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......
Hey it's Flat Stanley!! Good review so far RD, looking foward to the rest.
Miracle Cruise 2010
Good review, as usual, Donna. I have the same complaint about bath tubs in hotels, too. The sides are too high if tghe bottom of he tub is slippery, it can be a real hazard. Why can't they just install walk-in showers, I'd like to know!
I look forward to your next installment.:)
Thanks Donna for the review - it is esp nice to put a 'nice' face to the name!
On a totally different point, the depth of the bath in your suite is the same as my jacuzzi bath at home. When I travel to North America - generally we Brits, I speak for family and friends, find the baths too shallow!
However I agree for an international clientele - walk in-showers would be good - esp if they copy the style and size of the showers of the Royal Livingstone hotel in Zambia - seriously you could hold a party in them.:-)
Annie and Judy, really, if you look at the general population on a cruise ship, you will see that they are either elderly, very large, mobility impaired, or in some way, unsteady on their feet. Walk in showers/tubs would be so much safer!
I speak only for myself - I am larger than your goodself and closer to 60 than I care to admit but I am TERRIFIED of showers (too slippy!) and no - Mr. Hitchcock is not to blame - lol. I agree walk-in showers would be good but maybe even better - walk-in baths. I can only dream!
Oh Aerogirl, I forgot to explain that this was a Flat Stanley cruise for the kids at my after-school program. They made "Stanley" and I took him everywhere with me. His photo gallery is the 1st Carnival Miracle of 3 in the CM gallery.
He is in all the nightly towel-animal shots.
Once again Donna, I feel as if I am by your side on the cruise:) On my Epic cruise, early this month I had a handicapped cabin, and, for the first time in my life, sat down and showered.:rolleyes:
I have to say I don't use tubs in hotels, or ships, and, the combo you pictured is a pain in the patoot! A walk in shower with a grip bar makes sense, with a textured floor also!
Looking ofrward to reading chapter 2!
Mirale Cruise 2010
Yes, textured tub and shower bottoms would make getting in and out much less treacherous!
Miracle Cruise 2010 Part 2
Carnival Miracle Part 2
Friday November 12, Sea Day
We spent a rocky 1st night on board, and were still feeling it by the next morning.
I spent most of the morning fighting nausea with rest, Gravol, and trying to find a green apple. Apparently, green apples help with nausea, but there was not one to be found on the ship, not in the buffet, not in the dining room, not even from room service.
It was a rather quiet day, time to relax, read, knit, go to Trivia, sit in the sun, dip in the pool, exactly what I love about sea days.
What I didn't love though, was the music at the aft pool area.
The aft pool is where people go who want to escape the kids, the noise, the fun and games and the loud pool band of the main pool area. In other words, we seek peace and quiet, to read, talk with friends, have a drink, and relax.
The "muzak" piped in this area did not allow for any of this. It was loud, annoying, questionable in lyrical content, and in some cases, just horrible electronic techno-pop.
Even wearing my own ear-phones and trying to listen to my own choice of music was thwarted because the amplified muzak was just too loud.
Each morning it was peacefully quiet until about 11 am, then that garbage started up.
Why can't we just enjoy some peace and quiet and the sound of the sea all day?
And while I am in the complaining mood, I will mention drink prices. They have gone up yet again. A drink-of-the-day, in the souvenir cup will now set you back $7.50, or $5.50 in a regular small glass. I refused to pay those prices and did not order one single drink poolside or anywhere else all week.
Actually, one evening in the theatre I ordered 1 glass of white wine and 1 rum & coke and the bill was $16.95!! The single glass of wine was $9 and I never ordered another one.
I don't know if the other cruise lines have upped their drink prices like Carnival but they are going to price themselves right out of business.
On this first sea day, it was "Elegant Night" for dinner in the dining room, and I was relieved to see that for the most part, guests respected the dress code. At least there were no shorts.....
Dinner was once again, marvelous. For starters for the 4 of us, we tried Caesar Salad, Fruit Plate, and West Indian Pumpkin Soup, and for entrees, we had Lobster with Giant Tiger Shrimp, Flat iron Steak, and Spaghetti with Bacon, Cheese and Garlic.
