Carnival Miracle Cruise Review by Teafran
- Sail Date: April 2019
- Destination: Western Caribbean
- Cabin Type: Aft-View Extended Balcony
Being a Mini-suite guest, we had some "perks" which included priority embarkation, debarkation - little things that in theory made things better. The embarkation process was very good - I have to give Carnival credit for making that happen. The rest of the cruise was not to the same level.
It all started with the Muster Drill which is mandatory before the ship leaves port. To say this was a giant circular firing squad would be understatement. The crew didn't seem to have a handle on what to do, the drill was disorganized, the management staff seemed confused directing crew members here and there, a lot of rushing around - it was not the most confidence boosting process to say the least in that if it had been a real emergency, I'm not at all sure the crew would have been able to get guests off the ship in a timely and safe manner. Having mobility issues, myself, wife and Grandson we were directed to be in the "handicapped" area which, as it turned out, was not the proper area to be in - the person who gave us that information (a white hat "supervisor") directed us to the wrong place. This of course meant that we weren't accounted for at the proper location. Eventually, we were "found" and were checked in, but our Grandson needed a wrist band which he was given. We found out a day later that he had been given the wrong wrist band with the wrong location which we corrected at Guest services.
Having had this start to the trip, we were less than impressed, but it was what it was - onward and upward. We returned to our stern mini-suite and met our room steward Alit who was great - very friendly, helpful and really enjoyed interacting with our Grandson - he was entertaining and just a great guy. Unfortunately, Alit was the highlight of the trip - seriously.
The mini-suite itself was interesting in that it gives an impression of being "roomy", but it most definitely isn't. Our bed was "king sized" and as I tend to stay on the outside wall side of our rooms, there was no room for me to get in and out the side of the bed - which at 73 can become an "issue" in the middle of the night if you get my drift. I literally had to crawl off then end of the bed, use the facilities, then crawl back which....well, it wasn't a lot of fun. Also interesting was the lack of 120 VAC outlets - there weren't any. Well, there was one, but it didn't work. All the lamps had USB ports which is an interesting change from the last ship we were one. Fortunately, I did have USB cables with me for all the devices we had, but a lack of 120 VAC I couldn't not charge my shortwave radio which was disappointing. However, the room itself seemed to be in decent condition given the age of the ship.
The Miracle is definitely showing her age. Most of the common areas, including the theater, the upholstery was showing wear and tear. Carpeting in places was worn (but not through), two of the elevators in the stern had a mind of their own it seemed being very temperamental when more than four people were onboard. These elevators would go up, then down or just refuse to move occasionally - one learned to avoid those two affected elevators creating a traffic issue at times outside the Bacchus dining room. The forward restrooms near the theater entrance were horrible - the commodes refused to flush at times and the rooms themselves were dirty and clearly over used as there weren't enough towels to use after washing hands.
The excursions were OK - our main purpose was to take our Grandson to the Grand Cayman Sea Turtle Research facility and that kept him fascinated the whole time he was there. Cozumel was a great excursion with the Mayan games, dancers and the other side shows. The only "issue" was Belize - that was flat out the worst of the excursions. Frankly, Carnival should have given Belize a pass - the sea state was awful, boarding the tenders was extremely dangerous and the access point for the tenders was low to the water requiring a rather hazardous trip down wet, slippery stairs with minimal personnel to assist those who may have needed assistance. The half hour tender trip into Belize City was rough and given my back and hip issues, not a lot of fun. We did the Top Ten Belize excursion and it was ok - not great, but ok.
Camp Ocean was a hit with our Grandson so that was a plus - he liked the counselor and the kids were kept entertained which at his age (9 Years) is an accomplishment.
Overall, the Lido deck buffet was adequate, but the service end was lacking in "service". Dirty dishes sat on tables for lengthy periods of time, there seemed to be a lack of personnel to clean off tables, clean tables, etc. The food was nothing to write home about - its pretty sad when the one highlight on the buffet was pepperoni pizza. It was certainly not up to the standards we've had on other Carnival ships.
Dining was another issue. In the past, Carnival's dinners were more than adequate - again, not high end dining, but certainly acceptable. This time, the dinners were - well frankly, horrible. Either under cooked or over cooked - never consistent. For instance, I had the vegetable lasagna and it was a congealed mass of cheesy fat, not hot, but barely warm - just not good. Prime rib is one that I normally enjoy, but I like my meat medium - it came out well done and was shoe leather tough. The salad was good, but it's hard to screw up a salad.
Debarkation was a disaster for us. We were given debark information from Guest Services that directly contradicted what we were told originally when we boarded. We were not given debarkation priority because of this misinformation. Again, it seemed as if the left hand had no idea what the right hand was doing.
Overall, it would appear that the Miracle is having some personnel issues and perhaps some middle management issues. We have been on more than one Carnival cruise being Diamond level customers so when I say that by comparison to other Carnival cruises, this one rated the lowest of all - it has it's good/great points, but those were directly related to the excursions (with the exception of Belize). This appears to be an issue with Carnival as the trips we've taken each has been a little less enjoyable than the previous. Given our experience with this cruise, we feel that sticking with Princess or Royal Caribbean would be better.
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