We set sail on the Carnival Miracle on May 15, 2010. Because our cabin was a junior suite, we had VIP check-in. Carnival has made the VIP check in something great. We were ushered into a small lounge with comfortable seats and asked to wait until we were called which was about 5 minutes. We then showed our documents and boarded the ship. We left our apartment in Manhattan at 12:45 pm and we were eating lunch on the Lido deck at 1:30 pm. That is the way to start a vacation! Our bags were by our door soon after lunch and well before the muster drill.
Our cabin was beautiful with one flat screen TV and one regular TV, both showing current movies at no extra charge, like Avatar. This is our third cruise with a wrap around balcony and it never gets old. We are totally spoiled. There is nothing else like it. Our cabin steward, Sue, was incredibly nice and helpful. She couldn't do enough. When she came in to greet us she noticed the glass on the back of the ship was dirty and said she would clean it while we were at dinner. Although we had gratuities taken out of our bill automatically, I still tipped her extra at the end of the cruise.
The food on Carnival is just incredible, and I don't know how they do it. It can't be easy cooking fresh delicious food for 2,500 people. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are all tremendous and they are not cheap about it. Every dinner would start with warm, freshly baked bread and rolls. When I could not decide between the lobster and steak on formal night the waiter said, "Why don't I just bring you both?" We usually ordered three deserts for the two of us. Sometimes, after dinner, I would walk up to the Lido and grab some fresh pineapple or watermelon. Some of my favorite dinners were the lobster tails, rack of lamb, and chateaubriand. We chose a set dining time and a table for two instead of anytime dining. Half of the dining room was reserved for anytime dining, and it seemed to be going well with no waiting. We just prefer having a set time and a reserved table. We ate lunch on the Lido at the buffet. There is a great salad bar, Chinese food, pizza, fish and much more to chose from. It is all great and well prepared. The deli is also great with excellent sandwiches. I did not try the burgers and dogs by the pool this time but they looked good and the people eating them seemed very happy.
The gym on the ship is adequate but it could use some updating. I prefer running outside anyway, so I wait until the deck is clear around 5:00 pm, and I run around the ship. The fresh, clean ocean air can't be beat. I noticed there is a lot less smoking on the ship now, and Carnival has reduced the areas where smoking is allowed. I applaud Carnival for that. There were many smoke free areas on the ship. The only spot that was very smoky was the casino.
Our ports of call were Grand Turk, Half Moon Cay and Nassau. Grand Turk has a great bar and restaurant right on the beach when you get of the ship. It has a pool with a swim up bar, good fun and a fun atmosphere. No need for expensive excursions. Half Moon Cay looked beautiful, but it was pouring rain so we stayed on the ship.
Carnival has us truly spoiled. I think that they really listen to suggestions from the passengers and then they try to improve. The whole staff was friendly and helpful, and the food just keeps getting better. The debarkation was great. We walked off with our bags and that took maybe ten minutes and a line of taxis was waiting. I really don't know how this cruise could have been any better. Maybe Carnival can figure out a way to control the weather so it never rains.