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Copyright © 1995-2004 
Linda Coffman


Cruise Diva's CRUISE DIARY
Carnival Miracle

February 29-March 1, 2004 ~ Inaugural 3-Night Cruise

by Linda Coffman

Part Two

Nick & Nora's

Tucked into the base of her funnel is one of Carnival Miracle's finest features—Nick & Nora's supper club. It's a chic and sophisticated restaurant with an elegant ambiance and, best of all, serves superb meals!

Our server greeted us with a tray displaying the evening's entrees... anyone familiar with big-city steakhouses will recognize such a presentation. All steaks are hand selected, USDA Prime, and dry aged for 30 days to insure perfection. In addition to huge New York strip, Porterhouse, and Filet Mignon steaks, other choices included Alaskan King Crab Claws, Chilean Sea Bass, Broiled Free Range Chicken, Grilled Lamb Chops, milk-fed Broiled Veal Chop, Lobster Tail, and Surf & Turf.

I began with a selection of starters—escargots baked in brioche, wrapped in rice paper, and classic Bourguignonne style, followed by a creamy lobster bisque, and classic Caesar salad. The Surf & Turf, a petit filet and lobster tail were exquisite—succulent lobster and meat that didn't require a steak knife. A trio of crème brûlée was the perfect dessert. Each course was served with a flourish on unique china and the presentation was worthy of one of the best meals I've been served on any cruise ship. Dinner in Nick & Nora's is a must-do and the nominal cover charge is a steal. For an added touch of romance, live music provides the opportunity to dance between courses. 

For once, after dinner I skipped the stairs. The clear treads on a winding staircase were just a bit intimidating to negotiate in high heels.

The decor on Carnival Miracle is "themed" (as are all Carnival ships) and, while the theme is based on famous fictional icons, a secondary theme could be music—it's everywhere on board! 

A Day at Sea

More accurately, a half day at sea as Carnival Miracle sailed for Jacksonville at noon.

Whatever problems plagued room service the previous day were resolved and my fresh fruit and coffee arrived promptly as ordered. It was a lovely morning to enjoy the balcony and simply relax. Later there would be time for trivia, pool games, dance lessons, the passenger talent show, and more, but the early morning meant tranquility and solitude.

After we set sail, I chose the poolside Grill for lunch. With burgers and fries in hand, I had no trouble finding a shaded table with a view overlooking the stern. That meant passing through the length of Horatio's Restaurant, but the area adjacent to the Orpheus Pool is quieter. I discovered afterward that the music of 'Total Eclipse' (playing at the Ulysses Pool) invaded my quiet balcony so I grabbed my book and found a comfy chair in Gatsby's Garden, the delightful enclosed "winter garden" forward on Promenade Deck. I found myself staring out to sea... My mystery novel wasn't terribly compelling so I decided to check out the activities inside.

In the post-9/11 era, Bridge tours are seldom offered on cruise ships, but I found a tour of Carnival Miracle's galley listed in the Carnival Capers. Wow! It positively gleams! No wonder the ship scored 97 (out of 100) points on the Vessel Sanitation Program inspection conducted by the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Afterward, there were so many things to choose from that I peeked in on a few (Win, Lose or Draw, a spa demonstration, and Win a Cruise Bingo!) and when I passed through Jeeves Lounges, I noticed the pastry cart and lingered for tea.

With so many things to fill the day, I missed the cruise director's Debarkation Talk; however, I caught the taped session on television while in my cabin preparing for dinner. I was pleased to learn that I could leave the ship early since I could easily carry (or roll) all my own luggage off.

That's Entertainment!

Packed and dressed, it was time for a final, festive dinner in the Bacchus Restaurant. I was struck once again by the festive decor and attention to detail—and how good the food was. In the spirit of a true bacchanal, our Maitre 'D broke into song and the waiters and their assistants weren't far behind. 

For a grand finale, I attended "Ticket to Ride," a tribute to the Beatles in the Phantom Show Lounge. It was uncanny how well the singers and Miracle Dancers captured the spirit of the Fab Four, considering most of them probably weren't even born when the Beatles burst onto the music scene!

A last stroll on the indoor Promenade Deck, with stops to say 'bye to the White Rabbit in The Mad Hatter's Ball and Frankie in Dr. Frankenstein's Disco, and I was off to dreamland.


If I had one complaint, it was that my cruise was too short. I didn't have long to wait after a made-to-order omelet for breakfast in Horatio's and it was time to leave.

Porters were plentiful in the terminal for those who needed assistance. I didn't need much help with my suitcases... but they did have to keep an eye on me so I wouldn't sneak back on board!

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