were done, but at times it was more because we were glad they were through. While I admired their bravery, I didn't pay a boatload of money (no pun intended) to hear my fellow performers perform Karaoke, (which took place nearly every evening for hours in the Mad Hatter's Ball, and should have stayed there). The Matt Hadaway Trio that played most evenings in the Gotham lounge was terrific and I found myself drawn there for a little jazz and a late cocktail nearly every evening. We all (kids included) stopped by Sam's Piano bar one evening thinking we would enjoy a sing along with Buster Freeze. Instead we were treated to an obscene version of Gloria Gaynor's "I Will Survive" that had us scrambling for the exit for two reasons: Buster's version of the song was clearly inappropriate for younger ears and his singing, if you could call it that was unfit for human ears. There was some decent rock and roll to be heard in Frankie and Johnnie's, though the place was a bit too smoky for the nonsmokers in our group. As far as other activities go, I wasn't really impressed. Despite the listing of activities published in the daily "Carnival Capers", I found myself a little bored at times. If you aren't into gambling, shopping or drinking for a significant part of the day, there is not an awful lot to do, particularly if the weather is not conducive to outdoor activities. I enjoyed the down time and caught up on my reading, but somehow I expected more. Ports The port time in San Juan was brief but we did get to walk around a bit and take in a few sites of interest. We enjoyed our time in Saint Thomas, opting to take one of the many taxis available in the port to a lovely beach the name of which escapes me at this writing. We also bargained with a wonderful open air taxi driver named Santa who took us on a tour of Tortola and which also included a beach visit. There are plenty of such taxis in both ports and this is definitely the way to go to see both islands without paying for one of the overpriced excursions offered by Carnival. Overall Impression This was my first cruise and while it was great to get away with the family, I was not overly impressed and there were aspects of the trip (not the food though) that left a bad taste in my mouth. I expected to pay for drinks; I knew that was part of the deal. I knew too that things like excursions cost more money as well. But, I didn't expect such an effort on the part of the cruise line to separate me from more of my money. For example the "art auctions" involved a rather obnoxious fellow whose job it was to "educate" auction attendees about art and then of course promptly solicit their bids on pieces that were available. Bingo - usually an enjoyable enough diversion, typically consisted of only one game that was over in minutes. Cards were sold for 10 dollars each or three for 20 dollars. The prize money never came close to equaling the cash that was taken in. My observation of the number of cards sold and the amount of cash going back to the winners revealed that bingo is a huge cash cow for the cruise line. Is this really necessary? While I wouldn't expect Carnival to take a loss here, the amount of money they take in is ridiculous for what should be included as a free or nearly free activity. This obvious effort to dip into ones wallet seemed to me to be pervasive. From the huge section of the ship dedicated to the photography department, (every photo taken by the ship's sometimes annoying photography staff is on display here), to the wine stewardess at Nick and Nora's who tried to talk me into a more expensive bottle of wine because what I had ordered (a 36.00 bottle) 'could be obtained anywhere, and perhaps I wanted to try something else', I felt the biggest concern of the cruise line was trying to wring additional money out of my already thinned wallet. Additionally, it's 2007. We all know about the hazards of second hand smoke. Isn't it time that cruise ships, (at least all indoor public areas) be made smoke free? While there were non smoking areas on the ship, there were also areas (Frankie and Johnnie's, the casino) that my family and I couldn't stay in as the smoke was at times unbearable. While I would go on a cruise again, I think I'll stay on land for my next few vacations. When the cruise bug bites again, I'll likely try another line in the hope that there will be a different and perhaps less money grubbing atmosphere.To whom it may concern: I am resubmitting this as on my initial attempt - the ship we traveled on may not have been properly indicated (my error). The proper ship was the Carnival Miracle. And also while our destination was the Eastern Carribean and I did select this, it shows on the submission page "Norhern Europe" and nothing I do changes this. Thanks for your help. Read Less
Sail Date July 2007
I'm finally getting around to writing this, after so many CC members have helped me with other trips! We sailed out of NYC in May '07. Embarkation was very easy, although the computer systems had "crashed" so everyone ... Read More
I'm finally getting around to writing this, after so many CC members have helped me with other trips! We sailed out of NYC in May '07. Embarkation was very easy, although the computer systems had "crashed" so everyone was checked in by hand. The Miracle was a lovely ship. Our "obstructed" view balcony room (a bump-up from oceanview, my roomie was a past Carnival cruiser) was nearly unobstructed---the only "obstruction" was up to knee-level....and as I don't normally lay on the floor to watch the ocean, it wasn't a problem. :) When sitting normally in a chair, there was no problem watching the water. The room was perfectly sized for two girls in their early twenties. We did, however, bring a shoe-organizer to hang inside the bathroom door, which helped hold suntan lotion, hairbrushes, etc. Two twins in a balcony room have about 1.5 feet between them, if you were wondering how space was organized. Many towel animals, wonderful dining staff (we had an awesome table at the very back of the boat on the first floor---looked right out onto the wake). Our room steward was very nice, but we never really had much interaction with him---he was like a ghost. Which was great, but a little creepy, honestly. Shows were OK, but I'm not a big fan of second-class musical reviews. You don't have to be Broadway, but being "just OK" isn't really worth my time. It's just not exciting enough, after you've seen the first-class versions. I'd rather hit up the bars or hang out in a hottub on deck! The comedians were great, however, and so were the silly shows like the Newlywed-Not-So-Newlywed games. The passenger "Idol" competition at the end of the cruise was a blast, though. Some of my fellow passengers (unless they were ringers from Carnival) were very talented!! Here's where the warning part of my review comes in: I will never, EVER sail out of NYC again. I'm not a New Yorker, and the culture shock of being stuck on a boat for days on end with rude NYC families was too much for me. I am aware of how awful this sounds, and I wish I could say it better, but I think people sailing out of NYC need a fair warning. Most of the passengers had NYC/Jersey accents, which was easy to tell as they screamed at each other in the small confines of the ship at the tops of their lungs. That made it easy to tell that it was really ONLY the NYC-native passengers causing the problems. I saw women being abused verbally and physically by their husbands/boyfriends (in both english and spanish). I saw kids shove a little old lady outta the way as she walked up the stairs and tell her "That's how we do it in the BRONX, lady". Angry middle-aged women stood in the middle of every public space, blocking traffic, loudly berating the crew for some stupid offense like "not putting enough alcohol in my drink" and "WHY can't you go find my husband? Page him or something! No, because I don't WANT to have to get out of my chair and look for him. You need to bring him here to ME.". This was my first cruise, I was was ready to write off cruising as the refuge of trailer park trash like the stereotype says. All I wanted to do was relax in the sun, play some silly games, drink a bit, and such---NOT see some guy slap his girlfriend in the middle of a common area. But the group I was with were veterans with 10+ cruises under their belt, and said that they've never seen ANYTHING like it out of the other ports. I don't know, maybe we just got a bad batch on the boat that sailing. But I was horrified at the stuff I saw going on---I felt SO bad for the crew, they took a lot of grief for no reason that I could see. I hated the constant "me first" attitudes from the NYers, the butting into the buffet lines, the demanding a crewmember's attention even though she was in the middle of a sentence to me, the constant, constant SCREAMING. It didn't make for a relaxing vacation. I'm willing to try cruising again (I loved the party atmosphere and being on the water!), but never from New York. Read Less
