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Old December 26th, 2010, 04:26 AM
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Default Have you ever taken the behind the scenes tour?

We took the behind the scenes tour on our Dec. 5th cruise on the Carnival Miracle. This is our account!

The tour was to meet at the Joker card room so we made sure we arrived with plenty of time to spare. A pretty Russian girl named Yulia was to be our host and tour guide. We started out by heading to the Phantom Theatre and went behind the scenes where one of the Stage Producers met us to explain how things worked and answer questions. There had to be at least 10 screens that can drop from the ceiling to make for different backgrounds, depending on the show, and each one weighs about 1000 lbs. Back stage the dressing room is wide open spaces! No private dressing rooms here, shoot there isnít even a divider from the boys and girls! The costumes and wigs of each dancer was hanging right behind where their chair was sitting at a long mirror attached to the wall. A total change for a guy from one suite to another is 22 seconds.
We left by a back entrance and entered a hall that neither Pearl nor I had been on during this whole cruise, even though it is for guests. It was on the 3rd floor all the way at the front of the ship. We then went to the Galley to see where the food is prepared at. The big soup containers looked like a pot that you would see over a huge campfire in the middle of the jungle with a witch doctor brewing his poison. Then we watched a cook take a bar of soap and turn it into a beautiful swan. Which we got to take home with us. The cook staff was busy preparing the evening meal even thought it was only around 10 AM. They were making soups, deserts, breads, and potatoes. We were able to get our picture taken with the head chef before moving on to see the refrigeration and freezer units.
We visited the freezer and refrigeration areas and I must say while they are non-descript, they are huge and must be because they keep enough food not only for the 8 day cruise but also for 4 extra days in case something was to happen.
Next we visited the eco friendly trash disposal system. This room is manned 24 hours a day and is where all recyclables are separated and put into the proper bins. Where they will be off loaded after the cruise and properly disposed. Even the leftover food is ground up and deposited into the ocean for fish food.
And of course no ship would be complete without a laundry room, which is open 24 hours a day. There are 4 big washing machines that hold 100 pounds of laundry each. Several huge dryers and machines that actually dry and fold the bed sheet and towels. We found out that the bedding is changed before each cruise leaves out and once during the cruise unless more is needed. Believe it or notÖÖbut it takes 4 people, 3 weeks to count every piece of bedding and towels on the ship. This room is below the water line.
We even got to visit the area where the crew lives and eats. They have 3 different dining areas, one for the Officers, one for the entertainers and one for the crew. The servers are in training down here before they are allowed to serve in the main dining room to customers. They even have a bar and gaming area. The sad news is if a crew member drinks too much alcohol and blows a .08 breathalyzer test, they are fired and will not be rehired for any reason. No exceptions. (Even the captain is limited to 4 oz of wine per day)
We were disappointed because we didnít get to see the engines themselves however we did get to go to the engine room where all the control panels were located. (go figure) There were lots of computers, gauges and stuff. Even had a couple fish tanks in there. We found out that they never change their oil unless a bad report comes back after an oil analysis report. The Chef engineer, Rosario Capilli, can also completely control the ship operations from this room. In case of an emergency he can also assume duties as captain of the ship.
Speaking of the Captain, we visited the bridge next. They put us in an elevator and took us to the 8th floor. To our surprise, there were cabins right next to the bridge. After going through our second security inspection, we were allowed to enter the bridge. The captain of the ship, Rocco Lubrano, was able to greet us and answer questions that we had for him. He also was kind enough to take a photo with each of us and a group photo before he had to leave as it was almost noon, time for his midday address to the ship. We did get to ask questions of the other officers on the bridge who explained to us that there are 3 different stations whereby the ship maybe guided and controlled on the bridge. To the port, starboard and mid ship. Communication are conducted via satphone, marine radio, and GPS systems. The view from the bridge is incredible, we even saw some dolphins while up there. The amazing thing about ships now-a-days is that they can turn 360 degrees without the help of other boats.
Now on to our last stop at Nick and Noraís Steakhouse. We got to meet the head chef and he gave us a demonstration about how to tell if a steak is a good one. The problem was this guy didnít know how to explain it very good. Our tour ended here and we were given a bag with a hat in it, a bracelet, an ID holder, and that beautiful swan made from a bar of soap. We were to discover later that this was not all the gifts that we were to receive. That night at diner Yulia brought us several photos from the tour and then when we returned to our cabin later in that evening, we received a plate of chocolate cover strawberries and peanut brittle.
Live life to the fullest because tomorrow may never come!

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