May 22-30, 2012
My wife and I sailed on
the Carnival Miracle leaving on May 22nd, 2012 out of New York City
as an 8-day cruise to the Bahamas.
The cruise left New York with stops at Grand Turk, Half Moon Cay,
and Nassau before returning to New York. It was our 4th Carnival
cruise (18th overall). We have sailed on NCL 13 times and Royal
We booked this cruise just 6 days prior to the sailing. I had
been very busy with business travel and had a brief respite, so we
decided to get away for a relaxing cruise. With 4 sea days, the
Miracle’s itinerary fit the bill. We had never been to Grand Turk or
Half Moon Cay before. We looked at NCL cruises out of New York, but
we had sailed on them several times and wanted a change from their
itineraries and same old production shows.
Day 1 – Embarkation Day New York City
It was a showery day with temps in the low 70’s F as we left our
house, but it was just overcast in New York that afternoon.
Sailing out of New York City is very convenient for us. We live in
Connecticut just outside of New Haven, so driving to the New York
cruise terminal is a short trip for us. We always drive down the
Henry Hudson Parkway on Manhattan’s Westside to get to the cruise
ship terminals there. We look forward to our first view of the ship
as we drive south of the George Washington Bridge along the river.
The cruise terminals are located on 12th Avenue at 55th Street. They
are next to the U.S.S. Intrepid, an aircraft carrier that is now a
When we arrived at the terminals at 12:45 pm, the Miracle was the
only ship in port that day and there was very little traffic at the
curbside of the terminals. There are secure parking lots above the
cruise ship terminals. Parking fees are not cheap ($35 a day), but
having the ease of driving down and just walking on board the ship
versus shlepping our bags from trains or buses and taxis makes it
worth the price. We drove up the ramp to the parking level and paid
for the parking with our credit card ($280 for the 8 day trip).
There was a porter waiting for us at the elevator on the parking lot
level, so we were able to use the escalator to go downstairs with
only our carry-on luggage.
When we walked into our terminal, there was a short line for
security before lining up for the sign-in process. I had previously
registered on line and provided all of our information, so we only
needed to wait to get our keycards. Next, we walked to the door
leading to the pier. It was here that they took our photos to match
with our keycards. We walked onto the ship in less than 15 minutes
after entering the terminal. We tried to head up to our cabin on
deck 4 to drop off our carry-ons. It was an ocean view cabin (room
4196) which was near the aft stairwell. But, as we got to our deck,
the doors to the hallways leading to the cabins were closed and we
heard announcements that all cabins would not be available until
1:30 pm. We just headed up top-side to get a quick lunch before
going to our room after it was cleared. We explored the ship a bit
before heading down to our assigned station for the muster drill at
3:00 pm. We did not have to bring our lifejackets to the muster.
After the drill, we headed back topside to find a spot in the aft
Serenity area for the 4:00 pm sail away.
The passengers included a lot of young children which surprised us.
We figured that because of the Memorial Day Holiday, many parents
pulled their kids out of school for the cruise. There were a lot of
recent college grads as well.
New York is our favorite harbor for sailing away. It is always
special for us because we get to sail down the Hudson viewing the
Manhattan Skyline and then the Statue of Liberty. This particular
sail away had an extra bonus. The Memorial Day holiday weekend is
Fleet week in New York and there were tall ships that had already
arrived in the harbor. This included the U.S. Coast Guard barque
Eagle which was anchored near the Statue of Liberty. It made for a
great photo to have the Eagle with Lady Liberty behind her. After
that, our ship passed under the Verranzano Bridge and let out a big
blast of her horn telling us that our vacation cruise has officially
For dinner, we went to our assigned table (early seating at 6:00 pm)
in the Bacchus Restaurant, which was the only main dining room on
the ship. The dress code for this evening was Cruise Casual. Our
assigned table turned out to be the largest one in the dining room
with 12 seats. It was difficult to hold a conversation with the
diners at the other end of the table. Because of our booking the
cruise so late, we were not able to choose the “Your Time Dining”
The show for the evening was the “Welcome Aboard Show” show in the
Phantom Theatre at 10:30 pm. The Phantom Theatre holds about 1,000
people and has a variety of seating with most having good views. The
show was hosted by the Cruise director, Hennie van Heerden. The
Vegas style show had singers (Tanner McGuire and Darren Jeffries)
along with dancers. In addition, they had 2 comics (Jorge Solano and
Al Romero) perform short acts.
