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Old December 31st, 2010, 01:54 PM
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Default Cutbacks to the Extreme - No More Carnival For Now

Hey everyone,

We just returned from the Miracle. I posted this summary of our trip on the Carnival board, but I wanted to share it here with everyone. We were so disappointed in Carnival's extreme cutbacks. I'm curious as to how everyone here feels and what everyone thinks. I'm hoping that Carnival will listen as everyone we spoke with on the ship both past guests and first time cruisers felt the same and are all taking a break from Carnival for some time. Hopefully they listen and change back, so we can come to cruise Carnival once again and enjoy what we once did on Carnival and still and will do on other lines such as Royal Caribbean and Norwegian.

After many cruises and several on Carnival within the past 10-15 years, we still have the attitude that any cruise is a good cruise. We enjoyed celebrating the holidays aboard the Miracle. The staff was exceptional - each and every staff member went above and beyond, despite how hard it must have been for them being away from home for the holidays. Amazing job for the hard work each and every day by every single crew member aboard. The food was excellent as well - from the deli, to the dining room, to the sushi bar - great presentation and quality.

With that being said, the cutbacks in the entertainment department where beyond noticeable. There is a limit as to how much things can be cutback, and Carnival has far crossed and exceeded that limit to the point where it severely affected the quality of the cruise, the level of enthusiasm throughout the ship, and our (any many cruisers) overall enjoyment.

Unfortunately, we were beyond disappointed with the entertainment. Out of all cruises, the entertainment was beyond the worst. The cutbacks reflect in the entertainment department, and it is simply attributed to spending less... a lot less, orders from headquarters in Miami to the ships. We noticed some declines last year in the Dream and Valor, and we were hoping it would not decline any more. I understand some cutbacks, but there is a limit as to how much Carnival can and should do it without it affecting the cruise, and Carnival has far crossed that limit in their cutbacks with entertainment to the point where it may be worth a little more money for some quality entertainment that we were used to on Carnival and can still be used to on Royal Caribbean and Norwegian. The singers, dancers, and musicians are all individually very talented. The singers in the shows were great, and the soloists throughout the ship are very talented, but there is just so much that a piano player can do to engage the crowd, liven the atmosphere, and encourage fun and dancing. Soloists is pretty much all to be found on the Miracle, and all that we should come to expect on all Carnival ships in the near future. We have come to enjoy at least one full band in additional to a full Calypso band. In addition, we have come to enjoy several duos, and in the minority, one or two soloists. There was one band, and we were told that if it wasn't for the Ticket to Ride show, Carnival would have gotten rid of the one and only band as they have and are doing on the rest of the ships. No more bands on Carnival. The calypso duo was one of the better duos compared to the other Carnival ships, but there is just so much that a calypso duo can do compared to a full calypso band - and the staff agreed that many people miss the calypso bands as there are differences. These solicits and this one duo played the same songs over and over, cause they have such a limited selection of pre-recorded tracks. No other duos, just 3 piano entertainers / soloists. We used to love the duos AND bands, and music unlimited was great, but we were told that they are all being cut to soloists. Not on other lines though....

There were 3 nights out of 8 without any professional entertainment - opening night, legends, and deck party night - again, one or two nights ok, but 3 nights with nothing is really, really noticeable and pushing it. The comedians - all 3 of them were terrible. Literally not one laugh. If Carnival is going to do Punchliners, let them at least do it right with quality and funny comedians and screen them. The ventriloquist was not funny and many walked out. On a positive note, Gregg at the piano bar was exceptional, as was music unlimited and Tony Ray. But yes, the cutbacks in this department crossed the line, and we were told by staff no bands on other ships - Carnival really needs to reconsider how they budget, cause for a few more thousand dollars per cruise on entertainment, they will not lose loyal cruisers to us.

