This ship is generally a bargain compared to other cruise lines. The positives are many more activities and entertainment to do than on other lines and definitely more of a "fun" atmosphere. The negatives include a lower quality of food and a ship that needs to be updated.
4 out of 5
Took about an hour to get on board. No major snafu's--but embarkation was just not running as quickly as it was a week earlier at the same pier on a different line.
Food and Dining
2 out of 5
Specialty steak restaurant was above average. Main dining room and Lido were mostly hit or miss (Had chicken served to me raw once--but other dishes like fried shrimp were fantastic.) Breakfast was exactly the same every day at the LIDO. LIDO lunch had the most variety: sandwich stations, a different type of international food daily (like Indian, French, or Italian), always some Asian food, and most importantly the fantastic Blue Inguana tacos or burritos and the fabulously greasy Guy's Burgers. Dinner at the LIDO was limited--salad bar, 1 "good eats station, 1 dessert station, and sandwiches. Make sure you don't arrive for dinner too late at the LIDO that's when you run the most risk of getting over cooked food that has been sitting there for ages. Unlike other cruise lines--the LIDO waiters are there only to clear used dishes. (They don't get you coffee or anything else). The napkins in Lido look like the cloths they sell for house-cleaning in the Big Box home improvement stores. Casino drinks were watered down to the point of ridiculousness on the last 2 nights of the cruise.
4 out of 5
Carnival puts a lot of effort into activities--nice pool areas and large hot tubs. The spa had no thermal suite. Kareoke was popular and well attended. Bingo and game shows frequent. There seemed like there was always something to do on the schedule: puzzles, shuffleboard, etc. The cruise director was unforgettable and very entertaining: Jenn--a female John Heald type with her own unique style. Casino was so crowded that I couldn't find a free table to play 3 card poker, Let it ride, or blackjack on 2 nights and went back to the room.
3 out of 5
They have multiple 2-3 person musical groups performing at several locations at all times. I especially liked Polaris--there 3 person string group that played modern music. The singer and dancer main show was OK--not great--they have a fantastic stage with moving areas and incredible lights that they use only in a limited fashion. The 2 acts: Alaska storyteller and Lasso cowboy act were hokey and not well attended. The naturalist was excellent.
Service and Staff
3 out of 5
Room steward excellent--but unlike other cruise lines the room is cleaned only once/day. I like being pampered with a cabin turn down in the evening as well as the AM cleanup. I don't need the towel animals. As far as the LIDO waiters--they were there for cleanup only, not to get cream for your coffee, etc. Didn't feel pampered. The dining room waiters were super busy rushing around--service was therefore on the slow side.
3 out of 5
The ship was clean. The decor was a bit dated and drabby. The atrium was very dark--but quite tall--enjoyed sitting there and watching the elevators--but no razzle dazzle like the newer ships. The promenade stopped at the front of the ship--therefore you couldn't walk completely around the ship on the promenade.
Cabin / Stateroom
3 out of 5
The room was clean and was a smaller sized balcony stateroom. Only room for 1 person between the bed and the wall. No USB ports. Only 1 US electric plug located on the dressing table to plug in the CPAP so in order to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night--you had to climb over the CPAP electric cord on the floor. Bathroom was small--smallish shower. The sink was 1980's green and the floor had tile that had been painted over with a dark blue color of paint. The room itself was quiet and the bed was comfortable. Some of the towels were white and some were cream--so it looked like they were dirty white towels. The 5th floor has many "partially obstructed" views because the lifeboats stick up about 3-4 feet above the base of the balcony. Thus many of these rooms are comped to casino guests or are discounted. I really didn't mind the partial obstruction at all and still saw lots of whales and porpoises sitting on the balcony. I thought that the room was quite a value.
Spend the money to go to the specialty restaurants--very much worth it over the standard fare. Bring an extension cord. Bring binoculars because there are none in the room. Bring an umbrella--again none available.
Thought the scenery here was superior to Glacier Bay National Park. Spend the money on the expensive catamaran excursion. The boat takes you close to the glaciers and waterfalls and you go right up to the ice flows. We saw hundreds of seals. One of our all time favorite shore excursions.
Free internet in the library on 7th Street. (Suggest leaving them a donation--they deserve it.) We took the train--in 2021 the train only goes to mile 14--so the trip is much less spectacular than when the whole route is open. Warning though--I heard lots of complaining on the train about boredom. I think the train tour is most suitable for train nerds and gold rush enthusiasts. The scenery is beautiful--but you take the same route there and back so lots of people fell asleep on the way back. Great shopping at the Skagway Outlet Store. Very reasonable prices for those souvenirs for family and friends.
Not sure why--but the Carnival Miracle did NOT dock right downtown like other cruise lines do and there were no other ships in port. There was a good 15 minute walk from downtown to the dock. We did the float trip down the Mendenhall River. I enjoyed it--but don't do this excursion if you primarily want to see the glacier--you don't get a great view of the glacier on this excursion. Also--even in August the water is 34 degrees and we did get splashed in the rapids so dress warmly, accept their rain gear, and bring extra socks because many of the boots they have you wear have holes in them.
Very walkable small city. Lots of places to shop and very historical. We took the excursion to the Alaska Rainforest Sanctuary and saw lots of bears. One of the highlights of our trip. Expensive but worth it.
2 out of 5
The cruise director kept on calling out numbers and saying "this is the time to get off the ship--no lines and no waiting." When our luggage tag got called we ended up in a huge queue to get off the ship and then found our luggage very easily and left the port building quickly. Unfortunately, we had booked the Carnival transportation to the airport and ended waiting in line 1 hour in order to get on the bus. Thankfully we had a late afternoon flight because we definitely would have missed an 11AM flight. They had 5 buses waiting but the employees loading the buses were just so slow and everytime a passenger came who had luggage brought by a porter--they were put at the front of the line. Next time I will take a taxi (which as it turns out is less expensive than the Carnival bus).
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