Embarkation: It took us less than an hour to get to Manhattan from the east end of Long Island. However, it took us an hour to get to the pier from two blocks away. There were two other ships in port besides the Miracle and it was chaotic to say the least. Once we finally got into the pier area, it was organized chaotic. It seems that there really should be a better way of getting on the ship but it does not seem to be the fault of Carnival but the design of the pier itself. We were told that there will be a new pier, hopefully with a better design. It took us an hour or so to get on to the ship. When we got on the ship, we went to investigate where our room was. The room was ready but our luggage was no where to be found. So of course, we decided to get some food on the Lido deck. We then did the dreaded Muster Drill, we embarked during that heat wave in NY and it was so HOT AND HUMID. This was a time when I really appreciated the fact that Princess did their Muster Drills inside.
Camp Carnival: I think the program was great. My son (7) had a wonderful time. He loved the things that they did. He really enjoyed the Teddy Bear making activity and the volcano. I liked that they were able to go to the shows. I think the Camp Counselors were very attentive but not the most friendliest.
Dining: I really enjoyed the Lido Deck, however I did not think it was laid out the best. It seemed to be confusing at times. The food was pretty good. My son really enjoyed the Pizza. We got room service a couple of times and although the variety was the best, they had some really good sandwiches. The food in the main dining room was good. I would not say it was the best food we ever had but it was definitely edible. I managed to find a good meal to eat every night.
Shows: I found the shows to be good. My son also enjoyed them. We went to the show everynight, except when we were in San Juan and the talent night. I was surprised about the quality of the shows.
Service: Our Room Steward was really good. He was always so attentive. He was certainly quick. On this cruise we got up a many different times and whenever we leave the room, even if we returned in less than an hour, the room was clean. Our Head Waiter in the main dining room was OK. He did not seem overly friendly and sometimes I got the impression that we were bothering him when we asked for something. The Assistant Waiter, was much more attentive but sometimes forgetful. He did have my son's chocolate milk and my iced tea ready every time we sat down to dinner.
Cabin: We had a balcony cabin port side. It was easy access to the pool and dining. Camp Carnival was on the other side of the ship but it gave me plenty of exercise. We found the cabin roomy with plenty of storage. Not much in the way of outlets. We brought an extension cord with three other outlets and I am glad we did. Bathroom, on the small side but plenty of shelves.
Shore Excursions: In San Juan, we did our own excursion. We found a guy who for ten dollars a person took us around San Juan. It was a real informative tour. People have complained about the port but I find San Juan old world and enjoy it. I kind of wish we were there different hours. We missed the fort. Did manage to walk around the outside of the fort and gave the kids a chance to run around outside.
In St. Thomas, we did the sky ride and it really was a great view. We went to the restaurant there and got two NON ALCOHOLIC DRINKS for $18. We then went to the Coral World Aquarium and Megan's Bay through Carnival. Although, Coral World was nice, it is basically, been there done that thing. Next time I would do Megan's Bay on our own. Our tour guide through Carnival was not very nice.
In Tortola, we went to Cane Garden Bay. It was a beautiful beach. Tortola itself is a very beautiful island. I thought out of the three, it was the best. I liked the fact that it was not as commercialized. I wish we were at Tortola for longer.
Disembarkation: Was ok. I felt it was long and I think next time I would stay in the room longer. We were off the ship by 11:20. The porter in NY was really nice. He took our bags to Pier 93 even though it was not the Pier we were docked on because my father could not find a spot. We had no trouble finding the luggage.
Overall Impression: I was pleasantly surprised with the cruise. I was expecting the drunken vacation because of the reputation Carnival has had. However, it was not like that. I would definitely sail Carnival again, especially for the price.