After the show, they had a DJ providing dance music in the disco
nightclub (Frankenstein’s Lab) and the comedian, Al Romero in the
Punchliner Comedy Club located at the Mad Hatter’s Ball lounge on
Deck 1 forward. We had seen Al Romero several times on a previous
cruise and the jokes he told at the Welcome Aboard show were the
same ones we had heard before, so we decided to not see his act.
They had a band called “Music Unlimited” performing in the Frankie
and Johnnie’s bar. Unfortunately, this is one place where they allow
cigar and cigarette smoking. We sat near the door, but the smoke was
too overpowering, so we left.
Day 2 – Day at Sea
It started as an overcast day with showers in the morning and then a
partly sunny afternoon with temps in the 80’s F. The seas had seven
foot waves due to the after effects of a tropical storm that had
come up the coast.
We enjoy playing trivia and met up with another couple to play a
match based on the 50’s decade before heading up for breakfast. Our
team won and we received our first “Ship on a stick” trophy.
They also had a comedy brunch in the Bacchus Restaurant. These had
no extra fees, but suggested making reservations. They held the
Comedy Brunches on each of the Sea Days.
Other activities occurring this day were a cooking demonstration, a
gemstone seminar, and an art collecting seminar.
In the afternoon, they had a Motown music trivia which we won on our
own. After that, I went up for a run on the Sports deck. It was very
windy and the area was crowded with people playing mini-golf and
basketball. About ten minutes later, a security guard came up and
told everyone to leave the deck due to the high winds. I went down
to the fitness center and found an empty treadmill to use for the
rest of my workout. Running on a treadmill on rolling seas is a
challenge and not very enjoyable as I found myself banging into the
rails as I tried to stay balanced.
For dinner in the Bacchus Restaurant, the dress code for this
evening was Cruise Elegant. On the menu was lobster and prime rib
which seemed a big hit with everyone.
The evening’s entertainment in the Phantom Theatre was “Singin’ with
the Big Band”, a song and dance show with a singer named Christopher
Alan Graves and the show dancers. He performed songs that Frank
Sinatra and Sammy Davis Jr. had recorded over the years. He had a
great voice and knew how to play to the audience. He had a large
group of children come up on stage for the song “Candy Man”. I
thought it was a good show.
Since tomorrow was a sea day, we stayed up late. We went to the
Punchliner Comedy Club to listen to Jorge Solano in the Mad Hatter’s
Ball. They had comics performing on a lot of nights during the
cruise. The comedy club offered family friendly shows early in the
evening and adult humor in the later hours. Again, we avoided seeing
We stopped by Frankie and Johnnie’s to listen to Music Unlimited
again and the smoke in the room was worse than the night before so
we left. Down in the disco, they were playing 70’s and 80’s hit
Day 3 – Day at Sea
t was an overcast day until about 3:00 pm when the sun came out
with temps in the 70’s F and very windy.
We slept in and had a leisurely breakfast late in the morning before
heading downstairs for some trivia. One of them was based on the
Civil War and we teamed up with a couple from our dining room table.
They were Civil War re-enactors and were very knowledgeable on the
subject. Our team won thanks to them. They gave us medals for this
With the weather so cold and overcast, the buffet area was very
crowded for lunch.
The Miracle has 3 main pools. The Ulysses Pool and Siren’s Pool are
found mid-ship on the Lido deck while the Serenity Pool is found
aft. The Ulysses Pool has a retractable roof cover and this is where
all the poolside activities occurred.
They had a food and wine seminar for adults and a Teddy Bear
Workshop for the kids.
I am an amateur musician and enjoy listening to Jazz. They had the
entire Miracle Show Band playing sets of jazz music in the Jeeve’s
Lounge the hour prior to each of the assigned dining hours. The band
and music was great, but about 15 minutes before the start of the
dining room being opened, all of the diners showing up for dinner
formed a long line in front of the band so we could not see them
play. We enjoyed listening to both sets of music.
The dress code for this evening was Cruise Casual.
The main show in the Phantom Theatre was a comedy juggling show with
a juggler named Dana Tison. I thought he was a good juggler and his
humor was funny and not over the top.
Later on, they had the comedy club open and we went to see Jorge
Solano again. In addition to Music Unlimited in the smoky Frankie
and Johnnie’s, they had a guitarist named JD playing in the Atrium
lobby and a piano player named Tony Ray playing in the casino on a
small stage set up behind the bar there.