Sail Date May 2007
I guess I should start with this was our 9th cruise. 7 on Carnival and 2 on Royal Caribbean. I would have to say that this was my least favorite Carnival ship. I have been on the Glory, (2) times on the Victory, Spirt, Conquest,Valor and ... Read More
I guess I should start with this was our 9th cruise. 7 on Carnival and 2 on Royal Caribbean. I would have to say that this was my least favorite Carnival ship. I have been on the Glory, (2) times on the Victory, Spirt, Conquest,Valor and the Miracle. I was really not all that impressed. We arrived the night before (3/24/07) and stayed at the Marriott Westshore. Very nice for the price we payed. We got up the next morning and took a taxi to the cruise port at about 11:00. We were on the port by 11:30. Nice port to get aboard. We choose a balcony cabin on the 5th floor with an obstructed view. I hated it because we couldn't look down because the lifeboats were directly below us. We knew that going in but I didn't think it would be a big deal not being able to look down. I like watching people and I could see people coming on the boat. It saved us alot of money. But it was a typical balcony room. We had plenty of room. There were just myself and by husband. We usually travel with a group so this was different for us. We had great dinner partners with a table for 4 and really enjoyed talking to them (thanks Matt & Beth). Food was Ok and a little bit better than on our other cruises. Except the desserts. Ports of calls were Grand Cayman, Cozumel, Belize, and Costa Maya. We had been to Grand Cayman and Cozumel before and we loved those ports. However Belize was one of the poorest places I have ever seen. It was very sad to see how some people have to live. My son goes on a mission trip to Haiti every year and it was almost as bad as that. We just took a tour and I don't ever think I would get off the boat there again. Costa Maya is a very relaxing place. When you get off the boat there is a hugh swimming pool that you can use for free. There are swim up bars where you can get drinks and eats, for a charge. Just a very relaxing place. As for the ship, I was disappointed. After reading all the reviews on Cruise Critic I thought this was going to be a great boat. Not that it was OK it was, I just have been on better Carnival ships. Just try the Valor if you want a nice Ship. That and the Glory. If you ever get a chance get the rooms on the very back of the boat. They are awesome!!!! The shows were Ok and the casino was of also. We had fun and it was a relaxing trip, which we were really looking forward to. When we got back to Tampa on that Sunday morning we rented a car because we weren't flying out until Monday evening. We stayed at the Grand Hyatt and after a few attempts and 3 hours we finally got the room we wanted. It was a nice hotel and I would stay there again. I guess to sum it all up the Miracle was OK for me but I don't think I would ever go on it again. Alot of people liked it from the reviews but if wasn't for me. Read Less
Sail Date March 2007
Here comes a review from a non-US citizen, and I really hope you guys don't hate me after reading it :-) It's just that we guys from "Old Europe" might have a bit different taste and clearly are much more direct when it ... Read More
Here comes a review from a non-US citizen, and I really hope you guys don't hate me after reading it :-) It's just that we guys from "Old Europe" might have a bit different taste and clearly are much more direct when it comes to express negative impressions. US people always seem to be so friendly and polite even when they dislike something... But now for our cruise review on the Miracle, which took us on a 7 day trip from Tampa starting October 8th We are a couple from Switzerland, aged 37/39 and have cruised on AIDA ships in Europe twice and on the Yangtze in China before. Embarkation was quite painless, we arrived with the Alamo shuttle from the airport (free) and it took us only some 15 minutes to get checked in and wait for our boarding group to be called. After 45 or 60 minutes we were on board the ship finally, heading for Horatio for lunch. That gave us a first, quite positive impression about what we have to expect for food, which turned to be out the biggest negative aspect of the whole cruise later on. Lunch in Horatio was quite OK every day, but breakfast was really an extremely poor selection when you are used to european style breakfast (not talking about UK breakfast, guys!). We have cruised two times with AIDA in Europe before and if you have ever seen that you know what I mean. Not this boring selection of meats and cheese, presented in a extremely tasteless way as we have seen it here. The selection of muffins was poor, never saw a blueberry muffin the whole cruise. The omelette station was OK. Dinner was the biggest negative at all. There was no mentionable buffets for dinner, what was available was tasteless as they seem to use no spices for preparing it. Dinner in the Bacchus dining was OK regarding the service quality, we had nice and friendly waiters, but what can they do about the bad quality of food ? Let's take the Wiener Schnizel as an example, from an Austrian chef I would expect that he knows how that should taste, but obviously he doesn't. The "decor" of the room is the worst I have ever seen, much worse than I ever expected when reading the reviews here. The background music played (mostly greek) was very annoying and did not fit to anything. Our cabin 8205 was a normal balcony and we found it to be really very small compared to the ships we have cruised with before. It was OK otherwise. Our cabin steward did a great job, we rarely met him but he was obviously present whenever we were outside as we always had fresh towels, nice towel animals, fresh ice and so on. Cleanliness was very good also. The furniture they use on the balconies couldn't be any cheaper I suppose. The entertainment was not really to our taste, so we did not try very much. The amount of shopping talk especially when presenting the next port of call made an extremely negative impression on us. The port information on paper was lousy, it did not contain anything what doesn't lead to any revenues for Carnival, we have seen that much better on other ships. Also the dining information was only available on the TV the first two days, afterwards they informed about nothing anymore. But OK, as mentioned before maybe they felt that we dislike their food anyhow :-) We enjoyed the casino, it was always funny to play the games and we did not loose to much money. Staff was also very friendly here, in general the biggest plus on this cruise. Port excursions We did not book anything with Carnival directly and I would suggest everybody not to support overpriced excursions with a lower quality level. Carnival tries to convince people that they do something "dangerous" when booking external, and that's another reason not to support these methods. In Grand Cayman we did the stingray and snorkeling with Captain Marvins and got high quality for the money. Nice tour, nice people, interesting experience with the stingrays an a video team onboard who film everything and sell it you on DVD afterwards. In Cozumel we just took a taxi to go to the beach and it was very nice. Did some snorkeling and enjoyed good and cheap food and drinks. Sandwiches served here for 3 USD were better then everything you get on the Miracle :-) In Belize we did the cave tubing with cave-tubing.com and Yhony and Richard did a fantastic job with their team. Very entertaining, highly professional and secure, compared to the poor people who took the Carnival tour for more money, lost completely on their own. The chicken lunch after the tour was OK, but I cannot understand the people reporting it to be the best chicken they ever had. Might be related to the different taste of the mostly american participants again, we definitely have had better chicken many, many times, but it was OK for the money. Costa Maya was a bit boring, we took a taxi downtown and were disappointed as downtown is nothing but a row of beach restaurants and shops. But OK, we spent the day at the beach, had a not so good lunch in one of the restaurants (Yes, guys, we ARE picky eaters) and headed back to the ship. Disembarkation was OK, we were off the ship around 9.30 I think. All in all we would not go with Carnival again, as the food is of too high importance for us on a cruise vacation, and the food on Carnival Miracle definitely was the worst we had on our 4 cruises so far. Read Less
