Since we live in NJ getting to New York was a snap. We took a taxi service both to and from NY and it was cheaper than parking at the cruise center. Since we were upgraded to suite one week before the cruise, we were entitled to use the VIP embarkation line which really amounted to nothing special. We were on the ship within 10 minutes of arriving at the terminal. No one took our picture for our sail and sign card and when we gave our card to be "dinged in", we were told it wasn't necessary since we were already signed in and to just go to the Lido deck for lunch. Very odd. The ship was extremely small compared to the other Carnival ships we have been on so I was a bit disappointed. The decor is similar to all ships, nothing really special, but very nice. The Lido deck buffet area was crowded as it always is but we found a table within a matter of minutes and had a decent lunch. I was very excited to see our room once we were allowed to go there since it was a suite and once again I was disappointed. My hubby and I had lucked out on another upgrade to a suite on a Royal Caribbean which was huge so I was expecting the same. Not so. Very small compared to RCL but really not fair since the RCL ship was much larger anyway than the Miracle. The room was very clean and roomy and had loads of drawers and two roomy closets. The balcony had a lounge chair, two regular chairs and a small table. Our stateroom attendant was very friendly and always addressed us by name from day one. She was a joy to have.
The first two sea days were used to explore the ship. The Gatsby promenade was beautiful but odd in that it didn't seem to go with the rest of the ships decor but I really enjoyed sitting there. It was so quiet. The lounges were nice and the entertainment in them was ok. The showroom was nice and comfortable and the entertainment in there was very good.
The main dining was very nice and the food was good though not really exceptional. The lido deck buffet food was ok but it was always the same, chicken, pasta,turkey, rice. I loved the omelet stations for breakfast. The deli was good but the pizza tasted like a cheap frozen one and it didn't bake up well. The poolside grill was great for the hamburgers and fries.
The one thing I really didn't like on this cruise was the music on the pool deck. No live band but a DJ playing the same songs over and over all day, every day. All the DJ did was stand there. Boring! There's no point in complaining about the pool hogs, chair hogs, and table hogs because the rules are never enforced. There were babies with diapers in the pool, alcohol in the pool, drunk adults jumping in the pool with kids in it, nothing but kids in the hot tubs all day long, so we just resigned ourselves to stay out of the water. The serenity deck was no better because there were drunk young adults partying there.
Grand Turk was our first port. Big problem getting off the ship! Because our pictures weren't taken for the sail and sign card at embarkation, we couldn't get off. My picture mine taken right away doing but my hubby's was a bit of a hassle for some reason. Once that was taken care, off we went. Very beautiful beach. Lively Margaritaville. The Freedom was docked at the same time so M'ville was very crowded. We did the cab ride to Cockburn town and it was interesting to see the Historic area. I wish we had more time there.
Half Moon Cay was our second port. It rained that day but we went over anyway. After all, we were going into the water and would be wet and it did clear up at times. The worst part was waiting for a tender to get there because after every one was on the first tender some would want to get right back off because of the rain. Then some tenders were coming back full with people who changed their minds after getting there which was only a six minute ride. If it's raining at the ship, common sense says it will be raining six minutes away. We had to wait two hours just to get a tender over. Once there it was nice and relaxing.
Nassau was our last port and we did the Zoo which we really enjoyed. We fed the Lorry parrots and saw the marching flamingos. After that, we walked around the shopping area and went to the straw market. On our way back to the ship, a Royal Caribbean ship was next to ours and they had stilt walkers, music, staff dancing, all outside welcoming their guests back on board. Carnival had nothing. Made me wish I was with RCL.
The last two sea days were spent relaxing on the lido deck, watching the towel fights, chair fights, etc. among the guests. The most entertaining thing on that deck was a woman who started dancing by herself which encouraged others to join in. She spent one entire afternoon dancing so we all could see how much fun she was having. I really enjoyed watching her so for whoever that was, thank you.
Disembarkation was very easy. We were going to do a self assist but decided against it so put our luggage out the night before. We waited in the show room for our zone to be called and two movie screens were put so we got to pass the time by watching a movie. Our bags were very easy to find due to the clear signage and immigration was a snap. We were off the ship and in a taxi by 10:00, an hour and a half after the debarkation began.
All in all, it was a nice cruise but I feel Carnival has dropped in favor for the little things they don't do any more. This was our fourth cruise with Carnival but we got no past guest recognition this time. One thing lacking that is very necessary is the hand sanitizer stations which were practically non-existent or very well hidden. The only friendly staff members were our stateroom stewards who always spoke when we met up. Other than that, there was no real feeling of being welcomed on the ship. I believe this was our last time on a Carnival.