Day 4 – Grand Turk
It was a sunny day with temps around 90’s F and humid. The sun
worshippers were finally happy with the weather.
The port stop in Grand Turk is a relatively short one. We arrived
around 07:00 am and had a planned departure time of 03:00 pm. Our
next stop was Half Moon Cay which is about 350 miles away from Grand
Turk and they would need the extra hours in order to get there by
the following morning.
There were no announcements, but I saw people walking off the ship
at 07:30 pm.
We were the only ship in port that day.
The island itself is a small one at about 6 or so miles wide from
north to south and much narrower from east to west. There is a large
pier where we docked at the southern tip of the island. We had to go
through a large cruise terminal to get the roads leading around the
island. The pier and cruise center were built by Carnival.
The U.S. dollar is the official currency of the island, so there
were no worries of currency exchange rates.
There is a huge Margaritaville near the Cruise Terminal that
includes a large pool that is open to all of the cruise passengers.
A lot of people were going there or to the beach next to the pier to
spend their time on the island.
Grand Turk is known for their spectacular beaches and snorkeling
sites. We had decided to go into the small capital city of Cockburn
Town to see what it had to offer. Just outside the cruise terminal
center, they have a taxi stand and a person hailing the cabs for
you. The rates are posted on a sign showing the 4 zones of the
island and the rates to go to each one. The cab ride to Cockburn
Town was $5 for each of us. He dropped us off in front of the
National Museum of the Turks and Caicos. The Museum is located in
the Guinep house which was built over 200 years ago. Admission was
$5 for cruise ship passengers. Inside, a guide gave us a brief
lecture about the museum and then showed us a short film before we
walked around to look at the exhibits. They had remains of what is
the oldest shipwreck found in the western hemisphere. In addition,
they had a small display about the Mercury astronaut John Glenn,
whose spacecraft splashed down about a mile from Grand Turk 50 years
ago. While it is not a big museum, we found it interesting. There
was not much else to see in town, so we walked through a few nearby
shops before hailing a cab back towards the cruise terminal.
The natives of the island refer to themselves as “Belongers.”
On the way back from the town, we had the driver drop us off at
Jack’s Shack, which was on the beach about 500 yards from the cruise
terminal. There, we found a nice spot in the shade of a tiki hut and
had a few beers while listening to island music and looking out over
the water. We chatted with the owners, Jack and Janet along with a
Grand Turk police officer who was on vacation. It was a more relaxed
atmosphere than over at the nearby Margaritaville. At any time,
there were only about 10 customers there in the few hours we spent
there. Behind the tiki hut was a gift shop and dive tours counter
with rest rooms. They offered a small menu of food that included
burgers, fries, and jerk chicken. We enjoyed watching their dog,
Topher, running into the surf and digging up the sand. After a few
hours, we walked back to the ship along the beach. The large pool
next to the cruise center was still packed with cruise ship
passengers at 02:00 pm.
One site that some people went to go see was the lighthouse at the
northern tip of the island. Taxis from the cruise center to the
lighthouse cost $8 per person each way. I was told the views from
where the lighthouse is located were terrific.
We were back on the ship by 02:30 pm with sailaway at 03:00 pm.
At 4:00 pm, they had a reception for Past Guests in the Phantom
Theatre. They offered free drinks and small hors d’oeuvres. They had
a raffle where the captain presented a free dinner for 2 in the
Steakhouse. Then they showed a small film about the history of
Carnival and all of the ships they have had in their fleet.
The dress code for this evening was Cruise Casual.
For the evening entertainment in the Phantom Theatre, they had two
game shows; “Game Show Mania” and the “Love and Marriage Game”. Down
in the Madhatter’s Ball Room, they had the rhythm section of the
Miracle Show Band playing live music for karaoke singers. That was
different to see and hear.
Besides the game shows, they had live music in the lounges by the
same acts and in the comedy club they had an open mic night for
adults (no comedians were on board).
Day 5 – Half Moon Cay
It was a day that started off with showers, but cleared by 10:00 am
with temps in the high 80’s F.
Half Moon Cay is the private island owned by Carnival through
Holland America and is located on the map between Cat Island and
Eleuthera Island in the Bahamas.
We had to tender from the ship to the island pier. The tenders
started at 09:00 am. They made announcements that all tenders
leaving before 11:30 am required a tender ticket that you would
receive by either signing up for an excursion on the island or going
down to the Phantom Theatre to wait for the next available tender.
