My boyfriend and I got back from the Carnival Miracle on 12/23/08. We sailed on 12/15. We had booked the cruise about 4-5 months in advance, and had been anticipating the trip, counting down the days! We were very disappointed when we got to the port in Fort Lauderdale. A lady handed us a paper and said that there was a new itinerary. We were supposed to be going on a cruise to Panama, Costa Rica, and Belize. Apparently, there was some type of problem with the ship's propulsion and it could not go as fast. We learned that we would be going to Costa Maya and Cozumel Mexico, Belize, and Roatan. I felt horrible at the moment because I pictured my cruise to be one thing and now I had to readjust almost everything. Plus, my boyfriend was really looking forward to ziplining in Costa Rica. The kicker to the story is that as compensation, Carnival offered a $25 shipboard credit to each passenger. I felt like this was completely inadequate and a real slap in the face. That's like two FunShip drinks!
We decided that we would try to make the most of the trip despite the changes. After all, we weren't at home or at our jobs, and it was time to relax. We had previously sailed on the Valor. The Miracle is slightly smaller than the Valor, although not by much. It carries a fictional character theme, and this is evident throughout each of its decks. Some of the ships highlights are Frankenstein's Lab (the disco), the Phantom Lounge (where they have the shows), and the atrium (at the top of this space there are a set of plexiglass stairs that lead to the supper club...it is truly scary to climb these stairs and look down!). In general, the ship was everything I expected from a Carnival vessel. Not too fancy, kind of gaudy in certain areas, but generally clean and inviting. On this cruise, we opted for an obstructed balcony room. I was worried about what this would be like, even though the guy from Carnival sent me a picture prior to the booking. The obstruction comes from a lifeboat that is situated about four or five feet below the balcony. Hence, you can't look straight down, but you can look out onto the water. We hardly even sat on the balcony, and basically just wanted to be able to have some fresh air and some daylight (last time we had an inside cabin and always felt like we were in a cave). The stateroom was comfortable and not too small, but I hate the way Carnival decorates its rooms (with coral pastel colors). They just look kind of dated. Our cabin steward was very friendly and always left really cool towel animals on our bed.
The food on this cruise was good. In the dining room, there is a nightly menu with starters, main courses, and desserts. Try the warm chocolate melting cake. It is a Carnival staple and it's very good. Some of the main courses were so-so, but in general I really enjoyed eating there. They had some good steak, fish, and pasta dishes. On the lido deck, there are several buffets with different types of food and it is very hard to resist trying everything. Be prepared to gain a few pounds. They have burgers with all the trimmings, Asian food, traditional American, some Mexican, and even sushi. Juices and lemonade are always free, but you will have to pay for soda.