Day 1: Sailaway - I have the best friends ever! They drove my DH and me from the Jersey Shore to the pier on Thursday. We lucked out and hit zero traffic and "sailed" through the Lincoln Tunnel. We checked in quickly and were on the ship by 12:30. I've heard many people say they didn't like the Miracle's decor, but I thought it was great! Very colorful with lots of purples and blues. It is a fun, fictional character theme with a very functional layout. We found our way around the ship quickly and easily.
Of course lunch on the Lido Deck is the first order of business. Instead of wandering through the always crowded buffet, we opted for burgers by the pool before venturing down to the atrium to purchase an unlimited soda card for $60. By then our stateroom was ready.
We arrived at room 5110 with a beautiful, spacious extended balcony. It was a sizable room with plenty of closet and storage space. Our wonderful travel agent, Marianne of Travel Emporium sent us a beautiful bottle of wine, which was waiting for us in the cabin. We loved our stateroom, however there were a few minor issues (which really were very minor). One being a not so fresh smell upon entering the cabin. We did open the balcony door upon sailing into warmer weather to freshen it up a bit. The other was that it was only a few doors away from Camp Carnival (which you're not allowed to simply walk to). Apparently one must run down the halls to get there! Must be a ship rule...lol. The only time one would be disturbed by this is if you're an afternoon napper (which I'm really not). The final issue is if you like to go to bed super early (before 11:30) you'll want to avoid this cabin, as it is located directly above The Phantom Theater. On day 2 we decided to go up to the cabin around 10:30pm and you could really hear alot of noise from the show. The shows all end by 11:30, so there were no noise issues at night. I also downloaded a fan app on my iPad for great sleeping background noise. Overall it was a comfortable cabin which also included a blow dryer for those who need one. You're also able to view dining room menus and access your portfolio right from your TV. There is only one outlet located within the cabin (besides a shaver outlet in the bathroom), so charging devices, etc. was done in shifts. We had a great cabin steward, Wayan who attended to our every need, from fresh ice daily to an ashtray on our balcony, laundry service (same day, whole bag $15), and of course fabulous towel animals! That afternoon consisted of our mandatory muster drill and a fun Sailaway Party on The Lido with the most amazing views of NYC and the "not to be missed" Verrazano Bridge. Sailing under the bridge is an incredible opportunity for photos and views! We then met up with some Cruise Critic Roll Call members in the Metropolis Lounge for Sailaway drinks!
DINING: We had 8:15 late seating in the main dining room. The decor was that of grapes and wine which was very purple and a bit dim, but fun! We were seated at a table for 8. It was at this table where we met some great cruise companions and developed a special friendship with a nice couple from Vermont. Night after night we would meet and discuss our days, excursions and lives back home. We were very fortunate to be seated with such great people who we hope to maintain lifelong friendships with (and even sail again with)!
We had a terrific server, Made who remembered our names and preferences throughout our sailing. There was much singing, dancing, good food and Carnival Fun every night in the dining room! We also attended the Welcome Aboard Show in beautiful Phantom Theater before turning in for the night.
Day 2: At Sea - Breakfast in the buffet was very good. They have many choices and great breakfast pastries, including delicious cinnamon rolls and apple puff pastries. We then went to the Internet Cafe to purchase a package which allowed us use wifi within our cabin and throughout the ship. Wifi on the ship and balcony was faster and easier to access than in our cabin. Sometimes we had to go out on the balcony to gain access, but most times we were able to get online from within our cabin. We then checked out the Photo Gallery and Shops, then down to the Metropolis for 80s music and a Mixology Challenge which was fun! Lunch in the Lido was always crowded. One of us (okay me) would need to secure a table, while the other (DH) would get their lunch and vice versa. After lunch we ventured to the Coffee Bar where they made great Cappuccino (fee) and we just had to try the amazing White Chocolate Cake (around $2.50) which was decadent!
Formal Night included cocktails and a (not so eventful) "Captain's Celebration" in the Metropolis before dinner. Shrimp and Lobster Tails were delicious for dinner! We retired early, but really should have gone to the show since we heard the whole thing in our room anyway.
