Amazing Vacation with some pluses and minuses...

Carnival Miracle Cruise Review to Caribbean - Western

Cruises: 7+ cruises
Review: 1
Helpful Votes: 28

Overall rating:

4.7 out of 5
Verified Review
Carnival Miracle

7 Night Western Caribbean (Tampa Roundtrip)

Sail date: April 28, 2019

Ship: Carnival Miracle

Cabin type: Inside

Cabin number: 4233

Traveled as: Couple

Reviewed: 2 years ago

Review summary

Loved the itinerary/ship/staff, but room for improvement

Embarkation

4 out of 5
We purchased the FTTF and wouldnt cruise with Carnival again without it-great experience. The only minus regarding the embarkation, was Corliss who worked at the pier and told us to get off the priority boarding line even though we were attempting to explain we had purchased FTTF. She did not want to hear it and just said if we were not "Diamond or Platinum" members, we needed to get off the line. Only to find out by another employee "Dotty" on the other end of the boarding area who advised that we indeed were in the right place, and walked us over personally to get back on the line. Needless to say, the line was a bit longer by this time but we really appreciated her assistance. The Negative: I do want to mention that I had purchased a brand new luggage tag for our large suitcase prior to the cruise, it was a big, meaty luggage tag that said "No, this is not your luggage." and it was the 1st time we used it. Needless to say, when our luggage was brought to our room, the handle was broken (and this was not a cheap luggage set, it was hard case and brand name which had only been used twice before) and the luggage tag was missing. We had made sure to secure it on the luggage well, so I dont know if it was stolen or got ripped off due to rough treatment. This was definitely a bit of a negative for the start of the trip. We will now have to purchase new luggage for next year's vacation.

Ship experiences

Food and Dining

3 out of 5
First, I want to say this was my first Carnival cruise, I have been on cruises with Norwegian, DIsney, Holland America and Royal Caribbean in the past and in comparison, was a bit disappointed regarding the food. The main dining room was great, staff was awesome, but one night I ordered the flat iron steak and it was mostly fat-that was a bit disappointing, but I ordered it another night and it was delicious. Also, on the 2nd night of the cruise, steak and lobster tail were offered on the menu in the Bacchus (main) Dining Room. Since this is a favorite meal of mine, I ordered it. The steak was delicious, but my lobster was still raw, it was barely cooked at all. I was a little nauseas after eating it. That was definitely a letdown. Later on in the cruise, I gave it another chance, but this time had to pay the upcharge of $20 for the filet mignon and lobster tail. I made it very clear to our server what had happened and to please make sure the lobster was cooked this time. It was delicious, so that turned a bad experience in the main dining room into a better one. Having spent our money on excursions and trying to keep to a budget, we did not want to eat in the specialty restaurants on this cruise, and that being said, ate either in the Bacchus or the Lido (buffet). That is where I was very surprised by the quality of the food and the minimal selection. The grill which is open when the buffet is closed had burgers, hotdogs and chicken tenders. I have to say it is the lowest quality meat possible for the hamburgers and hotdogs. I could not even make it through the first one I tried and did not try again the entire cruise. The chicken tenders, we put 5 on a plate and had to throw 3 away because they were not cooked. There was no pasta station which I have found on every cruise I have ever been on. There was a deli which had decent food in the buffet but it was the same menu every day and only had about 8 items on it. The cookies and some of the cakes were good, but any cake that said "mousse" in the description, I tried and each time could not eat it since mousse is supposed to be creamy and these desserts had the consistency of jello. The ice cream which was available 24 hours was creamy and delicious. Breakfast in the buffet was adequate, nothing to scream about, although the omelet station was pretty good, but the line got really long. Breakfast in the main dining room was definitely much better. We did not try room service, so cannot comment on that. We had a few pina coladas in the Serenity area of the ship and they were very good. We are not big drinkers, so alcohol was not a priority for us. We did not purchase the beverage package and did not want to pay for soda, we were happy with the iced tea and lemonade, and to be honest, when mixed half and half was really good.

Onboard Activities

5 out of 5
Franky, the cruise director on board the Miracle was phenomenal. He kept everyone engaged and had a wonderful sense of humor. He was very informative and entertaining throughout the cruise. We played mini golf (embarkation day) and there were a million dying bugs all over the mini gold course and whole area. Not sure why, but we played anyway-we are not too squeamish. We played Bingo which was fun...didnt win though. We attended a few deck parties, hung out in the piano bar listening to Tony play and sing-he was a great performer. We also saw 2 shows which were amazingly fun and attempted a comedy show but were not thrilled with that one. We tried the casino a few times, but to be honest, since they allow smoking throughout the casino, it was not enjoyable for a non-smoker, as it was all you could smell every time you breathe in. They should consider enclosing an area for smokerss, because it really ruined the casino experience for us. To be frank, we would have spent more time and money in the casino if it were not so uncomfortable to be around the smoky atmosphere. The pools got a bit crowded in the serenity deck area so we attempted the other pools and they got crowded also. There were a lot of people in the pools that we saw every time we went to the pool with drink in hand, sitting poolside with feet in the water, in groups of 5-8 people, making it tight to try to get into the pool. The hot tub was nice in the serenity pool area but the second time we went in, it drained halfway down only to alert a crew member who then said it was out of order. They did work to get it fixed pretty quickly. The stores were nice, although a little pricey. The on deck sale was nice with 2 for $20 tshirts and other items, they had a good selection-although it was a bit windy and I kind of felt bad for the staff, they had to keep picking things up, but I am sure they are used to that. All in all, there was plenty to do, the staff was great.

