As always, We had a blast. I loved the fact that 5 of the 8 days were sea days. To me, that was the best part. Love them sea days! Panama was the first stop and we just got off and walked around the port and surrounding shops, not really too much to see...but it was nice to get off the ship for an hour or two. I found out that it cost a ship between 200k and 400k to pass thru the canal, which I found pretty interesting. They only accept CASH and the fee MUST be paid in advance! With a toll of this amount, you would think the country would have a better economic structure..it's really a run down place,from what I've seen. Although, they are in the process of building a new cruise terminal, which looks like it will be nice once completed. Our next stop was Costa Rica, We got off and walked around the little flea market that they have set up and saw some very interesting things, lots of cool stuff. I bought a jewelery box for my daughter,made from a piece of a tree, all hand carved...for 8 bucks! We started to walk into the city,but quickly changed our minds and headed back to the ship. There was really nothing to see within walking distance. We hadn't booked an excursion at either of these stops...none of the excursions offered appealed to us. Third stop was Belize, the ship anchors about 2-3 miles off the coast and passengers are tendered into Belize. Our excursion (snorkel/beach break/rum punch) left from the ship and went the opposite way from Belize, so We never actually went into Belize and I can't comment on what it's like there. Our dinner partners did and they said it was comparable to the other stops. Our excursion was awesome and highly recommended. They took us out to a reef, where we snorkeled for about an hour, after all returned to the boat and head count was taken, we headed to this beautiful small island. This was one of the coolest places I've ever been to in my life, and I've been to a bunch. This island had a restaurant,a little shop for buying t-shirts, a bar, there were monkeys running around, hermit crabs all over the place. We swam for a while, and they have this BIG trampoline set up about 100ft offshore which everyone had a great time on. We also had a volley ball game to beat all others. It was a great time. When the beach party was over, we all returned to the boat for a slow ride back to the ship,the music and rum punch was just aflowin. It was really a great time, I'll never forget that little island...I could have lived there forever. By the time we reached the ship,I was 3 sheets to wind and dancing like a fool...it was a blast. Of course, as always, my evaluation of the ship, the crew and food was 100%. The Miracle is a spectacular ship. My only complaint is they didn't let me win on the blackjack table this time, last cruise I won almost 5k, but I guess you can't win them all. Overall, It was a great cruise, VERY relaxing with all those sea days. We had a suite this time(7298) and this thing was like a small apartment, it was very nice. Much more room then any 2 people need. The ship had a vibration the whole cruise, which didn't really bother me,but the wife didn't like it too much. Disembarking in Ft Lauderdale was a nightmare(not Carnivals fault), Customs took a 2 hour break just as we were getting off the ship,OUR TAX DOLLARS HARD AT WORK, but it was overall, a great cruise.
Welcome back tompands and thank you so very much for the great review! I'm so glad to hear you enjoyed your cruise. I'm thinking about a Panama Canal cruise for next year. Best wishes and get busy booking the next one!