Recently, my oldest daughter and I went on a 7 night cruise with Frank & Shannon from The Mommy-Files for her wedding. Neither of us have never been on a cruise, so we weren’t sure what to expect. I did a lot of research ranging from what to pack, checking out port locations for excursions, motion sickness cures and so much more. Let’s just say that I over packed…. like, a LOT. But, now that I know what to expect, hopefully we’ll be able to go on another cruise and be more prepared, but less packed.
Since the wedding was on the Carnival Miracle ship, we were able to board first, before all the other guests. It was pretty darn cold at the port, but we made the best of it and had quite a bit of fun.
The bride and I before we got on the ship.
We were huddled in a cozy nook, and even got photo bombed by the adorable Emily with Clever Housewife. Once they were ready for us to board, we were so giddy!
- GROSS TONNAGE: 88,500
- GUEST CAPACITY: 2124
- LENGTH IN FEET: 963
- ONBOARD CREW: 934
Their room was prepped and ready for them to arrive with this adorable towel creation.
The ceremony took place in the Promenade theater; gorgeous beyond words! You can read all about the wedding by visiting The Mommy-Files cruise wedding post, where she shares some gorgeous photos!
After the ceremony, we went to a fun lounge called Frankenstein’s Lab. They had it all set up with a beautiful ice sculpture, buffet line, a live DJ and so much more.
I was curious how a wedding would work when you get married on a cruise ship. They allow your guests to come on and be there for the ceremony and reception for a time period, but if you aren’t sailing after the wedding, you have to leave the ship because of the time the ship leaves. We had a good couple of hours, so it was actually plenty of time for us all to spend together after the wedding, dace, chat and have fun! I was pleasantly surprised how this all took place and the time frame for everything. If you’re looking for a destination wedding, I would actually highly recommend a cruise wedding because you pretty much get the best of all worlds; travel, cruise, sandy beaches, plenty of sun and entertainment. At first, I feared that 7 nights would be far too long for my daughter and I to be gone, but with all that there was to do on ship and at different ports, this time frame was perfect.
As you’re getting on the ship, you are handed a guide for shore excursions; Fun Ashore. If you hadn’t booked an excursion before you boarded, this gives you all the port information and excursions that are available at each port. We already had our excursions booked because I wasn’t sure what to expect since this was our first cruise.
After the reception was over, we ventured around the ship to explore before we all met for formal dinner at 8:15. We went to check out our room and saw that we had already left port. I was shocked because I was expecting to feel it but we felt nothing.
The size of our cabin was pretty big; bigger than I had expected. We were really comfortable for the 7 nights that we were in it. The bathroom had a shower, sink and toilet. It was also a nice size, however the smell that our bathroom had when you flushed was pretty nauseating.
We ventured to the top deck and explored the adults only area called Serenity. This was a nice space to go lounge, read a book, enjoy a drink, get a massage, and there were no children at all in this area. Don’t get me wrong, I like kids, but its nice to have a spot to go where the littles aren’t allowed to be in.
On each deck, there was a monitor to show you what the current ship time is, current wind, location and a vision to show you where the ship currently is at.
Regardless of where you walked on board, the view was beautiful and refreshing.
There were a few pools on board, as well as hot tubs.
There was a miniature golf course on board, but each time we went up to play on it, it was closed due to wind. This was a bummer because it looked like a lot of fun. There was also an outside track.
On the very top level was a kids slide. I wanted to get on this. LOL
We loved that they had a full gym. This place was so awesome and tons of equipment! It was at the front of the ship, so it was weird to run on the treadmill and see water. Guess I can say that I walked on water. LOL
For our group, we had a dinner meeting time and table number assigned for us each night in the Bacchus Restaurant. This was so neat that we were able to have our table for our group, the same time every evening, as well as the same wait staff. Netty was our waitress for all the nights and she rocked it every night! The decor was interesting; outdated, but pretty neat.
The food was ahhhhmayyyyzing! I was thrilled to have some amazing steaks and my daughter was giddy to have lobster. Unlimited, at that!
Each evening, Carnival put a Fun Times itinerary in our rooms when they did turn down. This is really neat! It shows you so many things like the Carnival Miracle Team (Captain, Chief Engineer, Hotel Director, Cruise Director Safety/Health Message and important notices such as time change for the next day.
On the far left of the itinerary, it shows you the top recommended 10 things to do or attend on that day.
On the far right, there is a tear off section that you can take with you as you explore the ship that has times of each event and on the back shows times that meals are served, what time of food is at each section of the dining area and information about different areas of the ship.
On the very back of the itinerary, it includes information about the on board medical center, smoking areas, etc.
Our sailing schedule was:
- Day 1: Fun day at sea
- Day 2: Cabo San Lucas
- Day 3: Maztalan
- Day 4: Puerto Vallarta
- Day 5: Fun day at sea
- Day 6: Fun day at sea
- Day 7: Long Beach, CA
We had a couple of fun excursions planned, but was only able to go to one; Kayaking! I booked from ShoreFox. I decided to book away from Carnival because the guarantee was the same, the reviews were amazing, smaller group possibility and the price was dramatically lower; like more than half lower than Carnival. Once we got to Cabo, our tour guide, Bob, was waiting for us. Bob was amazing, so friendly and was energetic about taking us out to show us the beautiful location!
