Carnival Miracle Review
I cruised the Carnival Miracle June 12-20, 2007 with my husband, parents, and two family friends. Overall we had a great time.
Embarkation: This is the second time that we have cruised out of New York City. Though this time embarkation went far better than the last time, it still takes far longer than many other embarkation ports. We got to the pier around 1:15. Porters were outside to take our luggage the minute we pulled up, which was fantastic. We waited about an hour total to have our tickets checked, our pictures taken, and get on the ship.
Cabin / Ship DEcor: We originally booked a guaranteed inside cabin and were lucky to be upgraded to an obstructed view balcony cabin, number 5157. We have never had a balcony cabin, so we thought we had died and gone to heaven. We were not able to see out when we were sitting on the balcony, due to the lifeboat, but when we stood up we could see fine. Our cabin felt much bigger than several other cabins we have had in the past. The ship dEcor was a little crazy. I didn't think all of the rooms tied in to a common theme, but everything was nicely decorated. My favorites were Frankenstein's Lab, the Mad Hatter's Ball, and Maguire's Sports Bar. The dining room was done with a grape theme and was interesting, to say the least. This is the first ship that I have been on that uses the lower decks for lounges and bars and the higher decks for cabins. I am guessing this was to make room for more balconies. I liked using the lower floors for common areas; you felt the ship's movement much less on the lower floors.
Staff / Service: We had fantastic cabin and dining steward/stewardesses. Our cabin was always clean; no matter what time we awoke. Both of our cabin stewards (Ling and I Made) called us by name the entire cruise, from day one. Our dining table (number 238) also had wonderful service. Karolina was our head waitress and she was always attentive and helpful, but she is leaving for a well-deserved vacation in a month. Biljana was our assistant waitress. She also did a nice job, but became ill the last few days of our cruise. Chayaya took over for Biljana and was very pleasant, as well. Kelly took care of our drink orders for dinner and she was fantastic. We all had soda cards, as we do not drink. In our experience when a bartender sees the soda card, they get the original then stay away. Kelly was amazing. She had our sodas on the table waiting for us when we got there, and she would come back several times throughout the meal to check if we needed refills.
Entertainment: Brent Mitchell was the cruise director. He was okay, but we did not see him very often. You heard his voice far more than you saw him. There were four social hosts, Jennifer, Brandon, Julie, and Allen. They were seen often throughout the day, and did pretty good job with their activities. The ship did have a lot of activities going on throughout the day. We played almost every game of trivia that was offered, and managed to win a few of them. The ship also had their own rendition of Family Feud, Millionaire, and several other fun games. The nighttime shows were average. I thought the singer/dancer shows were okay, not as good as some of the other ships that we have been on. The only show we didn't go to was the Welcome Aboard show, because we were too tired.
Lido: The Horatio Restaurant on the Lido deck far exceeded my expectations. Though it was a little crazy and hectic at times, the food was far better than any other Lido buffet. I also liked that they did a "taste of nations" and featured a different type of cuisine everyday.
Ports: San Juan - My husband and I did the Bioluminescent Bay Kayak tour in San Juan. This was an adventure. It was a pretty long drive, though a lot of traffic, to get to the bay. Our driver was great and told us the history of the island while we were driving. Let me start off by saying that my husband and I have never kayaked before. We had a TOUGH time. I think I was a little panicked by how dark it was, kayaking through the mangrove. It got a little chaotic at times, with tons of kayaks coming and going. Other kayaks kept pushing us into the tree roots, which we were warned were not snakes! When we finally got to the bioluminescent part of the bay, we were amazed. It is well worth seeing, though if you have never kayaked before I might not suggest doing it in the dark for the first time.
St. Thomas - This was my second time in St. Thomas and I absolutely love this island. We booked a tour with Godfrey and he was fabulous. He picked us up at the ship at 10 and took us on a tour of the island. Then he dropped people off at their beach choice for two hours. Then he dropped everyone off in town for two hours of shopping. He was fantastic and I would recommend him again to anyone.
Tortola: My father and I did "The Baths" tour in Virgin Gorda. It was about a 25-minute boat ride to the island of Virgin Gorda, then a 15-minute bus ride to "The Baths." Once you get to the Baths, you have to walk down a 350ft trail to the beach. The trail is rocky, and can be a little tough in places. Once at the beach, you can either snorkel or take the Devil's Bay Trail. They recommend that you be physically fit to take the Devil's Bay Trail. You have to stoop to get through some areas, use a rope to climb up a rock, take several ladders, and wade through some water. One guide joked that this was the "Indiana Jones" part of the tour. Once at the other beach, you will see it is worth it. There were probably only 50-60 people there and the water was gorgeous. We did see quite a few fish, and had a great time.
Disembarkation: Incredibly easy. We did the self-assist and were off the ship about 10 minutes after they made the self-assist page.
All in all, we had a wonderful time. I think a cruise is what you make of it, and we definitely made the most of the Carnival Miracle.