197 Fort Lauderdale (Port Everglades) Carnival Miracle Cruise Reviews

PRE-TRIP PLANNING My wife and I enjoy cruising. With the Norwegian, Princess, and Royal Caribbean cruise lines, we have explored the Eastern and Western Caribbean. The decision to take the Carnival Miracle was because it was going to ... Read More
PRE-TRIP PLANNING My wife and I enjoy cruising. With the Norwegian, Princess, and Royal Caribbean cruise lines, we have explored the Eastern and Western Caribbean. The decision to take the Carnival Miracle was because it was going to the South Caribbean and was a different cruise line. The port of calls for the cruise were Grand Turk, La Romana, Aruba, and Curacao. We enjoyed ourselves immensely on the Carnival Miracle. Our next cruise will be on the Carnival lines. Next step is trying to plan shore excursions. We usually take the shore excursion sponsored by the cruise line even though they are more expensive. The reason is that they guarantee you are back on the ship. We got overviews of each port by researching on the internet two main sites (http://www.cruisecritic.com/memberreviews/ http://www.tripadvisor.ca/ ). It is usually customary to tip the driver and tour guide. Although we enjoyed snorkelling in Huatulco, it was an activity we did not want to continue in our excursions. Our first port is the Grand Turk (http://www.cruisecritic.com/ports/newport.cfm?ID=155 ). We had stayed in the Grand Turks previously for a week and had enjoyed the third largest barrier reef, walking on the beach around Grace Bay, Jo-Jo the dolphin, the conch farm, and the unique experience of driving on the left hand side of the road (British roadways). Using a suggestion from the cruise mates forum http://www.cruisemates.com/forum/ we were looking forward to relaxing close to Jack's Shack (#2 of 9 of restaurants) -- beach, lunch, drinks. There is even a free rum shot coupon from the bar's website http://www.jacksshack.tc/CouponPrinted.php The second port is at La Romana in the Dominican Republic (http://www.cruisecritic.com/ports/newport.cfm?ID=92 ). We had previously stayed at an all inclusive, now called Be Live Hamaca Beach in Boca Chica. We took a tour to Santo Domingo which highlighted the oldest church in the Americas, locations where Christopher Columbus stayed and where his son the governor ruled. That is why our decision was to take Altos de Chavon village tour (#3 of 16 attractions). Also, we will follow the advice of wearing walking shoes over the cobbled streets. It was designed by Oscar de la Renta The third port is Aruba (http://www.cruisecritic.com/ports/newport.cfm?ID=2 ). We thought about hopping aboard the Kukoo Kunuku party bus, going on the Balashi Brewery Tour, and finishing off by doing some shopping at the duty-frees. "4x4 ing" on the island also looked inviting. But, we settled on the Best of Aruba & Beach shore excursion as it would also leave us a couple of hours of power shopping. The fourth and final port is Curacao (http://www.cruisecritic.com/ports/newport.cfm?ID=15 ). The Sea Aquarium tour looked inviting but we swam with the dolphins in Cuba and the sting rays in the Grand Cayman. We chose the Discover Curacao Island Tour will allow more time to enjoy the ambience of Curacao and some shopping, although the Double the Fun Tour had raving reviews. With excursions out of the way, ship planning is next on the list of things to do. We like the early seating for eating so that we can see the early live stage productions. We also looked at how the bed(s) are set -- 2 twins make one king. Prepaying gratuities, purchasing spa packages like massages & pedicures, making reservations at Nick and Nora's Steakhouse, choosing any speciality items such as the Party Cooler package which includes a cooler, four bottles of Corona beer, bucket hat, beer mug are just some of the different items we decided on. GETTING THERE We made "red-eye" flight arrangements to fly to Fort Lauderdale. Our plane departed at 11:55 pm from Edmonton to Houston. After a 2 hour layover we changed planes and proceeded to Fort Lauderdale. We purchased 2 bottles of wine for consumption aboard the Carnival Miracle at the Dufry Duty Free shop in Edmonton. Our late departure from Edmonton made us go through US Customs in Houston. Because we had to re-enter the main concourse area from the Customs area, we had to go through security again . Therefore, we had to put our wine in our suitcases. Otherwise, the wine would not make it through security. We had made arrangements with our travel agent to book transfers from the airport to the cruise terminal. We attached our cruise luggage tags as we waited for the bus. Many other cruisers also caught the bus from the airport. After tipping the bus driver for offloading our luggage we became part of the masses waiting to board the ship. You can imagine trying to process over 2000 cruisers in less than 5 hours. At times it felt we were in Disney World with the lineups. After getting our "Set & Sail" card, we were offered 3 choices as to what embarkation photo scene to choose. ABOARD THE CARNIVAL MIRACLE -- DAY ONE (April 2) We were not able to go directly to our stateroom as room stewards were cleaning all the rooms from the departing previous cruisers and the new "cruisers" luggage was coming aboard. Most new cruisers like us headed to the 9th deck to wait and also eat at the buffet. So, the hardest part was finding a table where to eat. We eventually found a table where we joined another couple. We headed to the 10th deck to see if they had spa embarkation specials. My wife chose the 75 minute bamboo massage and I chose the 75 minute lime and salt massage. We saved $40 each and made our appointment for 5pm. Around 1:30pm we decided to check if our stateroom 5240 with a balcony was ready (having a balcony allowed me to smoke outside beside our stateroom rather than have to go to the designated smoking areas on the 3rd and 10th deck). The room was ready and our suitcases had arrived. Therefore we offloaded our suitcases. We had purchased the Corona cooler package as part of our bon voyage package and it was there but our pink package was not. We met our stateroom steward Fernadez Leny. He said to check at the host podium on the 3rd floor dining area as they were in charge of all packages. At 3:15pm, there was a Muster Drill which is a practice of going to a designated spot for an emergency in which lifeboats need to be used. We went to Muster station D. Once the drill was over, we headed back to our room. My wife had a small nap as we did not get much sleep on the airplane, while I sat out on the balcony. Also, the lack of sleep probably caused me to have diarrhea and I didn't bring Imodium. Our 4pm departure from the Fort Lauderdale cruise terminal was delayed because the adjacent ship was being moved by a tugboat and we were still loading groceries. Kathija, who was from South Africa, gave me a delightful massage at 5pm. My wife enjoyed her deep tissue massage. After completing our massages, we went to the 3rd deck part of the Bacchus Dining Room (decorator scheme is burgundy grape-like) to dine. My wife had tomato soup as the starter and shrimp and noodles for the main course. I had a salad and a medium flat iron steak. The meal was very flavorful. The piece de resistance was the heavenly vanilla Crème Brule we had for dessert. While we waited for dessert, the bon voyage steward can over and said the reason our pink package did not arrive is that they did not have any women's XXL pink shirts but could get it in XL size (which was not listed on the internet). Because the XL shirt happened to be the size we wanted, we agreed to keep the package (pink bag, pink shirt, and pink visor). After supper, we explored the shops on the third deck. Then, we headed back to our room, had a nap until 11 pm and went to Mad Hatter's Ball (decorator scheme is Alice in Wonderland) on the 1st deck to listen to the adult show from a comedian. SEA DAY -- DAY 2 (April 3) Our bodies were compensating for the lack of sleep. So we slept in until 10am. Although I did get up at 7am to watch the sun rise. At 11 am we went for brunch on the 2nd deck of the Bacchus Dining Room. We were entertained by a comedian from Georgia for 15 minutes. While my wife ate an omelet and I had Eggs Benedict. Also, the coffee in the dining room is so much better than the buffet area. We went up to the 3rd deck to view the shops. Our first stop was the photo kiosk where we purchased our embarkation photo. Our next stop was the jewelry, women's accessories, and perfume shop where I bought a $10 digital sports watch and my wife bought a $10 watch for one of our daughters. We brought our purchases back to the room and changed into sun wear. Usually when you get back to the room (put your sign out), the steward has cleaned the room, made the bed, and designed a towel animal. You look forward to their creativity. Having a late start to get sun meant we could not find any room by the two 9th deck swimming pool areas. However, we did manage to find a couple of chairs on the 10th Sun Deck which overlooked the pools. My wife's skin can absorb the sun's rays better than mine. I found in the short time that I was on the sun deck my knees got a little pink. I departed at 2pm for the art auction with champagne, while my wife stayed in the sun and finished her book. She later joined me at the auction. As we stayed until the end of the auction, we were each given a thank you print. We went back to the room and changed as it was formal night in the Bacchus Dining Room. There was about 10 photo booths set up to take pictures. We used 5 of them all dressed-up, prior to dining. As our tastes are very similar we each ate a Greek salad, 'shared' alligator fritters, Maine lobster, and Cherries Jubilee. After the meal I had to change into something more comfortable. So I removed my sports jacket, white shirt and tie and replaced them with a colorful Jamaican shirt. We then proceeded to the 2nd deck Phantom Hall (decorator scheme is Phantom of the Opera). We watched a well choreographed performance by the dance troupe in conjunction with a live band. GRAND TURKS -- DAY 3 (April 4) Around 7am, the Carnival Miracle docked into the Grand Turks wharf beside the Carnival Pride. We did not book a shore excursion so we had a leisurely buffet breakfast on the 9th deck Horatio's Lounge around 9:30am. As we proceeded off the gangway from A deck, we had our pictures taken. All cruisers walked from the wharf and then entered in Dufry's Duty Free Shops which is on the cruise line properties. Most cruisers enjoyed the sandy beach or went to Margaritaville http://www.margaritavillecaribbean.com/welcome_grandturk.html . We proceeded past the cruise line property along the beach to almost the next wharf to Jack's Shack. I used my coupon to have a free rum shot. The price of drinks is cheaper than Margaritaville. In reflection, we should have stayed on the cruise line property. Although we were interested in taking the historical shore excursion tour, one of the couple's that took the tour was not impressed with it. We headed back early and read off of our balcony until supper time. At the Bacchus Dining Room, my wife ate the Cornish hen and I had the rack of lamb as main courses. I really enjoyed the white chocolate bread pudding for dessert. When the meal was finished we walked over to the photo kiosk to see our elegant dressed-up pictures from the previous night. We had lots of choices as went to 5 different stations and at least 3 variations of shots were taken. We took our purchased pictures back to our stateroom. Then we proceeded to the Phantom Hall to watch the hypnotist show. Before we made it a night, we watched to different comedians do their routines at Mad Hatter's. LA ROMANA -- DAY 4 (April 5) It was fascinating watching the Carnival Miracle try to manoeuvre into port. The ship had to back into the dock. The Carnival Miracle is one of the quickest in terms of expediting cruisers off the ship. Again, there are photo opportunities as one disembarks. We walked to the bus that was designated in going to the Altos de Chavon village. Our tour guide, "Tony" -- Anthony Torres was very informative during the short bus ride (25 minutes) about the area of Casa de Campos. As a group, our first attraction was the amphitheater. It was incredible. Next we walked through a courtyard where some of the locals were in dancing costumes and some were playing music near the amber museum. Some of the group took pictures posing with the dancers. Although we were given 15 minutes in the museum, the confined space with a large group made breathing muggy. Some cruisers persisted in the area, especially those purchasing larimar and amber jewelry. We were given 75 minutes of free time to explore. The number of indoor shops was limited, small in size, and expensive --linen, cigar, golf, artisan. There were two outside booths -- one selling dolls under a tree and the other a table of handicrafts. There were photo opportunities of the buildings, landscape, and a costumed man and his donkey. Even after having a beer at one of the 3 bars, we had too much time to kill. When our "free" time was up, Tony took us to the church in the main courtyard and then took us to a historical museum about past inhabitants. We saw those during our free time. When we returned, we had a nap before eating at the Bacchus Dining Room 3rd deck. For main courses, my wife had the turkey breast filets while I had the Petit filet mignon (beef tenderloin) and short ribs. We purchased two more pictures at the photo kiosk. Someone tried to walk out of the photo section without paying so the security alarms went off. Next stop was the fun shops where we purchased two Cruising Divas baseball caps (2 for $20 or 1 for $16.95), 2 children tops for our youngest two grandchildren (2 for $20 or 1 for $12.95) , and an XXL navy blue fleece shirt with a Carnival insignia on sale for $29.95 from $64.99. We dropped off our purchases at our stateroom before proceeding to Phantom Hall. The main singer did a lot of Frank Sinatra numbers in the Big Band swing style and involved some of the kids from the children's program. He worked in conjunction with the dance troupe and orchestra. It was relaxing and very good. ARUBA -- DAY 5 (April 6) As the ship was to arrive in Aruba at noon, we had a causal morning. It started in the Bacchus Dining room where my wife had pancakes, strawberries and whipped cream and I had Belgian waffles with blueberries, syrup and turkey bacon along with a toasted bagel with cream cheese and salmon lox. We relaxed in Serenity lounge, an adult only location on the 9th deck, for about an hour. At 11am, we decided to go to the Phantom Theatre to listen to the shore excursion expert as to what places to visit and shop in Aruba and Curacao. Being on the 2nd deck, we were able to collect a Curacao print, a child's bamboo shirt and a Del Sol Frisbee, during his product demonstrations. One of interesting things he said was to get a postcard and mail it in Curacao because they had very colorful stamps. Stamp collectors and grandchildren would appreciate this. He gave us a heads up that today being Good Friday that most of the shops would be closed, however, because 3 cruise ships were arriving, shops close to the wharf would be open from 12-5. I saw a group of dolphins follow the ship before we docked at noon. At 12:30, we got on the bus to start our Best of Aruba & Beach tour. Our tour guide, Alex, was also our motor coach driver. We drove past the airport, Balashi brewery, and salinization plant. The plant takes ocean water and makes it drinkable and also produces the islands electricity. As this increased the price of potable water, there was usually a 50 cent charge to use a public washroom. Our first stop was at a rock formation which we climbed and had a view of the island. We purchased bottle water and bought a couple gifts -- nightgown and beach bag. Then bus drove past a cemetery with mausoleums that were brightly painted. Alex said that the last inhabitant were to be put at ease because the color was to match that of their house. Then headed to the arid side of the island (lots of cacti along the way) to see the land bridges, our second stop. Our