August 29, 2008
Why we choose Carnival Miracle? We live on Long Island and have a 2 year old son. Carnival Miracle leaves from New York City and offers a camp for 2 year olds and will change diapers. We being me, my husband, 2 year old son & my parents. We had only cruised on Royal Caribbean before. I've been on 3 cruises prior to this one.
Embarkation We were at the pier at 12:45 and were on the ship at approximately 1:30 pm. My only grip was we had to stand and wait on a long line to with a 2 year old. When we approached the end of the line they kept bringing a 5 or 6 handicapped people to the front of the line. They have a line for each deck number. I understand that they need to accommodate handicap people however they should do the same thing for people with small children under 5. My son was screaming bloody murder and it is very frustrating when you think you're at the end of a very long line and out of nowhere a line of 5 or 6 wheelchairs cuts in front of you. I didn't see them sending any of the handicap people to the front of any of the other lines just my line. I didn't complain but this needs to be improved.
Shows We went to 3 shows and enjoyed all of them. One of the shows the dancers didn't make it to the ship and they had to create a show in 6 hours! They were fantastic too! It was a big band show.
Ship It was very clean and everyone that worked on the ship was extremely friendly & polite. Only negative issues: there is was a lot of smoking by passengers. I don't like people smoking near my 2 year old son. People smoke outside by the pools & in the casino. I'm not a gambler but some times you need to walk through the casino to get to other sections of the ship. I would move whenever I saw someone smoking near my son. They should ban smoking on the ship. The adults only pool is completely in the sun at the front of the ship. There is no shade whatsoever. They should offer some shade. Bacchus the main dining hall is over the top gaudy but we have a great table overlooking a window at the back of the ship. The service was top-notch. The first night I was very hungry and I order streak medium rare. The waiter brought me well done. I didn't say anything because I was too hungry. He noticed it and immediately brought me another plate with medium rare steak!
Food The food was wonderful. The ethnic food tasted like you were at an Indian restaurant or Chinese restaurant etc. I had only cruised on Royal Caribbean before and both me & my husband thought the food was much better on Carnival. We ate one night at Nick & Nora's and the food was outstanding well worth the $30 per person charge. They also had a lot more midnight buffets.
Camp My son goes to daycare so I was hoping that transitioning to the camp would go smoothly. The first 2 days seemed to go fine after that he refused to go and would cry. The camp councilors were very nice. I think the biggest problem is in the beginning you can't drop off the children for a long period of time. They have blocks of time 9am -12 pm, 2 pm till 3:45 pm, 5:45 pm - 9 pm. You are constantly dropping off the children & picking them up so it's tough for children to get acclimated.
Room The balconies are better on Carnival. They have clear safety glass. Our room was a extended balcony on the 8 deck. It was kept very clean. The beds are very comfortable and the pool towels & robes are plush and great!
Ports Because of Hurricane Hanna we never made it to any of our ports of call. This was fine with me because I understand that we were traveling during hurricane season. I'd rather be safe and alive. It was 3 years since our last cruise so we were just happy to be on one. We went to Port Canaveral, FL and went to the Holiday Inn. It was one of the excursions. They have a fun kiddie pool with a pirate ship. It was right by the beach but you couldn't go in the ocean with the rip currents.
Freeport, Bahamas: We took a $5 taxi ride to the Westin and went swimming in the infinity pool overlooking the beach. Very nice & very cheap.
Newport, Rhode Island: It was very foggy when we got there but around noon it cleared up and was very sunny and a beautiful day. It was quaint New England town. We were very surprised to be there. There are a lot of shops & restaurants.
One thing that I didn't know and wished that I did before going on the cruise. #1 If you use a car service, have them pick up you up on the upper level not the lower level which is where the buses are. Our car service driver told us on the trip to the pier to be on the lower level for pick up. We did this and had a major mess because the driver picking us up was a different person and was on the upper level and had a difficult time getting to the lower level. It took an hour and a half to get picked up and the driver was at the pier from 9:30 am! We got off the ship at 10:30 pm and didn't meet up with our driver until 12. We were home around 1 pm.
Summary: We had a wonderful vacation in spite of the itinerary changes. I would definitely recommend this cruise and am planning on going again in May 2009.