113 Carnival Miracle Cruise Reviews

I had high hopes for our cruise on board the Carnival Miracle after reading so many glowing reviews of the ship. I had also sailed on the Valor twice, and enjoyed that ship immensely. Needless to say, were were less than enamoured with our ... Read More
I had high hopes for our cruise on board the Carnival Miracle after reading so many glowing reviews of the ship. I had also sailed on the Valor twice, and enjoyed that ship immensely. Needless to say, were were less than enamoured with our cruise on board the Miracle. My first impression of the ship was immediately negative. Upon entering the ship, I was hit with such an overwhelming smell of smoke. We found this to be the case throughout the entire 8-night cruise. There is really no delicate way to say this....the Miracle smells bad. Throughout the trip, I was constantly smelling either cigarette smoke or an overwhelming mildew smell. Unfortunately, these smells were almost everywhere. I've been on 12 cruises, and I've never experienced this before. It was a very unpleasant assault on the senses. I also did not care for the ship's layout. The ship, while as large as many others that I have sailed, seemed very small. I found the pool area to be entirely too claustrophobic, and I hated that the main pool area consisted of two, small pools that were completed divided from one other. I truly prefer an open, airy feeling at poolside, and the Miracle had just the opposite feel. Clearly, no cruise is entirely bad, and there were some very positive things that I'd like to point out as well. Our stateroom was great. We were in cabin 6170, and ocean view suite, and we loved it. The room is layed out exceptionally well, and there is a abundance of closet and drawer space. Our cabin stewards were extremely friendly and very attentive. We also found the food to be really great. We used Your Time Dining, and with the exception of the first formal night, the service was terrific. We also loved Nick & Nora's...the atmosphere is wonderful, and the food is fantastic. We've sailed Princess, NCL, RCCL and Carnival (four times.) Out of our 12 cruises, I would rank this one very close to the bottom of the list. We truly disliked this ship, and we would never chose to sail on a Spirit-class vessel again. Read Less
Sail Date March 2010
Just got off the Miracle a few days ago and I've never been happier to be home. Dining - The food on this boat was absolutely awful. I saw it slide gradually downhill over my last few cruises but now its just fallen off of a cliff. ... Read More
Just got off the Miracle a few days ago and I've never been happier to be home. Dining - The food on this boat was absolutely awful. I saw it slide gradually downhill over my last few cruises but now its just fallen off of a cliff. Hardly anything was cooked properly. Steaks were always underdone and bloody, chicken and pork were always overcooked and dried out like eating sand. The "roast" at the lido buffet one day was a good example of this - every time they would cut someone a slice of it they had to grab a few paper towels to wipe up the bloody cutting board. Even the most simple things have changed, such as the government-quality cheese on all burgers and sandwiches as well as the Lido chicken fingers, which are about 1/4th the size they used to be and are mostly just fried breading. Supper Club is not even close to being what it used to be, and the only reason it might still be worth the extra cost is because you aren't stuck eating the slop downstairs. You would probably consider the food on this boat good if you are used to eating $1 Banquet TV dinners every night. Public Rooms - Public areas are exactly the same as they are on every other Carnival boat. They seemed to be a little more dirty than usual. Cabins - Again, exactly the same as always. The aft balcony cabins are almost always pretty nice, especially on deck 4 where you get the biggest wraparound. Our room steward was amazing though. Probably the best employee Carnival has. What was especially awesome was how Carnival sold our group three balconies (including the wraparound) under the premise that the partitions would be removed (as we had done many times before), which never got done. Every inquiry to the staff produced a new and different lie. Carnival - if you are going to outright lie to your guests at least keep the story straight. Entertainment - The juggler/ladder guy was pretty entertaining, and the R-rated comedian (the white guy, not the one earlier in the cruise who was awful) was much better than I would have expected. The casino was absolutely terrible. Seems like when Carnival dropped Ocean Player's Club they lost all their decent machines. The casino slots are small in number and pretty old. The casino staff was the truly miserable part of it though. Incredibly rude and actually called 2 members of our group "cheaters" for using those strategy cards like they sell at the casino cage. This was on the 2nd night of the cruise, so needless to say we didn't go back down there to take more abuse from them. Shareholders beware - Carnival scared all 6 of us off who sit at the tables basically all day and bet an average minimum of around $75 per hand so that they can cater to the $5 per hand crowd. This is simply bad business. Shore Excursions - Slightly less variety than usual. Makes no difference really, since if you book excursions through Carnival you are throwing your money away. Embarkation - Very hot and miserable, and the check in staff was rude. When they took us all out of the Platinum area I was literally screamed at by a Carnival employee that "YOU DIDN'T CHECK IN GET BACK OVER THERE YOU DONT BELONG HERE", before the moron realized that there was more people than just herself checking guests in and that I had talked to a different rep. As per usual, no apology for her mistake. I sure wish I would have turned around and walked back to the car at that point. Debarkation was a complete joke as well. Staff everywhere screaming at and insulting guests. I've never seen anything quite like it. You'd think they would want to put their best foot forward at the end of the cruise so people have good memories and they churn up repeat business. Service - Worst I've ever seen on a cruise. Again, rude staff everywhere. Dining room service was particularly bad, which became obvious the first night where the men at the table were served long before the women, and by long I mean 10-15 minutes of waiting for the ladies. Luckily the food was so bad down there on that first night that we rolled the dice and ate on Lido the rest of the trip. You get the same crappy food up there but at least you aren't bothered with the horrible service. Oh yeah, in case I didn't mention it before - THERE IS A BIG HOLE IN THE BOAT. Captain crashed it into the dock at St. Kitts. I kept hearing people blame wind which was barely blowing by Caribbean standards, but one thing should be pretty clear - it was the Captain's fault, not the wind or currents, and the harbor pilot was NOT controlling the ship at that time. In that particular port you have about 3 football fields worth of width in which to avoid the dock, and in these days where we use azipods rather than rudders the boat can be eased right in parallel, which results in not crashing. They patched the hole with some very thin and rusty sheets of metal. We were informed by the crew that the boat will not be heading to drydock for repairs, but instead they will continue as usual with what amounts to a giant band-aid on the boat. Needless to say all 6 of us have sold our stock and will never return to Carnival. The comedian on the boat hit the nail on the head - this boat is just a giant floating trailer park! Read Less
Sail Date January 2010
1) there was a constant feeling of being nickled and dimed.selling us something. 2)having the main dinning room on deck 2 aft, directly over the screws, made for a good number of passengers who were upset by the motion.Most ships I have ... Read More
1) there was a constant feeling of being nickled and dimed.selling us something. 2)having the main dinning room on deck 2 aft, directly over the screws, made for a good number of passengers who were upset by the motion.Most ships I have been on have the dinning on deck 5 or 6. 3)no place for those wishing to sit on a lounger, but in the shade.Other ships have lots of room with loungers in shaded areas. 4) the large number of areas allowing smoking. much more than most ships we have sailed on. we simply skipped these, including the casino. 5)most ship have a covered glassed in area at the boy with a specialty pool or such for cruisers. this ship had none. 6) telling people to use a credit card or drivers liscence, but not a sign and sail card to lock or unlock the cabin safe.ridiculous, as a safe is to keep these cards safe while on board. the ships card, of course, worked fine. the specialty restaurant and overall dinning was excellent. most cruisers we talked to felt an 8 day cruise with 4 days at sea, and only 3 ports seemed unusual.but on sail days, the ship ran a never ending aray of sales of various ships items. the second last day, each passenger was phoned and told they had won a special prize at the spa, which turned out to be a half price sale, overall, after 24 cruises on celebrity, princess, royal caribean, and one on norwegan, we have some balance and fairness to our reviews. I have had my one carnival cruise. I enjoyed the ports(though we were to each before, but will in the future stay where I am comfortable. if I were to give this an overall grade out of 10, it would be a three. a princess was opposite us on one stop, and at a glance we could see their balconies were about double the size of ours. we had a large outside with a balcony, but the was not even room for a straight back chair in the cabin. the bed was so close to the bulkhead, only the smallest night stand I have seen could fit there.we were on carnival miracle. cabin 5164. the staff and people we met were great, the planning of where to put what was simply not there. too many smoking areas. my comments mirror many we heard from many passengers our age, as we ate most meals in the main dinning room.after 24 cruises(2 this year) we know what usual is. Read Less
