Just back from the 8 day Carnival Miracle Cruise to Grand Turk, La Romana, Aruba and Curacao. 15th cruise, 13th with Carnival. 52 year old male, 50 year old female, married. 7th deck, aft, port.
First, arrival at Port Everglades via our own car. Dropped my wife of at the terminal and then just right next door to the second floor of the parking garage. Parking at Port Everglades is $15 per day; cash or credit card. Inside and into the VIP line, carry on scanned and to the VIP area. Somewhat busy in the VIP section and had to wait about 15 minuets. On board and at the cafeteria area for lunch. Total time 20 minutes.
Our room was on the 7th deck and very nice, Suchart Tochot was our cabin steward and very very good. He parked his cart just outside our door, if we ever needed anything it was right there. The room was always clean and taken well care of. Greeted every time by him and his assistant by name. One day they threw my wife's hand fan away. We wondered all afternoon what had happened to it. Without saying anything they somehow found it and returned it to her bedside table that night.
First day at sea was great as the weather for the entire trip was outstanding. Walked the ship and checked things out.
First port was Grand Turk. Been there before and saw some of the island. This time we stayed right at the port. This is one of our top 3 destinations. The port is beautiful and well maintained. No one bothers you here to make purchases, sell you pot or braid your hair. Interesting exhibits on the space program. Free chairs on the beach, great swimming and snorkeling. The shops are well done and of course the Margaritaville area with pool, food and beverages. There is a flow rider there if you so desire. DO NOT buy the specialty drink in the plastic yard cup...it was $21, seriously.
Our next stop was La Romana. DO NOT get off the ship. There is just one store at the port. Everyone must take a cab to get anywhere. DO NOT go into the "town" area. Without a doubt, this was the worst experience of our 15 cruises. Plenty of armed military everywhere. You think they hassle you on other islands, this is by far the worse destination we have ever experienced. It was so bad that when we returned that night there was a 2 page questionnaire in the room about our experience. It was very difficult to find anyone that did not agree. Would have been a great cruise if they had gone to Bonaire or anywhere else instead.
Off to Aruba where he have now found our favorite island. In the port was a tourism booth that did a nice job promoting the island. They also were able to answer all questions in a clear and precise manner. We caught a bus for about $1.40 each and traveled to the hotel area. It was beautiful and we spent the day at one of the hotels using their beach, having drinks and swimming. Everything was located there; floats, jet skis, water skiing, fishing boats...everything! We then walked down the roadway killing time waiting for the bus trip back to port. Great island restaurants as well as all the familiar places; Ruth's Chris Steak House, Benihana, Senior Frogs... The local shops, "carts," were very nice, no hassles. Each one had electric and a phone line so they could process your credit card. This island definitely wants your business and wants you to come back. They even gave us a DVD on the island at the tourism booth. The other thing we enjoyed was the 11.5 hours of port time. SAFE! CLEAN! NO MILITARY! NO HASSLES! NO ANNOYANCES!
Curacao was our final stop and it was beautiful when we pulled into port. The ship docks right beside the road. This was also a new port for us and we found it to be close to Aruba in our liking. Nice shops across the port as well as where we docked. We took a cab ride to a hotel and spent the day there. Again, similar to Aruba with no one hassling us, safe, clean and no military presence. Check out the pontoon bridge. I was impressed when we left that one of the locals was on the bridge blowing a horn and yelling, "thank you for coming to our island."
Two sea days followed where we relaxed and enjoyed the ship and our cabin. This was a great cruise except for La Romana.
*The life boat drill was very quiet and attention was paid to every word spoke...wonder why...Costa?
*Don't miss the Sushi Bar.
*Everyone was well dressed and no noticeable dressing issues in the MDR.
*Ship was very clean, new flat panel TV's, new carpet in the public areas, not sure about the rooms.
*Made some new friends
*Awesome spa and gym.
*Go to Tea Time just once.
*Do the Steak House and do not eat lunch before dinner.
*Head Waiter Pocholo, was outstanding. Always smiling, funny and singing. Best waiter ever.
*Comedians were very good.
*Serenity area was crowded and seat saving was ridiculous. Seats saved for hours with no one using them. One day people saved them and left the ship. When they came back they must have been tired and grabbed there stuff some 5 hours latter and left. One day a lady had pulled 4 of the "clam shell" seats together and tried to save them for her friends...did not go over well with her fellow cruisers.
*Carnival needs new shows...we have seen "ticket to ride" 5 times.
*Food quality has diminished considerably. If this is your first cruise it will be impressive...15th cruise, BOORING!
*8 great days...one bad stop, La Romana.
*Cruise Director, annoying.
*Miracle will be repositioned, going to New York, LA, Seattle and Hawaii. If you have the chance, get on this ship, it is our favorite. With this new itinerary we will probably never see it again unless we do Alaska.
*The crew was fantastic, management staff a little stand offish.
*Serenity Hot Tub Out of service first night as well as the pool. Another day the pool was closed. Main pool closed due to a bio haz mat issue. Pools close early and hot tubs closed frequently.
Enjoyed the cruise but wish they would stop with the little cuts. Charge me an extra $50 and make it all right again! Again, if Carnival could just tweak a few things they would almost be the perfect cruise line!