This cruise was a dream vacation for me and the best vacation ever. Ever since I was a kid and my parents cruised to the Caribbean, it has always been my dream to go on a Caribbean cruise alone with my husband. Well on June 4th that dream finally came true. My husband (47) and I (48) sailed on the Carnival Miracle out of NY to San Juan, St. Thomas and Tortola. We went without our kids so grandma watched them.
I am going to post this review in categories because I think it will be easier.
We live in NYC so we took a cab over to the ships terminal. We arrived at the terminal at 10:30 and were one of the first ones there. I had a roll call and saw one of my fellow roll callers (Illionoisgal). We struck up a nice chat and it was great to finally meet in person. We were able to do early check in around 11:20. They started boarding us around 12:30. We were on the ship by 12:45. Everything was very organized. As soon as we boarded we made reservations for Nick and Nora's. (more on that later). Our cabin wasn't ready but we were able to drop off our carry-on bags and then off to the Lido we went for lunch. We had burgers and fries which were very good.
We were in cabin 5204 (balcony) on the Upper deck and our steward was Patrick from Jamaica and his assistant Herbert from Indonesia. They were absolutely fabulous. The first day Patrick introduced himself to us and told us when he would be making up the cabin and if we needed him to just page him. We saw him a few times after that and always said hello to us. Herbert was his assistant and he was excellent. We saw him several times and every time we saw him he would greet us by name and ask how our day was. The two of them always had a smile on their faces. We would leave little sticky notes in the cabin for requests and always received them when we got back to the cabin. They kept the cabin spotless. One day after a beach excursion we got sand on the carpet and when we got back to the cabin it was gone. They also cleaned the balcony too. We tipped them extra because they were so good.
The beds were wonderful, we slept like babies.
The Miracle is a lovely ship and extremely clean. The crew were always cleaning something. Everything was spotless. There were a few areas where the carpets were stained but that didn't bother me. I know a lot of people think the Baccus dining room is ugly but I actually liked it. It reminded me of an Italian Vineyard in Tuscany. The ship was very easy to get around and we were familiar with it because we sailed on her sister ship The Legend last year.
We loved Sams Piano Bar, Frankie and Johnnie's and Jeeves lounge. That is where we hung out the most.
The food was excellent and we loved most everything. The pizza was quite good, of course, not as good as NY pizza but still quite delicious. I also loved the Caesar salads. I had several of those. My husband had the reubens and thought it was very good. We took most of our meals in the dining room. The food in the dining room was always hot, delicious and the presentation was like artwork. We took many pictures of the food. Our wait staff was Nehmah and Ida both from Indonesia. They were very good. The waiters did do the dancing about 3 nights which kind of annoyed me. At least they do it towards the end of the meal and it doesn't last too long.
Our table number was 192 and it was a table for 4. We were seated with another couple from the NY area and they were very nice.
On the third night we went to Nick and Nora’s. All I can say is WOW!!! The food, service, and presentation were totally amazing. I had the Lobster bisque which was to die for, the Caesar salad, surf and turf and some sort of chocolate thing for desert. My husband had the escargot, lobster bisque, the strip steak, and some sort of apple desert. On a scale of 1-10 I would rate N&N a 9.5. The only reason I took off the half a point is because the lobster tail was extremely salty. I would have sent it back but I was just so stuffed that I couldn’t even finish what I had on the plate. They give you so much food that they had to practically roll us out of there we were so stuffed. I highly recommend you try N&N’s. It is definitely worth the $30 p/p. There is nowhere that you can get a full meal in an upscale restaurant with entertainment for that price. Here in NYC, the entrée alone will cost you at least $30 in a fine upscale dining establishment.
We had 8PM reservations for N&N’s and one thing that I did observe is that there were children in there. I imagine that they came to the 6PM seating. I do not think they should let children in there at all. It is NOT a place for children. A family brought a baby and a little girl who was about 3. The 3 year old kept running around and on the dance floor. Not only is it obtrusive to the diners, it is also very dangerous. That kid could have knocked into a waiter as they were carrying the food and have something spill on her. For the life of me, I cannot even understand why parents would even want to take their kids there. There is nothing on the menu that would appeal to a child and I don’t believe they have a children’s menu. Also, the dinner lasts about 2 ½ hours and there is no child that can sit there for that long. The baby even started crying a few times and the father had to take her out for a while. Needless to say, I was very glad when they left.
We also had room service a few times and it was delivered promptly, if not early to our cabin. The selection was all cold stuff but was quite tasty and I enjoyed all of it.
After San Juan there was a Mexican deck party and buffet. We ate a little bit and only stayed for a short time because we were very tired. The buffet was beautifully done and what I had to eat was also excellent.
We also had lots of ice cream throughout the day. We went to afternoon tea one day which was also quite nice.
The Lido had a great array of different types of foods. Deli, Chinese, burgers, rotisserie. All sorts of different things and everything looked very good. My husband also had Chinese one day and said it was very good. The last day at lunch there was a chocolate buffet which is a chocoholics dream. There was a chocolate fountain that I just wanted to stick my mouth under……LOL
The Gala Midnight buffet was truly a work of food art. I never ever saw anything that looked like that before. These chefs truly made masterpieces with food. We took pictures but didn’t eat anything from it because the line was too long and we were tired and didn’t want to wait. We ate enough at that point, so we really didn’t need the extra food.
There were some people wearing jeans to the dining room but not too many. On formal night most men wore suits and women in cocktail dresses. I did see a few tuxes but no evening gowns. There might have been but I just didn’t see it. I even heard that a man came to the formal night in a pair of shorts and the maitre D turned him away. Kudos to Carnival for that.
