Cruise Ship: Carnival Miracle
Cruise Destination: Western Caribbean from Tampa -- Tampa, Grand Cayman, Cozumel, Belize, and Costa Maya
Cruise Dates: March 12, 2006
Guest Contributor: Bob and Wendy
Embarkation on the Carnival Miracle
This was our 11th cruise, the third on Carnival, and our cruisemates 14th cruise. We arrived at Terminal 2 at noon by private car, and decided to use the $10 valet parking after the valet said we'd have our car in 10 minutes on return. This turned out to be incorrect, you get your own car on return. The daily parking fee is $12, and the parkade is across the street from the terminal. So doing valet wasn't worth the fee, you might as well drop your people and luggage off at the ship porters, then park at the parkade and walk back across the street. On return, get your car while your people stay with your luggage in front of the parking building.
The process inside the terminal was ok, waited only a few minutes to get the ship card, then waited about half an hour in a seated area to be called to board. No escorts to the cabins, find your own way. Our luggage arrived about 4pm, our friends got theirs faster. Good lunch buffet, then went to the dining room to ask the maitre'd for a dining table change to a larger table, which he was later able to do. Fire muster drill at 3:30, sailaway after that.
The Carnival Miracle Cruise Ship
The Miracle was built in 2004, and it's very clean and new. The decorating is gaudy, loud, often tacky, kind of like a Vegas hotel gone wild. And the decorating themes seem unconnected. The dining room is a Bacchus (god of pleasure) theme, with pink flying saucer lights all over the walls, ceiling, and pillars that other reviewers have shaken their heads at, apparently meant to resemble bunches of grapes. Then in other areas of the ship the theme is characters such as Robin Hood, Captain Hook, famous detectives. Then in other areas it's an Alice in Wonderland theme, all this with crazy loud décor, none of which seems to flow together. Even the huge atrium was garish. One area of the ship that was classy was Nick and Nora's pay restaurant, $30 p.p. (no discounts offered all week). The location was lovely, nice views, more space between tables and quieter than the main dining room.
Ship design was also strange in some areas. They built a huge atrium extending to the top of the ship, and then put an overhang above the atrium that cuts off your view. And one side of the atrium had hardly any seating. Another design hassle was the very low ceiling in the upper level of the dining room, which we are guessing was the reason for it being so noisy, you have to raise your voice to be heard across the table. If you don't like it noisy you should request a table on the lower level. And there were no panoramic windows in the dining room, this was the only ship that we couldn't tell where the dining room was from the outside. The good design thing is it's easy to find your way around, no roadblocks.
As usual, on sea days all the loungers around or above the pools are taken or saved by 9:30, but the good news is there are lots of extra stacks of loungers further astern on either side, so you can always find one, great if you don't mind a quiet place away from the action. And the loungers are great, a nice mesh, no more buggy straps. We love calypso bands, and were disappointed in the pool band, they played a strange mix, off beat reggae, no one dancing on the pool dance floor. The Asian band in Frankie and Johnnie's bar was great, good rock and roll, etc.
The gym was good, adequate number of machines, nice to find some we use that aren't often on ships, separate aerobics room (classes $10), good free weights, heated lounger area (overhead heater lamps), floor mats, nice views from the machines, nice rubberized jogging track on the top deck.
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