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Michael Brown

Age: 55


Number of Cruises: 4

Cruise Line: Carnival

Ship: Carnival Miracle

Sailing Date: October 1st, 2006

Itinerary: Western Caribbean

Contrary to many of the reviews that I have read prior to sailing on the Miracle, I have to say that this was a very disappointing vacation for my wife and I. This is the 4th cruise I have taken. Had it been the first, I never would have gone again.

This ship caters to smokers. The aft deck, which contains one of three pools is a smoking area. You would think that a 20 knot wind would blow the smoke over the side and not affect the guests….wrong! Not only were the puffers out there every day, but the crew came out there for their cigarette breaks as well. These people were smoking while standing in the swimming pool, smoking at the bar, smoking at most of the tables, leaning over the balcony, flicking their ashes over the side despite the very stern warning we all received about the danger of fire at sea. We couldn’t stand it, so we went to the Lido deck where the other two pools are located. Smokers weren’t allowed there, but the live band that was selected for the poolside entertainment was terrible. They could not sing, so they apparently made up for their lack of vocalization by cranking up the volume to 100dB. We tried to go to the other pool on the Lido to get away from that cacophony, only to find that that the music was piped through to the other side using several large speakers… so there was no escape.

That evening, after a so-so dinner in the Bacchus dining room, we tried to find a quiet place to listen to some decent music. The cigar/smoking area on deck three, which featured guitar, bass, and drums was obviously out, so we pushed on to the piano bar. Once again, full of smoke. Of course, in order to get there we had to go through the casino which was once again, full of smokers. So we decided to try the atrium bar, where three very talented musicians (piano, flute, and violin) were performing. These young ladies were easily the most talented musicians on the ship, but their beautiful classical music was repeatedly interrupted by the idiot bartender who fired up the blender every two minutes. I guess that was to be expected, since the trio was positioned on top of the bar area and were forced to compete with typical bar noise.

Day one was really a long day, so we decided at last to just go back to our cabin and sit out on the balcony and enjoy the evening. Once again, guess what? Our neighbors to the right and left of us were smokers, and they were out there non-stop during the entire cruise. They were also a bunch of drunks, who spent every evening screaming at each other and keeping us awake until two, or sometimes three o’clock in the morning. We put up with this nonsense for seven days.

I have never been imprisoned with so many grossly overweight, annoying, unhealthy people in my life. We didn’t see this behavior on Holland America (although I understand Carnival owns them). It rained in every port of call we visited, to the extent that every shore excursion that we purchased was cancelled, so our visits to Grand Cayman, Belize City, and Costa Maya were limited to the tacky tourist trap concessions within walking distance of the ship. We could have booked a tour with another operator that was not sanctioned by Carnival, but we were told that if something happened and we returned late, the ship would sail without us. The only halfway enjoyable experience we had was at the new Margaritaville bar and restaurant in Cozumel. Other than that, the shore excursions were a complete bust.

I know, I know, I can’t blame Carnival for the weather. It’s just one of those things.

The food in the Bacchus dining room was average, the service was average, the atmosphere was abominable unless you happen to like purple. We were surprised at all of the empty tables at the 8:30 seating, despite the notice at the purser’s desk that stated that this was a full ship. We surmised that a significant number of passengers had eaten themselves into oblivion in the Lido dining hall and were unable to negotiate their way to an elevator.

No fun for us, or for anyone who has the expectation of a healthy environment.

Do yourselves a favor. Spend the extra money and book a suite on Seabourn or Windstar. Most of the riff raff that we were forced to contend with on this cruise can’t afford the ticket.

Home Based Travel Agent

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