Entertainment

5 out of 5
Please see previous comments, which include the entertainment staff.

Service and Staff

5 out of 5
The staff definitely went out of their way to accomodate guest requests and to make sure everyone had their needs met. For the most part, any staff that passed by, smiled and greeted us throughout the cruise, although there were maybe 2-3 crew members we saw several times that did not make eye contact or seem too happy with their jobs. One time a crew member, Jamel, went into the buffet and went behind the counter to grab me some fruit. I was hungry and the buffet was closed, but he offered to get the fruit for me and got me a whole bowl, I was very grateful and he was very kind to offer. The photographers were great also, I loved how they direct you in your poses and always with a smile. The captain, I do not recall his name, was great as well. We had one night with rough waters and I have to say he handled the ship wonderfully and we felt minimum rocking. He also was able to dock in Roatan, Honduras that next morning when the Carnival Vista was also supposed to dock but they ended up changing their itinerary and did not dock, but our captain docked and we got to spend a beautiful day in Mahogany Bay. Thank you Captain!

Ship Quality

5 out of 5
The Carnival Miracle, although a smaller ship, had lots to do, was kept clean and well maintained. The decor is varied and very nice. I loved Gatsby's Garden area, what a cute area of the ship to sit and watch the water-we took many pictures in this area because it is so quaint. We had hoped the main decks would have more seating to just sit and watch the water during the duration of the cruise, since we had booked an inside stateroom, but the open areas really did not have any benches or seats to do this. We understand that it might be a safety thing for a smaller ship, but it would have been nice to sit and relax in the open air of the decks, rather than always watching through the window while sitting inside one of the many areas with a view. All in all, the ship was nicely decorated and design was easy for getting around.

Cabin / Stateroom

5 out of 5
We did not expect the room to be any different than it was. We were on a budget at the time we booked the cruise and for the money, we cannot complain. We booked an inside stateroom with the mindset that we could use most of our cruise budget for excursions, activities, souvenirs, etc. which we did and it worked out very well. We had plenty of storage room, quite a few shelves in the bathroom, shower was a little tight, but it did its job. The bed was comfortable, although the TV could have offered a bit more to watch, very limited channels. At bedtime we like to watch TV and this turned into a channel surfing event with not too much to choose from that we liked. The stateroom was clean, the safe worked fine. As a matter of fact, upon 1st entering the stateroom, we found one of the overhead lights was blinking and a light switch above the bed was broken. We immediately called the dedicated guest services line for FTTF and they sent staff to the room and all was fixed within 2 hours. They also had more hangers in the room than we expected, which was a nice surprise.

Ship tip

If you go midship, near the steakhouse area, there is a staircase that goes up to a small deck which we unfortunately did not find until the last night of the cruise. It is right by the signature Carnival stack and we were upset that we had not known of this area sooner. There were a couple of benches to sit on and we took some photos here, but it would have been a great area to view the sights throughout the cruise.

Ports of call

Tampa, Florida

5 out of 5
No excursion, we flew in the day before, saw some family and stayed with a friend, and then proceeded to the port in the morning for embarkation. Very quick process since we purchased FTTF and it was a seamless process, loved it.

Cozumel, Mexico

5 out of 5
We did Snuba and it was absolutely amazing. The shopping was great within the port area and lots of photo opportunities. There were Iguanas and tortoises in the gardens which were beautifully landscaped. Warning: If you decide to venture beyond the shops in the port area, be aware that there are people in the streets all over trying to get you to buy things and it actually gets a little uncomfortable.

Belize City, Belize

5 out of 5
We did the cave tubing excursion through the cruise line and what a great time! Juan, our guide was great!

Mahogany Bay, Roatan, Bay Islands, Honduras

5 out of 5
Beautiful beach, great staff, clean area, lots of photo opportunity, plenty to do. They have ziplining, we took the chairlift ride from the port to the beach which was beautiful, we kayaked, there are floats and snorkel gear for rent, lockers you can rent, restaurant, chairs to sit on-1st come 1st serve, unless you purchase in advance, then you get reserved seating near the water. What an incredible day we had.

George Town, Grand Cayman

5 out of 5
We had booked a shipwreck snorkel excursion but canceled it due to the storm early in the morning, worried about limited visibility. We ended up just walking around the town, bought some souvenirs and enjoyed the beautiful weather that came after the storm.

Disembarkation

5 out of 5
We were a little concerned that we were going to miss our early flight, but they know their stuff and we were one of the first off the ship and we made our flight with no problem. They are very organized.
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