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Carnival Miracle Cruise Review
4.0 / 5.0
Cruise Critic Editor Rating
1,400 Reviews

Great Journey on Carnival Journeys Cruise to Hawaii!

Carnival Miracle Cruise Review by tommytune42

16 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: Jan 2016
  • Destination: Hawaii
  • Cabin Type: Interior

This was my first trip to Hawaii, but my 15th cruise over all--certainly not my longest, but I live for longer cruises just like this with lots of sea days, amazing ports, and the experience one can only get during time on a ship. I arrived with my partner in Long Beach the night before the cruise and stayed at the Hotel Maya. It was a fabulous hotel (albeit a bit on the pricey side when it came to dining--even though the food was fantastic!) with beautiful views of the harbor. We were able to watch the Miracle as she came in and felt the anticipation that comes when the heart starts beating faster upon seeing the ship for the first time.

This was, unfortunately, NOT my first time sailing out of Long Beach, and so I was prepared for the major mess that embarkation is from this port. Why can't Carnival get this right? We watched supervisors literally changing lines and policies on the fly. They sail out of Long Beach three times every week--they should certainly be able to get their act together. That had the potential of marring the first day, but once onboard the ship the process was soon forgotten. We were on a ship bound for Hawaii!

We had an interior cabin on deck one with a fabulous steward. The room was clean and tidy and had even been somewhat updated (flat screen tv, newer mattresses) and was very comfortable for our 15 days. I am platinum and when I arrived in my cabin the bottle of water and drink coupon were waiting for me, and the gift arrived later in the week.

Dining was fabulous on this ship. In fact, things in the main dining room were so good that we never ventured up to the steak house, which is highly unusual for us. We had an amazing service team and loved the variety on the dining room menus that comes with the longer cruises--you get to see things you don't normally see on a Carnival menu. The staff was not only friendly but also highly efficient, and the longest we were ever in the dining room from being seated to walking out was 1 hour and 15 minutes max. The buffet was what the buffet is--the regional varieties were interesting, but buffet isn't really our thing and so we only ate there three or four times. We did try the new room service menu--got the free Caesar salad and deserts, and then paid extra for wings, fries, and pizza and were very impressed with all of it.

With 9 1/2 sea days I thought the staff did a great job of planning activities. Yes, there was a lot of trivia, but that's not really our thing. We did, however, love the lectures (there were two lecturers--a naturalist and Tom, from the Academy of Fun, and we attended all of their lectures and collected all of the pins). We also loved the throwback sea day. The frog races were silly but fun, as was the horse racing. Chloe, the cruise director, did a good job with the love and marriage show, and all of the guest acts were incredible. The shows were average at best--we've seen far better shows on other Carnival ships, and we are no fans of the Playlist Productions.

I'll say more about the ports in individual summaries, but we did our research in advance and rented a car in Kauai, Maui, and Hilo. We just wandered around in Kona and shopped for souvenirs, and then we booked an excursion through Carnival for Pearl Harbor that was good but somewhat sabotaged by a well-meaning tour guide at the USS Missouri who took way too much time, keeping us from having the time we wanted to see the whole ship.

I used the gym nearly every day. It was a typical cruise experience--the gym was packed the first few days, and by day seven it was fairly empty and machines were easy to come by.

Disembarkation was handled very well. It was raining in Long Beach, which made things a bit complicated because the port authority would not allow people to stand on the bridge/gangway while it was raining, but the staff did a fantastic job of keeping people informed. We were zone 1 but opted to get off the ship at 10:15 to manage our time better. We quickly found a taxi to take us to LAX and began our journey home.

I will say that the crossing to Hawaii was a tad rough, but all-in-all it was far better than the last time I went across the Pacific. The ride back was far more smooth and there were even some sunny days to lay out on the Serenity Deck and get some sun.

There was some sickness on board--I think that many people came on board sick and it spread quickly. There was a flu-like thing that went around, but it passed quickly. Those that had it were pretty miserable, and those that reported it were restricted to their cabins, which is where they should be so that the rest of us would not get it.

All-in-all, it was a great cruise, and the Journeys activities made it even better. In fact, we had such a good time that we have booked a return trip in October to do it all again!


tommytune42's Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Interior

The cabin was large and comfortable. The bed was amazing and the steward kept things very clean. The location was perfect for accessing all of the main ship activities other than the Lido Deck--and for that there were lots of stairs to get us there and help keep us in shape!


Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

Maui

We rented a car through Dollar. The process of getting to the shuttle was a bit of a mess at the port, but once we got to the rental office they were amazingly efficient and fast at getting us a car and on the road. We traveled to Lahaina where we had a pre-booked excursion through Pacific Whale for a whale watching tour. It was fantastic--the weather was perfect and we saw a LOT of dolphins and whales. We also went to the Feast at Lele which was a lot of fun with really good fun. Getting back to the ship took a bit longer than expected because of a fire on the main road, but the ship was waiting for us when we got there. All in all it was a great day--the only hitch was our own fault--we parked in bus only parking and earned a $60 parking ticket for our trouble--but it was our own fault and hardly worth ruining the day.

Honolulu

We booked this tour through Carnival. It was a great price and they price matched what we had found on line in advance through another operator. The bus driver/tour guide was funny and engaging. The tour of the museum at Pearl Harbor was self-guided and very powerfully moving. Unfortunately, the "guided tour" of the Mighty Mo was led by a young woman who had her own agenda. She was pleasant and knowledgeable, but she took all our time showing us three spots on the deck and we had no time left over to explore the rest of the ship.

Kauai

We rented a car here from Dollar. The shuttle was right there and we got right to the rental agency office. Unfortunately, there was no real sense of urgency, and then there were a couple of problems with some of the customers. We ended up standing there for 50 minutes before we finally got to the counter to get a car. Once we did, however, the agent was very apologetic, speedy, and actually upgraded us to a much nicer car than what we had paid for.

We spent the day exploring the Waimea Canyon. We also may have stopped at a Taco Bell on our way, but there's no proof of that. :) The canyon is fantastic, and if you go don't just go to the main entrance but be sure to travel further up the hill to see the other viewing spots.

After leaving the volcano we stopped at Salt Pond Beach, which was by far our favorite stop on the islands. This is the Hawaiian beach you have seen in your dreams. The people there were very friendly--we were even invited by several families to share in their gatherings and eat their food. From there we stopped at the blow hole and saw the water shooting out of the ground--it was a fantastic day and we can't wait to go back.

Kona (Kailua Bay)

We did not plan anything here. Because we are platinum we were able to get on a tender when we were ready and got to shore very easily. We spent our time walking around the port area, toured the church, bought souvenirs at the market, and then grabbed a bite and a beer at one of the local hangouts. All-in-all it was a lovely day. Oh--and we saw turtles at the beach area.

Hilo

Once again we rented a car from Dollar. The shuttle was MIA, and so a group of us rented a taxi for $20 and got ahead of the crows. We were again upgraded on our vehicle for free and headed off for the Volcanoes National Park where we went to the museum, hiked the trail, walked through the lava tube, ate a lunch on the ground with some authentic Hawaiian eats, and then headed to Akaka falls. We made really good time and had a very pleasant day. Again--we can't wait to go back!


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tommytune42
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