I just finished sailing the Miracle for it's first voyage from Tampa to western caribbean (left on 11/7 & returned on 11/14). We went to Grand Cayman, Costa Maya, Cozumel and Belize. Had a great time. I'll try to answear any questions. Mike
I am taking this cruise in February. Have been to Grand Cayman and Cozumel, but never to Costa Maya or Belize. Did you do any shore excursions at these ports? If so, which ones and how did you enjoy them?
Just made my last cruise payment. Have my flights booked, and my pre-night hotel booked. Starting to get excited. Only 3 months to go.
Mike we need a review from you. I will be taking this cruise Dec5th (20 days). I need to know about the food, drinks, tours you took. Did it take you long to get on the ship? Was the cruise director funny? Is there any thing that you dislike ? I just got my Doc's today I'm on cloud 9. Tell me more!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ! THANK YOU.
20 days until I sail or should I say WE (28 of us)
WOW!! I need to check this thread more often. Melisa, we did tours at all the ports. At Costa Maya we booked a snorkeling trip. Costa Maya is a man made port. They built a shopping area at the end of the pier. We went there and found a booth selling tours (we usually book our own tours becuase they seem less crowded and cheaper). They had snorkeling tours for $35 each. We bargained them down to $20 each and also got free drink coupons. They set us up with a taxi ride to Mahahul (a small fishing village about 5 miles away, $3 each). We went to the Tequila Beach Club and met up with our tour, 6 people on the boat (my wife and I and a family of 4). The snorkeling was great. About an hour and a half and a very good guide. He would dive to the bottom and bring up lobsters and let us hold them while he took our picture. After the snorkeling we went back to the Tequila club for a free drink and lunch. We walked through the town of Mahahul and bought some trinkets. The town is quant but not much to it. We then took a taxi back to the dock. The return trip is only $2 per person. At the dock I realized I left my camera in the cab. My wife said I'll never see that camera again. We heard that Mexico was the place to buy jewelry. We went to Diamond International and my wife saw a tanzinite bracelet she liked. It was gold with 13 tanzanite stones (2.3 carrots total). It was $749, I got them down to $250 and during the negotiating they gave me 4 shots of tequila. I went back to the taxi stand and they had my camera, the driver turned it in. Needless to say my wife and I loved the port,
At Belize we had booked a cave tubing tour on line with Marvin through Wet and Wild tours. The tour was $60 each and included lunch. The ships tour was $95 each with no lunch. Marvin was grat he hooked us up with our guide Charlie. Charlie is half Mayan indian and was very informative. My wife and I were the only ones on the tour and we got very personnal attention. The cave tubing was great and since we were such a small group he took us through an extra cave system.
Lfalcon05, the ship was great, easy to find your way around. The decor of some of the rooms were very tacky. The dinning room was ugly with hundreds of bright pink lights. We were disapointed with dinner the first night but each night after that was great. Our wait staff in the dinning room was great. The room steward was okay. We had to keep begging for ice and after about 2 days he would just bring us a big bucket of ice. We found the breakfast and lunch buffets to be much improved from previous Carnival cruises. We ate at Nick and Noras on Wednasday. Great meal a recommend everyone try it once. We had a balcony 4181. The ports were great for us. Some people are disapointed with them but I think they didn't do their homewoork before going. If you don't make plans for these ports and just get off the ship and plan on walking around town you will be disapointed.
Deborah, getting on and off the ship was a breeze. Tampa really knows how to handle this. We got to the dock at 11:45 and were on the Lido deck eating lunch at 1:00. Other then the first night the food was great, the buffet breakfasts and lunches were very good and so was Nick and Noras. On Grand Caymen we snorkeled with the Stingrays and also had an additional stop at Coral Gardens. We booked this tour at the dock, I think it was about $35 each. Cruise ships just started going back to GC because of hurricane damage. They are only letting 2 ships a day in, it was us and the Disney Magic. The town is in pretty good shape but when you travel out of town it is a mess. All the roofs are gone or damaged. Power lines are down for miles. All the trees are down and pointing in the same direction. Boats are out of the water and have severe damage. It will take a long time to rebuild. On Cozumel me rented a van for the day. There were 6 in our party and taxis were going to cost us lot. It was $140 for the van, insurance and gas. A car or jeep is much less. We were able to explore most of the island. We drove over to the wild east coast, very rocky with waves breaking on the coral. We went to Mr. Sanchez beach for lunch and margaretas. We then went to Paradise beach to swim (we liked this better). We then drove in town and went to Carlos & Charlies (this place is wild, spring break for Cruisers). We shopped in town. This time my wife got a three stone ring for $120 and I got 4 more shots of trquila.
The cruise director was okay. I've seen better and I've seen worse. The cruise staff were great. Everyone said hello and smiled.
