Myself, wife and 11 year old son sailed on the Carnival Spirit on 20th January returning on 31st. The cruise went to: Isle of Pines, Mystery Island, Santo, Wala and Port Vila. This was our 4th cruise having previously sailed on P&O, Disney and Royal Caribbean.
The Ship Overall
Very clean, superbly maintained and has a real 'Las Vegas' feel about it. It may not be to everyone's taste but we thought it was kind of fun.
Again very clean and nicely appointed. Hard to fault. We liked the towels and robes so much we bought two sets to take home.
We thought the food and service was very good indeed and easily on par, if not better than other cruises we've been on. In particular, I liked the Indian food served in the Empire dining room (Beats many Sydney restaurants). My son also loved the all the items on the kids menu and the waiters couldn't be more helpful.
Not too bad. $6.95 for a beer. $8.50-$10 for a cocktail. From $22 for a bottle of wine. Again, compared to other cruises it's pretty comparable.
The coffee machines on deck 9 was superior to other cruise lines. It was free too.
I think we've been spoilt a bit on other cruises. We recently went on Disney Wonder and the Royal Caribbean's Oasis of the Seas. They set a very high benchmark - particularly Disney. Compared to this we felt the main shows in the Pharoahs Lounge were simply not to the same standard. Having said that we liked Geoff the pianist, the Manila band and Omar's jazz band.
Very crowded and often hard to get a sun bed, pod or hammock!
Excellent. Great view.
Ports of Call
We thought every port of call was excellent. The South Pacific has so much on offer compared to the Caribbean. It just makes us want to do another cruise and visit more islands.
Embarkation and De-embarkation
Very easy and smooth. Managed to get on and off the boat within 15 minutes.
Kids on the ship
This was school holidays and unsurprisingly there were heaps of kids on the boat. It was very much a family cruise which is why we went. But we saw many kids simply running around out of control on the ship with little respect to other passengers, crew and the ship itself. I know Security is big on the ship but I think they could have been more proactive in controlling reckless and ill-mannered behaviour. Walkie-talkie phones should be standard issue so parents can have better control on what their kids are up to.
The cruise exceeded my expectations and was right up there with other cruise lines. We enjoyed it and would do it again. Our son simply loved the cruise and was quite upset when it was time to leave. The Green Thunder was a real hit. The big thing of course is the sheer value of this kind of holiday. Compare the cost of a cruise like this, to say, a 2 week holiday to Fiji or Bali. It's much cheaper, more relaxing and heaps of fun.