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Cabo, Cabo and Vallarta on Carnival Miracle

Sheebah

Deckhand
Carnival Miracle 11.3 Mexican Riviera in Aft Extended Balcony
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.

The ports:
As California residents, we love to take this cruise because it means we get to go to Cabo and PV without the cost or hassle of a flight. We have our little routines in both ports, but this time, we wanted to do something different. So, here’s how we spent our days:
Cabo Day 1: We went to a resort for the early part of the day and enjoyed the pool (Playa Grande). This happened on accident as we tried to go to the Finnistera to eat and use their pool (we always do this) and were told the hotel is now a very pricey all inclusive and day passes would be $90 pp. walking down the hill to figure out plan b, a nice man (employee of Playa Grande resort, on the Pacific side) told us to head over there, and that we could swim and eat no problem. We did. It was great and nobody hassled us. For the later part of the day, we intended to take a water taxi to Lover’s beach, but our water taxi driver suggested Pelican Beach, the little stretch just closer to land near Lover’s beach. WE enjoyed swimming and walking there, and there was less of a crowd here than Lover’s.
Cabo Day 2: We hit Billygans at Medano beach, drank coronas, ate tacos and enchiladas (all while lounging on comfy leather chaise lounges) and swam in the calm beach. Party scene was average that day- not too many drunk people, but plenty of fun. Vendors were out of control in our face, but we don’t care. We are used to it. The ocean was so calm that my son could romp in the waves. We probably spent less than $50 for 2 Coronas, 4 sodas, and 2 meal entrees. Very fair for half day access to the best swimming in Cabo.
Puerto Vallarta: We bought day passes at Now Amber resort for $65 a person (child free) for a wonderful day of swimming in the pool and all inclusive drinks and food. Service in the restaurant overlooking the beach was great. It was seafood, but simple and very tasty. Drinks were awesome and because they were strong, I enjoyed a pina colada, and margarita. They made a virgin pina colada for our son. We chose this hotel because it had a waterslide for our boy, and we’re so glad we spent the day there. Cab fare from the ship was cheap and the ride was short (less than 10 minutes). We would totally do this again. The resort is stunning and we relaxed so much this day.

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 the port 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’t in our room when we arrived on embarkation day, but we didn’t care one bit about that since it arrived shortly thereafter.

The staff & ship:
Here's our video of the ship video.

The ship is in better condition than I expected and the wacky Joe Farcus décor was fun! We’re going to put together a ship tour video soon, so stay tuned! Staff was good in most areas (awesome dining room attendance and room steward, very nice front desk staff). Room service staff was always fast and competent and the cruise director and captain were gracious.

Entertainment:
We missed the first performance show in the main show lounge, but truly enjoyed the hypnotist mid cruise. That was hilarious, and appropriate for our son. We found the 2nd performance (Beatles review) to be lacking. The wigs looked cheap and distracting, and while the dancers and talent were excellent, the show tried a little too hard to cram too many Beatles songs into one show.
 
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