Sail Date October 2006
This was my first Carnival Cruise. While I have only cruised on Royal Caribbean, my parents (who accompanied me, my husband, and toddler) have been on a number of cruise lines  including Carnival, Holland American, Norwegian, Princess, ... Read More
This was my first Carnival Cruise. While I have only cruised on Royal Caribbean, my parents (who accompanied me, my husband, and toddler) have been on a number of cruise lines  including Carnival, Holland American, Norwegian, Princess, etc. When we originally talked about booking this cruise, they were reluctant because of a previous lackluster cruise with Carnival. I convinced them to try Carnival again because the ports of call were good and the ship had just been overhauled in 2004. We traveled to Tampa via car and made the 10 hour journey in two legs. The embarkation process was very eye-opening for me as in my Royal Caribbean cruises; we had minimal waiting time and virtually immediate embarking. I was surprised to be herded onto the ship like cattle. Room - Our group had balcony rooms next to each other  7158 and 7160. The rooms were nice and spacious even with the portable crib they supplied for my toddler. I was impressed with the welcome goody basket  razors, lotion, dental floss, etc.  a very nice touch. We requested that the barrier be removed from between the two balconies to create one big one and we were accommodated the next day. After viewing our room, we explored the ship. While I commend Carnival for trying to create a homier atmosphere, the dEcor was not my cup of tea. I found it over bearing and a bit dark. There didnt seem to be any open, bright, cheery spaces anywhere indoors. I understand that the ships theme is fictional characters but it just came off a bit mish mash in my opinion. Perhaps I just believe that less is more. Dining - Overall, I was disappointed in the dining options available. The station set up of Horatios on the Lido deck was very frustrating. You have to wander around the whole restaurant to see what is available at each station and then back track to stand in line once you make your selection. Between the scavenger hunt set up and the lines, it took a long time to get something to eat. Once you did score something, you had to search for seating. We ate in the dining room only twice. We went only twice because it of the timing  hard to make a toddler seat through dinner at her normal bedtime (late seating) and the early seating didnt give us enough time to get back from excursions and clean up. I dont fault Carnival for this; the more casual dining was just more conducive to our situation. The two meals we had in the dining room were good but were pretty standard fare  chicken, beef, pork. I was disappointed that there were no unusual seafood dishes. The desserts and chilled soup starters were fantastic! Activities  This is where I saw the most difference between Carnival and Royal Caribbean. Most of the activities I felt were geared toward the single party animal crowd, with the exception of bingo, with a LOT of emphasis on drinking. Reading the Cruise Critic editorial on this ship, there was a reference made to the fraternity feel of the old Carnival. This is the image I had in mind  wild college types on spring break - when booking the cruise but thought I would give it a chance. Unfortunately, I found this stereotype to be alive and well. Carnival seems to encourage the alcohol overindulgence. At one point, when playing bingo, a cruise staff member took the microphone to recruit folks to participate in the pub crawl. He stated that if you wanted to bar hop, drink a lot, get rowdy and annoy everyone on the ship then come with him. Another cruise activity was bathrobes and beer  donning your bathrobe and drinking. If you dont want to drink, I think youll find little to do in the evenings on this ship. Yes, there were movies on board, but during the day when you were on an excursion. On my other cruises, Royal Caribbean had a small theatre onboard and we enjoyed a relaxing evening of watching a movie after a day in the sun. My daughter is only 1 and too young to participate in the Camp Carnival childrens activities but it did look like the kids onboard were having fun. Service  The service of the Carnival staff really made the cruise enjoyable. Everyone from our cabin stewards, to the bar staff, the photographers, and dining room staff were superb! Both the Horatios and Bacchuss dining room staff were VERY accommodating concerning our daughter. One Horatios server offered to entertain our daughter while we finished our meal. Earl and Jose in the Bacchus dining room played peek a boo with napkins and even helped clean her up after a messy meal of THE best macaroni and cheese. Jia, our cabin steward, brought her a cookie every night. The bartenders in the main lobby area were so outgoing and funny that we felt as if we had made new friends. Carnival definitely hires good people! Entertainment  with a small one, we werent able to take in many of the shows. We would watch them replayed via the television broadcast and enjoyed what we saw. Glenn Miller the hypnotist was entertaining. The musicians found throughout the ship were talented with the exception of the poor man in the casino area. Boy, he couldnt carry a tune in a bucket! Shore excursions: Grand Cayman  We went on the Butterfly Farm and Beach Break through Carnival. We loved the Butterfly Farm! It was a nice, low key activity for the whole family to enjoy. The Beach Break was all right. We went to Sea Grape Beach for 1 ½ hours. The beach was a narrow strip of sand right next to the main road. You could literally hear traffic rushing by  not a peaceful tropical setting. We were told to regroup at 11:50 a.m. for a 12:00 p.m. departure. At 12:35 p.m. were finally boarded the bus back to the ship. Maddening that we stood in line waiting for over 30 minutes when we could have been on the beach  poor communication! Cozumel  Sad to see the way the hurricane devastated the pier and beach front. My husband went on the two tank scuba dive through Carnival and really enjoyed it. Good diving outfit and nice dive area. The rest of us shopped and walked around the pier area. We ate at a fabulous restaurant towards the far end of the shopping area  excellent authentic food! Belize  My husband was booked for the two tank dive and was looking forward to some of the best diving in the world. His ultimate dive dreams were dashed by Carnival that cancelled this tour at the last minute due to not enough people. The crappy thing about this was they notified him AFTER the shore excursion desk was closed and he had no opportunity to book something else. VERY DISAPPOINTED! We walked around the pier terminal and shopped as the area outside the gate looked ominous. This is a very impoverish area and a bit shocking to be honest. We heard others who were coming off the city tour that echoed how poor the city is. There are security guards that man the gates to the city to protect tourists from the incessant pan handling and hustling for tours. We enjoyed the local shop owned by a German woman who gets native crafts and sells them in her art gallery. Also LOVED the food at the Harbor View Restaurant. One of the best meals I have had in a long time! Rated highly by Frommer's! Costa Maya  This was my favorite port. The beach is pristine and the shopping area had a very relaxed feel to it. My husband took in the diving here and said it was beautiful  virgin coral, unspoiled. This is the gem of Mexico which I hope doesnt get overdeveloped any time soon. Sadly we had to pull away early due to impending storms. We will definitely be coming back to Costa Maya! Getting on and off the ship took a long time with long lines in the sweltering heat. I think there were just too many people on the ship! De-embarkation went fairly smoothly considering the long lines that snaked through the entire ship. While Carnival insists that the general disembarkation call is a smoother method, I have to say I like some order and system like the color system. Overall, I enjoyed the cruise but not the cruise line. The ships staff and the ports of call made the holiday fun. The cruise ship clientele was not what I was used to based on my previous cruise experiences. For example, lots of drunken adults and one group that even allowed their 16 year to drink and get drunk with them! If you are single and/or ready to party, I think this is the ship for you. Lastly, I must say I am surprised to see how loyal some cruisers are to a particular cruise line. We were almost publicly stoned by a few frequent Carnival cruisers for making disparaging remarks about Carnival. It was as if I had insulted a family member. So I wont criticize Carnival, I will simply say, it wasnt a good fit for us and will cruise in the future on Royal Caribbean, the higher class Carnival owned Princess line, Holland America, or Norwegian. Read Less