Sail Date January 2010
My husband and I cruised on the Miracle over the Thanksgiving holidays. We have cruised numerous times before on Princess, Royal Caribbean and Celebrity. We decided to give Carnival a try this time because the ports were interesting and ... Read More
My husband and I cruised on the Miracle over the Thanksgiving holidays. We have cruised numerous times before on Princess, Royal Caribbean and Celebrity. We decided to give Carnival a try this time because the ports were interesting and the dates worked for us. It was overall a disappointing experience. The good things were: Malcolm, the Cruise Director who was the best we have ever had and our room steward, Sri who did an excellent job. These were the bad things: The worst thing was our cabin. We booked a "superior" balcony cabin with the extended balcony on the 8th deck. So far so good - but we were under the outdoor portion of the Lido restaurant and the chairs above us scraped the deck every time someone moved one to sit down or when the staff moved them back into place. This noise went on and on during the day and early morning during breakfast. One night around midnight they were moved around apparently while the deck was being cleaned. It was impossible to sleep in or take a nap midday. We selected the "Anytime Dining". What a mistake. We were herded in and out and the waiters barely spoke to us. They all seemed in a hurry to get us fed, get us out and turn the table for the next set of diners. It was a really bad experience. It was obvious that the waiters had no incentive to give you exceptional (or even really good) service since they might not see you again. (Tip at the end of the cruise?) I visited the spa on the last day at sea and took advantage of a bundled set of services. (3 for $109.00) Each service was discounted. All was well until the hairdresser who styled my hair attempted to charge me full price when I was checking out. When I explained to her that her service was part of my package she stood me down and argued with me about it in front of other clients. The Salon Manager eventually stepped in and got it settled in my favor, but the damage was done. It really ruined my spa visit. Overall, there were fewer people to wait on you everywhere on the ship and the level of friendliness and service was below what we are accustomed to. We will not sail on Carnival again. Read Less
Sail Date November 2009
Our first cruise was on the Carnival Triumph in May 2003, which went from New York City to St. John, New Brunswick, Halifax, Novascotia and back to NYC. We had a wonderful vacation on this north eastern trip. The next cruise was the ... Read More
Our first cruise was on the Carnival Triumph in May 2003, which went from New York City to St. John, New Brunswick, Halifax, Novascotia and back to NYC. We had a wonderful vacation on this north eastern trip. The next cruise was the beginning of a yearly tradition, and was on the Carnival Fascination in December 2006 that departed from Miami, FL and went to Key West, FL, then to Playa del Carmen, Mexico. This too was a wonderful vacation and was perhaps my favorite ship thus far. The next cruise was on the Carnval Liberty in December 2007 that went from Fort Lauderdale, FL and went to Nassau, Bahamas, then to Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands and then to Ocho Rios, Jamaica and back to Florida. This trip was with my family, mother and father in laws and my parents.We had so much fun on this trip that, when we returned, in January and February, I did two things: 1st because, I had enjoyed the Carnival Cruise Lines so much I purchased stock with my IRA (not such a good decision given the state of the economy now, but oh well. I still own the stock for now). 2nd, we decided to book our next Christmas 2008 cruise with Carnival again and decided to book an 8 day cruise on the Carnival Miracle that was "supposed" to go to the Panama Canal, Costa Rica and Belize departing and returning to Fort Lauderdale, Florida.Now the bad: The cruise was scheduled to depart Fort Lauderdale on December 15th 2008. We had 15 people that were all meeting in Fort Lauderdale on December 13th two days prior to the Cruise. My family left Virginia Friday night on December 12th and started driving toward Fort Lauderdale. Before, we left I checked my email and had a email from Coral Breezes cruise excursions that my itinerary had been changed and we were going to be in Belize on the 19th instead of the 20th. I thought this was odd, but thought maybe Carnival had decided to go to Belize first then continue to Costa Rica and the Panama canal. We got to Fort Lauderdale on Saturday and we were all staying at the Ocean Sky Hotel and Resort. It is a nice beachside resort with a shuttle to the port everglades for $10 per person. We had stayed there last year and really enjoyed it, so we re-booked here. Again we enjoyed this hotel and stayed here the day we returned from the hotel as well. The hotel has nice beach access, a nice pool overlooking the beach, a Tiki bar, and free wireless internet. When we got to Fort Lauderdale on Saturday, I was shocked to find out the entire itinerary had been changed. Do to a problem with the propulsion system, Instead of going to Costa Rica and Panama we were going to go to Costa Maya, Mexico then to Cozumel Mexico, then to Belize City, Belize and finally to Roatan and then back to Fort Lauderdale. In lei of the sudden change in the itinerary, Carnival said it would provide $50 per state room in on ship credit. Everyone in my group was furious. I was a little embarrassed having set this whole vacation up, and many people were asking me and my wife to call and ask for a better compensation. My wife and I called and asked and Carnival told us that we were the only ones calling and that we could not cancel our reservations with a complete refund because the 24 hour period had passed already (we called on Sunday). I did not get a chance to check my email until Saturday at the hotel and the email had gone out late Friday night. None the less, we still probably would not have cancelled because we had all our hotel plans and flights reserved. Carnival was not interested in increasing the compensation. When we got to the embarkation area a fly was given to us stating that the compensation was going to be $25 per person. Also, just from talking with other passengers I realized that there was going to be a lot of unhappy people on this trip. Embarkation went smoothly, and we were on board. On the ship a posted new itinerary state that only $25 per state room would be the compensation. With three different versions of this updated itinerary, my first trip was to the Pursers desk, to find out which was correct. The Pursers desk was flooded with unhappy passengers. I did find out that that the ship was providing $25 per person, but also, interestingly, I found out that passengers that had booked through companies such as "Vacations made easy" were receiving even better compensations. One couple was receiving $100 per person compliments of vacations made easy, this was on top of the $25 from carnival. I personally believe that at least $100 per person would be more appropriate. As far as the cruise goes, this was my least favorite carnival cruise. Tensions between passengers and crew members were high. I witnessed a bar tender (Bipul) slam a glass on the bar shattering it into pieces after getting mad at a passenger. This display of anger cause all to people at the bar to quickly scatter and leave the bar. I had never seen this on any Carnival cruise before. I think this was in McGuire's bar on the ship. The ship, supposedly larger than the Fascination, but smaller than the Triumph or Liberty did not feel like a large ship. With the lay out I thought the Fascination felt like a more open ship compared to the Miracle. I liked the Comic book names of the rooms and the decorations on the ship, but still the Fascination is my favorite for decoration. There was only one dinning room (the Bacchus dinning room) this was a two story dinning room at the back of the ship. The Phantom Theatre was at the front of the ship on the same floor (floor 3). I thought there were quite a few obstructions if you did not get a seat up close. But overall the dEcor was pleasant. Unfortunately I think a lot of my opinions are biased due to the sudden change in the itinerary with little compensation. Finally, we were scheduled to return to Fort Lauderdale on December 23rd. But on the day of the 22nd an announcement came out about a passenger being sick and needing immediate medical care and that our captain was going to increase the speed to make it back to Fort Lauderdale that night. Which is exactly what the captain did and we were back before 12 am, but was stilled schedule to debark at the normal debarkation time the next day. The fact that the ship was traveling at over 20 knots made us feel that perhaps there was really no problem with the propulsion system after all, but oh well. Out thoughts were with the passenger who was sick and their family. Ports of Call: Costa Maya: My daughter and I decided to explore this port by ourselves and did not book an excursion through the ship. Once off the ship, I found an individual from Shark Tours who told us about an ATV excursion that sounded interesting and was half the price from the cruise ship. We signed up for this tour and we loved this excursion. My daughter (8-years-old) had so much fun on the 4-wheelers. I really enjoyed it as well. For the tour we rode with 3 couples and our tour guides (2) south through this small fishing village and along a rode with beautiful mangroves on one side and beautiful views of the Caribbean ocean on the other side. Along the way back we stopped at a cute little beach that had gorgeous white sand, hammocks and chairs to relax in and a neat little family run restaurant. Here, my daughter looked at shells and we ate a neat little Mexican lunch. Water was bought for us by our guides. I order a burrito and nachos which only cost $8. After about an hour of relaxing at the beach we left and went back to the boat. Our guides were excellent, very friendly and knew the area well. We tipped each $15 for their guidance. We really enjoyed Shark tours and recommend this tour to the adventurous that wants to have fun on a 4-wheeler and enjoy a beautiful beach. Cozumel: For this excursion, I booked at the last minute, Saturday night with Island Marketing Ltd. http://www.cozumelcruiseexcursions.com. This was my family's favorite tour of all the tours we did. What we booked was the Dune Buggy and Beach break tour. This was provided by Dune Buggy Tours. Two big notes though. 