Length: 960 ft
Our favorite Spirit-class; small but modern for a cozy atmosphere and top-notch service, lovely staterooms and great decorBest For People Who Want
A budget/mid-priced cruise; a high energy, Las Vegas-style atmosphere with A vast array of activities in a glamorous atmosphere at a budget/mid-priced range; spacious spa and fitness facilities, plenty of activities for children; large fitness/spa facilities; large cabins, many of then with balconies, many for three and four passengers; many choices of excellent nightlife; an expansive casino, above average food and friendly, although unpolished, service.Should Be Avoided By People Who Prefer
Should Be Avoided by People Who Want: A quite vacation way from large crowds and children; a more subdued atmosphere.Onboard Experience
The 2,124-passenger Carnival Miracle is the fourth in Carnival's new Spirit-class of ships (sister ships Carnival Spirit, Carnival Legend and Carnival Pride). With 80% of all outside cabins on this 88,500-ton ship having balconies, from the outside the ship looks more like a hotel than a cruise ship, which is appropriate because from the supper club located high in the funnel down to the the dance club tucked away literally on deck one, the amazing "turned on its head" interior decoration on these ships is so state of the art that the fact that the entire vessel actually moves on water becomes ancillary to the experience at hand, which is just enjoying your vacation. These are some of the most well-designed ships in the industry, with Azipod navigation outside, easy people navigation on the inside with good crowd flow and lovely cabins with everything right where it is supposed to be.Decor
Carnival Pride features "Fictional Icons" as its unifying theme. While on the other Spirit-class ships the theme tends to be more obvious and pervasive, almost like a theme park interior, Carnival Miracle (with exceptions) is more understated with muted tones and subtle accents. You will find renderings of famous literary figures from Robinson Crusoe to Robin Hood. However, as is typical with Carnival's famous interior designer, Joe Farcus, the theme tends to get a little extended. What begins as "literary" soon includes comic books with rooms named after Superman's Metropolis and Batman's Gotham.Public Rooms
Your journey begins in the Metropolis Lobby at the base of the atrium, where the colors are unmistakably "superman costume blue, gold & red". Gold banisters buttressed by aqua pillars framed in light blue Murano glass sit atop hard, deep blue marble tiles. You are in the land of Superman. At the base of this spectacular entrance is a bar featuring a pianist or string trio playing relaxing music. The Shore Excursions and Purser's desks are also on this deck.
Most of the action on the ship is on Decks 2 and 3 where the shops, main dining room, lounges, and casino are located. The shops offer perfume, jewelry, and $10 bargains - all duty-free. You will find the Jazz Club across form the Fountainhead Cafe, and a sports bar called McGuire's. The generous (in proportions, anyway) Mr. Lucky's Casino spans the entire width of the ship and features slots and and a variety of table games. Four glass elevators take you to the Lido Deck (number 9), which features the ship's spa, pools, and fine dining, including alternative options, along with the glass staircase to the Nick & Nora's Supper Club on deck 10. This swank restaurant requires jackets and reservations to enjoy their famous stone crabs from Joe's Stone Crab Restaurant and prime beef.
The Phantom Theater, three decks high on Decks 2, 3, and 4, is Pride's primary showroom, and it has everything a state-of-the-art cruise ship theater could ever boast of including great sight lines and plenty of seats. Also on Deck 4 is the children's video arcade called "Wizard's", while the Children's Pinocchio's Club is on Deck 5. Kids can be kept busy with the computer lab, PlayStation area, candy-making machine, and sand art area, all connected by tunnels. Gatsby's Garden on Deck 3, while skirting the showroom, provides a peaceful rest-place to recharge before heading back to the excitement. The passenger cabins are on the remaining decks.Cuisine
As we have mentioned before, the dining room food on Carnival is surprisingly good, much better than one would expect from a mid-price ship formerly known as a party boat. Carnival deserves a lot of credit (and they have a lot of experience) for getting this part of the cruise experience right. There are standard items on the menu every night, as well changing entrees that include low-carb and vegetarian selections.Restaurants
The Bacchus is the one dining room for all 2100+ passengers serving up to 1000 people at any given time surprisingly effectively. There are booths as well as tables for two (and four, six and eight), and an annex called the Ariadne Room with tables for eight and sometimes 10. The main dining room has early (5:45 p.m. or 6:15 p.m.) and late (8:00 p.m. or 8:30 p.m.) seatings. Nick & Nora's Supper Club is open from 6 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Table service is also available in the informal Horatio's Restaurant from 6:00 to 9:30.
