April 17, 2004
My husband and I sailed on the final Carnival Miracle cruise out of Jacksonville. What a blast! 6 days of fun and sun and, of course, food! Great ship, excellent service, and a super crew! Todd, the cruise director, is a riot!
Ship and Amenities - Excellent! The layout was great and we had plenty of places to go and hang out, have a drink, or play. Really enjoyed the balcony of our stateroom, the adult-only pool and spa, and Horatio's restaurant/Lido deck. Ladies, a warning! Do be careful about what you wear to Nick and Nora's supper club and which entrance you use! There is a clear staircase inside the ship over the main atrium that leads up to the restaurant, and if you wear a dress or skirt, you could be giving some folks around the area and in the glass elevators a free show!
Activities - Lots of them, except for the final day of the cruise in Freeport, when we really could have used ship-board activities or a planned excursion! I wish some of the times for the games and shows were spread out a little more and would better accommodate the late dining guests, but we got in a good share of onboard activities nevertheless (see below). Todd Wittmer, the cruise director, was very entertaining and did a great job at getting people involved and making sure they had a good time.
Ports - Cozumel, Costa Maya, and Freeport. So many excursions in Cozumel, it was hard to decide. We did an ATV tour (four-wheeled bike) and had a blast! Explored the Chochoben ruins in Cosa Maya - very interesting. Freeport was a bust. We didn't book an excursion (regretfully!) and wound up taking a very expensive taxi to a tourist trap shopping area, Port Lucaya. Came back to the ship early and just hung out by the pool and caught up on some Z's.
Food - Very plentiful, but on the whole, only mediocre as far as flavor. (I was writing a newspaper review on cruise cuisine, so I made sure to try out as much as possible!) It's conceivable that the food was only average because of it being the last cruise from this port (why that would make a difference, I don't know), or that it was just a fluke, but there was not much to rave about. I will say that the self-serve of Horatio's was much better than the main dining room cuisine, possibly because Horatio's was fresher? In any case, the best food I sampled was the calzone in the 24-hour pizzaria, the sushi bar outside McGuire's, and the spread at the midnight gala buffet the last formal night of the cruise. We did not opt for Nick and Nora's because of food allergies, but the aromas coming from the restaurant smelled wonderful!
Shows - Attended both vegas-style shows, "Generations" and "Ticket to Ride" on the formal nights. "Generations" was entertaining enough, but I was distracted both by two things: First, the guy who sat next to me, then took off his shoes to display his nasty, funky feet, (we later referred to him as "Tofu Guy"); and second, by the fact that I was dying of thirst and it took two servers 30 minutes to bring me a glass of ice water. "Ticket to Ride" lived up to all the previous guest reviews I read. It was excellent. Also attended the Talent Show, Mexican Folkloric show, and both comedy acts.
The first adult comedy act was packed and featured Mike Panzeca. He was funny, but I expected more than a 25-30 minute show.
The second comedy show had to be improvised (literally), as the scheduled comedian had a family emergency and didn't board the ship. So the cruise director got some of the staff together, and they did a sort of "Who's Line is it Anyway" show. It was such a blast! I had tears streaming down my face from laughing so hard!
I really fell in love with the Miracle as it is a beautiful ship! I can't wait to say "hello" again when she returns to Jax for Superbowl 2005.