The ship was as we remembered her. Showing signs of age and not decorated to everyone's tastes but we like the layout and most of the decor. Anything we might consider tacky we considered "fun tacky".
We had cabin 6236 which is the first balcony in the aft "bump out" so we had no neighbour upwind of our cabin. Chose the cabin to see if it would be quieter and hoped that at least upwind smokers wouldn't effect our enjoyment of the balcony.
It did, but Murphy's Law dictated the 3 ladies staying in the next 2 cabins were possibly the most annoying neighbours we've had. Yelling across to each others balconies, complaining about their various health issues and their reasons for not
getting off the ship in ports (except if there was a deal on cigarettes) and applying extreme amounts of perfume while on the balcony so as to not suffocate themselves while in their room. Why balcony lights are required to be turned on when
just out having a cigarette is beyond me but it seems they'd prefer fluorescents to starlight. Anyways, enough of them...in fact I developed a comedy following of sorts with my impersonations of them for fellow travellers.
The last time we sailed the Miracle it was at 50% capacity due to Sandy. While the empty ship had many perks it was also missing that 'party atmosphere' you expect with a ship full of excited vacationers on-board. She was full this time and
the energy was much better. The first 2 days at sea were cold (as expected), the first night was VERY rough. My Wife along with some crew members swore it was rougher than Sandy. I thought there was definitely more port-starboard roll but
not as much up and down as during Sandy. Many folks were feeling the effects of the rough seas. Thankfully we felt fine and empathized with those who were in their cabins suffering.
Grand Turk- We've been here once before and spent the day at Jack's Shack which was fun. This time we started at Margaritaville for an hour or so, walked to The Local Bar for some rum drinks and use of their wifi then off to Jack's Shack for some jerk chicken,
more drinks and some swimming. We then reversed our path to The Local and on to margaritaville to meet up with some friends for a final drink before heading back to the ship. Another beautiful day in GT and another sunburn for the collection.
San Juan- Many people told us they weren't bothering to get off in port but we were excited as we've never been to San Juan before. We headed to San Cristobal fort and toured it for awhile. Some excellent views of the city and sea from the fort.
The day was a hot one and there were some very nice breezes up in the fort as well. After the fort we just toured around the city stopping in many shops and at many sights along the way. The heat/sun was quite oppressive at this point but we
managed to walk in shade when needed. Stopped at a local-frequented restaurant for some "local food" which was enjoyable although DW was terribly sick shortly afterwards. We assume she ate something that didn't agree with her.
St Thomas- We took a bus trip to Sapphire Beach organized by someone in our CC roll call for $20/person. The beach was a bit more crowded than expected but there were 3 ships in port so it was not a surprise. Our group rented some chairs for $7 each
and staked out a spot with both sun and shade and spent the day relaxing and enjoying the company along with the sights. A very nice beach with servers on the beach who would take food and drink orders. Buckets of 6 beers cost $16. Another
great day. Would return to Sapphire Beach for another visit
Tortola- We took an excursion organized through another CC roll call member to Jost Van Dyke to spend the day at White Bay for the beach and a few Painkillers at The Soggy Dollar Bar. The only negative we had was the tour operator had one boat driver
who was reckless (in our opinion). Everyone on our small, overcrowded boat was soaked by the time we returned from the beach because of his driving. The beach was beautiful and the bar was great with reasonably priced drinks, free beach chairs/hammocks
and food and souvenirs available. We would definitely return to this beach, one of our new favourite spots.
Ship food was better than last trip. MDR/brunch food was very good, steak house was excellent as always. Buffet is hit and miss in our opinion and we prefer to eat elsewhere. The hand made pizza was pretty good but often a long lineup to get a slice as we
stood in line a few times behind groups of kids each getting full pies. Carnival really needs to revamp the room service menu. Have only been on Royal to compare but I can get steak on a baguette and fries or pizza on Royal and Carnival continues to offer cold
sandwiches and potato chips.
Comedy shows were very good. One comic was very good and the other was hilarious. We also took in one of the family friendly shows just to check it out and we though it was pretty lame. Tough to put together a comedy set that appeals to 8 year olds as
well as adults though. Wish we would have saw the other 2 comedians from earlier in the week as well.
Serenity deck was absolutely packed and full of chair hogs the entire week when weather was good. Its obvious the chair hog rules are not being applied as the entire area was a sea of yellow towels on chairs without people sitting in them. We were pretty
sun burned so wouldn't have laid out but many folks came and left because there was no place to sit. It was even difficult getting a seat at the tables in serenity, haven't experienced it that busy before.
Cabin was nice and clean, Steward was very good as always. Always made sure we had ice, towels and glasses etc and kept the room very clean. We are seriously considering booking oceanviews from now on as it seems most times we use our balcony we
end up with noisy, smokey neighbours. This trip was no exception. Does no one know how to close a door quietly? Must you turn your balcony light on when you go out for a smoke and leave it on for the duration of the cruise? Some people are truly oblivious to anyone
beyond themselves. If our next neighbours are as bad I'll return their behaviour in kind, I can slam doors too!
Staff on board were awesome! One area Carnival exceeds is the friendly staff. Almost every staff member we interacted with was very personable and we had several conversations with the crew about their countries, family, ship life etc. Great people.
All in all another great vacation and look forward to the next