10 Cruises -- 11th first time on Carnival
Carnival Miracle Southern Carib -- 2/14/2012
Grand Turk, Catalina Island, Aruba, Curacao
After 10 previous cruises on Royal Carib, Princess, Celebrity and NCL, we decided to try a Carnival cruise. After all, it is a cruise and we had an open mind. I have heard really good things about Carnival lately and we picked a ship per my TAs recommendation based on our likes and dislikes. Overall, we give it 5 out of 5 stars. It was terrific.
We stayed two nights pre-cruise at the Hilton Marina. It was so-so. We will probably not stay there again although the view out of the balcony was awesome. I won't rule out staying there again. We got upgraded to a tower room which was nice. The water taxi was fun and we had a drink on Las Olas at Mangos.
We received an email the day before that there was a medical emerg onboard and the Miracle would be delayed in arriving and our embarkation would be delayed. We were all glad to know that if we had a serious medical emerg that Carnival would go to the extremes they did to try and save someone's life. We heard that they had to double back towards Puerto Rico so that the Coast Guard could get a helicopter to the ship to get someone off. The outcome was not good from what we were told. We got onto the ship around 2:00 and sailed around 6:30 instead of 4:00 so not bad. We were not late to Grand Turk.
Now to the ship. We really loved the layout of the ship and are now spoiled by VIP embarkation which came from booking an Ocean Suite. This cabin (6174) was by far the nicest cabin we have ever had on any cruise. Having two closets and two sinks was wonderful. We never got in each other's way when getting ready for dinner. Our cabin steward and his assistant were great. The cabin was very quiet and I am a light sleeper. I slept better than I have in a few years...7 hours straight several nights in a row.
The new Serenity area was wonderful and we took advantage of it every day when it was not too crowded. I think you had to camp out overnight to get a lounger in the sun. We chose to sit in the chairs and sofas that were under the awning. The rules were adhered to and we saw no children back there. However, there were only 22 on the cruise. I was surprised that the demographic was as old as it was -- but that is a good thing. I guess the 8 nights makes a difference. I was just prepared for much younger given it was Carnival. But we prefer the older crowd as we are probably members of that group. Being 53 and 60...
We only went to the comedians in the Mad Hatter's Ball (loved that venue) and they were good. I cannot comment on the production shows.
Gym was great and I used it all but two days.
Nick and Nora's -- all I can say is that it was probably one of the best meals either of us has EVER had...anywhere. Honestly it was the best filet I have ever had and we live in Texas where there is a steakhouse every other block.
We had early dining and were seated in the very back by a window which was nice. The only thing I did not care for is that our tablemates were always early (5:45) and had already ordered by the time we got there at just before 6:00 for a 6:00 dinner time. And the waiter seemed to rush us which I also did not like. As soon as we sat down, he shoved the menu in front of us and did not give us enough time to look at it so a couple of times we asked him to come back. We have always waited for all tablemates to arrive before ordering out of courtesy. If they were not there by 10 after the hour then we would go ahead. Believe me, this was in no way detrimental to our experience -- just different.
The dinners in the main dining room were probably the best we have had on a cruise. I did not enjoy the buffet area so much for breakfast and lunch. I still prefer Horizon Court and Windjammer. The chocolate melting cake was to DIE for and I am not a dessert person.
The ports were great as well. I think our fave was Grand Turk where we hung out at Margaritaville for a while and did some walking around. The water color is absolutely spectacular here. In Aruba we did the Sunset Cocktail Cruise and it was a lot of fun. The all you can drink crowd was definitely feeling no pain. We were having dinner at Nick and Nora's that night so did not have any beverages onboard. It got a little loud and crazy at the very end.
We just walked around Curacao which is always nice. It was Sunday so it was quiet. Aruba and Curacao were both very hot but that was to be expected. Catalina Island was pretty much forgettable and it rained a little but was not a deterrent. We did not stay on the beach for the barbecue but it looked good.
Please feel free to ask any questions that I may not have covered. We will definitely cruise Carnival again
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