July 2015 - Carnival Miracle to Mexico
The food, entertainment, room, gym and other facilities were good but we spent way too much time at sea. We had 2 days in Puerto Vallarta and 1 day at Cabo San Lucas. Another day at Cabo San Lucas certainly would have made for a better cruise. It's not like the ship was not fast enough to allow for more days in port-of-calls !!
As for the excursions, we did not appreciate the sales tactics employed by the entertainment director which basically boiled down to this: purchase a Carnival excursion or you risk the chance of being left at port if your non-Carnival excursion experiences any delays returning you to the Carnival ship before the planned departure time. We were first-time-cruisers and had booked our cruise and our excursion (snorkeling in Cabo San Lucas) through United Airlines and so the above 'fear-based' selling tactic really took us by surprise and basically ruined our entire excursion experience. In fact we almost did not attend the excursion because the excursion return-time was not leaving much time for us to get back to the Carnival ship before the designated departure time. Since the excursions do not offer refunds , we would have ended up 'eating' the cost of the excursion. As it was we fretted for the entire excursion , not really enjoying ourselves for fear of being left at port. Ironically the mantra preached daily by the entertainment director was "get out there and experience all you can during this cruise and have a good time" !! Not-so-much!!
Advice: When booking a non-Carnival excursion pay close attention to the departure an return times of the excursions with respect to the ship's port-of-call itinerary (arrival and departure times posted on the cruise ship's web site). As well , keep in mind that the clock time on the ship may not be the same as the clock time on shore and you may not know the exact difference (if any) until you get to the port-of-call in question.