Wonderful Cruise Despite Problem Excursions

Carnival Miracle Cruise Review to Hawaii

Cruises: 7+ cruises
Review: 1
Helpful Votes: 4

Overall rating:

4 out of 5
Verified Review
Carnival Miracle

14 Night Hawaii Carnival Journeys (San Diego Roundtrip)

Sail date: December 08, 2019

Ship: Carnival Miracle

Cabin type: Suite

Cabin number: 7298

Traveled as: Family (older children)

Reviewed: 8 months ago

Review summary

All in all, we had a super time. As I described above, I was disappointed in the shore excursions, and in the future, I will probably not book excursions through the cruise line. I could have taken an Uber to Pearl Harbor and seen everything I wanted to see for far less than the $99/person Carnival charged. But those negatives were far out-weighed by the tremendous staff on-board, and the many and varied activities and just the memories that we took home with us. Due to the nature of a cruise, you're just not going to be able to see as much as if you stayed in one of the ports. That's not a knock on Carnival, it's just the nature of crusing. We have already decided that we will visit Hawaii again someday and stay at a resort on one of the islands.

Embarkation

5 out of 5
Embarkation was super fast and simple. I don't think we stood in line more than 5 minutes.

Ship experiences

Food and Dining

4 out of 5
The dining room was very nice, although there were five of us and we were placed in a 4 place booth. They pulled a chair up for us on one end so we would all fit. It worked, but it was tight. The food at the buffets was good, the desserts were really nice and all of it was varied so it didn't get boring. There was a deli on the Lido deck which I ate at almost daily and I thought was very good. My one food related complaint had to do with the main dining room; I found the food to be just barely warm. It was never cold, but also never hot.

Onboard Activities

5 out of 5
I thought the onboarding activities were great. I enjoyed the daily trivia, the nature seminars, the piano bar (Piano Mat was AMAZING), the many different live bands (especially MJ String Trio), Karoke and Lip Sync Contests. I also attended 2 Whisky seminars which were very fun and informative.

Entertainment

5 out of 5
So many good things to say. Let me start with the Miracle's singers and dancers, they were phenominal. They put on several different shows, and the singing, dancing and choreography were top notch. There were also several "variety" acts, i.e., jugglers, magicians who were extremely talented and very entertaining. In addition, the commedians in the Mad Hatter Lounge were very funny without being too vulgar, even in their R-Rated performances. And the various live bands that performed at rotating venues throughout the ship during the voyage were awesome; we especially enjoyed the MJ String Trio.

Service and Staff

5 out of 5
I cannot say enough good things about the ship's staff. From Adam, our cruise director and his immediate staff, Holly, Laura, Char, all the way to the folks working behind the Guest Servies and Shore Excursions desks, everyone was cheerful and helpful, even when dealing with many of my fellow, less than friendly, passengers. I want to call out several of them specifically. Our our cabin stewards, Edmund and John, who were like ninjas, sneaking in and cleaning our cabin during the times we weren't there. Joel, I Wayan and Sunitta, our main dining wait staff who were so friendly and fun (my kids wanted to sneak Sunitta home with us in their luggage). The staff at the Alchemy Bar, Elena, Katie and Artyom as well as Jufrey in Sam's Piano Bar; these people are not just skilled at making some very complex and wonderful drinks, but jugglers, artists and educators as well, they were amazing. And finally, I want to call out two folks who toil away every day humbly dealing some of the most rude people I have ever had the displeasure to be around, Anro and Harlene at the Deli on the Lido Deck. I am still mystified why people were SO rude to these two, but they handled it with grace and humility, and I was astounded daily. Had it been me, a lot of these so called "guests" would have gotten an earful. They were always at the Deli, from 11:00am to 11:00pm, ready, willing and happy to make a delightful sandwich, they were amazing.

Ship Quality

4 out of 5
I found the ship easy to navigate and very clean. I took one star away because the ship is looking worn. We were told that the ship is just a few weeks away from going into dry dock for updates and you can see it's needed. The ship is not dirty or anything like that, but it is worn. Seats in common areas are worn, corners of the menus in the dining room are scuffed, there is visible rust on portions of the ship, all things related to having 2,200 people move in and out on a weekly (or so) basis. Again, this did not take away from our experience, but it was noticeable. I bet the Miracle will look amazing once she gets back from dry dock.

Cabin / Stateroom

4 out of 5
Our cabin was super. It was a suite, so size was not an issue. The Vista Suite has a large wrap-around balcony that we made very frequent use of. Again, there were scuffs and rust around some of the edges, but nothing that reduced the functionality. My single complaint about the cabin is that the door to the balcony was a bit sprung, so it wouldn't close tightly. This caused a constant whistle when it was windy. I found that if I pulled hard on the handle, the cabin was suddenly, blissfully quiet, however that only worked while you were pulling it closed. I finally figured out that if I put a towel in between the door and the jam, it broke up the flow of air and at least got rid of the whistle. Again, I would hope this would be addressed in dry dock.

