My husband and I planned this cruise on the Miracle back in February, 2008. Funny how a very cold and snowy winter can bring on the desire for a warm cruise. We went on this identical cruise back in September of 2007. We loved the itinerary and friends we met on our last cruise were going again, so we tagged along. I personally love the 4 sea days.
Hurricane Hanna had begun her journey up the East Coast on September 6th and we were concerned about our flight into New York. We were on the first flight out at 6:45 a.m, also booked way back in February. Because we had booked before the surcharge on luggage we did not have that additional cost. The flight left Chicago on time but the flight was very bumpy. We arrived in New York, retrieved our baggage and grabbed a cab to the pier. we arrived at the Pier around 11:15 a.m., it was very crowded. The cab driver found it necessary to drop us off about two blocks from the Pier and we had to walk with our luggage, that was not fun.
Embarkation was completed in about 90 minutes, people were still debarking the vessel. We did get to sit on chairs during our wait and the terminal was air-conditioned. We took our carry on bags and headed for the Lido, it would be a while before our cabin was ready for occupancy. Lunch was great, I sampled a little of everything, the husband headed to the Deli for Pastrami. We enjoyed the Sail Away drink at the back of the ship near the ice cream machines. Okay, I admit that I smoke, it is a great area and it is a smoking area.
Our cabin was ready at about 3:30 p.m.. We were at the back of the ship on deck 6. It had started to drizzle which quickly turned into a torrential downpour and the wind was blowing, Hanna was near.. The Lifeboat drill was held in the Bacchus restaurant. That was interesting to see everyone in their lifejackets without knocking over any of the glassware that was set on the tables. We spent the sail away in the cabin. Luggage arrived about 5:15 p.m. but we had the late seating so it was okay, Apparently the earlier you arrive at the ship the later you get your luggage. We unpacked to the sound of the rain and wind on the balcony window.
Because we had been on this itinerary before I knew that the first night was going to be rougher that what I am used to on a cruise. I had taken my Dramamine after lunch, as I usually do the first couple of days. My husband and I went to meet our friends before dinner at Jeeves Lounge at 8:00. I knew it was going to be rough seas because there were "barf" bags at all of the elevators. We were sailing east of Tropical Storm Hanna. My husband left dinner after the first course, I toughed it out until the main entree, the best steak I have ever had on a Carnival ship. Two bites and I went to the cabin also. We found out the next day that we were hitting ocean swells of 16 - 20 feet. The back of the ship made the whole experience worse. Once I was asleep, I slept like a baby.
We found out that half of the crew were sick the night before and that the Captain did divert from the original course, moving much farther east. By Sunday afternoon all was well. the rest of the cruise was wonderful. we were not affected by Hurricane Ike, he passed Puerto Rico two days before we arrive. There was a change to the ports of call, we did not go to Grand Turk because the Captain told us of the extensive devastation to the Island. Our last Port would be Tortola, BVI which was okay with me, I love Tortola.
The Food on the Carnival Miracle was always good, not Great but good. Our waiters were very friendly and accommodating. I love the wine list because it has many selections at a very reasonable price. I also appreciate that they keep your wine bottle for the next day's dinner. We went to Nick and Nora's one night for dinner. The experience was worth every penny! The food is incredible, the service is impeccable and the view is to die for.
Our Ports of Call were San Juan, P.R. We did a city tour, went to Fort Charitable, took lots of pictures, then went to the Sheraton Casino for a little while.
We went to St. Thomas, USVI. We docked at Crown Bay instead of Havensight. They are working on the pier at Havensight. It was our third time in St. Thomas and I wanted to see a lot more of the Island. We did an excursion called the Ultimate Island tour, it was inexpensive for what we received. We went to Magen's Bay Beach which was very beautiful, all sand and clear blue water, we saw a lot of the island. Our final stop was Blackbeards Castle, there are three swimming pools that you can use. we had a whole pool on the second terrace of gardens, it was wonderful. Photo ops are abundant at Blackbeards Castle. There are statues of many famous Pirates. We walked down the 99 steps from the Castle to the main shopping district in Amalie. My husband found his new camera and I went to Mr. Tablecloth. We grabbed a cab back to the ship, $10.00 with tip. It wa a long day. We ate at the Lido and took a long nap. We were not leaving St. Thomas until 8:00 p.m.. We were eating dinner as the ship slipped out of the harbor, we watched as the lights twinkled past.
We were only in Tortola until 1:00 p.m. but we went to the beach and enjoyed a nice shore lunch. I love Tortola because it is so hilly and so very green. I do not love the fact that the beaches are very often full of big boulders,but I love the waves. I did find out that because of the two hurricanes that passed by the island a lot of the sand was washed away making the rocky beach much more rocky, Just wear water shoes.
Cruise Activities were plentiful. Music was wonderful, there was a place for whatever you wanted to listen to at any given time. Josh, the Assistant Cruise Director, was a lot of fun, he is very enthusiastic about his job.
Disembarkation was uneventful. We stayed in the cabin until our number was called. we were in a cab and at the airport by 1:00 p.m.. Now the wait at the airport is another story but I spent 7 hours looking at all the pictures and remembering what a great time I had on the Miracle even though I now know what it feels like to be though a bit of a hurricane.