I apologize for the lateness of this critique. In the beginning of October 2008 we went on a cruise on the Carnival Destiny. I was so disappointed that my friends and I would probably not go back on that ship if it was for free. The overall critique of the food, ships condition and staff was poor. The ship had just been "refurbished" and it was so disappointing as to the condition, rust, painting at night while people were sleeping, elevators not working, removal of the hot tub from the gym, crews poor attitude, food was okay, ship was dirty and on and on. I said the next cruise will make or break me.
Thanksgiving 2008 we were scheduled to make an eight day cruise on the Carnival Miracle. Fort Lauderdale to St Maarten to St Lucia to St Kitts. Let me tell you this... we had such a great time.
The design of the ship is very cool. The casino and public areas are below instead of being in the upper deck areas. Afternoon tea was such a big hit they had to open the dining room for the overflow. Sushi was free and served every night in a piano lounge by a water feature. The disco was great and almost at the water level. There were two formal nights with drinks and hors d'oeuvres. The shows were very good. The gym was pretty cool and on three levels and I always use the hot tub in the gym for my back. The only improvement to the gym would be TVs on the treadmills.
I have been on seven cruises and this was the first time I went to breakfast in the dining room and that was so much better than the buffet line. However, the buffet area for lunch was set up very well. There was a section for just salads and fruit and a section for just sandwiches etc. You did not have to wait in one big line for everything. It flowed so much better having it all split up.
The pools were split up with one having the band and the other was quieter.
We did something on all three stops. I would say the highlight was the zip line in St Lucia. It was well worth the money. In St Kitts, we visited the fort and it was a great day also. On the way out of port the ship sailed very close to the shoreline at dusk and we passed by the fort again. It was a great time to be in a balcony room having a beer.
Overall, this is the best Carnival ship I have been on and Carnival saved me from thinking I would never cruise again. If I had to say something negative I would say no to the late dinner seating. It just did not work out well for us as a friend had a six year old that fell asleep at dinner every night but the last night. We did not leave the dining room until 10 to 10:30. Also, Carnival needs to find some other way to prepare their steaks. They come medium rare and well done and are always very tough. I would like to see more sea food, boneless chicken breast dinners and better quality steaks.
Our room was outstanding. We were on the Panorama deck with an extended balcony. The room size was great and the bathroom size was good. Unlike other ships where you sit on the toilet and your feet are in the shower this ship has plenty of room, ample shelves and a full size counter. The steward was incredible and kept my cooler filled with ice and handle everything well including working around my 16 year old that woke up every day at noon. Tip these guys during the cruise as it seems they disappear on the last morning. When you get one that does a good job he is worth his weight in gold. A good steward makes a great trip.
Embarkation went smoothly but slowly. Disembarkation was not as good. We arrived at a dock that was very far from where we left. So far that 3,000 people and their luggage had to be shuttle bussed back to the garage. Not a big bus, small buses. It took forever and was very disorganized because no one knew what bus was going where and people were constantly ditching the line. You would think at some point they would get the embarkation/disembarkation process down.
If you are like me and like the days at sea and want to see a cool ship this is the cruise. The three ports were okay. After a while they all start to look alike. You just have to know where to go to have a good time.
The older ships and the short cruises are not the way to go. Sure, we have always had fun on a Carnival cruise. However, there is a great deal of difference between having a fun time and having a great time. Spend the money and go on the newer ships with the lengthier itineraries.