My husband and I took this cruise with our married son and his wife, and his wife's parents. This was our second cruise to Alaska and a much less expensive version of the sea trip for us. Sailing Carnival ships out of Galveston had left me with the impression that all ships will be different, and that was the case with the Spirit. Overall, I found her staffing to be superior to other ships in the Carnival line that we have tried. It is no surprise- Spirit is a smaller ship and there is a markedly higher morale among the crew and staff... at least that is my perception.
I'd like to say something about the decor of the ship. I found Spirit to be the most elegant of any of the Carnival ships so far. The only change I would make is to remove the line drawing murals in the cabin hallways and change some of the art out. There is a lot of emphasis on nude art onboard, and it is not done well in a lot of cases IMO. I did like the Polynesian art in some of the public areas- that was really very nice. The rest of it, especially in the private rooms, reminded me of what one imagines the interior of a "fancy house" would look like. Small blemishes on the overall effect however, which is resplendent with stained glass and Tiffany style lamps.
The Nouveau steakhouse was wonderful- service and food were impeccable and the quality of the meal was worth much more than the $30 we paid per person.
Our balcony stateroom was one of the best balconies. It was roomy and had granite countertops in the bathroom and desk areas. It had a sofa, chair and accomodated 2 persons. The TV had been changed out in drydock to a small flatscreen which swiveled to watch from the sitting area or bed. The balcony held on our sailing, one full lounge and two deck chairs with a deck table. The closets were large enough to hold clothes for 4 persons although there were only two in our room. There is abundant space in cabin 8237.
There is also noise in the morning (4am) from the pizza galley upstairs in 8237. We did also have odor one day coming from that area, but we were on an Alaskan cruise and the wind quickly dispelled odor when we were sailing. During the day, the cabin was quiet- so we used the afternoon to take naps. The cabin is otherwise so nice, this was a minor disruption for us. The lido deck, which caused our problems- also was very handy to us for coffee, pizza, juice and other goodies.
About the dining- it was just fine. In both the MDR and the Lido. I talked to the chef in the tour and he explicitly told me that they do not make anything too spicy and have to keep things fairly bland on purpose. I like tangy, spicy foods and the closet thing they have to that is the vegetarian Indian dish, which was quite good- though still bland by my standards. So, just know before you go- there were plenty of dishes that were tasty. Nobody lost any weight in our group. Room service BLT's were yummy!!!
Love the new Serenity outfitting on the Spirit. We spent time out there even though our sailing was pretty cold.
I'd like to say a word about a couple of incidents that occured on the sailing concerning crew. I am including these for the sake of the training folks without naming names... I saw several things that needed addressing.
On one occasion on the first morning in the Lido, the captain was making an announcement over the loudspeaker and a crew member walking the lido was mocking him out loud. There was another incident when a venue opened after a private party later than was announced in the funtimes, and the bartender was clearly aggravated and projecting that towards people who tried to go into the venue. How were they to know? They were just following the schedule.
One other thing that happened was that a server in the MDR placed a meal before my husband at lunch and then took it away after it had sat before him for awhile. That was somewhat funny to me, but I'm sure it would not have been funny to the person getting the used meal:-)
Enjoyed Jay (karaoke) on this sailing. He works very hard to keep everyone happy.
Enjoyed Manu and the behind the fun tour. Highly recommended. He was very informative. Our visit to the bridge was a real treat for the men in our group.
Lito kept our cabin immaculately.
Piano bar... what fun!!!
Show singers- terrific. Especially the ladies. Very high caliber.
Embarkation and debarkation were simple and pain free. We had a lot of luggage. Our group one debarkation got us to our hotel in time for us to take a nap before the rest of our party showed up. They too, just walked off the ship with no line.
If anything was a disappointment on our trip, it was the weather and how that related to some of our excursions. I'm not going to badmouth specific excursions in this review but I would say that just because something sounds informative or fun, don't book it without doing some homework and finding out what people have to say. At least two of our excursions were a big waste of money. Skagway is alloted a great deal of time, and in my opinion, you really don't need that much time there for what there is to see in that area. Juneau is great for the Mendenhall Glacier... we actually saw whales onboard the ship so a whale watching excursion would have been redundant for us. Bald Eagles abound in Ketchikan near the shore- we took a Duck tour and it was great. Victoria is a beautiful little city. Try to get off the ship there to do something. I really want to underscore that it is very possible to plan your own excursions without going through Carnival as long as you can read a watchface. Just do some research before you go- you will save a lot of money and aggravation.
One other word- I never, and I mean NEVER saw the CD... Chris. I saw two-socks, his sidekick around the ship but not Chris except on TV. Misty was great with the chipping games and trivia- thanks for the fun Misty even though we didn't win the coveted ship on a stick.