The Lido restaurant, Horatio's Restaurant, also features a variety of specialty food stations in addition the usual buffet line. The international stations offer such tasty choices as Japanese, Indian, Chinese, deli-style sandwiches, pizza and other pasta, and hamburgers and hot dogs. There is a different meat featured at the carving station daily.
If beef is your passion, you will be very pleased with the 18-ounce prime rib and porterhouse, 14-ounce New York strip, or 9-ounce filet mignon found at Nick & Nora's Supper Club, where reservations and jackets for men are required (and a $25 charge is added to your Sail & Sign card). Obviously specializing in special occasions, they also offer champagne and caviar (at an additional charge).
Room service is available 24-hours a day, but is not really a great reason to skip a meal outside your cabin. You don't want to miss the coffee bar's delightful desserts and pastries. The pizza bar, including an excellent Caesar salad, and New York deli are also available 24/7. For dessert, there is a self-serve soft ice cream and frozen yogurt stand.Service
Carnival has developed a new way to serve its guests that ensures prompt and efficient service from friendly and courteous staff. This 'team service' concept entails four tables being attended by a headwaiter and several assistants. The enthusiastic staff learn the passengers' names and preferences, resulting in their favorite drinks, bread, and extras being on the table when they arrive. The nightly entertainment and dances performed by the staff give the whole ship a warm and informal feeling.Tipping
Gratuities include $5.50 for the Dining Room staff, $3.60 for the stateroom steward, and $.90 for the service in the alternative dining rooms. This makes for a total of $10.00 per person per day (excluding children under two). You can prepay this charge or have it automatically added to your Sail & Sign card. The pre-paid gratuities are mandatory on the Cruises-to-Nowhere. The purser's desk will increase or decrease this amount at your request throughout the cruise. The $10 charge does not include tips for the spa, casino, room service, maitre d' or other staff. All beverage tabs have a 15% gratuity already included.
A 15 percent gratuity is automatically added to all beverage tabs. Gratuities for the maitre d', room service, spa, casino and other staff are at the passenger's discretion.Entertainment
Along with regularly featured entertainers such as magicians, comedians, jugglers, ventriloquists, and various types of musicians (all at the Versailles Lounge), the Carnival's main entertainment is its Vegas-style show. This multi-million dollar production includes two singers, five male and nine female dancers, along with special guests, and is sure to leave you feeling well and truly entertained. The costumes alone cost half a million buck!Cabins
The spacious cabins, 180 sq. feet, are cleverly designed with a subdued décor of peach and beige along with wood-toned furniture in warm caramel colors. Their layout features a sofa and vanity near the twin/king bed configuration and ample closets. Other amenities are the several movies found on the color TV everyday, hair dryer and safe. The bathroom has a shower and enough shelf space for two people, along with a complimentary basket of toiletries. Other room options are the 230 sq. feet deluxe ocean-view balcony cabin and the 245 sq. feet cabin with a 220 sq. feet wrap-around balcony. Other suites are the 300 sq. feet suite with a 115 sq. feet balcony and the 275 sq. feet suite with an 85 sq. feet balcony. The highlights of the suites and Oceanview staterooms are the well-stocked mini bar and cozy terrycloth robes. for disabled passengers are available.Fitness/Spa
Miracle's 13,700 sq. feet, two-deck gym is simply not to be missed, not even by the resolutely indolent. With floor-to-ceiling windows providing panoramic views, you may find yourself enjoying your time on any of the stairmasters, rowing and hydraulic weight machines, elliptical walkers, stationary bikes, or treadmills more than ever before. There's a jogging deck surrounding the forward Sky Deck; 15 times around equals a mile. Saunas and steam rooms are available for both sexes, along with an adult only whirlpool. Steiner's of London operates the nearby Beauty Venus Salon where guests can indulge in any beauty treatment or massage they desire. Ladies are very apt to feel like Greek goddesses in the salon, which features Doric columns and Greek vase motifs as part of a beautiful mural.Attire
During the day casual attire is the norm, but don't' try to get into the dining room after 6 p.m. in shorts or jeans. There are two formal nights, but most men wear dark suits rather than tuxedos. Other evenings, men typically wear a sport coat and tie or other resort-type clothing. For the Alaska cruise, you are encouraged to bring warmer, waterproof clothes, along with comfortable shoes for outings.
