First of all, let me say I have not been impressed with Carnival in the past. But, KUDOS, KUDOS, Carnival this ship is wonderful!!! I truly enjoyed the decor. It is not as garrish as some of the other Carnival ships. Only thing that seemed strange were the red lights in the main dining room. We later found out they are supposed to bunches of grapes. Kind of strange, but not offending.
Embarkation was very smooth. We arrived around 2:00 and there was a very short line. However, when they saw my husband using a cane, they ushered us right through. The ship was not at the same port as the terminal, but we were informed a tanker/fuel ship was in the channel when Miracle returned from the last cruise and the Captain will not take the ship in past the tanker. This caused no hardship what-so-ever. After receiving our cabin/sale&sign card, we were taken to busses that were waiting and taken to the ship. This may have been a good thing since the line on the gangway was almost nonexistent. They do not show you to your stateroom, but we have cruised enough to be able to navigate our way to our room.
We were very impressed with the ship - very clean, very friendly staff (except for the officers who often stared right past you). The beds and pillows are awesome - slept like a baby. We did have a couple of problems with our room steward - asked for bathrobes twice, finally got them the third time, and had to keep asking for beach towels - but he kept the room clean.
The food was fabulous!!! If you sail on the Miracle be sure you go to Nick and Nora's at least once. We dined there on Valentine's Day and ate so much we were uncomfortable - only ourselves to blame, but then again, maybe it is the Miracle's fault since the food was SO GOOD. Trust me, don't eat lunch!! We had the escargot in puff pastry, lobster bisque soup, skipped the salad, and choice of entree was a 12 oz lobster tail, 8 oz filet, (or a combination 6 oz and 4 oz, which we had), a 24 oz porterhouse, and then I believe there was a fish and/or veal dish. I can't remember all of them, once I saw the lobster and steak I was sold (they bring a cart to your table to help you choose). Of course we had all the accompaniments for the entire - sauteed mushrooms, backed potato, etc. Then comes desert! They had some fabulous looking deserts, but we were so full, we declined. A lot of good that did us. Since we didn't have "dessert", the Maitre d' hotel sent us a plate of chocolate truffles - TO DIE FOR!
Food in the main dining room was also great. We had many wonderful dinners there and our waiters (Donovan and Robinson) were the best we have had in a long time. One night hubby had Sweet and Sour Shrimp - let me tell you these babies were BIG, more like prawns, and were fabulous. Made me sorry I went for the Grilled Grouper. The buffets during the day offered a nice selection, very tasty and we never went hungry. Oh, and of course, the Sushi cart outside McGuires, loved that too.
Okay, enough about food (it's just this was the best food we have had on a ship in a long, long time).
I did indulge in two massages. They were very wonderful and the spa is very nice. If you don't want to pay for the 60 - 90 minute massage packages, they offer 15- 30 minute massages just outside the spa by the pool for much less.
We didn't get to any of the shows (hubby and I are casino nuts), but I did speak with several people who really enjoyed the adult comedian. And they show a late night movie every night and the disco always seemed to be "hopping".
After the first night, we had quickly picked our two favorite bars - City Jazz before dinner (Neva is the sweetest, remembers your name and your drink - never had to ask), and Mr. Lucky's in the casino (Frances always searched me out, called me by name, to make sure I was taken care of and again, always knew what to bring me - and hubby).
Shore Excursions: We arrived in Grand Cayman. The negative: Miracle did not inform us we were docked on the other side of the island and needed to get a taxi. They just dropped us off the tender and no one was there to help us get a taxi (which cost $6.00 per person each way - come one Carnival, you slipped a little there). Then, not Carnival's fault, the independent tour we had lined up (horseback riding on the beach) never showed up to get us. NEVER USE HONEYSUCKLE TOURS!!!
It was our first time to Belize. Five years from now you aren't going to recognize it. We took the Lost World Canopy Tour. I was a little skittish, but kept telling myself I love the rollercoasters at Universal Studio. WHAT A BLAST!!! If you can make the climb, do it!!! But the description is a little miss leading. It is not a 20 foot ladder. It is a path carved out of the mountain with 3 areas that have 15 to 20 rock steps. But, if you can make it, you must go. YEEEEE HAAAA!!!!
Costa Maya: We did the Clear Kayak. It was a little windy and choppy. That made it difficult to keep up, but we enjoyed it anyway. Gave us a good work out and a beer (or water, plus fresh fruit) was waiting for us at our beach break. Also, please note: if you have back problems, the bus ride to the kayaks is VERY rough -no paved roads for about 5 miles. Again, if you do this, the description is a little misleading - there is no "all you can eat lobster tacos". Too many people were getting ill and they had to quit serving the tacos, but Carnival has never changed their price or their description (CARNIVAL TAKE NOTE). Not to worry though. When you get back to the pier, there is a wonderful plaza with a couple of restaurants and shopping. We ate at Bandito's (the one with the BIG chickee hut). The food was fabulous (here I go again about food). We shared the sampler with coconut shrimp (the big boys again), lobster tacos, onion rings, fish fingers, chips with guacamole and salsa, and fries - way too much for the two of us. Plus, there is a saltwater pool with a swim-up bar there. If you don't take a tour, just go hang out at the pier, that is what we plan to do next time.
MIRACLE WE WILL BE BACK!!