1st the tour operators meet you in downtown Cozumel at the Divers memorial and not right outside of the cruise terminal. 2nd the email we received said it was a 20 minute walk to the meeting point or a $7 cab ride for 4. Do the cab ride! We were walking for 10 minutes and probable only made it 1/3 to ¼ of the way when my daughter was tired and grumpy of walking, that we decided to get a cab. We should have done this to begin with. We got to the meeting point and we were 30 minutes early and the guide was not there. We were all a little nervous about meeting this guide in down town Cozumel, but we stayed there as the directions said and right on time, a guide with a Dune Buggy Tours polo shirt approached me and asked if I was Ron Tyler, yep I was. We then walked two blocks to this lot with cars and some dune buggys in it. I paid for the tour, we had 3 adults and one child ($89/adult and $44 for the child). You may notice that the dune buggy tour on board is $99 but trust me, you get a lot more with this tour. So we followed our guide (Antonio) who was driving a dune buggy like truck and we drove our dune buggy. Oh, also, In the back of the dune buggy were these built in coolers that had sodas, beer and water in the cooler. We left Cozumel and followed our guide to this cove for Scuba Diving. We stopped here and our guide outfitted us with scuba equipment. We went out swimming and our guide had fish food and he attracted fish around us as we dove looking at this beautiful coral and beautiful tropical fish. Our guide also had a guy with a underwater camera take pictures of us as we dived around looking at the fish. We had our own underwater camera and our guide took pictures of us with this as well. It was really awesome!!! After about an hour to 1.5 hours we left this cove and we followed our guide who took us to this small little Mayan Ruin, with several small shops and a statue celebrating the pig (a statue with a guy holding a pigs head on a platter on his head). This was a neat little stop. We hopped back in the buggy and were off and went to a little road side stand that sold coconuts. Our guide got us a coconut and took pictures of us drinking the coconut and got us outfitted with some weave hats and took pictures of us at this small stretch of rocky beach in the back ground. After here we were off again for our last and final stop "Lunch" that is included in the tour price. We pull up to this secluded beautiful beach called Playa bonita. This little beach has nothing around but white sands, this small empty cabana with small little wooden make shift chairs. Our guide pulled out a large ice chest and box and headed down to the beach. Our guide told us to play for a while and that lunch would be ready in 15 minutes. My family and I hung out on the beach enjoying the natural beauty. 15 minutes later, lunch was ready. We had tortillas with Rice, pico de gallo, grilled chicken (our guide teased us saying it was iguana but it was chicken). We had chips and guacamole. It was a beautiful lunch on a beautiful beach and a great way to end the day. We finished eating then we left for a 30 minute dive back to Cozumel. Because my wife and daughter were taking their own sweet time, despite my constant nagging that we had to go and go now! When we got back we had 15 minutes to get back to the ship. We tipped the guide $20 and caught a cab back to the pier for $7 for the four of us. We made it back to the ship with 5 minutes to spare. Just to caution everyone, while the tour was well worth it, it is imperative that you stay on schedule and I would recommend despite how much fun you are having on the beach that you leave to make it back with more time to spend than what we did. This is the effect of my wife and daughter getting away with spending to much time on the beach when it was time to go. If you miss the ship and you have booked a not ship sponsored tour, you will be paying airfare back to Fort Lauderdale or to the next port of call. So, make sure you stay on time and know how much time you have. Belize: Cave tubing. For this excursion, we booked through Coral Breeze tours http://www.coralbreezetours.com For this tour, we met our driver outside of the Wet Lizard restaurant right next to the pier where the cruise tenders arrive. This was a great tour and my family really enjoyed this tour. This tour also included lunch and was half the price of the cave tubing excursion on the ship. Also, what was nice about this tour, the ship excursion required children to be 12-years-old for this excursion. But Coral Breeze tours allows for children as young as 6-years-old. My daughter was 8-years-old and really wanted to go cave tubing. I don't know why the age limit, because drifting down a river is not too difficult. Anyways, so we meet our driver who drives us in an air conditioned van to our the Branch River where we then walk with our tour guide Little Louis (little Louie) who was excellent. He is a 100% Mayan Indian and has a Master in Archeology from Penn State. He was very knowledgeable about the rainforest jungle and Mayan history. At the river, Little Louie had us get in the refreshing water and we all locked arms together (my family and another couple on the tour). We then all drifted through the caves and down the river together with Little Louie telling us about the things we were seeing. It was a great trip. At the end we got back in the van with our driver who stays at the van and watches all your personal items (since you just wear your bathing suite for the river floating). We got back in the van and we rode to a restaurant where this lady made us a traditional Belizian lunch with beans, rice, chicken, and potato salad. We then traveled back to the pier area and our driver gave us advice on shopping in the area and recommended shopping and bargaining with the street venders outside of the tourist complex area. We did a little shopping, bought a Mayan calendar and then went back to the tourist pier to board our boat with plenty of time 1-2 hours to spare. Roatan: Canopy Zip Line tour. This was probably our second favorite tour and our favorite port of call. We absolutely loved Roatan. We booked a Canopy Tour with optional Beach break. I booked this tour with Island Marketing through http://www.roatancruiseexcursions.com/ through the South shore Canopy Zip line tour group. For this tour we met Theris Dixon with the company outside of the port. We paid Theris Dixon, who then sent us with Alexandro who led us to our van and driver Julio. They then took us to the zip lining tour, and took care of the payment and we were fitted with harnesses and then we were giving a brief safety instruction and demonstration. We were soon flying with the birds along the rainforest canopy. It was an excellent adventure and out tour guides took pictures of us as we traveled in the trees. After 13 or so rides we were at the bottom. At the bottom a van picked us up and we were all taken back to the top of the mountain where we picked up our back pack we had left and we were met by Julio and Alexandro. They then took us to a cute little beach with a restaurant in a cabana. I got a couple of beach chairs and was told by these two kids that the chairs were for rent for $5. Alexandro quickly told them that we were guests through the company and were not to be charged for renting the chairs. We stayed and relaxed at the beach for 1 to 1.5 hours. We had lunch and when Alexandro and Julio returned we were still eating lunch. I ask them to join us for lunch and bought them there food. The food was relatively cheep for the meal we got. We ate fried plantanes, beans, tortilla, rice, chicken, beef tacos, and some rum punch for me. It was a lot of fun. Julio and Alexandros then drove us back to the ship and we tipped each Julio and Alexandros $10 for the guidance and got back on board. Just a note, To me Roatan seemed a little like Jamaica in that you are bombarded with people trying to sell you stuff or asking for money. Though, I though Roatan seemed a little cleaner, though they both have beautiful plush forest and light blue Caribbean water. I found a neat little cigar shop owned by an American and bought a Cuban cigar while on shore. I smoked this back on the boat while traveling back to the US. So, in summary we really did enjoy our new ports of call, but still wish we would have gotten the chance to see the Panama Canal. I guess another time. We have got our December 2009 Cruise scheduled. This time we have booked with Disney Cruise lines (despite my protest). My wife, daughter, and mother are going on this cruise. It is a 7 cruise on the Disney Magic leaving on the 19th of December and going to St. Thomas, St. Maarten, and Cast Away Cay. Perhaps next time we will give Norweigian at try. I am not sure what I will do with my Carnival Stock. I still think they are a good company and really enjoy their hospitality. We will see. Happy Cruising to all. Ron Read Less
Sail Date December 2008
Background Information - We booked our cruise approximately three months prior to sailing direct with Carnival. The process was straightforward although their website took some getting used to. While we ultimately succeeded in booking ... Read More
