So was the Carnival Miracle a miracle? That is a question you will have to answer yourself, however you will know my opinion by the end of this review.
Background: This was my 8th cruise and first with Carnival Cruise Lines. I cruised with my parents (previous Carnival Cruisers) and my younger brother (16). We drove to Tampa, as we live only 2 hours away. I chose this cruise because I was off for fall break and the price was right. Leading up to the cruise I kept in touch with the Marvelous Miracle Misfits, who made the wait as painless as ever!
Embarkation: This was the easiest embarkation I have ever taken part in. We arrived a little later then I hoped, but that turned out to be okay as we didn't have a boarding group. We had the funpass and didn't have to wait in line.
Cabin: This was our first balcony (6224), and we loved it. We had an extended balcony, so we could see the lifeboats below us, but it didn't bug me. The room was extremely roomy, to say the least. We never felt crowded and had plenty of storage space. The only negatives for the room are: in the bathroom the curtain sticks to your leg and the balcony door whistles, and if yours isn't you can hear others whistling.
The Ship: The decor of the ship is extremely interesting. The ship has subtle details and portrayals of super heroes and literary figures. The Metropolis Atrium, which extends up to deck 11, was a sight to behold. It just seemed to go up forever, especially at night. The Metropolis Lobby itself was your basic lobby, a bar, comfy sofas, excursions desk, and purser's desk. The main show room on the ship was very well designed. The Phantom Lounge kept in the theme of the Phantom of the Opera. There were masks in the staircases, and at the sides of the lounge. The room itself seems small when you are on deck 2, the lower level, but when you venture up into the third level the room really comes to life. The other entertainment room was the Mad Hatter's Ball. This room seems to be inspired by Alice in Wonderland. There are heart shaped chairs, red sofas, jester's and rabbits on the walls, card symbols (heart, club, spade, and diamond) on the floors, and red roses on the ceiling. The dining room, well I am sure you have heard about it; purple circle lights, Renaissance paintings on the ceiling (which are a theme throughout the ship), and those infamous purple grape chandeliers. Surprisingly I completely understand the design of the room. The Bacchus Dining Room was modeled after the Roman God of wine, partying, and pleasure, Bacchus. The lights hanging from the ceiling represent the grapes used to make wine. Okay, enough mythology for now, on with the written tour. The many of the lounges\sitting rooms look the exact same, these include: Jeeves Lounge, The Joker Card Room, the Cityroom, Kanes Way, and the Gothom Lounge. One of the coolest rooms on the ship was Gatsby's Garden, always quiet, and windows big enough to sit in! The Raven Library, named after Edgar Allen Poe's masterpiece, was also a nice place to curl up with a book. Sam's Piano Bar seemed nice, but it was always closed. Frankie and Johnnie's was a great place to hang out during the day, the played jazz at night. The Maguire's Sports bar was hands down the best sports bar I have ever seen on a ship. There were pictures of athletes with their autographs all over the walls. Dr. Frankenstein's Lab was the only night club on the ship. And it was busy morning, noon, night, and wee-morning. The Lido deck restaurant, Horatio's, was pretty good. I ate breakfast there everyday and loved it, for lunch I ate from the taste of the nations line. The set up is a bit tricky at first but after a whole day at sea, it becomes a bit clearer. There were 8 stations in all, Deli, Rotisserie, Asian Corner, Taste of the Nations (which features a different countries cuisine everyday), 2 stations that served all-American food, a pizza station, and a salad station. At first glance there seemed to be excessive seating, but boy was I happy there was, especially around breakfast, when it was really crowded. The two everyone pools were very small, and the adult only pool was half the size of the other pools. For pictures of the ship please visit my online photo album at: http://travel.webshots.com/photo/2185623420098096222ZDjqDr
Entertainment: This is when someone my age and someone a little older might have clashing views. The show I saw in the Phantom Lounge were pretty good. However, the ship seemed to get kind of quiet around midnight. Nearly all of the bars were closed (with the exception of Maguire's Bar, Frankenstein's Bar, and the Metropolis Lobby Bar), all the show were finished, the pools were closed, and there was nothing happening on deck. And by 1am the Metropolis Lobby Bar was also closed. Now this might be because I am under 18 (at the time 28 days until 18), but there was absolutely nothing to do. This leads into my Club O2 bit. Club O2 was defiantly the most unorganized teen program I have ever been in. Our consoler was great, and in no way was our bad time her fault. All of the activities were spread out, example we would have 1 activity at 1pm on a sea day and the next 1 at 5:30pm, the next at 7:45 and the next from 9:30-10:45pm. We only had an hour and fifteen minutes of dancing every night. We were kicked out at 10:45 every night, and left to fend for ourselves, as my new cruise friend would say, Do they actually expect us to go to sleep, we are just waking up. I thought this was a fun ship. The only way to fix this feeling of nomad-ship is to add an actual Club O2 area just for teens, so we have a place to hang out all of the time.
Food: I am not a big eater, but a picky one. I don't eat anything that can live under the hull of a ship or most meat (except chicken). That being said the starters, salads, chicken, and desserts were all wonderful. Every night I had 2 or 3 starters, a salad, and dessert. I ordered a main course on most nights, but I couldn't eat it I was already full! The desserts we wonderful, they sent me into a pure world of nothing but bliss, particularly the caramel ice cream, and fudge chocolate cake with caramel icing, if I could only taste it now. As I mentioned earlier the food on the Lido Deck was very good as well. I really only ate breakfast there, and the pizza wasn't that bad either.
Shore Activities: It rained everyday, in every port. Grand Cayman: We were supposed to go swimming with the sting rays, but Mother Nature had something else in mind, as I was a little sick (not sea sick). So we did a tour of the island, it was $20 each and was pretty good. We went to a beach where we could see the ships in the distance, the Tortuga Rum Cake Factory, a town called Hell, and a the most expensive neighborhood on the island. And for all of you still wondering, yes, Margaritaville is open!
Cozumel: Since my family has been here on numerous occasions, my dad decided to try and find this little restaurant we went to the last time. After hours (2) of searching we finally gave up and went to the world famous Carlos and Charlie's enough said.
Belize: As soon as we got out of the cruise terminal my uncle surprised us. He changed his business meeting so he was in Belize the same time we were, it would have worked out better if we weren't going cave tubing with out fellow Misfits!! We went cave tubing through the ever popular, cave-tubing.com. What a deal!! It was awesome; I can't thank Yhony and his team enough for a wonderful time.
Costa Maya: I have never been to this port before and I probably would have been more excited about it if it didn't rain. It was the worst here, it rained and rained, most of the excursions had to be cancelled. We took a taxi to the village, and then the rains came. We spent out time in a little bar, completely outside of course, but covered. We ate and drank there and when the rain held up for a quick minute we left to find a return taxi. Once back near the pier, I went to a sports shop and got a brand new authentic Manchester Untied jersey for only $30!! My best buy of the trip, for those of you who aren't into soccer that same jersey is about $60 online, or in a magazine. A little tip of advice to all who are lured by the big pool: If you must enter, enter early the later it gets the more likely human waste is well released.
The Bottom Line: all I had a decent time; I met people around my age and visited places I have never been to. However I would not recommend this ship to anyone under the age of 18, or 21 for that matter. Without a ClubO2 room the teen program is practically non-existent. And most of the activities involved alcohol; this might seem like an exaggeration but to someone who doesn't drink it wasn't. Bottom line, I wouldn't travel on this class ship again probably a Conquest one, if you are 21+ have fun, if you are under 18 go for a Conquest class vessel. I did have a pretty good time. So I guess it was sort of a Miracle.