third stop was the California lighthouse where had a $3 coconut with a straw. As we drove past the public beaches, there were a lot of tents. Apparently the locals come down to the ocean for two weeks as family groups to enjoy getting away from their normal living. The action on the island is at Palm Beach where the resorts are located and our final tour stop. We walked along the beach and found a couple of chairs to enjoy the sun and beach ambience before out hour was up. Many people on the tour including ourselves got off the bus on main street to do some power shopping. First, we went to Effy jewellery. We got our free peridot coupon necklace and purchased the matching earrings for $10. Then, we went to the market and bought another nightgown, bag, souvenirs, and a matching "leopard" purse set. The market seemed to have the best prices. Before boarding the ship, I bought Oriens, a Van Cleef & Arpels parfum and Million, a Paco Rabanne eau de toilette, at Maggies because they were not on the cruise ship. We went back to the room and had a shower to clean off the sand and the day's humidity. Being refreshed, we headed to the Bacchus Dining room. The advantage of any time dining is that you are not stuck to a time, for us it was a good thing this trip. We both ate Seafood Newberg (mussels, shrimp, scallops, and mushrooms). The next destination for the Carnival Miracle is New York, so they put all their Southern Caribbean apparel on sale in stages. We could help purchasing 6 Aruba shirts at $5 each compared to $16.95. For the evening's entertainment, we stayed in the Phantom Theatre. We watched the "game" show, followed by bingo and then the Love and Marriage show. We walked past the fun shops which were closed and noticed tomorrow's sales items were yellow Curcacao T-shirts. CURACAO -- DAY 6 (April 7) It was interesting watching a tugboat carry the ropes to the bollard stations so that the ship could secure itself to the small wharf, as the ship docked in Curacao. We went to the 9th deck for a buffet breakfast before going on the Discover the Island Tour at 8:30. Our 62 year old driver, Marcel, and talkative guide "Wa Wa" drove us around on the tour. Our first stop was an old Dutch army infirmary. Inside the main building was old mahogany furniture from when the island had mahogany and an organ donated by Queen Julianna. Another building had the front part of an old airplane engine. Then we went by the salinization plant and a variety of neighborhoods before arriving at the Hata limestone caves by the airport. Edsel, the cave guide, instructed us that we had to climb 49 steps before entering the cave. Inside we saw stalactites, stalagmites, bats, water pools and interesting configurations. One of which looked like the Virgin Mary. We proceeded over a tall arching bridge to the curcacao liqueur factory. Our favorite sample was the orange flavored one. We purchased the taster pack -- 5 flavors. At the gift shop on site we purchased a postcard and stamps. On the bus ride back we composed our letter to our youngest granddaughter. We were part of the group that got off the bus by the roundabout rather than the ship. It saved walking time. We walked across the pontoon bridge into the main shopping area. We used our Effy jewelry coupon again and got citrine pendants and we purchased the matching $10 earrings. We then went searching for the Post Office which was closed on Saturday, however, the mailbox was open. It was a good thing I had bought stamps. On the way back to the ship, we walked into a few of the stores but we mostly window shopped. We also walked past the produce market and fish market. After we walked back over the bridge we stopped at a kiosk and bought a pink dress for our granddaughter. The Aruba labelled nightgown my wife bought for $14 cost $4 more because it had a Curcacao label at the street kiosks. The liqueur was scanned through the security as we boarded. This means it is detained and put in storage until the final night. We were starved at 1:30 pm because we hadn't eaten since breakfast so we "pigged out" by eating hamburgers, fries, and strawberry soft ice cream by the poolside venue on the 9th deck. We headed back to the stateroom for a nap exhausted and full. We got up prior to the ship leaving the wharf at 4pm. The shops aboard the ship do not open until we are out at sea. This meant those yellow T-shirts were to go on sale at 4:30. There was a crowd of 60 cruisers that had the same idea. There was a mad rush when the doors eventually opened at 4:45 and shirts were flying. Remembering that the t-shirts were actually one size smaller than they should be, I luckily located a XXXL for me and a XL for my wife quickly. As we had a late lunch we had a later supper 7pm. My wife did not enjoy the meatloaf and I found my Atlantic salmon dry. The savior was the bread pudding with vanilla sauce. We caught the last part of the game show at Phantom Theater before enjoying 2 sessions of karaoke in Mad Hatter's. We then watched Showcase of the Stars in the Phantom theatre, before heading back to our room to sleep. SEADAY -- DAY 7 (April 8) We got up at our own leisure and had a late brunch at the Bacchus dining room. The comedian Jorge Solano entertained for 15 minutes. The day was overcast. So we sat in our balcony chairs peacefully reading and occasionally glancing at the ocean. Sometimes seeing flying fish jump into the next wave. After I finished reading my book, I headed down to the 3rd deck fun stores. The St. Kitts shirts did not capture my interest. We went to the champagne art auction at 1pm. Once you have your bid card they give you some stickies. You apply the stickie to a piece of art you are interested in. I do that sometimes just to hear about the artist like art history. They only bring up art that cruisers are interested in because there is no way 6000 paintings will be sold in 1.5 hours. If you are more serious about the painting or collector's item talk to a sales associate for a price before the auction. There is usually about ½ hour viewing period. We went for high tea at 3pm on the 3rd deck of the Bacchus dining room. A waiter comes by with a dolley loaded with 4 different kinds of desserts on the top level and cucumber sandwiches and salmon lox on baguette slices on the bottom level. The lemon meringue "tarts" were mouth watering. I can see why they ask cruisers to bring expandable pants. It is easy to gain a pound a day. With good intentions, we brought our workout gear but failed to use them. It was another elegant dress night in the Bacchus Dining Room. For supper, we both had corn chowder and chateaubriand and a baked potato. That night we watched an outstanding well choreographed production called "Ticket to Ride" in the Phantom Theatre. The theme was Beatles songs. When it was over we went to Mad Hatter's for some adult punchline comedy. John Knight gave the first show and Jorge Solano gave the second show. Usually when we arrive by to our room at night, the sheets are turned back and there are chocolate wafers. Tonight it chocolate Easter eggs on the pillow (It was Easter Sunday). SEADAY -- DAY 8 (April 9) The main feature about cruising is relaxing. No beds to make. No meals to cook. I let my wife sleep in this morning. I went to the 9th deck Horatio lounge for an omelet and brought my wife back a coffee and a yogurt. (The coffee is better in the Bacchus Dining Room). She enjoyed them while reading off our balcony. Around 11am, I went to the 3rd deck fun shops. I purchased two $5 Grand Turks t-shirts, a citrine colored Italian charm bracelet for $20 regularly $89, and a $40 set with bracelet, earrings, & pendant with blue Italian charms regularly $146. I received a raffle ticket for a prize which would be drawn at 2:30pm. I also pre-ordered crème caramel for the evenings supper at the Bacchus. My wife was hungry, so we went to the Bacchus Dining Room on the 2nd deck upon my return from shopping. My wife had blueberry pancakes while had a toasted bagel with smoked salmon and cream cheese. After eating we checked out the shops and purchased two cartons of gold Marlborough cigarettes for $52 before going back to the room. At 1pm we went to the final champagne art auction in Mad Hatter's. My wife left at 2:30pm to check if our raffle ticket was the lucky one, because you had to be in attendance. At the same time, fashion watch sets came on sale. My wife bought 3 different sets. However, we later returned two of them. One set was missing a facet and the other one set I couldn't see our son wearing. We did buy him a $10 Bijou Terner digital watch. At met my wife at the 3rd deck Bacchus Dining room for high tea. Later we went back to our room for more reading off the balcony. For supper we both had the prime rib. I tried the frog legs for an appetizer. The crème caramel we had for dessert was exquisite. We went back to our room to get a start on packing our suitcases. As we were in zone 18 we could leave our suitcases outside our room between 9pm and 12, and the crew would transport the suitcases to zone 18 in the cruise terminal. We would not have to lug them off the ship. We kept out the clothes we would be wearing the next day. We walked to Phantom Hall on the 3rd deck and observed the final games of bingo on the cruise, before watching the final stage performance. Included in the performance were talented cruisers who were selected to perform songs. After we came back my wife showered so that she could put most of her cosmetics in the suitcase. We then put our large suitcases outside our room for pick-up before going to sleep. FORT LAUDERDALE -- DAY 9 (April 10) We woke up after 7am, so we missed the ship docking. We put yesterday's clothes and the final cosmetic items in our travel cases. We later transferred these articles to our suitcases at the airport. We went up to Horatio's lounge for a relaxed buffet breakfast with our travel cases, so that the room steward could clean the room. We then went to the garden room to wait until zone 18 was called to disembark. POST TRIP We went to zone 18 and picked up our large suitcases before going through US Customs at the cruise terminal. We were given directions as to where our bus was in order to transfer to the airport. We arrived at the Fort Lauderdale airport around 10am. The plane was scheduled to depart at 4:44pm. After we walked through security we went to Hudson News, where we purchased 2 bottles of water, 2 payday peanut bars, and a couple of motivational books (one was called ADAVANTAGE). With the long break, I had three smoke breaks. Therefore I had to go through security another three times. As the flight was full, we were all to take advantage of getting our small travel cases packed for free. The flight took 3 hours to Chicago. We had a 1 hour layover before taking a 3 ½ hour flight to Edmonton. Our quick departure from the Chicago airport meant we arrived in Edmonton early 11:30pm before going through Canada Customs. Read Less
Sail Date April 2012
My wife and I (mid 30s) recently took the 8 day Southern Caribbean Cruise (3/1/12 - 3/9/12) on the Carnival Miracle. Kind of a second honeymoon. Though we travel together often, (as I enjoy her company, which I find best for the ... Read More
My wife and I (mid 30s) recently took the 8 day Southern Caribbean Cruise (3/1/12 - 3/9/12) on the Carnival Miracle. Kind of a second honeymoon. Though we travel together often, (as I enjoy her company, which I find best for the marriage) neither of us have been on a cruise in our lives. Carnival did the big picture things really well for us. Food, in particular, seems to be the area most of concern for review seekers and writers. I found it pleasantly surprising in all terms of variety, availability, and quality. We are not really picky people, though. I have extensive experience in the food service industry, so my expectations are usually tempered. I was quickly impressed. My wife was occasionally disappointed in the temperature of the food itself (she was right), but being primarily buffet (even the Bacchus room is a fancy buffet service), there's very little you can do about that. They weren't using real eggs or butter, the hallmark symbols of some serious food coming your way. But, as far as needing to feed thousands of people every eight hours, I was seriously amazed at the amount of quality and variety they were able to offer day after day. For instance, my favorite dish all week (we ate all over ports and paid additional for a night at the Miracle steakhouse, Nick & Noras) was an appetizer at the Bacchus; Smoked Duck with Pomegranate reduction over Thai Rice Noodles. It blew my mind. Another thing Carnival does well is people. Our steward, Fernandy, knew our names without us even introducing ourselves and called us by them every time he saw us. He was quick to answer questions, even ones not related to his specific job. We absolutely qualified the level of service we got as "borderline creepy". It seems we would go to breakfast and come back to the room to prepare for the pool or an excursion and the bed would be made, the bathroom like it did when we first opened the door. We went to breakfast at all hours, too. Like I said, kind of creepy. Servers at the Bacchus were pleasant and attentive, almost offended when you didnt eat. We had occasional general quasiness from the boat, not nausea or anything. Just some nights, you didnt feel like eating an entire half rack of ribs. I did mention the situation to the waiter when he asked, and he was quick to bring fruit and sherbet to the table, which really helped. During an elegant night at the Bacchus, I was asked to remove my hat by the maitre d', which I planned to do at the table. I had some sunburn issues, and didnt want gross anyone out with my peeling at their dinner. It was a nice hat and matched my sportcoat, button down shirt and slacks I wore, but I took it off because she asked. Moments later she sat a guy with a Larry the Cable Guy t-shirt directly next to me, and I was a little offended. Not that he was allowed in, or anything, just that her standards had dissolved so quickly. Someones pride shouldnt be valued or expendable based on the amount of disappointment you are going to hear about, is my point. Have an Elegant night or don't. Have a bathrobe night, you gave one to everyone. Let us wear that to dinner. There were some issues with accents and asking someone in uniform a question and getting an answer to an unrelated, more common, question would happen occasionally. But mostly they were about food or directions on the boat and not about what will get you arrested or involved hundreds of dollars, so good casting on Carnivals part. Not coincidentally, the sales people spoke GREAT ENGLISH. Try not to be surprised at just how well the jewelry salespeople speak English. Overall, everyone was great. Smiles and hellos, knowledgeable, friendly, understanding, understandable. So noticeable was the pleasantness, it was like seeing Bigfoot ride a Unicorn while eating a bowl of mac n cheese when the late night pizza guy openly sighed at us for asking if he had something other than pepperoni at 3am. Again, though, if you asked an engineer who happened to stop at the urinal next to you what time your boat to Sanoa Island was going to stop to pet giant starfish next Tuesday, I'd give you even money he'd know the answer. The room itself was half awesome and half a problem. My review might not help you since it seemed we got a jack of all trades kind of room. Giant bathroom for a handicapped person, but the bed was like two fancy cots put together. The pillows were probably real nice if you sleep on your back, but I sleep on my side and literally felt kind of choked trying to use it. Usually when four pillows are in a hotel bed, 2 are soft and 2 are firm, but these were all basketball shaped marshmallows. We saw an advertisement on the TV that the towels, and bathrobes were for sale and we were considering it. But then the mattresses and bedding were for sale too and we both burst out laughing. The TV itself also was like someone had the turned the brightness all the way down and there was no way to fix that. Not that we watched much TV, but some people might like to not miss shows or feel at home for a night. But the