We spent our pre-cruise night at Best Western of Long Beach. The stay there was compliments of our travel agency, CompanionShips. There were many cruisers staying there as they provide free shuttle service to the port. Another thanks to CompanionShips for recognition of our 43rd wedding anniversary. The Dining Room staff sang and brought us a heart-shaped cake on the first Elegant Night! Very nice gesture and totally unexpected! We were very pleased with our inside cabin. Despite the fact we were directly below the casino, we never heard any noise above us. Being on a lower level does have its advantages, as we were just one floor below the dining room, casino, guest services and Phantom Theater, which was the major entertainment venue. Our room steward was Eva, who provided excellent service and was available from 8am - 8 pm daily. We were on the "Anytime Dining" plan and had no wait whatsoever whenever we showed up for dinner. Service in the DR is very slow, and even at breakfast we had to allow 90 minutes or more. Sea Day Brunch was very popular and the favorite menu item there was steak and eggs! After a particularly bad dinner experience, we asked to not be seated in Head Waiter Melvin's section. We found the waiters in his section to be extremely slow and forgetful. We saw other guests get up and left the DR after receiving nothing more than a menu and basket of bread over the course of an hour. Our first port was Maui where we booked the Wonders of Haleakala tour thru Carnival. Very disorganized. Apparently there are several tours they schedule that include Haleakala. I would suggest Carnival give a number to each of these tours, as there was mass confusion among the guests trying to figure out which bus they were supposed to board. Once we were on the correct bus, our driver Don gave us a great tour. Our next stop was Oahu, which we toured on our own using The Bus. $5 gets you a fill day pass. We reserved our own tickets for The Arizona memorial which was a one hour drive via bus. Our next port was Kona on the Big Island where we did Clark's Hop on Hop off tour bus. This was the only port where we had to tender. Again, very disorganized. It appeared Carnival used only two tender boats to transport over 2,000'passengers. We had very limited port time there as we arrived around 10:30. Priority tendering was given to Platinum, Diamond and Faster to the Fun guests. Tender tickets were distributed and we were #25 so we did not actually set foot on Kona until 1:00 pm. We had to be back onboard by 4:30 so our time there was extremely limited. Our second stop on the island was Hilo where we enjoyed a great private tour with Ricky's Tours. Karen was our guide and she drove a 15 passenger van.i would highly recommend Ricky's! We also toured Kauai, again on a tour booked with Carnival. Much more organized and informative!
Our final stop was Ensenada. We did not book a tour as we were limited to 4 hours there. Buses were at the port, taking us to a nearby shopping district and back for $3. Unless I had a tour booked, I would stay on the shop in Ensenada. The area is impoverished and we received safety warnings from the crew as we walked off the ship. The Miracle is a HUGE ship, and I personally prefer a smaller ship. I feel the Buffet Dining area does not offer enough seating to accommodate the amount of passengers. Breakfast buffet is scheduled to begin at 6:30 and lunch at 11:30. Although there are many buffet stations, we found only one open for guests at the scheduled opening time. Although the other stations were fully stocked with staff and not food, "Buffet closed" signs were at each station. Can't figure that one out! Most days we chose to eat breakfast in the DR as the scrambled eggs on the buffet were very runny and the bacon was undercooked and floppy! Debarkation again priorotozed guests who were Diamond, Platinum or Faster to the fun. Also anyone who chose to carry off their own bags. We booked bus transport to LAX and waited in line over an hour to board the bus. I would not recommend a flight before 2 pm if you choose this option. We were among the last to get off the ship, which was at 10:45 am.
Good sized sor an interior cabin. Three closets, plenty of drawers. Bath and shower were as expected. Carnival desperately needs to upgrade their Direct TV service. Very limited programs with only one news channel...CNN that ran only political news.
Walked through shopping district.