REVIEW: The renovations to the 2,140-passenger Carnival Miracle are so delightful that the phrase “better than new” comes to mind when sailing on this ship that was originally christened in February 2004. The Miracle is unique for its whimsical decor and will delight you with its creative artwork and fanciful finishes, and yet still comfortable and classy furnishings.
Lining the hallways to your stateroom are huge red, black and beige posters featuring illustrations of famous fictional characters such as Sherlock Holmes, Robinson Crusoe and Long John Silver. They inspire a love of classics, as well as a guessing game of what books the figures are featured in.
The opulent Phantom of the Opera-style theatre is wickedly dramatic with its masquerade ball-style masks framing the windows, a checkerboard floor of black and beige marble tiles at the entrance, hot pink carpet, vintage gold and crystal chandeliers, and purple velvet stage curtain.
The Mad Hatter’s Ball is a smaller theatre space with hearts, clubs, diamonds and spades painted on the floors and ceilings to make you wonder if you’ve fallen down a sort of “Alice in Wonderland” rabbit hole. This space is used for the George Lopez’ Punchliner Comedy Club and special events such as the art and champagne auctions.
The Gatsby Garden lounge features trompe l’oeil paintings of ivy wrapping around trellis work, topiary, statues and fountains.
There are about 10 restaurants and places to eat, but Nick and Nora’s Steakhouse is a specialty restaurant worth the $35 cover charge for the atmosphere and fine cuisine. The space has a soaring birdcage-style ceiling of glass and beams that provide visibility to the star-studded sky, as well as an enormous black and white poster of a 1930s Manhattan skyline. To reach this restaurant you can zoom up the glass and brass elevators, or walk slowly up the magnificent seafoam-green glass staircase that gives you a clear view of the main atrium 10 decks down beneath your feet.
About three years ago Carnival launched its Fun Ship 2.0 enhancement program to upgrade several of its ships with some of the most popular features enjoyed on its newer ships. So the Miracle also has many of these same restaurants, bars and stores such as the RedFrog Pub, a Caribbean-inspired watering hole featuring the region’s best rums and beers. The Alchemy Bar is a vintage-themed cocktail “pharmacy,” where mixologists “prescribe” concoctions from different elixirs and ingredients with creative names like “Forty is the New Twenty.” With these additions, there are about 16 bars/lounges now.
As well as the new spaces, the 2.0 program includes four spectacular shows. “88 Keys”, “80s Pop to the Max”, “Getaway Island” and “Heart Of Soul” are all live performances featuring popular rock and roll songs with dazzling special effects such as laser beams, strobe lights and three-dimensional movie backdrops enhanced by the 3D glasses provided.
These innovations complement a range of existing onboard features such as the Serenity adults-only retreat with padded loungers, double hammocks and shaded wicker loveseats; mini-putt golf; basketball court; 14,500-square-foot spa; four pools; four hot tubs and a 72-foot waterslide for the young, or young at heart.
You’ll find that the Spirit-class Miracle is a manageable ship that takes a page out of the classic novel, “The Three Bears.” Goldilocks would probably say, “The Miracle is not too big and not too small. It’s just right,” at 88,500 tons and 11 decks.
The Miracle sails from Long Beach, California to the Mexican Riviera with stops in Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan and Cabo San Lucas, some with overnight stays. There are also a few 15-day Hawaii cruises scheduled. Call 1-800-CARNIVAL or visit carnival.com for details.