Day 3: At Sea - We opted for Brunch in the main dining room which was fabulous and much more civilized. They do a very brief comedy routine hourly to showcase their comedians on the ship. I had great Eggs Benedict, fruit and of course pastries! (can you tell by now that I have a sweet tooth?) Weather is finally warming up at sea, so I laid out by the pool and caught some rays. The pools were never crowded on this sailing and there were always plenty of available lounge chairs. Although the pools are supposedly heated, they seemed too cold for me and it really wasn't hot weather, so I had no desire for a dip anyway. Lost $20 at Bingo before booking our excursions at the Excursion Desk on Deck 2. Lunch at 2:00 on the Lido. I tried Chopsticks Asian, which was very good. Oh, and Chocolate Chip Cookies! That evening we had cocktails before dinner at the Casino Bar. For those smokers out there, you could smoke on a couple of open decks, on your balcony, in Frankie & Johnny's Lounge, Frankenstein's Lab and at half of the Casino Bar. Off to dinner for Fried Shrimp, Yukon Gold Potato Soup, Beef Stoganoff and delicious Bread Pudding for dessert!
After dinner we ran into a couple we know from back home! Small world! Didn't even know they were going to be on this cruise! We ended up having much fun with them too throughout the trip!
Day 4: Port Canaveral - Had a quick breakfast in the Lido and took a 9am shopping excursion ($60 pp) to Premier Outlets & Disney's Marketplace. We took this excursion because we have friends who live in Kissimmee and we wanted to spend the day with them. We took a 45 bus ride to the outlets where our friends picked us up. We went directly to Disney's Marketplace to spend the day for lunch and shopping. We met the bus right there at 4pm and back to the Miracle for another Sailaway Party complete with fun line dances! Dinner was a blast! French Onion Soup was very good, but the highlight of the evening was a conga line through the entire dining room (which of course I participated in)! Met up with our Jersey friends later and also hit up the gift shops before bed.
Day 5: Nassau - Breakfast in the main dining room with great French Toast! Then some sun by the pool, then lunch in the Lido before heading off to our Atlantis excursion. We did the Discover Atlantis ($60pp) which was a short bus ride into Paradise Island for a guided tour of the resort. Our tour guide, Terica was fun and very informative! The property and aquariums were stunning. Lots of walking, but fun! Now back to the Miracle for Pina Coladas and some relaxation before dinner. I had delicious a Chicken Pot Pie for dinner that night. After dinner we headed to the Mad Hatter's Ball which is a small theater, to watch karaoke contestants.
Day 6: Freeport - Breakfast in the main dining room and off to see Freeport. We had scheduled a Beach Break & Shopping excursion ($50pp) which was cancelled due to lack of sign ups. We found that we could do the same thing by taking a shuttle which runs about every hour or so, right from the ship for only $10pp round trip! good deal! We did some shopping at Lucayan Shopping Village (was able to get Starbucks there) and some souvenirs. Then we strolled along the beautiful beaches of Freeport just across the street. The sea in Bahamas is still one of the most beautiful I've ever seen! Even though it wasn't much of a sunny beach day, we still enjoyed our time in Freeport very much. Back to the Miracle for a delicious Ruben and fries at the Lido. Got some rest and got ready for dinner. We went for cocktails before dinner and met up with our new Vermont friends in the main dining room. The Fried Shrimp was very good and Chocolate Melting Cake with Ice Cream was decadent!
We were really looking forward to the Deck Party at 11:30pm, but were very disappointed in the lack of decorations or food out on deck. I wasn't hungry (shocker) at that time of night, but normally they have beautiful ice carvings and a spread (which I believe was Mexican and set up inside the buffet), but I never went in to see it. I did some line dances, another Conga and the Limbo. But that was pretty much the whole "party". Carnival should have stepped it up with parties. In fact there were no Past Guest Parties on this sailing either.
