Occupation:Head Travel Genie
Number of Cruises: 12
Cruise Line: Carnival
Ship: Carnival Miracle
Sailing Date: July 24th, 2005
Itinerary: Western Caribbean
We had a private shuttle pick us up at Tampa airport which made the whole process seamless. My immediate family stayed at the airport Marriott the night before our cruise and this made the experience less stressful and more relaxed. We had a late afternoon fight and we played in the arcade and had a leisurely dinner at TGIF Fridays in the airport. We got up the next morning and met the rest of our group and we were off to our ship. Once we arrived at Port Tampa, boarding the ship was a breeze. We went to Lido for some lunch and then to straight to the pool which is where my son and I spent most of our time on the ship. We were in a connecting cabin 6112 (balcony) and 6108 (Inside) Our cabin was very perfect for our family of four. We had enough room and the children ages 11 and 8 enjoyed their time on their own. Our room stewards, were great and worked very hard all week to make us feel at home. They loaded my daughter with extra chocolates at her request. Think twice about booking in cabins 1101, 1103 and 1105 which are next to the Mad Hatter lounge and directly under the Phantom lounge if you want to get any sleep on the cruise. My sister and her friends were in these rooms and they did not get much sleep.
The decor on the ship was for the most part confusing. I did not get what the Mask and Robin Hood had to do with Miracles. The pink bulb lights in the dining room were also a bit much. We switched from late seating to early which was a plus for our family group of young children and grandparents.
The food was varied and excellently prepared and there were no complaints at our tables and all plates were clean at the end of our meals.
Most of the entertainment was good with the exception of one of the comedians (Greg Ray) His jokes were not funny at all and he received very little laughs. Eugene was fantastic in the Casino and with the aide of my sister had everyone partying hard until the cruise director stepped in and told them they were too loud. After that the party was not the same and all you could hear is the sounds of the casino which is probably why they ended the party.
Costa Maya is a new and exciting port and much fun can be had right in port without paying for transportation to another beach. Note: Transportation is $5 US roundtrip. Cozumel was great and although the beaches were eroded and the ocean floor was rocky we still had a very nice time. Grand Cayman had the best beach and transportation was $8 US roundtrip. Watch out for the buses that try to fill every conceivable seat. They tried that on us but after ten minutes of waiting we left and found someone else. Belize was a beach challenge because the prettiest beaches are a $45 US boat ride away. My group did not want to pay that so we shopped and returned to the ship pool which was surprisingly full. Debarkation was great. We left together with no wait. I would sail on the Miracle again.