balcony is where we spent most of our time in our room, because what we got was exactly what we wanted there. I have three situations I'm counting as disappointments. Negative events we came across on more than one occasion. One of their casino games is rigged. That a serious charge, and I'd feel strange accusing them of it if I didnt have proof. After paying $60 over three days into the "Casino Vault" machine trying to win an iPad, I noticed strange coincidences. So I used the ships satellite internet (at outrageous cost) to download the owners manual. They changed the name of the machine (actually Sega's "Key Master" which I found out only by suspecting they'd have one in arcade to scam kids, which they did.) They market the game as a skill game, but it's not exactly. You can only win after the payoff lines have been "unlocked", or you miss the skill shot by the default amount set by the casino manager. The way to unlock the payoff line, is to put more credits into the machine than the item is worth (set by the casino manager). I have the owners manual available to any interested parties, please feel free to contact me if you'd like a copy. I stuck to table games until even that felt dirty. At the Serenity deck, people would save cabana seats empty for hours. We went to watch the sunrise at 5:30am and found one woman had gaffled sunrise corner by herself for people that didnt show up until 8. We would have been gone by then to have breakfast and start our day. One woman said she complained to an attendant and the attendant told her that he would go claim one for them, but then she would have felt uncomfortable being neighbors with an asshole for the next couple hours. I can understand that. There should be someone there supervising independently of complaints or a waiting system. They really put the screws to our wallets. Coffee was free, but cappuccinos were $4. Ice cream was free, but milkshakes were $6. Sea queasuiness was free, but Dramamine was $8. One game of Bingo was $30 and they must have paid back around 33% of the winnings with some simple head counting and math. On the last day at sea, they were selling $30 watches for $20 and you'd think they were selling gazelles to lions. People were buying dozens for Christmas presents, like they were savvy. Why not have these deals throughout the cruise and not cause a scene? Because they may not buy a higher priced watch earlier instead, of course. Why do you have to walk through the casino and shops to get to the free entertainment? HAHAHAHAHA It just seemed at every opportunity available, there was a price tag attached. Though, we took those small bummers in stride. Overall, the money was worth the experience and we will cruise again. Might try another company, but I'd still recommend Carnival to family, friends, and you, who read my novel. Thanks for your time. Good Luck on your adventures. Read Less
Sail Date March 2012
This is my 8th Cruise and 5th on Carnival and my husbands 3rd cruise. I must start by saying it was my favorite ship. It was most like a merge of Carnival meets RCL beautiful ship with a unique charm and theme to it. It is a smaller ship ... Read More
This is my 8th Cruise and 5th on Carnival and my husbands 3rd cruise. I must start by saying it was my favorite ship. It was most like a merge of Carnival meets RCL beautiful ship with a unique charm and theme to it. It is a smaller ship with only 2100 passengers and thought that was so much better then some of the larger ships such as the Splendor or the Glory. I felt the ship was more quaint due to its size and the lines for different activities including the buffet were much less annoying then on some of the larger ships. It was a much quieter cruise and it was nice. We had an obstructed balcony room we booked late and it was one of the few options available with a balcony. At first we were not so sure about it but after being in the room it was not so bad we could see slightly off to the left side to the water but the rest you cannot look down just out but it was cool anyways (life boat comes up to bottom of floor). We are scuba divers and it was a great place to leave our equipment to dry off or to have a glass of wine and read a book. We are in fact booking the same room next year on a cruise out of NYC. We save money and it works for our needs.. we just like to see the ports as we come in and leave...:) So looking forward to next year. The food was good..would definitely recommend Nick and Noras was most excellent! The buffet had decent selections however was not so impressed with the pizza bar as the pizza was kinda of icky and the service was not so great.. dinning room was nice had nice service and meet some nice couples. Spa was nice had a nice massage take advantage one day while being in port as you will save money on the services. The Ports were great.. In Grand Turk we scubaed was an excellent experience although was not so impressed with Oasis divers dive shop. We did get a t shirt from the shop, grabbed a shot a jacksshack which is right next door and then watched flow rider at margarittaville...where the drinks are crazy expensive $15.oo bucks for two beers.. nuts.. La Romana was not someplace we spent much time at.. We managed to meet some others that wanted to do the Cigar Factory tour and did that. I would recommend this as it is amazing that everything is had done there.. It is an operation that you would never see in the states was very interesting. Aruba was cool did the wreck dive there had a great time. then wandered around town had some dinner. I should mention that all but the restaurants and bars close at 8PM. If there is something you want to see do it before 8. Then Curacao we booked our own excursion there and did a dive with the dive bus and had a great experience. I would definitely recommend them should you be a scuba diver was cool.. The town itself looks really cool in pictures but it seemed to us that it was a bunch of outlet type shops you can find anywhere in the states. There were no great deals there. The food was over priced. We actually ate on the ship and then wandered around again. I would love to visit there again but skip the shopping district. Most likely do more diving and explore the mountain areas of the island. All and all great trip and cannot wait til our cruise next year! Read Less
Sail Date March 2012
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 ... Read More
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! Read Less
Sail Date March 2012
This was our 8th cruise with Carnival and the first time we sailed on a Spirit Class ship. We loved this ship. The layout was much better than either the Conquest class or the Fantasy class. My wife and I are in our late 50s and love to ... Read More
This was our 8th cruise with Carnival and the first time we sailed on a Spirit Class ship. We loved this ship. The layout was much better than either the Conquest class or the Fantasy class. My wife and I are in our late 50s and love to cruise. We don't really participate in any of the activities/games and don't drink alcohol. We just like to relax, take in the beautiful water and stroll along the deck. The Good: The Miracle is the most beautiful ship that we have been on. There is quite a bit of open deck, which we love. The decks are very nicely laid out and easy to get around. The ship was very clean, they were constantly cleaning the decks and common areas. The food was better than average. Embarkation was a breeze. We drove to the port and used Park and Go which was great! You can get an on-line deal, pick up and drop off at the ship was very simple. Debarkation went well too. The Bad: We used the carnival loyalty coupon for our ship board credit but were not given the credit. For those that do not know, on Carnival cruises, you can purchase a coupon for your next cruise and for purchasing that coupon, you get up to $200 in ship board credit on that next cruise. Before sailing, we checked our account to make sure that the credit was there and it was. But low and behold, when we got on the ship, it had disappeared. We didn't know about it because we didn't check our account until the last few days. Since it was the weekend, we couldn't do anything about it because the corporate office was closed and no one on the ship had the authority to issue a $100 credit. We finally did get the credit on our credit card 10 days after the cruise ended. The cabin steward was the worse we have had. He had the mini-bar locked, we asked him to open it, which he did. The next day, it was locked again. The room was cleaned okay, but it took a while, who knows maybe he had an extra territory to cover. The cruise director, Malcolm, was not very active. When he came on to do his announcements, he often didn't tell us what his name was. We didn't do the welcome aboard show, so when we went to the next show, he came out on stage without introducing himself. The lido restaurants more than once closed before the scheduled time. We went to get a late lunch a couple of times about 10 min to 3:00 but found they had been cleared already. Of course, its no big deal because there is always something to eat but sometimes you want just a cookie or a small salad plate instead of a burger or pizza. The pizza stand and deli stand could have been staffed with crew members that were more cordial. We had ordered calzones once and waited for the requested time to see the guy give our calzones to someone else. This area needs to be improved. As stated, we love to stroll on the deck, especially in the front of the ship. The forward deck of Lido was closed most of the cruise, which was annoying. I asked one of the ship officers why and she stated it was closed because of high wind! That was nonsense. We've been on cruises with high winds and this was definitely not the case. It appeared as though they were using it to store broken deck chairs. The Ugly: We were at the back of the ship on Lido where there is a very nice Serenity area. While we were sitting there having lunch, three near fights broke out over deck chair savers! REALLY!? The poor towel people had to put up with these supposed adults fighting over chairs. Talk about ugly Americans. Also, the Professional Shopper, Michael, was quite condescending. We purchased a portfolio that included some coupons for free stuff. One of the coupons stated to go to a particular store. On St Kits, that store did not carry the item that was free. When I went to Michael to explain, he started to inform me where I went wrong, that I should have not read the coupon but listened to his presentation. All the while, he had the free item in his desk. Better customer service would have been to say well I'm sorry that happened. Here is the item that you were supposed to have received. In conclusion: Would we go on Carnival again? Absolutely. Would we travel on the Miracle again? Yes, and maybe there will be a different crew. Read Less
Sail Date March 2012
Embarkation: We arrived at the pier about 11:00am. There was no line to get in to the terminal and just a very short line to go through security. There was about a 15 minute wait to get our sail and sign cards. After receiving our ... Read More
Embarkation: We arrived at the pier about 11:00am. There was no line to get in to the terminal and just a very short line to go through security. There was about a 15 minute wait to get our sail and sign cards. After receiving our S&S cards we were able to go directly on to the ship. Went to the Serenity area and hardly anyone there, so we had drinks and went and checked out the ship. I was so much enjoying the Serenity area that I forgot all about the time and my wife had to remind me that it was time for the rooms to be ready. So we were in our room by 1:45pm. Could have been earlier but like I said... One of the best embarkations I have ever done, smooth and fast! Cabin: We were in cabin 7186. Cabin was clean. Furniture and soft goods all were in good order. We found plenty of room to put away all of our clothes. Don't forget to use the drawers under the couch. We were able to fit our entire luggage under the bed after unpacking. The bed was two twins pushed together. Now if you were sleeping on your side of the bed it was very comfortable, but if you wanted to spoon with your partner (wife in my case) the center of the bed had a hump were the two twins met. This was very uncomfortable. Our room stewards were great. We tip him extra the very first day. Always had ice in the ice bucket, room was always clean when we come back from the day's events. The TV in the room needed to be a little closer or a little larger not that we watched it that much but when you did it was hard to see small writing, like from CNN which we watched the most to keep up with the news. Also they had some kind of connection problem, we tried to rent a movie and it played 3 minutes and the screen went blank. Called and told them about it and they removed it from the bill. Bathroom was great had plenty of shelf space to store all our toiletries. On bad note is the shower went hot and cold while using it. Overall the ship was in good condition but she is showing her age. The Ship: The last Carnival ship we were on was the Glory, which we loved. The Miracle not as much, while we did have a great time on her we were not fond of the layout. Yes it is easy to get from bow to stern but everything is to spread out, all the lounges are far apart from each other. As I stated earlier she is showing her age and for just coming out of a try dock, I saw a lot of rust on the exterior and some painting that needed to be done on the lido. We are glad we got to sail her but will probably pass on her next time. The Food: Okay first of all I am not a picky eater at all. The buffet in the Lido was 2 to 3 stars out of 5 stars. Many times it was the exact same menu as the MDR. For dinner you choices are deli, pizza, hamburgers/hotdogs at the grill or the buffet, yet at lunch they have all sorts of different choices Chinese, Italian and Caribbean but this is not offered at dinner time. The MDR was just slightly better than the buffet. I did have the tenderest prime rib I have ever had at the MDR but had very little taste to it. My wife ordered the salmon, when it came out I looked at it and said that looks really dry, she took a bite and said it is really dry! Now for the good food we had. Unfortunately all the good food we had to pay extra for (this is our 3rd Carnival ship in 4 years, the first two the food was good) which was Nick & Nora's ($30 pp) 5+ stars!! The Chefs Table ($75 pp) 5+ stars!! Also at the Fountainhead area there is a little bakery type shop which had cookies, cakes and such for very reasonable price which was pretty good. Oh the free ice cream and frozen yogurt weren't too bad either. Times are tough and cuts have to be made to stay competitive which may explain the lower quality of food since our last Carnival cruise or maybe they lower it to get you to spend money on the specialty food venues, who knows. I realize the taste of food is a very subjective thing but I will eat just about anything, but I did not stuff myself like I usually do on a cruise. 1st Two Days at Sea: Took the opportunity to explore the ship and take pictures of the different areas of the ship. We spent most of our time at the Serenity area. Very nice and relaxing, there is a pool at hot tub plus the bar is a short distance away although they did have bar service waiters taking orders. This area gets very crowded so get there early. We also like to lounge on deck 10, there is no pool close by but there is a great breeze so we never got very hot. As a matter of fact the weather was absolutely wonderful the whole cruise except for the 3rd sea day it was cloudy and rained a little, the day we tried to rent the movie. I was able to lie out and never get so hot I felt like I needed to get into the pool to cool off. I did stick my feet in a few times water felt pretty darn cold. 2nd Two Days at Sea: We were pretty beat the 3rd sea day after running around at all the ports for the last 3 days straight and as I mention it was cloudy and a little rainy the 3rd sea day so we just took it easy that day. Our last sea day we just relaxed on some loungers on deck 10. Entertainment: We are not much for the sing and dancing shows, so we did not see any of those but, we did go to the comedy show twice (two different comedians) which both were a great time. We went to the hypnotist show which was fun and very entertaining. We both love to dance so we hit the disc a few times, but the DJ though he was some kind of mix master and never played a song all the way through. The even did a Mowtown hour to start the night off and was still not playing full songs. I thought the intent was to get the older crowd in there and they are not used to a song only playing half way then on to the next song. Oh well this how the younger crowd like their music now the ADDH generation LOL. We hit the casino one night and I actually won $130.00, most I have won on a cruise ship casino. Debarkation: This went very well. We did use the express baggage service which was great. Even if we didn't use that I think we still would have been off the boat at the same time. Only difference you don't have to search for your luggage once off the ship. We were given zone number 4 but we had a late afternoon flight so we went to guest services and exchanged them for zone 25. Now they want you out of the room by 8:30am, which I understand and we were out by then. We then went to the Serenity area, we practically had the place to ourselves. We ate some breakfast out there and waited for our zone. We were called down about 9:30am and were off the ship about 10:00am, I think we were one of the last 10 people off the ship. If you would like to see pictures from the trip go to http://travel.webshots.com/album/582609661nkYtEL Read Less