Our only dislikes was dinner the first night and some of the decor of the ship. The good things far outweighted the bad. It was a great cruise.
Double Dee, we had late seating 8:15, The early seating was 5:45. I have copies of the Carnival Capers but can't scan them. Entertainment was great. On the 2 formal nights (Monday & Friday) they had great shows in the main theatre. One was "Generations" which consisted of songs from different generations. The best show was on Friday . It was "Ticked to Ride" a tribute to the Beatles. This show is not to be missed. The best show I've ever seen on a cruise. We saw the mignight R rated commedian twice. One was excellent and one was just funny. My wife and I loved the oldies band in Frankies and Johnies. One night they had a Mardi Gras party with beads and a parade. The singing and dancing every night after dinner with the waiters is not to be missed.
bjkeen, my wife and I also had a blast. The ship and staff was great. One of the best cruises we ever had. Anyone getting ready to go will love it.
Mike, Ive been reading reviews about this ship all night. I too am going to sail out of Tampa with my wife, probably in March. Ive got a ton of questions because Ive never cruised before. Please help me out.
1. did you have a balcony cabin? Ive read thats the way to go.
2. are the kids a royal pain in the ass?
3. how expensive were the drink prices? Can you bel. I thought these were all inclusive!
4. when at a port, did you try things on your own?
5. any MUST do activities?
6. things to avoid completely?
Mike thank you, Yes I'm ready for this cruise. We just got our doc's Monday and we are set. 18 days until we sail. my group od 28, Double Dee group of 17and Ifalcon05 I can't remember if she has a group but we all sail the same time. Dec5th. So you are saying just wait until you get off the ship and buy your tours? We have booked 1 Belize tour with reg. tour. The cave tour. I'M READY for sure.
1. Yes, we had a balcony (4181). For this ship the balcony is a good deel because they have so many they don't charge a lot more. We paid $100 more per person for the balcony some ships were $300 more per person and we wouldn't get it. The balcony is about 4' X 10' with two chairs and a small table.
2. The kids were no problem. It depends on when you go. We go when school is in session and no problems. If you go summer, spring break, Easter etc the ship will be full of kids.
3. Drinks were not as bad as we thought. Pina coladas and wine about $4.50. They add a 15% tip to all drinks. We took a bottle of rum and several bottles of coke with us for drinks in our room. We also took a bottle of wine to drink before dinner. They also charge for soda, but coffee, tea, fruit drinks etc are included.
4. On our first cruise we did all our tours with the ship . On our second we did all the tours on our own. We like doing them on our own but it is a personnel preferance. It is a dood idea to do your homework. I got all my information from this message board, the same thing you are doing now.
5. Must do: shows on formal night, especially "Ticket to Ride"; dining room on formal nights, Nick and Noras. The rest depends on what you like. We liked the casino, late night comedians, sunning by the pool and the oldies band at Frankies and Johnies.
6. Avoid the long lines. People were always in line crowding to go to dinner, see the midnight buffet, get off the ship etc.. Just sit back and relax it's your vacation. Wait a few minutes and the lines will disapear.
DoubleDee, formal nights are Monday and Friday. Good idea to book Nick & Noras on Wednesday. Sorry, don't think I can do the Carnival capers. Just curios, is Double Dee your initials or is it a size?????
Deborah, you did well to book cave tubing ahead of time. I've heard a lot of good things about Reggie. Our guide Charlie knows Reggie and he also said he was good. We book most of tours at the dock. We find we get a better price and better service (because the tours are much smaller). It is a personnel thing you have to do what you fell comfortable with.
Thanks Mike for the info. We too have a balcony room for the first time. We did a guarantee so we don't yet know what cabin we will be in. Do you think Nick and Nora's was worth the extra $25/pp to eat? Was it much better than the food in the dining room?
I bought a tanzanite/opal ring on our x-mas cruise last year in St. Thomas. There was no haggling. I will definitely have to check out the jewelry in Costa Maya.
Thanks also for the tip about Wet and Wild in Belize. I had heard some stories about Belize not being a very nice place. I would like to have something booked before we go.
Just hearing things now when it is less than 3 months away is helping to get us psyched about going. Once we find out our cabin assignment that will really make it stick for us.
We went with two other couples. We all had balconies and loved them. One couple had an 8C or higher quarantee. They didn't get their cabin assignment untill they got to the ship. They were upgraded to a suite. Maybe you will be that lucky.
We liked Nick & Noras and thought it was worth it. Each couple tipped an extra $10 above the $50. It is a dinning experiance that takes 2 1/2 to 3 hours to complete. With dancing in between courses. They also said that the selection in the dining room was not that good on Wednesday and that was a good night to go to the supper club. Great lobster and filet mignon (I had surf and turf). The lobster bisque was the best ever.
