by Mark A
February 11, 2007
This was my first Cruise experience, and I can say I was pleased beyond expectation. I was cruising with a group of 40+ people who were around the 30-40 year old range looking for "mid-life" week of partying, and just letting off steam. Carnival is sold as the "Fun Ships" and the Miracle did not disappoint, and the open bar card option for groups was perfect. There was a mix up concerning these cards that ended up being a communication problem from the Carnival rep that sat in on our group meeting and sign-up and the ship personnel. They had this handled by the second day, and the separate cards were issued to our group and the charges from the Sign and sail cards were credited.
Embarkation from Tampa.
Fun Day at sea.
Ship entertainment and night life.
Being from the Chicago area I am a self proclaimed Pizza Snob, and I am very critical of my pizza. I started hearing chatter about how great the pizza was at the 24 HR pizzeria. I was really surprised to find out that the chatter was correct! Great Pizza. My waistline has suffered too.Excursions.
Grand Cayman.. We didn't do any ship sponsored excursion here. We just tendered over and took a cab to seven mile beach and enjoyed a day lounging in the sun.
Cozumel..It was a shame to see the damage to the port from the hurricane. We never left the port area because there was enough shops and fun to be had right there.
Belize... We did the Canoe and Wine Tasting Tour. I saw some negative reviews about this tour, and my experience was positive. It was great to see the area while canoeing through a river. The wines were "interesting", not something to write home about but different. Our tour guide through the city was excellent, as was the guide at Grans Farm who walked us through some trails and explained the local vegetation.
Costa Maya... Scuba excursion. This was the beginners Scuba for non certified divers. I have done quite a few dives before but never got certified. The outfit Carnival used was very proffesional (more so than I had seen in the past) I was comfortable with diving and they saw that, so they concentrated on the first timers most. A girl from our group was almost terrified to even do this but they taught her what she needed to know, and made her so comfortable that she never wanted to come back up! After our dive we took a cab to Tequila beach for the rest of the day. We had fun there, but the area is a little run down and there was a lot of litter on the shores. The area by the pier was the best of all the ports. Some vendors were very pushy, but not much different from most places in Mexico I have been.
In conclusion I can say my first cruise experience was great, and I can credit the whole crew of the Miracle for that. If I were to cruise without 40 other friends, and just be with my Girlfriend I might have gone to more of the ships shows, and participated in more sponsored activities, but this was the great thing about Carnival. You can do what ever you want. There is too much to do in 7 days!!
Our group is going to do this as an annual event from now on. Carnival is going to be our line of choice, and the Miracle might be tops in our choice of ships.