-Ticket to ride was the only good show all week.
-As stated earlier, the comedians were simply awful. A waste of time, money, and a waste of a concept that could be a great one.
-We saw the magician walking around on the last night, where was he all week? Get rid of them! Even if he did make it to our table, is one trick per table really worth the money? Carnival, pay somone that can entertain a greater number of people, use the money for this waste of an entertainer to pay for the MUCH needed live entertainment, such as an extra band member or two.
-Find a better and funnier juggler and vantriliquist. We've seen quality ones on other Carnival and non-Carnival ships, but not here. No laughs, and noticed many walking out mid-show.
-How about new activities and events. Does it take that much work or brains... it shouldn't. The other lines add varity, but with Carnival, we can recite the schedule, the lines, and the questions. No wonder even the non professional entertainment is so terrible. How about new questions for the marriage show? How about a different legends show, deck party, and opening show. What about new pool games? Maybe contests such as stuff your shirt, swim with fruit between your legs... anything other than the so original hairy chest contest that really was not funny the first time nor the 6th.
-The first night opening show had the same songs as the opening show from the 7 other Carnival cruises. The last night legends show is the same, and it's another cheap way to use the guests to entertain the guests rather than hire professional entertainment. The deck party is another night with no professional entertainment - that's 3 fo 8 nights... one or two, fine... but this is just way too much.
-The deck party... how about the deck event - I wouldn't ever attempt to even try calling it a party. The band played some music. It was not hosted, not hyped up, and so dull. How about funny contests and finding a way to attract and engage more than 75 people who showed up? Chacha slide, electric slide... no wonder everyone who did not show left.
*The lack of live entertainment is pathetic, it really is. I do not want to hear the excuse that there are not enough beds - there absoutely are. There were one enough beds for 5 or 6 full bands. Get rid of the magician. I guarantee Carnival once found a way to have the beds, the other lines do, and they still can. Music Unlimited was the only band. They were phenominal! Great job. We also were told that Carnival tried cutting them, but that they were needed for the Beetles Ticket to Ride Show. Do not expect bands on other ships - at least we were told that these are the orders from the corporate office to generate more revenue. Only soloists to come and replace all bands. CARNIVAL, WE DO NOTICE THESE CUTBACKS. YOU ARE LOSING PAST CRUISERS LIKE US TO THE LINES THAT STILL HAVE BANDS AND QUALITY ENTERTAINMENT. WE REALLY DO NOTICE THOUGH, AND IT REALLY DID USED TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE. Charge 10 dollars more a person for some bands and quality entertainment. Thats 20,000 dollars to pay for the additions. We also miss the calypso band rather than duo, and we also miss hearing music thoughout the ship. It was nice seeing a 10 piece showband, but we were told the other ships are down to 5 or less, and that the Miracle is the only ship left with this large band. It will be gone soon. We noticed the difference, but unfortunately even this will be gone soon. People only danced with Music Unlimited and to the showband. I guess Carnival does not want anyone dancing and enjoying the music. The others were limited in what they could play, based on what pre-recorded tracks they had. Each ship needs at least a full showband, a rock band like Music Unlimited, and a full calypso band. Then in addition, there should be at least two duos, and maybe one or two solosts... but as was stated, only solists is terrible, noticable, and unacceptable. Carnival, many of us noticed this. We love live music with bands. A duo or soloist especially is not a band. They do not engage the crowd.

So the entertainment was a major disappointment. As the week went on, we heard this more and more from first time cruisers, and especially from past guests. Carnival may not notice that the past guests are leaving until we are all cruising with the other lines. Hopefully they will listen and be proactive rather than reactive when it may be too late. The crew were great. Food great as well. We loved the salmon bagels and omlettes. But the entertainment is a major reason for cruising, and these cutbacks really showed and really were completely unexpected and unacceptable.

In conclusion, Carnival needs to screen the comedians. They need to screen for the shows as well. There was a great motown entertainer one night that I forgot to mention, and they holiday show was great. Singers in the show and dancers all very talented. But 3 nights with no shows or entertainment, and the same old questions and games without making them different and changing questions and events up by ship and month or year is really not smart or good. Most importantly, Carnival really needs to bring back the duos and bands (at least one band and calypso band and several duos with minimal soloists and piano players which there were 3 or 4 of). Get rid of the magician that we didn't see, and spend the money on shows and bands that affect us. Hopefully Carnival gets their act together, so we can come back to Carnival after we give Royal a try since they have the bands and quality entertainment. Still open to book Carnival as soon as we read and see improvements and more spending on entertainment, and with the trend continuing to decrease with the elimination of the showband on the Miracle and all bands on other ships it may be awhile.
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  #2 (permalink)  
Old December 31st, 2010, 03:34 PM
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I did enjoy when they had a good Calypso band by the pool. The rest was sort of irrelevant to me. If I was writing a review for CruiseMates I'd attend the shows, otherwise I'd just pick the odd one.

