Good ports, nice ship, could have been better
Carnival Miracle Cruise Review to Mexico
Sail Date: January 31, 2016
Ship: Carnival Miracle
Cabin Type: Balcony
Cabin Number: 7325
Traveled As: Large Group
Reviewed: 1 year ago
My husband and I and other family members have gone on several cruises with Carnival. We've always had a good time and the cruises are a good value, but they have all seemed to have several drawbacks: embarkation is the least trouble-free of the cruise lines we've traveled with, activities that involve a limited number of active participants and poor information about the ports except for the excursions through the ship.
The embarkation for our cruise was really awful. I should hasten to add that this was not in large part the fault of the people in charge. For a reason I don't know, the ship was unable to disembark passengers from the previous cruise until much later than planned. However, once people were finally able to sign in there was poor organization and a lot of milling around. This was really miserable because of the weather since it was in the low sixties with 30-40 mph wind. Standing outside was absolutely miserable! This may have contributed to a sister-in-law with us coming down with pneumonia. She had to have had at least the beginnings of a cold, but standing in the wind for at least two hours couldn't have helped. My husband and I were lucky since we were brought into a separate building to sign in because of my platinum status.
No one enjoys the mandatory safety drill no matter which cruise line is involved, but I thought the one we endured was very poorly organized. When we got to the deck where we would go out to the lifeboat area people milled around for some time while crew members stood around. Then after about 10-15 minutes we all went out on deck in the wind only to stand around in lines waiting another 10-15 minutes waiting for something to happen. In Carnival's defense this may have been due to those inconsiderate souls who try to skip the drill. But really, why have us go out in the cold until we needed to actually see which lifeboats we were supposed to go to in case of emergency? We were inside around the stairs or in one of the public rooms. The crew members could have demonstrated putting on the life vest inside and then made us go out to the lifeboat area.
There were five or six sea days. Every day I would look at what was offered for activities and see mostly trivia. I frequently like to play trivia, but there are other kinds of games that don't involve athletics. I didn't even see many of the Carnival activities that involve limited participants and others watching. I did very much appreciate the lectures on whales, other sea life and dolphins provided by a naturalist. Her lectures were excellent and entertaining and I wish Carnival would do that more often. This is the first time I've encountered lectures on a Carnival ship and kudos to whoever was responsible.
One thing that really irritated me involved time. Every single port day the ship time was an hour behind port time. This was really annoying and I can't think of any excuse for it! After all, we had a sea day before our first port of Cabo San Lucas. Would it have hindered anything to have us set our clocks and watches an hour ahead before we got there? We did set our clocks an hour ahead while at sea between Mazatlan and Manzanillo, but that meant that we were an hour behind Manzanillo time instead of two. The only explanation I can think of, which is a bit of a "conspiracy theory" is that somebody thought that Carnival could sell more excursions if people were worried about the time difference.
Since I gave the cruise an overall rating of four, I obviously still enjoyed the cruise. There was a lot that was good. The cabin was very nice and we had no problem with noise. The ship is lovely, but I wish the two parts of the Lido casual dining area weren't practically identical so that I kept getting mixed up. I really liked the over 18 Serenity area. How nice to have a pool with no children! I have nothing against children, but sharing a pool with them isn't always great if they're not your own. I liked having a water cooler with lemon in it in the area. The formal dining room is very attractive.
The food was excellent and so was the service. There have been cruises where dinner took much too long. Somehow our group of ten were not assigned to the same table or even all to two adjoining tables, which I suspect is our cruise agent's fault. Yusef, the maitre-D, too care of that and put us at a table for 10 the second night and thereafter.
The ports were great. We enjoyed all of them.
The singers and dancers were excellent and the stage productions were very well done. The show put on by the member of the Lettermen was outstanding. I can't comment about most of the entertainment because many evenings our group got together to play games.
This cruise was the first time I've ever used internet. I bought the highest grade entire cruise package and really liked having it, especially since the activities were pretty lackluster. It certainly wasn't cheap, but compared to what it has been it wasn't bad. It was still rather slow, but workable.
Food and Dining
Service and Staff
Cabin / Stateroom
The over-18 Serenity area is great!