Background Information - We booked our cruise approximately three months prior to sailing direct with Carnival. The process was straightforward although their website took some getting used to. While we ultimately succeeded in booking everything we wanted it was not always clear-cut how to find certain items. Their day-to-cruise counter is a nice touch, however. Ship Info - The Miracle turned out to be pretty much what we expected from the descriptions and other reviews. It's dEcor ranges from pleasantly comfortable in some rooms and areas to gaudy in others. All in all, we did enjoy it and it was a clean ship that didn't take too long to understand how to get around. The elevators did prove to be frustrating at times, either slow to arrive or nearly always full (they did seem to be a bit undersized for a ship of the Miracle's capacity). The fitness center is very well laid out and very nicely accommodates choices from aerobics to weights to treadmills and bikes. The hot-tub, steam room, sauna and shower facilities were excellent. Activities - There were activities scattered throughout the day ranging from bean-bag tournaments to hair-chest contests. Not many of them interested us, but that may very well just be our taste in activities. We tended to hang around the pool quite a bit. Service - Overall the service was very good. We did tire a bit of eating at Horatio's based mainly on the expanse of the layout and the lines. We tended to eat breakfast and lunch in the dining room simply because it was more relaxing and we didn't have to fight crowds and lines. The bartenders in Maguire's Sports Bar, Bipul and Yuliya, were outstanding, as was the waitress Sviatlana! Excellent service! Shore Excursions - A huge disappointment! After spending many hours researching our choice of excursions online and booking over $1,000 in excursions in advance we were extremely disappointed to never experience a single excursion. This is where our extreme displeasure with Carnival lies. When we boarded the ship on 8/29 we received a note from the captain telling us that they were monitoring tropical storm Hannah. In hindsight we are convinced that the decision had already been made to not keep our itinerary. Not far out of NYC we were informed that the decision was made to change our itinerary due to weather and we would be given an update soon. The next day we were informed that we would not be going to San Juan, St. Thomas or Grand Turk. The decision was made to instead stop in Port Canaveral, FL first, then to Nassau and Freeport in the Bahamas. You could hear the groans! Port Canaveral proved to be nothing more than a huge concrete parking lot. We were offered basically two excursions; various Disney trips (Magic Kingdom, Epcot, etc) for $150 per person! Anyone who has been to these parks knows you can get a three day pass for less that this! Plus it was only about a 6-hour excursion after the travel. The other excursion was to purchase a $10 bus trip to go shopping at a mall or Walmart! This was not what we set out to do! Soon after departing Port Canaveral we were told that once again our itinerary was changed. We would not be going to Nassau, but rather direct to Freeport. We spent all of 7 hours in Freeport; just enough time to make a quick venture to a beach. Little did we know that it would be the only beach of our entire 8-day cruise. It cost $20 each way for a taxi to Lucaya Beach where we spent about 2 hours. Just when we thought things couldn't get worse, we stood corrected. We were told that our third port of call would be Rhode Island! The moans on this announcement made the earlier one pale in comparison. Soon after this announcement about 300-400 people protested in the Atrium lobby outside the Pursers desk, demanding to see the captain. While this demonstration remained contained, it was loud and the people meant business! They were not happy! Nobody was. An 8-day Caribbean cruise and we docked at the concrete parking lot of Port Canaveral, spent a measly 7 hours in Freeport, and now we are off to Rhode Island. Was this a dream, or a nightmare? We never did see the captain make an appearance, and we left the gathering after a while. The next day the captain came on the speaker system around noon to deliver his update. He spent a few minutes with pleasantries, and boasted how he and his crew were excited to be heading to Rhode Island because they had never been there before. Perhaps someone should have informed him that this cruise was not about him and his crew! What started out as a bad enough announcement went south quickly when he then brought up the protest the night before, and said it was a shame that a small percentage of the travelers had to take this stance, and take it out on his hard-working staff. He then ended his insulting speech with what sounded like a lawyer had counseled him to say! He rudely pointed out that "it was his job to take the ship out of NYC and return it 8 days later, that where we went was immaterial, that he did indeed take us to three ports-of-call and that any one of us would have a hard time denying that fact". He also reminded us that on a cruise the ship is your destination! If we wanted the ship to be our destination we would have taken a cruise to nowhere, not a Caribbean cruise! How infuriating! This man was downright rude and insulting! A ship full of tourists had paid top-dollar for an 8-day Caribbean cruise with three days in tropical resorts. Not only weren't we going to the Caribbean but we were not going anywhere exotic, and this man didn't seem to care or shed much empathy on the disappointment of his travelers. It is hard to imagine that Carnival could not come up with some alternative ports that would make a ship full of vacationers happy. Port Canaveral and Rhode Island are not exotic, tropical destinations and 7 hours in Freeport is hardly something to call the highlight of your cruise. Summary - In no way do we blame Carnival for a tropical storm. However it is beyond belief that the itinerary we were ultimately given was the only option. Our family of four spent many, many thousands of dollars on a trip that can only be described a disappointing. Not a single concessionary gesture by Carnival or the captain. This was your first and last chance, Carnival. We will be back with Princess or Holland America next time. Travel To Port of Embarkation - Since we arrived by private car, it really isn't relevant, however it was a very easy arrival, dropping off of baggage and parking. Not a single complaint! Stateroom - Very comfortable and well kept. We actually had adjoining rooms with our kids and both were very well tended too. Our steward, Gede, was very attentive and always had our room in order with clean linens. Great job, Gede! Dining - The food varied from good to excellent. Our biggest complaint, and it really is a minor one, is that there seems to be an emphasis on meat. We were surprised to not see more seafood offerings. The service was great. Our wait staff, Ivan and Dario, were very attentive and remembered all of our preferences. They were terrific. Overall, in comparison to our other cruises, the quality of food was good, but just a notch below others. We did go to Nick and Nora's one evening and must say it was an excellent decision! The food and service was impeccable. We are capable of positive feedback, and this is an example of where it is warranted. We thoroughly enjoyed the evening and it was well worth the $30 per person surcharge. Entertainment - The shows also ranged in quality. We enjoyed the "Generations" show and the Beatles but others, such as the comedy show and talent show, lacked as much luster. In comparison to other cruises, we did agree that overall the week's entertainment was as good or better than other cruises. Disembarkation - A nightmare! We opted for the self-service disembarkment whereby we carry all of our own luggage off the ship. The instructions told us to head down any time after 8:00. Around 8:30 or 8:45 we headed out of our staterooms to the elevator. Bad decision! We waited 15-20 minutes and every elevator that stopped was packed. The kids finally walked down with some of their luggage, leaving us with the rest and therefore unable to walk down. We had to wait for an elevator. Finally one stopped that was ¾ full and we crammed into it. Upon arriving at deck 2 we found a maze of lines and literally hundreds of irate people trying to disembark. It was total mayhem, and took us 90 minutes to go from the deck 2 elevator to the disembarkment door which was probably no more than 50 feet away. Once outside the ship we were fine, but that onboard experience could not have been orchestrated worse by the crew! We will not be on another Carnival cruise, solely because of how we were treated by the company and captain pertaining to the itinerary. It is inexcusable to substitute San Juan, St. Thomas and Grand Turk with Port Canaveral and Rhode Island, sandwiched around 7 hours in Freeport. No amount of consolation will change our minds that this was the only alternative. And of course, the condescending attitude of the captain only added to this disappointing experience. A total lack of exciting excursions was also enormously disappointing. Adios, Carnival. Read Less
Sail Date August 2008
My wife and I have sailed about ten times before this July 12th to 20th trip and we have reached the stage where we will be cruising once or twice a year as long as the good Lord's willing and the creek don't rise. We just ... Read More