They've always had just the one "welcome aboard show" at the beginning of a cruise, and the "Legends" show at the end. Other nights there has always been some sort of show in the show room unless the ship happened to be in port late.

I'm one who otherwise couldn't care less about music around the ship, other than appreciating a good entertainer in the piano bars.
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Old December 31st, 2010, 05:36 PM
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I won't be doing "Miracle" anymore, until they change the Cruise Director. I'm booked on Princess for our next cruise, because of our disappointment aboard "Miracle" last month. I'll probably do another Carnival cruise sometime next year, but am taking a long hard look at all the other lines first. For the last 3 years or so, I've not even looked at other lines, but that's all changed now, thanks to the "Miracle" cruise director, and his lack luster staff.

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Old December 31st, 2010, 06:04 PM
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Interesting, but not sure how the 1st time cruisers you mentioned several times would have a perspective. But from Skymasters previous comments and yours there seems to be something out of kilter with that ship.
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Old December 31st, 2010, 07:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sportsstar90 View Post
Hey everyone,

We just returned from the Miracle. I posted this summary of our trip on the Carnival board, but I wanted to share it here with everyone. We were so disappointed in Carnival's extreme cutbacks. I'm curious as to how everyone here feels and what everyone thinks. I'm hoping that Carnival will listen as everyone we spoke with on the ship both past guests and first time cruisers felt the same and are all taking a break from Carnival for some time. Hopefully they listen and change back, so we can come to cruise Carnival once again and enjoy what we once did on Carnival and still and will do on other lines such as Royal Caribbean and Norwegian.

After many cruises and several on Carnival within the past 10-15 years, we still have the attitude that any cruise is a good cruise. We enjoyed celebrating the holidays aboard the Miracle. The staff was exceptional - each and every staff member went above and beyond, despite how hard it must have been for them being away from home for the holidays. Amazing job for the hard work each and every day by every single crew member aboard. The food was excellent as well - from the deli, to the dining room, to the sushi bar - great presentation and quality.

With that being said, the cutbacks in the entertainment department where beyond noticeable. There is a limit as to how much things can be cutback, and Carnival has far crossed and exceeded that limit to the point where it severely affected the quality of the cruise, the level of enthusiasm throughout the ship, and our (any many cruisers) overall enjoyment.

Unfortunately, we were beyond disappointed with the entertainment. Out of all cruises, the entertainment was beyond the worst. The cutbacks reflect in the entertainment department, and it is simply attributed to spending less... a lot less, orders from headquarters in Miami to the ships. We noticed some declines last year in the Dream and Valor, and we were hoping it would not decline any more. I understand some cutbacks, but there is a limit as to how much Carnival can and should do it without it affecting the cruise, and Carnival has far crossed that limit in their cutbacks with entertainment to the point where it may be worth a little more money for some quality entertainment that we were used to on Carnival and can still be used to on Royal Caribbean and Norwegian. The singers, dancers, and musicians are all individually very talented. The singers in the shows were great, and the soloists throughout the ship are very talented, but there is just so much that a piano player can do to engage the crowd, liven the atmosphere, and encourage fun and dancing. Soloists is pretty much all to be found on the Miracle, and all that we should come to expect on all Carnival ships in the near future. We have come to enjoy at least one full band in additional to a full Calypso band. In addition, we have come to enjoy several duos, and in the minority, one or two soloists. There was one band, and we were told that if it wasn't for the Ticket to Ride show, Carnival would have gotten rid of the one and only band as they have and are doing on the rest of the ships. No more bands on Carnival. The calypso duo was one of the better duos compared to the other Carnival ships, but there is just so much that a calypso duo can do compared to a full calypso band - and the staff agreed that many people miss the calypso bands as there are differences. These solicits and this one duo played the same songs over and over, cause they have such a limited selection of pre-recorded tracks. No other duos, just 3 piano entertainers / soloists. We used to love the duos AND bands, and music unlimited was great, but we were told that they are all being cut to soloists. Not on other lines though....

