My sister and I flew into Sunny Seattle on May 14th and stayed overnight at the Hyatt Place downtown, which proved to be an excellent choice. The room was
very well appointed, the beds comfortable, and was only about 3 blocks from the Space Needle. We got our room for $89 through Hotels.com on their one day sale. Rates for this hotel start around $150, so this was quite a bargain.
We arranged transportation from Shuttlefare.com, and paid $18. pp for the almost 30 min. ride to the hotel. The hotel called a different shuttle to take us dockside for $10pp. also a great bargain!
We've sailed on the Spirit once before to Hawaii, and loved her then, as now!
They've added the Serenity Spa aft, as well as the new corkscrew enclosed
water slide for children and adults alike. Unfortunately, the weather in Alaska doesn't quite allow one to enjoy this thrilling addition. At least, not in early May! Perhaps it will be open for the summer sailings on the Spirit.
We lucked out on the weather, beautiful each and every day, with highs in the
upper 50's, it was quite enjoyable. We brought along rain ponchos and umbrellas, just in case. Better to have and not need, etc.
Our cabin was 7299 and was located aft, with a shared elevator wall. We honestly never heard the elevator running or stopping! It was always very quiet. Of course, you might encounter a late-nighter laughing once in a while, but I really don't remember hearing even that! Perhaps we were too pooped. The cabin had a much larger than average balcony, which we didn't occupy very much, as we would have had to bundle up! But we would have
enjoyed sitting out there going through Tracy Arm Fjord, had we not signed up for Carnival's shore excursion, in which we were picked up by a much, much smaller boat and brought right up to the glacier! Magnificent!!!! The cabin had not one, but two large closets, a nice bathroom and plenty of room for everything! There was also a refrigerator, which came in handy for the 2 bottles of wine we were allowed to bring onboard.
Carnival has long been my favorite for food, as they seem to cater to the appetites of us North Americans. It is absolutely the only cruise line that has comfort foods listed as alternates! They have meatloaf, FRIED Chicken
and steak available every day on the menu, just in case you couldn't find
anything else that tickled your palet! The lobster, shrimp, filet mignon,
prime rib and many other selections were wonderful! And as always the Chocolate
Melting Cake is superb and everyone's favorite!
The Lido deck on Carnival is my absolute favorite of any cruiseline on which
I've sailed! I love the individual stations offered daily. Chopsticks is one, and it had selections of Chinese and Cantonese food every day. There was the omelet bar in the morning, and of course the American station every day as well. There is one called Taste of Nations and it offered selections from England one day, Italy another, and Mexico still another, with several more that I cannot recall.
And true to Carnival, you can have your fill of Pizza, Ice Cream, coffee and Hot Chocolate 24/7! This is a terrific feature, and I hope that Carnival sticks to this feature, as you have to buy a drink card on Princess and other
lines, and this can be quite costly over a 7 day cruise. When I cruised with
Princess in March of this year, they wanted $5.50 PER DAY for this privilege.
and as I am a hot chocolate drinker, I had to bring along my own Swiss Miss packets for that particular cruise, and added hot water (only thing free on Princess)to satisfy my chocolate cravings!
I am quite sure that other reviews will say that food on the Lido deck was
mediocre, but I didn't find that to be true. Another comparison: Carnival has
a deli station (also open 24 hours) that whips up the meanest, thickest most
wonderful Reubin, just loaded with corned beef. Princess: 1/2 ham sandwich sealed in plasic wrap with a thin piece of pressed ham and a slice of cheese. Golly, which would you like better?
As mentioned earlier, we booked Carnival's Tracy Arm Fjord excursion, and it was wonderful indeed. Well worth it for a once in a lifetime view of the glacier and the most beautiful chunks of ice colored in various shades of the most vibrant blues imaginable!
We also did the Lumberjack show in Ketchikan. Although you can go directly to the show. It's right near thre dock, and the tickets are cheaper I'm sure, although I didn't check.
I booked our whale watching tour in Juneau through Orca Enterprise. It was the highlight of our trip. Captain Larry knows his whales, and where other boats all gather around one poor whale, we went off by ourselves and the whales come right up to his boat. Unbelievable sightings! They are truly magnificent creatures, and they don't feel threatened by his boat, so they came right up to us! I highly, highly recommend this excursion. They also arranged to take us by bus to the Mendenhall glacier as part of the tour. Wonderful!
At Skagway, we took the White Pass RR trip just to the summit and back. We had a great time, and this was booked through Carnival. The historian on board made it so very interesting!
All in all it was a wonderful cruise, but then, what cruise isn't? Our only
disappointment was the time spent in Juneau (we had to be back onboard by 2:30)
and Ketchikan (back onboard by 12:30) A ridiculously short time in both ports, whereas we didn't leave Skagway until 10:30 p.m. Go figure! Also we thought we would get to go through those massive giant glaciers and see the calving process where 20,000 tons of ice fall off daily with a thunderous roar! Apparently you have to do the Glacier Bay cruise or Hubbard glacier (they may be one and the same, I don't know for sure, but this was what we were told)
so I guess we'll just have to go further north and do another cruise in the future!
Carnival, you had better plan on doing a one way cruise to Alaska in the future,so that we can see those glaciers! (Just for me and my sister of course!)
OMG, I almost forgot to mention our cabin steward Angel, who did a wonderful job of keeping our cabin spotless, and thank you for those adorable towel animals every night! And also Jesus' our head waiter, who did such an admirable job of keeping our tummies full each and every night, and what a
wonderful singing voice he had!