There were a lot of activities for all ages and we partook in some of them. My husband and I played a lot of trivia and I won the infamous ship on a stick for that and he won another stick on a ship for game show mania. We didn’t watch the hairy chest or belly flop competition and I know a lot of people complain about it and say how tacky it is but the truth is, is if you don’t want to watch it, you don’t have to. It was held at one pool and only on one day so it wasn’t like it was in your face.
We also did the galley and backstage tour which was quite interesting. The galley was totally spotless and very orderly. It’s amazing how they can prepare food for so many people at one time.
We layed out by the Aft adults only pool and we did see security ask a couple of children to leave it so they were doing their job. I didn’t see any babies in diapers in the pool thank goodness. We also never had a problem finding a lounge by that pool and we always got there around 11 or 12 in the afternoon. I didn’t see many chair hogs either.
The crew and staff were extremely friendly and all always said hello to us and smiled. They called us “Sir” and “Maam” all the time. I truly felt like they were there to please the passengers. They all looked very happy.
Brent Mitchell was the CD and we both liked him. He was very funny and kept us informed of all the activities and was very helpful at the debarkation talk. We knew exactly what to expect and what to do.
The Captain, Antonio Marchetti and the Senior officers could be seen around the ship many times. The Captain was quite funny and very personable. We were up on the Lido aft area one day and we saw him hanging around with a few of his officers and smiled and greeted the passengers as they passed by.
The entertainment was also top notch. We spent a few nights in Frankie and Johnnie’s and listened to Music Boardwalk. They were sensational and definitely lived up to their reputation. Mary49 and Mark, if you are reading this, I gave your letter to Enrique. They did remember the both of you and told me to tell you both hello. They then dedicated a song to me.
We also spent a few evenings in Sam’s Piano bar and listened to Buster Freeze. He was a fellow from England with a very sarcastic and funny sense of humor. He was great and we loved singing along with him.
The shows were also quite good as were the comedians. We saw the Ticket to Ride show which was excellent, the tribute to Sammy Davis and Frank Sinatra which I loved. My husband thought it was boring but that’s cause he really doesn't go for that type of music but I absolutely loved it.
Ports of Call
We did our own thing in San Juan. We got off the ship and took a taxi up to El Morro. That was ok….kind of boring and it was very hot so we only stayed about a half hour. We then walked down through the streets of Old San Juan and stopped off in a little café called Café Bohemia and had some cold drinks and appetizers. I don’t remember what we ate but the bartender recommended local Puerto Rican dishes and they were very good. We then walked some more and found a few souvenir shops recommended by the bartender at Café Bohemia. After that, we went to the Parrot Club to have their famous Parrot Passion which was delicious. After that we went back to the ship. San Juan was nice and I’m glad I got to see it, but I don’t think I would go again.
We absolutely LOVED St. Thomas. It is such a beautiful island. Unfortunately it rained a lot that day but we still had a great time. We were booked on Sunny Liston’s tour which I highly recommended for $25 p/p. He will give you either 1,2, or 3 hours of shopping, an island tour and then will take you to the beach. We chose to shop for 3 hours and brought back so much stuff. We bought liquor, cigarettes and lots of souvenirs for the kiddies. The island tour was great even if it was raining. We went to Mountain Top and had the famous Banana Daiquiri which was very tasty. Sunny then drove us to Sapphire Beach and it finally stopped raining and were able to go into the water. The water was crystal clear and turquoise. Absolutely beautiful. We did some snorkeling and just as I was getting the hang of it, I cut my leg on a piece of coral. I had to get out of the water because it burned so much.
We took the Carnival sponsored Baths excursion and it was excellent. They pick you up at the ship at 8:15 and then you take a 45 min ferry ride over to Virgin Gorda and then you take a 10 minute bus ride to the Baths. The Baths are absolutely amazing and beautiful. You have a choice of taking 2 paths to get down to the beach. One was hard and one was easy. We chose the easy path. They have restrooms and showers there and also lockers and a snack bar. We got to spend about 2 hours at the beach. I highly recommend the excursion through Carnival.
The seas were mostly calm the whole trip. The second day was a little rough but nothing too bad. I handled it absolutely fine and didn’t get nervous at all. After that it was smooth sailing all the way down and back.
The average ages on this sailing were between 40-70 with some people even older than that. It was definitely an older crowd. There were also very few children aboard.
I highly recommend Carnival and the Miracle to everyone. For those of you who are hesitant about trying Carnival, I say give them a try because you won’t be disappointed. I know people hear stories about low lives, drunks, running up and down the hallways,etc but I didn’t see one drunk or unruly person, no low lives and definitely nobody was running down the halls during the night. What we saw were happy and friendly people having a great time. People just like you and I. If you are a quiet person and want quiet and nothing to do, you can have that. If you are an active person, you can have that too. Give Carnival a try and you will be pleasantly surprised.
I cannot believe my cruise is over. I am definitely suffering from PCD. My dream came true and now it’s over. I can’t say enough good things about the cruise. It was absolutely fabulous. I am so tired and now have to get back to reality.
Before I end this I would like to say a special thank you to all my friends from the roll call. You folks were great. It was a pleasure to meet all of you. Thank you to Brooke and Shawn, Lori and Tom, Kelly, Patti and George, Jackie and Jim, Ruth and Jim, Cindy and Luis. You girls helped make this vacation even better.
If anyone has any questions, please feel free to ask and I will answer them.