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Friday, December 17, 2010

CMDTA on Vacation – Carnival Miracle

The Carnival Miracle was the last Spirit Class ship Carnival built.  It’s been a few years since then but the Miracle is still in decent shape.

Unlike some of the other Carnival Ships the Miracle has a full promenade that can be walked or jogged at anytime. This is always a nice feature and I really don’t like ships that don’t have a full promenade.

One thing the Miracle has in common with all other Carnival ships is its atrium.  The atrium is impressive.  It rises from deck two to above deck ten.  It has the classic glass elevators and the nice bar at the bottom.  At the very top of the atrium you can find Nick and Nora’s Steak House.  I’ll do a separate review for the steak house.

Deck nine is Carnivals Lido deck.  A solid third to one half of the lido deck is the buffet area.  The buffet area is made up of a fresh pizza counter, cuisine of the day counter, salad counter, Asian counter, drink station, grill (dogs, burgers, fries, and so on), deli, and a handful of soft serve ice cream machines.

Beyond the buffet area are two pools and the gym / spa area.  In the very back of the ship there is a bar and the smallest pool I’ve ever seen on a cruise ship.

Beyond the staterooms the rest of the public areas are found on decks two and three.  In rear of both of these floors is the main dining room.  On front end of both of these floors is the Phantom Theater.  In between are a number of clubs, a casino, the atrium, a library, and some bars and sitting areas.

One odd thing; near the entrance of the Phantom Theater is the entrance to the Mad Hatters Ball which is a secondary showroom where they do a lot of karaoke and have some Comedians.  This is odd because the entrance is a stairwell that goes under the Phantom theater and dumps you on deck one. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen this design before.

The Phantom Theater is a classic Carnival theater.  It’s not bad but if you’ve been in other Carnival Theaters it’s nothing to write home about.  Along the sides of the theater there are Phantom masks with glowing red eyes.  I thought the red eyes were tacky and didn’t add much.  On the walls there are paintings depicting scenes from Phantom of the Opera. These are very nice except one of them wasn’t cropped correctly so one of the characters heads was cut off.

One thing that I noticed which I believe is a Carnival policy was the number of bar service and photograph employees. They have always been there but now they solicit you.  In the past the photo employees stood by and waited for people to get their picture taken.  The only exception was when you got on and off the ship.  Now they constantly invite you to stop and take a picture.  It gets old after a while.  They are not pushy and are nice but you get tired of being asked. This hits home when you have to walk by at least five photographers when walking from the dining room to the theater.  I don’t know why they ask.  If you don’t want your picture taken, they are just wasting money because they print a copy of every photo.

The bar service people are the same. In the past they’d walk by and announce “bar service” now they ask everyone if they want a drink.  Doesn’t sound bad but there were a number of times when my wife and I would sit down and we’d be asked by three different people in less than five minutes if we wanted a drink.  It just gets old.

The dining room on the Miracle is nice.  It’s themed after the Greek god of wine.  The only real way you can tell is from all of the purple lights that are designed to look like bunches of grapes.  Beyond that it’s a standard Carnival dining room. 

Taking all aspects into consideration the Carnival Miracle blows the NCL Pearl and Jewel out of the water.  It’s not even fair to compare them.  I can’t think of one way the NCL ships are better than the Miracle. In fact every Carnival ship I’ve ever been on is better than the NCL ships.  I’ll go into some finer details later.

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