As we were about to leave Cabo, I looked out and saw this lighted up pirate ship. So neat looking! This was a neat excursion that I would like to go out on next time.
On the third port day, we were in Puerto Vallarta. Truly beautiful area. We decided to venture around and walk the beach.
Just before the ship left the port, I snapped this panorama. So pretty!
I wanted to share some of my likes and dislikes about my cruise experience.
- Our late night dining wait staff was beyond amazing! They interacted with each of us, knew our names and were downright awesome! Netty was our waitress each night and she rocked it!
- Our cabin location was amazing. We were in cabin 5200. I did a lot of research for what this cabin was like. I wanted a balcony, clear view, middle of the ship, upper level – to avoid getting sea sick. I’d highly recommend our cabin location to help prevent/ease motion sickness.
- The size of our cabin was perfect for the two of us. Lots of closet space, lots of drawers, the bed could be set up as a large bed (queen, I believe) or separated for two twin size beds.
- While there are 24 hour areas on the dining level to eat at, we did get room service a couple of times for in room dining or simply just ice or juice. Our staff was friendly, helpful and timely.
- The food on board was amazing! All of it; especially the pizza!
- The time frame for each port was perfect. We had plenty of time for excursions or just to venture around and explore each area.
- Customer service was beyond helpful and so friendly.
- The entertainment staff were all so good, friendly, hilarious and entertaining.
- The cleanliness of the ship was immaculate. Once someone got up from a meal, tables were cleaned off immediately, or if a glass was placed somewhere, someone was right there to clean up.; definitely on top of things!
- On our deck, the noise was very minimum. We were right next to the middle elevators and I feared that we would hear a lot of people in the hallway. While we did have kids that were running up and down the hallway and I wanted to toss them overboard, the noise was a lot less than I had expected.
- The downfall to this cruise ship was that they allowed smoking, but only in designated areas. I disliked how the casino was smoking and it was in the middle of the ship so you had to walk through it to get to other areas that you were trying to get to. Pretty much no way to avoid this. While I am ok with smoking in a casino, having to walk through it to get where we wanted to go was a huge downfall for me. I have chronic bronchitis and asthma; not to mention that you stunk once you walked through the place. I would have liked to see this at the end of the ship, where folks didn’t have to walk through it if they didn’t need/want to. There was an outside area that had a pool, hot tub, chairs, etc. and while this area is outside, the doors remained open at all times so smoke bled over to the non-smoking pool and sitting area.
- We had smokers next to our cabin and they smoked on the balcony & it reeked on our balcony and in our room . We called the main desk to complain. Not sure if they were alerted, but they still smoked throughout the trip. According to the rules, smoking is only allowed in the casino and outer pool area.
- The bar staff in the main lobby weren’t the friendliest. Rarely did they interact with guests or even smile. The staff in other areas of the ship were very friendly. Maybe we caught them on a bad day; I don’t know.
- While we had access to WiFi, the pricing was outrageous.
- If I’m gonna pay $1700 for a cruise, I would like to see it include some type of plan for drinks or be an all inclusive cruise so you don’t have to worry about how much your ending bill is going to be. I don’t drink a lot, but when you’re wanting a beer or mixed drink, having to charge $6 to $15 for a single beverage is a bit much and a mega sticker shock in the end, even if you order a plain ol’ soda or two. They do have drink plans that you can buy, however you have to buy a plan for each person that is in your cabin, whether they are drinking or not. A bartender at the lobby bar told me that I’d have to pay $350, even though my daughter would not be drinking and was a minor. This is pretty stupid, IMO.
Overall, we had a great time on the Carnival Miracle ship and I would consider sailing again, but after we research the different ships, ports, on board entertainment, pricing, and length of cruise. I’d love to take my husband on a cruise so he can experience this first hand. We’ve only don’t destination vacations that are on land, but this was a pleasant surprise to go on a ship and enjoy it without getting sea sick. I’ll be honest here and say that the only real downfall to going on a cruise with port excursions/drop off’s is that no matter where you go, you will be hounded from locals to buy things. If you don’t want to be bothered, at all, I wouldn’t recommend this type of vacation and I’d suggest going to a resort where you won’t be bothered by handlers unless you leave the resort and go in to town to shop, or to go on a cruise, but stay on the ship because no matter where you walk to, you will be asked over and over (and over and over and over) to buy something from someone. I kind of liked this because it lets you see what all the locals have to offer and most were hand made, so pretty, unique and most things were very affordable.
Photos were taken with a Samsung Galaxy Note 3 and we were able to have service on the ship and at ports with Verizon’s Nationwide service.
This is not a sponsored, comped or paid post. I paid for this out of my own pocket, and I am sharing this with my readers so that they can see what my experience was like.