March 20, 2004
My wife and I had a marvelous time on the new Spirit class Carnival Miracle. It was great to cruise out of Jacksonville, just a few hours from our home. We stayed at a Wingate hotel and they let use leave our car in their lot for the duration of the cruise and provided a shuttle to the port. The shuttle driver took advantage of the taxi lane to drop us off right at the door just before noon.
Once inside, the line moved quickly and we were on the ship just after noon. We went straight to our cabin and sat on the balcony for a few minutes eating the fresh cookies we had ordered as an embarkation gift. Yes you can order cookies from room service for no additional charge but trust me they do not compare.
Our cabin was #5208 upper deck with a standard balcony. It may be possible to cruise without your own balcony but I would not recommend it. The room was plenty large enough for the two of us, with a couch, coffee table, fridge, and plenty of storage space.
The Miracle is a stunningly beautiful ship. If they could just get rid of the pink grapes in the dining room and put some plants in Gatsby's garden they would have an absolute gem.
The crew was great except for one waitress who still has not brought me that diet coke. I drink a few colas a day so I always invest in a "fountain fun" card. You would think that with most of the nation on a diet they would stock a variety of diet drinks instead of just diet coke. I expected this so I had packed a six-pack of diet mountain dew for the cabin.
My wife and I love to dance and there are many opportunities on board. Most nights, after our early seating dinner we went to the main lounge where they had big band music. Other times we would sample the many lounge acts.
Years ago on the Sensation we heard a band called Music Unlimited that was excellent. To our surprise they were on the Miracle playing nightly at Nick and Nora's late night. These guys are great. They have range like you would not believe. On the Sensation they did a Beatles tribute that was great--just playing Beatles songs in Sergeant Pepper dress. Well, apparently CCL decided to expand their show into their new "Ticket to Ride" production number complete with dancers. This is a case where less was more. If you enjoyed the four Music Unlimited guys do their straight Beatles tribute on another ship you will probably be disappointed by the lame production number Carnival has created.
The other show "Generations" was entertaining but to my astonishment the dancers were kind of pudgy. Only on a cruise ship could a professional dancer become overweight.
The food was great, as you would expect. The main dining room had delicious food presented and served well. The surprise for me was the quality and variety of the buffet choices on lido. Trust me you cannot go wrong, oops there was one disappointment I almost forgot: never, never, never, eat the sushi on this ship. I love sushi but this was the worst I have ever had. It was the rice that was inedible; the fish itself was not too bad. My wife said the sushi served near the sports bar was better but I had learned my lesson at Bacchus.
One fun this about this cruise was the weather, the winds ranged from 20 to 50 mph and the seas were rocking. Apparently there was a hurricane in the south Atlantic that was affecting our weather. To my knowledge hurricanes just don't happen in the south Atlantic but this one did, just ask Brazil what happened in March of 2004. Any way it resulted in a rocking time and some improvisation on the dance floor. We do not tend to get seasick so the movement did not bother us, however it was just funny to see even sober people walking serpentine routes along the promenade.
The casino was a busy place most nights and I was determined to try my luck. I like Blackjack but did not play because they have some dealer-friendly rules that make it less likely you will win. Craps looked like an honest game so I rolled the dice and won twice on the first roll then did not make my point but in the mean time hit two hard ways. Net result $40 to $125 in less than two minutes. That was enough for me so I tipped the dealer and the box girl and walked quickly to the cashier.
Overall we had a great time, eating, dancing, people watching. We have already booked the Miracle again. Best wishes, Coconut.