Carnival LinesCarnival Miracle ReviewWestern CaribbeanAudrey
Number of Cruises: 2
Cruise Line: Carnival
Ship: Carnival Miracle
Sailing Date: May 7th, 2006
Itinerary: NOT FOUND
Carnival Cruise Lines
Carnival Miracle Cruise Review
This was only my second cruise,
my first was a year ago on Royal Caribbean, so I did compare this ship with the
Royal Caribbean ship. I wanted to try Carnival because it was significantly less
expensive and I have several friends who have cruised Carnival many times. Any
way, I hope someone will find this review helpful.
We sailed out of Tampa and bought the travel vouchers from Carnival. The bus driver was very courteous and was waiting for us at baggage claim. He took care of our luggage for us and was very informative on the way to the port. He gave us facts and information about Tampa and made the short drive fun. We arrived at the port and only stood in line about ten minutes to get checked in and retrieve our Sail and Sign card. Everyone was then given a number and asked to sit in the waiting area for our number to be called. We were told that we could not board the ship until our number was called. I thought this was strange because on Royal Caribbean we checked in and walked onto the ship. Our number was 29, and they were on group number 13. We waited for about 40 minutes to board the ship. We then went to lunch and our luggage was in our cabin when we returned.
We had a balcony cabin and it was great. It was very clean and looked brand new. I thought that it appeared more spacious than our previous cabin. The balcony was defiantly bigger. I was also pleased that we had been upgraded two floors. Our cabin steward, Edgar, was fantastic. He knew my name from day one and was very nice. We always had clean beach towels and ice. Whenever we passed him in the hall, he always spoke and asked about our day. We were very pleased with Edgar because the steward on our previous cruise was not that great. By the way, if you forget razors, lotion, shampoo, or toothpaste, they have some in the room for you. I thought this was a great touch.
The layout and décor of the ship was very different than my previous experience. The décor was o.k., but not very grand. It was just kind of blah to me. I had read several reviews about the dining room décor and how so many people hated it. I will admit it was a little strange with all the pink lights, but it did not bother me. We did take the guided ship tour on the first day and the host even called the dining room ugly. The ship had a movie theme, which was cool. The Gotham lounge, mad-hatters lounge, the phantom lounge, and etc. I did think that the Mad-Hatters lounge was very well decorated, like Alice In Wonderland. I also thought the pools were great. They were much nicer than the one’s on Royal Caribbean. There were two main pools and an adults only pool. All the pools had a hot tub. The pools were very big compared to what I was expecting. The ship also had a water slide. It was great, you have to give it a try. We never had a problem finding a pool chair and I did not find the ship to be crowded anywhere. Although, I did not care for the décor of the ship, I will say that it was very clean. Also, if you are cold natured like me, bring a jacket or sweatshirt. The ship was freezing. I was very cold inside the ship, especially in the dining room and phantom lounge. Luckily, I had worn jeans on the plane and had brought one sweatshirt. I ended up having to change after dinner almost every night so I did not freeze in the shows. I saw many women wearing their husbands jackets. The staff was even wearing jackets. I heard a man talking to a crew member and stating that he had to take three showers a day just to get warm.
I was not impressed with the food in the dining room. It was o.k. , but this is supposed to be 5 star. The lobster was very good and the desserts were great, but everything else was just o.k.. If this food was supposed to be 5 star, then the food on Royal Caribbean is 10 star. The food in the casual dining restaurant, Horatio’s, was good. We only ate dinner in Horatio’s once and I thought it was just about the same quality as the dining room. The breakfast and lunch were the same thing everyday. For breakfast it was typical breakfast food. For lunch, they had a deli sandwich station, an Asian station, and a carving station. They also had hamburgers and hotdogs by the pool. I thought they were all very good. The 24 hour pizza station was above average and we visited it several times. They had a sushi station elsewhere in the ship, but we are not sushi people. They also have a reservation only restaurant, but we did not go there either. All in all the food was just o.k. I expected so much more out of the dining room cuisine.
I’d like to say something positive about the shows, but I just can’t. The opening dance show as awful. The dancing and singing were horrible. You know I can think of something positive to say, the shows were very short. The comedian on the second night was very unfunny. He also had an adult only late night show, so we gave it another shot. Again we were disappointed. The comedian on the third night did not show up for some reason or another, so they replaced him with a very boring and poorly run game show. The newlywed game and the hypnotist were also bad. The comedian on the fourth night really bombed. I felt so sorry for him and I really thought that he was going to get booed. I actually fell asleep during that show. We would not have even went to the shows, but there was little else to do while the shows were going on. The only show that was decent was the Carnival Idol on the last night. I guess it was good because the guests were singing and not the staff. I was really very shocked that the shows were that bad. I loved the shows on the other cruise and isn’t Carnival the fun ship??????????
We are not really spa people and don’t usually go because it is so expensive. However, we did visit this time. You need to go to the very first art auction. We love them and go to all of them. Even if you don’t like art, go to the first one. During the auction the spa manager comes in to promote the spa and gives away a free spa package. The auctioneer then starts taking bids for a $300.00 spa package. He ended up giving it to everyone who wanted it for $85.00. My husband and I both got one. It included a full body massage, a shiatsu foot massage, a scalp massage, a facial, and an eyezone treatment. It was fantastic. I wouldn’t have paid $300.00 for it, but for $85.00 it was a deal. My husband actually fell asleep, I was so embarrassed. He snored during half of his massage. It was so relaxing. They spa had many different services and a sauna. Many people don’t realize it, but the sauna is free. Like I said the spa was great, but be advised they will try to sell you every lotion and cream they have at a very high price.
