We had a relaxing cruise aboard the Miracle in an aft extended view balcony and wanted to share the good, the great, and the minor bummers. I am 40, my husband 50 and our son is 4. This was a 40th birthday cruise for me. Probably our 14th cruise or so, but who is counting?! We'd repeat this trip because it was an overall excellent value and great experience.
Faster to the Fun:
I'll start with major props on the Faster to the Fun concept. For $50 we are so glad we made the investment. We were some of the first on the ship (by 12:30pm due to a slower than usual disembarkation process from the prior Hawaii cruise) and praise the staff for always recognizing us as FTTF and whisking us to priority tenders, priority self assist debarkation, etc. We will always cruise this way as long as Carnival makes this option available at such a good price. And YES, FTTF is listed on the priority check in sign, right next to Platinum, etc. This was really nice for us traveling with a 4 year old and arriving to theport at 10:30am. A front desk agent surveyed us on our FTTF experience mid way through the cruise by phoning our cabin. The only less than perfect feedback I had for her (when asked) was that our luggage wasn' in our room when we arrived on embarkation day, but we didnâ€™t care one bit about that since it arrived shortly thereafter.
Here is our video tour of aft extended balcony cabin #7351.
We loved this cabin. It was quiet (staterooms above and below), clean, and located quite conveniently to the Horatioâ€™s restaurant (LOVE that I only had to take two quick flights of stairs for our morning coffee run!). The bed was among the top three most comfortable on any ship we'e ever experienced. We pack our own pillows, but still, the mattress was just soft enough, the sheets were soft and we slept like babies. My 4 year old son slept on the couch converted to a bed, and he loved the gentle rumble of the engines lulling him to sleep each night. There was less engine vibration and noise on the aft of the Miracle than we've experienced on other ships. Just enough to be soothing and rock you to sleep. The balcony was showing a bit of wear and wasn't super clean, and I didn't care for the food smell that wafts toward the aft when you are on the back of the ship, but the lack of wind makes that part bearable. There was never a time when we couldn't be out on the balcony. Even late at night on the coolest of evenings it was calm and lovely to watch the wake. Storage was ample, closet space rocked, and the shower seemed bigger to me than most. We'd choose this cabin again and again.
Our dining experience:
We dined at the Steakhouse, Nick and Nora's, twice on this voyage. The first experience was on the night of our cruise - after learning that we weren't happy with our main dining room table assignment. Shortly after boarding, we visited the main dining room and were told we were to be seated at a big table with others (we'd chosen assigned /6pm, table of 4 for the three of us). So, until this was resolved, we decided to pay the premium and hit Nick and Nora's. We dined there a second time on the second formal night. It was wonderful!
Both times, I had the lobster bisque, Caesar salad, surf and turf (Lobster
We had a wonderful time on our cruise, enjoyed the room we had with a balcony (cabin 8230). It was near the stairs/elevator and just one flight up to the buffet. The "Serenity deck" was awesome (no one under 21). There is also an inside pool which was great as long as you could get into it before the kids did! The gym was very nice too, as well as the steam room and sauna. The only thing that keeps this from being 5 star is that Carnival allows smoking on the balcony decks, which affects other balconies.
We took a cruise on Carnival earlier this year. As part of the services, we signed up for the transportation option that included Pickup/Transfer at the airport the days of embarkation and debarkation. The fee for this was $160.
The Carnival customer service reps told us we would be met at the airport by company representatives and taken by Carnival transportation directly to the ship at the pier.
We arrived at the airport in NYC about 10 minutes early. After waiting 30 minutes, no one from Carnival arrived. We called Carnival customer service and were told that the reps came on duty at 11am (this was at 10:45am). By 11:30am, no one from Carnival arrived. We again called Carnival customer service and were told that the reps would be there very soon. After another hour of waiting, no one from Carnival arrived. The NY Port Authority customer service rep arranged for a van service to take us to the ship. That van made 4 stops over an hour and a half travel time dropping off other customers before we finally go to the ship. But we were very thankful that the PortAuthority was there to help where Carnival failed.
While on the cruise, we stopped by the customer service desk to ask about return transportation given the problems inbound. The rep assured us that there would be Carnival people at the pier when we debarked, and there would be transportation to the airport as promised.
When we debarked, there were no Carnival reps who knew anything about transportation. We asked many Carnival people, but they had no idea. We finally found a separate van service that would take us to the airport.
