August 2, 2012
Just returned from the Miracle. We have taken approximately 30 cruises, about 10 of which have been on Carnival where we have "gold" status which means absolutley nothing. We didn't even receive an invition to the Captain's past passenger party. The experience was medicore but adequate. We found the food to have shown the greatest decline both in quality and selection. There seemed to be one temperature for serving all food - warm. I do not eat meat & the fish selections were overcooked, dried out & had a heavy fishy odor. Overall, service was almost non-existent. I often bussed my own table in the buffet and my mom, who uses a cane, was offered assistance once throughout the trip. Forget being offered coffee at your table.
On Celebrity, there would have been someone there to carry her tray (and mine too) as well as refill coffee cups. Staff was detached and almost none, including officers, greeted passengers in passing. Dining room service was awful. Night after night, course after course were taken away untouched yet not once were we asked if there was anything wrong. The waitstaff is very poorly trained - no fresh pepper, no clearing of crumbs from the tabletop, no follow-up after serving the course or beverage. After 6 nights of disjointed service such as one of us being served soup & the other an appetizer followed by the other being served soup & the other her app, I asked why courses weren't served together. I received a shrug of the shoulder & was told that they serve it the way they grab it off the line. This is supposed to be dining, not a cafeteria. My mom had an allergic reaction to something she ate which caused her face to swell. The medical staff was aware of this as was the dining room staff yet when she requested her meals be served without sauces, she was told that it wasn't possible. Completley unacceptable!
Room service was very limited and you must request the menu as none are left in the cabins. No fresh flowers anywhere, no ice carvings, no midnight buffet & limited dining in the dining room on certain days with regular menus being replaced by a brunch menu which does not change. Tips were added to your onboard account daily for a total of $92 per person. Given the level of "service" we received, I find this amount excessive although we did not ask for it to be removed or reduced. I found the ship to be dark and claustrophobic. In fact, it was downright ugly.
There is a new area aft called "Serenity" which was adult only & nice. I was told it is about 5 months old. Unfortunately, it is too small to accomodate the volume of passengers who want to use it. They offer circular cabanas & 4 hammocks which were taken by 6 AM from the second day at sea on. I swear some of those people slept there! We were up there by 6 AM every morning in order to get 2 regular lounge chairs and I witnessed several arguments over chairs, hammocks & cabanas. Carnival should simply institute a sign up policy limiting the use of the cabanas to 3 hours at a time. This would be fair to everyone and eliminate the 6 AM stampede & resulting aggravation. Of course, their solution I hear is to begin charging passengers to use them. I'm not sure how water in the pools is maintained but they were never emptied and I never saw anyone check the bacteria levels or put in any chemicals. I heard folks complaining that the hot tubs were cold.
We had an extended balcony stateroom which seemed smaller than the usual Carnival cabin. The website shows a lounge chair on the extended balcony but despite a request from the pursar's desk, I was never provided one. The beds were comfortable but unusually narrow. The fabric at the head of the bed was stained which was disgusting. The bathroom was very comfortable & the shower/water pressure, excellent. Smoking was a significant problem for us and often prevented us from using our balcony. The band at "Frankie & Johnnie's" was very good but it was so smokey that we, along with many others who stood outside of the club, were unable to enjoy sitting inside & listening. After a while, it even became too smokey OUTSIDE the club so we left. Karaoke was held there at times which we enjoy but again, the smoke kept us away. I also tried "Frankensteins" but that too became overwhelmingly smokey so I had to leave. You needed a gas mask to walk through the casino. In fact, the first thing I noticed when I walked onto the ship was the scent of stale cigarette smoke. Not pleasant. I didn't find the cocktail waiters to be that aggressive but I witnessed several instances of overserving. On the first night, I came across a passenger so inebriated she could barely stand or speak; she had also gotten sick on herself. I helped her on to the elevator where a female security officer happened to be. When the doors opened, security led her off the elevator and got back on, leaving this very drunk woman alone in the hall to fend for herself. Sorry, but that is just irresponsible! Carnival clearly overserved her. At the very least, they should have assisted her to her cabin safely.
My biggest issue with the staff however relates to their utter lack of concern for handicapped people. We had been to Grank Turk previously and knew it was a long walk from the ship to the pool area. I tried over & over prior to the cruise to obtain information regarding assistance from the ship to the pool all to no avail. When we boarded, I immediatley went to customer service & they claimed no knowledge of any available assistance. Instead, they admitted that "many people have asked the same thing" yet they had no solution other than renting a wheelchair (which we didn't need) for the duration of the cruise at a cost of $128. Disgraceful.
My final comment relates to the pool area at Grand Turk. There is a mad rush to get off the ship at this port as the # of free chairs on the beach is limited. After finally getting to the pool, we noticed that the water wasn't as clear as we remembered and there was debris & hair floating around. We arrived at 1 with another Carnival ship having departed at 12 ish. After being in the water for about 20 minutes, security came running around the pool screaming for everyone to immediately get out. It seems an 8 year old girl from the prior ship had defecated in the pool and the bacteria level was too high. The solution was to throw in bags of chemicals and close the pool for almost 2 hours. While I understand that accidents happen, the way it was handled left much to be desired. The incident occured at least an hour before we arrived. NO ONE should have been allowed in that pool until after the bacteria levels were checked & it was safe. Needless to say, the day was ruined. We met people who had been on the Miracle in November & they talked about the changes they noticed. If Carnival thinks passengers aren't noticing the cuts they are making at our expense they are very wrong.