Sail Date March 2012
First time on Carnival. Previously cruised on Holland America(1), Norwegian(1), Princess(3) and Royal Caribbean(1). Wife and I went with another couple. Flew down to FLL the day before and stayed at the Spring Hill Suites FLL Airport. ... Read More
First time on Carnival. Previously cruised on Holland America(1), Norwegian(1), Princess(3) and Royal Caribbean(1). Wife and I went with another couple. Flew down to FLL the day before and stayed at the Spring Hill Suites FLL Airport. Decent hotel, good location, clean. Rented a car to be able to pick up liquor and Big Daddy's Liquors on State Road 84. Always stop here when cruising out of FLL. Good prices, good selection and friendly service. Dinner at Rendezvous Waterfront Bar and Grill on the marina. Good food and service. Took the free shuttle to the cruise port from the airport after dropping of the rental car. Upon arrival at the terminal and after turning over luggage to the porters, there was nobody around directing passengers where to enter. After wandering around a few minutes with a half dozen other passengers, somebody finally came out and directed us in. Embarkation process was quick and smooth. There were several employees standing around that would have been of better service outside directing passengers. The Miracle is a BEAUTIFUL ship in good shape. The size and layout makes it that there were really no overbearing crowds at anytime. Only issue was the layout of the aft half of the buffet. There was some bottle-necking at times. WARNING for anybody considering an aft balcony on Level 8, Panorama Deck. The Serenity Pool is above you. Problem is that the crew cleans/sets chairs between 0400 and 0500. Woke up every morning at these times to the sound of chairs being dropped and/or dragged across the deck. Also, the balcony is on the small side with very little cover. Our cabin was clean and tended to very well by Juan. Made towel animal nightly...a nice touch. Ate in the main dinning room early seating five of eight nights. Good service. Food was nice/good. Nothing special. Ate at the buffet two of the nights...same opinion. Nothing special. EXCEPT the french fries at the poolside grill are the BEST french fries I've ever had on a cruise ship. A cross between Mc D's and Burger King. Did our own thing in St Martin and Antigua. Did the Catamaran Fan-ta-sea thru Carnival in St Kitts. Had a blast. Snorkeling was only so so but the crew/service was great. Lunch was nice. The rum punch was awesome but be careful, VERY strong. Entertainment was lacking. Disembarkation was quick and efficient. We enjoyed our cruise on the Miracle. Great ship and a great size. Unfortunately there was nothing about this cruise that makes me want to go on Carnival again. Nothing stood out, nothing special. Probably look at Royal Caribbean or Holland America again. Read Less
Sail Date March 2012
We flew from Richmond, VA on Jetblue, as always a great direct flight. Stayed at Courtyard Marriott in Dania they pick you up for free and give you free transport to the port the next morning. Rooms are a little pricy but you can walk to ... Read More
We flew from Richmond, VA on Jetblue, as always a great direct flight. Stayed at Courtyard Marriott in Dania they pick you up for free and give you free transport to the port the next morning. Rooms are a little pricy but you can walk to the Bass Pro Shop eat at their restaurant on the porch by the water and it's the perfect start to a vacation. Embarkation: Took the free shuttle at 10:00, checked in without having to stand in line so long, sat and talked to some really nice people, was on the ship by 11:30. Food: We ate Breakfast on the Lido, great food. Lunch on Lido also very good and a great selection. Dinner we ate in the dining room 6:00, wonderful service and really great food again. I am a pastry chef and kitchen manager for a caterer and have been in food for many years so I appreciate good food. Ports: Grand Turk, we just got off the ship and went to the beach, my husband and our friend went Snorkeling, we brought our own gear, if you do this I recommend bringing water shoes there are a lot of rocks. The guys saw a lot of fish. Went to Margaritaville also. La Romana Dominican Republic didn't take tour, our friends took a van to a shopping area and said it was terrible. We have been here and took tours before, for us it was a good day to do laundry! Aruba booked the Land Rover North Coast tour it was a blast saw so much and our guide Curtis was great! Curacao Booked a sightseeing country drive tour wish we had done something more exciting but we did see a lot. Only complaint the ship does need a little TLC I know she was in dry dock but they could of done some updates on the furniture it does look worn and our bed and linens were not as nice as they should of been. If you don't like a hard bed just beware and the pillows are really flat. Also our room 8175 had the Lido above it so one night the band played until 1:00 a.m. and I woke up to Sweet Child of Mine by Guns and Roses! I like the music but not that late! Great Cruise and wish I was their now! Read Less
Sail Date March 2012
This was our 4th cruise all with Carnival and our second time on the Miracle for an 8 day cruise to the southern caribbean. Embarkation was fast and easy. We arrived at the cruise port at approximately 11:00am and were checked into and ... Read More
This was our 4th cruise all with Carnival and our second time on the Miracle for an 8 day cruise to the southern caribbean. Embarkation was fast and easy. We arrived at the cruise port at approximately 11:00am and were checked into and the ship at around 11:45am. We were clearly told that the room wouldn't be ready until 1:30pm and lunch was being served on the lido deck. We proceeded to lunch, and waited for our room to be ready. At exactly 1:30 the doors were opened and our room was ready. We knew what to expect from our room because we had been on the Miracle before with a balcony. We were able to check out the Serenity deck for some of the afternoon and it was quite comfy with the padded loungers and so forth. After a couple of hours in the sun we headed to our room at around 4:45 and our luggage was ready by our door. After unpacking, we got ready for dinner in tnr Bachus dining room. We were late seating. Travelling with just my husband and I we were unsure of how we would be seated. This was our first experience at a table for 8 and I actually enjoyed it. The other three couples were around my same age and it made conversation easy. The only downfall was that we were to the side in the back room of the dining room, almost in a separate room and it was always cold. We were unable to see the main/large dining room, Our server was Nyomen (Newman) and he was fantastic. We were not disappointed at all with our meals, however the night I had the turkey dinner, it was served barely warm, not hot at all. We found that there was a lack of seasoning used too...seemed to have to add some sort of seasoning, i.e. pepper to my meals. I do like the new menu choices. We had one sea day then our four ports and two more sea days. Chair savers were out in full force very early. My husband went out at around 8 after I got back from the gym and we were able to get the last two chairs on the lido deck by the stage. We prefer not to be that close to the stage at it is usually loud but we managed :). We also like being on deck 10 for laying in the sun, but it was too windy. We had our drink guy....Komang who was great at serving us all cruise long, it seemed no matter where we went, good personal touch and he actually took time to ask us questions about where we lived, etc and stood and talked in the hallways as he greeted us both by our first names with handshakes. I have to say that the gym equipment has been all upgraded since my last Miracle trip in 2010 and it was great! All hybrid machines and very easy to use. Ports were good, we chose this cruise because we hadn't been to these ports yet. More on ports later. Before dinner, we would always go to the atrium lounge and have a drink before dinner. This is a great spot to sit and relax. We watched most shows in the theatre, except for the 'Ticket to Ride' show, although heard it was good. The marriage game didn't disappoint ... Truly funny. kererokee with the band was great, but it seemed that the kererokee seemed disjointed, in different lounges and stuff. The host, Chris was great! The new comedy shows are good. We saw four different comedians. I have to sat that I was a little disappointed in the entrainment crew. Our CD was Malcolm 'in the middle' and while he is very funny, the rest of the crew lacks a little humour. The assistant CD Brandon is a great singer...we sang a Guns N' Roses song at the deck party and he sounded awesome. I jut didn't see Malcolm around very much. Disembarkation was simple and easy and we were able to get off the ship at just after 8:00. We were in no rush to get off as we were spending the day in Florida and flying out the next day. we always do self-assist. Overall, I had a great time. I don't depend on others to make my vacation enjoyable, that's up to me and I truly enjoyed this cruise. I am sad to see the Miracle leave the southern Caribbean route. One last complaint though.... I found my balcony a little dirty. There was dirt and some hair in the white catch drain. Also, I found that the anchors that are on the wall above the lido deck was getting to be a little old and dusty. The ship wasn't as clean as I remembered it being, but still a great ship, crew. Read Less
Sail Date March 2012
This was our eighth cruise, our seventh on Carnival. We selected this cruise because it goes to some different ports than we've seen before and we really wanted to go to Aruba because many friends have gone there. I think because ... Read More
This was our eighth cruise, our seventh on Carnival. We selected this cruise because it goes to some different ports than we've seen before and we really wanted to go to Aruba because many friends have gone there. I think because of the different itinerary and perhaps because it was 8 days it was not the first cruise for most people on board and also it was not their first Carnival Cruise. There were many Platinum Status customers on-board. It was not a "wild" group but it wasn't totally "quiet" either. This was our first time with an Extended Balcony. I liked the extra room but unless I got it as a free upgrade I would not go out of my way for it. We were on the 8th deck and I think I would have preferred the 6th or 7th (we could hear them moving chairs on the Lido deck above, it wasn't annoying but we could hear it). I think the housekeeping and dining room staff spoke better English than on previous cruises. Staff was very good but I felt a little sorry for the cruise director, Malcolm- he was from the Bronx and the group was largely from the mid-west and his "NYC shtick" didn't get the laughs, This ship was a little smaller than others we have been on, It's been retrofitted to include some of Carnival's newer features, this is generally for the good but some items just didn't seem to fit -- for example Camp Carnival appeared to have venues on several different decks. The old adults only swim area has been turned into the "Serenity Deck". This is good because the different decor keeps the kids away. My number one complaint is that you can't hear the ship-wide announcements in the cabins. I think this almost can be considered a safety hazard but at the very least it was annoying. It was hard to know when the ports were clear to disembark and especially the last day it was impossible to know when it was your turn to leave. There was fair to good participation in trivia games, etc. The comics were good and most of the shows were filled to capacity and people were turned away. The shows were the same old same old -- I thought they were supposed to change them every two years but we have not seen a new show in ages. Port Everglades can be crowded. On a typical Sat/Sun there can be 8 ships in port. Plan to arrive slightly before or after the masses but if you do have a line just be patient. We rented to and from the port from Hertz and had a good experience getting to and from their office at the nearby Crown Plaza. I participated in the Cruise Critic Roll Call and we met Sunday morning. It was fun to put faces to the names and then to have people that we "met" before the cruise to socialize with on the cruise. Read Less
Sail Date March 2012
This was our 6th cruise with previous experiences to the Eastern Caribbean, the Western Caribbean (twice), the Southern Caribbean (from San Juan) and Hawaii. Five of the cruises were with Carnival and one with NCL. We have had success ... Read More