Sail Date May 2006
This was only my second cruise, my first was a year ago on Royal Caribbean, so I did compare this ship with the Royal Caribbean ship. I wanted to try Carnival because it was significantly less expensive and I have several friends who have ... Read More
This was only my second cruise, my first was a year ago on Royal Caribbean, so I did compare this ship with the Royal Caribbean ship. I wanted to try Carnival because it was significantly less expensive and I have several friends who have cruised Carnival many times. Anyway, I hope someone will find this review helpful. Embarkation We sailed out of Tampa and bought the travel vouchers from Carnival. The bus driver was very courteous and was waiting for us at baggage claim. He took care of our luggage for us and was very informative on the way to the port. He gave us facts and information about Tampa and made the short drive fun. We arrived at the port and only stood in line about ten minutes to get checked in and retrieve our Sail and Sign card. Everyone was then given a number and asked to sit in the waiting area for our number to be called. We were told that we could not board the ship until our number was called. I thought this was strange because on Royal Caribbean we checked in and walked onto the ship. Our number was 29, and they were on group number 13. We waited for about 40 minutes to board the ship. We then went to lunch and our luggage was in our cabin when we returned. Cabin We had a balcony cabin and it was great. It was very clean and looked brand new. I thought that it appeared more spacious than our previous cabin. The balcony was defiantly bigger. I was also pleased that we had been upgraded two floors. Our cabin steward, Edgar, was fantastic. He knew my name from day one and was very nice. We always had clean beach towels and ice. Whenever we passed him in the hall, he always spoke and asked about our day. We were very pleased with Edgar because the steward on our previous cruise was not that great. By the way, if you forget razors, lotion, shampoo, or toothpaste, they have some in the room for you. I thought this was a great touch. Ship The layout and dEcor of the ship was very different than my previous experience. The dEcor was o.k., but not very grand. It was just kind of blah to me. I had read several reviews about the dining room dEcor and how so many people hated it. I will admit it was a little strange with all the pink lights, but it did not bother me. We did take the guided ship tour on the first day and the host even called the dining room ugly. The ship had a movie theme, which was cool. The Gotham lounge, mad-hatters lounge, the phantom lounge, and etc. I did think that the Mad-Hatters lounge was very well decorated, like Alice In Wonderland. I also thought the pools were great. They were much nicer than the ones on Royal Caribbean. There were two main pools and an adults only pool. All the pools had a hot tub. The pools were very big compared to what I was expecting. The ship also had a water slide. It was great, you have to give it a try. We never had a problem finding a pool chair and I did not find the ship to be crowded anywhere. Although, I did not care for the dEcor of the ship, I will say that it was very clean. Also, if you are cold natured like me, bring a jacket or sweatshirt. The ship was freezing. I was very cold inside the ship, especially in the dining room and phantom lounge. Luckily, I had worn jeans on the plane and had brought one sweatshirt. I ended up having to change after dinner almost every night so I did not freeze in the shows. I saw many women wearing their husbands jackets. The staff was even wearing jackets. I heard a man talking to a crew member and stating that he had to take three showers a day just to get warm. Food I was not impressed with the food in the dining room. It was o.k. , but this is supposed to be 5 star. The lobster was very good and the desserts were great, but everything else was just o.k.. If this food was supposed to be 5 star, then the food on Royal Caribbean is 10 star. The food in the casual dining restaurant, Horatio's, was good. We only ate dinner in Horatio's once and I thought it was just about the same quality as the dining room. The breakfast and lunch were the same thing everyday. For breakfast it was typical breakfast food. For lunch, they had a deli sandwich station, an Asian station, and a carving station. They also had hamburgers and hotdogs by the pool. I thought they were all very good. The 24 hour pizza station was above average and we visited it several times. They had a sushi station elsewhere in the ship, but we are not sushi people. They also have a reservation only restaurant, but we did not go there either. All in all the food was just o.k. I expected so much more out of the dining room cuisine. Entertainment I'd like to say something positive about the shows, but I just can't. The opening dance show as awful. The dancing and singing were horrible. You know I can think of something positive to say, the shows were very short. The comedian on the second night was very unfunny. He also had an adult only late night show, so we gave it another shot. Again we were disappointed. The comedian on the third night did not show up for some reason or another, so they replaced him with a very boring and poorly run game show. The newlywed game and the hypnotist were also bad. The comedian on the fourth night really bombed. I felt so sorry for him and I really thought that he was going to get booed. I actually fell asleep during that show. We would not have even went to the shows, but there was little else to do while the shows were going on. The only show that was decent was the Carnival Idol on the last night. I guess it was good because the guests were singing and not the staff. I was really very shocked that the shows were that bad. I loved the shows on the other cruise and isn't Carnival the fun ship?????????? Spa We are not really spa people and don't usually go because it is so expensive. However, we did visit this time. You need to go to the very first art auction. We love them and go to all of them. Even if you don't like art, go to the first one. During the auction the spa manager comes in to promote the spa and gives away a free spa package. The auctioneer then starts taking bids for a $300.00 spa package. He ended up giving it to everyone who wanted it for $85.00. My husband and I both got one. It included a full body massage, a shiatsu foot massage, a scalp massage, a facial, and an eyezone treatment. It was fantastic. I wouldn't have paid $300.00 for it, but for $85.00 it was a deal. My husband actually fell asleep, I was so embarrassed. He snored during half of his massage. It was so relaxing. They spa had many different services and a sauna. Many people don't realize it, but the sauna is free. Like I said the spa was great, but be advised they will try to sell you every lotion and cream they have at a very high price. Ports and Excursions Grand Cayman You have to tender to this port , but if you have and excursion you get to go first. We had booked the Turtle farm, Tortuga rum factory, Hell tour. Beware of this tour. This is a tourist trap. The so called run factory was about the size of a convenient store and that is all it was. Yeah, you can get free samples of rum and rum cake right beside the cash register. The factory is the same Tortuga rum store that is at every block right beside all the other stores. We did buy some rum cakes from one of the other stores and they are great, but I did not need to drive 3 miles inland on a bus to visit that store when I saw about 4 of them right beside the area where the tender docked. The Hell spot was a t-shirt store with rocks behind it. It was really stupid. The turtle farm was neat. The turtles were interesting and they let you hold one, but don't be surprised that turtle is on the menu at the snack bar. So much for conservation. The tour was bad, but the shopping was o.k.. There were many shops right where you get off the tender. We ate a Breezes restaurant and it was excellent. It was a little pricey for a chicken sandwich, but it was very good. Also don't forget that the U.S dollar is about 20 cent less than their dollar, so you need to add 20 cent to every dollar. It is really not a big deal unless you are shopping for jewelry. Grand Cayman also had a Hard Rock Cafe and a Senor Frogs. Cozumel Royal Caribbean docked, but we had to tender. I was told that they docked because they owned the dock. I don't know how true