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Dino

Age: 38

Occupation:Law

Number of Cruises: 3

Cruise Line: Carnival

Ship: Carnival Miracle

Sailing Date: 2012-06-6

Itinerary: Carribean

My first cruise was on the Carnival Victory several years ago, and that was excellent. My second was on the Norwegian Dawn, and that was just as good.

My, has Carnival dropped the ball on the Miracle. What an incredible disappointment. The cost cutting in personnel is palpable and blatant. At the price I paid for a family of four, I could've easily flown to the Mediterranean and rented a beach house. Perhaps we should have.

Service was lazy and it felt that staff were just going through the motions without sincerity. Bar service was horrible, as they only kept a small portion of the bar open, with the remaining deck bar closed the entire trip without explanation, which forced you to stand at the one deck bar section in the smoking section, which was horrible for non smokers.

Forget about getting drink service from the wait staff if you were on the Sun Deck, they came around perhaps once every 45 minutes or so, and it took another 30 minutes to get the drink. We eventually gave up, and walked to the bar for almost every round.

And did I mention that gratuity was automatically added to each and every purchase? So there was absolutely NO incentive for the staff to work any harder than the bare minimum. And it showed. The only time you got any actual notable service was if you plied the staff with dollars first, then, oh boy, did they pay attention!

I felt that the staff was there because they had to be, and were indifferent to us or anyone else. How did our cruise on the Victory go so well, but the Miracle wind up so poorly run?

The food, the majority of times, was bland buffet fodder. Some notable exceptions were the fish served at the buffet, which was surprisingly good. The deli was good also, serving tasty corned beef and pastrami.

The formal night lobster and shrimp tasted frozen and bland. Every meal that came out of the kitchen was lukewarm at best. Standouts were the Chateaubriand, and another night, Short Ribs. Most of the seafood prepared in the kitchen may have been ok when prepared, but by the time it got to the table, it was dry from sitting under the heat lamps. I don't recall getting a hot meal once. Some of the appetizers were creative and tasty, but not nearly enough to feel that any extraordinary effort was being put forth to wow the crowd. We tipped our waitress heavily in the beginning, so she would typically point out the better dishes, which weren't many.

Advertised as a 24 hour pizza bar, the menu displayed several varieties, including calzones, which on paper, looked great. I NEVER, I mean, NOT ONCE, saw a calzone, or ANY other variety of pizza prepared except for cheese and pepperoni. My wife asked several times throughout the cruise for the pizza with goat cheese, and the staff always told her, "Oh it will take a while on that, you're going to have to wait at least 15 minutes." When she told them she would like to wait, she was told, "It may take longer, we don't have the ingredients here, we have to get them, it's going to take longer." She never did manage to get anything other than cheese pizza, despite the tasty menu displayed.

Burgers and fries, how do you screw that up? Use CHEAP grade beef, which was tasteless. The chicken nuggets for the kids were great though.

The effort was there by the kitchen, to serve up some interesting variety, which was repeatedly let down by blandness and lack of flavor. The Asian food was ok, but overall, it seemed that most foods were overly greasy.

How do you run out of bananas two days into a seven day cruise? Desserts were bland.

I cruised with my two sons, ages two and four. It was MURDER getting a milk or cup of apple juice if it was one minute after noon. Sometimes I would ask one station, and they would tell me it wasn't available. Asking at another station to find a sympathetic crewmember would usually do the trick, but there were several times I had to RETURN TO MY ROOM and ORDER ROOM SERVICE to get milk for the kids. Unacceptable!

Average prices for booze, except the pours were so precise that you could taste the cost cutting as well. Even tipping above the automatically added gratuity per drink rarely resulted in a good drink. Switching to doubles just cost more.

We departed from New York, and upon arrival at our cabin, the toilet smelled like urine. Since the toilet operated on a vacuum rather than a water tank, the inside lip never got wet, except as used. I repeatedly asked the steward to clean it, but they never managed to actually clean it, and the bathroom smelled like urine for the entire cruise. Otherwise, the cabin service was average, and they did a fairly decent job of cleaning the floors and bedding. What astounded me was that in numerous areas of the ship, there were plainly visible handprints on glass, or metal areas around the elevators and such, that were never attended to. Numerous glass display cases at the stairwells looked as though they were wiped with a greasy cloth. On the 6th night, some idiot dropped a piece of chocolate cake in the hallway in front of the forward elevators on Deck 5. When we passed again 3 hours later, it was still there. It was embarrassing.

Waitstaff regularly left ashtrays on the table stuffed with butts and garbage, with no effort - I literally watched staff wipe a table off and leave the overflowing ashtray behind. Or walk past dirty tables with no attempt to clean them.

The two Lido deck pools were absolutely too small for the size of the crowd. Not sure what the designer was thinking, but the pools could not accommodate more than 15 people without overcrowding. Several times, the staff closed the pool without explanation, and no effort to reopen the pools was made for the remainder of the afternoon. When I asked, I was told that someone vomited in the pool, but it was several hours before the pool was drained. When I asked why the forward pool was closed, they told me someone vomited in that one as well, but it was not drained either.

The kiddie pool is a 5" deep pool on the upper aft section, barely big enough for 4 kids to play in. What mystified me was, this area was INACCESSIBLE by elevator, so if you had a stroller, forget it! Plus, there is nothing for the adults in that area, and with the non existent drink service, you had to pack the kids up and walk down two decks just to get something to drink. Felt like an afterthought.

I was told the comedy was good, but did not attend, and cannot comment any further.

The "Deck Games" on the Lido Deck were put on with barely any enthusiasm by the staff, and hardly any effort. It felt like they were going through the motions.

For the duration of the cruise, there was a DJ who would appear in the atrium and Lido deck stages. .There was also a solo guitarist and a cover musician / keyboardist who sang mostly popular music. It was the bare minimum of effort on Carnival's part. For example, when on the Carnival Victory, we were treated to a live reggae band at poolside, which was great. On the Miracle, you get some kid in a crooked ball cap playing music off his laptop computer while bobbing his head.

St Thomas was excellent, great beaches, attentive locals, and overall a great time. Fantastic.

San Juan? Dirty. Litter everywhere. I didn't enjoy the port - after the castle closed, there wasn't much to do but drink at the bars.

Grank Turk is perhaps the most offensive, because Carnival owns this resort area of beach where the ship was docked, so your access to the locals, or other areas of the island, were limited because you weren't in port long enough to really travel anywhere and enjoy it. The Margaritaville pool was fun, but drinks were $10 each, so it got expensive quickly, and service once again was scarce. I felt that the port arrival and departure was engineered to keep you at the Carnival area rather than allow enough time to explore.

Overall, I'm not sure if it's the cost cutting by Carnival, or the staff of the Miracle, but this cruise was sub-par at best.

CARNIVAL, LISTEN UP! CHARGE ME MORE FOR A ROOM, and BRING BACK THE SERVICE! I never have a problem paying for service and quality.

I DO have a problem paying for it and never getting it. First time cruisers will like the Miracle, because they don't know any better. Seasoned cruisers, beware, this ship is a waste of a week of your life. We had a great time as a family, but were sorely disappointed in the experience.

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