Article and images by: Our travelers, Tom and Kathy
The Carnival Miracle sails out of Long Beach, California on Mexican Riviera and Hawaii cruises. She will continue to do so through 2017, and then Carnival plans on repositioning her to China. The following is an article about our cruise dated February 27 to March 5, 2016.
Arriving at the cruise port in Long Beach an hour or so before boarding, we checked in and got our Sign and Sail cards. We then walked over to the Queen Mary cruise ship, which is docked within easy walking distance of the Miracle. The Queen Mary was purchased by the city of Long Beach after she was retired from being a luxury liner. She has the classic look of the ships built in the 1930’s. She was built and owned by Cunard from 1936 to 1967. She is 1019 feet in length and would carry 2,139 passengers and a crew of 1100. During World War 2 she was used to ferry allied soldiers. Today tourists can take tours of the Queen Mary and is also a hotel with restaurants and bars. We enjoyed walking around the ship and then ate a lunch of appetizers and clam chowder.
Arriving back at the port, we were able to board the Miracle with very little effort. Embarkation went very well at this port. We went to the Lido deck and enjoyed the Drink of the Day while watching other boats in the harbor as well as many gulls, ducks and frigates flying around the ship. The bar waiters were always around and very friendly and we ran in to one that we knew from our cruise on the Magic out of Galveston last May.
We finally made our way to deck 4 and found our cabin. We then enjoyed sitting on the balcony with a great view of the harbor. The water was a beautiful blue color with islands around and many ships entering and leaving the harbor.
We then explored the ship. The Miracle is very similar to other Carnival ships we’ve been on but has a more elegant feel with art work and murals showcased across the ship as well as statues of British redcoats. Continuing the ships penchant for art, the Miracle offered a Park West auction featuring such artists as Thomas Kincaid, Peter Maxx and many others and champagne was offered for auction attendees.
On board the Miracle we could enjoy such activities as trivia, bingo, casino action, shows, the fun shops, any of several bars on the ship, the Lido deck, the sports deck, the spa deck and last but probably the most important, the many restaurants. We enjoyed the outstanding service and excellent food of the main dining room (MDR). Seaday brunch was very good and the food on the Lido deck was the best we’ve had on any Carnival ship. We had dinner one night at the Steakhouse which was the best meal we’ve had to date on any cruise.
Our first stop was Cabo San Lucas. This is a stop that requires guests to take tenders into the port. There were many yachts in the harbor and many vessels going in and out. We took an hour long boat tour out of the harbor where we were able to see spectacular cliffs, sea lions and many different species of birds. A beach was nestled between the cliffs which faced the Sea of California on one side while the sand extended through the “cut” in the cliffs to the Pacific Ocean. Many people were swimming in the cool waters and sun bathing on the warm beaches.
When we returned to the harbor we did some browsing & shopping in the shops along the street. There is a cobblestone pedestrian walkway wound around the harbor with a continuous row of shops where we could purchase things like t-shirts, Cabo glasses, hats and other souvenirs. Returning to the ship we enjoyed a beautiful sunset from our balcony before the Miracle set sail for the next port, Mazatlan.
Mazatlan, while a much larger city than Cabo, lacks the total immersion in commercialism that you experience in Cabo. We did a land and sea tour which was entertaining. The sea part of the tour was first and after boarding the vessel we spent approximately an hour enjoying the beautiful blue waters of the Sea of California. Along the way we saw many birds and had beautiful views of the surrounding mountains. We went past several islands and saw many sea lions which would bark loudly at us as we went by them as if they were complaining about us being so close.
After returning to land we boarded a luxury bus and journeyed into Mazatlan where we had over an hour to explore the shops and restaurants. We then went downtown and visited the beautiful Catholic Church, The Basilica de la Immaculate Concepcion. We also visited a seafood market where the fishermans’ wives sold fresh caught seafood which included 6 inch long shrimp and many fish. Along the mountainside the vegetation was lush and dotted with homes which our guide told us would sell for around $125,000 US dollars. This seemed very reasonable until he told us that Mazatlan does experience Pacific hurricanes quite frequently. At the end of this excursion we went back to the ship and enjoyed another beautiful sunset before leaving port and heading for Puerto Vallarta.
Puerto Vallarta was the last stop of our fascinating journey. This city is divided into an older section and a newer section. Our ship was docked in sight of a Wal Mart and a Sams Club which made we Arkansans feel right at home. As you debarked the ship the newer section of the city was to the left and the older section to the right. We took a private tour with a very good guide who took us to many places in “Old Puerto Vallarta”. We saw the houses where Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton lived in while filming “Night of the Iguana” which was released in 1964, two houses joined by a quaint walkway that arched over the street. We also saw another beautiful Catholic church, Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish, and went to a beautiful overlook which offered outstanding views of the harbor. The tour then concluded at a local tequila factory where we could taste and purchase a variety of the liquor.
We finished out this stop with a sunset cruise on a 65 foot sailboat. The crew kept us supplied with drinks, chips and salsa, guacamole and a variety of meat and cheeses. We were fortunate enough to see several dolphins that enjoyed swimming close to the boat and were treated to another gorgeous sunset before returning to the ship.
We then had 2 days at sea to enjoy the ship and relax before our debarkation at Long Beach. Do take a Carnival Cruise in the near future. You will be well entertained and delighted at your ports of call. To book your unforgettable cruise call Dano at Affordable Tours at (281)269-6648.