May 2015 - Carnival Miracle to Mexico
My husband and I took 3 of our daughters (17, 18, and 20), along with my sister and nephew (18). It was only our second cruise (had done the 4-day Ensenada) and it was so long ago that we felt another cruise was due. The embarkation on this particular cruise was not at all what we remembered previously. We waited in a long line for over 2 hours outside the dome. Our friends had paid $50 to be fast-tracked and they were on the ship quickly...not so for us. Apparently, the ship was late in getting all the folks off from the previous cruise and then they had to clean so our embarkation was delayed considerably, so that was a disappointment to start off. Once we go onboard it was fine. Our rooms (inside stateroom) were nice and clean...our service staff were very friendly and always cleaned the rooms nicely and folded towels into animal shapes for us. They were always around when you needed them.
We had the early dinner and we enjoyed it very much! Again our staff were very pleasant always...and the food was great! A funny thing happened, one of the waiters told us on the 3rd night that the time would change and we had to move our clocks back so we did. However, that wasn't supposed to happen so we were late for our first shore excursion. Then we were told it was to occur the next night and it didn't...again we were confused on what time it was on the boat and onshore. Finally, the next night we did change our clocks. There was considerable confusion about when the time change would occur and that caused us to be confused about what was the "ship time" and "shore time" for several days...I felt like the staff should have been aware of when the time change would occur so they could relay accurate information.
As for the excursions, I think we paid a fair price and in general they were nice. We had the excursion in Mazatlán and Puerto Vallarta. Both took us to nice places of interest and both tour guides were nice enough. However, I didn't like the fact that each of the tours took the groups to jewelry stores where they offered a free margarita and of course the hope was that folks would buy jewelry. But honestly, their prices were no better than in the US. I think the time could have been spent better than to lure groups to jewelry stores and even a leather wares store. The other thing is that they arranged for us to go to a fairly pricey restaurant on one of the tours...again, although it was nice, I would rather have seen a different area, perhaps more authentic foods, etc.
On the first shore day, we had to get a tender to get to shore...that process was kind of a nightmare as well...it took forever to get on the tender. We waited in line to get a tender ticket for an hour, then we waited another hour and a half to get on the boat to get ashore.
In spite of these little aggravations, I have to say I would definitely recommend this cruise to others. The ship was nice, the staff were friendly, the shows were great, the bars and nightclubs were lots of fun, the food was delicious, and we really had a nice time overall.