As this was part of an extended holiday our first decision to make was what cruise should we take. Once we had decided on an Alaskan cruise our committed travel dates restricted us to Carnival and the Carnival Spirit.
Although we struck some cold and wet weather the Alaskan scenery certainly made up for this.
Flying in from Australia we were glad that we had allowed two days pre cruise accommodation in Seattle, as our connecting flight from San Francisco was cancelled resulting in an unscheduled nights stopover there.
Arriving in Seattle a day late we easily found our way from the SeaTac Airport to the Space Needle Travelodge via the Light Rail and Monorail systems.
So we could see a little more of Seattle in the morning we booked an afternoon shuttle to take us to the Carnival Spirit.
On arrival at the pier there appeared to be a large number of people waiting to embark but it did not take us long before we were on board and in our cabin.
The following are some comments about the cruise itinerary, starting with the cruise through the Tracy Arm Fjord. The scenery was spectacular, but although warmly dressed, the weather precluded us the full use of our balcony.
Our arrival in Skagway resulted in our first and only fine day. Coming from the sub tropical area of Australia the long period of day light we experienced there was a welcome novelty. At Skagway we took the Yukon Scenic Drive excursion which took us into Canada and I would highly recommend for a tour.
Saturday morning we arrived at Juneau and took the Taste of Juneau excursion. The Glacier Gardens are a must for anyone interested in gardening/horticulture but the Hatchery visit was overcrowded from other cruise ship tours. The Salmon Bake and it's entertainment would have been the excursion highlight.
Our next port was Ketchikan where we did the Saxman Native Village & Lumberjack Show. In hindsight the short time in port is insufficient to comfortable allow for this combo excursion.
Because of the short time in Victoria we had not booked any shore excursions there. Instead we considered taking a walk but the weather drove us back to the ship.
The disembarkation at Seattle went very smoothly and a taxi ride had us to our hotel by 8:45am. The taxi including the tip was cheaper than the shuttle which had taken us there.
Would I recommend this cruise, yes, but with the following observations. If you enjoy casual and informal cruising then the Carnival Spirit provides this. However, if you are wanting a more elegant/formal experience look elsewhere.
Overall the cruise met our expectations with very few complaints. The cabin was kept clean and tidy and the wait staff efficient and friendly. The meals in the Empire Restaurant were adequate but certainly not five star. We tended to avoid the Buffet Grill area where seemed to attract the worst of glutton eating and behaviour.