Many have described the Miracle to I'll focus on just the highlights and issues for us:
1. Cabin 4237 was outstanding with the huge half covered wrap balcony and two rooms. Loved having 2 sinks in the bath and the large bath tub/shower combo. Despite the half covered balcony we got lots of sun for half of the sea days.
2. Wish Carnival would offer more to suites than just priority boarding. Getting off was a long nightmare compared to other lines who offer suites priority debarkation as well.
3. Food ranged from excellent to average. We wished at times that we had brought some seasoning from home as some entrees were bland to our taste. Steaks were a bit tough at times. Soups were very good as were many of the appetizers. Thought Veal Parmigiana served with mashed sweet potatoes and not pasta was very strange. The wait staff told us the Head Chef was Indian and did things "differently"....I'll say! :)
4. Wait staff (Bernadette and Arthur) were excellent and we liked having the late seating on the port days. We will try "Anytime Dining" next year as we thought 8:15 on Sea Days was a bit late and would prefer to eat at 7-7:30pm to enjoy more evening activities. Also our table of 6 started with 4 of us and then the other couple didn't show for 3 days (sea sickness) so we ate alone at a huge table.
5. Didn't go to any shows but enjoyed the Music at Frankie and Johnnies, sushi as an appetizer, and instead of waiting in the dinner line, having a drink at the Jeeves Lounge Bar and watching for the line to dwindle down.
6. Everyone on the Miracle greeted us and smiled. Our room steward (I. Wayan) constantly used our names in greeting which was nice.
7. Suite maintenance needing some work. All of the lighting in the living room area (2 room suite) was messed up so lights did not come on correctly and then finally stayed on and could not be turned off. Cabin staff accidentally broke off a light switch. They did call maintenance to fix all this while we were at dinner and all was well after that. Beware of flimsy towel racks on doors made of plastic. Someone had leaned on one and it was cracked and fell to the ground when I placed a towel on it. Maintenance replaced this and repaired while we were out.
Overall we had a fabulous time and have already booked the Miracle for 2010.
4237: wood floor entry, bar glasses on the wall at entry, small fridge under desk with ice bucket/more glasses, hard vinyl sofa (but easy to keep clean), coffee table in front of sofa can be raised up for dining. Small useless sofa side chair. Quiet location with emergency door right around the corner for the boat drill. Bathroom has marble top with 2 sinks, 2 shelving areas, full tub with whirlpool jets and shower. 2 rooms have doors so if someone is sleeping late the other person can access the living room (TV) or go out on the balcony without disturbing. Bed was Queen/King sized with TV. Huge walk in closet with shelves in dressing area. Dressing area has large mirrors, table with drawers and small bench for sitting. Balcony had 2 lounge chairs, 2 small tables and 3 small upright chairs.
St. Maarten always rates an A+ for efficiency in cab and tour routing at the port area. We joined the Orient Beach line and soon found ourselves on the way. We asked to be dropped off at Boo Boo Jam area end of the Beach which is at the opposite end from the Pedro's area. The driver asked 2x whether we wanted to go there. He was concerned we wouldn't like being away from the main action. It was a real walk to go there since he dropped us off at the Bikini Beach/Coco area. I think there is a closer drop off but we didn't ask and just went with the flow.
We arrived at Boo Boo Jam around 9:30am and had a front row umbrella and chairs. Water a little rougher due to high winds and I understand is generally more waves compared to the other end near Pedros. Few people were there until around 10:30 when a group of German tourists arrived on a "Beach Break" type of tour. Still not very crowded compared to the other end of Orient.
We had lunch at Boo Boo Jam and had a large choice. My husband had the BBQ Ribs and they were fabulous. I had a grilled fish sandwich...very good as well. Prices were $10-15 dollar range. No beach chair drink service so we got ourselves. Others have commented that service not as friendly as some places. The bar people never cracked a smile. Our lunch waitress on the other hand was very friendly.
We have always gone to the Pedros end of the beach so this was a nice change. I understand the place really rocks at night with live bands and dancing. Would recommend Boo Boo Jam if you are looking to try a different spot on Orient Beach... little more rustic and quieter overall.
We'd been to St. Lucia and did an Island Tour last time so this time we wanted to try a beach experience. We stopped in St. Lucia and had booked with SerenityTours (John and Caroline) for the Ti Kaye resort day. We were to have been met at the port and then take the Island Diver boat to the resort beginning at 9:30am and returning at 3pm.
We met Sherma from Serenity as scheduled and she said, "I have bad news. Island Divers cancelled because their group of 12 cancelled and they were not interested in taking just 2 of you to the resort.".
We had booked this 10 months ago so you can imagine we were really upset and had no back-up plan. Sherma offered us the land tour with a group of 6 but this was not what we had wanted. My husband asked if they could just drop us off at the resort during the tour since it was on the way. They agreed.
Although the visit got off to a rocky trip (we felt $100 roundtrip just for transport to Ti Kaye with wasted time to view bananas we saw last time was too much), once we arrived at the resort it was well worth the aggravation. It was a beautiful, silver grey beach with umbrellas and chairs (only $10 for 2 chairs & umbrella), kayaks and snorkel equipment for rent and beachside drink service by the wonderful Terri.
We enjoyed swimming in the clear calm water and had a delicious lunch at the beachside open air restaurant. I had chicken curry roti with plaintain chips and my husband had a fried seafood basket with shrimp, fish and calamari. Both were fairly priced around $10-11 each given it was a resort.
The Serenity Tour bus picked us up on time as planned and had the resort team look for us to confirm before they arrived which was a nice touch.
Although Serenity did deliver us to the resort, not taking the Island Divers Boat cost us about 2 hours of resort time. I would not book this tour again if it has any connection to the undependable Island Divers people.
We visited for the Marriott Resort for the day. When we arrived, a rain storm had just passed through and it remained gray for a while. A young man greeted us at the beach and offered us chairs and umbrella at no cost since the beach was empty and their vacancy high that day he said. There was construction going on at the back of the main resort. Everything looked very well kept including the grounds.
We were prepared to pay the rental cost but instead spent money on lunch and drinks all of which were delivered to our beach chairs. The sun eventually came out and it was a great beach day. I am not a strong swimmer but the huge boulders off the beach act as barriers to the large waves (this is the Atlantic side) so I was able to swim comfortably and float along with the waves. The beach is a golden tan color, not powdery white but not the dark volcanic sand.
There was a volley ball type net at one end of the beach and a family and children were playing soccer there. Beach wide enough we didn't even hear them.
The hottest Jerk Chicken wings ever were $8.95...expensive but the wings were large. They also had sandwiches and burgers available. Had the best Rum Punch of the cruise here.
Vendors were very polite. Simple no thank you and smile and they did not return if you were not interested. Most people on the beach were Marriott booked guests and a few crew members from the Victory were there.
Based on our experience I would definitely return to the Marriott. Wish we had had more time there. The only negative was that the cab driver, Warren (Mr. Showers of Blessings) was supposed to return and instead sent a stranger to get us. We made Ashton call Warren on his cell and we spoke with him to make sure this wasn't someone trying to cut Warren out. Apparently Warren got a better offer and so asked Ashton to substitute. We wouldn't object but Warren made such a big deal of how much he enjoyed talking with us and made an offer of a $10 extra 1 hour tour which didn't happen.
I think St. Kitts gets a 4 for tourism and customer service and the Marriott gets a 5. I think the people of St. Kitts who work with tourists need to have a better service attitude and responsibility but perhaps that is the island way and we expected too much.