Our desserts were Pineapple Sorbet, Cherries Jubilee, Banana Diet Cake and a Cheese Plate. All selections were wonderful, and service was fast and friendly.
After dinner, the 4 of us made the rounds of the formal portrait set-ups in the Photo Gallery and the main lobby area. Since we were cruising to commemorate the special occasion of my sister's 50th birthday, we had to have several portraits taken as souvenirs. The photos too, were expensive, at $20 a portrait, and I don't don't normally bother, but since it was a special occasion.....
Our photo shoot was followed by the Big Band Show in the Phantom Theatre, starring Christopher Allan Graves, a very personable and talented singer, who performed the classics of Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis Jr., with the accompaniment of a live band and the Carnival singers and dancers. A great show!
After the theatre, we went to a lounge area to see and hear some karaoke.
Unfortunately, it was being run by two young, incompetent members of the entertainment staff who were goofing around themselves and not giving passengers a chance to sing. We witnessed the Cruise Director come to check them out, and then leaving with a thunderous look on his face. Shortly thereafter, one of the young guys was called away and never came back....
Discouraged with karaoke, we then tried Frankenstein's Disco, which advertised 50's and 60's music every night at 10:00pm.
Unfortunately, Frankstein's Disco is a smoking lounge and I lasted all of 5 minutes in there before I couldn't breathe and had to leave. The best music on the ship was played there nightly, but I could never enjoy it because of the smoke. Another disappointment.
Finally, we ended up going to see Music Unlimited play in Frankie & Johnnies, a non-smoking club. We couldn't get in, it was so crowded, but there was seating just outside the door and we enjoyed an amazing long set of Golden Oldies before heading off to bed around 11:30, looking forward to another sea day tomorrow....
Goodnight from Flat Stanley and the Dog....
well, i have to add, as a smoker (unfortunately) i stayed in the disco, drank myself silly and danced for 2 hours straight with a bunch of girls from Texas! We even got a conga line going! I had a blast! As an aside, only the upstairs was smoking, downstairs where the dancing was there was no smoking..
Well little sis, I'm glad you had such a great time! You can see how reviews are not always objective, everyone has different experiences....
Miracle Cruise 2010 Part 3
Carnival Miracle Part 3
Saturday Nov. 13, 2010 Sea Day
The perfect Sea Day; hot, around 80 degrees but not humid, breezy, and much less rocky than yesterday. We staked out deck chairs by the aft pool early and stayed there most of the day, foregoing all activities for time in the sun, since I lost half a day yesterday being sick.
My cousin was not feeling well this day, but I did find my sister sunbathing on
the aft deck.
We decided we had to try the crazy spiral slide on the upper deck.
This is a slide that does not end in a pool, but just gradually comes to a stop
on a straight-away, although there is deeper water at the end, and a big splash.
My husband was armed with the camera and the video camera for this event,
and the video is hilarious with us screaming all the way down, and me coming
up choking and spluttering after getting a face full of salt water.
Unfortunately, he could not take still pictures at the same time, but I did get a
photo of the slide later on.
There was no muzak all morning, and when it did come on, it was turned down a
little to bearable, but by the afternoon I had had enough and decided to try a 4 pm Pilates class. After changing into workout clothes and going all the way to the other end of the ship to the Spa, I found no-one there, only a few people working out on the treadmills, and no staff anywhere to ask what had happened to the Pilates class.
There seemed to be a lot of incidents throughout the week of activities not being where
and when they were advertised to be, and no explanations given. This is why I thought
the CD's entertainment staff were questionable to say the least.
That evening my hubby and I dined alone in the dining room as my cousin was still under the weather with a respiratory ailment, and my sister stayed with her.
Our meal was enjoyable again, starting with Cold Yogurt Soup and Spinach & Ricotta
Cheese in Phyllo Pastry, followed by entrees of delicious Lamb Chops and the Flat Iron
Steak, which although difficult to chew, was tasty just the same.