that is. The other dock was completely destroyed by the hurricanes and has not even began to be built again. If you don't have an excursion, they give you tender stickers. I don't know why because they didn't care which number you had. We sat on the tender for over half an hour waiting on them to fill it up. When we finally got to Cozumel, we took a taxi to downtown. They do have several stores near the dock, but we wanted to go downtown and look around. They have really rebuilt most of the stores. If you are looking for a tropical paradise you will be disappointed. No palm trees or any vegetation. Everything was completely devastated during the storm. The shopping was great and if you want to shop for jewelry this is the place. There are tons of jewelry stores. I bought a beautiful tanzanite ring for a great price. Never pay sticker. Always bargain, they expect you to. We didn't do an excursion because we wanted to spend the day shopping. We also went to Carlos and Charlies for a drink and it was very cool. If you are with other adults it is a good time. Belize We had booked the Snuba excursion and were really excited about it. We went to mad-hatters at 8:00 like our tickets said and we waited with approximately 100 other people for our excursion to be called. The host told us that when the boats came to pick us up that she would send us to the gangway. She sent the beach break people, approximately 60 people, to the gangway at 8:30. She then sent the deep sea fishing people to the gangway about ten minutes later. That left the Snuba and the power snorkel people, about 20 of us all together. At about 9:30 she advised us that she had made a mistake and should have sent us with the beach break people. She then told us that our boat had left and we would not be going on our excursion. My husband and I were very upset. We were really looking forward to this excursion and was one reason that we chose this itinerary. She did tell us that she would refund our money and book us on a snorkel excursion at 12:00 for free. When one gentleman expressed his disappointment, her response was I could have just lied to you and blamed it on someone else. I was very shocked by her attitude. She was introduced on the first day as one of the four social hosts and I thought that she would have known how to do her job. The snorkeling excursion that went on was fun, but we had booked one for the following day and had to do it two days in a row. If you are planning on getting off the boat in Belize then you really need to book an excursion. There is little else to do there. Costa Maya It was beautiful. Tropical, Tropical, Tropical. Palm trees and clear blue water. There are many shops at the dock, but the coolest thing is the pool. There is a huge swimming pool in between all the stores. There are lounge chairs, sand, and free showers. The pool is beside a Mexican restaurant and you can swim up to the bar. Have I mentioned how huge this pool is???? This is the kind of pool you find at a resort. We swam in the pool and ate in the restaurant. The food was fantastic and the service was great. We then went on a catamaran snorkeling excursion. It was a lot of fun. We even went back after the excursion and did more shopping. By far, my favorite port. Disembarkation On my previous cruise, we had an early flight and chose to keep our luggage with us. This time we had a much later flight, 2:55 p.m., so we left the luggage outside the door to be picked up. In the morning the people that used the self assist (kept their luggage) and the ones with early flights were permitted to leave first. They did not do the exit the ship by color of you luggage tag thing. Big mistake. They just let everyone off together. Huge lines to get out. Luckily, we were close to the exit when they made the announcement. When then went to pick up our luggage. Our luggage tags were black, so we proceed to the sign that said black. We found two of our bags, but were missing one. I looked up and down the black section several times and in the red section beside us. We then looked in the lost and found section. No luck. I asked two ladies who were apparently in charge. They both told me if I could not find it (in the at least 1,000 pieces of luggage there) that I would need to fill out a claim form and turn it in. There was no way I was leaving without my garment bag. It just happen to be my luck that the bag missing contained all my most expensive clothes and my husbands suits. We started looking from the first row. I finally found it in the second to last row about 45 minutes later. The row it was in was the gold row. I guess to somebody, black resembles gold. I was fit to be tied at that point. The customs was a breeze. We then got on the transport bus with the voucher we had purchased and went to the airport. Again, the transportation was stress free. Summary I hope I have not made it seem as thought I did not have a good time. I really did. I just was not blown away by my experience. For the price it was great and I guess you get what you pay for. I just really enjoyed Royal Caribbean so much more. I will say that the boat was not crowded anywhere and children were not running around unsupervised as they were on Royal Caribbean. The cabin was awesome and the pools were so nice. If you have booked this ship or are thinking about it, then I am sure you will have a good time. I am defiantly glad that I went and will use this experience to decide what type of cruise I will book next year. I am not sure if I would cruise Carnival again, but I will defiantly not rule it out. Read Less
Sail Date May 2006
This was our family's very first cruise and for the most part we did have a good time. We were disappointed in programs they had for children. We traveled with a group of 15 people. There were four children from the ages of 9-12 and ... Read More
This was our family's very first cruise and for the most part we did have a good time. We were disappointed in programs they had for children. We traveled with a group of 15 people. There were four children from the ages of 9-12 and because the on child was 12 they would not let him join his other siblings in the 9-11 age group so he would of been left out. So our kids went to a few things and didn't find them very exciting and didn't want to leave the other child out. Also, our two 15 and 15 year olds did get kind of bored when they were on the ship. We were not very impressed with the food in the dining room either. Our service was OK but not exceptional. The buffet had very good food but tat the end of a long day you want to be waited on. We did end up doing dinner at the buffet a couple nights because we did not like the menu in the dining room. Our excursion were great!! We did snorkeling and swimming with the stingrays in Grand Cayman, In Cozumel we shopped and then went the Paradise Beach for the day, it was very relaxing and in Belize we did the cave tubing. All of our excursion we did not book through carnival we booked them on our own. Much cheaper and we had no problems. We were very disappointed we were not able to stop in Costa Maya, it was too rough to dock there that day, so that meant we had two days at sea and we were very bored by the end of the two days. Our room stewards were wonderful. They kept our rooms very clean and we did love the beds on the ship. They were so comfortable my 9 year old wanted to bring on home for himself. I think if we book another cruise we will be trying Royal Caribbean. Read Less
Sail Date April 2006
My two sons and I were one of the unfortunate victims of the two recent hurricanes in the Western Caribbean. Our 7-day cruise was cut to a six-day cruise and one the four stops (Grand Caymans) was deleted because there were too many ships ... Read More