This was our 6th cruise with previous experiences to the Eastern Caribbean, the Western Caribbean (twice), the Southern Caribbean (from San Juan) and Hawaii. Five of the cruises were with Carnival and one with NCL. We have had success with Carnival in the past and were not disappointed on this cruise. Traveling with us were four others, my son and his wife, my daughter and my sister-in-law. Other than my daughter this was a first cruise for the group. We flew in from Milwaukee to Fort Lauderdale and spent the night at the Roadway Inn & Suites based on other reviews. We chose the hotel because we needed to have transportation from the airport to the hotel, from the hotel to the cruise ship and a place to park my daughter's car. Roadway provided all these capabilities along with pickup from the ship back to the hotel when the cruise was completed. This is not a high end hotel. My daughter-in-law labeled it a ghetto hotel. It is not fancy but it serves your needs. The rooms are clean but basic. The staff is courteous and willing to serve. I found nothing wrong with it as long as your expectations are that you are spending the night and getting to the ship. The food and drinks at the attached sports bar are very good. I recommend the nacho plate -- it is on the better I've had and is huge. We chose the early shuttle to the terminal for $2/person as we elected to wait in the morning at the cruise terminal vs. the hotel. The later shuttles are free. We waited in the terminal for an hour before being let on the ship. When the embarkation process was started (about noon) the process was fast and efficient. We had been on the Miracle before thus we knew its layout and amenities. The most significant change was the addition of an adult's only sun and pool area at the rear of the ship. I like the ships layout and this was a positive addition. Overall the food and entertainment was good although I have seen some economizing by Carnival over the past 10 years. The lobster was good but the shrimp were small at the dinner. I highly recommend the chocolate melting cake. The food at the Steakhouse was good the service was cordial, but unfriendly and slow. Waiting 45 minutes for dessert was unacceptable. I view that seeing the islands is a key part of a cruise -- especially if it is new territory for me. We like to have some degree of adventure and to see as much of the islands as feasible. Grand Turks This was my son's 39th birthday and we all wore matching t-shirts. Ours stating we were with the birthday boy on his first cruise and my son's stating it was his first cruise and birthday. Customs was slow in letting people off the ship so there were 200 plus people in the unloading area. Some people noticed the shirts and the group sang Happy Birthday to my son. Nice start of a day for my son! I typically use independent tours as I find them to be more personable and you are part of a smaller group. I use the cruise boards to get recommendations on independent services. Grand Turks does not offer many alternatives other than through Carnival. We booked the Catamaran & Snorkel through Carnival. I was pleasantly surprised with this excursion. It was about ½ full. The crew was courteous and helpful to some in our party that had never snorkeled before. Snorkeling was OK -- I've seen more variety of fish and larger schools in Hawaii but the "wall" is worth seeing. After snorkeling time is spent on a nice beach and Doctor Feel Good breaks out the rum. Overall a nice excursion. We returned to the port and spent some time at Jimmy Buffet's -- surprisingly it was not overly crowded. La Romana After reading reviews we booked with Seavis Tours for the Soana Special. Flat out this was an excellent tour. I have read that many people consider this stop a waste. This tour along with the one we took in Aruba was top notch. This port is rather undeveloped. The ship comes into a relatively narrow channel and docks at the side of the channel. It backs up from the channel to leave. When you get off the ship you walk up a hill to the bus area for excursions and turn right to the taxi area. Seavis includes the shuttle to their facilities as part of the tour ($15 for taxi is included). You show your reservation and they take you on a 25 minute ride through the countryside to the harbor with their boats. You pay cash at the harbor. 26 people fit on speed boats with two 200 HP outboards. Your tour consists of seeing the caves the original island inhabitants used, seeing the mangrove areas and time spent on Saona Island snorkeling and having a picnic. This was great snorkeling! There were many fish varieties and many fish. The water was calm. The food was great and of course rum was served. The island is postcard beautiful. My sister-in-law said it best. Pinch me -- I can't believe I am in such a beautiful place. After spending a relaxing time on the island we motored to a shallow area that had many starfish. This is similar to being with the Stingrays in Grand Cayman except in shallower water. I would not typically think that seeing starfish would be worth it but this was very cool. The boats raced each other on the way back creating additional excitement Based on feedback of other cruisers this was the best excision at this port. I highly recommend Seavis Tours. Aruba There are many good tours on this island both independent and with Carnival. We wanted to see the natural sites of Aruba and after a lot of research elected to do a Safari tour using a Land Rover. ABC Tours does the excursion through Carnival thus you can not directly book a tour through them coming off of Carnival. To book with them you will need to get creative. Due to ship tour sizes these tours are more expensive and cover fewer places. We traveled with ABC and had a great time. Our driver was Hugo -- I highly recommend him for his knowledge, courtesy and his making the tour interesting and exciting. This is not a tour for those that have physical disabilities or back, neck or other physical problems. You will be thrown around and if you do not have a seatbelt on you could be ejected from the Land Rover. That being said the areas you travel to are absolutely beautiful. Aruba is a very dry island on its North shore. It is surprisingly bare with cactuses and is very rocky. The scenery is dramatic. The six in our group were the only passengers thus we had in essence our own private tour. As stated, there are many options to take these tours in Aruba. You can rent 4 x 4's, dune buggies or you can drive your own Jeep alone or with a guided convoy. I believe we made the right choice as we would not have been able to see what we did if we drove ourselves. Letting Hugo drive allowed us to see the sites. I enjoy driving in rough terrain but quite honestly I would have been uncomfortable driving some of the area Hugo took us through. Again, highly recommended especially with Hugo! Curacao After three busy ports we elected to spend the day walking around Williamsburg touring and shopping. This port has many Dutch influences and reminds me of a tropical Amsterdam. The streets, the markets, etc. have a lot in common. The swinging bridge is unique. There are many nice restaurants. This is a pretty port -- maybe too commercialized -- but still has a heavy Caribbean influence. At Sea The last two days are spent returning to Fort Lauderdale. We did not have young children so we spent it in the adult pool section. A word of advice is that you need to be there at least by 7 AM to reserve a Cabana (I was there at 6 AM on the 2nd day). Overall this was a very nice cruise. The islands have more variety than the Eastern and Western Cruises. If you are looking for a good blend of sea and island time I strongly recommend this cruise. Carnival did a good job on this one. Read Less
Sail Date March 2012
Started at Fort Lauderdale at Hampton Inn. Great place to park and take the shuttle to ship. Forgot about spring break and many cruisers were there. Had seven ships leaving that day. This was third trip on the Miracle and last as its ... Read More
Started at Fort Lauderdale at Hampton Inn. Great place to park and take the shuttle to ship. Forgot about spring break and many cruisers were there. Had seven ships leaving that day. This was third trip on the Miracle and last as its leaving for Alaska. Got on last shuttle from hotel at noon and when arrived at port got onto ship in 20 minutes . Miracle was more crowded than usual. Most areas were crowded and difficult to find seating at peak times on deck or Lido deck meals. Biggest joke as on any Carnival cruise is that you cannot save decck chairs. Go into Serenity area at 8am and see 10 people and no chairs. Does not improve during the days around any pool. First problem with cabin in eight cruises. Had a foul smell from air conditioners in room and hall. The cabin was an upgrade on eight deck right under deck and chairs were bouncing all night. Eventually had cabin changed and everything better. Guest services worked to correct problems and succeeded. All three ports were great \. Had two excursions and both were great. Food in Bauchaus was great as usual. Lido was inferior to past cruises on the mircle. Choices and times were not very good in eating. Deli is still great.Shows were the same as most Carnivls cruises i have been on does not matter the ship. Cruise Director was lost as usual. He doe not do a very good job. Band does a great job even though this is not usually my music i enjoyed them in several areas of the ship. The staff that you came into contact with was great as usual. Big change from starting crusing with carnival is uniformed staff. When starting with Carnival they were friendly whenever you encountered them. Now They ignore you as a general rule. Most do not even say good morning when passing. Return to Lauderdale was quick and smooth as usual Read Less
Sail Date March 2012
First, let me preface this by saying that my wife, Kerry, and I booked this cruise specifically for the itinerary. We are newly certified SCUBA divers and chose these ports because of their diving opportunities. It was also our first ... Read More
First, let me preface this by saying that my wife, Kerry, and I booked this cruise specifically for the itinerary. We are newly certified SCUBA divers and chose these ports because of their diving opportunities. It was also our first cruise without our kids...that may have colored my opinion somewhat...LOL! That said, I really have to say we where surprised by the Carnival Miracle. She is a beautiful ship with a great crew. we had an amazing time! The decor of the ship is fantastic and seems less "ostentatious" than on other ships. The giant mural in the atrium is a particular favorite. We also enjoyed the decor in the Mad Hatter's Ball as well. (I am a huge Alice in Wonderland fan.) The hallways are decked out with literary characters that we enjoy. We had fun exploring Gatsby's Garden on the Atlantic deck forward...twice! The food on this sailing was great. We ate all but one dinner in the MDR. It was outstanding and better than the food we had in December on the Carnival Freedom. Another standout was the breakfasts in the MDR on sea days. One thing we really enjoyed on this cruise was the sushi. It was VERY good and we ate a LOT of it! We also had a lot of room service, especially on port days. We only ate on the lido deck a couple of times. (A lot of people on this cruise seemed particularly rude. Since they seemed to congregate on the lido deck, we tried to avoid the deck...LOL) The thing that made this cruise so amazing was the crew. What a fantastic group. From top to bottom they made sure we were well taken care of. Our room steward(ess), Yaowalak, and her assistant were attentive without being overbearing. Karnita our head waiter was great and one hell of a dancer! The casino staff were a lot of fun and made losing money very enjoyable. Our favorite bartender, Roque, kept our beer pitcher filled and finally was able to explain the game of cricket to us! There was very little bad on our voyage. We did have problems with our TV but, those were resolved quickly. Some of the common areas could use a little sprucing up but that is to be expected. Overall, we loved it and would gladly sail the Carnival Miracle again! Read Less
Sail Date March 2012
I wanted to take my family on a cruise for Spring Break this year. I have 5 year old twin boys and thought a cruise would be a good way to see some sights while leaving plenty of time for relaxing, and hopefully take advantage of the ... Read More
I wanted to take my family on a cruise for Spring Break this year. I have 5 year old twin boys and thought a cruise would be a good way to see some sights while leaving plenty of time for relaxing, and hopefully take advantage of the included child care (so Mommy and Daddy get some vacation time too!). They took their first cruise last year, 5 days on RCI Navigator of the Seas, and did pretty well, so I thought I'd try again. I did a lot of research online ahead of time. I obviously had to go during that week that school was out, I wanted a balcony room, and I did NOT want to go to Cozumel again (no offense to Cozumel, I've just been there a dozen times already). I had to choose from Princess (never sailed with them), Celebrity (loved the cruise I took WITHOUT kids a few years ago), Norwegian (took a weekend cruise a few years ago on the Sun to the Bahamas and wasn't impressed), and Carnival. I had cruised with Carnival almost 7 years earlier to Alaska and didn't love it at the time, but that prior experience was enough to land me a VERY good past guest rate on this cruise and the "frugal shopper" in me couldn't turn it down. After all Carnival, to me, had a reputation as being kid-friendly and since I was travelling with kids this time, I thought I'd give them another try. We embarked from Ft. Lauderdale, which is a 3 hour drive from my house. My parents wound up booking the trip with us (my mom has been getting some cancer treatments and we thought it be nice for the boys and her to have some vacation time together). We didn't request a wheelchair (although we did drive up with a handicapped tag), but the staff took one look at my mother and immediately got her a wheelchair and personally escorted us through the boarding process. They couldn't have been nicer (and it retrospect it would have been pretty difficult for us to board without them). (Note: for those of you who have been reading the posts regarding "bringing" alcohol on board, they DO shake your water bottles here as well). Our cabin was nice, quiet, though not as roomy as I was hoping for (on my last cruise we booked a Jr. Suite, so I guess I got a little spoiled), but very functional. Plenty of storage space. I could tell the ship had been updated recently. The balcony was supposed to be "extended", and although it was not large enough for a lounge-type chair it didn't feel cramped with its 2 chairs and side table. Our cabin steward was very nice (I don't think he ever stopped smiling). He quickly learned our names and emptied out the minibar, at our request. He had the Carnival-requisite towel animals in place each night as we returned from dinner, which my boys loved. The boys had bunk type beds; the lower was our couch converted and the upper was a pullman in the ceiling, but unlike on RCI, the pullman was a full sized bunk and it was above the couch, not above the main bed. It felt sturdy, with a rail and a ladder, and you didn't worry about a small child being up there. The pullman was down the entire cruise (as opposed to being set up every night), so that also probably contributed to the cramped feeling in our cabin. As for dining, we choose the flexible time option which was easy, we only had to wait more than a minute or two once and we were given a pager to take to the bar area. The disadvantage was we didn't have a regular table or regular waitstaff, as I have had on cruises were you have a standard seating, and a few nights the table service was hit or miss. I found the quality of the food to be surprisingly good, and I am a self described foodie. Definitely better than Royal Caribbean last year. I only ate breakfast in the dining room on the last morning and was disappointed that the scrambled eggs were the same fake eggs as were served in the buffet. We never ate lunch in the dining room. The buffet was surprisingly good, my recollection of prior cruises was more of a food court atmosphere where quantity was emphasized over quality (by the staff and the patrons), but I really didn't feel that way this time. I only tried the sushi once, because I kept forgetting about it--it was only open 5:15pm to 8pm or so. It was decent. We did go to Nick and Nora's and I felt that was excellent, both the meal and the service. We had brought our own wine to dinner and the Sommelier chilled it down for us ahead of time and had it decanted and waiting for us when we got there. We also did the Chef's Table Dinner one night. That is a very small gathering for a 7 course prix fixe dinner that includes wine and a "backstage" tour of the spotless galley with the head chef. VERY excellent, very creative food, I've never been so stuffed in my life. Not cheap, but a really interesting and worthwhile event if you're into food. The Kid's Club was WONDERFUL. Unlike RCI (where we couldn't get our kids to go), we couldn't get our kids away from it. They literally cried when we picked them up. They were open only from 10am on sea days (earlier on port days, but the boys went ashore with us) and then closed around 4-6, sometimes having extra fee required events during that time. Then they would open again at 6 for dinner and stayed open until 10pm. After 10 and until 3am, kids could stay for an hourly fee, but we always picked them up by 10. We were a little worried (because of last year too) because my boys' 6th birthday was one month after the cruise, making them the oldest kids in the 2-5 year group. The staff, when alerted to that concern, quickly offered to move them up to the 6 year old group (which is explicity against Carnival's website rules), but we never needed to pursue that. They had face painting, and dancing, and movies, and prizes, and visiting characters. They made art work and t-shirts, and had scavenger hunts, and the staff were all very friendly. The water slide was also a big hit. I'm not so into shows, more of a "nice cocktail and 5 or 6 good books" girl (hence the balcony), but we did see the Beatles-inspired show that I thought was pretty good, and there were several reasonably talented guitar players performing in the bar areas or in the casino where my husband played lots of poker (he didn't care so much for the fact they didn't have real dealers at the the Hold'em tables--it was computerized, and there were never enough players wanting to join in the tournaments, so they were all cancelled). It was pretty tough finding an empty deck chair on the sea days (we had 4 of them) after around 11am, but the adults only Serenity area on the aft of deck 9 was a nice idea. The gym was nice with lots of new equipment, but I only went once (although I did run on the jogging track one day too!) We didn't so a lot as far as shore excursions. My parents actually left the ship in St Maarten-the first port-as my mother unfortunately wasn't doing well. The staff was EXTREMELY helpful with this process as well. We did take the pirate ship excursion in St. Lucia which my boys enjoyed. In St. Kitts we started walking around on our own only to be picked up by a helpful cabbie and informed we had a much longer walk to the beach than we had thought (he was right too). Debarkation was easier than I had seen in the past. We got off a little later than we were called (since we only had to get into our car and drive home). We walked right up to our luggage, got it and then stood in the customs line for only about 20 minutes. Overall, the vast majority of Carnival staff was super friendly and genuinely seemed to care that I was enjoying my vacation. The ship often felt like it had fewer than 2100 passengers as staff knew us by name. The food was much better than I had expected. The kid's facilities (at least for young children) were great, the surroundings were very pleasant and I feel the price I paid was VERY competitive. I will DEFINITELY cruise with Carnival again, especially if they keep giving me the past guest discounts! Read Less