My wife and I have sailed about ten times before this July 12th to 20th trip and we have reached the stage where we will be cruising once or twice a year as long as the good Lord's willing and the creek don't rise. We just returned from an 8 day cruise on Carnival's Miracle. It would understate our disappointment to say that it would take a miracle to get us back on a Carnival ship. It is not that everything was terrible, but in our view, the bad and mediocre far outweighed the good. My wife has multiple sclerosis and is wheelchair bound. Our cabin was a handicapped accessible cabin on 7 aft, port side. The bedding is comfortable, our cabin keeper, Babb, was competent and friendly and did an outstanding job. Our outside balcony was huge, three times the size of normal. We used it often, because the ship's offerings were not to our liking. The ship is easy to navigate for those in wheelchairs. We learned that we should wait for an empty elevator (sometimes going in the opposite direction), and my wife could enter and turn around while I held the door open and would be facing forward when we arrived at the floor we wanted. Most people were helpful in this regard, though we always seemed to find a couple of dopes in the passageways who felt it beneath them to move out of my wife's way. She didn't take my advice to run the #*&*^%^ down. Dining Room: Everything you have read about the dining room's decor is correct. It is glitzy, but so what. The food was mediocre, with the fish (and particularly the shrimp) being better than the beef which was always tough, micro waved and served lukewarm. The soups were good, but were also luke warm. The bread was hard and seemed always to be "yesterday's." The entrees were what you would expect and the entree pasta dish could be ordered as an appetizer. Dining Room Service: For the first two nights, dining room dinner service was downright awful at the late sitting. Our waiter was confused and overwhelmed. On the first night, we were only receiving our salads when the dining room lights went on and we were thus being urged to leave the dining room. My friend complained to the Maitre d' and from the third through last nights, we received extra special service from assistant dining room manager Aysu from Macedonia. She saved our cruise as her service was impeccable, prompt and friendly. If she hadn't shown up, we might have jumped ship in Puerto Rico - if only we could have gotten off the ship. More on that later. One person - a source of unknown reliability - told us that the Miracle was used to train Carnival's staff for the fleet. That would explain a lot, but I doubt if that is the real answer to Miracle's problems. To top it all off, after a mediocre meal accompanied by terrible service, the Maitre d' ended the meal by leading the passengers and crew in a songfest that highlighted and reinforced the low class nature of the cruise every night. Entertainment: One entertainer who did a retrospective on Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis Jr. songs was very good. He moves from ship to ship and is worth going to see. We rate all the other acts as somewhere between poor junior high school quality level performances and good high school quality performances and choreography. One show, consisting of two comic jugglers, was so bad that we stayed until the end, convinced that there had to be more. There wasn't. The pool is NOT handicapped accessible. Each of the three pools has a ladder one must climb to get out. By way of contrast, Royal Caribbean ships have wide steps with handrails and many even have lifts in the pool for the convenience of the disabled. We don't fault Carnival for this design, but it gives rise to the question of who gave Carnival the highest rating for handicapped accessibility and what that rating really means for those of us who might rely on it. And while we don't fault Carnival for the ship's design, we think people should know that the pools are not handicapped accessible. Most other ships we have sailed on have several lounges that we have found to have a quiet drink before lunch or dinner or late at might. This ship's selection was very sparse. We did find Sam's piano bar on the 3rd deck forward and the pianist/singer, Roger, was terrific at getting the crowd to sing along. While there, we met a lovely Chinese gal server named TingTing who was on her last cruise before going home to mama in Beijing. Ports of Call: This cruise made ports of call at San Juan, Saint Thomas, and Grand Turk. Because the crew had closed one gangway early, the forward gangway was the only one available to board and disembark passengers in San Juan. We tried to get off the ship, but it was impossible, with wheelchairs going both ways and too many people with no crowd control whatsoever. My wife complained about it and received a very nice letter of apology that subliminally screamed "Why didn't you go on Royal Caribbean" or "Celebrity." Well, we will take that advice in the future. We didn't bother getting off the ship in St. Thomas because we docked at a new berth area that had a couple of shops only and was not near any beach. Those who did disembark thought the "town" was a joke. Grand Turk, on the other hand, was terrific for us and we would recommend it to handicapped cruisers. The ship's berth is adjacent to the beach and is very near a shopping area. One may swim on the beach next to the ship or go to the very large meandering pool that has plenty of beach chairs and a graduated entry ramp for the handicapped (and young children, too). This port of call made our day. While here, we met a couple from the Carnival Liberty. They were sailing with their two teenage daughters and seemed to like Liberty very much. Kids, kids, kids: We cannot comment on the kids' programs on this ship but there always seemed to be kids everywhere. I know—"bah humbug," right. The kids on this cruise were not so much rude to your face as they were pigs, leaving their trails of cookies and cups and wrappings in the hallways and, in particular, in the elevator cars that certainly can use cleaning more often during the evening and night times. On a half a dozen occasions we also were treated to teenagers' spit on the walls and floor buttons inside the aft elevators. Thanks, boy and girls. You got class. You are probably the same morons who banged on our stateroom door at 2 AM and ran off before I could catch you and give you an attitude adjustment. Embarking/Disembarking: All the comments I heard from healthy passengers were critical of the boarding process. It took from 60 to 90 minutes of waiting on line to check in. Our experience was much better than that because of my wife's need for a wheelchair. I confirmed before we sailed that Carnival Cruises makes no accommodation for the handicapped at embarkation. They only take care of you if you have sailed with them ten times previously and I can't imagine there are too many of those. Nevertheless, what Carnival does not provide, New York longshoremen do provide. As soon as they saw my wife in her motorized wheelchair, longshoremen walked us to the front of the line and we got checked in within minutes. On disembarkation, we had an early time as did all the handicapped. Overall Impression If your kids are looking for a ship where they can run amok from dawn till dawn, this is the cruise for you and yours. If you have reached the age where you need a little more peace, quiet and class, try another cruise line. Life is too short to spend this much money on a cruise whose best offering is coming home. Read Less
Sail Date July 2008
We cruised the Miracle over Spring Break. We have cruised Royal Caribbean 3 previous times and selected the Miracle because it was recommended by a family member. Suffice to say, the grass is not always greener. On the positive side, the ... Read More
We cruised the Miracle over Spring Break. We have cruised Royal Caribbean 3 previous times and selected the Miracle because it was recommended by a family member. Suffice to say, the grass is not always greener. On the positive side, the embarkation and debarkation in Tampa were phenomenal. Much easier than the insanity that is Miami or Fort Lauderdale. Once we got on board however, the difference between the previous Royal Caribbean cruises and this cruise became very evident. The cabins are very nice and most of the cabins have balconies, which is a nice feature. We had 2 cabins for the five of us. If we had tried to cram us all into one, it would have been every uncomfortable. When we arrived at our cabins, the annoyances began. The first thing I saw were 2 beach towels laid on the counter wrapped with a notice that clearly stated that I was responsible for the towels and I would be charged $22 for each towel not in my cabin at the end of the week. Every time we went to the pool deck, I had to be on towel watch to make certain that my kids did not lose the towels or someone else did not take them. I never had this experience on Royal Caribbean. I found this to be very petty and it did not give me a good first impression. Additionally, there is a mandatory 15% gratuity added to all bar service. A gratuity by its nature should be optional, a reward for good service. I am usually a 20% tipper, so the staff lost out to me, but it is the point. The pool deck was separated into 2 main pool areas, one pool area in the rear of the ship and a children's pool. The children's pool was the size of an oversized bathtub and was located in such a spot that noone ever used it. The 2 main pool areas were very congested and difficult to walk through. The rear pool deck was much more comfortable. The biggest issue I had was with the incredible amount of smoking on all the pool areas. It would seem to me that it would have been no trouble to make at least one of the sections non-smoking. We did not spend much time on the pool decks for this reason. Additionally, the pool staff was generally not very polite or accommodating Smoking was pervasive throughout this ship. The couple in the room next to me smoked on their balcony almost constantly making it difficult for me to be out there. The casino was virtually intolerable. The fitness room was decent. The spa was very good. I had a couple of massages done and the service was very good. The spa facilities in general were clean and well maintained. The dining was interesting. The food in the dining room was very hot and cold. We had some excellent meals and a couple that were mediocre. Appetizers were good. Desserts were definitely their strong suit. We ordered a cake for my son's birthday and it was the best cake I've ever had. Service in the dining room was a little slow (at least for my kids), but our waiter and assistant waiter were exceptional and went out of their way to cater to our requests. The buffet restaurant was mediocre. The food was marginal and it was very congested. The kid’s club ( Camp Carnival) was where the cruise really fell down for us. Our children have used the children’s programs on Royal Caribbean in the past and have loved it. The children’s programs here were very weak. Two of the evenings, they just took the kids to the show. How many 8-year old boys want to sit through an 1 ½ hour dance review? Also, the hours were very disjointed. My kids did not enjoy and subsequently did not go very much which was a bit of a bummer for us. The ports (Grand Cayman, Cozumel, Belize and Costa Maya) were all fine. I find all the Caribbean ports to be pretty similar and they not a make or break thing for me. In general, I found the cruise to be disappointing. It was less expensive than the Royal Caribbean ships I’ve been on (Explorer, Navigator and Freedom), but the savings was not worth it. I would not cruise Carnival again. Read Less