We are not beach people, but we wanted to go to the island for a
short walk to explore it. We went down to the Phantom Theatre at
11:45 am and they were still handing out tender tickets and there
were long lines waiting to get onto a tender. We decided to go back
to our cabin, changed into our swim suits, and then went up to the
gym to use the indoor hot tub for a little while. We went back down
to the theatre an hour later and saw that the lines for tenders were
finally gone, so we took the next available tender. The ride to the
dock on the island took about 8 minutes.
Upon arriving at the dock and walking through the gates on the
island, we found a large pavilion area with shops and bar. We
followed the main path into the island along the beach where they
had several bars and a large food court. We went as far as one bar
that was inside what looked like a ship wrecked pirate ship. On the
way back to the tenders, we stopped by one of the small bars along
the beach for a beer in the shade and to just watch the view.
For beach people, the private island is a perfect place. There is a
long beach with white sand with plenty of chairs to be found. They
had horse back riding excursions where we saw the horses go into the
water with their riders. They had plenty of other excursions that
included para-sailing, swimming with sting rays, and the like.
After an hour on the island, we went back to the ship to play trivia
games. We won the one on Classic Rock music and received another
Ship on a Stick.
The last tender back to the ship was at 04:15 pm and sail away was
They had a quartet of musicians from the Miracle Show Band playing
jazz in the Jeeve’s lounge the hour prior to each of the assigned
dining hours. We sat down for both sets and enjoyed the music.
The dress code for this evening was Cruise Casual.
The main show for the evening was song and dance show called
“Generations”. It was a song and dance show featuring the lead
singers and the show dancers. They performed songs in costumes from
the 50’s to the 80’s. The show was good, but they had to stop the
show twice because of technical difficulties. The first time was due
to a light being accidentally broken by a dancer and they had to
clean the dance floor of the debris. The second time was due to
parts of the moving stage not operating correctly.
Both the band playing their music and the dancers lip singing the
background vocals had to be in time with the music track being
played. The lead vocalists were singing live. It all seemed to work
out. I am sure they rehearse these shows a few times to get the
Later on, we got a chance to sit down and listen to the Music
Unlimited band in the Madhatter’s Ball Room which was a non-smoking
venue. Apparently, a few passengers complained about their playing
only in the Frankie and Johnnie’s bar where smoking was allowed. We
were happy to have the opportunity to enjoy the band with having to
contend with smoke. I am sure the band and the wait staff
appreciated it as well.
There were no comedians this night. In Frankie and Johnnie’s, they
had karaoke. A pianist named Brennen was playing in Sam’s Piano Bar
on deck 3 forward.
Day 6 – Nassau, Bahamas
It was a partly sunny morning with occasional rain showers that
cleared in the afternoon. The temps were in the 80’s F with a nice
We pulled into the pier in Nassau harbor at 7:00 am and we able to
walk off the ship before 8:00 am (no announcement).
Also at the piers in Nassau were 2 other cruise ships, the Norwegian
Sky and the Majesty of the Seas.
The local currency is the Bahamian Dollar which is pegged to the
U.S. dollar. Everyone there accepts U.S. dollars.
We have been to Nassau several times over the years. We had already
visited Fort Charlotte and Fort Fincastle along with The Queen’s
Staircase and the incredible Atlantis Resort on our previous cruises
that stopped there.
As you walk to the cruise terminal to go into the streets of Nassau,
you are met by people offering tours, excursions, and cab rides.
Outside of the terminal, there are banks of motor scooters for rent
and taxis as well as horse and carriages.
Since it was Sunday, we had decided to attend an 11:00 am mass at
the St. Frances Xavier Cathedral which is about a 15 minute walk
from the cruise terminal. It is located at the intersection of West
Street and West Hill Street up the hill from the McDonald’s and the
Hilton hotel. As we left the cruise terminal it was raining. We had
brought umbrellas with us, so we just started to walk over to the
church. The original church building is the oldest Catholic Church
in the Bahamas. The new cathedral building is located next door. It
has a high wooden ceiling that helped to amplify the wonderful
voices of the church choir and their pipe organ.