Sail Date March 2012
A group of 12 booked this cruise to celebrate Jimmy's 75th birthday. The cruise was picked for it's ports of call and zip lining on two islands. We had great cabins two decks above the aft dining room. Embarkation was ... Read More
A group of 12 booked this cruise to celebrate Jimmy's 75th birthday. The cruise was picked for it's ports of call and zip lining on two islands. We had great cabins two decks above the aft dining room. Embarkation was surprisingly fast. We were the only ship in port. The ship was full and not many children. The layout of this Finnish built ship is far superior than the Italian made ones where you have to go up or down a deck to pass from bow to stern. The ship is typically "Carnival Gaudy". The dining room is a site to behold. Everything is over the top as usual. We tipped the cabin steward within the first hour and he doted on us the entire week. Leny was good. Our waitress, NuNu from Indonesia was wonderful. We had her hugging us every day when we arrived. The hostess, Tristina, went out of her way for us too, caring about special menus for those with allergies. They both got extra cash tips from us too. The CD was Malcolm and he did a fine job. I do however get a little tired of the staff telling you that you're having a great time so give another big cheer. The gym was well equipped. The entertainment was surprisingly good. The production shows were wonderful. So much for Gaylord Entertainment and other third parties. The two Carnival production shows were better than many we've seen at sea. The individual acts were good too. The ventriloquist was much better in the last half of his act and Bob Brizendine, the "magician" from Cocoa Beach, FL. was very very funny. St. Maarten, St. Lucia and St. Kitts were good ports for our private excursions. Those parts of the cruise we loved. The 12 of us showed up for Quest (a very popular must see event on RCCL) and no one else showed up. The new LCD TVs are small and slow to respond. What we didn't like was the food. NuNu had warned us on day one that if we didn't like anything, she'd sent it back or we could pick something else. That alone is a bad omen. The food was pretty poor in the dining room and almost awful in the Lido Buffet. The only good dining room dinner was ChateauBriand, a small filet. Some in our group only got half way through the meal when they decided to have two desserts instead. The desserts were much better. The Buffet for breakfast and lunch was very poor quality. Powdered eggs in the morning, leather bacon, frozen bagels, even the orange juice was half water. The only beverage is lemonade, iced tea and coffee, no juice. Ran out of bananas half way through the cruise. Our last cruise on the Carnival Dream 3 years ago was about the same but this time, even having breakfast in the dining room was only moderately better than the buffet. We ate in the alternate dining room, Nick & Nora's Steakhouse, on the last night and it was top notch. Finally, real Lobster. One day we pre-ordered Continental Breakfast to our cabin (very poor selection - nothing hot) and it never showed up. Took a phone call and 20 more minutes for them to get it to us. Arranged for a group photo of the 12 of us, the photographer didn't show up. Lounge chair hogs are a constant problem on a full ship. Expensive drinks and photos too. There were 99 Cruise Critics on the ship but only 28 showed up at our much-publicized Sail Away Party. ??? Still we made new CC friends. Guess we'll have to stick with RCCL and X for better service and food. We probably would NOT book Carnival again even though this is my 5th Carnival cruise. Read Less
Sail Date February 2012
We flew from Portland, OR to Ft. Lauderdale the night before our cruise on Feb. 6. Booked the Days Inn at $69.60 a room, as we are members of their Choice program. Was a little wary after reading so many negative reviews on Trip Advisor ... Read More
We flew from Portland, OR to Ft. Lauderdale the night before our cruise on Feb. 6. Booked the Days Inn at $69.60 a room, as we are members of their Choice program. Was a little wary after reading so many negative reviews on Trip Advisor and Cruise Critic. But, they now have hteir own van which was waiting for us as we got our bags. The 5th floor rooms (we had another coule with us) had good views and were clean. The free continental breakfast was varied and filling, and the vans were lined up to go to the port at noon the next day. The only negative for the hotel was that it is located in an industrial area, with no restaurants nearby, so we ordered takeout. Boarding was easy, and I used a wheelchair at the recommendation of the staff, as I walk with a cane. The cabins were ready by 1:30 p.m., and we were given two "cross ship" inside cabins on deck 8, right under the Serenity area on the Lido deck. People across from us marvelled at the roominess of our cabins compared to their oceanview cabins across the hall. Juan and Sue, our cabin attendants, were outstanding. The only negative about being under Serenity is that they move the lounges around two mornings early for cleaning,which creats a little noise, and cruisers are up there at 5:30 a.m. to reserve spots even though the area doesn't open until 8 a.m. So, if you want to use Serenity, you'll need to be up there before 6:30 a.m. or all the lounges will be taken. The food in the Main Dining Room and on the Lido Deck was very good. We chose Your Time Dining for the first time and had no wait at all any night when we went at 6 p.m. We had the same great wait staff every night but one, and they were terrific. Main dish highlights were the New York Strip Steak, Prime Rib (two nights), Chateaubriand and Mahi Mahi. As for the appetizers, the Chilled Mango soup was the best cold soup I've ever tasted and the frog's legs were as good and tender as those I've cooked fresh. For dessert, we all raved about the warm drizzle chocolate cake with vanilla ice crea, which was served nightly. The only negative on dining was that they ran out of the chardonnay and pinot grigio offered on the Cruise the Vineyards 5 wine package which we purchased prior to sailing, and they didn't substitute anything. All the other wines were a good value for the money and represented a savings over purchasing them onboard. Entertainment was a mixed blessing. Aoo four of us enjoyed "Generations", a song and dance tribute spanning 8 decades, and the long-running "Ticket to Ride" revue honorning the music of the Beatles. Early shows on the Carnival start at 8:45 p.m., an hour or more later than RCI schedules, and this prevented us from staying up and watching other etertaimnment options. "Laws", a two man group from Jamaica, that played daily on the Lido stage, were much appreciated. Their music is called "Island Grooves", and the vocalist works hard to please cruisers and does a great rendition of "Unchained Melody" and "My Girl." Excursions were wonderful! We wnt with Bernard's on St. Maarten's and had the good fortune of being led by the "Mailman", who really delivered! I acted as co-pilot and bartender, and his homemade rum punch comprised of rum, mango, sugar cane and cinammon was potent, as advertised! At Orient Beach, we parked next to Pedro's Restaurant, where we got two chaise lounges with pads and umbrella for $5 total, including two rum puches and a bathroom pass. We also enjoyed a BBQ pork rib lunch there for $15 a plate, including great spiced rice and salad. To our right was the nude Club Orient beach, and on the left was the "no nudity" area. Swimming was fine, with a sandy bottom, but I didn't find any snorkeling to speak of. Visiting with Calvin, the sea urchin man, was a treat, as was viewing the jet planes land at Maho Beach. There were 7 cruise ships in port that day, including the "Allure" but getting away from town didn't make the island seem that crowded. The enxt day on St. Lucia's we pre-booked Spencer Ambrose's boat tour to Jalousie Beach. This beach, nestled under toe Pitons, was the loveliest beack I've ver seen. Snorkeling in a roped off area was very good, although acess to the wsater is over rocks. We enjoyed a tasty BBQ chicken lunch, more rum punch and beer, and hospitality of a super two-member boat crew. The third day, on St. Kitts, we walked to the Palm Court Gardens, 15 minutes from the ship, and enjoyed spectacular gardens, an accomodating staff, and great views of our ship and town. For $10 per person, you can use their pool, jetted spa, deck chairs and walk the two-acre gardens. All proceeds go towards spuporting the island's underprivileged youth. We took a cab to Shipwreck Beach ($21 for the four of us, although it was just $l6 coming back), were a bucket of 6 bottles of beer wa $l5 and haamburgers were just $5. Monkeys and mongoose abound just a few yards from the outdoor restaurant, and they refrain from actually coming to your table...a blessing! On Sunday, Feb. 12, we were diverted back towards Puerto Rico, as a guest had to be helicoptered to the island for car. It was a 5-1/2 hour delay, and watching the copter pilot jockey above Serenity to lower the medic and then hosit the patient aboard was a one in a lifetime experience for all of us. Captain Rocco was aboe to make up all but 1-1/2 hours of time back to port, although some passengrs with early flights missed their connection. Fortunately, we booked a 2:45 p.m. flight with Southwest back via Phoenix and had plenty of time. Cab fare from the dock to the airport was $l7 for the four of us. Weather was oustanding every day, although we had wind on the 13th. And, best of all, my wife and I only gained one pound each during the 8 days of fun! Read Less
Sail Date February 2012
We arrived at the port around noon and being Platinum cruisers were able to enter through the VIP section. This gets you on the ship in about 20 minutes. We had cruised the Miracle several times in the past and were impressed by the ... Read More
We arrived at the port around noon and being Platinum cruisers were able to enter through the VIP section. This gets you on the ship in about 20 minutes. We had cruised the Miracle several times in the past and were impressed by the recent sprucing that it had gone through O in January. We are very laid back and try to be understanding of any and all of the shortcomings that come with cruising. The food was good, but not great. They have changed up the look of the menu, but not so much the food. We eat all of our meals in the dining room and enjoyed them all. They do need to expand their menu a little. We always try to have at least one meal at the steakhouse. This was a treat, but was a little disappointed to see the Porterhouse not on the menu. We had a great waiter (Luna) and his staff. The room was an inside cabin on deck 6. We were surprised how roomy it was. Our cabin steward was excellent. (I have to say, that in 29 cruises, I have never seen a bad one, these people earn their money) The evening entertainment was very good in spots and ss-so in others. Their revue shows are excellent and I enjoyed some of the comedy club shows. I was dissappointed to see that they consider the marriage game to be a nights entertainment. We have been cruising for 31 years and they have asked the same raunchy questions for almost the whole period. When you look to see that probably 70% of the passengers were return travelers, you would think they could come up with something new. Also, the Legends concert on the final night of cruising is getting very old. It is sad when you have to watch Karaoke or non professional entertainers (especially on the final night). This is really getting old. We did our usual shopping in the ports (having toured these ports in the past). St. Maarten and St. Kitts are very good shopping ports. St. Lucia has very little to offer. I was impressed at how Carnival handled an emergency when a passenger had to be air lifted off the ship and taken to San Juan. They showed that the passenger safety was most important to them. Unfortunately, the word got around that the passenger did not survive. It was interesting in the casino, where if you amass 1500 point via slot machines, you were given free drinks when gambling. The only problem was that once I reached that total, I rarely saw the bar staff. The cruise director was good as well as some of his staff. I noted that one individual was not very experience and due to her heavy accent could not be understood. This was especially noticeable at the trivia games she ran. Due to the emergency, we were a couple of hours late getting into Fort Lauderdale. The disembarkation went very smoothly. If anything, Carnival has learned how to get people on and off their ships in good fashion. All in all, it was a fun and relaxing cruise. Read Less
Sail Date February 2012
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 ... Read More
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 Please feel free to email me at atticus0216@gmail.com if you have questions. Read Less
Sail Date February 2012
This was our 5th cruise with Carnival. We had sailed on the Legend before and loved our suite, so booked the same cabin on the Miracle. We actually liked the Miracle better than the Legend--the decor was more to our taste. The dining ... Read More
