We just missed hurricane Sandy by one week and got caught up in hurricane Raphael's high winds and rain for 2 days. 20 foot waves and a lot of people were sick. I will not book ever again during peak hurricane season. We all saw what happened the week after to Staten Island and Manhattan. That was a close call for us! We spend too much money to take such a chance again.
The ship was not pretty to look at with the exception of the Mad Hatter's Ballroom. The decor was so gaudy in so many places. If it is supposed to be a "carnival" atmosphere, then I guess they succeeded. I did enjoy many of the renaissance paintings about the ship in keeping with the "Miracle" theme. The suite itself was very very nice.
I don't know if it's because we boarded in NY that it was a different crowd then when boarding Miami? Lots of loud, boisterous people poorly dressed. However, we did meet a lot of nice people too.
Our room was spectacular. Cabin 7345 aft deck 7. A fantastic suite. There is a larger suite just next door but it's "L" shaped so in the end, even though ours is somewhat smaller it feels bigger. Because of the high seas we didn't get to go out there much but was appreciated docking and leaving ports of call. The cabin steward was very very nice.
Nick and Nora's was a definite yes. Glad we went. If you book the first night then you get a bottle of wine free. There were always big lineups for breakfast and lunch buffets. It's extremely noisy too. I had the worse eggs benedict ever at the dining room! They used pressed hamburger buns instead of English muffins and the sauce was cold and thick. It was awful.
The Serenity section aft was a nice reprieve but we could never get a chair or clamshell. Even when going straight after breakfast. People reserve seats with their books and towels even though they are not supposed to.
For 2 days waves were at least 20 ft. They were passing out sick bags and hanging them near the elevators. This is my second cruise and I wasn't sick the first time even though we hit a big storm and couldn't dock at St. Barts and was diverted to BVI Virgin Gorda. Would I sail the Miracle again? NO Would I sail Carnival again? Maybe not. Someone did tell me the newer bigger ships are better. They charge for everything and I mean everything, even a bottle of water. A soft drink card is $60 per person and you could not possibly drink all of that!
We loved Turks and Caicos (been there before love Margaritaville), Bahamas was spectacular but best of all was our day on the beach at Half Moon Cay. We did not rent a cabin, nor did we rent a clamshell. We made the right decision by walking to almost the very end of the beach to the left of the pier and finding some long chairs we pulled up into the shade between 2 cabins under pine trees. Think it was between cabins 10 and 11. The lunch there was crappy though. Long long line ups. Mostly hot dogs and hamburgers which are fine with me but they were not so good. So so. The condiments were placed well before you got to where you got your hamburger so you had to double back between the crowded line ups at the food counter to get back to it. Only later when we were leaving did we find out there were more tables way in the back. No one was there to guide us through the trees as you couldn't see them. There weren't any signs either. We finally got 2 places at a picnic table with a bunch of people standing around waiting holding their plates. Canned sodas and bottles of water were available at a sharp price. The beach is absolutely stunning and it was the best day of the whole trip.
In Nassau, we took a taxi ($12 for 2)over to Atlantis and early in the morning. We were dressed really nicely as we had planned to have lunch at the Greycliff Hotel just up from Governor's House. We did have our bathing suits underneath. The staff at Atlantic mistook us for guests of the hotel and we basically walked in and all over the resort. Beautiful! We plan on going back there to stay. The straw market was fun. I was anxious to purchase a hat as now all the hats in the stores are made of paper and flop in the humidity. Real straw is hard to find.
Ohhhhhhhh Pilates, yoga and zumba are $5 each class per person! I couldn't believe it. How gauche and I felt the cruise line were very cheap.
The public bathrooms were always dirty. I can't understand why people can't throw the damn toilet paper in the toilet or pick it up when it falls on the floor! No respect for living quarters! The ventilation in the public bathrooms was poor. It was better to walk back to your cabin.
The service everywhere was A1. All in all I think we paid too much for what we got though. The only reason we were bumped up to a suite is because we we are members of Unlimited Vacation Club and are VIP members purchased 2 years ago. We get perks with Platnium Ice. We had VIP tickets but found out that there are no VIPs on Carnival. Everyone is VIP. The only extra we got was quicker boarding. We are not that snobby that we cared too much about that. Just mentioning it so some of you know in advance.
It was my 60th Birthday cruise and although this ship experience was somewhat disappointing I enjoyed the 3 ports of call. The comedy club was a blast. Packed for both shows every night.
All in all, I did leave with some nice memories. I think though that unless I sail again with Oceania Line, or at the very least, perhaps a European cruise, we will stick to all inclusive resorts for the Caribbean.