Given poor customer service and the expense for this undelivered service, we wrote a letter to Carnival. The response was that they were having trouble with the 'contractors' who provided the greeting and transportation service. That was the cause of the lack of service. They were sorry it occurred.
We then wrote a letter to the President (Mr. Gerald R. Cahill) detailing the poor service and the equally poor response. The reply letter said they 'it was disheartening to learn of (our) continued disappointment'. 'While (they) have documented (our) concerns, (they) must respectfully decline (our) request for compensation.' That compensation was my $160 back for services not provided by Carnival.
Continuing my disappointment, I wrote again to Mr. Cahill. The response from another Guest Care clerk was that they needed the goodwill of their guests and had told the managers to take corrective action.
BUT they also said: 'While we value all input from our guests, we must now consider this matter closed.' They finished by saying that they hoped we would allow them the opportunity to regain our patronage.
In other words: stop complaining, Carnival doesn't care.
Certainly a return of the payment for service never received would have been a good start. But the clearly cavalier response to their failure to provide contracted service speaks louder than any well written letter dismissing a customer's concerns.
We cruise every year. This was our first cruise with Carnival. It will also be our last. To add insult to injury, we have been stockholders of Carnival for years.
I hope this is helpful to readers of the site.
Simply put, this cruise was a NIGHTMARE.
There were last minute changes of the 2 ports, which were the reason we booked this cruise in the first place.
Then, due to additional engine "problems," we returned several times to our balcony room only to find everything on it covered in soot.
The compensation for the change of ports and useless balcony was a $50 credit ($25 each) and a $4 bottle of cheap champagne.
No more Carnival for me.
Trust me and pay the little extra for another cruise line and enjoy your cruise.
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.
Day 1 SAIL AWAY
We arrived at Port Everglades around 11 am. This was the first time we ever drove into Port Everglades so we were a little lost but was pleasantly surprised when we found the berth for our ship so easily, dropped off luggage and went and parked in the parking garage. Embarkation was fairly smooth and once we had our Sail and Sign cards in hand was able to go right aboard the ship.
Our state room couldn't be accessed until 1:30 pm so we went up to the Lido deck after exploring just a little. My first impression of the ships décor was WOW! I love just about everything décor wise about this ship. So we got to the Lido deck and found a seat, Pearl sat while I went and rounded us up a couple DoD's (drink of the day). The sides are enclosed but have windows that can be opened and a nice breeze was blowing. We went ahead and checked out the Buffet, called Horatio's restaurant, and was really surprised at how nice of a buffet it was, best ever seen at sea!
1:30 pmfinally came around and we was able to go to our stateroom. Our stateroom was nice, it has a couch that made up into a bed. We were surprised at how small our balcony since it was an aft balcony. (Compared to Carnival Triumph aft balcony.) But over all was well pleased. Pearl and I starched out and took a little nap. And by the time we got up 2 of the 3 suitcases had arrived. So we unpack them and headed out to do some more exploring.
We were really impressed and the imagination that went into the many bars and venues that are on the ship. The Mad Hatter uses Alice in Wonderland as a theme. While Dr. Frankenstein Lab uses Frankenstein as the main theme. The seating in Frankenstein's Lab are red cushions that looked like bananas. There is a 15 foot Frankenstein statue on the dance floor. There is the Phantom Theater where the shows are held. These are just a few. We'll mention more as we visit them.
We arrived back at our room and there was our last suitcase. The tag had been torn off and temp had been attached. So Pearl was able to dress for supper and retrieve her sea sick pills. The main dining room is called Bacchus Restaurant. Our table was #130 and we were served by the "I" team. Real names are to come later. Pearl had beef barley soup while I had the fruit medley and cold tomato soup that was divine. And for the main course Pearl had "Spinach Lasagna" which had a good flavor to it but her body said "aint no way that's going into me". And I had grilled Tipilia (fish), mac and cheese. For dessert Pearl had strawberry ice cream. And Tim had vanilla cream brelle and warm chocolate melting cake.
After a very pleasant dinner we went to our room and finish unpacking. Then off to the Hot Tub in the adult only area. The hot tub water wasn't as hot as we normally see but we nice especially considering that Pearl and I had it all to ourselves. Then add a nice cool breeze and I said to myself "it don't get no better than this". After spending a couple hours and the hot tub we decided to retried early for the evening. What happened next is only for the informed to know. We had a nice day and are anxious to see that tomorrow may bring.