For dessert, I died and went to heaven with Carnival's special Warm Chocolate Melting
Cake, and James enjoyed a White Chocolate Bread Pudding.
When I thanked our waiter for a delicious dinner and commented on the wonderful
dessert, he asked if I wanted the recipe. I thought he was going to sell me a Carnival
cookbook, but he went to the Maitre 'D's desk and pulled out a photocopy of the
recipe for Warm Chocolate Melting Cake! I can't wait to buy some ramekins and try
it at home!
After dinner we decided to go see a piano player named Greg who was supposed to
be at the Fountainhead Lounge. Once again, there was nobody there. Confusing, and
Instead, we waited for the theatre show called Huey & the Blues, which we thought was
a tribute to Huey Lewis & The News, but it wasn't. I can't honestly say I remember any-
thing about this show, although my notes say it was energetic, entertaining and had
great audience participation!
By the time the show ended at 9:30 I went off to bed as I too, was not feeling well,
having developed a nasty cough and sore throat...
Goodnight from Flat Stanley and the elephant.......
I have to admit, the tub bottom was textured, and there was a large grab bar on the back wall, but if you were short, you wouldn't be able to reach it from outside the tub. There was a (small) seat area, which James tried to use once to sit and soak his feet and legs in the Jacuzzi, but he never could get the darn thing to work!
I can't wait to see that video! i'd almost forgotten about the slide! LOL! I have to say, the most enjoyable thing about this cruise (besides the sun, the relaxation, the food.....) was spending time and having fun with my big sister and cousin!
Donna, I couldn't agree with your assessment more at this point! So many SMALL things were lacking on this cruise, that they finally all started to add up, and most of 'em pointed directly at the worst Cruise Director I've ever experienced aboard a Carnival, or any other ship. I only saw him "out and about" once, and that time he was hitting on some young black girls. Didn't stop to talk to anyone else, smile, say hello, or anything? He seemed to delegate all of his "public appearances" to the younger guy with the annoying FAKE South African accent. I'll NOT be sailing with him again! (He even made such a mess of karaoke, that we didn't get to do our long awaited duet!) BUMMER!
Where's Part 1?
I am very appreciative of the time and effort you have taken in compiling this review.
I have not sailed Carnival and to be honest, very unlikely to have sailed with them.
After reading the review, I will def not sail with them - thank you very much. You have saved me from a potentially frustrating experience.
Why does a Cruise Line can employ such an elusive CD? Is it possible to establish in advance who the CD will be for a particularsailing?
I agree with Ken, our CD was definitely elusive. He did not appear at any public function, except the first Welcome Aboard Show. I never saw him out and about except once as he passed through Horatio's (buffet) and when I said "hello Malcolm", he never even looked at me.
His assistant CD William, or as he said it, "Weeel-i-yuuuummmm" was so obnoxious with his overdone fake South African accent he came off looking like a pompous as$! Another entertainment staffer, Levi, from New Zealand was SO hard to understand that doing Trivia with him we needed an interpeter. Then there was Michael, who after the karaoke incident was not seen for days anywhere. I did see him near the end of the week at the Captain's repeat passenger party.
And seriously, the one female entertainment staff, her name was "Sparkles"...:rolleyes:
Mike, Part 1 is not labeled Part 1 (I forgot!) It just says Miracle Cruise 2010.
Miracle Cruise 2010 Part 4
Miracle Cruise Part 4
Sunday November 14, 2010
Our first port day, in St. Maarten and I woke up sick. I had a whopper headache and a
nasty sore throat and felt just awful, so James went immediately to the Shore Excursion desk and canceled our shore excursion "Sail & Snorkel".
I skipped breakfast and went straight to the medical centre. This was my 2nd visit to the Miracle's medical services, as I had an issue with atrial fibrilation the last time we sailed on Miracle. This time, the doctor was not available, having been up all night with an emergency, but the nurse on duty gave me some Cepacol lozenges and a couple packs of Alka-Seltzer to gargle with. I'd never heard of gargling with Alka-Seltzer before, but it did work and got rid of my sore throat. The bill was only a little over $6 too, which was a big improvement from the last time I visited the clinic with a bill over $600!
