For our family's first cruise, I chose the Carnival Miracle from New York to the Bahamas this past February. I was trying to save some money for the 4 of us, and since we live in Belleville, ON, I thought we could just drive into Manhatten and skip the airports. MISTAKE! Driving from Ontario to New York in February is a gamble. We got stuck on the interstate after a 40 car pile up due to a surprise snow squall-for HOURS! I'm so glad we went the day before our cruise! After getting through that, we took a wrong turn and ended up in East Harlem. Luckily New Yorkers really are friendly, and a lovely woman gave us directions to our hotel. After a great dinner we slept comfortably and were up and ready for our cruise in lots of time. A wonderful driver toured us through parts of Manhattan, including Central Park. We're planning a trip there next year for sure-in the Spring, and we'll fly!
Getting to the Cruise port was a breeze, and boarding was seamless. Our stateroom wasn't ready, as we boarded right after noon, so we relaxed and had a couple of drinks in the lounge. Our stateroom was cute, a little smaller than we imagined, but there were 4 of us. It was immaculately clean though, and had an unexpected amount of storage space.
Sailing out of New York in February was cold of course, so the first 2 days we really couldn't enjoy the upper decks or our balcony for more than a few minutes at a time. Once we got to Florida though, it was great to be able to sit out there as we were docking. The staff responded quickly to our request for 2 extra chairs-which JUST fit in our "extended" balcony-so all 4 of us could sit. We used our balcony to play cards and games while we were south, which was great.
Carnival staff were all awesome! Very friendly, accommodating, and enthusiastic. No complaints whatsoever.
The Carnival Miracle is very bright and colourful. It's great for family fun, but it wouldn't be my choice if I was looking for a serene, romantic experience.
The food in the main dining room was delicious and well presented. A bit more variety would've been nice, and my husband was disappointed that his favourite dessert, creme brulee, was only offered once.
We dined at the steakhouse once for our "date night" away from the kids, and it was very nicely decorated with delicious food as well.
The buffet areas were good, and our kids loved the pizza and ice cream.
Room service was a very limited menu, but the cookies were to die for!
Our stateroom was below a deck area. We could here people dragging chairs over our head which got pretty annoying! Live and learn! Next time we will definitely pick a deck that is below another stateroom deck and not an activity area!
The shows were well done, although they experienced some technical difficulties the one night which meant they had to cancel and present it the next night without some of the special effects. Great effort though.
Carnival really should crack down on the smoking though! Going through the casino was like entering a cloud of smoke. Also people smoked on the balcony below us, so sometimes the smell would drift up our way too. YUCK!
Coming home we had some rough water due to a storm, but again, that is to be expected when you sail from New York in February. My son and I spent one afternoon napping after taking some gravol to settle our stomachs.
All in all a great way to introduce us to cruising. Celebrity is next! But for that one we'll be leaving the kids at home. :)