FINS THANKSGIVING MIRACLE!
Cruise Review - Carnival Miracle Sailing, Southern Caribbean 11/21/08
We had an awesome, memorable vacation on the Carnival Miracle and I would highly recommend this cruise! My review is offered to provide insights to other travelers, as I have learned so much by reading others reviews.
BACKGROUND We sailed, just at the tail end of hurricane season, over Thanksgiving, Mom, Dad, Daughter and Son, as my 50th birthday gift to me (Mom)! The timing worked out well to coincide with our son's college break. What a thrill to be all together celebrating in this majestic setting! We have cruised numerous times, mostly on Carnival Carnival gives you a good "bang for your buck".
PRE-CRUISE/EMBARKATION We had the most flawless embarkation! We stayed at the Holiday Inn Express (1150 W. State Rd) in Ft Lauderdale one night prior. I would highly recommend this clean, reasonably priced, well managed hotel. There are shops and restaurants within walking distance of the hotel, as well as free airport and cruise shuttles. The cruise shuttle departed for the ship at 10:30. The embarkation was wonderfully efficient; we were on Lido deck eating lunch before 11:30!
SHIP EXPERIENCE Miracle is well kept and she was beautifully decorated for Christmas. As usual for a holiday week, there were more young children on board, who, unfortunately clomped down the halls like elephants - but, oh well. Captain Volpe is marvelous and friendly and did a masterful job of steering us around any inclement weather!
SUNDRIES I wear a Transderm Scoplamine patch while cruising to prevent motion sickness - I don't want to miss one minute! Fortunately, I brought an extra pair of glasses, as my glasses broke the first day - I don't normally bring a spare pair - yikes!
ROOMS We had adjoining balcony rooms with partial view obstructions (the life boats are outside, below the deck floor - these rooms are a less expensive balcony option). The rooms and service were excellent. Our room stewards were very attentive and hospitable.
POOLS/FITNESS CENTER/CASINO The pools are lovely and we managed to find chairs someplace - I have a personal fondness for the blue rocking chairs. The ship fitness centers are always a gorgeous place to work out. It is also very pleasurable to take laps around the decks. While I did not play in the casino, my husband and young adults enjoyed frequenting the slots. Your sail and sign cards can be punched in the casino and attached to a lanyard to make life easier.
CRUISE STAFF We were delighted to cruise with Brent Mitchell again, having cruised with him previously on the Miracle as well as the Legend. In my opinion, he is close to the legendary John Heald - very talented, handsome, extremely charming and personable - he makes every offering a blast (and looks great in a dress)! We had the added bonus of traveling with Brent's mom this week - what a sweet, proud Mom! Brent's hard working staff is top-notch - Gayve is an absolute riot!
FOOD The food was outstanding and more than plentiful, as always! We favor the formalities of dinner in the Bacchus dining room, where we had early seating, table for four. We sampled many new appetizers, entrees and desserts - because you can - it was all yummy. Thanksgiving dinner was complete with Turkey and Pumpkin Pie (yippee!) and each day we included shrimp cocktails in addition to the famous Chocolate Melting Cake as our normal fare. All of the diet cakes are superb - give them a shot! The buffets in Horatios were scrumptious too! Our wait/bar staff was super! I bought the soda card - worthwhile for me!
SHOWS/GAMES/ACTIVITIES The entertainment was tremendous! The Beatles show (which I have seen three times) is unbelievably spectacular! All of the activities in Phantom, bars or at the pool are worth attending - don't miss out on the fun! We enjoy silliness and we laughed a lot! The backstage tour and galley tour were enjoyable and it was interesting to experience the inner workings of the ship!
PORTS of CALL We booked the Carnival excursions prior to leaving home. We book through Carnival as we like the insurance of knowing we will get back on the ship - there are times people who venture out on their own and don't return prior to sailing! I am most often looking for photog opportunities, and am somewhat of a chicken, so our excursions reflect that.
ST MARTIN GOLDEN EAGLE CATAMARAN - I love this excursion (my 3rd time)! The Golden Eagle staff knows how to make this a fun time - complete with champagne! My family snorkeled while I just hung out in the sun (and watched the nudists). Following this trip, we took the water taxi and enjoyed the excellent shopping on Front St. Do not miss the Guava Berry Coladas at the Guava Berry Emporium! I love St Martin/St Maarten!!!
ST LUCIA RAINFOREST HIKE to GRAND BOIS WATERFALL- the venue was pretty, but not as spectacular as I had hoped. I fell twice on the slippery rocks, with my big, heavy, expensive camera. SKY CANOPY & AERIAL TRAM - this was a spectacular excursion for my family! They were zip-lining and aerial tramming over St Lucia's picturesque rain forest. It is a beautiful island!
ST KITTS BRIMSTONE HILL FORTRESS & GARDENS - gorgeous views on this tour which included Brimstone Hill National Park, Romney Manor Gardens and Caribelle Batik Studio. ATV ADVENTURE - my more adventurous counterparts had a great time touring St Kitts countryside on ATVs. Another beautiful island!
DEBARKATION After a farewell breakfast, we were off the ship for our 12:30 flight home to snowy Rochester, NY! What a phenomenal trip! We do indeed have so much to be thankful for! On, to plan the next one!