Carnival Miracle - Western Caribbean: Carnival Miracle Cruise Review by Matto Gatto

Carnival Miracle 5
Matto Gatto

Overall Member Rating

Carnival Miracle - Western Caribbean

Sail Date: April 2006
Destination: Western Caribbean
Embarkation: Tampa
My husband and I cruised on the Miracle on April 23, 2006 for 7 nights. It was truly an unforgettable experience.

Sunday  Embarkation -- Embarkation was a breeze. We flew into Tampa on Saturday night, and Carnival provided us with a one-night stay at the Tampa Airport Marriott hotel. On Sunday morning, we waited for our shuttle to take us to the ferry terminal. We were at the terminal at approximately 11:30 am, and we boarded the Miracle by 12:30 pm. We immediately went for lunch on Deck 9  the Lido Deck. There was a great variety of food ranging from burgers, to homemade sandwiches, to fish and chicken. After we stuffed our faces, we went to purchase a Fountain Card (well worth it if you drink lots of pop and juice). We then did a thorough walk through of the ship, since we were waiting for our luggage to be delivered to our cabin.

As Im prone to motion sickness, my travel agent advised me to book an inside cabin toward the middle of the ship. Our cabin wasnt More large, but it was sufficient for the two of us. The bathroom was small, but clean. We loved the shower.

After conducting a thorough tour of the ship, we were called to attend the muster drill (what a bore  but its absolutely mandatory all passengers of the ship attend the drill). Shortly after, we returned to our cabin, and our luggage was delivered right to our door.

We unpacked, settled in, and then headed to the Bacchus Dining room for our first dinner (early seating). We asked for a small table, and we were given table/booth 117. The booth could have seated 4 people, but we had it to ourselves throughout the cruise. We were extremely happy with our table and the serving team. We had Ida (from Indonesia), Daria (from Russia), and Bu (from Thailand). They were extremely friendly, helpful, and fun to converse with. After our feast, we watched the welcome onboard show. It was all right.

Monday  Day at Sea -- My husband participated in a game show trivia and won a Carnival medallion, then we watched the belly flop contest (large, hairy men doing belly flops in the swimming pool). We also soaked up some sun, sat in the pool, ate, drank, and walked around. It was formal night tonight, so we returned to our cabin at 3:30 pm to get ready for the Captains cocktail party at 5:00 pm. It was held in the Phantom Lounge, and there were free drinks and appies. The captain reminded me of Robert DeNiro. The Cruise Director, Mark Hawkins, is whacked or on crack..We then headed to dinner in the Bacchus Dining room, and to our surprise, the serving team remembered our names and what we wanted to drink. My husband ordered prime rib and a lobster tail (two main courses), and I ordered a lobster tail (it was all right). After dinner, we watched a Vegas-style show called Generations. It was pretty entertaining.

Tuesday  Grand Cayman -- This was our favorite port of all. We did the Stingray & Island Tour, but we booked online through Nativeway Watersports (excellent! I highly recommend them). We swam with the stingrays in the beautiful, warm Caribbean water. Our guide Charlie, was a hoot. There were only 6 of us on the tour, so we all had lots of time with the stingrays. The Miracle group had about 60 people, and they were packed like sardines on the catamaran. We were lucky that we had such a small group. In addition, Charlie even took us to a small reef to snorkel (this wasnt even included in our tour). Afterward, we visited the Turtle Farm, Hell, and the Tortuga Rum Factory. Their rum cakes are sooo delicious. My husband and I were quite sad when the tour ended. Dinner as usual in the Bacchus Dining Room.

Wednesday  Cozumel -- There was still some serious damage left from the hurricane. We planned on going to Chankanaab Park by taxi, but they told us it was closed due to all the hurricane damage. We were really, really disappointed. We had no choice but to venture to Playa Uvas, the beach closest to Chankanaab Park. Entrance fee was $7 US per person, but it included 2 drinks. When we arrived, we were awestruck by the beauty of the beach and the water. We were the first ones there, so we had first pick of the loungers. We rented a locker for $5 US, and a lifejacket. We soaked up some sun, got our drinks, and then headed into the crystal-clear water for some snorkeling. Luckily we brought our own snorkel gear. We saw lots of colorful fish (some blue tangs, a variety of angelfish, some gobies, and even a large puffer fish). The puffer fish was our highlight of the day. My husband swam/chased it until it hid under a small reef. I swam up to my husband, and found the puffer fish. We both stared at it for a good 10 minutes. The fish glared right back at us. We left it alone after a while, and swam to look at other species of fish. When I returned to the puffer fishs hideout, it already escaped. oh well. After snorkeling, we returned to the beach and ordered some nachos. It was absolutely amazing! Delicious melted cheese, and the best guacamole weve ever had! By mid-afternoon, the beach became quite crowded, so we left. We walked around Cozumel for a bit, and headed back to the ship.

