We sailed on the Carnival Miracle in April out of NYC. We had cruised on Carnival's Inspiration 8 years ago(our first cruise) and everything was exceptional. However, we were truly disappointed with this cruise.
Our major complaint is with the difference in the treatment received by the staff. Primarily with their security staff on trying to get off the ship at the ports was the worst. After being at sea for 2 days our first stop was Puerto Rico and I think most everyone was anxious to get off. The ship only had one exit available and it seemed like chaos getting people lined up and took forever. It was not a pleasant experience and the security staff in charge were rude. Same thing happened at Turks and Caicos. We had booked a private excursion at Turks and thought we would miss it. Luckily they waited for us. At St. Thomas it was better because they did have 2 exits open. Not sure why they would only have had one at the others but it sure was poor planning and you felt like a criminal the way you were yelled at by the staff to stay in line etc.
Another major difference we found was with Room Service. On our first cruise I was amazed at their prompt efficient service. Not this time. After the first 3 days I gave up and never called them again. Our order in the morning only consisted of two pots of tea and fruit. Never got that right. It was just the two of us and we just each wanted a pot of tea that basically give us two cups each to drink. We would get one pot of tea and four cups, one pot of tea and one cup, couldn't make them understand. They also would take forever to answer and you were placed on hold or even hung up on. So I gave up and would wonder down and carry it up myself. So they lost out on their tips that way. I also tried putting out the card on the door, but that never came at all.
The best staff encounter was our room steward. He was great and we had no complaints at all with him. So we tipped him extra at the end since we choose to do our own gratuities at the beginning. We only tipped our dinning room staff the minimum since the service was just acceptable. I was thinking that perhaps there was a communication issue as our orders (for a table of six) were mixed up on 5 of the 7 times visiting the dinning room. The food itself was good but not exceptional. The bar staff that we encountered were good.
You couldn't see the TV screen properly if you were lying in bed and we had to call them for service. That took two days to fix. Apparently from talking to other guests at breakfast they had the same issue. Not one to sit and watch TV while on a cruise, but do like to turn it on just before falling to sleep. Couldn't even make out the faces.
Our experience at the ports of call:
Puerto Rico - Not good. We had opted to venture off to a public beach and took a taxi there that we shared with someone else from the ship. That was ok but found the public beach very dirty. We started to walk back to find a cab to take us back to the ship. Found one that was just parked at the side of the street but he said he would not take us, that he was too busy. So we had to walk about 2 miles back to ship (on his directions) and never saw another cab. Not a pleasant experience.
St. Thomas - We went to Secret Harbor Beach for snorkeling. I had researched this prior to the cruise. It was Wonderful. Probably the best snorkeling and the most pleasant beach I have ever visited. Highly Recommended. Amazing snorkeling experience and no crowds. Turks and Caicos: Nice. We had booked a private snorkeling charter. Preferred the snorkeling off the beach in St. Thomas though.
Disembarkation from the ship: Good. Have to admit it was much better organized than getting off at the ports. Felt like they couldn't wait to get rid of us.
Summary: Although we still enjoyed our cruise,I have to admit we're not planning another one soon. Going to book at an all-inclusive resort next year instead. Hopefully, you enjoy your cruise, just don't put high expectations on Carnival's Miracle.
No problems with an obstructed balcony, Would book again.