Just got off the Carnival Miracle on 14 November, 2012. It was a good cruise and certainly a value for the dollar. The Spirit Class ships have proven to be our favorite in the Carnival Fleet. Just seems right to us.
Embarkation was pretty reasonable considering the buildings were still having to draw power from the ships to run the check-in process. Building didn't have heat but what would one expect after the Hurricane damage NYC took. All things considered, I would say the staff at port did a great job. We were still on board by 12:30pm and taking a stroll around the ship.
The over all trip was cool in general so we didn't get the sun throughout the whole trip, but thanks to a covered pool much of the time was saved. There were a lot of kids on board this time and I still can't understand why due to the time of year. It was noticable indeed. We have to face the fact that Carnival is a family oriented line and this can be the case much of the time. There are other lines that aren't as family oriented should you consider this to be an issue an issue.
Very pretty ship and kept up well. We saw evidence of regular upkeep while on board. We went to the Steak house this trip as we often do. I think this whole thing has played itself out for the most part. I saw this are to be very underutilized. The upper floor was never even set up during our cruise. With that being said, I hear they are getting ready to upgrade to the new 2.0 program and I understand this might approach that very subject. Nice. They gave us a general idea of what was coming in with this new 2.0 program. Some of the ideas seem pretty cool while a few others made me scratch my head. But without seeing it first hand - how can I sit in judgement.
The newer Serenity area (lido aft) is wonderful, but only to a point. It stops being wonderful when every chair, clam shell, and hammock is taken up by 9 am. What a great concept, but the area needs to be expanded, or added to in another location on the upper decks, to allow for more availability. Again, great idea, very well utilized, and great way to spend the day - just need more of it. OH, as a special note. Throwing towels and or personal items doesn't always do the trick in this area. If you are going to use the area - be in the area. Wait staff go around and put time labels on the chairs. Missing for 45 minutes - bye bye chair. Just expect it and don't start having it out with the new people in your place when you get back after that long lunch. Just thought I'd mention it. That's how popular this area is.
Getting off the ship was pretty fair. We sent our luggage down overnight and still got out of the ternimal, grabbed a taxi, and were at Penn Station by 10:30. Self Disembarkation is still available and I expect they were off ship by 8:45 - 9:00. Air travel would be best scheduled for 1pm or so.
I understand the Miracle will be replaced by the Splendor in the future for those who might like a bit bigger ship. No Big Screen on deck on the Miracle.
Good bang for the buck...........................
Here are a few points that might help some people going to the Manhattan port.
1. Megabus from some of the closer eastern cities is a good deal (includes Albany NY).
2. Amtrak is another option when going in to the city. Come in at Penn Station and 10-15 dollars will get you to piers 88-90.
3. With the Megabus and Amtrak options you can save $ over port parking. We park at Ablany/Rens Station for about $40 a week and take the megabus or train in to NYC
4. A day or two in NYC (if you've never been) is a must. Hotels in Manhattan are expensive - just the way it is. Good prices on food can be found if you poke around a bit.
5. Walking in Manhattan. If you don't have a boat load (he-he) of luggage, and can deal with it yourself, you can even drag it to the pier from some of the close motels. We walked from Yotel, on 42nd and 10th, to the Pier in about 15 minutes. Not for everyone, but we have no problem doing it. Be advised that lager luggage can get a bit heavy after 6 or 7 blocks!
In closing, this was a good cruise. Plain and simple. Weather was cool with this itinerary, but that is a possibility Nov-March. Go further south to get the 80+ stuff. Like many other cruise it had it's highs and lows. Over all it a pretty darn good. As always, go out and make it a good cruise. Much of it is up to you. If you see people setting at one table for the whole cruise complaining about everything then maybe the problem isn't the cruise ship anyway. I see it every cruise. God Bless everyone and may your next cruise be your best cruise.................................
ONE LAST THING> The Miracle had the anytime type dining option this cruise. They are new at it but you would never know it. They did a great job. even better than some lines who have been doing for a while.