After gargling, taking some Tylenol and sleeping all morning, I felt well enough to have a
light lunch and then get off the ship for a quick souvenir quest in the Duty Free shop in
I was so under the weather I did not even enjoy shopping, nor did I make my customary stop at Happy Hours for a frozen Margarita.
I did manage to get a photo of James with his beloved ships.
Back on the ship I headed to the aft pool area to lie in the sun, but the horrid annoying
music chased me back in, and I spent the rest of the afternoon reading and knitting on
our balcony, enjoying the peace and quiet and watching Celebrity's Millennium sail away.
My sister and cousin went on the shore excursion that we had canceled, and apparently had such a wonderful time enjoying the rum punch, that they did not make it to dinner that night!
We dined alone again, and I enjoyed an excellent Chicken Noodle Soup - just what I
needed, while James had Mushroom Soup.
Then I had one of my favourites, Tom Turkey, and James had a Filet Mignon, which he
claimed was OK but not great.
For dessert I loved my Chocolate Raspberry Vanilla Cream Cake, and James had the
Apple Pie and Ice Cream. Another successful dinner in the Bacchus Dining Room.
There wasn't much on in the way of entertainment this evening. We did attend the Big
Screen Trivia in the Phantom Theatre, where they showed pictures of famous actors
and actresses and we had to guess who they were. Some of them were very obscure
and I had never heard of them.
This was finished by 9:30, then there was nothing until 10:00 when they had the" Love
and Marriage Game Show", the "Newlywed, Not-so-Newlywed" game.
This at least, was hosted by the Cruise Director, one of the few events he appeared
at all week. This game show is always good for a few laughs, and I was pleased to
see that all 3 couples participating received a bottle of champagne as a prize.
They certainly deserved it for the humiliation they went through!
It was off to bed for us after that, as I was tired and still feeling "cruddy". The crud,
or at least the cough, stayed with me the rest of the week, and into my first week at
home, and from what I heard around the ship, I was not the only one suffering with it.
Goodnight from Flat Stanley and Brontosaurus…..
Sorry Donna that you got the "cruddy" cough and sore throat. Seems like a lot of people I know or have met (like you and Trip, etc.) got this kind of thing this November even though we all were on different ships.
Mine started the last 3 days of my 10 day cruise on the Coral Princess (plus larengitis) and continued for over a week when I got home. Don't think I've ever heard of this kind of thing being so active and all over the board (pun intended).
At least it wasn't the flu (1st time I had the flu shot since forever).
Hope you're cough has gone for good.
As usual, enjoying your reviews - always interesting. James looks great - like he lost a lot of weight ... way to go!
I am still feeeling the ramifications of my Eclipse cold:( If I had stock in kleenex,I would be rich! I hope we are all better soon, to shop, and celebrate,and eat and eat and eat!!
Looking forward to reading the next chapter..other than your llness on your last Miracle cruise, it appears you enjoyed that cruise more....
Miracle Cruise Part 5
Miracle Cruise Part 5
Day 5, Monday November 15, 2010
Today's port was St. Lucia, and I think, one of the prettiest ports to sail into.
Lots of green, and pretty little coloured houses dot the landscape.
In St. Lucia, we three girls booked a tour together, James stayed on board.
Since we are all fascinated with dolphins we chose the Dolphin and Whale Watch tour, the operative word being "watch".
It was a sunny, hot and humid day, as we boarded our boat for the long ride out to the Pitons at the other end of the island.
It was extremely hot on the boat, and quite rocky; thank goodness for Gravol.
Free drinks were handed out, rum punch, fruit punch and fruit juices, but that was not enough to keep us cool. At some point, the 3 of made our way up to the very front of the boat just to catch a breeze. After a long one and a 1/2 hour ride outbound, with not a sighting anywhere, we finally
slowed down near the Pitons, and circled for about a half hour.
