I know I'm a little late with the review, but I thought people would still be interested in hearing about our cruise to St. John and Halifax on the Miracle.
I was really surprized about how easy it was to get on board. Getting into NYC took awhile due to the rush hour traffic, but that's always to be expected. We were advised that the ship would start boarding at 7 pm, but it was boarding a good deal earlier than that. My husband and I got to the pier around 6:45, and it took about half an hour from the time we arrived at the pier until the time we were checking out our room. Since the boarding was so late, we were given passes for an open seating dinner in the dining room, and so many people had already boarded at that time that we were given the later (8:45) seating.
We booked the cruise a few months earlier through a travel agent, and decided to go with an "inside cabin or better guarentee." I tried to guess the room we were getting by checking the back of our boarding passes, and it worked. We had cabin 7102 (which is one of the forwardmost cabins on the Verandah deck-7). I was pleased to be up so high, but a little confused at the fact we were in a handicapped cabin. It wound up being like an upgrade, beause the room was significantly larger than the other inside cabins, both in the room and in the bathroom. I did feel badly though, because I noticed a couple of people in wheelchairs who were in regular inside cabins, and I thought that handicapped cabins would be assigned first to handicapped people and then to others if they were still left over. No matter, the room was very nice. The decor is modern/elegant, the beds were comfortable, etc.
Leaving New York City
Just a quick note that if you get a chance to cruise out of NYC, make sure you don't miss the scenary as you pull out of port. After our open seating dinner, we went up to deck 10, pulled out a couple of lounge chairs and watched the NYC skyline pass by. Even being a New Yorker my whole life, this was a great experience! A lot of the Miracle crew had never been to NYC before, and they were up on the decks, taking pictures and being amazed as well, which I thought was very nice. The skyline looks incredible at night, as does the Statue of Liberty.
I have read a lot of reviews about people HATING the Bacchus Dining Room. I will admit, that it is over the top, and VERY pink, but I still liked it. Now, when we booked the cruise, we requested the early dinner seating (5:45 pm), but for some reason, at check-in we were listed as having the late seating (8:45 pm). The check-in girl wanted nothing to do with changing anything, but she gave us directions on how to request a change. After eater dinner at 8:45 on the first night of the cruise, I knew that it was not for me. So we made a request to the Ken, and he said he'd see what he could do. It was a great move. Not only did we get moved to the earlier seating, but we got a table for two. So we were able to eat at our own pace (usually a little quicker than the tables around us once the waiter realized we were fast). I was a little disappointed with the wait staff in the dining room. Our waiter was a little distracted, but he generally got our orders right. The assistant waiter never seemed to be around. I kept needing refills on my water, and the one night we were going to order some alcohal she was nowhere to be found. Also, a lot of people raved about Ken's singing, but we never saw it! I think it was because we were in the back of the first floor of the dining room.
Again, I was a little disappointed with the food on the cruise. It was good, but not as good as my previous cruise. Also, I didn't think there were that many choices on the menu. This being said, they do give you the opportunity to make some of the entrees into appetizers or eating an appetizer in place of a salad, so it's flexable. Some of the dishes were really great, but others just fell short. I tried to keep track of what we were eating, but I missed a couple of dishes. This being said, here are some reviews:
Monday night- wild cream of mushroom soup (me)- DELICIOUS. It was tasty and not too creamy or heavy. One of my favorite soups. (DH) salmon appetizer- He ate this in like 2 minutes, and really enjoyed it. (shared appetizer) peanut flavored chicken satay- this was really good as well. A good way to start the cruise. We had salads that night, and generally speaking the salads were very fresh.
Entrees- I had steak, which was really just ok. It was a little tough, but not bad, and I was starving, so I ate a good portion of it. DH had the lamb, and he thought it was very good.
DESSERT- I'm only going to talk about dessert once in this review, and I make it a point unto itself because I don't know what Miracle's problem was with desserts. Each night I was more and more hopeful that they'd have something sweet and delicious for me. It didn't happen. If you like chocolate (like me), dessert may be a problem. I understand that the chocolate lava cake was actually good, but that was the one dessert I missed. This being said, the ice cream was always good. So after awhile I smartened up, and had the chocolate ice cream or frozen yogurt for my fix.
