Stephaine with the Carnival Miracle in the background
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My First Carnival Cruise: A Young Adults View

Stephanie and Sapphire day 1 of the cruise on the Carnival Miracle cruiseship
Stephanie and Sapphire

This was my very first cruise! Knowing Kevin and Sadie loved cruising so much, I had high hopes. And, there’s nothing better than a vacation with your best friend! Although I was nervous, I was more than just a little excited to spend time traveling with Sapphire and looking at the ocean. Here’s my first cruise experience aboard the Carnival Miracle.

Day 1: Boarding the Cruiseship

Day one was the most immersive for me. Getting to the ship was less stressful than I thought, and the atmosphere was buzzing with excitement and friendliness. I was pretty nervous because I don’t have a passport (yet!), but the staff looked over my birth certificate and I was all set. I think my eyes nearly popped out of my skull just looking at the size of the ship! Boarding felt unreal, and the inside of the ship proved just as massive. 

The first stop was our muster station. The emergency location was easy to locate and the life-jacket demonstration was short, sweet, and easy to follow. 

That being done, we headed up to the Lido deck. Very quickly this became our favorite deck… I mean, who doesn’t love food? We loaded up our plates for lunch and once we’d had our fill we checked into our rooms. Saff and I unpacked and lounged a bit, settling into the idea that we were about to be in the middle of the ocean. 

Our fine-dining dinner was enjoyable. However, the dining spot was near the front of the boat, and as we departed, my first experience with motion sickness. All in all, not a bad first day!

Day 2: Cruising at Sea

Cruising at sea on the Carnival Miracle Day 2
Cruising at sea Day 2

The first day without internet was odd, but liberating. Spending it at sea was fun! The coffee aboard wasn’t the best, but it was coffee! Sapphire and I attempted the daily crossword and sudoku, then headed to the arcade. It was a blast, but the charges add up fast. We ate our fair share, and I got to see a whale out in the water! I finished off my night watching the sunset with a drink then headed to bed. 

Day 3: Cabo San Lucas

Cabo San Lucas sign at the cruise port in Cabo
Cabo San Lucas sign

Cabo was my first experience of Mexico. Taking the water shuttle out to the dock was my first experience on a smaller boat. Although I was nervous at first, I loved it. There were tons of seals, and the weather was perfect for an ocean breeze ride. 

Upon arrival, I was pretty overwhelmed. There was a lot of people trying to sell their services. They were rather stubborn, but never rude. Snapped a few pictures of the Cabo sign and was off for our excursion! 

Tacos and Tequila Tour

a guy made from recycled materials in Cabo san Lucas
We saw him on our tour

I’m a tequila girly, and I’ve heard that the best tequila comes from Mexico. I had high hopes for our Taco, Tequila, and Shopping excursion. Our tour guide was a local resident, and knew a lot of the history. He was very educational and had some pretty good jokes. Our first stop was glass blowing. 

I’ve always wanted to watch glass blowing so I was stoked. The gentlemen presenting made us a turtle with a sombrero drinking some tequila! It was so cute. We had the chance to tour the glass shop and look at the beautiful recycled glass creations and decoration. 

Tequila tasting

The next stop was tequila tasting and shopping. I wasn’t a fan of any of the tequilas we tasted at this stop, but they were mainly liqueurs anyway. The shop was cute, but there wasn’t anything unique that called out to me. Sadie and I are coffee snobs, and so we looked around for a coffee shop.

When we verified directions with our tour guide, we were kind of harassed by an older couple telling us impatiently not to get lost or be late…. We had at least 20 minutes to walk 500 feet and order our coffee. It was discouraging and we felt a little rushed, but it was more than worth it to stop for a little coffee. 

Taco Time in Cabo San Lucas

Sadie Kevin Saff and Stephanie wating on tacos
Waiting on Tacos

The following stop was the tacos! At this point I was getting pretty hangry, as were most people on the tour. The older couple was rude as Sapphire and I got off the bus. Unfortunately we were sitting right across from them. I found out that they had a reservation on the ship at 5:30, and they were trying to rush the excursion that was scheduled to end at 5.

Tacos at Jose Cuervo restauarant in Cabo San Lucas
Taco Time!!!