My two sons and I were one of the unfortunate victims of the two recent hurricanes in the Western Caribbean. Our 7-day cruise was cut to a six-day cruise and one the four stops (Grand Caymans) was deleted because there were too many ships already at port. While we certainly do not fault Carnival for the weather problems, the way the management handled the crisis was horrendous. It will insure that my next cruise will not be on Carnival. When we were told our ship would be leaving a day late and without a stop at the Caymans, they told us all to get a hotel and come back at 7 a.m. or so for embarkation. The hotel costs were our problem, but they were quite proud of offering us $50 each in credit (not cash) for our trouble. Since I paid about $500 a day for the three of us, I wasn't too happy about their offer. Obviously, others were not either and the credit quickly rose to $150, but still ship credit and the $100 hotel and cab were still on me. Since I don't drink and my kids sure do not, I could not see how I could spend $450 on soda and overpriced duty-free items. I asked if I could get real cash back and was met with a stern no. They said I could use the money toward any shore excursions, but since I had paid for those in advance, they also said no to a real refund. I cancelled my trip on the spot and went to a hotel room, where I called the Carnival 800 number and again pleaded my case. Maybe I got through to the right person or maybe the cancellations were piling up, but they agreed to give me a check for any left over credit. They also did not adjust the per day tip until I complained they were adding gratuities for days we were not on the ship. This is in no way a reflection of the staff of the ship. There were smiling faces everywhere, and we had a great time once we got underway. I have read, in other reviews complaints about the dEcor, (they have Romanesque nude sculptures) and the food being sub-par. The food was great and plentiful and if Michelangelo-like sculptures bother you, take the Disney cruise. They had two great comedians on board, and X-BOX night for the kids, the casino (with all typical house wins all the time rules) and our stateroom we had with a balcony was cleaned twice daily with stealth-like prowess. I highly recommend the Lost World Canopy Tour in Belize and the Jeep excursion to a private beach in Costa Maya. Do not book snorkeling through the cruise line unless you want to pay 3 times the rate by doing it yourself. We asked a cab driver to take us to a state park in Cozumel ($10 flat rate) got the gear at the park ($8 each) and could have stayed all day if we wanted to. The park even had some Mayan ruins. Total tab with return cab fare $44. That's about five dollars less than any snorkel package I've seen and we paid that for three people! We were also turned off by the locals refusing to refund a young couples money because they were tired of waiting for his "glass bottom boat" to show up. Beware of that guy. We even stepped in to take their place if he would refund their money, but the best he would do was return half. Too bad for him! We just missed the bad weather from Emily and all in all a fun cruise in spite of Carnival's lack of customer care. I would do it again in a minute, but on another cruise line. Read Less
Sail Date July 2005
We had a wonderful trip, but as with anything it had it's pros and cons. I'll try to give a brief overview from my point of view using as few words as possible. Embarkation at Tampa: Excellent Ship: The ship was not my ... Read More
We had a wonderful trip, but as with anything it had it's pros and cons. I'll try to give a brief overview from my point of view using as few words as possible. Embarkation at Tampa: Excellent Ship: The ship was not my favorite. The decor is so busy a lot of it is down right tacky. The common areas were extremely COLD and the areas where pictures were taken were much too crowded during dinner hours. Cabin: Excellent We had a balcony room and it was almost as nice as the suite we had on a previous cruise. Of course, if I were upgraded I wouldn't turn down a suite but I wouldn't pay the difference in price to get a suite because the regular balcony room was very nice. We had plenty of room and plenty of storage space. Cabin Stewards: Excellent. Food: Fair The food on Lido was better than the food in the dining room. We changed our dinner from early to late to be with some cruising friends and the service was so slow that we never finished dinner until 10:30 or 11:00 which is far too late. Dining Staff: Fair They were very attentive but slow, slow, slow. Activities: Good but scheduling was poor. Because of our late seating we had to miss several activities. Entertainment: Poor (Except for hypnotist who was good and "Music Unlimited" that played in Frankie and Johnnies which was excellent. The main show for the last night was absolutely terrible. Ports: Grand Cayman-Expensive, Costa Maya-Excellent, Cozumel-Excellent and Belize-Fair Staff: Very good for the most part Debarkation: HORRIBLE We could not dock at the port and had to be bussed. We were some of the last ones called and did not get off the ship until after 10:00. At the end of the cruise we were given comment cards, but the Cruise Director made it very clear that he wanted us to give them an excellent on everything. He even said in a jokingly but serious way that if we put anything besides excellent, our card might not make it into the $100 drawing. I would not sail on the Miracle again. Read Less
Sail Date May 2005
This was my third cruise, but my husband's first. Embarkation/Disembarkation: Embarkation: We went through the clipper class check in and were escorted to a separate area to board. Embarkment was delayed due to the ship's ... Read More
This was my third cruise, but my husband's first. Embarkation/Disembarkation: Embarkation: We went through the clipper class check in and were escorted to a separate area to board. Embarkment was delayed due to the ship's disembarkation running late. We eventually got on the ship around 12:30 but there were signs up saying our rooms were not ready and to please go up to eat lunch until 1:30 when we would be able to get to our cabin. Disembarkation was a nightmare. The evening prior, we got tags for our luggage for early disembarkation. This took a ton of pleading since we did not have confirm airline reservations until 5:00 pm. that evening, but were trying to stand by for an earlier flight. Once the purser heard our stateroom # he said "Don't tell anyone, I'm not suppose to do this" and gave us the 4 tags necessary to get our luggage off first. Wait, did I say they have an early off for those that have early flights?? That is what we thought we heard too!! We were 1 hour delayed because of customs and THEN they allowed all passengers with carry on luggage to get off first. This took about another hour and a half. There were people near us that had a 10:30 flight to catch and were in a panic as were many others with early flights. Their system for people to get off the ship with early flights prior to others is NOT a workable system and in fact, creates more problems than not. Dining: We ate dinner in the Baccaus Dining Room and ate breakfast and sometimes lunch at Horatio's. We did eat at Nick and Noras for the extra $50.00 per couple. It was by far the BEST meal we had on board. The meal was one of the best we have ever had. Each course's presentation was a work of art, and a masterpiece of fine cuisine. I was ever delightful that the chef was kind enough to share his recipe for one of the starters. The service was top notch. My only regret was that we did not eat there each night! That alone should tell you about our experience with the Baccaus Dining Room. The starters in Baccaus were okay, the soups appeared to be the best, but the main courses left both of us wondering if we were missing something. We both felt the beef, and we each had 3 different beef meals, could have been much better. We did have lobster tails one night, but they were over cooked and not appealing. We often felt we waited for requests or coffee a bit too long. I don't know if that is because we were not at a large table, for we saw those tables getting a lot of service. We ate breakfast in Baccaus only twice. We found if we woke early, it was nice to get fresh fruit and coffee delivered to the room, then got out walking and afterwards, if we wanted a full breakfast to then go up to Horatios. We found breakfast at Horatio's was fine, and if you didn't mind waiting a bit, you could get a nice omelet. The only other thing I did not like about dinner, we had the late seating, was the line went on and on and often you found yourself standing in line in a smoking area to get into the restaurant. Cabin/Room: We were fortunate to have a suite with the large wrap around deck at the rear of the ship. It was nice to have the extra space and a full bathroom complete with a jacuzzi tub. Our room was always cleaned, although I don't believe our sheets were changed. One day our pool towels were taken and not replaced. We were not able to get replacements until the next day. We were not able to get into our refrigerator unless you called your cabin stewart for the key to make sure there were no discrepancies of what was in the fridge. Therefore, we did not buy anything to keep in our room since mostly we would want what was in there when the cabin stewart was not on duty. Entertainment: We went to the first show our first night on the ship. We were very disappointed. First of all Carl (with a C) the cruise director was enough to send one over the edge. The dancers and singers were not top notch and made us wonder how Vegas type shows were used to compare this show. We were very