Number of Cruises: 2
Cruise Line: Carnival
Ship: Carnival Miracle
Sailing Date: September 3rd, 2006
Itinerary: Western Caribbean
This was our second cruise. Our first cruise
was 3 years ago on the Carnival Sensation and we loved it so much we wanted to
try it again. We live in Tampa so getting to the port is easy. We boarded the
boat within about 30 min of arriving. We were on board by 12:00. The rooms were
not ready until about 1:30 so we headed up to the lido deck for lunch.
We were very surprised to find so many options at Horatio’s (the indoor casual dining area). They have different stations with different themes. There is something for everyone from a New York style deli to Chinese. They also have a grill out by the pool where you can get burgers, chicken sandwiches and hot dogs that were good, quick and easy.
Next we were off to our room. We had an indoor cabin on the empress deck. It was spacious and clean and just right for the 2 of us. Let me tell you about the bed! It was the most comfortable bed I have ever slept in. The down comforter was big and fluffy and the pillows were perfect. I could live in that bed. The room had a huge vanity area and lots of closet space.
The ship was pretty and interesting, although I would have preferred a more elegant look. The mad hatters lounge was my favorite spot for martinis and karaoke. We hit that place every night after dinner. We also had a great time singing and making friends at Sam’s piano bar. We went to the welcome aboard show the first night and left in the middle. It was too corny and high school play-ish. Just not our taste. The hypnotist and comedians were good. We ended several late nights at Frankenstein’s lounge, the dance club. After about 12:30-1:00 am, that is really the only thing open. There was plenty to do during the day and most of the night. There was a mix of guests of all ages. I didn’t notice that many kids out and about. They may have been at camp carnival or it could have been that we had late seating dining and mostly hung out in adult areas.
Dinner in the Bacchus dining room was a bit disappointing. Our server explained he was new and was trying his best. Although he was very friendly and funny, the first 2 nights we didn’t get out of dinner until almost 10:30. We finally explained dinner was moving too slow and there was too much of a gap between courses. Once we told him, he sped things along and we were satisfied with the service. The food was good, but sometimes a bit over cooked. I read so much about the high quality of the food that I have to admit, it was a bit of a let down. Don’t get me wrong, it was good, but not GREAT like I expected from all the research I did. They have a sushi bar in the afternoon that was a great before dinner snack.
Our first port was Grand Cayman. We did the swimming with the stingrays excursion that came with the turtle farm and hell tour. The turtle farm was fun, and the stingrays were awesome. I loved it. You really can get up close and personal with them. The water was beautiful. I really enjoyed this and would highly recommend it.
Next we went to Cozumel. We did the ATV Beach break. It was a lot of fun but we got filthy!! If you do this, wear ratty jeans and sneakers because you will get muddy and dirty. I am not the outdoorsy type, but I had a blast. We rode through the jungle to a private beach that was beyond beautiful. It was the most tranquil and relaxing place. I had a huge pina colada on the beach. It was like paradise.
After that was Belize. We were so tired from the ATV ride and decided to take a break from the excursions. We walked around the shops for a bit and sat in a bar on the water and had a drink. There wasn’t much to see but we didn’t really explore.
We had to tender to all 3 of these ports but it wasn’t bad. There were boats running constantly so we never had to wait.
Our last stop was Costa Maya. We were able to dock here. The water was unreal. It is a turquoise blue and you can see the fish swimming right off the pier! This was my favorite. We did the clear kayak excursion. It was fun but I wouldn’t do it again. I had never been kayaking before and it was very tiring and a lot of work. It was also a little frustrating because we didn’t see any fish. One thing that really bothered me is on the beach, there were stray dogs. One poor dog looked like he was dying and was skin and bones. He was heaving and crying and sitting right next to us. This was VERY depressing for me being an animal lover. I know this exists in these countries but I didn’t expect it to be right next to me on the beach.
The best part of Costa Maya to me was the huge pool bar that is right in the heart of the “town square area” You can swim and have some drinks. They play music and it is free to hang out in that pool. We spent all afternoon there. It was so relaxing and soothing and fun. That is my idea of vacation. A pool bar, some music and a nice cold swim! I recommend hanging out by the pool and shopping in Costa Maya. You don’t even need to do an excursion there.
There were lots of activities on the boat. They even had a party on the lido deck where everyone wore their robe. There are photo stations every night where you can take tons of pictures, especially on formal nights. One thing to mention about formal nights; people are not as formal as I expected. They were a bit casual if you ask me. My opinion of formal is just that, formal. Gowns and suits or tuxes. Most ladies wore a cocktail or party dress (think going out dancing at the local night club) I am 28 and was dressed formally, but most my age were not. Mostly the older crowd was dressed up. I didn’t mind, any excuse to dress up in a lovely gown is good for me!
Getting off the boat was pretty easy and didn’t take much time at all. There was no particular order, you just came down when you were ready and started lining up to go.
Overall we had a wonderful time. It was the best vacation so far. I would do it again in a heartbeat. I would recommend this ship to everyone. The boat was great; we took tons of pictures, ate, drank and relaxed. What else is vacation about??
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