Ports and Excursions
You have to tender to this port , but if you have and excursion you get to go first. We had booked the Turtle farm, Tortuga rum factory, Hell tour. Beware of this tour. This is a tourist trap. The so called run factory was about the size of a convenient store and that is all it was. Yeah, you can get free samples of rum and rum cake right beside the cash register. The factory is the same Tortuga rum store that is at every block right beside all the other stores. We did buy some rum cakes from one of the other stores and they are great, but I did not need to drive 3 miles inland on a bus to visit that store when I saw about 4 of them right beside the area where the tender docked. The “Hell” spot was a t-shirt store with rocks behind it. It was really stupid. The turtle farm was neat. The turtles were interesting and they let you hold one, but don’t be surprised that turtle is on the menu at the snack bar. So much for conservation. The tour was bad, but the shopping was o.k.. There were many shops right where you get off the tender. We ate a Breezes restaurant and it was excellent. It was a little pricey for a chicken sandwich, but it was very good. Also don’t forget that the U.S dollar is about 20 cent less than their dollar, so you need to add 20 cent to every dollar. It is really not a big deal unless you are shopping for jewelry. Grand Cayman also had a Hard Rock Café and a Senor Frogs.
Royal Caribbean docked, but we had to tender. I was told that they docked because they owned the dock. I don’t know how true that is. The other dock was completely destroyed by the hurricanes and has not even began to be built again. If you don’t have an excursion, they give you tender stickers. I don’t know why because they didn’t care which number you had. We sat on the tender for over half an hour waiting on them to fill it up. When we finally got to Cozumel, we took a taxi to downtown. They do have several stores near the dock, but we wanted to go downtown and look around. They have really rebuilt most of the stores. If you are looking for a tropical paradise you will be disappointed. No palm trees or any vegetation. Everything was completely devastated during the storm. The shopping was great and if you want to shop for jewelry this is the place. There are tons of jewelry stores. I bought a beautiful tanzanite ring for a great price. Never pay sticker. Always bargain, they expect you to. We didn’t do an excursion because we wanted to spend the day shopping. We also went to Carlos and Charlies for a drink and it was very cool. If you are with other adults it is a good time.
We had booked the Snuba excursion and were really excited about it. We went to mad-hatters at 8:00 like our tickets said and we waited with approximately 100 other people for our excursion to be called. The host told us that when the boats came to pick us up that she would send us to the gangway. She sent the beach break people, approximately 60 people, to the gangway at 8:30. She then sent the deep sea fishing people to the gangway about ten minutes later. That left the Snuba and the power snorkel people, about 20 of us all together. At about 9:30 she advised us that she had made a mistake and should have sent us with the beach break people. She then told us that our boat had left and we would not be going on our excursion. My husband and I were very upset. We were really looking forward to this excursion and was one reason that we chose this itinerary. She did tell us that she would refund our money and book us on a snorkel excursion at 12:00 for free. When one gentleman expressed his disappointment, her response was “ I could have just lied to you and blamed it on someone else”. I was very shocked by her attitude. She was introduced on the first day as one of the four social hosts and I thought that she would have known how to do her job. The snorkeling excursion that went on was fun, but we had booked one for the following day and had to do it two days in a row. If you are planning on getting off the boat in Belize then you really need to book an excursion. There is little else to do there.
It was beautiful. Tropical, Tropical, Tropical. Palm trees and clear blue water. There are many shops at the dock, but the coolest thing is the pool. There is a huge swimming pool in between all the stores. There are lounge chairs, sand, and free showers. The pool is beside a Mexican restaurant and you can swim up to the bar. Have I mentioned how huge this pool is???? This is the kind of pool you find at a resort. We swam in the pool and ate in the restaurant. The food was fantastic and the service was great. We then went on a catamaran snorkeling excursion. It was a lot of fun. We even went back after the excursion and did more shopping. By far, my favorite port.
On my previous cruise, we had an early flight and chose to keep our luggage with us. This time we had a much later flight, 2:55 p.m., so we left the luggage outside the door to be picked up. In the morning the people that used the self assist (kept their luggage) and the ones with early flights were permitted to leave first. They did not do the exit the ship by color of you luggage tag thing. Big mistake. They just let everyone off together. Huge lines to get out. Luckily, we were close to the exit when they made the announcement. When then went to pick up our luggage. Our luggage tags were black, so we proceed to the sign that said black. We found two of our bags, but were missing one. I looked up and down the black section several times and in the red section beside us. We then looked in the lost and found section. No luck. I asked two ladies who were apparently in charge. They both told me if I could not find it (in the at least 1,000 pieces of luggage there) that I would need to fill out a claim form and turn it in. There was no way I was leaving without my garment bag. It just happen to be my luck that the bag missing contained all my most expensive clothes and my husbands suits. We started looking from the first row. I finally found it in the second to last row about 45 minutes later. The row it was in was the gold row. I guess to somebody, black resembles gold. I was fit to be tied at that point. The customs was a breeze. We then got on the transport bus with the voucher we had purchased and went to the airport. Again, the transportation was stress free.
I hope I have not made it seem as thought I did not have a good time. I really did. I just was not blown away by my experience. For the price it was great and I guess you get what you pay for. I just really enjoyed Royal Caribbean so much more. I will say that the boat was not crowded anywhere and children were not running around unsupervised as they were on Royal Caribbean. The cabin was awesome and the pools were so nice. If you have booked this ship or are thinking about it, then I am sure you will have a good time. I am defiantly glad that I went and will use this experience to decide what type of cruise I will book next year. I am not sure if I would cruise Carnival again, but I will defiantly not rule it out.