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Ok, this is a REALLY long review so it will probably be in multiple parts. We sailed on the Miracle leaving from New York on May 11th. The trip was incredible!! Let me start with that. Those that have complaints about the service or the decor of the ship or anything else I had read over the last 6 months, I have now chalked it up to some people's minor squibbles. We arrived in NY and were parked at the pier by 10:45. We were in a category. 11 suite so when we got inside we asked where the vip boarding area was. The lady we talked to led us to the area at the front and another lady checked us in. We boarded right after a wedding party and we were having lunch on the lido deck by 12. The only complaint I could see was the NY's embarkation system was chaotic. Even some of the Carnival employees admitted they weren't sure where to put people so organization could be improved upon.
Once on board, we had lunch and our stateroom, cabin 6168 was ready for us. It was beautiful, large and roomy. It was me, my DH, my DD (18) and DS (20) in a cabin suite for 4. There were 3 LARGE hanging closets plus so many drawers in so many places you wouldn't believe it. We had 9 suitcases plus 4 carry-ons. 4 of these suitcases were the huge ones and after we unpacked EVERYTHING, we had 4 drawers we never even used and we could have easily fit 2 more people's packed luggage in the hanging closets alone. The bathroom had a full size tub, actually slightly bigger than the one I have a home and YES it was a jacuzzi tub. We had the little complimentary basket in the bathroom although we had brought everything we needed so we never touched the bathroom. The balcony was big and deep. We had 2 lounge chairs already on it plus another table and chair. We could easily fit 4 lounge chairs out there and still have room to walk. It was great. Yes, the life boats were below us but when you were looking out at the ocean, they didn't bother you at all. The bedding was terrific and comfortable. My son slept on the pull down bed and my daughter slept on the sofa bed. They both said they were very comfortable to sleep on and they both slept well every night. They don't allow irons so I took a little hand held steamer and it was perfect and quick and little. My whole family used it. Post it notes were also a big hit with my family and we communicated easily through them and voice messages left on our cabin phones. Also, my DH, DD and I were on one S&S card, my son placed his under his own credit card because he wanted to be in the casino some and that was no problem whatsoever. We simply went to the purser's desk and they did it in like 2 minutes. They also gave us the free lanyards which were great. The purser’s desk was great, lines were always very short and whether it was adding cash to our account or asking a question, they were very helpful and professional. The flowers I had ordered for my parent's cabin was also there and beautiful! Muster drill was quick and easy!
Our cabin steward was Rodrigo. He has been with Carnival for 10 years and is from the Philippines where he has family. Before leaving our cabin the first time, we left him a note simply saying hi, telling him our names and we did tip him on day 1 because we felt it was something we wanted to do. When we returned later, he was there to greet us, we got to know him a little and after that, we never had to ask him for anything. Even with 4 people in the room, he never forgot that there were 4 of us or our names. He knew our patterns and even though the 4 of us were in and out at the weirdest times all through the cruise, he always had things fixed to a tee right down to those wonderful towel animals. The first night, someone on the balcony above us had too much to drink and got sick over the balcony onto ours so when we woke up we saw it. Within 30 minutes, it was gone, he brought in 2 guys with hoses and cleaning things and it was spotless again. Several times the kids slept in late if they got in late and he actually came in (with our and their permission) and cleaned around them without waking them and they simply woke up to a clean room. We left him a little note every morning just to say hi and wish him a good day, sometimes even a joke. He took such good care of us that we tipped him very well at the end of the week as well and placed it in my own version of a "towel animal" :). As we left the last day, we left me a note which I kept and gave me the book on the Miracle that was in my cabin that he knew I wanted and I left him a huge bag of wintergreen mints with my last note.
One of my best cabin tips I got from on here was the over the door shoe hanger for the bathroom. Although we didn't need it at all, we still used it and it was faster than drawers for those items you grab quickly while keeping things neat. We took 4 of the big plastic sippy cups that hold like more that 20 oz. each and had lids with straws. Got them at the dollar store for $1 apiece and they were great for taking lemonade or juice or whatever to the cabin with us late at night.
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