After the service, we walked down the hill back towards the ship. I
had hoped to visit the Pirates of Nassau Museum, but it was closed
on Sundays. So we just went to shop through the straw market now
located in a permanent building on Bay Street. It was funny
negotiating with the various vendors for the same exact thing. I was
interested in a wooden sculpture of an upright bass and we received
prices that ranged from $90 to $35 for the same piece. We never pay
what any of them ask for originally. In some cases, we have seen the
same items in nearby shops that were cheaper than the straw market.
After we left the straw market, we walked over to visit Seńor Frogs.
We have always seen large crowds going into these bars in the
various ports we have visited and we wondered what the big deal was.
We walked in and could not find a chair, so we left. I checked their
bar menu and the prices were the same as the ones on the ship. Also
nearby, is a Hard Rock Café located on Charlotte Street. We have
visited that Hard Rock a few times before, so we did not go inside
We returned to the ship by 3:00 pm. Sail away was 6:00 pm and we
decided to go up to the Serenity area topside to play cards and then
stay to watch the sail away. Around 5:00 pm, the Majesty of the Seas
pulled away from the pier followed by the Norwegian Sky at 5:30 pm.
The Miracle pulled away about 5:50 pm and sailed past the lighthouse
at the end of the harbor before going out into the open sea for our
return voyage back to New York City.
Since we missed our assigned dinner time, we went up to the buffet
for dinner. We were disappointed that only a few of the food
stations were open and that there were fewer options than at
The dress code for this evening was Cruise Casual.
In the Phantom Theatre was a magic show called “The Comedy Magic of
Bob Brizendine”. He was a magician that used humor to interact with
the audience. He had passengers participate in his card tricks and
money disappearing trick. He was especially funny and terrific with
3 young children that he had come up on stage with him for one
trick. It was a fun show to watch.
For the late evening, they did not have any comedians in Punchliners.
Instead they had the Karaoke live show with the show band again in
the Madhatter’s Ball Room. There was Brennan playing in Sam’s piano
bar and Tony Ray, the pianist playing in the Atrium lobby. In
addition, the disco had various types of music being played there.
Day 7 – Day at Sea
It was a nice day with mostly sunny skies. The temps were in the low
80’s and calm seas.
We spent the morning playing a few trivia games; we came close to
winning on most of them.
They also had another food and wine seminar and an art auction.
In the afternoon, I ran my 5k on the promenade outside the Atlantic
deck. It was terrific running there compared to the jogging track on
the Sports deck.
They had the full band of musicians (nine) from the Miracle Show
Band playing jazz in the Jeeve’s lounge the hour prior to each of
the assigned dining hours. We sat down for both sets and enjoyed
their playing. We chatted with them prior to their sets.
The dress code for this evening was Cruise Elegant.
In the Phantom Theatre, they had a Beatles tribute show
called ”Ticket to Ride.” Prior to the start of the show they had
short video showing video clips of the Beatles with pop ups of
information about the band. We are big fans of the Beatles and had
been looking forward to the show. We were not disappointed with the
show. The theater was packed for the first show. They had the 2 lead
singers along with the show dancers performing to a variety of
Beatles songs. Then, they had the Music Unlimited Band come out in
Sgt. Pepper outfits to perform additional songs ending the show with
“Let It Be” while the cruise staff handed out glow sticks to
everyone. We enjoyed the show so much; we stayed in the theater for
the second show.
For the late evening, they had the comedy club open with 2 new
comedians in addition to the musical acts in the lounges and the DJ
in the disco.
Day 8 – Day at Sea
It was another nice day with mostly sunny skies and temps in the mid
They had a lot of trivia in the morning and early afternoon. We did
win one on general topics and received our final Ship on a Stick.
I went back down to the promenade for another 5k run on this
deserted area of the ship.
We had been given luggage tags and information on disembarking the
ship the next morning. If you wanted to have your luggage brought
down by the ship’s porters, you had to have your luggage outside
your cabin with your luggage tags attached before midnight. You also
had the option for self assist debarkation which allowed you to
carry your entire luggage yourself and leave the ship prior to
others that wanted to use the porter service. The luggage tags had
Before dinner, we packed our suitcases so that they would be ready
to put out later on in the evening.
The dress code for this evening was Cruise Casual.
After our dinner, they had a Love, Sex, and Romance game with
passengers going on stage in the Phantom Theatre. That was followed
by a Liar’s Club there.
Later in the Phantom Theatre, they had a show called “Carnival
Legends” that started at 10:30 pm. It was a show based on fellow
passengers acting and singing like famous artists like Elvis Presley
and Elton John.