Sail Date April 2007
We just returned from our family cruise on the Dec 3-10 sailing with the Miracle. We flew out from Chicago to Tampa in the middle of a snowstorm lull and allowed an extra day/night in Tampa in case of weather troubles. There were none so ... Read More
We just returned from our family cruise on the Dec 3-10 sailing with the Miracle. We flew out from Chicago to Tampa in the middle of a snowstorm lull and allowed an extra day/night in Tampa in case of weather troubles. There were none so the flights were uneventful. We made it to the Springhill Suites and the hotel was a bit rundown, but the staff was very friendly, the free breakfast in the morning was delightful, and the complimentary shuttle to local shops/restaurants was very convenient. We got to the port and everything went smoothly. We had all our documents ready, and since the rest of our large group was in suites (we had a balcony cabin) we were off on our own while they did VIP check in. There still wasn't much of a delay at all, and my toddler in his stroller caused no difficulties as there were plenty of elevators/helpful staff for those in strollers or wheelchair/walkers. Our number was quickly called and we were onboard. I think I can safely say that is the last thing that went smoothly. I won't bore you with all the details, but we went not even 24 hours without a problem of some kind. It took multiple phone calls to get ice, sharps containers for our diabetic supplies, or the fridge unlocked for storing our medications and we didn't get handsoap until day 3. Requests to our steward in voice and writing about things in our cabin were greeted with smiles and nods and then disregarded. It is the least complaint but we only got 3 towel animals all week and we did ask for them for our son's sake. Instead we bought the book on how to make them and my HUSBAND started putting them on our bed for us. We did promptly get our portable crib for our son which was appreciated. Luggage was also delivered promptly. The cabin was nice and not too crowded. In fact I think our cabin was less crowded than the regular suite (not wraparound) that my father had purchased for more money. The closets and drawers were spacious and even with our toddler gear we had room for everything. The ship decor was...too much. Most of the elements were pleasant individually, but crammed too closely together so that instead of a lovely ambience it was like walking into a closet filled with abstract art. Too loud, too busy and too much. Lovely Parrish prints were surrounded with glitzy Vegas lights, Impressionist art was laid side by side with Dali and Peter Maxx modern works for an overly garish feeling. The dining room suffered the most I think. Those grapes gave a heavy oppressive atmosphere. The female hostess was very friendly and helpful. My son had bumped his head and so on first formal night he was not in a good mood and it was pretty much the only time we had to take him back to the cabin. She made sure the rest of my dinner got sent to my cabin. All other nights he was well-behaved but it was very nice to still get a good meal. Room service was pretty prompt, but the sandwiches were pretty bland (very cheap quality meats) and tasteless. The salads were excellent though. The dining room... hmmm, Let me start by saying my husband and I are food snobs. My toddler son eats homemade 3 cheese mac N cheese never from a box. Roulades are a common occurrence in our home, so we honestly did not expect to be impressed. We HOPED to enjoy the meals. Presentation and plating was impeccable, but inevitably the food's flavors rarely lived up to the menu descriptions or the appetizing visual display. There were memorable and delightful dishes to be sure, but they were often the starters (most of the soups were heavenly) or the desserts. The entrees reminded us more of institutional food than of fine dining. On the LIDO deck, the buffets were of a caliber closer to Denny's or Old Country Buffet than of cruise food. I will say that the taste of nations station was impressive though, with french, italian and caribbean treats that did impress us. Most breakfasts and lunches though were the same bland food every meal. The midnight buffet was visually stunning and the food was flavorless. The two formal nights were only so-so. My lobster was pretty tough as was the steak. Our servers were friendly but inevitably forgot 2/3rds of the items ordered for the three of us. Not even once did the three of us each receive water and rolls, but 2 of the 3 of us would have to share. They were mightily confused that we kept ordering off the regular menu instead of the children's menu for my toddler son. We paid full 3rd person fare for him and he enjoys good food as well as we do (he would often eat a full serving of the soups) so I was not going to relegate him to chicken nuggets and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. I heartily recommend the fresh fruit plates and steamed vegetables. They were my son's favorites during most dinners. I also recommend adults ordering the mac N cheese off the kid's menu. It is delightful. They did the sauce well though the pasta was overcooked. The first thing we did the day after returning home was to choose one of our favorite restaurants. We missed good food so badly and I had actually lost weight. The excursions were wonderful, though Carnival was so late and disorganized with tendering one day that it was 1:30p before I got onto the shore even though I left my cabin at 10:30a and got a tender ticket quickly. The beaches were fabulous. I am pregnant so we stuck to sightseeing, snorkeling and nature-oriented activities. The Bacab Eco-park in Belize was delightful and the wild wings butterfly exhibit there was quite nice. We also did the Butterfly farm on our own at Grand Cayman for $4 pp cab fare up the street, $15 pp entry and then a walk around the corner to the Royal Palms Beach Club. My husband (and sister and Dad) also greatly enjoyed the Mexican Cooking excursion in Cozumel. At Costa Maya, the town shopping area was small and not very impressive, but we picked up some nice souvenirs and ate delicious food (chicken quesadillas) at the Cat's Meow and at the hole in the fence Chac-Chi beachfront. The water was too choppy for snorkeling that day but we waded a bit and our son by that point had become part fish and loved all the beaches. The shows were a great deal of fun. Cruise director Chris did a delightful Belushi impression and the Blues Brothers show was great. We also enjoyed the Beatles show and the hilarious comedian Allyn Ball. There was a juggler as well that we found quite entertaining and funny. My family has always enjoyed trivia and games and we made it to as many of the trivia and games as possible. A lot of the trivia activities start on time or a little early and go quickly so be sure and be prompt if these are your cup of tea. My group was rowdy and light-hearted so were were pretty noticeable whenever we participated. The games and shows really made the at sea days fun. I would recommend if possible having more activities later in the evenings for those who have early dinner. Camp Carnival truly dropped the ball with us though, and I was very disappointed. My son missed the 2 yr old age cutoff by a few weeks, but wasn't allowed to join in. So be it, not a big surprise. The first orientation though was during our dinner, so I went after dinner and no one was there. I went the next morning and asked the staff girl what I "needed to know to sign him up for after-hours babysitting" At no time was I informed of a sign-up sheet for the hours you intend to bring your child. Apparently if no one signs up then they send the babysitter off for the evening at 10:15pm. On our 15th anniversary celebration I went to take my son to Camp Carnival. At 11p I was all dressed and ready to drop off my toddler (already asleep and in his stroller) and was met with rudeness and no understanding. They kept quoting the "procedure manual" which I pointed out guests have no access to. The information they kept quoting was nowhere in the CC capers and wasn't told to me even when I requested info on how to use the babysitters. I would still not blame CC if I hadn't gone to the effort of inquiring and asking specifically "what do I need to know/do to use the babysitters?" The director of CC was useless, less than polite and certainly unsympathetic for having ruined my anniversary celebration. I wasn't looking for a comp, just an apology, and got none. I spent the night all dressed up in my cabin alone with my son while hubby went to the midnight buffet and the shows without me. The director said she memo'd corporate to get the info added to capers telling folks of the advance notice required, but that does me no good as I doubt Carnival will ever get my business again. We were a nice sized group cruising together, several suites (including wraparounds) + our balcony cabin, my whole family traveling together, and I just was singularly unimpressed with their level of (dis)service and (un)professionalism. Any comments made to the purser's desk were not really addressed except with an insipid "we're sorry you feel that way" type response. I think I would have forgotten and brushed off any one event or disappointment, but the constant small problems and the few big problems that would completely derail our planned fun just gave an overall feeling of disappointment with Carnival's unsympathetic incompetence in several key areas. Read Less
Sail Date December 2006