Tuesday- We went to the breakfast buffet, which was pretty much what you would expect for a breakfast buffet. The eggs were good (not runny and not burnt). Lunches at the buffet were also good (though a little like college dorm food or cafeteria food). I'll stick to writing about food in the dining room from here on in.
Tuesday night- DH had minestrone (it was ok), and strawberry bisque, which he loved, because (as another reviewer described) it's just like melted strawberry ice cream. We both had lobster tails for dinner, which came with broccoli. YUM! A lot of people ordered double lobster entrees, which is a good idea, since you don't get very filled up on lobster.
Wednesday- We had room service delivered in the morning, since we had to be up for an early shore excursion. Room service was very prompt, and our order was exactly what we asked for.
Wednesday night- lobster bisque (the best appetizer by far- I could have eaten three bowls of bisque, though like I said the cream of mushroom was also excellent). I substituted an appetizer portion of the penne with shrimp and scallops in place of salad. This was also excellent, and I should have ordered this as an entree in hindsight, as I love pasta. DH had the pasta as an entree, and I had the jerk pork loin. The pork loin looked really cool, but it tasted so so.
Thursday- We skipped dinner because we had lobster for lunch in Halifax and were still full. Instead, DH went to the sushi bar (he LOVED it), and I decided to hold out for the midnight buffet. Bad idea! We got on line for the midnight buffet at 12:20, because it was supposed to start at 12:30. We finally got to the food at 1:10 am. The buffet looked really interesting, but most of it was inedible. The best part was the bread! If I could do it again, I would go to the buffet during the viewing period (11 pm-12 am), and eat something at Lido deck instead. We waited so long for the buffet, that we missed the 70s and 80s party, which we really wanted to do.
Friday- Honestly, I forgot what I had on Friday, except that I had the chateau briand, which was really good (much better than the steak on the first night).
Our cabin steward was EXCELLENT. He cleaned the room so fast, made adorable towel animals, gave us fresh ice all the time, etc. He was also extremely friendly, and greeted us with a smile each time we saw him in the hallway. We actually looked forward to giving him a smile.
First of all, we LOVED the cruise director, Todd. He was a lot of fun, and a very funny guy. We also thought his team was great, especially "Karl with a K" and Big Tex. The game shows were amusing, the comedy acts were entertaining, and the cruise director's daily show (TNT Live) was a must see, though we watched it through our cabin TV. They had two main attraction stage shows, Generations and Beatlemania. We enjoyed both shows a LOT. Costumes were great, staging was great. I can't say enough about how much we loved Beatlemania, or how much we sang along to both shows. I would recommend getting to the theater EARLY for seating. Even though you're not supposed to save seats, some people tried to do it anyway, and if you get there 15 minutes before the show you'll be sitting far away.
We went to Kareoke one night, but the chioces to sing were geared towards country music and Frank Sinatra tunes. They needed some more pop music. We were also a little scared of all the people who showed up with their own kareoke tapes. The best part was a teenage boy who sang the theme to Goldmember in a high pitched voice.
The hypnotist was ok, though I've seen funnier hypnotist shows. DH and I both were part of the midnight show, and I'm sorry to say that it didn't work on either of us. It was still fun though.
The nightclubs were nicely set up, though the music was best before 1 am, when it switched to mostly rap music and the crowd would clear out.
IF embarkation was a great success, not so for disembarkation. We went to the talk on the last day of the cruise, and decided to self-disembark. In theory it was a good idea, but instead of calling people deck by deck, they had everyone come down at the same time. So there were bottlenecks everywhere, people got a little hostile, and it wasn't pretty. We stood on line for 60-90 minutes, but once we got off of the ship itself we were fine. If you do self-disembark, I would say to wait a until a good 45 minutes after the annoincement, and then you should avoid most of the chaos. Most of the people on our ship did self-disembark, and I don't think they expected that.
Overall, we had a great time on the cruise. Whatever things were a disappointment didn't really get us down. We were determined to have a good time, and we did! I don't think carnival would be my first choice for our next cruise, but I would cruise Carnival again, especially if we got a good price. I also would like to take a longer cruise with Carnival (7-10 nights instead of just five).
If anyone has any questions, feel free to ask or to email me, and happy cruising to all!