We decided to pass on the shows and went to the Punchliners Comedy
Club to see several acts by the 2 comedians that had come on board
in Nassau: John Caponera and Marvin Todd. We both thought that John
All of the music acts were playing in the various lounges as well as
the DJ in the disco.
Disembarkation Day – New York City
It was an overcast morning with temperatures in the low 70’s F.
We were scheduled to arrive in New York by 8:00 am. Our instructions
had told us that we needed to be out of our cabin by 8:30 am. This
was to allow the cabin stewards to have their cabins cleaned and
ready for new passengers later that day.
By 7:45 am, the ship was in the New York harbor near the Intrepid
and was docked by 8:00 am. By 8:30 am passengers using the self
assist debarkation process could get off the ship on deck 2 midship.
We finished packing our carry-ons and left our cabin with them to
head up the buffet area for breakfast by 8:30 am. We found a table
and chairs where we stayed for the rest of the morning waiting to be
called for disembarkation.
At 9:00 am, they announced the first numbers for passengers with
porter service could leave the ship. Our number was 21 and it was
not until 10:30 am that they called our number. We headed down to
deck 2 by the atrium lobby at 10:40 am and we heard them announce
that only 10 other passengers had not yet come to leave the ship.
In the terminal, we easily found our luggage and then walked over to
the line for immigration. It took about 20 minutes to make it
through the process before heading up to our car in the parking lot.
As we were walking out, several new passengers for the next sailing
At the pier near the ship was the U.S.S. Wasp, the flagship for the
Second U.S. Naval Fleet. As we walked towards our car, a family
standing by a car with their hood opened asked if we had jumper
cables. Their battery was dead. A few minutes later, a cart came up
to them with someone who had cables and a battery to jumpstart their
car. It turned out that their car alarm had gone off while we were
away and it had drained the battery.
So we ended our vacation driving home to be faced with mowing the
lawn and the reality that I would have to go to work the next
There were several dining options on the Miracle.
For dinner, the Miracle has only one large main dining room with
assigned early and late seatings, the Bacchus Restaurant. It is
found aft on the ship and takes up two floors. They did offer “Your
Time Dining” which allowed you to show up at the restaurant and when
they had an available table you would be seated for dinner. We would
have preferred that option, but it was fully booked.
In addition to the Bacchus for dinner, they have Horatio’s buffet
style restaurant on the Lido deck and Nick and Nora’s Steakhouse
found on the Sun Deck.
Inside Horatio’s, they had several stations which included an
Oriental station, a Deli sandwich bar, a salad bar, 2 carvery
stations that offered different foods each day, and a 24 hour pizza
bar. They also had a coffee bar where you could buy Starbucks style
of coffees. While these stations were all open for lunch, they did
not offer the Wok station and one of the carvery hot stations for
The Steakhouse had an added fee of $30 per person [editor's note:
the steakhouse fee has increased to $35 for future cruises] and required a
reservation. Its dress code was cruise elegant every night. A couple
that was at our dinner table told us that they went to the
steakhouse one night and had a wonderful meal there.
For breakfast, you had to go to Horatio’s buffet. They had extra
omelet stations set up at the pizza bar and other food stations.
For lunch you could go to Horatio’s buffet inside and their grill by
They offered 24 hour room service with a limited menu.
On sea days, they had a Comedy brunch in the Bacchus (no fee) where
a comedian would do a short stand up routine at the top of each
There is a taste bar (no fee) just outside of Maguire’s Bar and the
Fountainhead coffee and pastry bar from 05:30 pm to 08:30 pm. Here
they offered small samples of different types of food.
The Fountainhead Café on deck 2 forward offered coffees and pastries
for a fee.
For foodies, they also offered “The Chef’s Table”. For a fee of $75
per person, you would have a personal meal with the executive chef
who would provide a private galley tour and a multi-course meal for
a small group. You needed to make a reservation for this event.
For breakfast on port days, the buffet lines can get quite long and
tables are a premium.
During breakfast in the lido buffet area, they had fountains with
OJ, Passa-Guava Juice, Apple Juice, and unsweetened ice tea along
with water. For the rest of the day, these fountains offered
lemonade, iced tea, and water.
My wife is a meat and potatoes kind of person. She was satisfied
with the selections of steaks and prime ribs available in the
Bacchus Dining Room. I was always able to find something good to eat
each night as well.
