Carnival Miracle Cruise Review by Beyondships: Carnival Miracle - USA
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Carnival Miracle - USA
Carnival Miracle entered service in 2004 and was homeported in Tampa, Florida where she did Caribbean cruises. During the time she was there, the ship received the highest ratings in the Carnival fleet both from passengers and crew. Some people said that this was due to the generous nature of the Tampa market. But, for the summer 2007 season, Miracle was re-deployed to New York, which is not known as an un-critical market, in place of sister ship Carnival Legend. Still, Miracle's ratings continued to be high. The October 18 cruise was Miracle's last sailing out of New York for 2007. The ship had been doing eight-day cruises from New York to the Caribbean all summer. She would be sailing out of Fort Lauderdale during the winter. There were two days between the end of her last full New York cruise and the date she was to begin her Florida sailings even taking into account the time it would take to travel from one location to the other. Accordingly, a two-day cruise to nowhere was More
included in the schedule. Short cruises are different than full cruises. The mix of passengers is different, the ship cannot provide all of the activities that it would in a longer cruise, it is more difficult for passengers to form the relationships that normally develop over several days of cruising together with the same people and the overall pace is different. It would be easy for management to say that such a cruise does not give a true picture of the ship. However, in talking with the officers of the Miracle, no one used such an excuse. They acknowledged that the two-day cruise was different than what they normally did but they were confident enough of what they had to offer that they were quite willing to stand behind what they were doing on that cruise. Because this was a short cruise, people wanted to maximize their time onboard. Thus, it was no surprise that a large number of passengers had arrived well before the boarding time printed on the tickets. In addition, most were carrying their own (or more precisely, rolling their own) bags onboard rather than checking them with the porters. This could have been a recipe for disaster. However, the somewhat bemused Carnival employees handled the situation well, opening the ship early and processing the passengers onboard. The interior of the Miracle is decorated to a theme of famous fictional icons. Each of the public rooms was inspired by a well-known character in a book, movie or ancient myth. The connection between the characters and the rooms are often not subtle. For example, there is a two-deck high figure of Frankenstein's monster on the dance floor of Dr. Frankenstein's Lab - - the ship's nightclub. The theater is inspired by the Paris Opera House, the setting for Phantom of the Opera, and is boldly opulent. The main dining room, named after Bacchus, the ancient mythological god of wine, is a riot of giant purple grapes and huge leaves. These rooms may not give you ideas for decorating your home but they are fun to look at and it is interesting to explore the detail work. At the same time, Nick and Nora's Supperclub, the extra-tariff specialty restaurant, is a pleasing venue which evokes the glamour of the upper class New York restaurants of the 1930s and 1940s. Also, almost overshadowed by the ship's more whimsical dEcor are some beautiful colored glass vases on the various stairways. The passenger cabins are more subdued than the public rooms. Outside in the corridors, there are panels depicting Robin Hood and Sam Spade but inside the rooms are clam and nicely appointed. The beds were comfortable, the television large for a cruise ship, and there is enough drawer and closet space for a much longer cruise. Unfortunately, the smoked-glass dividers between the balconies are not quite floor-to-ceiling and one can become a party to ones neighbors' conversations. Everywhere, the ship was scrupulously clean. Indeed, Miracle has consistently received high marks from U.S. Public Health officials. Such cleanliness is an indication of the dedication of a ship's crew and consistent with this, the service on Miracle was both friendly and efficient. During the one day at sea, there was a variety of entertainment and activities ranging from trivia games to afternoon tea with live music. This was not intellectual enrichment but rather light entertainment. Keep in mind that the emphasis at Carnival is on fun. In any event, passengers were free to do as they wished and there was no feeling of overcrowding even with more than 2,000 other people onboard. The production shows in the ship's theater were excellent. Thankfully, Carnival has recognized that many of the people cruising today grew up in the 1960s and have geared their musical selections toward that fact. In addition, the stage is large, giving the singers and dancers adequate space to work. There is also a state-of-the-art sound and light system. Elsewhere, there was a piano bar, a sports bar, a jazz trio and of course, a large and very popular casino. Dining on Miracle follows the two-seating pattern traditional on passenger ships. The primary advantage of this system is that it gives one the opportunity to build up a rapport with the waiters who get to know your likes and dislikes as well as to become friends with the people at the table. Even though this was a two-night cruise, the waiters at my table were quick to develop a rapport and the passengers at the table provided good and interesting conversation. Even though some of the sister companies in the Carnival family have moved towards "more flexible" dining options, I was pleased to hear that Miracle has no plans to do so. While it sounds great in theory to dine when and where you like, the reality is that unless you rush to make a reservation, you end up either eating someplace you didn't want or at a time that is not what you wanted. The food on Miracle was generally good. Carnival tends to do better with mass market dishes than with more adventuresome items. Hamburgers, pizza, French Toast tend to be excellent. More subtle versions of duck, while tasty, are not as good. Miracle is a version of the Vista-class cruise ship design. Within Carnival Cruise Lines, she is referred to as being in the Spirit-class but similar ships also sail under the Costa, Holland America and P&O house flags. For a cruise ship, her bow is relatively narrow in relation to her length, which enables her to handle stormier seas better than cruise ships with wider bows. On this cruise, we were in rain almost the entire time yet there was very little motion (i.e. pitching and rolling). In addition, the ship is propelled by azipods rather than a traditional propeller shaft arrangement. Because the motors are suspended below the hull in such a system, there is little vibration from the propulsion system. In conclusion, the officers' confidence in Carnival Miracle was well-placed during this cruise. My photos of Miracle are posted at http://www.beyondships.com/CarnivalMiracleTour-1.html Less
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