Vegetarians - you are in for a tough time
Carnival Miracle Cruise Review to Alaska
Ship: Carnival Miracle
Cabin Type: Balcony
Traveled As: Family (older children)
Reviewed: 4 years ago
We are strict/picky vegetarians and we had a tough one week during cruise.
The cruise menu ingeneral didnt have much choice for vegetarians. Most of the afternoons are buffet and you dont get a good vegetarian soup for the cold weather. All soups have Chicken broth in it. The pizzas arent real pizzas. They are just thick Rotis/Naans. here also, the only vegetarian is a Cheese pizza option. They dont offer vegetable toppings. I had to fight with the Pizza line to get Veg pizza just one day.
Even though they have one or two vegetarian dishes in each counter, they are mixed along with the meat dishes ( meat and veg pans are kept side by side) and many times people use the same laddle to take both the veg and meat dishes. Veg and meat dishes are sometimes incorrectly marked and if we ask the carnival staff manning the station, most of them even dont know whether the dish is really a Veg dish or not. The Asian( chopsticks), deli, salad bar were all a standard everyday. There was one station which kept changing everyday and to our surprise found that the carribean theme was repeated. With so many international cuisines available, did they not find one special international theme per day. Do they have to repeat a cuisine. I havent gone in any other cruise other than Carnival ( this is my second. First one was a short threeday Baha cruise from LA). So cant compare other cruise line food with Carnival
Coming to the cruise part itself, if you really want to see Alaska ( want to see the pictures you had imagined of big Glaciers floating by your ship side, Ice breaking infront of you from Glaciers, seeing wild life) then roundtrip Seattle cruise is not the one. All the ports we went in Alaska were tiny fishing village which exists for the cruise ships and all the shops are affliated ( they pay money to cruise line which promote these ships) to the ships. The interesting part is ouple of hours cruise through the Tracy Arm Fjord where you can see some floating Ice chunks by your Ships side definitely not the monstor ones. I was told if the ship goes to Hubbard glacier, Galcier bay you have a better chance to see big ones.
Worst rip off is the bus tour in ketchikan where they promise 8 miles into the scenic forests with lots of wild life. All we could see was few bald eagles. We couldnt even see one Salmon in the streams let alone bear.
Few tips for Shore excursions:
1) Other than Skagway Yukon white rail pass ticket, dont buy any other shore excursion through the ship. When ship docks int he port, get out of the ships and there will lots of booths where you can bargain and get atleast 20% savings over the cruise line shore excursion prices. Ofcourse if you are ready to take the risk. But most of the booths are for real and dont cheat people. For the Yukon rail, I enquired in the train station itself and its only $5 difference. But when you buy the ticket from the ship, you can get in to the train right when you get out of the ships. The train station is about a 5 minute walk.
The mendenhall helicopter ride through the ship is $299. I got the same deal for $255 in a outside booth,.For a faily of four, I saved about $180 right there.
Similarly, if your ship goes to Victoria, usally ships line go there around 7:00 Pm and yuhave about three hours for shore excursion. Butchart garden is a must see. Ship charges $89 per adult and $44 per child. Also they take you in a bus. By the time people assemble and you reach the garden, it is already dark. Instead hire one of the taxis outside. The tours are personal form a local person who is most often taxi owner and you get a much cheaper deal. They take you to the garden way early and you get to see atleast half of the garden when plenty of light is there. For a family of four, I heard prices of $280, $200 before I settled for one for $149. Please note this price doesnt include the butchart garden entry fees which is addition about $80 for a family of four. I belive ship price is inclusive of the entry fee into the garden.
Overall, I wasnt satisfied either with the cruise or the route or the food.