There were 3 nights out of 8 without any professional entertainment - opening night, legends, and deck party night - again, one or two nights ok, but 3 nights with nothing is really, really noticeable and pushing it. The comedians - all 3 of them were terrible. Literally not one laugh. If Carnival is going to do Punchliners, let them at least do it right with quality and funny comedians and screen them. The ventriloquist was not funny and many walked out. On a positive note, Gregg at the piano bar was exceptional, as was music unlimited and Tony Ray. But yes, the cutbacks in this department crossed the line, and we were told by staff no bands on other ships - Carnival really needs to reconsider how they budget, cause for a few more thousand dollars per cruise on entertainment, they will not lose loyal cruisers to us.

-Ticket to ride was the only good show all week.
-As stated earlier, the comedians were simply awful. A waste of time, money, and a waste of a concept that could be a great one.
-We saw the magician walking around on the last night, where was he all week? Get rid of them! Even if he did make it to our table, is one trick per table really worth the money? Carnival, pay somone that can entertain a greater number of people, use the money for this waste of an entertainer to pay for the MUCH needed live entertainment, such as an extra band member or two.
-Find a better and funnier juggler and vantriliquist. We've seen quality ones on other Carnival and non-Carnival ships, but not here. No laughs, and noticed many walking out mid-show.
-How about new activities and events. Does it take that much work or brains... it shouldn't. The other lines add varity, but with Carnival, we can recite the schedule, the lines, and the questions. No wonder even the non professional entertainment is so terrible. How about new questions for the marriage show? How about a different legends show, deck party, and opening show. What about new pool games? Maybe contests such as stuff your shirt, swim with fruit between your legs... anything other than the so original hairy chest contest that really was not funny the first time nor the 6th.
-The first night opening show had the same songs as the opening show from the 7 other Carnival cruises. The last night legends show is the same, and it's another cheap way to use the guests to entertain the guests rather than hire professional entertainment. The deck party is another night with no professional entertainment - that's 3 fo 8 nights... one or two, fine... but this is just way too much.
-The deck party... how about the deck event - I wouldn't ever attempt to even try calling it a party. The band played some music. It was not hosted, not hyped up, and so dull. How about funny contests and finding a way to attract and engage more than 75 people who showed up? Chacha slide, electric slide... no wonder everyone who did not show left.
*The lack of live entertainment is pathetic, it really is. I do not want to hear the excuse that there are not enough beds - there absoutely are. There were one enough beds for 5 or 6 full bands. Get rid of the magician. I guarantee Carnival once found a way to have the beds, the other lines do, and they still can. Music Unlimited was the only band. They were phenominal! Great job. We also were told that Carnival tried cutting them, but that they were needed for the Beetles Ticket to Ride Show. Do not expect bands on other ships - at least we were told that these are the orders from the corporate office to generate more revenue. Only soloists to come and replace all bands. CARNIVAL, WE DO NOTICE THESE CUTBACKS. YOU ARE LOSING PAST CRUISERS LIKE US TO THE LINES THAT STILL HAVE BANDS AND QUALITY ENTERTAINMENT. WE REALLY DO NOTICE THOUGH, AND IT REALLY DID USED TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE. Charge 10 dollars more a person for some bands and quality entertainment. Thats 20,000 dollars to pay for the additions. We also miss the calypso band rather than duo, and we also miss hearing music thoughout the ship. It was nice seeing a 10 piece showband, but we were told the other ships are down to 5 or less, and that the Miracle is the only ship left with this large band. It will be gone soon. We noticed the difference, but unfortunately even this will be gone soon. People only danced with Music Unlimited and to the showband. I guess Carnival does not want anyone dancing and enjoying the music. The others were limited in what they could play, based on what pre-recorded tracks they had. Each ship needs at least a full showband, a rock band like Music Unlimited, and a full calypso band. Then in addition, there should be at least two duos, and maybe one or two solosts... but as was stated, only solists is terrible, noticable, and unacceptable. Carnival, many of us noticed this. We love live music with bands. A duo or soloist especially is not a band. They do not engage the crowd.

So the entertainment was a major disappointment. As the week went on, we heard this more and more from first time cruisers, and especially from past guests. Carnival may not notice that the past guests are leaving until we are all cruising with the other lines. Hopefully they will listen and be proactive rather than reactive when it may be too late. The crew were great. Food great as well. We loved the salmon bagels and omlettes. But the entertainment is a major reason for cruising, and these cutbacks really showed and really were completely unexpected and unacceptable.