This was our 5th cruise with Carnival. We had sailed on the Legend before and loved our suite, so booked the same cabin on the Miracle. We actually liked the Miracle better than the Legend--the decor was more to our taste. The dining room was the only area we thought was too much. We flew into Orlando 4 days before our cruise, and drove our rental car down the morning of the cruise. We used Thrifty and were very happy with their service. They had a shuttle to take us to the pier, even though when I called their 800 prior to travel they insisted shuttle service was not available. Our suite was wonderful! We love having the space and the wraparound balcony. Ariel and Novi took such good care of us. The extra benefit of having VIP check-in is just the icing on the cake! We were told that even though our cabin wouldn't be ready till 1:30 to feel free to put our carry on bags in the cabin before heading to lunch. Made for a much easier time in the buffet area! We chose traditional, early dining. That meant that we were on the lower level of the dining room. Noticed on the formal nights that the passengers in the traditional dining were much more dressed up than those we saw heading into the anytime dining. Just an observation. Our wait staff of Bosco and Jay were great! And Jay's dancing during 'Showtime' was fabulous!! They made our dining experience so much fun. As did our new friends at our table, from Maine and Toronto! We chose to do very few activities this sailing. The one we did do was the Food and Wine Pairing. It was held in Nick & Nora's in the afternoon. The cost was $15 pp and we felt it was well worth it. We sampled 5 wines (generous pours) and had a plate full of different foods to try with them. It was really an interesting class! We attended most of the evening shows. Our favorites were the ventriloquist and Ticket to Ride. We also went to several of the comedy club shows. They were crowded, but good. My husband enjoyed the casino, winning $600 one afternoon on a 2 penny machine. He always seems to win when I am not with him! Disembarkation was a breeze. Had a nice breakfast in the dining room before heading to one of the public areas and only waited maybe 15 minutes before our number was called. Again, having a low number is a benefit of having a suite. We were spending a couple more days in Flordia before heading home, so got a car from Budget. They had a shuttle at the pier and made it very easy for us. We loved this cruise for the combination of 3 ports and 4 full days at sea. I love the relaxation of sea days. Read Less
Sail Date February 2012
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 ... Read More
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. Read Less
Sail Date January 2012
This was our 5th cruise..All Carnival and 3rd time on Miracle. Wife (43) and myself (44) were sailing with a number of good friends who we will sail once a year. This was the 8 day cruise out of dry dock. I enjoy the ship and the ports ... Read More
This was our 5th cruise..All Carnival and 3rd time on Miracle. Wife (43) and myself (44) were sailing with a number of good friends who we will sail once a year. This was the 8 day cruise out of dry dock. I enjoy the ship and the ports very much. Just a few things I wanted to point out. First just coming out of dry dock I thought things didn't seem as "neat" as they should be. Behind the TV in the room was plenty of dust. Which remained the whole cruise. We didn't see our room steward until the 4th day. The new TVs in the room are horrible. They are located in such a way that to watch it and change the channels you have to be in a very awkward position. They also don't tell you the channels...When you switch channels you have no idea if you on channel 4 or 35...strange. The food was awesome as usual. However I think I could do without the new "didya ever" menu...to much of a gimmick if you ask me. Did the Chefs Table....WELL worth the 75.00pp...Tour of gallery while in operation was great...Food was out of this world and wine flowed freely all night. My wife doesn't eat fish but that was not a problem as they just made other choices available to her. One other observation, I noticed LESS chair hogs and more TABLE hogs...Every time we went to eat we saw a number of people playing cards and dominoes in the eating area. Embarkment and debarkment were very quick and easy... All in all another great cruise with Carnival Read Less
Sail Date January 2012
This was our 3th Carnival cruise, so we did give them a chance. Maybe we are spoiled by Princess and Celebrity standards. The itinerary, and price was great, but the service and food were not what we had hoped for. I have to say, that ... Read More
This was our 3th Carnival cruise, so we did give them a chance. Maybe we are spoiled by Princess and Celebrity standards. The itinerary, and price was great, but the service and food were not what we had hoped for. I have to say, that we really do not like the decor on the Miracle. Since it is now in dry dock, perhaps they are remodelling it. It is such a gawdy decor. Thousands of grapes, and cherubs, naked statues and paintings everywhere. We can see how hard cruise ship employees work, so we applaud those who do so with a smile. When we got onboard we found a set of car keys in the elevator. We took them to the Guest Services, who hastily took them from us, with barely a smile. Not a good first impression! The cabin was great, and the cabin steward did his job, but he was not nearly as friendly as the steward we had on the Freedom last year. Our dining room waitress seemed a bit rude. Luckily her assistant more than made up for her unfriendliness. He was really great. Our kids loved the pizza station, and visited it often. There were usually 2 men working at this station, and one of them was very friendly and happy to serve us, but the other was the most rude employee we have ever seen. We witnessed him rudely telling a lady to go sit down instead of wait for her pizza. The line up keep increasing, and I doubt she ever got her pizza. It was too bad that all the shows were just repeats from past cruises we've been on. I guess it's tough to change it up. We did enjoy the comedians, as they were new. The Phantom shows were all well done, but all repeats. One thing that should be improved on this ship, is the out door entertainment, especially in the evenings. We love being in the warm Caribbean breeze under the stars with no AC blowing on us like inside, but we found nothing going on out on the decks. The pools are roped off, and we only saw a band playing music on the Lido deck on one evening. Our overall impression of the ship and the crew, was that everyone was tired, and needed a break. We did have a wonderful vacation, with the best weather we have ever experienced on a trip. Our prayers are with all the crew and passengers and their families from Costa Concordia. Read Less
Sail Date January 2012
We arrived early in the morning at the port which turned out to be a good thing. To enter the port you need cruise documents and ID. The car in front of us had to open their trunk to find theirs. After waiting a while for that to end we ... Read More
We arrived early in the morning at the port which turned out to be a good thing. To enter the port you need cruise documents and ID. The car in front of us had to open their trunk to find theirs. After waiting a while for that to end we preceded to the terminal. I left my family at the VIP check in and went to park our car. Upon arriving back at the VIP check in the line had grown to over fifty people. Lucky for me the people in front of me didn't have their documents out when they needed to show them. Once I went through baggage check I went up to the VIP area. The computers were down. Once passengers arrived their name was written on a piece of paper to be called when the computers were finally working. After waiting a while our name was called. We checked in and were called to board just a short time afterwards. We took our boarding photo and sail & sign photo and were on our way on the gangway. I was stopped in the gangway by a man who said he was a government employee and that I could not take his photo. What? Ok. After I went through the motions to delete the photo that had him way in the background we made it to the ship. We have sailed on the Miracle twice before. It had been a couple of years since we had been on the Miracle and we were eager to see what work had been done while she was in dry dock. Like most guest when they first board the ship we went to the lido deck for something to eat. I noticed new signs over each place that food was available. After a good lunch we walked to the new serenity area. The sliding glass door had 21 and only etched on them. However the sign about the door said children's pool. I knew this would be confusing until the children's pool sign is removed. The serenity area had cabanas and padded lounge chairs. It also had a covered area for those who may not want to be in the sun. A large bar was there to provide drinks. It was about 12 noon. We decided to check and see if our cabin was ready for us. We took the elevator to our deck and the hall ways were not blocked like we expected. Our cabin was ready and we had our carryon luggage unpacked by 12:15. Our cabin was a regular balcony cabin. There was plenty of room for the three of us. Enough closet and drawer space. Our luggage when it arrived fit nicely under our bed. A new flat screen TV was another of the updates from dry dock. Dinner in the main dining room was very good. We had a great wait staff. Arguably the Miracle waiters put on the best dining room show we have seen on any ship. After dinner we enjoyed a family comedy show followed by a show in the main lounge. Once we completed our night's activities we returned to our cabin and were greeted by the expected towel animal and the extra pillows we ordered. Room service arrived within twenty minutes from placing the order. The sandwiches were great. As were the cookies. We ate breakfast the next day on the lido deck because we slept too late to eat in the main dining room. The omelet station had made to order omelets that were very good. There was the usual walking around a little to find a place to sit. Lines were not too long. In Nassau we visited the straw market which had moved into its new building. We also went to the pirate museum. It was a fun hour. A short walk and not expensive. They had many interesting artifacts. Back on the ship lunch and dinner were both good. We saw another comedy show and then saw "Ticket to Ride" in the main show lounge. We really enjoyed the show. By the time we returned to our cabin it was past the time to put out our luggage to be picked up. We decided to carry it off our self's. We had never done that before. Our room service order that night arrived even quicker than the night before. After a very good breakfast the next day in the main dining room we went back to our cabin and rolled out our luggage. We went straight to the exit were self assist was still going on and we walked right off. While on the ship we did have time to sit a while on our balcony and on deck. We did some on board shopping and a few other activities. We did purchase s few photos. We do on all of our cruises. It was a quick walk to the line for customs. Again we were in line behind someone who did not have their paper work ready. Once past customs we decided to just walk our luggage to the parking garage. Which was a short walk. The elevators had a lot of people waiting with luggage to use them. There is one elevator on the far end of the parking garage that does not get much use. It is quicker to walk to it than to wait in line. We loaded our car and paid our parking bill and were on our sway home. Our wait staff was great. Our cabin steward kept ice in the bucket and our cabin looking good. The rest of the staff we dealt with were always smiling and helped make another great cruise. We are in the planning stage for another cruise on the Miracle to Alaska. Read Less
Sail Date January 2012
- Background Information: We are professionals (me 49, she 45) with two teenagers (18 & 16) who have traveled widely in the US and Canada, Europe and the West Indies (often to the Abacos in the Northeastern Bahamas where we have ... Read More
- Background Information: We are professionals (me 49, she 45) with two teenagers (18 & 16) who have traveled widely in the US and Canada, Europe and the West Indies (often to the Abacos in the Northeastern Bahamas where we have been vacationing for about 10 years). Abaco is about the furthest thing you can get from a cruise. There are only about 250 people on the whole island we visit (getting there costs more than this cruise) where we have a place (Man-O-War Cay) so cruising with around 2,000 is very different. We have cruised before getting our Abaco property and always loved it despite the crowds. I did however intentionally avoid the new super-massive RCL ships as I really do not want to do anything with 6,000 people; 2,000 on the Miracle is plenty. We were in Jamaica for our 20th anniversary back in May and saw the Oasis; what a sight. I'd love to tour the ship but embarking, dining or doing anything with 6,000 doesn't sound appealing. My brother is an executive with what is usually described as a "much more upscale and expensive big ship line" and he questioned my choice of Carnival at first but the reasons (and research, mostly on CC) leading to my choice of this ship proved true. I hoped that the food would be "better" than RCL and hopefully as edible as Disney, it was (far superior "Lido" food than either). I hoped there would be lots of teenagers on a Carnival Christmas Cruise so that my high school kids were happy, there were. I thought that I would really enjoy an Ocean Suite on Carnival for less $ than a regular cabin on RCL or Disney, I did, it was great. I wanted an itinerary that had at least two islands I'd never visited and that were interesting. We live at the Beach and I do not need purely beach ports of call. All in all, we were thrilled. My brother told me to keep my expectations low, I did, but we would cruise Carnival again in a heartbeat. We met several families who have cruised the Miracle over and over and I get it. After 6 days you know which way to turn when you exit the elevators. - Hotel Info (N/A) - Ship Info: The Miracle is in good shape and well laid out. While it may not be as meticulously maintained as a Disney ship, our last cruise experience, it was nice. Very little wear and tear except for some sun bleaching on the lido and sun decks. The elevators deserve note as they are plentiful, fast and in excellent shape given their constant use. We NEVER waited more than a minute for an elevator and they were rarely full. Hallways were in good shape, even just prior to the coming refurbishment, and we never noticed any smells anywhere, except for the casino. If you find yourself trying to track down your teenagers, you will walk many thousands of feet. This ship is plenty long and I felt like we covered an immense amount of space daily. This was ultimately a good thing given the sheer quantity of calories consumed. The décor takes a little getting used to, as does everything Joe Farcus has designed, unless you were raised in South Florida, but it is "fun" and the Phantom Theatre is actually quite impressive. We have no complaint with the décor, it is what we expected but with better elevators. If there were any downsides to the ship (and they didn't detract from our cruise), the pools and hot tubs, mostly the hot tubs, were small and ALWAYS filled with 6-10 year olds. It was like 8 year old kid stew. This age group was out of control in the hot tubs and despite repeated warnings from staff, they felt no need to dry off between exiting the hot tub and jumping into the elevator leaving a trail of water. Yes there is an adults only pool/hot tub aft. It is the smallest and was always full. We called that pool the "smoking pool" as it seemed mandatory to smoke in that area and we never did anything more than pass through (and stop for ice cream of course). If you want a good view down the transom to the water and the prop wash, go down to deck 3 where the promenade deck wraps around aft. Spectacular views very close to the water and no one was ever there. - Note on Smoking/Other Passengers: Smoking was a big concern of ours prior to this trip. We almost never go anywhere there are smokers. We frequent a great casino in Ontario and smoking is not permitted in any public buildings anywhere in Canada so reports of constant smoke were a worry. We never see smoking in our restaurants or hotels in Charleston. Well you could go on for pages on the topic of smoking. This is a quandary indeed. I GET smoking, I'm surprised I am not a smoker. My father was a Marine and he left Korea smoking and smoked