I wish I had kept a journal to remember everything. Our family consists of myself and husband (both 49 years of age) and our two teen-aged sons (17 years and 14 years). We took this cruise on the first weekend (Friday-Monday) of our school's spring vacation.
We got to the port at around 11:30. The ship was visible from the road we were on. I was surprised at the size of the Miracle. There is one two-lane road to the pier so the traffic was slow going. We dropped off the luggage while my husband parked the van. We waited several minutes while workers were loading other people's luggage onto trolleys. The boys and I walked over to where the luggage was going, and an employee told us we could bring our luggage in and drop it off. Then we walked into the building. Not knowing what to expect or what to do, we happened to get in the correct line. We got our sail and sign cards and were directed to a line to board. This line was not well planned out (we intersected with another line of people trying to check in). The whole process took about 40 minutes, so I didn't think that was too bad.
We got on board. The difference between outside and inside was amazing. One minute we were in the bright Florida sunshine, then the next minute we were in the dim lighting on the Metropolis lobby. It seemed like we were in a different city as soon as we walked on board. We went to the elevators which seemed to be moving slowly (or maybe it was because there were many people trying to go up to the Lido deck to eat). We got up to the Lido deck to eat lunch. The guys got in the first line they saw, which was Italian. I walked around the corner and got in the a line that had roast beef and chicken. Other than a breakfast one morning, that was the last time I ate at Horatio's on the Lido deck. It was a tasty lunch. I was surprised at how good it was as I imagined something like school cafeteria-type food. Our boys ate at the pizzeria a few times and said it was good.
We checked out our cabins. We were on the Empress deck, two inside cabins. We put the boys in one and we were in the other. The travel agent sent a bottle of wine and a bottle of champagne to each cabin. We met out room attendant (is he called a steward?). He asked if we wanted to mini-bar unlocked. I asked if we could keep the wine in there, and he replied that he would get an ice bucket. So, we kept the mini-bar locked. The cabins were larger than I expected. There were two large fluffy bathrobes in one of three closets. There was plenty of drawer space. A hair dryer was in one of the drawers. The cord was a little short, but it had sufficient power. The bathroom had a large counter and several glass shelves. We had plenty of room for all of our toiletries. We didn't spend much time in our staterooms, so I thought they were large enough.
There was so much to do that we missed much of it (like the Captain's Cocktail Party). The ship was easy to get around. There were many places to sit and enjoy a quiet moment. There were plenty of chairs outside. The ones by the pool were usually taken, but on upper decks, there were stacks of unused chairs. "Total Eclipse" was the Calypso band out by the pool. Our 17-year old son said the jazz band ("Gavin Ahearn Trio" in the Gotham lounge) was good. We went to a karaoke session with KJ Foxx." KJ ended up singing several songs to fill in for the lack of passenger-singers. The ones who did perform were very good.
My husband spent some time in the casino. Slot machines were in ample supply and if one wanted to play the slots, there was always one available. There were a few blackjack tables, but they were $10 minimum. There was one $5 minimum blackjack table, but that was usually full. We wished there had been some $2 minimum tables to make our money last longer. There was one craps table and I believe one roulette table. There were also some tables that we thought we blackjack tables, but they played various poker type games. I didn't look at those close enough to be able to figure out the game. The only show (other than the non-judged talent show) that we went to was the last show - a tribute to the Beatles. It was very good. We spent a lot of time just walking around the ship, looking at all of the lounges and rooms. We got sunburnt on Saturday in Freeport, so we spent most of our time on board inside or in the shade. That was disappointing, as I had planned to read on deck in the sunshine on Sunday - our "Day at Sea."
Everything was gleaming as one would expect on a new ship. The amount of granite on counters and floors surprised me. We ate our meals in the Bacchus Restaurant, which is as bad as you've seen in pictures. The food was wonderful and varied. I don't eat pork or beef and I was surprised that I had several choices of entrees every evening. We took a bottle of wine to our first dinner, and our waiter (Roland) told us since the cruise was so short, he would not charge us the corkage fee. So we gave it to him as an additional tip.
Our 14-year old son (freshman in high school) said the activities planned for him were too young. The dance he attended (12-18 years of age) was mainly full of 12 year olds. He tried to attend the "disco" with his older brother, but it was for 16+ and he was carded. He spent a lot of time in his cabin watching college basketball.
The end of the cruise came too soon. We decided to carry our luggage off so we wouldn't have to interupt any activities to go and pack. Our deck was the first to be called off, so we were the first group to leave. We're already thinking of taking another cruise. I have a feeling that we have been spoiled by the Miracle.