We did finally see some dolphins, but as I was trying to videotape with one hand, and hang on the railing for dear life with the other, I just could not manage to get my camera out and snap any pictures.
Although we saw a few dolphins and some flying fish, we did not spot any whales at all.
It wasn't a very exciting excursion, in fact quite boring and very hot, but it was fun for a while riding the rolling waves up on the front of the boat, and Flat Stanley even enjoyed "riding" the waves at the back!
On the ride back, we rode closer to the island where we could see some of the damage from the recent hurricane, as well as the interesting rock face of the cliffs, and a special ittle side trip into Marigot Bay, home of the Chateau Marigot Restaurant, some impressive yachts, and the spectacular homes of Oprah Winfrey, George Foreman and Rolling Stone Mick Jagger.
We arrived back at the ship around 2:30, hot, tired and hungry and went for lunch.
My cousin Penny and I spent some time in the aft pool and then hot tub to round off the afternoon.
At dinner that night, we were interrupted by a very serious announcement from our Captain Rocco Lubrano, who informed us of an unfortunate incident that happened that day in St. Kitts, our next port of call.
Passengers from the Celebrity Mercury had been robbed at gunpoint aboard a tour bus on one of the ship's shore excursions.
Our Captain had been in touch with the police and the authorities in St. Kitts and had decided not to stop there tomorrow. Instead, he had arranged for us to make a stop in Antigua.
There was much applause and murmuring of approval from the dining room.
We were fortunate that we were able to visit another port, rather than have another sea day, and we were very pleased with our Captain's decision.
Following this announcement, we all enjoyed another wonderful dinner in the Bacchus Dining Room, which included Lamb Chops, Flat Iron Steak, and soup with Lemongrass and Coconut, and Warm Chocolate Melting cake all around for dessert....mmmmm!
Tonight's entertainment was a big production show called "Generations".
It was a very good show, encompassing the music and dance over the generations, and showcased the talent of the Carnival singers ana dancers.
After the show we headed up to the Lido deck for the Big Deck Party, which wasn't so big.
The only good thing about it was that the Filipino band Music Unlimited was playing live, and they did a very good and very long set of classic oldies.
Passengers were dancing and enjoying themselves only because the music was so good.
There was no Cruise Director hosting, or any of his staff present, and no organization whatsoever, like we have seen on other ships, where there were dancing games, contests, and conga lines.
Again, poor marks for Miracle's entertainment staff.
We were also looking for the advertised Mexican Buffet at the Deck Party, only to find out it wasn't coming out until 11:30 till 1 a.m. - way too late for us!
So, it was off to bed again where Flat Stanley bid goodnight to a Frog...
Laura and Trip, I hope you are both feeling better soon. It's taken a week, but I am pretty much back to normal. I talked to my cousin Penny tonight and she is still coughing and has a raspy voice. Believe it or not, it was colder there in California tonight than it is her in Nova Scotia!
Donna - it wasn't Laura who posted but Jane - your old trivia partner ... you know, CruzNut - the original ... the one on the New Year's cruise with you.
Oops. sorry Jane, of course I remember you1 I could have used you as a Trivia partner on this cruise!
Miracle Cruise Part 6
Miracle Cruise Part 6
Tuesday November 16, 2010
My Sister's 50th Birthday!
Our last-minute scheduled visit to Antigua was a perfect weather day, 86 degrees and sunny.
The evening before we were able to get a full refund on our shore excursion in St. Kitts, and to re-book one in Antigua.
We chose a beach day, and it was a perfect.
A small bus took us on a 15 minute ride through town to Dickinson Beach, located at a resort hotel. The hotel and beach were very beautiful but crowded.
Lounge chairs were included, as were rum punch and fruit punch. The rum punch was 90% rum so it didn't take many people too long to be feeling good!
The beach was clean and white, with easy, gradual access to the water.
The water itself was cloudy, perhaps from recent hurricanes? However, it was warm and wonderful, and I spent about 90% of my time there in the water.
As it was her actual birthday on this day, my sister decided to treat herself to a jet-ski ride.