Ports of call

Honolulu, Oahu

3 out of 5
Honolulu was the most commercial of the ports visited and so, it had all the challenges inherant in any bustling metropolis, heavy traffic, lots of people and noise. However, Pearl Harbor, the Punchbowl Cemetery and Waikiki Beach are not to be missed. We had originally scheduled a 7 hour "all inclusive" excursion at Pearl Harbor that included visiting the USS Arizona Memorial, The Bowfin Submarine, the USS Missouri, the Pacific Naval Aviation Museum and the Punchbowl Cemetery. However, when we got to our cabin, there was a notice explaining that this excursion was no longer available and that we would be refunded. That's all fine and good, but I still wanted to see the sights at Pearl Harbor. Unfortunately, by this time, all of the more inclusinve excursions were sold out, so I had to settle for visiting only the USS Arizona Memorial. I got to see the Bowfin, the Missouri and the Punchbowl Cemetery, but I didn't get to set foot on any of them which was disappointing to me.

Kahului, Maui

2 out of 5
Had another excursion mishap in Maui. We boarded our tour bus to go Whale Watching. We drove across the island to the pier and waited for our boat to arrive......and waited, and waited, and waited. I don't know what happened, or who's fault it was, but long story short, we never got to go Whale Watching. Instead, we spent three and a half hours on a bus, sitting and waiting. At one point, they thought we were going to be able to go on a later boat, so they took us to a nearby shopping center so we could at least get off the bus and use a restroom, but that other boat never materialized. Carnival obviously refunded us for the excursion, but I was still upset that my day in Maui was wasted. Carnival, to their credit, did give us an extra 30% refund off of another of our already booked excursions, so that was something at least. This was definitely the low-point of our trip.

Kailua-Kona, Hawaii

5 out of 5
Kona was fabulous. The port in Kona can't handle a cruise ship, nor do they have tenders, so the staff of the Miracle had to use their lifeboats to ferry passengers from the ship to the dock. This process was a bit cumbersome, and our first driver took a very long time to get us alongside the pier, but we got there. Once on Kona, we went on a snorkeling excursion with Captain Zodiac. This was AMAZING. Our guide Amber, and driver (whose name started with a K and I can no longer remember) were super. Instead of taking us directly to the snorkeling area, they took us out to a "fish feeder" which is like a bird feeder in the ocean used to attract fish. There we got to see dolphins, pilot whales and two oceanic sharks. Our driver got us very close to the whales which was super cool. Then, on to the snorkeling area. The snorkeling was great, the water was warm and clear. They had snacks on the boat, cookies, chips, fresh pineapple and soft drinks. Then, we headed back along the shore. Our driver got us very close to the caves and lava tubes which was cool. Then back to the pier where we enjoyed the local flea market and swam at the nearby beach. All in all, an amazing day.

Hilo, Hawaii

5 out of 5
Took the "Land of Frozen Fire" tour in Hilo. Our tour guide, Donna, was very knowledgeable and showed us things that I'm sure other drivers did not, these were places near her home that had been effected by the eruption earlier in the year. We got to see what was left of Leilani Estates, the sub-division that was completely wiped out by the eruption. We got to see the recently hardened and still very warm lava flow as well as black sand beaches and a sea arch. The tour finished with a visit to the Mauna Loa Macadamia Nut Factory which was pretty cool. A very enjoyable day.

Ensenada, Mexico

2 out of 5
You can tell that the only reason we stopped in Ensenada was because we HAD to, per the Jones Act. We were only in port for a couple of hours, and the excursions were pretty much limited to drinking excursions as well as a tour of the Marine Geyser or, as it's known locally, "The Blow Hole". This seemed a fitting name as this port.....pretty much blows. :)

Disembarkation

3 out of 5
Disembarkation.....what can you say, we successfully got off the ship. We opted to carry our luggage off in the hope that we could get started home as fast as possible. I always get in trouble, because I follow directions and it always ends up costing me time, because, it seems, no one else follows them. I did as I was told, and then ended up having to wait in line while folks butted ahead of me, the usual, typical stuff. One guy pushed his way up to the front of the line and was challenged by another passenger who said all of us had been waiting in line for quite a while. He responded that he was "A Diamond Member" so he had priority. The guy was a total Delta Bravo. In the end, we got off the ship.

Traveler Photos

Getting up close and personal with some Pilot Whales. Amazing Seashore Sunset at Sea So many rainbows in Hawaii.
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