DAY 2 SEA DAY
Have you ever had that feeling that this day wasn't going to go smoothly? That if it was going to go wrong you couldn't stop it. That's how this day started. We woke up to a beautiful sunrise, nice weather for a sea day and NO ROOM SERVICE. We had ordered breakfast in our room. And it never showed up. When we asked where it was at they said that they delivered it on time. If that is the truth then are hearing must be going bad cause we didn't hear anything.
So we went to the dining room to eat breakfast. We were seated with 2 other couples. We did have a good conversation during our meal. The one thing we learned at this meal was Salmon was very popular breakfast food. Even with that knowledge I passed on it.
After breakfast I went to the Spa for a beginners Yoga class. There were 5 people in the class. Most of them could stretch in ways she never thought one could possibly do. She learned really fast that it was not something that she could do or wanted to do. The arthritis in her lower back started to hurt. But then again, if all the instructors looked that that one, lots of muscles (extremely HOT), with a neat loveable accent, I might just be able to do it again.
As the day went on were found that the pool side music wasn't that good. The activities pool side were limited due the space around the pools. And unless you like BINGO or the Casino, there wasn't much that interested us. Now let me tell you about Mr. Lucky's Casino. That place looks really neat. There is plenty of space between groups of tables or slot machines. While Pearl was doing the yoga class, Tim hit the casino and may I add he did good. Went in with $40 and walked out with $120.
Winning money is a hard laborious job, it took so much out of Tim, he had to go take an afternoon nap. Because he wanted to be in tip-top shape when the evening elegant party started.
Before dinner we went and had several pictures taken. I hope they turn out good. Our fine meal consisted of, Tim had spaghetti, stuffed mushrooms, 2 lobster tails and shrimp, and cherry jubilee I had minestrone soup, and chili retellio, along with cherry jubilee. Then our waiters , Indrawan and Igede, showed up with a small piece of cake and sang Happy Birthday to Shue to me. It was a lovely piece of Banana cake with creamy icing and a piece of banana and red raspberry on the top. YUMMMMMMMMMMY.
Then the singing waiters came out of hiding and took the guest for a spine around the room while the Mat'rde sang an Italian song. That got our blood pumping. We love the different ways they entertain us in the dining hall.
Then it was off to the show at 8:45 pm. We got there in time that we got a front row seat. The show was called "Generation". They sang songs from the 50's through the 80's. The dancing was okay, the band did a good job with the music. Even the person singing the Elvis songs did a good job of copying Elvis's style. But the show didn't impress us at all.
The day is done and so are we, so off to the cabin to see if we can make out what kind of towel critter is in wait for us to return.
DAY 3 GRAND TURK
I'm telling you someone or something is making it hard for us to enjoy this cruise. We wised up and didn't order room service for breakfast. Instead we went to the Lido deck and ate at the buffet. We were pleasantly surprised that is was not crowded, the lines were short and we were done eating in 30 minutes. I had a really good Omelet, potatoes and biscuit and gravy while Pearl had French toast, ham and sausage. We watched another cruise ship back up beside our ship. Then we were off to our rooms for one last potty run before we went on our shore tour. It was a good thing we did because waiting in our room was a message that the tour had been canceled because the winds were too strong. It was a disappointment because we really wanted to go on the "Catamaran Sail away" but we understand that it is hard to sail a sailboat when the winds are strong. Trust us the winds did have a good gust to them at times.
So we pulled up our little kids panties and went ashore to lay on the beach at Margarettaville. We ordered 2 drinks, they were about the size of a 10 oz cup with a piece of orange and one cherry under the umbrella. When we seen the bill.we wanted to send them back. They were not worth $20.41 that they charge for them. I was the only one that went into the ocean to swim and I was not impressed with the beach at all. The sandy area was small and after going into the water a few feet it dropped quickly onto big rocks that were hard to walk on. There was plenty of palm tree's on the beach and we found a nice shady spot to relax for a while then headed over to do some shopping. The prices were kinda expensive so we gathered ourselves up and headed back to the ship around 11:30 am.
