Carnival Spirit Cruise Review by Hawaiian Cruzer: From Hawaii to Alaska
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From Hawaii to Alaska
It might be long, but I'm hoping there's a thing or two that can make your trip more enjoyable.
We flew into Seattle a day early and stayed a day after we returned from our cruise. Our three daughters and each of their guest had never been to Seattle before so we did the typical tourist, or first time guests, things. We found a small family restaurant serving local ( to Hawaii ) food called Kauai family restaurant, the food was great. Kalua pig and cabbage, chicken katsu, saimin, fried rice, etc.
We visited Pike's and the surrounding vendors, couple of great bakeries and fruit stands, seafood was over-priced. We stopped by Space Needle for a quick visit. We headed to the Premium Outlet Mall in Everett and spent about two hours there. There is a huge casino called Tulalip right next door and a shop called Cabelos( ?? similiar to a Bass where they have hunting, fishing, boating ) next door also. We stayed at the Radisson right next to the airport More and stopped by the mall about two miles away to pick-up last minute things from Target.
Now the fun part, the CRUISE. We had a party of eight. Me and my wife, our three daughters, and they each were invited to bring a guest. We arrived at Pier 91 about 1:00pm and had one of the skycaps handle our bags for us. He took all ten of our suitcases and we didn't see them until they were brought to our room at about 3pm. We tipped him $10.00. The check in process was very smoooth and in about 20 minutes we were in our room. As soon as we boarded the ship we put our hand carries in our room and proceeded to have lunch at Level 9, Lido deck, restaurant called La Playa.
Misc : Bring your own binoculars, ships ones are expensive to rent or buy. Bring a walkie talkie like system to stay in communication with your party. It can be almost impossible to find each other at times.
Rooms : on the small side, but ships are known for having small rooms. You don't spend much time in the rooms anyway. Don't spend the extra for a balcony, not many people stay on their balconies because its too cold. Bring apower strip that will allow you to charge more than one phone/camera/etc at a time. Bring a large bar of soap, the one that they supply is very small. They have ample shampoo and body wash in the shower. There is a hair dryer in each room.
Food : The La Playa retaurant/buffet on level 9 was pretty good. The standards were pizza, hot dogs, burgers, chicken strips, fries, chili, soft serve ice cream, salad bar, deli, and a dessert station. The menu for the main dishes would change daily from chinese to mexican to american, etc. My personal favorite was the hot pastrami sandwich with swiss cheese on rye from the deli.
Salads were fresh, soups were tasty. The views from here were outstanding.
The Empire restaurant on level 2 and 3 was much nicer than Lido and the food was better, go there as often as you can. We spent the $35/person and had dinner at Nouveaux Steakhouse. The food was great. Appetizers like crab cakes, escargots, shrimp cocktail, etc. Salads like tableside caesar, warm spinach with blue cheese. Soups like lobster bisque. Desserts were good. Entrees were limited to one, $20 if you wanted a second one. They were very good portions of rib eye ( 18 oz. ), filet mignon ( 9 oz. ), 12 oz. lobster tail, lamb chops. Aside from the main entree you could order multiple selections. Sushi bar on level 2 from 5p to 8p is a must.
Beverages : You are allowed to bring 12-20 ounce beverages/person in addition to 2 bottles of wine. We brought 2 cases of bottled water ( mainly for brushing teeth, shore excursions ), a case of gatorade, and two bottles of wine. On the Lido deck they had free coffee, hot chocolate, lemonade, and iced tea. All these drinks were excellent.
Internet : I bought the four hours worth since I had to work for about 30 min each day. It was $90.00, the connection was fine. It's on the 3rd floor.
Entertainment : Adult comedy was excellent, laughter is the source of happiness. Family comedy was pretty good. Demonstrations on how to make the animals in your cabin was fun. Bingo seemed to be a hit. We saw 2 of their 3 shows, not bad. Karaoke was professional at times and painful at times, very brave for the people that went up. Sports lounge was busy since the Olympics were taking place. Casino was a blast since the minimum age was 18 and we had three 18 year olds with us. Watching the three playing craps was priceless. Music at the piano bar on level 3, Shanghai room, was excellent. Lobby music in the atrium was beter than expected, Guy ( singer's name )is personable and entertaining. We didn't swim at all, but the jacuzzi was always packed.
Shore excursions : Let me start by saying that ALL the shore excursions seemed overpriced, but if anyone has a cheaper way to do it, let us all know.
Skagway : ziplining and rock climbing for the kids while my wife and I went shopping for the family back home, nice quaint town
Juneau : we rented two private boats and went salmon fishing, 3.5 hours and caught 3 pink and one king salmon. At $240/person ( including various licenses and tip ) its something you do once and cross off your bucket list. Crew was very nice and informational.
Ketchikan : Duck tour : our driver ( Don ) and guide ( Rene ) made this memorable. Many jokes and very informational. We toured the city, saw salmon in the streams, saw the salmon ladder, totem poles, and went in to the water. The kids bought duck looking kazoos, great souvenirs. Two in our party went on the crab tour where they go out in a boat on the "Dealiest Catch" show and actually pick-up crab traps with many different crabs. Again, a little pricey ( $200/person ) but since parents are paying, oh well. Truth be said, they enjoyed it.
Victoria : only had 5 hours and was lucky enough to come across two couples who needed a third group to share the cost of renting a tour van. They didn't realize we were a party of 8, no problem we all fit. Nice city. Different means of transportation are available once you disembark.
Happy Sailing! Less
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