Okay, so maybe the disappointment wasn’t “miraculous” but it was disappointing. I’ve been on 2 previous Carnival cruises, and this is our first “Grand Suite” (though we did a smaller suite on another ship). That was our first disappointment. We paid a lot for the upgrade and the room was not in good shape. The carpet was very worn and had many stains. Even the couch had stains on it. I think what bothered me most is that we were in some of the regular balcony rooms, and the carpeting in those rooms looked fairly new. That was not the VIP treatment we were promised.
Food – I found the Lido deck buffet food less tasty and less varied than on past cruises. I love Asian food, but there was basically only one or two (at most) entrees offered, and they were never anything that I would call “typical” (like orange chicken or kung pao, etc.). So although I looked almost every day, I never ate anything from that station. The room service menu has shrunk considerably. No hamburgers and no fries – what’s up with that? Very poor selections. Main dining room meals were mostly good (loved the eggs Benedict at brunch) but the desserts were very plain and bland. Our servers were the usual excellent wait staff that we’ve come to expect in the main dining room. So we were glad for that, and tipped heavily the last night. We went to the Steakhouse one night (Nick and Nora’s) but just as soon we hadn’t. It wasn’t that great. One of our steaks was very thinly sliced and seriously overcooked – not sure why a steakhouse chef would have even sent it out. I wouldn’t recommend it. Didn’t love the “comedy brunch” concept. The comedians weren’t that funny to begin with and the “teasers” they would do at brunch were more intrusive than entertaining in my opinion, which leads me to…
Entertainment – never thrilled with this on Carnival, but we saw some BAD shows. The comedians were just ok, but the ventriloquist was AWFUL. He had no material. The one “show” we went to see was a Beetle’s review…very “high school musical” to me. Some of the individual entertainers were good. Piano player, one guy with a guitar who was often at the Atrium bar, and a band I saw a couple of numbers from in the Jazz Lounge – they were all good (and of course, not the ship’s staff but privately contracted).
LGBT Friends of Dorothy Meetings – these are a common thing on all Carnival ships as I understand it. They are advertised in the Fun Times at a specific time in one of the bars. It’s just an opportunity for LGBT passengers to find each other and socialize, so the place doesn’t really matter – any bar is good. These have always gone very smoothly on the other Carnival ships we’ve sailed. Well, the first 3 meetings were held in the piano lounge, but as the piano player missed the ship, it wasn’t staffed. It was open, 6 or 8 of us gathered, but no bartender, even after we called guest services and asked. We were told they don’t staff “private functions” (which this wasn’t) and that the bar manager didn’t have staff to cover (well, if the piano player had made the ship, wouldn’t the piano bar have been staffed?) Very disappointed how this was handled. Had it been just one night, I might have been more forgiving, but it was 3 times, and here is what really gets me: when we picked up a piano player in the Bahamas and the piano bar opened, we talked to the bartender – turns out, she’s not a bartender but a bar server filling in. Why couldn’t they have done that for our group? We’ve never had issues with these meetings on other Carnival ships. In fact, the staff seemed to enjoy working where we met. On the Triumph we met in the Wine Bar every night and had the same bartender. On that cruise, our meetings quickly grew so that we ended up with nearly 30 people by the last night of a 5 night cruise! Carnival missed the chance to sell a number of drinks on the Miracle.
Bed - Why do some ships pay attention to the bed preference (together or not) and others don't? Miracle staff set up our room with two singles, when we expressed in our Online Check-In that we wanted one King.
Good things – all of the main dining room wait staff, our steward (awesome!) the piano player (Hailey), most of the bar servers.
While we had a good time, it wasn't as good as it could have been.
While I may go on another Carnival cruise, I won’t go on the Miracle again.