We went to our room after getting back on the ship and dropped our things off and changed clothes before heading up to the Buffet for lunch. Pearl and I had Asian food, lots of veggies and meat..Yum. From the buffet we split up and I headed for my 1 hr full body deep tissue massage while Pearl came down to work on the blog and read. We met at the room later to head to supper in the main dining room. Pearl had the a beef vegy soup and a NY strip steak while I had Lasagna and a ceaser salad for starters and a wonderful NY strip steak for the main course. Let me just say that it was the best steak I've ever had on a cruise ship, supper clubs not withstanding. Then Pearl surprised me, I had to pick my jaw up off the floor, she actually ordered a warm chocolate melting cake just like I did, what is the world coming to????
After supper we stopped by the casino for a while then hit the comedy club and saw Phat Kat perform, he wasn't too bad but same stuff as when we saw him on the Triumph, then headed up to the Hot Tub for about an hour and a half. That concluded another wonderful day on the Carnival Miracle, what will be in store tomorrow? We shall see!
DAY 4 CASA DE CAMPO, LA ROMANA DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
We were up at the crack of dawn just waiting for the next shoe to drop. Would we get good room service or not? So to solve that problem we hit the Lido deck for breakfast, where we had the breakfast of champions, bacon, eggs and hash browns. After a hardy breakfast we went to the top deck to get some pictures as we were just docking in Dominican Republic.
The locals sure looked glad to see us as there were several of them dancing on the pier and a boat load of locals cruising by the ship and posing for pictures. My first impression that I had from my view on the ship was, after looking at the smoke billowing out of a factory, I bet they don't have the EPA regulations here that we do in the States. Actually I was to find out later that this was a pretty good assumption because the Dominican Republic is basically the United States forty years behind us, expect they speak Spanish.
We began our shore excursion for the day with a short walk to the bus that was to take us to Santa Domingo, the capital of The Dominican Republic, for a walking tour and lunch. The trip to Santa Domingo was pretty uneventful, we did notice the houses and buildings that we saw were either made from concrete blocks or concrete itself. There was a lot of run down homes and lots of trash lying around which seems typical for these third world countries. The Dominican Republic differs from most third world countries, in my opinion, because of the road ways. The road ways are fairly modern four land highways with exit ramps and entrance ramps like you would see on our interstates. They drive English Style, (on the right side of the road) and have modernized traffic control devices and the like. There driving habits and manors are worse than in the states. I hope the states never get that bad.
The walking tour did not impress us much. We visited a local market where we were able to buy some cigars and our short glass for this country. Then we walked over to the Catholic Cathedral for a tour. We did not like this; we believe that a church is the house of God and should not be used as a tourist attraction, even if it is the very first cathedral in the western hemisphere. From there we went to a Jesuit church which was more like a cemetery because it held the remains of all the former presidents. The Dominican Republic keeps an Honor Guard there to honor their fallen presidents, (That's a lot cheaper than building Presidential Libraries in this country) Finally it was lunch time and we headed off to a little restaurant where we were packed like sardines at the tables they had assigned to us. It was a small buffet boosting classic Dominican food. What many of the dishes were I could not tell you, but the food wasn't very good. Then we boarded the bus for the trip back to the ship. We stopped at the Christopher Columbus lighthouse for a quick picture shoot before continuing our trip back to the ship. The lighthouse was unlike any we have ever seen, it is a huge building made in the shape of a cross and the remains of Christopher Columbus are supposedly buried there. I saw supposedly because there are at least three countries who say that the remains of Christopher Columbus are buried there! At night, when the lighthouse lights are turned on, the whole city of Santa Domingo and way out to sea can see a huge cross in the sky from the lighthouse. The rest of the trip back went smoothly. All in all the trip was pretty boring and we would not suggest this excursion to anyone. As a side note, the venders were not pushy but were constantly there trying to make a buck!
We went to our stateroom and rested for a bit then I went down to the sports bar to smoke a cigar while Pearl relaxed in the cabin and read. We met back up at supper where Pearl had chicken noodle soup and Veal parmesan and I had cream of mushroom soup, a shrimp cocktail and the Filet Mignon with a side of rib for supper, yum! Desert was simply Vanilla ice cream for Pearl and Pumpkin pie with vanilla ice cream for me. Supper was over, the waiters doing a nice song and dance, finally new material from other cruises, and we were off to the casino. Pearls luck wasn't happening but mine was pretty good as I came out about $100.00 ahead. After a drink or two we then got our bathing suites on and headed to the Hot Tub for a hour or so and then to bed. Tomorrow is Aruba but we get into port at noon so we get to sleep in.Yeah!