Day 7: At Sea - Another great brunch in the main dining room. We were able to use our "past guest" complimentary drink coupons in the main dining room during either breakfast, brunch or lunch only. So I ordered a Mimosa and had my own Past Guest Party! DH used his coupon for a cappuccino. After brunch I played Win, Lose or Draw (basically Pictionary) and our team won! We attempted to go to Match Game, but it had already started by the time we arrived, so we headed up to the Ice Carving Demo which was over by the time we got there too! Finally the Hairy Chest Contest on the Lido. This was a blast! Much fun and not to be missed! One of our Vermont friends was a judge and she was so funny! THRILLER: I might be getting my days mixed up, but I think it was this day that we were taught the choreography from Michael Jackson's Thriller. Tons of us got up on stage in The Phantom Theater and learned all the zombie moves and attempted to do the dance with the instruction of our Cruise Director. I'm pretty sure we sucked, but it was fun! I have a whole new respect for dancers! We enjoyed a nice lunch with our newly assembled group of friends who we really enjoyed!
That afternoon I decided to take in my last day of sun on the Beautiful Serenity Deck. The Cabanas were very relaxing and the sun was still strong. After sunning it was time to get ready for our second Formal Night. I dressed down a bit because the formality on this sailing wasn't as dressy as past cruises. Before dinner we went to a Gift Shop Raffle (which we didn't win). Remember to ask in the Shops for tickets. For every $50 you spend there, you receive one ticket for a gift drawing.
Dinner with our new friends was fun! I had delicious Stuffed Peppers and Baked Alaska for dessert! It wouldn't be a cruise without Baked Alaska! The dining staff danced to YMCA and of course that was fun! After dinner, DH hung out at the Casino Bar with new cruise buddies and I went to the Comedy Show with our Vermont friends. The female comedian was vulgar and funny, but she was a Jersey Girl! After the show we met our Jersey buds at Frankenstein's Lab. Very cool nightclub with a tremendous Frankenstein on the dance floor! Young crowd, and they seem to like rap music. Fun atmosphere!
Day 8: At Sea - Brunch again! A very cold, windy day at sea. It actually snowed out there for a bit. There was no going out on that balcony today! So what does one do all day?? Eat!! After grabbing some cappuccinos at the Coffee Bar, we attended a Q&A session in Jeeve's Lounge with our fabulous Cruise Director Corey! He and his staff made sure you had all the fun Carnival is known for. The Q&A was a fun, informative session about life on the ship and behind the scenes. Very relaxing day at sea. Lunch with some other new cruise mates from Long Island and Chocolate Extravaganza for dessert! Different goodies dipped in some (not so great) chocolate fountain. Back to the cabin to pack!
Our final dinner included not only our Vermont friends, but our Jersey friends joined us as well. I had delicious Prime Rib and Grand Mariner Souflee for dessert! Our dining staff sang a farewell song and we said our farewells to our new friends also. We headed off to the final Superstar Show to watch some Karaoke contestants perform legends in a big production, which also included some antics from Corey and his staff! Very fun production!
Debarkation: we opted to put our luggage out the night before, so we received #20 luggage tags. The next morning they would call people with airline tickets, then this carrying off their own luggage and then numbers. They started debarkation at 8am. We left our cabin around then and headed up to the Lido for our last breakfast and waited for our number to be called. Things were moving very slowly and by 10:45 they were only up to #12. As our friends had been waiting at the pier since 10:00, we headed down and were able to debark with the lower numbers. Such rule breakers! We went through customs and grabbed a porter to help us with our luggage. The luggage is located at street level in NY, so we had to go up one flight to meet our friends.
I hope I didn't exhaust you with this review. I just wanted the reader to feel as though you were cruising right along with us! I hope that you found this review to be informative.
TIPS: We always bring the following when cruising; pump hand soap and air freshener for the bathroom, travel mugs for grabbing coffee in the morning and post it notes for communicating with our cabin steward and each other during the day.
Overall we were very happy with Carnival Miracle and the entire crew! They all went above and beyond to make our vacation memorable and fun!