We had a relaxing cruise aboard the Miracle in an aft extended view balcony and wanted to share the good, the great, and the minor bummers. I am 40, my husband 50 and our son is 4. This was a 40th birthday cruise for me. Probably our 14th cruise or so, but who is counting?! We'd repeat this trip because it was an overall excellent value and great experience.
Faster to the Fun:
I'll start with major props on the Faster to the Fun concept. For $50 we are so glad we made the investment. We were some of the first on the ship (by 12:30pm due to a slower than usual disembarkation process from the prior Hawaii cruise) and praise the staff for always recognizing us as FTTF and whisking us to priority tenders, priority self assist debarkation, etc. We will always cruise this way as long as Carnival makes this option available at such a good price. And YES, FTTF is listed on the priority check in sign, right next to Platinum, etc. This was really nice for us traveling with a 4 year old and arriving to theport at 10:30am. A front desk agent surveyed us on our FTTF experience mid way through the cruise by phoning our cabin. The only less than perfect feedback I had for her (when asked) was that our luggage wasn' in our room when we arrived on embarkation day, but we didnâ€™t care one bit about that since it arrived shortly thereafter.
Here is our video tour of aft extended balcony cabin #7351.
We loved this cabin. It was quiet (staterooms above and below), clean, and located quite conveniently to the Horatioâ€™s restaurant (LOVE that I only had to take two quick flights of stairs for our morning coffee run!). The bed was among the top three most comfortable on any ship we'e ever experienced. We pack our own pillows, but still, the mattress was just soft enough, the sheets were soft and we slept like babies. My 4 year old son slept on the couch converted to a bed, and he loved the gentle rumble of the engines lulling him to sleep each night. There was less engine vibration and noise on the aft of the Miracle than we've experienced on other ships. Just enough to be soothing and rock you to sleep. The balcony was showing a bit of wear and wasn't super clean, and I didn't care for the food smell that wafts toward the aft when you are on the back of the ship, but the lack of wind makes that part bearable. There was never a time when we couldn't be out on the balcony. Even late at night on the coolest of evenings it was calm and lovely to watch the wake. Storage was ample, closet space rocked, and the shower seemed bigger to me than most. We'd choose this cabin again and again.
Our dining experience:
We dined at the Steakhouse, Nick and Nora's, twice on this voyage. The first experience was on the night of our cruise - after learning that we weren't happy with our main dining room table assignment. Shortly after boarding, we visited the main dining room and were told we were to be seated at a big table with others (we'd chosen assigned /6pm, table of 4 for the three of us). So, until this was resolved, we decided to pay the premium and hit Nick and Nora's. We dined there a second time on the second formal night. It was wonderful!
Both times, I had the lobster bisque, Caesar salad, surf and turf (Lobster
We had a wonderful time on our cruise, enjoyed the room we had with a balcony (cabin 8230). It was near the stairs/elevator and just one flight up to the buffet. The "Serenity deck" was awesome (no one under 21). There is also an inside pool which was great as long as you could get into it before the kids did! The gym was very nice too, as well as the steam room and sauna. The only thing that keeps this from being 5 star is that Carnival allows smoking on the balcony decks, which affects other balconies.