April 4, 2011
Southern Caribbean – St. Maarten, St. Lucia, St. Kitts
I’m Rebecca, 18 years old. This was my 10th cruise, but only my 4th on Carnival. All previous Carnival cruises were on Carnival Liberty therefore this was a new class of ship to experience. I was traveling with my mom, her boyfriend, and my (now ex)boyfriend. We were also with two close friends we’d met on a cruise in 2005 & have continued cruising with about once a year since then.
We stayed two nights pre-cruise at the Harbor Beach Marriot in Ft. Lauderdale. The location was right on the beach. Although there were some minor problems the first day, the overall stay was fine. The pool area was a great place to relax before the cruise. The outdoor restaurant is prime location for watching the ships sail away from Lauderdale, adding to our excitement to board our own ship!
The whole process went very smoothly. We were at the port around 10am and on the ship by 11:30. Ft. Lauderdale doesn’t have the kiosks to check in like Miami does, so I did notice the lines getting a bit busier as the morning went on and more people started to arrive. Checking in took no time at all and waiting to board the ship wasn’t too bad either. It was definitely one of the quicker embarkations I’ve experienced.
Food & Dining:
In my opinion the food was excellent. We ate dinner in the main dining room every night. This was our second cruise doing the Your Time Dining and I definitely prefer it over scheduled seating. We went to the dining room between 7-7:30 PM every night and only had to wait a few times. We chose to keep the same servers (Olena, Nantana, and Parsa) for the entire week which was the cause of the wait time; tables were widely available for those who weren’t picky about their service team. The food always came out quick and hot. I don’t eat any meat other than seafood and there was a great variety of dishes for me to choose from each night.
I ate lunch in the buffet every day. I became a big fan of the arugula, roasted pepper, and mozzarella sandwiches from the deli. I think I ate that every day we weren’t in port. I got breakfast in the buffet each morning to bring back to the balcony. They had the best French toast, but it was only available every other day. I never waited in line more than a few minutes. I also developed a habit of getting a slice of pizza or two in the afternoon. You can’t beat Carnival pizza! The ice cream cones and snacks by the pool were really convenient for those looking for a snack during “off hours”. The sushi bar on deck 2 was open every night but one. They had three different sushi selections to choose from each night and it was always delicious. Tea time was in the main dining room on all sea days at 3PM. They had an assortment of tea, pastries, and tiny sandwiches to choose from.
The only show I attended was the comedy show on one of the first few nights. The comedian was hilarious. The comedy shows are definitely a nice addition to the entertainment schedule. Throughout the week there were a total of four different comedians that performed a few different shows each. There was a headliner show every night in the main theater, as well as various activities going on in the different lounges. The Fun Times was never lacking something to do no matter what time of day or night.
I had to throw this section in here since this was my first cruise being 18 and able to gamble! I have no idea how to play any table/card games, but I sure did have fun on the slot machines. I also loved that coin pusher machine. It doesn’t take much to amuse me for a few hours. Unfortunately the casino ate up all my money, but I had a blast playing for the week.
We were in cabin 7301, a premium balcony. The room was more square shaped than rectangle which really made it feel a lot bigger. I never felt overcrowded even with four people in the room. There was a bed that came down from the ceiling, the couch turned into a bed, and then the two twins that could be converted into one large bed. This cabin had the most cabin space I’ve ever had on a cruise. Our room steward, Casy, was beyond helpful. The room was always clean, the ice bucket always full, and there were chocolates and towel animals on the bed every night. This cabin also had an extended balcony. We opened the dividers between our cabin and 7299 to make one huge balcony.
St. Maarten – We toured with Bernard. This was our fourth time touring with him and it’s the only tour we’ll consider while on the island. He’s extremely knowledgeable about the island and always provides a great tour. Since we’d been to the island previously we chose to drive around a bit and then spend most of the day at Maho Beach to see the planes land. On the way to Maho we stopped at Tijon Parfumerie, which is something we’ve never done before. They offer classes to make your own perfume and have many products made on the island available for purchase. It was a really neat place to see and a great option for those who aren’t interested in beach time as part of the tour. I ended up buying some sunscreen, after sun care, and a small perfume. After that we headed over to Maho. We were able to see two big planes land, and a whole bunch of smaller planes. It was pretty busy with four ships in port, but we had no problem getting a table to have lunch and watch the planes. It’s always a good time visiting St. Maarten and over the years it’s become one of my favorite ports.
St. Lucia – Mom wasn’t feeling well so we canceled our tour plans for the day. We did end up getting off the ship for around an hour in the afternoon. We just walked around the port shopping area and grabbed some souvenirs. We sampled some hot sauce and banana ketchup and ended up buying a bottle of each. I also tried some homemade ice cream they had available for purchase which was really good. The port area was really clean and the people were not pushy at all, which was the opposite of what we’d read prior to the cruise.
St. Kitts – This was our first time visiting St. Kitts. We booked a private tour online with Javin. He usually does rainforest tours, however we’re not hikers so we chose to customize an island tour with some beach time at the end of the day. He was extremely friendly and professional. The tour was amazing and we were able to learn a lot about the island. We first drove through Independence Square. From there we stopped to see the petroglyphs and bloody point. Throughout the entire drive Javin provided many interesting facts about the island, including historical points and current information. From there we stopped at Romney Manor where they create Batik, a local form of art. Our next stop was Brimstone Hill Fortress. The view from the top was absolutely incredible & there was plenty of information throughout the fort to explore. After leaving the fort we drove a bit more, stopping to see the black sand beaches and lava rock formations. Our final stop was at Cockelshell beach for some beach time. We rented chairs in front of the Lion Head Bar, which happened to be where Javin and his wife were married. I ordered a shrimp dish for lunch and it is by far the best food I’ve had on an island. It was all prepared fresh and had a great local flavor. The day flew by and before we knew it we were back in the port shopping area to hit a few stores on the way back to the ship. Being our first time to the island I thought this was the perfect tour. It was a great mix of history, culture, and beach time. We will definitely be touring with Javin if we ever find ourselves in St. Kitts again. This island also made the cut as one of my favorite ports!
This was definitely some of the friendliest staff. They were always smiling and willing to help.
Although Miracle is an older ship it was in great condition. There was nothing that indicated the ship’s age. Everything was spotless. You would always see people cleaning no matter what time of day you were wandering around the ship. The layout of this class ship was very easy to navigate. The only thing I missed was the big screens and stadium style seating on the lido deck like Liberty had.
Unfortunately after eight days they kicked us off the ship. We chose to do the luggage express since we had a late flight out that night on Southwest. We were off the ship around 9am. I somehow wore the barcode off my sign & sail card, but they still found a way to ding me off the ship
We had booked a day room at the Bahia Mar Hotel in Ft. Lauderdale since our flight wasn’t until 7PM. The hotel was very old and not the cleanest. Thankfully we have a friend in the area and we were able to spend some time with him. The hotel was basically used as a place to drop our bags since we weren’t comfortable using the shower or beds. The pool wasn’t clean either so we took a walk down to the beach.
This was my high school graduation cruise and it was by far my best cruise to date. We met some amazing people and I absolutely loved the ports. On the final sea day I was offered a galley tour by the chef. It was a great experience to see how things worked behind the scenes. It made me appreciate the dining room staff so much more seeing just how much work they have to do in such a short period of time. Also, I cannot thank John Heald enough for the graduation surprises throughout the week. I wouldn’t hesitate to go on Carnival Miracle again, although Liberty still remains my favorite ship. I expected cruising at 18 to be a tad boring since I could no longer go to Club O2, but I was pleasantly surprised at how much fun it is. Can I go back yet ?!
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