As a quick bit of information I've cruise with Carnival 2 times before (including on the Miracle in 2005) and also with NCL, Princess, HAL, RCI and MSC.
This cruise was part of a wider trip to the west coast of the states and was the best Hawaii round trip itinerary out of all the major players (Princess, HAL and Celebrity) as it's the only one that does 5 ports in Hawaii instead of 4. It was however more expensive than the average Carnival cruise due to this reason !
The cruise itself was amazing, 4 days at sea (very choppy but weather was ok), 5 Hawaiian ports (Maui - Whale watching , Ohau - Island tour and Pearl Harbour, Kauai - Island tour, Kona - Zodiac tour and Hilo - Volcano bike tour) 4 days at sea (Calm and good weather) and half a day in Ensenada Mexico (Odd place, but fine for shops and bars).
Hawaii was an awesome place, better than the Caribbean islands with so much to do ! I'm already planning my return trip in a few years time.
Over to the summary of the cruise.....
The good things:
- Cabin was a good size, kept clean and tidy with good stewards. Balcony was a nice size too. We were mid ship Balcony deck 6
- I like the Gym and spa facilities on the Miracle as they are plentiful and free of charge to use as well (Including Sauna and Steam room!)
- Disembarkation was smooth and very well done
- We docked on time or early to pretty much all ports and it was smooth on all of them. Even Kona where we had to tender (Although we did book a trip through Carnival for this port as we heard about the tender issues before. Only port that we used Carnival for though due to cost!)
- Breakfast and Lunch buffet were generally good with a good choice and nice flavor
- Lounges , bars and relaxation areas are great on the Miracle. Better than on most other ships, even the big NCL and RCI ships !
- Entertainment was generally good with a few good shows, singers and dancers and a great band in the Red Frog pub !
- Staff were all very helpful and friendly
The not so good / bad:
- Embarkation at Long Beach was awful, took nearly 2 hours due to long queues everywhere ! Not sure if this is due to the port or Carnival. But definitely needs working on!
- Evening buffet was practically non existent and very poor !!!!
- Not enough food or meal choices. Main dining room menu was not that great and with such a poor evening buffet and a $35 steak house it left you stuck in the evening on a 15night cruise ! NCL and RCI cater much better for the evenings
Now onto why I will never sail with Carnival again....
Firstly, on every other cruise I've been on (14 of them) they have religiously enforced the washing of hands every time you get on the ship and when you enter the restaurants and buffet. Not once did we get asked to wash our hands !!! on a 15 day cruise !! There were a few machines to sanitize your hands, but not many ! and often placed out of the way.
To make matters worse our group (of 10) noticed on numerous occasions both men and women going to toilet and not washing their hands, people using their hands to grab buffet food and even putting it back !!!
Then finally to compound matters 4 of our group got food poisoning / Noro Virus. Where they lost 24hrs of their cruise (2 of them missing Maui as they couldn't get off the ship). We were 90% sure it was food poisoning as it happened on the Lobster evenings and if it was Noro Virus then their room mates should have caught it too which they didn't !
We spoke to others on the ship and came across at least 10-15 other guest who had caught the virus or food poisoning, missed ports or been confined to their cabin ! Speaking to another guest who had spoken to the crew they had been told that Noro Virus was rife on the ship ! I can see why.... no enforcement of cleaning hands compounded by dirty, grubby and unhygienic guests !! Who I'm sure would be the first to complain if they got sick. Whether it was the cruise lines fault, the Chef's fault or the clienteles fault, we won't be cruising with Carnival again ! Will be sticking to Princess and NCL.
Good size, plenty of space and storage. Balcony was perfect for 2 people with plenty of space.
Always quiet and never heard noise from above, next door or below. No engine noise either. Definitely a good location.
Could do with a revamp though as they look dated and showers could do with a deep clean
Great sunset whale watching !!
We hired a car too to tour the island, definitely worth it
We hired a limo for 8 of us and visited Pearl Habour, Pine apple plantation, north shore beaches and the Hawaii 5-0 office museum place.
Amazing island and worth exploring. Also went to Honolulu town itself for evening drinks on Waikiki beach !
Hired a car and went to hollywood, Santa Monica and Venice beach
We hired a car and visited water falls, beaches and the valley
Amazing place and will definitely come back
Booked Captain Zodiac trip (Same price as booking direct)
It was great, good crew, amazing sights and snorkelling. A bit over priced like all Hawaii trips, but worth doing !
We did the Volcano bike tour.
Simply incredible sights of the volcano, craters, lava tube and sea !
Would have liked more cycling time, but a great trip none the less !