Bar Service –
We are beer drinkers and Carnival offered beer bucket specials where
you would get 4 beers (mix and match) with a $2 discount for the
bucket. But, you could only buy buckets at the lido deck bars or in
the Madhatter’s Ball Room.
Carnival did offer a craft beer on tap called the Thirsty Frog Red
Ale. I did not like it very much (too fruity tasting for my likes),
but at least they are trying to offer something other the usual mass
produced beers on tap.
They did have daily drink specials as well. There were some martini
tastings on a few occasions.
Past Guest Program –
We are rated as Gold Members of Carnival’s Past Guest Program and we
were invited to the Past Guest party.
There were plenty of other things to do on aboard for all interests.
They had the usual plethora of bingo games and art auctions as well
as poolside games.
We took advantage of the several trivia games (which we enjoy) they
offered during the cruise. We met up with several friendly people
and we enjoyed their company and conversations. We did win several
times during the cruise, including twice by just ourselves and the
other 4 with partners. We won 4 “Ship on a Stick” trophies and 2
sets of medals winning those games.
The casino is open during times at sea. We do not gamble, so we
cannot comment on the slots and gaming tables.
They had plenty of talented musicians on board to entertain people
at various locations and times.
But, there was only one full band, Music Unlimited. Other than that
it was a single guitarist and piano players.
A treat for us was listening to jazz music performed by the Miracle
Show Band in the Jeeve’s Lounge. They had the full band (nine)
playing 4 times and then just a quartet on 2 other times. They were
They had a separate disco that has a light-up dance floor. The
entrance was found next to the Jeeve’s Lounge. You then had to walk
down a circular set of stairs to go to the dance floor along with
additional chairs and tables.
Hennie van Heerden (South Africa), the
cruise director was always at the stage shows and a lot of the game
shows. We thought he was just okay as a CD. The rest of the cruise
staff were very friendly, especially Domenic (Wales), Brandon
(Canada), Maria (Philippines) and Taryn (Canada).
We did see the captain at the past guest reception and on one of the
Our room stewards were assigned 27 cabins to service during our
cruise. It was the first cruise where we encountered stewards that
did not replace everything fully each day. We were always short a
towel or a glass. While our room had a fridge, they did not provide
any ice in a bucket.
The ship –
The ship was built in 2004 as part of the Spirit class for Carnival
and had renovations in January of 2012.
While we found previous Carnival ships to have colors and
decorations that were bright and maybe a little gaudy for our
tastes, the Miracle’s décor seemed subdued. The theme of the ship
was based on literary characters and we discovered plenty of
different ones around the ship. The stairwells were filled with
paintings and crystal vases.
The large fitness center has two floors. There are a wide variety of
treadmills, ellipticals, stationary bikes, and other pieces of
equipment available at all times at no extra charge. All of the
equipment faced out to windows. They offered Yoga, Pilates, and
spinning classes for a fee of $10 a session. There was an indoor hot
tub found here as well that was available to everyone.
The running track was found on the Sports deck. A sign posted stated
that it takes 15.2 laps to complete a mile. On the same Sports deck
was the mini-golf course and a small basketball court surrounded by
The best kept secret on the ship was the outside promenade on the
Atlantic deck. It wrapped around the ship from Great Gatsby’s on the
port side to the aft and back to the starboard side of Great
Gatsby’s which was about 2/3 of the ship. There were no deck chairs
to be found, which we thought was strange. We enjoyed walking along
this part of the ship where the only sound you heard was the waves
going by the ship. For my 5k runs, I only had to make 6 laps (port
to starboard and back to port) on this deck compared to 48 laps on
the sports deck where I had to dodge people playing mini golf or
just walking around. We would have enjoyed being able to sit down in
the shade on this deck and watch the waves go by. During the course
of the cruise, we rarely saw other people on this promenade.
As mentioned, the lido deck has three pools with two pools midship
and one aft. All are only 4 ft 6” deep. There are hot tubs next to
each pool. There was no cover over any of the pools to provide any
shade. On the Sports deck was a small kid’s pool not near anything
and the entrance to a water slide that did not end up in a pool. On
the sea days when it was sunny, the hot tubs that were mid ship were
filled with young kids along with toddlers in swim diapers. We
avoided those hot tubs. Even though there were rules published
against this and reserving chairs, there was no enforcement of them.
A newly created Adult-only Serenity area is found aft on the Lido
Deck with a swimming pool and a hot tub along with lounge chairs,
hammocks, clam shells, and a drinks bar. The clam shells took up a
lot of space and blocked the aft view from this area.