DAY 5 ARUBA
We was able to sleep in this morning because we weren't scheduled to arrive in Aruba till noon and then depart till 9:30 pm, so plenty of time to enjoy the morning and enjoy the day! We ate breakfast in the Bachuss dining room, I had eggs Benedict and a ham and cheese omelet while Pearl enjoyed a bowl of cereal and a Danish. Bachuss, for which the dining room received it's name, is God of the grapes according to Greek lore. The whole dining room has grapes dangling from the ceiling and wine glasses as pillars for support.
After the ship docked we disembarked and caught a cab to our BlueGreen resort that we have in Aruba. The taxi driver was very nice and dropped us off right across the street from the resort. We arrived at the resort and told Jeane, an employ of the resort, we were BlueGreen owners and wanted to visit for the day and see the resort. Jeane took us to the offices and one of the office girls gave us the grand tour. LaCabana resort is a beautiful resort! The rooms are very nice and the swimming pool and bar area is great. If we wanted to we could of walked across the street to Eagle beach and spent the day there too. We caught a bus and returned to the ship around 5 pm and rested for a bit before going to the Lido buffet for supper. Pearl and I both had Asian food for a very nice supper. After supper we came back to the room and took a little nap before heading to the Casino for a while and then the Hot Tub. We had been blessed with a really nice day and turned in early because Curacao came early tomorrow.
DAY 6 CURACAO
We tried room service again this morning and was pleased that it was only 5 minutes after it was supposed to arrive at the latest. We both ate a bowl of cereal and a Danish and fruit and coffee. We docked right on time and after letting the initial line of folks off the ship we walked off to find a cab to see the sights.
We ended up sharing a cab with 2 other couples. The driver about sweated us to death before he realized he didn't have the A/C on. We stopped at a alcohol factory for a short visit, the rum tasted like cough syrup, and headed on up the road. We saw the nicer areas as well as the not so nice areas, we visited down town and ended up being dropped off by the floating bridge.
The floating bridge is a bridge that spans the river inlet where the ships come in. When a ship needs in or out a motor on one end of the bridge moves one end of the bridge to open up the passage. While touring down town there was a fresh fish market where Venezuelans come to sell their fresh caught fish. The boats are pulled right up to the docks, covered with a tarp and sold right from the ship. Venezuelans come to Curacao because they can get much better prices for their fish rather then in Venezuela. Pearl and I bought a couple of shirts and a hat and went on back to the ship.
We arrived back to the room and Pearl came down with a real bad headache. We went to diner in the main dining room but Pearl ended up going back to the room, her head was just hurting too bad. I went ahead and enjoyed a meal of Pork tenderloin with a really nice sauce, potatoes and had French Onion soup for a started and a rum flavored cake with dates and figs for desert.
With Pearl's head hurting I returned to the room after supper to spend some time with her. We purchased a movie, the Expendables, which turned out to be pretty good, and then went to the Casino for a while. I returned to the room to find Pearl had ate a little something and seemed to be feeling better. So ended another day in Paradise.
DAY 7 SEA DAY
Good morning world! Pearl is feeling better, hurray!!! Sadly, after going to the Lido deck for a wonderful everything omelet and fruit breakfast, Pearl had her same old boring cereal again, with fruit of course, ha! I started getting an upset stomach an hour or so after breakfast and it lasted almost all day. We checked out the shops after breakfast to see if there was any souvenirs we wanted to buy. Most cruises we have been on have their best prices the last day of the cruise so we didn't buy anything at this time but did scope out our model of the ship we always buy during our cruises and a neat stuffed Pirate teddy bear. We hit the casino and after a slow start we ended up not doing too bad playing the slots. Time to drop Pearl off for her birthday present! Pearls birthday present was a day at the spa! Pearl enjoyed a manicure, pedicure, hair wash and style for almost 3 hours of restful delight. I had went back to the cabin to try to sleep as my stomach was really bothering me. When Pearl arrived back at the room I thought I had died and an angel had come to take me to heaven. Pearls hair was really nice and her nails looked good too.