We ate dinner at Nick & Noras tonight. My husband ordered a massive 24 oz. Porterhouse Steak, and I ordered the Surf & Turf (lobster tail and filet mignon). The atmosphere and service was well worth the extra $30 per person. Unfortunately, I couldnt enjoy my entire meal, as a bout of motion sickness hit me. I think I had one bite each out of the lobster tail and filet mignon. The food was very good and impressive, but too bad I lost my appetite. Our evening ended shortly after dinner.

Thursday  Belize -- Like other reviewers have mentioned, dont get off the ship unless you book an excursion. Belize is definitely a third-world country. I dont think Ive ever seen such frail dogs and cats roaming the streets. We booked a Cave Tubing excursion through Hammerhead Watersports (previously Coral Breeze Limited), and we had an awesome time. Our guide was Carlos, and he was quite entertaining. We only had 4 people in our group. We got there quite early, and walked right past the Miracle group (they had roughly 50 to 60 people). After walking for about 30 minutes, we reached the entrance to the river. The water was quite cool and refreshing, and Carlos joked, When you jump in, dont cry for your mama!! Carlos was very experienced with the caves and pointed out many stalagmites. He was very organized, and never left any of our group members behind. The Carnival Miracle group couldnt keep everyone together. We saw many single floaters drifting around. After approximately 1 hour of cave tubing, we stopped at a local restaurant for lunch. We had really tasty BBQ chicken, rice, banana muffin, salad, and fruit punch. On our ride back to the terminal, we were so bombed out we fell asleep in the air-conditioned van. Overall, we had a really great time.

Friday  Costa Maya -- This was our least favorite port, although its the only one that didnt require any tenders. We checked out the resort which included a swimming pool, a swim-up bar, many shops and restaurants. We decided to take a cab to Majahual, the fishing village. When we arrived, I was quite disappointed, as I heard many glowing reviews about that place. There were street vendors in every direction begging you to buy something. We walked quickly down the street until we reached the end of the beach. We decided to spend most of the day there. The water was again crystal-clear, and the beach was quite nice. There was a bar with swings right next to us. After a few drinks, we decided to do some snorkeling, since we had such a blast in Cozumel. Boy, I was disappointed. First of all, I was told there were sea urchins in the water, then we snorkeled out a bit, and didnt see any nice fish (other than boring, silver fish  they all looked the same). To top it off, there were jet skiers and kayakers all over the place, and if you werent careful, youd get your head knocked off your shoulders. After playing in the water for a short time, I decided to call it quits. I then walked to a nearby restaurant to order some mixed ceviche (shrimp, conch, octopus, tomatoes, red onions, marinated in a tangy lime dressing). It was all right, but I didnt think it was worth $10 US. Shortly after, we left Majahual and headed back to the port. We had some nachos at the resorts restaurant, and it was awful. Definitely nothing like the nachos we had at Playa Uvas in Cozumel.

After a disappointing day in Costa Maya, we headed back to the ship. Tonight was the second formal night, and we dressed up again. We took lots of pictures on the ship, and purchased quite a few onboard. After dinner at the Bacchus Dining room, we watched another Vegas-style production called Tribute to the Beatles or something like that. It was worth watching.

Saturday  Day at Sea -- The seas were very, very rough today. Swells between 6  8 feet. Motion sickness hit me again (even after I took a dose of Bonamine). Couldnt eat breakfast or lunch. My husband and I tried to keep busy to keep my mind off of the constant rocking back and forth of the ship. We played bingo (won $200), went to the casino and won $60 from blackjack. Shortly after, we headed to the Lido Deck for dinner. I didnt have much of an appetite to have a sit-down dinner in the Bacchus Dining room. I was craving French Fries, so that was what I had for dinner. Afterward, we walked over to the Bacchus Dining room to say adios to the serving team, and to thank them for their excellent service. Then, we headed back to the cabin to pack our luggage, and we hit the sack shortly after that.

Sunday  Debarkation -- Although motion sickness hit me a couple of times during the cruise, I must say we still had a very fun and relaxing vacation. We (especially my husband) were sad to leave the beautiful ship. As we were given VIP tags, we were one of the first to debark. We were off the ship by 9:00 am, and we boarded the shuttle to head back to the airport. Boo hoo. Less

Published 05/05/06

Cabin review: 1162

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