The tequila tasting here was much better. And the food was delicious. We had to sit through lots of educational talk before getting our food, but all-in-all I can’t be mad at a yummy taco. The last tequila of the tour was the best. 

The final stop on our tour was a small shopping center. I think most people were tired and ready to be on the boat at this point, but I got off to use the restroom. The people at the stores were very kind and not nearly as pushy as the merchants near the ship docks. 

Once back on the ship, we went straight to get food! After a long day, we went to bed pretty early. 

Day 4: Cruising at Sea

Day 4 Cruising at Sea on the Carnival Miracle
Day 4

Day four was out at sea again. Most of the day Saff and I spent window shopping and just hanging out around the ship. 

The biggest impact of the cruise was the reservation dinner this night though. I am an able-bodied individual. I’m very lucky in life as I don’t really have any allergies, aches, or illnesses. I’m oblivious to most accessibility features, but this trip taught me so much in that realm.

There were multiple times through the cruise that were not as accessibility friendly as claimed to be, and it was disheartening to see. Most of the ramps were too steep for the scooter to go over, and people weren’t too keen on sharing elevators with the scooter.

Sadie joked a few times that she would just take the stairs (we thought it was funny at least lol). 

Day 4: dinner time

salad from the first night on the cruise
salad from the first night on the cruise

As we arrived for our reservation, we were told the table would be the same as each night. This was not true because we had eaten on a different level and table each reservation night. Regardless, we made it to the right deck and were greeted by a woman telling Sadie she would have to walk to the table.

I was in shock. Luckily, Sadie is able to get up and walk. However, how horrible and awkward would it be if she couldn’t? The pathway to the table and the table itself should’ve been able to accommodate the scooter. In my opinion it would have, and we saw many others who were able to do so. 

Once at the table, our waiter seemed rushed and rather rude. You heard a lot in Kevin’s part, so I’ll spare those details. But from my end, it was awkward. I felt the need to mediate and make the requests because he wouldn’t even make eye contact with Kevin.

Our food took forever, and we asked for the manager a couple of times, but that request was never met. I asked to take food to Saff because the flash photography and motion of the boat made it impossible for her to enjoy dinner with us. I was told no at first, then was told I could speak to the manager about it.

I never spoke with the manager and ended up getting an appetizer and entree to bring up to Saff. Even though we were able to let this roll off our backs and continue on, the experience this night really damaged the image I had of the cruise.

Later that night I was able to go down into the club area and dance a little. People were so fun and friendly. The bartenders were so funny and interactive. I really enjoyed the music and the environment!

Day 5: Ensenada

Stephanie at the Ensenada sign cruise port in Ensneada mexico
Stephanie at the Ensenada sign

Ensenada is home for Saff, Sadie, and Kevin. However, I’d never been! It was awesome to see a small part of Mexico and meet people. I enjoyed the energy of Ensenada more than Cabo mainly because it felt more welcoming and calmer.

brunch at El Mason don Fernando restaurant in Enseanda Mexico
Brunch is served

I got to eat well while we were out (NOTHING beats a fresh tortilla) and browse the outdoor markets. Of course I stopped for pictures of the Ensenada sign, as a tourist does. We stopped for coffee and headed back aboard. 

Stephanie with santa at El Mason Don Fernando restaurant
Stephanie with santa at El Mason Don Fernando restaurant

I think Mexico is beautiful, and I can’t wait to do some more traveling. I do want to give a shout out to the cruise staff member Coco! He was everywhere throughout the whole dang cruise and made everything so fun. Someone needs to give that man a raise. 

Barra Mineral Cafe and Bistro in Enseneada
Barra Mineral Cafe and Bistro in Ensenada

Overall, I enjoyed my time and the travel. I definitely am looking forward to taking another cruise, but not necessarily aboard this ship. I think that the accessibility features should be better advertised or adjusted to match what is promised. But traveling with family, enjoying nature, and visiting new places made this trip one of my favorites!

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One Comment

  1. Cruise Tracker says:

    Wow, what a fantastic read! Your detailed description of your first Carnival Cruise really brought the experience to life. It sounds like you had an amazing time exploring the ship, enjoying the entertainment, and meeting new people. I loved hearing about the various activities and your honest take on the overall vibe. As a young adult myself, I’m now seriously considering booking a cruise for my next vacation. Thanks for sharing your journey and giving such great insights!

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