Miracle Cruise 2010
Carnival Miracle Nov. 11-19, 2010
This was our 2nd cruise on the Carnival Miracle, the first in January of 2008.
We chose the ship again simply because it was the only ship sailing the itinerary we liked during the week of my sister's 50th birthday, and this was a celebratory cruise for her.
In addition to my husband and myself, there was my sister from Montreal, and my cousin from California.
My husband and I are 8 time Carnival passengers and were offered an upgrade shortly before the sailing date. The Carnival representative promised the upgrade from a Balcony Suite to a Penthouse Suite would be worth the few extra dollars.
Truthfully, we felt the "Penthouse" status was really only worth the fast-track embarkation, which offered very little waiting time and free juice and cookies.
Despite our quick embarkation (we were on board before 12:00), our room was not ready before 1:30 p.m. and our "Priority" luggage was not delivered before 5:00 p.m.
The Penthouse Suite, although lovely and roomy with lots of storage space, had almost too much storage space, which in our opinion was wasted, and could have been better used to expand the size of the tiny bathtub/jaccuzi/shower.
Carnival also needs to re-think the accessibility of this tub. We are middle-aged and in fairly decent physical condition, but it was a struggle to get into and out of this very high-sided tub, the height of which reached my upper thigh. I could not imagine a heavier person or a person with limited physical movement or balance getting in to or out of this tub.
We felt there could have been a shower installed in the corner space taken up by the unusual and unused bidet.
Otherwise, the bathroom was big, bright and had 2 sinks and lots of counter space and shelves.
Towels, although fresh and clean every day, were not of the quality I had expected from a Penthouse Suite, in fact they were rather rough.
Comfortable heavy bathrobes were provided, and I was grateful for mine because the air conditioning was so cold I slept wrapped in my bathrobe.
We did address the issue of the air conditioning with Guest Services, and someone was sent to adjust the thermostat, but the deep freeze continued all week.
We also addressed the fact that our jacuzzi did not work, even though our wonderful room steward showed us how it worked more than once, and insisted it worked when he tested it, we could not get it to work.
The rest of the suite was lovely, from my favourite comfortable Carnival bed and linens, to the large comfortable seating area, large bar area, pull out and side to side adjustable TV cabinet, and a large dressing/vanity area with wall to wall mirror, extra closets and drawers and a small stool.
There was always plenty of natural light with a double door/window on one side of the TV cabinet and double windows on the other
The balcony was also large, with 2 lounge chairs, 2 smaller chairs and a small table.
One of the small chairs was a child-sized wreck and we asked to have it removed and replaced with another adult-sized seat.
After exploring our suite, I went upstairs to visit my sister and cousin's balcony cabin, for which I had ordered Happy Birthday decorations. Carnival did a great job, and my sister was thrilled with her decorations. I also personally decorated her cabin door.
One of the first things we did once on board was to go to the set-up in the lobby area and book the specialty steakhouse Nick & Nora's for dinner on my sister's birthday on the 16th.
The girl at the table was most pleasant and helpful and we had no problems making our reservation.
Later we went out to the pool area to see what the entertainment was going to be like for the week. The Miracle's "pool band" was 1 guy with pre-recorded synthesizer music, a steel drum, and long rasta dreads. The music was OK, but the guy could not sing, in fact he was just plain awful, and we avoided him at all costs throughout the week.
I cannot understand how these people get through an audition and get hired by such a large and professional outfit as Carnival.
In search of better music, we drifted to the aft pool area where there was a live DJ who was playing some great Oldies until 5:00, but then that was over and we went back to the main pool area hoping Mr. Rasta was gone. He was, and there was a very small group of passengers and a few entertainment staff line dancing to recorded music.
It was not one of the better sail-away parties I'd ever seen, and I was a bit disappointed.
Our luggage finally arrived around 5:00 so we had some decent clothes to wear to dinner in the dining room. There was a dress code of "Cruise Casual", meaning NO flip flops, No shorts, NO sleeveless shirts for men, NO bathing suits, but it seems most passengers did not read their Fun Times, because there were an awful lot of under- dressed people in the dining room, and nobody seemed to care.
The Bacchus Dining Room, despite being one of the most garishly decorated rooms on the ship, was one of our favourite spots all week.
We ate almost every dinner there, on an "Anytime Dining" schedule, always at
6:00 p.m., and always in the same general area.
Our wait staff were wonderful and our meals even more so. We had no complaints with the dining room food on Miracle, it was excellent.
On this first night, our starters included Caesar Salad, Shrimp Cocktail and Beef & BarleySoup.
For entrees, I had Chicken a la Greque, James had Lasagne Boulonaise, my sister had Pork Spare Ribs and my cousin had Mahi Mahi. Excellent all around!
Desserts were just as wonderful, with an amazing Creme Brule, Diet Orange Cake, and Pineapple Sherbet. Good food, good service, good start!
Following dinner we wandered the ship, visiting the Photo Gallery and shops, then to the Phantom Theatre for Big Screen Trivia. The questions were hard and based on old movies.
I knew I didn't stand a chance of winning any prizes at Trivia this week!
Trivia was followed by a "Game Show" which was just more trivia but with three audience contestants who answered questions with buzzers. "Are you smarter than a 5th grader?" -NOT!
Disappointed with the game show, we ended up at the lounge called Frankie & Johnnies and were delighted to find the group Music Unlimted playing there.
We remembered them from 2 years ago on the Miracle, they were and are an excellent group of Filipino singers and musicians who do a great job with the Oldies.
We enjoyed them for awhile before heading back to the theatre for the “Welcome Aboard" show. I was relieved to see and hear that the Miracle singers and dancers were very good, and we were introduced to our Cruise Director, Malcolm Burn, who was a 6'6" black man who ”doesn't play basketball"!
He was personable enough as a CD, but as the week went on, we found his entertainment staff lacking, but more about that later.
There were two comedians introduced at the Welcome Aboard show, but they were both forgettable, and we never bothered going to see their acts at the "R" rated late show in the Mad Hatters Lounge, which is also now the comedy club on the ship.
One other point I'd like to mention is that embarkation day was November 11th, Veterans Day in the US, and Remembrance Day in Canada. In fact, there were many Canadians on board, including us, wearing our Remembrance Day poppies.
During the Welcome Aboard Show, there was mention of Veterans Day and recognition was given to US servicemen and women, but NO mention of Canadian veterans or Remembrance Day and I was not impressed.
Well, that was Day 1, some highs, some lows, but in general, a great 1st day on board, and much more to come in Part 2......