I'd like to wrap up my thoughts on our Miracle cruise by clarifying a few things.
First, we don't normally book the same ship more than once. There are too many wonderful ships out there to try! But we booked the Miracle this 2nd time, simply because it had the sailing date and itinerary we were looking for to celebrate my sister's 50th birthday, and in all fairness, that was the focus of our cruise, to spend time together and enjoy ourselves celebrating this special occasion...and we did.
However, all 4 of us were disappointed in the Miracle for many reasons.
Number one for me was the music, if you could call it that. The constant barrage of loud and obnoxious noise from the speakers at the aft pool, the poor excuse for a singer/musician at the main pool, and just the muzak in general in and around the ship was atrocious.
If Carnival persists with this kind of noise pollution, I will not sail Carnival again.
Second, was the entertainment staff. From the Cruise Director who was scarcely seen, to the unenthusiastic "fun staff" handling trivia, karaoke, bingo and game shows, they were just under par as far as we were concerned. And please, I know "Weeli-uuummm" was from South Africa, but people there don't really speak with such an exaggerated snobby accent! He was just plain irritating.
There were many other little things that added up to annoyances throughout the week.
One was the large area of roped off deck by the aft pool.This took away a lot of deck
chair space, and unfortunately for us, it was on the non-smoking side of the ship.
There appeared to be a mess of black caulking or sealant that was not repaired and re-
opened until the last sea day. I'm sure it could have been repaired much sooner.
Speaking of little things...awarding ONE cheap ship-on-a-stick prize for trivia and other
games where passengers are encouraged to work as a team, was just plain insulting.
I know there are cut-backs, but really...would it hurt to give away 4 luggage tags?
Other little things, such as amenities in the Penthouse Suite - there were none.
We got the same little dish of toothpaste, razor and dental floss brushes that my sister's balcony cabin got, the only thing extra were our robes.
There was no fruit basket, h'or d'oeuvres, or bottle of wine, or any other special touches
that we have experienced on other cruise lines in a suite. Poor guest appreciation.
And the not-so-little things - drink prices. The amount they are now charging for drinks
is ridiculous, and I became a frequent visitor of the free lemonade machine on this cruise.
Then there were the times where an advertised activity didn't happen when and where it
was supposed to, like the times I went to trivia and to Pilates classes and nobody was
The general atmosphere and ambiance around the ship was not as friendly as we have
experienced in the past. Although I will admit that the staff and crew appeared to be
working hard and did a great job, nobody seemed very happy and/or friendly.
Now, the news is not all bad. Our room steward for instance, couldn't do enough for us.
He was helpful with the air conditioning problem and the jacuzzi problem, and was courteous and forthcoming when we talked with him about his homeland (Bali).
We had several different waiters during the week, since we chose anytime dining, and were seated in different areas. All wait staff were wonderful, hardworking, and professional, if a little rushed, but that is to be expected I guess with a high turnover of passengers.
Speaking of the dining room, I must say here that the food was wonderful. Out of the
4 of us every night, with 4 different choices, almost everything was excellent.
Miracle's dining room food service, especially the desserts, deserve top marks!
Not so for the lido buffet. Although the food was mostly good, it always seemed to be
cold, or lukewarm at best. I tried the pizza twice, and both times it came out of the back cold, and certainly not as good as I remember Carnival pizza to be.
I can attest though, that the deli offerings were excellent, and hot!
So, in conclusion, the Carnival Miracle was not the best cruise we've ever taken, however, for the purpose it was taken, to celebrate a special occasion with family, it delivered.
My husband, sister and cousin and I enjoyed our time together, our shore excursions
together, and we have this lasting memory of a fun time.
That was a fitting wrap-up to your always interesting reviews. Could tell earlier that things were not as they should be ... what a shame. But glad you, James, your sister and cousin made the best of a not great situation.
I tried Carnival years ago and even then they loved blasting music ... it was one of the many reasons that I swore I would never go back. There are too many fine cruise lines and ships.
And, having done over 40 cruises - I've seen a lot - mostly good. Now I'll stick with Princess (even though Carnival owns them) cuz Elite is pretty nice.
So, now you'll be off to Cuba - is that a cruise or land trip? If cruise, which line can go there?
I cruise the Emerald Princess, Eastern Caribbean on April 16, 2012
RD.. too bad the Miracle wasn't as good as the last time you sailed it.
The ship on a stick thing is all over Carnival ships. That's all they've given for quite some time. Oddly, some folks go wild to win a ship on a stick.
Carnival Penthouse Suites are truly not suites. They're just a larger room, with the small whirlpool bath. And, as best as I can recall, the only perk is the priority embark and disembark priviledges.
On the other hand PH Suites on Carnival ships are generally much less expensive than those suites on other lines.
The issues of music, friendliness, etc. are not a great development, and not normal Carnival (that I know) and that's too bad. I really like that class of ship for it's size and layout, so I'm disappointed to hear they aren't tending to her well.
Donna, you did an excellent job (as you allways do), in your cruise review.
I'm sorry that your cruise was not as good as it should have been.
I do hope that you enjoy your trip to Cuba.
