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Carnival LinesCarnival Miracle ReviewsWestern CaribbeanRegism

Age: 58


Number of Cruises: 10+

Cruise Line: Carnival

Ship: Carnival Miracle

Sailing Date: February 26th, 2006

Itinerary: NOT FOUND

Carnival Cruise Lines
Carnival Miracle Cruise Reviews
Western Caribbean


Cruising with Carnival – YUK!

It’s time somebody took this cruise line to task! If you’ve ever taken a cruise before…drastically lower your expectations if you plan on joining them on one of their Fun Ships. If you’ve never cruised before…find another cruise line.

My wife and I boarded the Carnival Miracle “Fun Ship” on a seven-day cruise of the western Gulf of Mexico on February 26th, 2006. The ship itself is a magnificent feat of engineering and construction (many thanks to the Norwegian builders). The maintenance crew manages to keep the vessel nearly spotless. And the weather was equally glorious the entire cruise (kudos to Mother Nature).

That however, is nearly the total extent of our positive impressions of Carnival. Rather than present an endless inventory of disappointments, I’ll just sum things up in general categories.

The food in the main dining room was acceptable if you are use to dining in slightly upscale chain restaurants such as TGI FRIDAYS. etc. Not to worry about the dress code there either. Contrary to Carnival’s dress code for formal dining, we had people there for diner in sleeveless t-shirts, shorts and sandals. The service was prompt but hurried.

The cafeteria style dining in the Lido restaurant was nothing short of dreadful! The food was barely edible and often cold. Ah yes, the memories of instant scrambled eggs and soggy pancakes takes me back to those wonderful summer camp breakfasts. The midnight buffet consisted of one pizza station and one station serving hot dogs and hamburgers. The night I was brave enough to try a burger, the bun was stale!

And don’t think you’ll be saved by dining in the “upscale” Nick & Nora’s restaurant. We tried it twice. The first meal could rival the worst dining experience I ever had. The table location, directly in front of the expose kitchen, meant we were forced to smell cooking meat the entire diner. The food was cold, the service slow. And for all that, we had to pay $30 extra per person. The second night was much improved, but I can’t help but wonder if that was just because I had raised such a stink about the first night.

I don’t want to spend a lot of time reviewing the ports of calls. I’ll limit my comments to pointing out that two of the stops were worthless. There is simply no reason to have stopped in Grand Cayman or Belize. These are tendered ports that only exist to sell tourist jewelry and trinkets. One of entertainers asked for a showing of hands for those that went ashore on Grand Cayman, and then asked “why”. Both Mexican ports were much more entertaining and at least the Mexican people seemed genuinely please to have us, unlike the hostility at the other ports of call.

The Carnival onboard entertainment was poor, and that is putting it kindly. I realize that cruise lines cannot afford “A” level entertainers but Carnival has skipped all the way down to “D” level.

On a positive note. Our cabin was adequate but not exceptional. Muted colors and plain styling dominate the décor. Our cabin stewards were thorough and responsive. However, that may have been indicative of the fact that we booked a penthouse rather than a standard cabin.

If you are into gambling, the casino is huge and well appointed.

For the most part, the service crew was friendly and tried to be helpful. Unfortunately, most were from non-English speaking countries, so communication was difficult. Carnival has made an attempt to teach them some English, but just imagine 900 people all asking, “how may I help you”, with the same intonation and cadence (it’s a good thing Truman Capote wasn’t the instructor).

The officers and professional crew were very standoffish and definitely not friendly. The captain seemed genuinely bored to have had to welcome guests at the Captain’s cocktail party. During his introduction of the officers, I couldn’t help but note that not one of them had a smile on their face. But hey, he didn’t run us aground. Although we did stir up a lot of mud at one of our stops and something hit the hull with a heck of a bang late one night.

My overall impression of the Carnival Miracle was that they are unquestionably downscaling the quality of food and service in order to cut costs. The flip side is that Carnival has made it cheap enough that almost anybody can afford to cruise with them (but why would you want to?). Future cruises aboard Carnival Fun Ships will definitely not include my wife and I.

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