Tonight was the last elegant night for the cruise so we dressed up for the evening and went to supper to enjoy a fine dinner. Pearl ate the eggplant and mozzarella for a starter while I had a fruit dish and a Broccoli and cheese soup. Pearl had a very dry Chateaubriand while I had a chicken dinner which was really good. My stomach wasn't any worse for wear so we hit the mad hatter lounge to catch the pg rated comedy show. The comedian Jason Blancard was very funny, we also caught his r rated show later on which was excellent. The show in the theatre was "Ticket to Ride" a play on the music of the Beatles and I must say it was really good. After the show it was back to the comedy club to see Jason's R rated show and another comedian Wil Marfori and his R rated show, both were very good.
It was late, we hit the Lido for a late snack then it was off to bed.night all!
DAY 8 SEA DAY
We woke up this morning, excited because we would be 2 of 17 people who would get a behind the scenes tour of the ship today. How did we get so lucky you may ask? My wife actually read the excursion pamphlet that came with our first day Fun Times newsletter. It told us about the $95.00 per person excursion so we booked it as soon as possible. This is something we have wanted to do for a very long time so after waking we showered, dressed and headed to the Lido for breakfast. I had an omelet, home fries and fruit while Pearl had cereal, sausage and fruit.
The tour was to meet at the Joker card room so we made sure we arrived with plenty of time to spare. A pretty Russian girl named Yulia was to be our host and tour guide. We started out by heading to the Phantom Theatre and went behind the scenes where one of the Stage Producers met us to explain how things worked and answer questions. There had to be at least 10 screens that can drop from the ceiling to make for different backgrounds, depending on the show, and each one weighs about 1000 lbs. Back stage the dressing room is wide open spaces! No private dressing rooms here, shoot there isn't even a divider from the boys and girls! The costumes and wigs of each dancer was hanging right behind where their chair was sitting at a long mirror attached to the wall. A total change for a guy from one suite to another is 22 seconds.
We left by a back entrance and entered a hall that neither Pearl nor I had been on during this whole cruise, even though it is for guests. It was on the 3rd floor all the way at the front of the ship. We then went to the Galley to see where the food is prepared at. The big soup containers looked like a pot that you would see over a huge campfire in the middle of the jungle with a witch doctor brewing his poison. Then we watched a cook take a bar of soap and turn it into a beautiful swan. Which we got to take home with us. The cook staff was busy preparing the evening meal even thought it was only around 10 AM. They were making soups, deserts, breads, and potatoes. We were able to get our picture taken with the head chef before moving on to see the refrigeration and freezer units.
We visited the freezer and refrigeration areas and I must say while they are non-descript, they are huge and must be because they keep enough food not only for the 8 day cruise but also for 4 extra days in case something was to happen.
Next we visited the eco friendly trash disposal system. This room is manned 24 hours a day and is where all recyclables are separated and put into the proper bins. Where they will be off loaded after the cruise and properly disposed. Even the leftover food is ground up and deposited into the ocean for fish food.
And of course no ship would be complete without a laundry room, which is open 24 hours a day. There are 4 big washing machines that hold 100 pounds of laundry each. Several huge dryers and machines that actually dry and fold the bed sheet and towels. We found out that the bedding is changed before each cruise leaves out and once during the cruise unless more is needed. Believe it or notbut it takes 4 people, 3 weeks to count every piece of bedding and towels on the ship. This room is below the water line.
We even got to visit the area where the crew lives and eats. They have 3 different dining areas, one for the Officers, one for the entertainers and one for the crew. The servers are in training down here before they are allowed to serve in the main dining room to customers. They even have a bar and gaming area. The sad news is if a crew member drinks too much alcohol and blows a .08 breathalyzer test, they are fired and will not be rehired for any reason. No exceptions. (Even the captain is limited to 4 oz of wine per day)
We were disappointed because we didn't get to see the engines themselves however we did get to go to the engine room where all the control panels were located. (go figure) There were lots of computers, gauges and stuff. Even had a couple fish tanks in there. We found out that they never change their oil unless a bad report comes back after an oil analysis report. The Chef engineer, Rosario Capilli, can also completely control the ship operations from this room. In case of an emergency he can also assume duties as captain of the ship.
