Carnival Miracle - Western Caribbean: Carnival Miracle Cruise Review by SeaBunny

Carnival Miracle 5
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Carnival Miracle - Western Caribbean

Sail Date: October 2005
Destination: Western Caribbean
Embarkation: Tampa
Carnival Miracle: It Wowed Us!

Last October 2005, my husband and I, along with six friends, spent a week on the Carnival Miracle. After hearing bad things about Carnival for years, Im not quite sure why we picked this ship, but we had a blast. So, for all you people out there who dis Carnival, I say give them a chance. I think youll be pleasantly surprised.

First, Im going to go through everything that made this ship great.

Our balcony stateroom was roomy for a cruise ship, had plenty of storage in the bath and in closets and drawers, and was nicely decorated. We only saw our room attendant once , when I requested extra Diet Coke in the refrigerator, but everything was perfect in our room at all times. The bed was totally divine. It was so comfortable that I didnt even realize how comfortable it was until the third day. It was better than beds Ive had at the Ritz Carlton! Perfect pillows, perfect weight coverings, cloud-like mattress. The nice terry More robes and the over-stuffed amenity basket were pleasant surprises  the amenity basket included things like disposable razors and even some reading material.

The Miracle is a big ship, but most of the time we kept wondering where all the people were. With three pool areas and lots of little nooks and crannies, the ship was never crowded. There were always plenty of deck chairs  in the sun and in the shade. The only time there was a crowd was on the first evening going into the dining room, when every one was finding out where their table was. That was it.

Speaking of dining, the food was just fine. I dont expect fine dining from cruise ships. After all, any time you have 1000 or so people sitting down to eat at the same time youre basically talking banquet fare. Every meal we had was certainly better than that. Some dishes were excellent. The vegetarian choices were surprisingly good. Our wait staff did a great job. We had a very unfortunate table  crowded into a corner with a low ceiling  but thats just one of those things.

A few other things that made this ship great -- Plenty of elevators: seems like as soon as you pushed a button, one appeared and you were almost always alone for your direct trip. Great cruise director staff: they seemed to enjoy their jobs, which really makes a difference. Terrific photographers: they really worked to get the photos right and the prices were reasonable. My husband is a professional photographer, and even he was impressed. The thin-crust pizza in the buffet area was excellent.

We enjoyed the activities, from the world pub crawl, to the newlywed game, to the trivia contests (our favorite). The shows were mixed, but were not really into that.

Now for the downside -- and its all in the dining room. I know Carnival is famous for its over-the-top dEcor. But the dining room was atrocious! The Bacchus dining room was covered with these Frisbee-sized lights that were supposed to be grapes. Unfortunately, when lit, they were the color of Pepto-Bismol. It was like having a lot of little, pink, flying saucers all over the walls and ceiling. In our low-ceilinged corner, it was even uglier. Then there was the maitre d'. You are just finishing your meal, content and relaxed, and there he was on a very overly-loud speaker, opening with Hello you happy people. Then continuing with announcements about teams and the like. What a terrible way to end a meal!

Now, for some comparisons. We just returned from a trans-Atlantic on Royal Caribbeans Brilliance of the Seas. While we had an excellent time, frankly, Carnival has it all over RCL in our book. The staterooms on Brilliance were smaller. The mattress, pillows and bedding were very disappointing. The only in-room amenities were small bars of soap and an unlabeled dispenser in the shower we think might have been shampoo. There was always a wait for the elevator. The upholstered furniture in the public rooms was worn, torn and stained. You had to walk through very smoky smoking areas to get to some places. The food wasnt any better (and their pizza was worse than cheap frozen). Deck chairs were always full by the pool. And even though gratuities are automatically added to every beverage purchase on both ships, there was a line for you to add another tip on Brilliance. Whats that about?

So all you people who have been avoiding Carnival: Try it, youll like it. Just focus on the happy faces of your companions in the Bacchus dining room instead of the dEcor. Less

Published 06/05/06

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