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Well, i guess i will chime in here, with my thoughts about this cruise! Like my sister said, different people may see things differently...I am not a cruise afficiando..have only been on one other cruise (2 yrs ago on the Sapphire Princess, Mexican Riviera) so only have this to compare it to..
First, the entertainment..was MUCH better on Princess, i remember seeing a show almost every night and playing Trivia almost every day! On the Miracle, there were no shows i was particularly interested in and the trivia's i was interested in were held on days we had shore excursions! As rd said, the cruise director was almost non - existant, except for his announcements over the loudspeaker every day which he always ended with a VERY INSINCERE and annoying woo hoo.
As for the music by the pool...i actually like that kind of music and was not bothered by it! To each his own!
I LOVED our cabin! Spacious, comfortable beds, large bathroom and shower! I remember on the Princess, you couldn't even bend down in the shower, it was so small..not to mention the water pressure was non-existant..(oh and rd, we got robes too, so you didn't even get that "extra!")
I, personally, didn't really care about the onboard entertainment..i look most forward to the shore excursions and doing things i would never do IRL. All the shore excursions were wonderful, with the exception of the dolphin and whale watching, which, as rd said, was a little boring. But...i was still out on a boat, in the sun with the wind in my hair!!!
All this being said, i had a wonderful time and am so thankful to my cousin, who paid for my trip and my sister, who made my birthday so memorable by having my room decorated, ordering a cake and champagne and presenting me with the most beautiful scrapbook of my "life"
It was a relaxing, totally stress free 9 days for me..and the most important thing was i got to spend it with family (my cousin, sister and brother in-law)
Oh and i was pleasantly surprised that they always had a "sugar free" dessert on the menu, they had sugar free syrup and ice cream, and SPLENDA! (being diabetic, this was very much appreciated!)
I've read through your blog and I'm sorry that you didn't have the best cruise you could have.
I have never really cared for Carnival's poolside music and pool games but extremely loud music would really bother me.
In regard to the Penthouse suite. It is pretty well known that Carnival's suites are not that great of a perk. About all you get with a Carnival suite is a bigger, and somewhat nicer cabin, with priority embarkation and that's about it. There are numerous threads on the boards that describe this.
The "Ship on a Stick" has been given out on Carnival since my first Carnival cruise in 2002 and long before that. I've seen them on Ebay for $20. Whoever is dumb enough to pay that really needs help. I had a number of them and I've rid myself of most of them. They were sold for a dime at various garage sales. A lot of the other "better" trivia prizes, acquired on other lines, have also been sold at garage sales. I enjoy playing and rarely do you get anything that's very good so it's just a good excuse to have fun.
Everyone has different priorities in their cruise. I put food at the top of my list and some people have said I was a "fuddy duddy" because poor quality food made my cruise less than enjoyable. It's all in what you're looking for and what's important to you.
I hope that it didn't permanently put you off of cruising. Try your Cuban AI and see how you like it. I bet you're cruising in again in a couple of years.
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Donna: I too read the entire review with GREAT interest, since the lovely Mrs. Jones (Vita) and I had the privilege of joining you and James and the others in your party on this cruise. I TOTALLY agree with most everything you said in your review, and we too were very, very disappointed in the cruise. The cruise director, and his staff were the root of almost all my complaints, and I can guarantee that I'll NEVER knowingly cruise with that gang again. We've done Carnival almost exclusively for the last 3 or 4 years, but it's apparently time to go another direction. (We're booked aboard the Ruby Princess in January!) Princess was our previous favorite line, and it may well be that again for the next few years.
Thanks for the great review, and after you do the AI, maybe we'll see you aboard Princess, and actually get to do that duet that we missed aboard "Miracle".
RD-I'm curious to know if this Miracle cruise will be a deal breaker for you-if it will be you last Carnival cruise. I don't know how many Carnival cruises you have taken but if you're a "regular" maybe this was just a glitch in what has previously been a great cruising experience. I know we had a couple of problems with our line of choice but we got a good response from customer service and have stayed with them because the overall experience works well for us. We have never sailed Carnival but it seems to me that they would bend over backwards to address your issues seeing as you are a moderator on this board with a ton of readers. BTW, we personally have not been to Cuba but know a lot of people who have and it's all good! One couple are going next month for the 4th. time to the same resort. Enjoy!
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Last edited by jacdenv24; December 5th, 2010 at 02:12 PM.
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jacdenv24, interesting question, and I have a good answer.
We have been loyal Carnival customers for about 10 years. This was our 9th Carnival cruise. We choose Carnival more than the others because of a) price, and b) intinerary that interests us.
We have often defended Carnival to others that say "but isn't Carnival the "party cruise line", isn't it party all the time?"
Well, no, it isn't, unless maybe you frequent the 3 or 4 day weekends to the Bahamas during school breaks.
We have found Carnival's food to be excellent, service fine, and entertainment to be top notch. this is the first time I have had real issues with the CD and the entertainment staff, and it showed.
No, it will not put me off Carnival, we are anxious to try the new Dream sometime in the future, but for now we will take a break and do an all-inclusive, followed perhaps by HAL or Celebrity.