Cruising with Carnival  YUK! Its time somebody took this cruise line to task! If youve ever taken a cruise before--drastically lower your expectations if you plan on joining them on one of their Fun Ships. If youve never cruised ... Read More
Cruising with Carnival  YUK! Its time somebody took this cruise line to task! If youve ever taken a cruise before--drastically lower your expectations if you plan on joining them on one of their Fun Ships. If youve never cruised before--find another cruise line. My wife and I boarded the Carnival Miracle Fun Ship on a seven-day cruise of the western Gulf of Mexico on February 26th, 2006. The ship itself is a magnificent feat of engineering and construction (many thanks to the Norwegian builders). The maintenance crew manages to keep the vessel nearly spotless. And the weather was equally glorious the entire cruise (kudos to Mother Nature). That however, is nearly the total extent of our positive impressions of Carnival. Rather than present an endless inventory of disappointments, Ill just sum things up in general categories. The food in the main dining room was acceptable if you are use to dining in slightly upscale chain restaurants such as TGI FRIDAYS. etc. Not to worry about the dress code there either. Contrary to Carnivals dress code for formal dining, we had people there for diner in sleeveless t-shirts, shorts and sandals. The service was prompt but hurried. The cafeteria style dining in the Lido restaurant was nothing short of dreadful! The food was barely edible and often cold. Ah yes, the memories of instant scrambled eggs and soggy pancakes takes me back to those wonderful summer camp breakfasts. The midnight buffet consisted of one pizza station and one station serving hot dogs and hamburgers. The night I was brave enough to try a burger, the bun was stale! And dont think youll be saved by dining in the upscale Nick & Noras restaurant. We tried it twice. The first meal could rival the worst dining experience I ever had. The table location, directly in front of the expose kitchen, meant we were forced to smell cooking meat the entire diner. The food was cold, the service slow. And for all that, we had to pay $30 extra per person. The second night was much improved, but I cant help but wonder if that was just because I had raised such a stink about the first night. I dont want to spend a lot of time reviewing the ports of calls. Ill limit my comments to pointing out that two of the stops were worthless. There is simply no reason to have stopped in Grand Cayman or Belize. These are tendered ports that only exist to sell tourist jewelry and trinkets. One of entertainers asked for a showing of hands for those that went ashore on Grand Cayman, and then asked why. Both Mexican ports were much more entertaining and at least the Mexican people seemed genuinely please to have us, unlike the hostility at the other ports of call. The Carnival onboard entertainment was poor, and that is putting it kindly. I realize that cruise lines cannot afford A level entertainers but Carnival has skipped all the way down to D level. On a positive note. Our cabin was adequate but not exceptional. Muted colors and plain styling dominate the dEcor. Our cabin stewards were thorough and responsive. However, that may have been indicative of the fact that we booked a penthouse rather than a standard cabin. If you are into gambling, the casino is huge and well appointed. For the most part, the service crew was friendly and tried to be helpful. Unfortunately, most were from non-English speaking countries, so communication was difficult. Carnival has made an attempt to teach them some English, but just imagine 900 people all asking, how may I help you, with the same intonation and cadence (its a good thing Truman Capote wasnt the instructor). The officers and professional crew were very standoffish and definitely not friendly. The captain seemed genuinely bored to have had to welcome guests at the Captains cocktail party. During his introduction of the officers, I couldnt help but note that not one of them had a smile on their face. But hey, he didnt run us aground. Although we did stir up a lot of mud at one of our stops and something hit the hull with a heck of a bang late one night. My overall impression of the Carnival Miracle was that they are unquestionably downscaling the quality of food and service in order to cut costs. The flip side is that Carnival has made it cheap enough that almost anybody can afford to cruise with them (but why would you want to?). Future cruises aboard Carnival Fun Ships will definitely not include my wife and I. Read Less
Sail Date February 2006
GOLFERS BEWARE!!!!! GOLFERS BEWARE!!!!! GOLFERS BEWARE!!!!! Carnival Miracle. December 25, 2005 through January 1, 2006. What a week......Boarding The Miracle was pretty much a breeze on Christmas day. Set sail right on time at 4:00pm, ... Read More
GOLFERS BEWARE!!!!! GOLFERS BEWARE!!!!! GOLFERS BEWARE!!!!! Carnival Miracle. December 25, 2005 through January 1, 2006. What a week......Boarding The Miracle was pretty much a breeze on Christmas day. Set sail right on time at 4:00pm, the waters were churning and the first night at sea was a bit rough, rocking and rolling to the tune of Splish-Splash! The ship made strange noises. Now I should speak of the food.....quite below average especially for a holiday cruise. The waiter "Ida" was great though and tried his best to make the most of every meal...as great as he was -- it surely didn't make the food any better. We ate at "Nick and Nora's" one night and I must say that the food was excellent along with the service but then that was an extra $60 plus.....hhmmmm I remember when cruises had excellent food and you didn't have to pay extra. Decor----have a little mercy please. This would make a New Orleans House of 333 look like an Ethan Allen project. Visine couldn't help. The main dining room Bacchus, was like dining inside of a jar of Pepto-Bismol!!! Please! Now for the GOLF....one of the primary reasons we booked this cruise was for the opportunity to play golf in Caribbean....and according to Carnival's Press Release it looked like a great vacation,,, I could play golf for 3 days and the "Love That Must Be Obeyed" could read, shop and sunbathe... GOLF DAY ONE: Got up early to meet the ship's golf-pro so that he could escort the golfers to shore via the tender and ground transportation. Boarded the tender and was taken to the the port of the Grand Cayman's without the golf-pro, apparently he got confused and was separated from the golfers. This should have been a warning! Anyway he makes it ashore on the next tender, so we now wait around for about 40 minutes waiting for ground transportation to the golf course,,,,NO transportation and we are told that there will be NO GOLF today and the course is full....so back to the ship, gather up the "Love That Must Be Obeyed" and go back to the island and shop!!! GOLF DAY TWO: Arrive and anchor at Cozumel. Up early again to meet the golf-pro for the escort ashore. Get on the tender and travel for approximately 40 minutes before we reach land. Then we are told that we are in Cancun and will play a course that wasn't advertised,,well - we board a bus and travel for about 40 to 45 minutes to the golf course, jump in a golf cart and start playing...no warm-up at the range or putting greens. We play about 15 holes and are told to get in the bus as we need to catch the tender back to the ship. By the way, I was charged the full amount for the golf outing....Good grief! Kudos for a great course but the greens were a 5 on the stimpmeter. GOLF DAY THREE: Guess what? The course at Belize has been closed and there will be NO GOLF today. You know what that means,,,,yepper --- gather up the "Love That Must Be Obeyed" and shop.... So to coin a phrase from a J.D. Powers survey I would most definitely, check the box that says "Highly Recommend NOT to go the Western Caribbean or cruise on Carnival's Miracle ship." Thank you for taking the time to read my review. Read Less
Sail Date December 2005
Eleven of us, three generations sailed on Carnival's Miracle Christmas week (Dec. 25 to Jan. 1). I should start my review by saying I am not a cruise fan. While I have been on cruises because of holidays with extended family, I prefer ... Read More
Eleven of us, three generations sailed on Carnival's Miracle Christmas week (Dec. 25 to Jan. 1). I should start my review by saying I am not a cruise fan. While I have been on cruises because of holidays with extended family, I prefer all-inclusive beach resorts. That being said, I was still excited for a family vacation to the tropics. Embarkment Christmas day went smoothly. We boarded at noon and knew our cabin wouldn't be ready until 1:30 p.m. My first impression of the ship was that it was lovely. Yes, it's very purple in the main lobby and throughout the dining room but you want something a little glitzy for a cruise. The staff greeted us with complimentary champagne and that continued throughout the ship on all levels throughout the day. Maybe it was just special for Christmas day. Our cabin was nicely decorated and the balcony made it seem more spacious. Our Steward, Mark introduced himself right away and throughout the cruise he was very pleasant and attentive. Our dining room experience started off badly. Since we were a party of eleven, we made several e-mail requests starting six months before the trip that we all be seated together. This was not the case as four of us were seated at a booth and seven of us at a round table off to the side. There were many other families celebrating Christmas that were seated at long tables. We thought this very unfair and it made for some cranky passengers. We made our complaint known but there was really nothing they could do about it. I asked for a couple of bottles of complimentary wine to try and ease tensions and they obliged but we soon gave up on eating in the dining room due to Sylvia, our waitress with an attitude. My mother told Sylvia she did not like the lobster and she simply said, "Oh, I don't like lobster myself," as if my mother has never had lobster before. She should have offered to bring her something else. Sylvia said maybe we would all