disappointed. One other night, we tried again after dinner, and found there was a show of onboard patrons singing in an "American Idol" type contest. This was much fun and these people were very impressive. I suggest Carnival might want to hire them!! Ports: First of all, we booked our excursions online and NOT with Carnival. This proved to be a good move on our part since the price was almost 1/2 that of which Carnival charges. The down fall of doing this however, is that Carnival does not play fair when they find out you have not used them! We ran into that in Belize where tenders are used to bring you to land. We were put down when we were asked where our yellow sticker was,their way of distinguishing which tender you go on since there were different areas they come onto land. When we fessed up to not having yellow stickers, we were told we would have to wait..when I challenged this, we were told they would try to sneak us on. I told him OUR excursion left also at the same time, and I did not understand how they could keep people off the tenders based on who they booked their excursions with. I decided to just go down and board the tender. I was stopped by the other cruise director because we did not have on the yellow stickers. I told him nicely which excursion we were taking and got on the tender. I think he could tell I was not pleased. Our guide on this excursion was WONDERFUL. He was assigned to us only, not like the one or two guides to 50 or 60 people on Carnival's excursion. He took us through the rainforest pointing out everything and as we tubed though the caverns, people from Carnival's excursion started hanging with us as he gave full descriptions of each area. This was a full 6 hour tour at 45.00 vs. 100.00 on Carnival. If you decide to book email them at yhony7547@yahoo.com and be sure to ask for Gilley as your guide!! Grand Cayman: Not as we expected. The waters were rough and two of the larger excursions had already cancelled their tours of the feeding the stingrays,so we opted out of ours with our tour as well, since I am the chicken of the family when it comes to being on water. We walked around the city and into numerous stores. I found the people in the jewelry stores to be very pushy and decided it was not the place for me to purchase anything. We decided on having a light lunch and going back to the ship. Costa Maya: Certainly not developed for more than shopping and drinking. Oh, and for watching other ships hit into the dock, as a Royal Caribbean Ship did that day. We did walk around the small area and looked into the "gift shops" but found ourselves heading back on ship for the rest of the day. Cozumel: We had a wonderful time! As soon as you get off the ship, there is a shopping area where the sales people are NOT pushy. There is an art cooperative that sells the works of local artists without the mark up. We found wonderful pieces there including items make out of wood from the town named after this particular type of wood (sorry I cannot remember the name) The husband/wife team that run the store were very informative and helpful. We also visited an art gallery in the same area that sold originals at fairly reasonable prices. We purchased some jewelry at good prices and found the duty free shop enticing. We also went to Chankanaab Park. We chose to take a taxi there on our own and not do the excursion. It was much cheaper and we could come and go at our own leisure. We did some snorkeling had lunch and read on the beach. No problem getting a taxi back and it was most relaxing. Belize: Our most favorite of all the stops. If you didn't read what I wrote on top, I'll repeat...There is no need to book Tubing through the Caverns with Carnival. It is twice the price and you do NOT get the one on one with your guide. We ran into a small problem not realizing that they would not take a credit card and all the ATM's in the country had been out for 2 days. These people were so nice they allowed us to send a check from home so that our trip was not ruined. We had the best guide I have ever had anywhere, Gilley. He pointed out each tree, plant, and insect in the rainforest on our hike into the cavern area. Once in the water, he entertained not only us, but others from the cruise excursion pointing out everything in the caverns. We were quick to tell everyone how he was OUR guide at 1/2 the price! He also took us into Belize City and gave us a tour. This is one place I would not mind going back to for a week. I would also hire this man the whole time we are there! All in all, if not for Cozumel and Belize, our trip would have been one of the worse we have ever taken. I was disappointed in many ways with Carnival, but more so when I called to talk to them about problems we encountered. I talked to a guest relations person for a very long time. I did mention the positives as well as my concerns. I got back a form letter from Carnival not addressing my concerns at all. The next time, if there is, will not be with Carnival. I went with the new ship with the suite in hopes this would impress my husband so he would want to do more cruises. Instead, he was so disappointed, I'm not sure I will ever get him back on a ship. So, if you are reading this to make a judgement on where you should go and who should get your $$'s, I hope I have been of some help. Good Luck! Read Less
Sail Date April 2005
We have cruised 6 times with 2 cruises being on Carnival, 1 on the Disney Cruise Line and the other 3 on Royal Caribbean's larger ships (Voyager level). We wanted to go somewhere for a long weekend this winter and noticed that the ... Read More
We have cruised 6 times with 2 cruises being on Carnival, 1 on the Disney Cruise Line and the other 3 on Royal Caribbean's larger ships (Voyager level). We wanted to go somewhere for a long weekend this winter and noticed that the Carnival Miracle was doing a one-time repositioning sailing out of Ft. Lauderdale to Nassau in February. Although we both knew that we enjoyed Royal Caribbean more than Carnival, since this cruise was only 3 days on one of their newest and largest ships, we thought we would give it a chance to see if things had changed. I went into the cruise with an open mind. However, Carnival just can't top the classy feeling that the Royal Caribbean cruise line has. Even on the Miracle, one of their newest ships, I still felt like I was on a lower-grade cruise line. This is due to the choice for the interior, the cheesy shows and especially the dining room ambiance. The dining room of the Miracle must have been decorated with over 1000 pink lights. No chandeliers (like on Royal Caribbean), but instead a grouping of the pink lights for the ceiling centerpieces. I think they were supposed to be grapes, but, I felt like I was in a disco at every meal. The welcome show featured the Carnival dancers dancing to a variety of different tunes that had the word "fun" in them. I wish there weren't so many of them. It was so cheesy that we left afterward. It was all we could take. The food was "okay." Not bad, but okay. The pools are very small and the decor around the pool again cheesy. Not like the Royal Caribbean Voyager line. The positives ... the crew was constantly picking up trash to keep the ship clean. Also, we were upgraded from a oceanview guarantee to a balcony room (although the rooms are smaller than what we have had on the Royal Caribbean Voyager line). Staff was kind, helpful and pleasant. As far as the ports go, we have been to Nassau a number of times but really enjoyed it this time due to an early morning visit to Atlantis (if you go early, you can roam around the grounds before security starts checking for armbands). Also, my husband did the Stuart Cove shark dive for certified divers that he really enjoyed. Keep in mind though that the water in Nassau is cold until about April! He froze but did see a number of large sharks while diving (this was not booked through the cruise line). I spent the day shopping in Nassau and found some bargains. After shopping, I paid the $15 day fee and laid out at the pool and beach of the British Colonial Hilton (very nice!). That night, we went to Senior Frogs, but didn't stay long due to the extremely loud music and crowd. Our sea day was horrible. It was too cold and windy to lay out on any of the decks so everyone was stuck inside. I was ready to jump ship by 4:00 p.m. and of all the cruises I have taken, I have never felt that way even when we we had a bad weather day. This was our last trip on Carnival. It was a cheaper vacation, but, I guess you get what you pay for and next time I'll pay more and be happier and more pleased with what I spent my money on. Read Less
Sail Date February 2005
