We arrived at the Fort Lauderdale port area about 1 p.m. and quickly cleared baggage drop-off, security, the check-in process (most of which we'd taken care of online ahead of time), photography and boarding. We were on the ship before 2:30. That nonsense they tell you about not getting there before 1:30 is just that. We went directly to our room and changed into casual (and cooler) clothes that we'd brought with us in a carry-on bag, marveled at the balcony, then ran upstairs to grab a bite on the Lido deck.
A word about our room: We bought the 8A guarantee and wound up with an 8C room, 5108, which is the most forward of the extended balcony rooms on the Upper deck. It was wider than the room itself because it extended toward a massive air intake that generated a steady white noise. The position and slight angling of the forward part of the ship made it pretty breezy on sea days but in port it was a delight -- provided you didn't have both the deck door and the cabin door More
open at the same time!
We asked our room steward to get us a chaise lounge from the Lido or Sun decks; it was delivered the next day. Even with two chairs, a table and a chaise, there was room to spare. A BIG balcony! However, the wheelhouse of the bridge extended over it, so no "relaxed" sunbathing -- Captain Cupisti might be staring down through the porthole they use to dock the ship!
The cabin itself was almost identical to the cabin we had three years ago on the Conquest, down to the conical lampshades. It was just three doors aft of the day-care/camp "Pinocchio's Club," but the only noise related to it was the occasional thumping of kids running unescorted down the hallway, which we would mistake for knocking at the door.
The dining room food was good (my only disappointment was the quality of the beef; it was tough every night); service was great. The food on the Lido deck was occasionally exceptional and never routine. The casino pinched us, but I did get involved in some of the shipboard activities and won two Ships on a Stick and two medallions, so that made up for some of it. The revue-type shows were okay. Neither of us is that into the Broadway-type experience. The girls all were pretty and the main singers had strong voices.
The Galley tour was awesome. They were preparing for their fancy dining-room buffet and it's interesting to see how much goes into those little carvings.
The ports of call were great, though it was a bit tiring to have two sea days, then Port-Port-Port, then two more sea days. I would have preferred a gap in there, but with that itinerary, the ship ran full-throttle all the way from St Lucia at midafternoon on Thursday to Fort Lauderdale on Sunday with just a couple hours to spare. St. Maarten was a typically touristy Caribbean place. St. Kitts I loved though my husband had to keep pointing out how often the guides would note that the previous site had been destroyed by a hurricane. St. Lucia we didn't have a full day to see, and the seas were high on the Atlantic side because of an offshore storm. We tried to snorkel but it was pretty active.
I'd sail on this ship again in a heartbeat, though perhaps not with the same itinerary. Less
Carnival Miracle Cruises to the Southern Caribbean