be better off eating at the buffet. We took her advice and quickly went to the purser's desk to take her tip off our sail-and-sign card. The first night leaving Tampa we had some rough seas. At first it was fun but it made for some bad sleeping (not for the kids though who were quickly rocked to sleep). That morning we took a stroll on the outside deck at 9:30 a.m. and there was still so much vomit that hadn't been cleaned up. My daughter stepped in some with her flip-flops. There was no staff out there swabbing the decks. Needless to say, we didn't eat much at the breakfast buffet. Although Carnival is considered a budget line, we did not pay budget prices due to Christmas week. I'm not a snob, but I didn't like the class of people onboard. Many men went to the inside buffet without shirts and shoes and many couples were publicly groping each other. There was also a lot of swearing children who played rough at the pool. I have two children, ages five and ten so I am usually very tolerant of other children. However, there were some rowdy, unsupervised kids at the evening shows too (and also some rude adults who talked throughout the performances). My children enjoyed Camp Carnival, the kids program and I made sure to tip the young women who work there. For my five-year-old security was great. Only one person could sign her in and out and they always stayed in the same playroom. I was given a free cell phone to use throughout the week to check on her when she was there. Ansley and Shana took great care of the 2-5s and were excellent face-painters. My ten-year-old loved her group, the 9-11s run by Anabel and Carolina. My only problem with that group is that they are allowed to sign themselves in and out. I think 12 is the perfect age to give them that right, not nine! I didn't worry so much about her wandering around as I worried about drunken passengers bothering her on her way back to our cabin. I gave her a walkie-talkie and she always left with a friend to head back. They do keep the kids busy! My girls also loved the waterslide that's open from noon-4 each day. There are a lot of stairs so kids get a great cardio as well as have fun. One day we accidently walked out onto the adults-only topless deck (there were signs in other places but not the door we came out of). We didn't even know we were there as we rushed to the waterslide. This woman got very upset with me and yelled at us. My girls have seen breasts before and we've been to topless Club Med beaches so it's really no big deal. If she was that uptight, she shouldn't be topless! MORE RUDE PEOPLE! The ports were very nice. We arrived at Cayman on a cloudy day but my husband and brother still had a nice SCUBA excursion. It's a short tender ride over to the pier and the souvenir shops are not outrageously priced. Cozumel suffered a lot of hurricane damage but they are trying to rebuild the pier. That tender ride is short and the water is beautiful. My girls had their hair braided and again the divers in our family had a great excursion. Belize was interesting. This is a very long tender ride into port and we were put on a very small boat that went too fast over breaking waves caused by the captain's friends driving a speedboat (the locals thought it was very funny but my kids were scared). Belize shops were nice and some passengers enjoyed shopping at the pharmacy. It's not a great idea to go outside the gates unless you are headed for an excursion. We had no problems, but the people haunted us. Costa Maya was our favorite port. Here you just get off the ship and walk into a vibrant village of souvenir shops, bars and pools. We did the Jungle Beach Break excursion here. It was $45 (even for the kids) and that gave you a 40 minute bus ride to a private beach with open bar and use of kayaks and paddle boats. Food was extra but reasonably priced-- only bring U.S. cash. There is also a dolphin encounter here and it's free to go look at the dolphins but extra to get in the water with them. The entertainment onboard is just so-so (like the food). The first night was a Christmas show that the kids got involved in. The best show was the Beatles tribute Ticket to Ride. The kids loved this and there are a lot of surprises. The casino was impressive on this ship. It was very big and bar service was the best here. Although I didn't win big, I got a lot of play for my buck. Our last night was New year's Eve but we didn't go up on deck for any of the parties because it was a foggy night and we were tired. At midnight we could hear the horns blow and I'm sure people had a great time. We had some confusion with disembarkment. It seemed there was a large ship blocking the regular port in Tampa so we had to dock in an industrial section and then be bussed back to the main port for customs (which was a joke) and then to get our luggage and head for the parking garages. I would not go on a Carnival cruise again because of the service. Even the Cruise Director, Steve was sarcastic and spoke about passengers as if they were stupid (maybe because a lot of them are-- spending this much money for bad service, or even worse, not knowing good service in the first place). It was a nice vacation because we were with family that we don't see often-- too bad we couldn't dine with them! Read Less
Sail Date December 2005
This was our 2nd aboard Carnival, 3 others were on RCL, understanding that Hurricane Wilma was at our back all week, this still was not a "fun cruise". The dining room was hideous and very loud and after 2 nites we gave up and ... Read More
This was our 2nd aboard Carnival, 3 others were on RCL, understanding that Hurricane Wilma was at our back all week, this still was not a "fun cruise". The dining room was hideous and very loud and after 2 nites we gave up and ate on the Lido deck and one nite at Nick & Noras which was good, but not great, but we wanted to get dressed up at least one night. Our cabin,on the other hand was very comfortable and we were there more than anywhere else during our trip. We enjoyed watching the sunset each nite from our balcony and having breakfast each morning. Our stewardess Nevena was absolutely wonderful and we were sad to say goodbye to her. No complaints there. We are not sure what the "theme" was in the design of the ship, but we found it to be a little too colorful and in some places very cheap looking. We found that for some reason except for 1 or 2 nites the decks were rolled up and all the chairs stacked and virtually empty of people!!! The evenings were on a whole very nice and even though Wilma was in our area the weather wasn't bad, so we don't understand why most of the outside bars and decks were clear?? We spent and won money in the casino, once again not a big selection of slots at all and considering all the empty areas (clubs, bars and sitting areas) it would probably not be a bad idea to enlarge the casino at least Carnival could make some $$$ off the cruisers. The musicians that we saw were horrible..seems they dredged the bottom of the barrel here. We did enjoy the jazz trio and even the chamber music trio was good. We only found 1 or 2 clubs open at any given time with music it seemed to us that they rotated the clubs to get more people in them as most of the time they were only 1/3 full. The sea days although restful (finished my book) had very little to offer unless you wanted to play or watch the same old tired games day after day. As for the staff not impressed...my husband is visually impaired and when on the Lido deck we would walk by several waiters who would stare at us while I maneuvered my husband thru the crowds with a tray of food and only ONCE did a waiter offer to carry my tray so I could assist my husband. That doesn't impress me as service oriented staff, on RCL I received help whenever they saw that I was alone and trying to get us food and or a table. My family and I were very disappointed and really regret spending our hard earned money for 7 days on a boat ride. All our excursions were cancelled (not Carnivals fault) except that 1 was thru Carnival and we went all the way to the pier in Cozumel for a snorkel trip for 8am and when 30min had gone by I asked one of the guides what was going on he said that the tours had been cancelled and Carnival made no effort to notify us either with overhead announcements or a phone message to our room. There were about 4 or 5 snorkel/scuba tours that met the same ends. As for the excursions we ended up in Belize, Cozumel and Progresso, which was the worst port I have ever seen!! Unless you want to take a 7hr bus tour to the ruins there is absolutely nothing to do there. It is apparent to me that Carnival was grasping at straws, so as not to have to refund any $$$$ for all the port changes. It was bad enough that Belize and Cozumel were cut by several hours there, but unless you booked thru Carnival (another money maker??), you were out of luck getting anything worth doing on the notice given to us for the ports. By the time we would get off the ship, most of the tours (the ones that I knew to be reputable) had already departed with the Carnival tours. Yes we could have paid a lot more to go with Carnival, but I am well aware of how much money these tours cost vs the ship's tours and at this point we just weren't willing to pay them. The ONE we did try ended up being cancelled so what was the point? We go to the Caribbean to snorkel not to shop and with my husbands vision we are limited as to what he can do as well. We certainly hope that Carnival will consider improving their staff orientation to handicapped persons and try to improve on the quality of their entertainment. If it hadn't been for the casinos and the art auctions we would have been bored to tears. Sorry Carnival never again and we won't be recommending your ships to our friends or family. Read Less
Sail Date October 2005
Carnival Miracle Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.4
Dining 3.5 4.0
Entertainment 4.0 3.8
Public Rooms 4.0 4.3
Fitness Recreation 3.5 4.0
Family 4.0 4.0
Shore Excursion 3.0 4.0
Enrichment 1.5 3.5
Service 4.0 4.4
Value For Money 4.5 4.1
Rates 3.0 4.4

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