Getting 17 family members all on the same page to take an 8 day trip was truly challenging and my goodness so well worth it! Our family truly enjoys each other's company and we wanted to do something extra special as my wife's grandmother, who is blessed to be 91, is as fun and energetic as some 40 year old's!
Our trip had a wide range of ages 91 to 14!
Of course the one non grown-up was our son, so we quickly planned to sign him up for the Miracle Teen Club which he thoroughly enjoyed! We saw him only a few handful of times during our 8 days! He made a bunch of friends and even saved a few girls phone numbers...so yeah, he was smiling!
Ok - on to the trip....
Embark - we procured a bus that picked us up from 2 stops and made it into NYC around 1230. Our group of 17 had tons of luggage but we moved pretty smoothly through the hustle and bustle of the NY chaos. Our rooms were ready fairly quickly as the excitement by everyone was on display all over. We all cheered as the workers opened up our sections to head to our rooms. The majority of our group was on the 6th floor while our family of 4 was on the 4th. The room was nice and 4 days prior to the trip we were moved from a room near the club to the 4th floor with a portal window...nice!
Food - This was actually my 3rd cruise and I am a tough food critic. Comparing the Miracle to Norwegian and Royal was no competition. Early on I could tell that Miracle would be a distant 3rd. Buffet - Breakfast was pretty much the same everyday...the usual omelet station and sides. Strange that their bread was already toasted, bagels, etc...and placed under the light in a container? everyday they had a different lunch theme in one part of the buffet section which was the only thing that stood out. Food in general from the buffet was just ok - Nothing really stood out or left an impression. The 24 hr pizza and ice cream option was just eh. The pizza was not really good and did not offer many options. The Main dining room meals were good. Even with the upscale selections though, still a distant 3rd in comparison to Royal and Norwegian.
They tried though....dishes that stood out were the Seafood Combo of shrimp, scallops, mussels and rice..Lobster Tail... Each night they had an exotic selection...frog legs, alligator, shark.....very different. They also had the Comedy Brunch that I am not a fan of...I want to eat, not hear corny jokes. The highlight of dinners though were the singing and dancing be the servers. This was pretty cool and actually impressed me more than the food!
Entertainment - Now keep in mind, that I am an avid gambler so I spent a LOT of time in the casino (as did several family members..you know who you are) So this first part of review is for the gamblers......Day 2 started my hot streak as I find a wonderful machine that allowed me to win and have fun! Robin Hood's Sherwood Treasure....penny machine. played a $1 a spin and once I got up - played max bet. I had good wins from 110, 150, 240 all in one session. The Miracle had a program where once you hit 1500 points, you received free drinks in the casino for the rest of cruise. I accomplished this on Day 3!!! and was still up! This machine not only was generous to me, but to other family members! I'm usually a craps player and was at first mad at the pit boss. Day 1 started with me observing and Day 2 when I walked over ready to play, they had a small crew working the tables and they made everyone throw from the left end. Well, I have certain spots I like to throw from and that left end had 5 people squeezed in....So of course I asked why such a small crew and that I'd like to throw from was the right end. The pit boss had an attitude and said No, you throw from down here or you don't play??? I laughed and said whatever and walked away. The next day I spoke to the casino host and he apologized for the rudeness. He happily allowed me to throw from my spot and I made a small profit after 8 minutes of throwing - gotta love dice control and practice throws!
The real action was at the roulette table where several members of our family had security and several casino hosts sweating as they hit number after number.
I was able to sneak in and ride the winning streak as well as several numbers repeated (you gotta love it when the casino changes dealers during a hot streak)
So yes - the casino was the place to be! Not only did several members get the free drinks for the duration of the cruise, but we got T-shirts, and chocolate covered strawberries sent to our room... (PS - and maybe a ring!)
Mad Love goes out to Lily in the casino who brought me luck and the fast servers who brought my free drinks at the speed of light!!!!!
Entertainment 2 - They had a hypnotist who worked his magic powers that did not impress me at all. We had more fun imitating his voice and comments....." The deeper you go, the better it feels!" At least 3 people of the 17 that ran up on stage walked off...guess they weren't as relaxed as the others. Battle of the Sexes game was good...the men v women angle is always fun as a range of questions were asked and had everyone screaming and yelling...fun
I missed the adult comedy, and several family members said that it was pretty good. After my experience at the Comedy Brunch, I really didn't want to take the chance...One thing that was truly fun - only if you are in to it...was the Trivia! The Trivia ranged from Sports to general knowledge. We had a group of 7 that went from Trivia to Trivia on the next to last day...Great interaction and also some fun bean bag toss contests as well. Unlimited opportunities to play BINGO were available - at a cost of course! Miracle felt obligated to charge for pretty much everything - even laser tag???? $5 for 7 minutes in a small area?? wow....
Entertainment 3 - I was at first skeptical of a club with a Frankenstein name - boy was I wrong! This was a hot club - of course the people make the club and there were tons of fun and happening people at the club pretty much every night!
Partying from 11 pm to 330 am capped off many fun days at sea! Our 18 yr old daughter was here almost every night! Go party girl!
Ports - Port Canaveral -> Nassau -> Freeport - All I can say is SENOR FROGS!
Make sure that you go here and get a drink and partake in ALL the fun!!!!!
Nassau and Freeport rocked because of this....From great food and free shots the party was on and popping @ SENOR FROGS. For every correct answer at trivia, you got a free shot poured in your mouth...Lets just say I got a lot right and enjoyed the drinks!!!!
Port Canaveral had a cool place called Captain J's
Food was good - place was packed...service was iffy, but created great entertainment as the servers were loud and yelling at each other
The Beaches were nice - but I can't swim and sat on the beach observing and relaxing. We walked through Atlantis and it was nice - although a lot of people who worked there gave bad directions : )
OVERALL - Our Family Rocks! God willing we will try and do this again - although it may not be through Carnival! The bad outweighed the good in regards to Carnival in my opinion. Hopefully an improved food quality and better variety will improve thoughts on Carnival Miracle. Also charging for every little thing needs to improve