The Spa has several treatment rooms. They offered spa treatment
specials during port days.
Navigating the ship was far easier than on our previous Carnival
cruises. I think this is because of having just the one large main
dining room that is situated aft.
The hallways with odd number cabins were on the starboard side while
the even numbered cabins were on the port side of the ship.
They did not have a bridge viewing room.
A nice quiet area of the ship with seats and views of the water is
found on the Atlantic deck forward. It is called Gatsby’s Garden
Interior Promenade. The port side of the promenade seemed to have
more foot traffic with people going to the kids clubs that were
forward of them.
We thought that while the ship has a large atrium area, they did not
make use of the space. On deck 2, there is a lobby where they have a
bar with a small stage behind it for musicians. But, there were
limited seats and tables there. Then, on deck 3, they had a
wraparound area that overlooks the lobby below. But, it was totally
filled by the photography department instead of seats, tables, and
maybe another bar.
We have always booked an inside cabin. With the Miracle, the inside
cabins, ocean view cabins, and most of the balcony cabins are all
185 square feet inside. With the deal our cruise travel agent found
for us, we were able to try an obstructed ocean view cabin for the
same price as an inside. Our cabin came with French Doors that had
an obstructed view between lifeboats. You could open the doors to
get fresh air. The curtains did not do a good job of blocking
sunlight, so we would not use this type of room again. We prefer
total darkness so can sleep in late when we desire that.
The cabin had more than enough room for the two of us. There were
three closets. Two came with bars with 10 hangars each while the
other closet had shelves. We stored our 2 large pieces of luggage
under the beds. Since we had an ocean view room, there were two
terry cloth robes for our use.
There is a safe and a small fridge in the cabin. The safe could only
be locked with a credit card or a driver’s license that had a
magnetic stripe. We thought this was odd, since we did not need to
have our credit cards on us while on the ship. You could not use
your room keycard.
There was a small couch that had drawers underneath that contained
extra pillows, blankets, and sheets.
The bathroom had a shower with a cloth curtain with dispensers for
body wash and shampoo. There was a soap dish. We were surprised that
the shower area did not have a safety bar to hold on to. The hair
dryer was located in a drawer by the mirror inside the room.
One issue with the bathroom was that the string to hang wet clothes
in the shower area was missing. We notified housekeeping and it was
replaced the next day.
The location of the cabin was only a few steps from the aft stairway
on the Main deck. Going up to the Lido deck on deck 9 in the morning
was a mini-workout. We try to do the stairs as much as we could. My
morning routine was to walk up to Horatio’s buffet with insulated
mugs to get our morning tea while getting ready to face the day.
One thing that was strange during our cruise was that we received a
notification from the hotel manager that our cabin was scheduled to
have its carpeting replaced. Since the ship was in dry dock in
January, we did not understand how they did not replace all of the
carpeting then. We were given the option of declining to be out of
the room and they were going to replace the carpet on a different
cruise. We had smelled the glue they used for the process in a
nearby cabin and did not want to have to deal with that odor when we
returned to the cabin with the new carpet, so we declined the
We are not smokers and my wife cannot be around smoke for health
reasons. Smoking was a problem for us on this ship. Smoking was
allowed in the Frankie and Johnnie’s bar, on the second floor of the
disco, in the casino, and some of the outside areas. At times, we
chose not to go into the bar to hear music due to the cloud of smoke
inside. They did have the Music Unlimited band play in the
non-smoking Madhatter’s Ball Room one night due to complaints from
The main show room was the Phantom Theatre which holds about 1,000
passengers and has entrances on 3 decks. There are some poles to
contend with. We always found a seat for a show.
Launderettes – There are 5 small laundry
rooms located around the ship. They had coin operated washers and
dryers along with an ironing board and iron. They also had
dispensers for soap packets.
We enjoyed our cruise on the Miracle. With 4 sea days, we had a
chance to sit back and relax. There were plenty of entertainment
options. We still prefer freestyle dining compared to assigned
dining. Having to stop what we were doing to go down to the dining
room at the same time each day was an annoyance on some of the days.
With a port intensive cruise, we would only book it with Carnival if
we could get the “Anytime Dining” option.
Here is a
to photos we took on our cruise.
We have booked a 13-day cruise from Dover, England on the Carnival
Legend (another Spirit class ship) in September of 2013 and are
looking forward to it.