until the mid 80's, I grew up in Winston-Salem, a tobacco town, and I understand compulsions; with smoking being a powerful compulsion. I understand the challenge that a cruise line faces in trying to balance the abilities of smokers to smoke and non-smokers not to breathe in smoke. I'd sure hate to own a casino and think I had to enforce a rule that would force my slot players to get up from their slot machines to smoke on the promenade deck instead of sitting there feeding that machine. This is a tough call for the cruise line and for cruisers, smokers and non-smokers alike. I did have several conversations with the casino staff about smoking. None of them smoke and they said this cruise, with all the families, was a relief for them as they usually feel like they need to wear gas masks. We do not know many smokers. I cannot recall the last time we were around anyone that smokes until this cruise but I did not encounter any smoker who was not obeying the smoking areas. It was fascinating seeing entire (adult) families chain smoking Newports on deck, my kids were amazed/amused. Not something you'd see in Charleston. I'd say about 15% of the passengers were of Asian American descent and unlike Asians from Asia, we never saw ANY of this group smoking. There were lots and lots of tattoos in this crowd, I think that is a Northern thing but in no way bothersome. As the teenage boys we met from SC noted, there is something to be said for an 18 year old girl with tattoos, lots of metal piercings who smokes and there were plenty of them. Botton Line: It was not as bad as I feared. The Casino did smell, but you got used to it quickly. - Activities: Plenty to do. You need to organize your day/evening a little. Bring a highlighter for your FunTimes schedule, it will give you something to do while you eat. Some of the lounges were surprisingly quiet on many nights (why couldn't all nights be like the last?) and I am not sure this ship would have garnered such good "activities" reviews from me if I did not like the casino. - Service: Better than expected. It was "Fair" in the MDR but acceptable. Our last cruise was on Disney and while the quality of their food isn't much different (you are feeding 2,000, what do you expect) their service is far superior but I knew that in advance. Their waiters rotate with you from restaurant to restaurant, so what do you expect. The bar service was good, the casino service was excellent. Our room steward "Wasan" (short for a very, very long Indian name) was great! - Port & Shore Excursions: We were very happy overall with our three island ports of call. If there is anything truly useful in this overly long review of mine, it is this. Ports of Call ARE WHAT YOU MAKE OF THEM. Picture this. You are European and have never visited the USA. You finally get to visit on a Cruise which stops at Port Elizabeth (Newark), the busiest port on the East Coast. How would you report to your friends on your visit to the USA if you never went beyond walking distance of the ship at your dock in Newark? Sint Maarten/St Martin: This was our least favorite, but it's fine and I'd still happily go back. While this is maybe the best shopping port in the islands, if I want to shop I will drive into downtown Charleston, but St Maarten is a still a great "hang out at the beach island". Some people are shopping people, I like blackjack, I'm a guy, I do not shop recreationally so to each his own. My complaint is that this island is overdeveloped and we made the mistake of going to Marigot for a nice French lunch like we had on our honeymoon visit 20 years ago. The traffic is very bad and very little break in it from the port to Marigot despite the fact that the road construction is complete. Our lunch in Marigot was fine but our café overlooked . . . that's right, traffic. This island is fine but you need to plan carefully. Philipsburg looks better than it did 20 years ago but there is enough concrete in the "Boardwalk" area to make you think you are in Atlantic City. Our beaches at home don't have a lot of concrete and we appreciate that. With St Martin, make a plan and stick to it or sit in traffic. It can be a lovely destination but we get plenty of traffic at home. St Lucia: If you do not venture beyond walking distance of the ship at the dock in Castries, you will hate St Lucia. I heard many people say they did not like this stop and none of them ventured beyond this rather industrial/business town. If you venture south, or anywhere away from the City, I think you will love it. This was the only port that we used a Carnival sponsored excursion (the land/sea combo to Soufriere) and it was great. You would have to fly to Hawaii to find a more spectacularly beautiful island. Absolutely breathtaking. We have good friends who vacation in the South of St Lucia every year and now I know why. Gorgeous. Amazing. St Kitts: The high point of our trip, the low point for many. Again, the area within walking distance of this ship is like a second world outlet mall. Get beyond that and this island is great. Join every other passenger from the ship on Reggae Beach and come back and complain how crowded it was. We met our guides (two surfer dudes, one an amazingly multi-talented guy from Nova Scotia, the other a really nice guy and good surfer from California) and spent the morning watching our kids surf on Sandy Bank Bay with the mountains behind us and no one else in sight. These guys are with "Surfing St Kitts", we first discovered them on CC's St Kitts board and they were awesome. Mark made this visit the highlight of our cruise. My son wasn't about to leave the surfing so Mark drove us all the way around the northern end of the island while Dan surfed with our son. Even though he is 18, I do not like him surfing alone even at home. We saw very black sand beaches, nice people, plenty of monkeys (in the wild I might add) and a breathtaking landscape that reminded us of Scotland, but a lot warmer. My most astounding photos were taken during this visit. Of the three islands we visited, this is the one we would most likely travel back to by plane to stay at a land based resort. I would doubt that is true of many of the cruisers on this cruise. - Travel To Port of Embarkation: Access to the Pier at Port Everglades is easy. Parking is nearby. Price for 8 day cruise parking was $120. Parking and retrieving my car took a few minutes. My wife and daughter flew to FLL from CHS. We all drove home. For anyone dealing with I-95 from FLL North (or South), it is a lot better than it used to be. The endless construction has largely been completed. It is three lanes most all of the 450+ miles to SC. Embarkation was, as some have commented, kind of a disorganized mess. The terminal building is not an appealing structure, unlike Disney's which is downright impressive. We had VIP check-in but had it not been for these boards I would have never known how to find that line as no one could tell you anything. The check-in agents appeared to be volunteer retirees, they were nice enough but way over their heads. They were searching for our S&S cards in envelopes by hand, not being able to find them. I pointed out that they'd missed several stacks and searched other stacks twice and they finally found our two envelopes. I was waiting for the "Could it be under another name?" line. Scatterbrained as it seemed, we got on board in a reasonable amount of time. - Stateroom: Wonderful! Our Ocean Suite (6181) was superb. I cannot imagine being happier with a cabin on Seabourn or another high end line. It seemed huge compared to our kids' interior room across the hall. A/C worked perfectly although we were cold more often than hot. The décor was also a lot better than a standard room; great tile work, nice granite on all four countertops (two in main room, one in dressing area and the two lavatory area in bathroom), the bed was perfect as was the shower/jacuzzi which was spacious and had great water flow. More storage than anyone would need for even a month long cruise and a huge balcony with two full length lounge chairs, two regular chairs and a small table. Was it worth the extra $$ for the OS? It was for us. As a ticket agent in NYC told me once when I asked him if the more expensive seats were worth the extra money, he said, "they are if you have it". Would I cruise if I couldn't afford the Ocean Suite? Yes, and I have every time but this one. In 8 cruises this is my first cabin with a balcony and my first suite. Fortunately, there are at least a few things that actually do improve as you get older and budget can be one of them. My first cabin on any ship was an interior cabin on the Festivale in 1986 when I went with my parents and it wasn't much bigger than my bathroom and dressing room on the Miracle, but I still had a great time. - Dining: Only one surprise. Horatio's (the Lido buffet area) was far better than our buffet experiences on past cruises. The Deli was my favorite. I like high quality deli sandwiches and they thin slice high quality meats right there. You might wait 5-10 minutes but it was worth it. The sandwiches they produced were as good as what you would pay $8 - $12 for in a good deli. The Asian station was very good with unusually crispy egg rolls. The Jamaican station (2-3 days) was great. Salads were edible. Omelettes were good. Scrambled eggs were marginally edible but not surprising. Pizza was as someone else remarked, like decent frozen. DO NOT expect Pizzeria quality pizza. If you eat at deli hours you have no excuse for settling for mediocre pizza. The pizza place was a big hang out for teens late at night and that was good. What is edible at age 17 is a lot different than at age 49. Bacchus Main Dining Room. This was "hit and miss" to be kind as far as food quality (except for the desserts which were consistently better, my kids are sold on the Warm Choc Melting Cake), but none of this was surprising. Delivering food for 1,200 is never going to result in great food. We weren't expecting gourmet food. HOWEVER, it was nice enjoying the dining experience with our teenagers who usually don't have too much time for us and our servers were pleasant and competent enough to make it a good experience. We were "ANYTIME" diners and I worried that this would seriously detract from our experience or cause us to wait long periods of time to be seated. Much to the credit of the (lovely and professional Hungarian female) hostess at the front, Deck 3 entrance, we were always seated promptly except once on the first night and on that night we waited exactly as long as she told us we would (15 minutes) and we had only two servers during the cruise so there was adequate consistency. We skipped Bacchus twice for Nick and Nora's. The Steakhouse (Nick and Noras): To make a long story short, we went back for a second visit after a kind of odd first visit. On the first visit (second night) we took our teens with us and they found it a lot more stuffy and weirdly quiet than the high end gourmet restaurants we frequent in Charleston. These Steakhouses seem to be operating on the 1980's concept of "fancy dining". Despite making reservations about two months in advance and with maybe two tables occupied, we were given a table for four with virtually no light whatsoever so with my 49 year old eyesight, I would have had to take my menu to the cabin to read it. We asked for a different table and it proved to be a strangely challenging request, particularly in light of the fact the place was nearly empty. We went back without the kids (who declined our invite in order to eat in Bacchus with other teens, a request made possible by the lovely hostess whose name is escaping me) on the last night of the cruise and had a superb meal. Again the table choice was awkward and the service polite, kind but somewhat amateurish, but I've got to say that the Prime New York Strip was pretty amazing, and I've eaten at a lot of great steakhouses on some client's top dollar dime. I will say that before the amazing chocolate sampler dessert, I was ready to throw in the flag and quit eating. I am so glad I bought some nice new trousers with a very discreet expandable waist. We dressed appropriately for this restaurant and wish everyone did (a comment on other reviews as we did not see anyone in this restaurant who was not appropriately dressed). - Children's Clubs: At age 15 my sophomore daughter fell into the Club O2 group. It was sparsely attended. The problem is that the 15 -- 17 year olds want to dance with the 18-19 year olds in "Frankenstein's Lab" so they basically skip Club O2 and try sneaking in "the lab". Sometimes they got in, sometimes not. So my 18 year old son is old enough to dance in Frankenstein's "disco", not old enough to drink, but old enough to gamble. I don't see why they couldn't let younger teens in to dance as long as they enforce the drinking age. Clubs in Charleston will let the "under 21" set in as long as they pay a non-drinking surcharge. I will say that Tatiana, who led this teen club/group, was SUPERB! If my oldest had been 15, rather than 18, this would have been easier. There was however far more dancing going on in Frankensteins Lab than in Club O2, none of it in any way inappropriate for high school kids. - Entertainment: About what I expected. This is where Disney really shines of course (and they should). The Phantom Theatre is spectacular. The main shows were pretty good, Generations and the Beatles Tribute the high points of course. The "World's Best Juggler" was better than I expected, the ventriloquist was better than a mime I suppose, though I did start to fall asleep with this guy. The comedians were OK, one was pretty good, one fair, one not so much but at least they did swap out comics half way in the cruise. The Casino. This was my favorite entertainment. I am a Blackjack player. The staff was excellent and very engaging. The game was good, only one rule makes it slightly less advantageous than the land based casinos I visit (dealer hits a soft 17). My only complaint was that this was the most smoking of all the areas on the ship and if you are a non-smoker with a decent sense of smell, the casino smells like an old fire pit for the first few minutes you walk in. - Disembarkation: Excellent. Could not have been easier. We went from breakfast on the Lido deck, stopped by the room, off the ship, found our bags in about 2 minutes and were in the car in less than 30 minutes total. So this somewhat skeptical, somewhat jaded group of travelers had a great time on this Carnival Cruise and we are thinking about doing it again. Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
This is the 3rd Carnival ship we have been on. I found the Miracle to be very elegant compared to the other ships. It was kept very clean. It is going into dry dock very soon and will be updated. The service was excellent. The waitors, ... Read More
This is the 3rd Carnival ship we have been on. I found the Miracle to be very elegant compared to the other ships. It was kept very clean. It is going into dry dock very soon and will be updated. The service was excellent. The waitors, bartenders, stewards, chef, maitre'd, etc. were the nicest we have encountered on any ship. The food was tasty and varied. We were fortunate enough to do the Chef's table. Unforgettable experience and well worth the fee. We spent four hours eating, drinking, and speaking with the chef who told us all about the food operation on the ship. We also visited the steakhouse. What a bargain. TERRIFIC. The Miracle has a nice sized casino, you do not feel cramped in. I found the people at the casino were very nice. The GYM was too crowded. Too many non-port days and not much to do. My husband and I slept alot and got much needed rest. Our stateroom was the standard balcony cabin. We were very happy with it. It was kept clean and we were in a very good location. Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
Carnival Miracle Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.4
Dining 3.5 4.0
Entertainment 4.0 3.8
Public Rooms 4.0 4.3
Fitness Recreation 3.5 4.0
Family 4.0 4.0
Shore Excursion 3.0 4.0
Enrichment 1.5 3.5
Service 4.0 4.4
Value For Money 4.5 4.1
Rates 3.0 4.4

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