So we had been thinking about taking a cruise for a long time and finally decided to pull the trigger and actually go when we found a New Years cruise on the Carnival Miracle for a reasonable price that went to some exotic Southern Caribbean ports- St. Martin, St. Lucia, and St. Kitts. There are three of us, my wife and I as well as our 8 year old son. Overall we had an incredible time and would recommend Carnival to others, but we also weren't completely sold on all aspects of the experience and we'll probably try out a few other vacations before we go running back to another cruise.
Our trip down to Florida was a mess, but no one's fault really. Although it started with a limo pulling up in our driveway, the aftermath of the Dec 2010 Blizzard proceeded to wreak havoc with our flights. Instead of making it to Ft. Lauderdale the evening before our departure we arrived in West Palm Beach at 3am. Luckily the hotel we had booked, the Hampton Inn North Cruise Port held our room for us as we requested and our vacation would go much smoother from there on out. The Hampton Inn was a great place to stay as they had free shuttle service to the airport and the pier as well as a Wynn Dixie next door if you needed any last minute items. Embarkation was a little chaotic at first, but we were on the ship in about 45 minutes, so can't really complain about that.
The Carnival Miracle was a nice ship, although it didn't really blow you away with anything too fancy. Our balcony stateroom was a decent size, perfect for the 3 of us. I don't know how you can fit 4 in a room of that same size without driving everyone crazy though. Other than a very limited selection of TV channels I found the cabin to be perfect (we didn't go on vacation to watch TV, so who cares about that anyways).