Our sail date was 8-7-07. We live on Long Island, so our drive into Manhatten was less than 1 hour. We are a family of 5. Myself, DH, DS13, DS5, DS3. DH dropped me & the kids at the pier while he parked our Jeep in the secure parking garage upstairs from the pier. Parking for the 8 days was $180. Not too bad. we waited in the terminal approx 30-45 min. Alot of people had their passports, we chose to just use our birth cert. since it was not mandatory for passports yet. The terminal experience was OK, we had to stand the whole time, which was not so great with my 5 year old, and my 3 year old. but we were soon on the beautiful Miracle. As soon as we walked in, we were hooked. This was our first cruise, and we were stunned. we were overcome with joy as we walked along the ship. My hubby called me the cruise director, and asked me where should we go. Since i did months of research on cruise critic, I knew to head up to Deck 9, LIDO DECK!!! Lunch was being served, and it was about 1:30 when we boarded the ship. Cocktails were being eagerly distributed. I also bought our "Fountain Fun cards" for all of us. well worth it. 2 adult cards for me & hubby, and 3 child cards for the boys. me & hubby got ourselves & the boys lunch at Horatios. then headed out to the back deck for a seat on the lounge chairs, and to just take in the sights of the NY skyline. we both had the "drink of the day". holy moly, were they strong. could only handle one of those. loaded with 151 rum. Carnival does NOT skimp on the liquor. we did not sail out of port until 5:30, which was kind of a bummer because we had the 5:45 dinner, which we wanted to attend, so we had to give up the sail away on the deck. so off to dinner we went. to our surprise, we had the best darn table in the Bacchus restaurant. We had table #109. corner table, at a huge porthole 6' window. we could see everything!! what a view. our kids sat in the window most nights. they loved it. we saw the sun go down every night. our waiters were fabulous!! Larry was our head waiter, and Luis was his assit. they were so good to us. they went above and beyond. we miss them already, and our kids adored them. they were so kind, and answered all of our dumb questions every night. they are very hard workers.
Our rooms were kept clean and very neat by Bogdan. he was great to us as well. we had rooms 1182 & 1178. they were more roomy than i had thought, lots of closet space. bathroom was more than enough room. the shower was to die for. we loved it. it had the best shower head & water pressure i had ever felt. my hubby did not want to get out. and by the way, he is 6'4", and had no problem in the bathroom at all. very spacious. towel animals every night. all our waiters, & room stewards knew all of our names by the second day. they were all great. even Ally at the aft deck bar on lido deck, had our Michelob Ultras up on the bar for us as he saw us walking up. they remember everything. we stuck to the beer, and bought it by the bucket most nights. the mixed drinks are very strong. you get your moneys worth!! we loved Dr.Frankensteins Lab. that was our hang out. we are both in our 30's, and we love "young" music, and love hiphop & rap, so it was right up our alley. we hung out there almost every night. the DJ's were great, and there was a crowd on that dance floor every night. i dont know why the cruises before us said they never saw anyone dancing. i guess we had a better crowd. we had a blast there. the ship was beyond clean. they were cleaning 24/7. i never saw clean like this. we would get pizza at 3am, and they were still cleaning. Ice cream machines were delish!! tasted just like Carvel. i probably had 3 cones a day.
I really could go on & on about the ship, and all the kid people we encountered, but it would take way too much time. here is my run down of the ports of call:
Puerto Rico- Dirty, windy, over priced merchandise. Coach outlet was great,I got a $300 wallet for $100. That was the only good thing to come out of San Juan. we took a cab ride tour of dirty San Juan, and all the driver talked about was "cock fighting" and J-Lo, who is from NY, not San Juan mi amigos!! Holy Boring!! I did hear good things about Senor Frogs. we did not get back off the ship at night in san juan due to the fact i did not want to leave my kids on board while i was in town getting crocked at senor frogs.
St.Thomas- beautiful!! i would stay there a week. we took a $50 open air bumpy bus ride to Coral World. The kids LOVED it there. we had a great time. they had sharks, turtles, iguanas & lizards running around. it was alot of fun. we then walked right down the boardwalk to Coki Beach. so beautiful. very clean, nice white sand, no seaweed. breathtaking blue clear water. we rented 2 beach chairs for $10. we stayed in the water most of the day. it was a perfect day. got burgers and fries right at our beach chairs. the bar on the beach is called the "mailman". we both got the best drink called the BUSHWACKER. sooo good. try it!!
Tortola- lets just say, im so glad i booked the Virgin Gorda Baths Tour through Carnival. It was worth every extra penny!! it was like a dream. you will never see anything like it ever again. if you love beaches, and caves and something different, book the virgin gorda baths.
All in all we had a fantastic time. I bought almost every picture they took of us on the cruise. they were all so great. the ship was clean, the staff was fun and full of energy, i dont know how they do it. pools were fun & clean, camp carnival was great, the kids loved it. Carnival gets 2 thumbs up. and yes, the food was great. we tried something differnet every night, and there is food every where you turned. OH, and i did meet up with another cruise critic!! I met "cruzin with the kids" poolside, and we talked about the ship and her previous cruises. we had great weather every single day. we cant wait to cruise again!!the shows were great. the singers and dancers were outstanding. the beatles review was amazing. The Village Idiots show was the best. so hysterical!! getting off the ship was a breeze. we actually did self assit with our luggage, they called self assit off at 9:15 am, and we were in our car at 9:38 am. now thats what i call fast!!! it was so easy getting off. we were amazed!!PS- cruise director Brent and his gang were GREAT. they did a fantastic job!! thanks for making our first cruise a great one!!