In conclusion, Carnival needs to screen the comedians. They need to screen for the shows as well. There was a great motown entertainer one night that I forgot to mention, and they holiday show was great. Singers in the show and dancers all very talented. But 3 nights with no shows or entertainment, and the same old questions and games without making them different and changing questions and events up by ship and month or year is really not smart or good. Most importantly, Carnival really needs to bring back the duos and bands (at least one band and calypso band and several duos with minimal soloists and piano players which there were 3 or 4 of). Get rid of the magician that we didn't see, and spend the money on shows and bands that affect us. Hopefully Carnival gets their act together, so we can come back to Carnival after we give Royal a try since they have the bands and quality entertainment. Still open to book Carnival as soon as we read and see improvements and more spending on entertainment, and with the trend continuing to decrease with the elimination of the showband on the Miracle and all bands on other ships it may be awhile.
April 23/2010 will be our first cruise 8 days on the freedom. We were already notified by carnival that the Puerto rico stop has been replaced by another fun day at sea. All these negative reviews has me thinking about jumping ship to Oasis of the Seas wwhich leaves the same time but one less day (7 days and about 900. more in price)
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Old December 31st, 2010, 07:39 PM
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I wouldn't be too concerned. I've cruised on the Freedom a couple of times, and both were excellent cruises.

Not to discount completely those who didn't enjoy the Miracle, but they had specific complaints about the entertainment staff, and the music.

As a first timer the shows will be new to you, and I have no doubt you'll enjoy them. You'll likely find the piano bar a great place to hang out in the evenings, and more than enough action around the ship to keep you happy.

I wouldn't change ships based on a couple of bad reviews, not even if I wrote them
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Old December 31st, 2010, 08:26 PM
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Funny thing with this OP and thread subject in a few forums here.....

Cruiser9800 appears to be the same as John970 and sportsstar90. Posts at CC are identical.
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Old January 1st, 2011, 03:54 AM
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Yes, those other two names are my name and another family member's name on CC. I combined our two posts that we each wrote about our Miracle cruise on CC and made it into one detailed review and summary here on cruise mates with our one username. I have all of the Fun Times, so please feel free to ask any questions or to ask about any details. I am more than glad to assist. I am simply trying to share my experience, raise awareness to what I consider to be major issues for Carnival cruisers and those who used to and still want to love and cruise Carnival like me and my family, and help continue to make sure that cruising continues to be the best possible vacation. Just trying to help everyone from cruisers to the cruise line.
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Old January 1st, 2011, 08:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kuki View Post
I wouldn't be too concerned. I've cruised on the Freedom a couple of times, and both were excellent cruises.

Not to discount completely those who didn't enjoy the Miracle, but they had specific complaints about the entertainment staff, and the music.

As a first timer the shows will be new to you, and I have no doubt you'll enjoy them. You'll likely find the piano bar a great place to hang out in the evenings, and more than enough action around the ship to keep you happy.

I wouldn't change ships based on a couple of bad reviews, not even if I wrote them
You're absolutely correct Kuki. I LOVED the big shows,,,especially "Ticket to Ride". I usually do the piano bar, but once again, the guy there didn't "light my fire". Others may love him . "Miracle" in general is an excellent cruise, but for folks like me who REALLY enjoy the onboard activities, and seldom, if ever leave the ship, the CD and his staff are key to a GREAT, instead of a good cruise.

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Old January 1st, 2011, 10:51 AM
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What surprises me with this review as well as with Donna's is the Cruise director trained on the Conquest, and we saw him several times, on two different cruises. He at the time was very out going, and funny.

I agree that when you have this many bad reviews, there might be a problem.
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Old January 1st, 2011, 07:43 PM
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Luanne, the CD himself wasn't so bad, but his staff was. He should have a better handle on things than he did.
As for the OP Sportstar90, here is a link to my review I wrote after my cruise on Miracle in November. As you can see I agree with most of your points!

Miracle Cruise 2010

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Old January 1st, 2011, 08:54 PM
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Interestingly (and perhaps oddly enough) on Carnival's poll of "Unofficial Carnival awards for 2010, The Miracle tied with Carnival Dream for best ship in the fleet, voted by visitors to John Heald's Blog.
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Old January 1st, 2011, 09:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kuki View Post
Interestingly (and perhaps oddly enough) on Carnival's poll of "Unofficial Carnival awards for 2010, The Miracle tied with Carnival Dream for best ship in the fleet, voted by visitors to John Heald's Blog.
The Poll was advertised on the Carnival Facebook as well.
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