Carnival Cruise Lines - Cruisemates Reader's Cruise Reviews
Carnival Cruise Lines

Carnival Miracle
by Barry Cooper
Western Caribbean
March 4, 2007

by Barry Cooper - March 4, 2007
Who: Barry & Kathy Cooper and Barry's Brother and Sister-In-Law.
Last Cruise: Carnival Glory (Eastern) - May 06
Next Cruise: Carnival Glory (Eastern) - May 07

Getting started

Drove down from Virginia on Fri/Sat before Sun cruise. Note to self: don't drive to Florida on the days before Beach Week in Daytona Beach - loads of cars towing Motorcycles! Other than lots of traffic (but no real slow downs), drive was uneventful. Spent Sat night with my brother in Lake Mary, Fl (north of Orlando).

Embarkation in Tampa was very easy. Once again we got lost getting to the port in Tampa. The signs are not well marked. We missed the 1st exit because of the road construction and could not get to the exit. We got off in Downtown Tampa and of course, there was some kind of festival going on which closed some of the roads. Eventually, we made it. The four of us are all Platinum members, so the process was pretty easy as we skipped all the lines (once you get through Security). For a change, our dinner seating arrangements were correct, but we did go to the dining room to check out our table. It was a table for 4, which was perfect. Went to our rooms at 1:30. Luggage arrived before Muster Drill at 4 which was pretty short and not too hot.

The Cabin
We had booked two cabins (separately) as a Balcony guarantee. We both ended up on the Panorama Deck on opposite sides and direction. Cabin location was (we were on the Port side almost at the back) not bad, but we did hear lots of noise early in the morning from chairs being moved on the levels above us. Was not all that bad, but noticeable. I did forget to bring my power strip (even though it was on my list, but I guess if you don't check your list, you suffer the consequences). We definitely could have used it. Will NOT forget it on our Glory cruise this May.

The ship
This was our first time on the Miracle, but since we had been on the Pride before, it all seemed familiar. The public rooms did not seem as cold as I was expecting, but I still wore long sleeves or a sweatshirt most of the time that I was inside. Only made it to the show room (Phantom) once for the repeaters party, so not sure if it was cold since I had a suit jacket on that night.

We never did make it to any of the shows, but were regulars in the casino. My wife even came in 3rd in one of the Slot tournaments.

Food & Service
I thought the dinners were really good. My brother and his wife were not as enthusiastic (they would be happy to eat in the supper club every night). Our dining room staff was a mixed bag - our Head Waitress, Natalia, was excellent, but her Assistant, Adrian, was new and somewhat slow. Both of them were extremely pleasant. We ate dinner twice (planned) in the supper club, Nick & Nora's. First meal was not that great to my wife and I (she was not feeling well and I think I ate too many appetizers at the repeater's party). Second time was much better as I ate less and enjoyed it more. Service in the Supper club was excellent.

3 of us had the Warm Chocolate Melting cake every night (I usually had another dessert as well) in the Main Dining room. It was definitely one of the highlights. Of course, I like all of the desserts!

Ports & Weather
Weather was not great for the first part of the cruise and did not really warm up until the last few days.

Our ports were Grand Cayman, Cozumel, Belize and Costa Maya.

Due to the windy conditions and having to tender in Grand Cayman, the port was closed to all ships. This was a big disappointment to me as I was planning on doing a personal Rum Cake tasting tour in Georgetown. A similar thing happened to us on the Pride with Key West (maybe it has something to do with the Spirit Class and our cruising :)). We just had another day at sea. Carnival did give us $25 each On Board Credit for missing the port.

We docked at downtown Cozumel (a first for us). We got off the ship and just window shopped in the stores on the main street.

My wife and I did not get off the boat in Belize and just stayed on the ship and relaxed. My brother and his wife took the tender in, stayed about 20 minutes and came right back. We have done Beize before and knew what to expect. I did the Cave Tubing excursion there on a previous cruise and thought it was excellent.

We all got off the ship in Costa Maya and shopped at the port. Was not as successful (to me) as Cozumel as my wife actually bought something there :)

Since this was our 14th Carnival cruise (and 17th overall), we have done all these ports at least 2 other times, but had only done Grand Cayman once, which is why we were disappointed.

Debarkation
Getting off the ship was extremely easy since we were all Platinum Level members. We met in one of the lounges at 8:15 AM and got off the ship by around 8:40 AM. Our luggage was waiting for us and we were in the car and gone by 9:00 AM. We dropped my brother and his wife off at their house and continued our drive home to Virginia. Note to self: don't drive from Florida at the end of Beach Week. We ran into 3 separate slow downs in North Florida and South Georgia.

Overall
This was our 14th cruise on Carnival and we were definitely not disappointed. We all thought the crew on the ship were excellent. No real negatives other than that darn casino keeps taking my money!