She has always loved moving fast on the water, so this was a thrill.
For $45 she booked a half hour with a "guide" who went out with her and helped her manage the jet-ski. We got some incredible video of her whizzing along and going a great distance. As well, I got some photos of her birthday present to herself!
The only blight on this perfect beach day was the presence of numerous vendors on the beach.
Despite the fact that there were several small shops right on the beach selling everything a tourist could possibly want, the vendors were still on the beach pestering constantly with everything from T-shirts to dresses, jewelry, coconuts, palm-leaf woven hats, and of course jet-ski or catamaran rides. Part of the reason I spent most of my time in the water!
We were back on board by 1p.m. ready for lunch. I had priced the "Grill" on the beach, and at $10 for a hot dog, and $14 for a cheeseburger, I'd decided to wait till I got back to the ship! The Miracle's grill was pretty good, and we enjoyed both hot dogs and hamburgers there, along with chicken fingers and fries, throughout the week.
I tried to take in some sun by the aft pool during the afternoon, but once again I was chased inside by the horrible music. I spent a lot of time this cruise on my own quiet balcony, listening to my own music, knitting and reading.
Tonight was our big evening in Nick & Nora's Steakhouse to celebrate my sister's birthday.
We arrived at our appointed time, 6:00 to find we were virtually the only customers there. We were shown a nice table on the upper level, near a window, overlooking the walking deck.
The service and attention to detail was wonderful in Nick & Nora's. The bottle of champagne I had ordered to my sister's room was ready and waiting in an ice bucket by our table, and served with a flourish to the birthday girl.
We were presented with a detailed choice of meals, with plastic-wrapped examples, and great explanations. It was not hard to choose what we wanted!
The birthday girl chose a large Rib Eye Steak, which looked and was, scrumptuous.
My cousin Penny had her heart set on the Lobster Tail, and was not disappointed with the elaborate lay-out of a perfect meal.
James' Surf and Turf was a wonderful bit of lobster and a filet mignon done to perfection and he enjoyed every bit of it.
My own Filet Mignon was also done to perfection, served butterfly style, and accompanied by delicious baked potato and veggies on the side.
We had dined at Nick & Nora's on our first cruise on Miracle, and although we enjoyed the food, the biggest improvement this time around was the music.
Previously there had been a completely awful live duo singing, which spoiled our visit, but this time, there was gentle muzak, perfect mood music for a New York style steakhouse; Frank Sinatra, Michael Buble, some big band tunes, as well as instrumentals, making for a much more pleasant dining experience.
Dessert on this special occasion had also been pre-ordered by me, and was delivered to our table when we had finished our dinner.
It was a small, but decadently delicious chocolate birthday cake that had the shine of patent leather on the icing!
In all, it was a wonderful meal, good food, good service and a wonderful celebration of my sister's 50th birthday, for which I presented her with a large scrapbook of her first 50 years.
After dinner Heather and Penny went off to bed, but we changed into more casual clothes and went to the Phanton Theatre to check out ventriloquist Phil Hughes, who was about the only choice of entertainment that evening.
His act was average at best, until he invited 3 audience members up for a pretty funny grand finale.
The show was over by 10:00 and we headed off to bed too, it had been a long day.
Flat Stanley and the Pig say goodnight!
As you know, the lovely Mrs. Jones (Vita) and I both got bad colds while on this cruise too. Mine started coming on about halfway through the cruise, and hers just a day or two later. I'm just about over mine now, but hers is hanging on. I don't know what it is, but it's REALLY hard to shake. We very rarely get sick on a cruise, so whatever is around right now, is pretty strong!
GREAT review Donna, and I can concur with everything you've written! While thinking about the many, many LITTLE problems with this cruise, they all point directly to the Cruise Director, and his staff. What a shame! "Miracle" has always been my absolute favorite ship in the entire Carnival fleet, but I can guarantee you that I'll never book her again as long as the current C.D., and staff are aboard. Was it a good cruise, you ask? YES, it absolutely was, but it could have been so, so much better !
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