Fabulous first-time cruise: Carnival Miracle Cruise Review by labsnabys

Carnival Miracle 5
Member Since 2013
268 Forum Posts

Overall Member Rating

Fabulous first-time cruise

Sail Date: April 2013
Destination: Mexican Riviera
Embarkation: Los Angeles
Having never cruised before mainly due to my history with seasickness, we booked this trip only a couple of months before sailing almost on a whim. We chose the the cruise based on the port and date more than anything else...we wanted west coast so it was in driving distance and it had to be the week of our kids' spring break. We have friends who have cruised other lines and love Carnival the best for families, so the Carnival Miracle out of Long Beach to Cabo and Puerto Vallarta it was! We quickly read up on reviews and tips and felt confident that we had made the right choice. After much debate we opted for an Ocean Suite...the cost was comparable to 2 rooms, but there were no adjoining rooms available. Our kids (11 and 13) are too young to be in a room across or down the hall, and we did not want to have to split ourselves up. We also did not want to be crammed into a small room...DH brought his guitar and wanted space to relax in the room or on the balcony and play. We More later saw one very negative review of suite 6166 here on CC, but we were committed.

Embarkation was just okay. We had priority boarding due to the suite, but the priority area was packed and the process of getting through security and onto the ship was pretty disorganized. Still, we arrived just before 11:00am and were seated on the Lido deck eating lunch by 1:00pm. Our room was available at 1:30pm, but the luggage did not arrive until maybe 5pm. We were on Lido waiting to see watch the sail-away, but we ended up departing late and so we missed it due to our 6:00pm seating time in the Main Dining Room.

Food - The MDR was our biggest disappointment. Not sure what we were expecting, although I knew from other people to expect a 90 min. meal process. We were stuck in a very dark corner right near the entrance to the MDR, and while our waiter was very friendly, he seemed very overextended and the service was slow and chaotic. We ate in the MDR only nights 1 and 2 (night 2 was Elegant Night) and then we gave up on it. The food was not good enough to make it worth the slow service and feeling like we were stuck in a cave. People have said we should have complained and asked to be moved, but we were happy to eat in the buffet and not have to worry about dressing up and being there at a specific time. We also didn't want to mar our vacation by turning into complainers. We enjoyed the freedom to eat whenever we wanted, wear what we wanted, and choose from a wide variety of options. Sure, it's buffet food, but some of it was pretty good -- specifically the Pizza Pirate, the deli sandwiches, the soups, and the Carvery choices. The coffee was terrible on the Lido! I hear they recently changed it and it's better than it used to be, but we were not fans. The Cafe Bar, however, makes a fantastic cappuccino at a very reasonable price!

Cabin - The suite was wonderful -- very spacious, comfortable beds, large bathroom with 2 sinks and a full-size shower, loads of closet and storage space, plenty of lighting options, and a spacious balcony big enough for two chairs and two loungers if desired. The lifeboats are a couple of levels below, but that did not detract at all from the view or sense of privacy. The location could not have been more central, and was extremely quiet and peaceful. I can't say enough good things about suite 6166!

Entertainment - We really enjoyed the entertainment on the ship. We are not gamblers (live in Nevada and don't gamble at home either), but we frequented the nightly shows, comedy club and piano bar, and they were all great fun. Dave the piano bar entertainer was a big highlight for us -- he is a fantastic entertainer and makes every single person feel welcome and appreciated. The band in the big shows was excellent as was the lead female singer. The Beatles tribute show featured a combo that appeared to be made up of crew members, and they were fantastic too!

Kids' Club - Our kids were not keen on the kids' club at first, but I pre-registered them just in case and we all went to the meet and greet on the first night. The Circle C director, Rex, allowed our 11 year old (3 months shy of turning 12) to be in Circle C with the 12-14 yr. olds rather than in the 2-11 club, and that made his day! The boys had a blast on the ship. They met a big group of kids in Circle C, and even when they were not taking part in the club's organized activities, they were hanging out with their new friends. First thing each morning they would check the Circle C schedule to see what was on tap for the day. They absolutely loved the freedom to come and go from the club, have meals with their new friends, play in the arcade, etc. We set up their S&S cards with a very low dollar limit and would add a little to it each day so they didn't blow all of their spending money right away. This worked out great and the S&S kiosks make it very easy.

Ports - We did the Las Caletas excursion in Puerto Vallarta and returned to the ship as soon as we arrived back. We were not big fans of the whole Cabo scene, but PV looked like a place I would visit in the future.

Ship - We loved the layout and amenities of the Miracle and would highly recommend this ship. The only time we ever felt like it was crowded was during rush times in the Lido buffet. Otherwise, there were many areas of the ship where you could relax in uncrowded, uncluttered areas. The staff were constantly cleaning and polishing everything in sight, and the crew was extremely friendly and helpful. Our Cruise Director, Tex, was great -- funny, helpful, and a very nice guy.

Overall, we loved our cruise and would go again in a heartbeat! Less

Published 04/20/13

Cabin review: OS6166 Ocean Suite

Miracle cabin 6166, and Ocean Suite, is a fabulous room! I was scared after reading a previous review, but I question whether that person actually stayed in this cabin. The bed was firm but extremely comfortable. The pillows were great. The carpet was extremely clean...you could walk around in white socks all day and not get so much as a smudge of dirt from the floor. The room is very spacious, has loads of storage space in closets, drawers, cabinets, under the bed, you name it. If you can't find room for your stuff, there is something wrong with you, not the room! The light switches took getting used to, but it was great how you could control many different types and levels of lighting. This was especially nice since we didn't all go to sleep at the same time. The bathroom was huge -- double sink with granite countertops, lots of space for toiletries, etc., full-size shower with a nice adjustable shower head and a clothesline. The shower doors do have a gap where they close, but it has zero effect on water containment. The provided body wash and shampoo are a bit watered down making it hard to get a lather with the ship's hard water. I used the provided bar soap and my own shampoo, but the rest of the family used what the ship provided. The location of this suite is ideal! It could not be more centrally located. If you want to go forward, turn left. To go aft, turn right. There is nothing across the hall. It was exceedingly quiet. We didn't even realize we had neighbors until we saw them on the balcony watching for pier runners in Puerto Vallarta. Speaking of the balcony, it was much bigger than we expected and had an excellent vantage point. There were two chairs and a lounger out there, but we could easily have fit another lounger if we needed it. This is a great suite -- don't hesitate to book it if you get the chance!

Read All Ocean Suite (OS) Reviews >>

Port and Shore Excursions

We were not fans of Cabo San Lucas. There appear to be some lovely beaches, but we did not visit them. We did the dune buggy excursion on our first day in Cabo (I wrote a separate review on the Carnival site) and stayed on the ship to sun, relax and chill on the second day. I thought about taking the kids to the beach on Day 2, but they wanted to sleep in and we had to be back on the tenders by 3:15pm, so I decided it wasn't worth it. We could hear the partying from the bars all the way out where the ship was anchored. That's just not our scene.

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Member Since 2013
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