This was my first cruise. It was the best Vacation that my husband and I ever had. This ship was great. We embarked from Tampa and it was all fast boarding. We were all very excited to see how large the ship was. It was nicely decorated. ... Read More
This was my first cruise. It was the best Vacation that my husband and I ever had. This ship was great. We embarked from Tampa and it was all fast boarding. We were all very excited to see how large the ship was. It was nicely decorated. Next I will tell you about our dining experiences. The food was great. We enjoyed the start of each morning with the omelet bar. The food on the Lido deck and the Baccheus Dining Room was great. The wait staff in the Dining room was great. Renaldo and Elisabeth were great they remembered your likes and your dislikes and were there to help in making decisions. Omar the Maitre d' was great. The dinner shows were fun to watch and participate in. Even room service was good. REMEMBER to try the CHOCOLATE CAKE AND HOT CHOCOLATE! The ship was so nice. The rooms were very clean. The beds were nice and I had good nights sleep every night. The whole ship was clean. Nicely decorated. Nice showers and plenty of closet space. We had a nice balcony to enjoy the sights from. The activities were fun. There was game shows to join in and shows to watch. We enjoyed the Karaoke Party almost every night. I never knew how much fun it could be. My boss took runner up in Fear Factor. It was great to see a dentist eat off the floor. The Captain's ball was fun. Formal Nights are the best. Lots of great photo ops. The ship has 3 pools and 3 hot tubs. They are small but we never had a problem getting in when we wanted to. If you are not familiar with the cruises and pools the water in them is salt water. I enjoyed the ports of Grand Cayman, Costa Maya, and Cozumel. We also went to Belize but I did not like it. I got off for the tender and was back on the ship in 1 hour. I thought it was a nasty place. The people were not friendly and I was scared. The native people were angry because we were not taking their tours and told the port security to hold us there. This was very scary. The other 3 were nice. Grand Cayman still had storm damage from Hurricane Ivan, but it was still a fun place to see. We went to Hell and took a few photos and the Turtle Farm. Costa Maya was pretty and clean in port. We did not leave the port that day and venture out. Stayed busy in port. Cozumel was my favorite place that we went. We took a Taxi to the City and spent the day and had lots of fun seeing all the sights and making deals with the Mexicans. My husband got a pair of Oakley sunglasses for $10.00. Food was good at Poncho's Backyard in the port. It was fun but took a lot of time to get off the ship if you did not book excursions through Carnival. Excursions got to get off first. We also went to the Spa Carnival for a leg massage and it was very nice. Relieved the tension from all the walking we did while we were on the ship. Getting off the ship was fast for us. They call a luggage tag color and you go off the ship tp claim your luggage in this large building with the luggage lined up. They are not very careful with your luggage. I had one dress in my bag that got stains on it from the throwing around of my bags. Porter were nice and it pays to have valet parking. We liked it so much we are going on one again this year on Destiny in Nov. Read Less
Sail Date November 2004
I booked this cruise for my husband and I for our Honeymoon. It will be memorable to say the least. Everything started out pretty well with our embarkation. Everyone but the porters seemed to be pretty friendly. I was eager to get to our ... Read More
I booked this cruise for my husband and I for our Honeymoon. It will be memorable to say the least. Everything started out pretty well with our embarkation. Everyone but the porters seemed to be pretty friendly. I was eager to get to our stateroom, since I had ordered a surprise for my husband. Much to our dismay there would be no surprise waiting for us, and the purser's desk was not too happy to help me find out why it was not. No big deal, I would just explore our home for the next week. What a grand ship it was, and I was ready to set sail. It would be several hours before my surprise would be waiting in our cabin. The cake looked absolutely nothing like the image online, nor the image in the display case on the ship. Also there were no plates, no forms, no knives, nothing to eat our cake with. It seemed to be too much trouble to ask room service to get us anything we needed. They opted to provide one plate, 2 forks, no knives. Our sheets had holes in them, stains were on our bathrobes. I mentioned this to our cabin steward, one of the few times were actually able to see him. He stated that sometimes these things happen, and did nothing to fix it. We had to hunt him down to get him to convert our bed for us. Yet I was determined to have fun on my Honeymoon. How could I let this affect a very romantic week. Just give the staff of the Miracle enough time, and they will find a way to ruin a vacation. We had problems with our bill on several occasions, and it was a pain to get them taken care of. They would tell us to come down to the pursers desk, we would, it would not get corrected, so we would have to go back down there to get it corrected again. The icing on the cake was when we got back from our last port of call, exhausted from all the fun we had while away from the nightmare ship, we made the mistake of ordering room service. We got the wrong food, and the sandwich that I had ordered came with another something special that I did not order HAIR!! That's right, a long piece of black hair that was all up in my sandwich, and another strand underneath my sandwich. I was quite furious and upset. I called the pursers desk to inform them of the problem. Of course I was told that "I" needed to come down, they would not send someone to my room to come talk to me. I ventured downstairs and was given the response "What do you want me to do about it?" What I wanted them to do about it was not ask me in the rude way that they did, but for them to just tell me what they were going to do to fix it. 10% off my next cruise was their solution. The only problem with that is that they would have to get me to actually board another one of their ships. That is not likely. I asked to speak to the room service manager, I was told that he was unavailable right now but he would give me a call shortly. I took my hair infested food back to my room and waited for my call. Over an 1 1/2 hours had passed, still no call. I call down to the pursers desk asking to speak to the room service manager. I was told he would not be available for another 45 mins to an hour as he was not on shift yet. This information would have been helpful beforehand, as I would not have been waiting in my room waiting for him to call me back. He does show up, and was the only nice person in regards to this hair incident. He apologized and almost sounded like he meant it. He stated that this had never happened before, but he had only been on the ship for 2 weeks. I now wished I had brought some food with me in my suitcase because I had to live on this boat another 2 days & nights eating food from their unsanitary kitchen. I am only glad that I found out after I was in the airport on my way home, that the mascot of the boat let me know that one of the employees had a cockroach in her food. Another passenger informed me on the plane ride that she too had a hair in her food. Her friend also experienced a flooded suite due to the fact that toilet was broken. I was told by Carnival and my travel agent before I booked my cruise, that I should pre-pay my tips to make things easier, but I could adjust my tips up or down based on service. I prepaid, and was upset to find out that they would not adjust them and I would have to wait until I got off the boat, I did and called the number that they gave me and was told that I needed to do it while I was on the boat. Carnival has still done nothing to fix this problem. There were charges that were incorrect on my bill, that took them forever to correct. One of the many times I was at the pursers desk fighting bad charges, another gentlemen was down there stating that he had this same incorrect charge go on his account 3 times now and he was livid. The staff seemed to not care about it. I would highly recommend that anyone think twice about boarding the Miracle. I will never go on Carnival again, and will be reporting Carnival to the BBB and to the board of health. Read Less
Carnival Miracle Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.4
Dining 3.5 3.9
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 4.0
Rates 3.0 4.4

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