My wife and I are in our late 40's and were travelling alone. We were very lucky to have met many wonderful people on Cruise Critic prior to our vacation and they all made our trip so much better.
We are from Ontario, Canada and look forward to our winter getaways. We chose the Miracle because we really like the Spirit class size and ease of getting around while onboard. The fact that we have already stayed in La Romana during an all inclusive vacation and always wanted to see Aruba are what tempted us to take this cruise.
We flew out of Syracuse, NY. So much cheaper than Toronto. We stayed at the Hilton Airport hotel. Beautiful hotel for a very good price off of LMT. Only issue, we had a room with an adjoining door. Not fun being woken up at 2:00am by guests just arriving and being able to hear their every word.
Arrived at the port around 10:30am and were quickly put through the short lines. Because this was a cruise just after a two day cruise, many people had remained on board as part of a B2B. We can only assume this is why everything went so smoothly. We never sat down once, just kept moving along until we were on the ship maybe a half hour later.
This was the first time we actually met one of our room stewards. Newbon was absolutely fantastic and we now know why people brag about their stewards when they get exceptional ones. He went over and above every time he saw us and treated us like family. It was such a great start to the trip.
Dinners were as good as usual. We had any time dining and while we did wait most nights, it was for only about 10 to 15 minutes which we spent having a drink by the bar. We expect that and we have no issues with it. We are on vacation and are not in any rush to do anything but enjoy each others company. The ship had a good age mix and one thing we noticed was that in general, people really seemed to dress up a lot more for formal nights.
The winds were higher than normal for our cruise. No controlling the weather. This was the first time both my wife and I experienced some form of sea sickness. We were never ill, just tired, not hungry and our stomachs were kind of upset. This only happened a few nights. It usually occured only at night and never while off of the ship. Luckily a friend offered some Bonine and within minutes, everything was good again. Being Canadian, I don't think we can purchase that up here but now fully plan to do a roadtrip to the U.S. to buy some. It's a Miracle drug,,,so to speak!
Great ports which I will go into detail about down below. We may actually do this itinerary again. The fact that the Miracle will no longer be doing this trip is sad, but this gives us a chance to try the Freedom or Breeze now.
For the first time in three cruises, we actually got the chance to dance after dinner. We tend to be early risers and therefore, do not make it to the disco. There is a bar/dance club at the front of the ship called Frankie and Johnnies. The band in there was incredible. We had so much fun there on our first night that we actually stayed up well past midnight for the first time. Wow does that make us sound old...
One other area we have never taken advantage of was the shops on board. My wife and I could not believe the deals to be had. Soveniers, jewellery, fragrances, alcohol...everything was priced very competetively and best of all, tax free. My wife bought a Guess purse for only $50 which she couldn't stop talking about. One day they had watches on for only $19.99 which they sold out of and there were lots of them available.
The two man band at midship Lido were great to listen to while hanging out and getting some sun. Chairs were not always easy to find but we did everyday. Just have to look a little. We found by 10:00am you could find lots of chairs. After that it got a bit more crowded.
One point I must make is how easy self debarkation was. We were up on deck 8. At 7:35 we headed out of our room with our two full size suitcases. Down the elevator to the atrium, 5 people in line ahead of us, checked out with our sign and sail card and headed off the ship. You can choose either the escalator or the elevator to go down to the first floor where customs is. Outside, we grabbed a taxi to the airport for approximately $15 total versus the shuttles outside charging $11 per person. We were inside the airport at 8:05am. Bad news is our flight didn't leave until 11:55am. We were worried about that being too early originally. Love this port! Next time we try for a 10:00am flight.
We highly recommend this itinerary and ship while it lasts in Fort Lauderdale. Read on for some port information and tips.