Mexico is the place for jewelry. They do haggle, but start very low with your price.
Good luck, mike
Mike you are right, Mexico my son bought a realy nice ring there 3 years a go, he talk them down about $400.00 dollars off the price. (then the big dummy gave it to his then girlfriend the day he got home and she broke up with him 2 days latter. I hope he learned his lesson)
anyway I bought a tanzanite ring from Jamaica, Colars was the place . They was asking $1000.00 dollars for it , I talked him down to $350.00. My friend here is a jeweler and he said I stoled it from him at that price.He thought it was worth more then $1000.00 dollars. So you can"t go wrong in buying jewelry.
1. We liked the late seating on this cruise because you stayed in port till 6pm on many of the stops and we would have to cut the day short in order to be ready for dinner at 5:45. A lot of people with small chidren or people who don't stay up late like the early seating. Keep in mind that if you eat late you go to the late show in the theatre, it starts at 10:30 and is over about 11:30.
2.You usually can't select a table, they are assigned. The dinning room is 2 decks high with a large opening in the middle of the upper deck.
3. They had a wide selection of tables. We had a booth for 4. They have tables for 2 to 10 people.
Mike, I thought the days you where in port the time change for early seating dinner? On my past cruises it did.
Sidepockets, I will do a Cave tour in 3 weeks,I will let you know. I was told by Reg tours that the walk is 35 mins. long, but it is not stright up a hill. You walk up a little then it levels of a bit, you walk up a bit, levels off a bit and so on. I hope that helps a little.
16 days until we cruise
Mick, I think a lot of ships have two dinning rooms and they stagger the early and late seatings (5:45 & 8:15 in one room and 6:15 & 8:45 in the other). The Miracle has only one dining room. If you have the 5:45 seating they will allow you to arive as late as 6:15 but there is no 6:15 seating.
Sidepockets, I'm 56 and my wife is 49 we had no problem with the cave tubing. We try to stay fit and we walk a lot. The hike is about 30 to 45 minutes (depends on the group) on a dirt path through the jungle / rain forrest. It is mostly flat with a few steps cut in the rock at places. It is slippery in spots. If you are use to walking this distance with some mild hills you should be okay. You will need to carry your inner tube and head lamp. On the walk we made frequent stops to look at mahogany trees, termite mounds, dry caves with bats on the ceiling, chewing gum trees, etc., so you do get several breaks it's not all hiking.
Deborah, I'll have to check my Carnival Capers to see if the early dinner times changed in port. The late time didn't change and the early seating dinners were gone when we got there. Some cruises I've been on you changed your watch to match the port you were in (local time). On this cruise you always stayed the same time as in Tampa (ships time). This was confusing. We were told our cave tubbing tour was to meet at 9am Belize time, this was 10am ships time and the last tender for the ship was at 2:30 Belize time but 3:30 ships time. You have to get your times straight with Reggie and don't miss that last tender.
Mike...thought of another question or two if you don't mind. Which nights did Miracle do the Midnight Buffet and which of the seven nights would you suggest doing Nick and Nora's? At N&N do you have to eat at the same time as you eat during the week in the dining room or do you make a seperate dining time?
mike what did you do in Cozumel? I wont to do a dolphin swim, can you tell me anything about this tour? Do you kown what it cost on the ship? Or book it at the dock, Do you know ther price? Or book it befor we leave? Thank s, you have been a big help!
Mickey G, I am booked on the same cruise you are, what deck will you be on? I am on Empress exactly next to the atrium (great location isn't it?). At the time of the sailing, I will be 13 years old, and to verify, I am female. This is the first time I have met somebody sailing the same cruise as me online!!! COOL. I am so excited, but not as much as i normally would be, becuase two days before I have EXAMS!!! uuuggh. Anyways, do you think there will be many children on the ship, teens, etc. I would think there would be, but the price is a little bit high, so, I really don't know.
On previous cruises over Xmas break, has anybody ever seen very little kids on a carnival ship. On the last cruise I went on on the Triumph (10/23 through 10/30, '04) and there were hardly ANY children. I saw one that was my age, and I was in the teen group! Everybody was 15 and up.
branflakes 1991....yes, we will be on the Miracle over Christmas.
I have a 13 year old son and an 11 year old daughter who will be sailing with my wife and me. I am sure my son and daughter would like to meet up with you while on board. We will be staying on the upper deck. I will be sure to let them know you will be on board.
Thanks Mike for all the info.. 'Bout time someone told it all about the Miracle. My husband and two other couples sail Sunday and we are all excited. This will be our 5th cruise, and the 4th on Carnival.. Gotta run and pack now!!!!