Speaking of the Captain, we visited the bridge next. They put us in an elevator and took us to the 8th floor. To our surprise, there were cabins right next to the bridge. After going through our second security inspection, we were allowed to enter the bridge. The captain of the ship, Rocco Lubrano, was able to greet us and answer questions that we had for him. He also was kind enough to take a photo with each of us and a group photo before he had to leave as it was almost noon, time for his midday address to the ship. We did get to ask questions of the other officers on the bridge who explained to us that there are 3 different stations whereby the ship maybe guided and controlled on the bridge. To the port, starboard and mid ship. Communication are conducted via satphone, marine radio, and GPS systems. The view from the bridge is incredible, we even saw some dolphins while up there. The amazing thing about ships now-a-days is that they can turn 360 degrees without the help of other boats.
Now on to our last stop at Nick and Nora's Steakhouse. We got to meet the head chef and he gave us a demonstration about how to tell if a steak is a good one. The problem was this guy didn't know how to explain it very good. Our tour ended here and we were given a bag with a hat in it, a bracelet, an ID holder, and that beautiful swan made from a bar of soap. We were to discover later that this was not all the gifts that we were to receive. That night at diner Yulia brought us several photos from the tour and then when we returned to our cabin later in that evening, we received a plate of chocolate cover strawberries and peanut brittle.
We really enjoyed that tour and felt it was well worth the money that we spent.
Its lunch time so we made our way to the main dining room for lunch, which is something that we have never done on a cruise. It escapes me now what we had to eat but the experience what I wanted to remember. After lunch we went back to our room and rested awhile until it was time to pack our clothes and get ready for dinner.
Dinner for this night was prime rib, which they had earlier in the week but Indrawan, our waiter, had told me we would have again. I also had shrimp and salad for an appetizer and for dessert warm chocolate melting cake. While Pearl had Chicken pasta dish with soup as an appetizer and ice cream for dessert. We cried as the waiters sang their good-bye song to us cruisers. I have to admit that the "I" team was the second best set of servers that we have had since we started cruising.
For our final night we decided to finally stay up long enough to go to the Piano Bar. The entertainer had a sore throat that he was fighting and we didn't get to hear much singing before we left. The sad part is that he played the guitar not the piano. I almost felt like he was making fun of us for coming to the piano bar for the first time on the last night of the cruise. I didn't appreciate it. From there it was back to our room for the evening.
DAY 9 SADDEST DAY OF THE CRUISE
Our luggage was gone and if we wanted any clothes to wear we had to leave the ship. : ( We had breakfast on Lido deck one more time..then we waited for our magical number to be called. They started with number one and ours was 21. They made the first announcement around 8:30 am. So you can guess how long it took us to be called. Well, it was 10 am when they called our number and off the ship we went. Like cattle going to the slaughter house, we were herded through the line for one last punch of our Sail N Sign cards at the Ding Ding machine. Then it was the dreaded search for our luggage. Think about this there was 2,200 people onboard with 2 suite cases each, which comes to about 4,400 suite cases that everyone was looking for theirs. WOW!!!!! After finding our luggage we headed for Customs. You know that horrible line where the person at the end asks you questions and you feel like they want to know how much money you have left over so they can charge you that amount for duty taxes. Well, our man was good to us. He let us go with no additional taxes. We must have looked like we didn't have any money.
Now we were off to find our truck in the parking garage. After our long walk lugging our suite cases, fighting everyone else and making it up to the third floor..we finally found our haven of rest, which was our pick up truck. Got to admit that leaving the parking garage 45 minutes after our number was called wasn't to bad. Especially since I was sitting in the passenger seat and Pearl was fighting the traffic once again.
This was a birthday present to my husband for his 60th birthday. We cruised Grand Turk, Half Moon Cay, And Nassau. The boat was very nice the food in the dining room was very good. Food on the lido deck was not good. The food was never hot. Also I wanted to make a note that some of the employees are their just to get paid and they do nothing extra not helpful nor courteous to you. This trip was a disaster. Upon booking the trip Grand Turk was advertised like it was a beautiful place but upon arrival their we were very disappointed. The next day was Half Moon Cay but it was raining so we never got off the boat. Nassau was next and my husband fell on one of the ferry boats so our day in Nassau was spent in the hospital. I was also not happy with the shows they seemed to be geared towards one group of people mean while there was a diverse group of people on the ship. This trip was horrible to pay all this money for no real entertainment, coldfood. The state rooms everyday you got dingy towels and sheets. This was not good i wish that I could get some of my money back.
We have cruised most recently on another line but were offered an opportunity to book this Carnival cruise.
