Carnival Miracle Cruise Review to Mexico

Contributor Level: Purser

Experience
7+ cruises

Review
1

Helpful Votes
2

3 out of 5

Not what we booked but still enjoyable.

Sail Date: August 06, 2016

Reviewed: 3 months ago

Traveled As: Family (older children)

Room Type: Balcony

First let me say that I would not recommend to friends booking this itinerary in August or possibly even late July when storm activity begins to appear.  The captain had to change the itinerary due to a tropical storm that closed the port of Cabo San Lucas for three days.  We (myself, wife and two sons, 18 and 20 years old) were looking forward to 2 days in Cabo but only got most of one day from 7am to 2:15pm.  Instead we spent about one-and-half days in Puerto Vallarta, arriving at noon the first day, overnighting in PV and then departing at about 3 or 4pm the next day.  The ship's Shore Excursion desk did a remarkable job attempting to rebook about 2,000 shore excursions.  The captain also did a great job avoiding choppy seas, giving us mostly smooth sailing.

 

A highlight of the cruise was the Las Caletas Beach excursion at Puerto Vallarta.  We really enjoyed the beach, the warm water and some optional activities (the Seal/Sea Lion encounter and a massage).  The food and drinks were outstanding.  We've been on 15 cruises and my wife commented that this was the best cruise excursion we ever experienced.  In Cabo, my wife and 20-year-old son did the Dolphin Swim and thoroughly enjoyed it.  

 

Carnival did a great job of keeping passengers entertained while at sea.  We especially enjoyed the comedy shows.  There were typically two or three or more nightly, PG family shows and the R+ (18 and older) beginning at 9pm and later.  All were great!  During the 7-day cruise, Carnival brought in 4 comedians so there was always fresh material.

 

A downside of the cruise was the rudeness of some passengers.  While the vast majority of passengers are polite enough, we found that parents with young to pre-teen children were rude.  Any rudeness by their children, either intentional or inadvertent, was either ignored, condoned or even defended and encouraged by the parents.  These parents seem to feel that any form of self-expression by their children should be acceptable to all.  In Cabo, the ship departure was delayed by over an hour waiting for two very late passengers who waved to everyone "greeting" them as they finally arrived aboard the tender.

Cabin / Stateroom
As always, having a verandah gives a whole dimension of private enjoyment. The beds are comfortable and our cabin steward was excellent (with some training by us as to what we wanted). We were located forward, which was convenient to the gym above us on deck 9 though less convenient to our assigned dining room on deck 2, aft.
Embarkation and Disembarkation
We purchased Faster to the Fun (FTTF) passes for our two cabins. We had hoped they would work faster than they did, especially at embarkation. We read some reviews were those with FTTF passes got on the ship as early as 11:30am. We didn't board until about 1pm. However, disembarkation was very quick for us, leaving the ship at about 8:35am, getting through customs and arriving in the embarkation/disembarkation area by 9am.
Ship Quality
The ship decor includes a lot of ancient Greek based themes along with some areas that include decor inspired by Through the Looking Glass or Phantom of the Opera. Our family was divided in our impressions. The decor appealed to two of us while two of us found it to be dark and unattractive.
Destinations and Excursions
As I mentioned, our itinerary changed so some of our planned activities for Cabo didn't work out. We highly recommend the Las Caletas Beach Hideaway excursion in Puerto Vallarta. We also did the Best of Puerto Vallarta and Shopping Tour (since we ended up with extra time in PV due to the storm that hit Cabo). Our guide, Miguel, spoke excellent English and was very knowledgeable by all things Puerto Vallarta and its history. However, the tour itself included very little in the way of actually stopping to see historical sites. The church was a highlight. The shopping consisted mainly of three stops, two of which were at high-end jewelry shops and one at a collection of street vendors.
Onboard Activities
We liked the variety of trivia games conducted by cruise staff on a wide variety of topics, from sports to animal trivia to general knowledge and classic rock songs. As for the rest, there was only so much miniature gold and ping pong that our sons could do. The basketball court is enclosed with netting that prevents much arcing of the ball.
Entertainment
We only went to the evening comedy shows, which were really entertaining. Otherwise, we did a couple of Bingos that, with the computer-generated number selection, seemed sketchy. We're used to seeing the accumulated jackpot go on the last day of the cruise but not on the Miracle. Since it didn't go in 49 numbers in the coverall game, there was only about a $450 payout with Carnival retaining the remainder of the $4,000 jackpot.
Service and Staff
The maitre d' was very good at accommodating passenger requests. However, the service was a bit spotty. I ordered a surprise birthday cake for my wife that didn't show up at dessert. I had to go to the maitre d' who addressed the issue immediately but the whole situation was awkward. Communication is uneven among the wait staff.
Food and Dining
We had early sitting with a booth for our family of four. The food was mostly very good or good, typically not excellent except for the pizza in the Lido buffet area. The Lido buffet was better than what we had on RCL. The dining room food was comparable. The concoctions at the Alchemy Bar are excellent!
Long Beach (Los Angeles), California
We stayed at the Long Beach Hilton on their park and cruise package. Comfortable and convenient. The next day we were shuttled to the nearby cruise terminal. When we returned, we tried calling the Hilton for pick-up but they never answered the phone so we had to Uber back to the hotel. The front desk explained that something was wrong with their phone system and comped us for the Uber fare. Otherwise, excellent service.
Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
Enjoyed the dolphin excursion here and lunch. Not much time left for anything else since we had to board the tenders by 2:15pm.
Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
Las Caletas Beach Hideaway is a really enjoyable excursion. The Best of PV & Shopping Tour needs improvement in its itinerary.

Tip

There is only one outlet in the cabin so if you have multiple devices to plug in, we would recommend that you bring an outlet strip.



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