When we booked, we were aware of the change in itinerary, so that was not a problem and we were able to use the shipboard credit offered. However, we found the food to be average at best and the crew unfriendly and unhelpful. Many seemed unhappy to be working there.
The ship's decor was dark, tacky and strange. The dining room, full of purple grapes everywhere, was the tackiest of all.
There was some type of stabilizer malfunction, which we could feel horribly in our cabin, which was on the back of the ship. We were told of this by the dining room waiter, but when we tried to talk to the people at the purser's desk, they denied it and were accusatory toward us. This was the first time I have felt such rockiness that I was sick.
The ship's internet was very slow and the internet cafe employee kept offering excuses as to why it was slow that day. He never offered to refund any minutes for the 15 minute stretches whenthe screen was stuck.
Overall, it was not a good experience and we will never cruise with Carnival again.
Shock, disbelief, frustration, disappointment and anger is how 9 people felt on December 20, 2008.
Brief overview -- my mother, who is terminally ill, wants to see the Panama Canal and Costa Rica, and 9 family members in total would be traveling with her. The cruise is booked on Carnival Miracle for the 8 night Exotic Caribbean cruise, which will visit the Panama Canal and Costa Rica. The cruise leaves 12/31 and everyone is very excited about seeing the Panama Canal.
The ship stopped at the port of Panama, so a very expensive ($179 pp for 9 people) shore excursion was purchased through Carnival for a boat ride to go through the Gatun Locks, which is the first set of locks in the Panama Canal.
As part of my Christmas gifts for my family, Carnival merchandise was ordered from the Carnival Fun Store -- t-shirts and mugs with our family name, ship name and date of cruise were ordered for our family reunion and Panama Canal history books were ordered as gifts for all the adults and children that were going to be traveling on this cruise. Everything arrived before Christmas and waswrapped and put under the Christmas tree. On December 20th I receive an email from Carnival stating that due to a propulsion problem with the Miracle ship they would be completely changing our itinerary from visiting the Panama Canal and Costa Rica to Costa Maya and Cozumel, Mexico. Not only had this family of 9 visited Mexico several times already, but this whole trip was booked so that we could visit the Panama Canal!
I called Carnival to verify this information and was not expecting the rudeness and cavalier attitude Carnival's customer service gave me. I explained my disappointment to him and all he said was "well, sorry but Carnival is offering a $50 onboard credit for the inconvenience this itineary change is causing." I asked him repeatedly if he could find us another cruise that went to the Panama Canal, but no such help was offered. All this is happening 10 days before we (9 people including kids) are supposed to depart. All Charles kept repeating was he could offer the $50 onboard credit, but that was not acceptable for this family of 9, so I told Charles to cancel all three bookings. Again, not one word about helping me or even offering help to find another cruise to the Panama Canal. After talking with his Resolutions Department, Charles comes back on the phone and gives me the three amounts that were going to be refunded. Not only did the figures not match what had been paid, but all three were several hundreds of dollars less than what had been paid. I tell Charles that these figures don't add up, so I am on hold for several more minutes while he consults with Resolutions. Finally, he says that the full amount will be refunded. Then he told me I needed to follow-up with the Refunds department, Shore Excursions and Customer Service to make sure we get all of our money back.
Fortunately after several hours of searching I was able to book three cabins on the Royal Caribbean 11 night Panama Canal cruise which departed on 12/29. The reservations were made on the 20th. We were very fortunate to be able to find another cruise for that many people in such a short amount of time. Maybe it was meant to be. After hearing from Carnival that the Miracle ship was having "propulsion problems," why would we want to get on a ship that already had something wrong with it, but they were sending it out in the open ocean anyway? No thank you, Carnival!
After returning from the Royal Caribbean Jewel of the Seas cruise (which was exellent) our money for the Carnival Miracle cruise had yet to be refunded from Carnival, nor had the refund for the shore excursions.
Back on the phone with Carnival and after speaking with the 7th person I was finally able to get our refund.
A $50 onboard credit is not an acceptable compensation when there is an itinerary change (within 10 days of sailing) and then to be treated like it was the our problem, not Carnival's -- and then to have the refund delayed.
It was not a pleasure at all to deal with Carnival. We have been on 7 cruises so far and we will continue to cruise because we love it so much. However, we will never book with Carnival Cruise Line again. They have lost our business for good!