My husband and I had a fabulous honeymoon aboard the Carnival Spirit on the August 7, 2012 sailing. It was my third cruise and first on Carnival, and his first cruise ever.
After getting married on Saturday, we arrived in Seattle on Monday for a cruise that left on Tuesday. I highly recommend getting there a day or more early. First, it's far less stressful. Second, Seattle is an awesome city! We had so much fun exploring this city which was new to both of us. We had booked the cruise through Priceline and got a free night in a hotel. We chose the Pan Pacific Seattle, which was awesome. Great location, great room, and helpful staff. Some of the must-see attractions are Pike Place Market, the first Starbucks, Pioneer Village (but avoid at night), Space Needle, and the Troll Under the Bridge in Fremont. Honestly we could have spent the whole honeymoon in Seattle! But we were very excited to board the ship on Tuesday...
We splurged on veranda room, and I'm glad we did. We didn't spend as much time out there as I had hoped, as it got extremely cold at times. The room was big enough and about what I expected. There were thick robes in the closet for our use which came in very handy on the chilly balcony.
Our first full day was a Fun Day at Sea. We enjoyed exploring the ship, but a MAJOR strike against Carnival is the pushy sales. We went to a scheduled activity in the spa that was supposed to help with back pain, and that turned into a sales pitch for shoe insoles. We tried to go to a seminar in the theater that was supposed to tell about activities onshore that was nothing more than a sales pitch for diamonds and various other goods. The other activities were pretty lame for us. Lots of trivia, Bingo at $20/card, etc. They really could try to have some more exciting things to do, especially on at sea days.
Tracy Arm is so amazingly beautiful. I was so happy to be able to view it from my own balcony, even if I occasionally had to go inside to warm up. I just could not get over the colors and beauty of the fjord. I'm glad that I did not do the excursion on the small boat that gets up close. While it would have been fun, it was also cold and wet, not to mention pricy. We missed our opportunity to see a bear when we went up for food. Should have gotten room service :(
On that note, the buffet food is really not great. I had read reviews saying that and did not worry because I'm not really picky, but honestly I really couldn't find much. The International Station repeats constantly. On a 7 day cruise, they should be able to have food from 7 different nations. Instead, they just repeated Japanese, French, and Italian. I guess there are always chicken fingers and fries. The dining room did not disappoint, however. I never had a bad meal...in fact, most were delicious. And the best part is the daily chocolate melting cake! After the first couple of days, we stuck to the main dining room. It was a little disappointing that these were our only 2 options.
First stop was Skagway. It was by far the longest port we stayed in at 14 hours. It was okay, but too long. Some people love the train ride. We did the zip lining adventure, which was fun but not the most challenging course. Still, we can say we zipped in an Alaskan rain forest. We walked around the historic town, but really there isn't much there. Again, I'm just not sure why we spent so long in this port.
The next day we stopped in Juneau. I REALLY would have liked more time at this one. We walked around town, saw the governor's mansion, and shopped a bit. Then we did a dog sledding adventure (which was more like a demotorized golf cart pulled by the dogs since there was no snow). It was a great experience, but more expensive than it should have been. We did get to play with little puppies (but I felt bad for the little things being handled by so many people, including less-than-gentle children). And just like that, our time in Juneau was over. I would have loved to have seen the Mendenhall Glacier via busride, but there just wasn't time.
Our time in Ketchikan the next day was even shorter!! We didn't plan any excursions so it wasn't such a big deal. All we did was walk around and shop some more. The same goods can be found in every port. Ketchikan was more commercialized than Skagway, though.
Last was an evening stop in Victoria, BC. I really liked this port. Beautiful, clean city, but dark, cold, and windy at night (we arrived around 7pm). Most everything was closed when we got there, and you have to take a bus or taxi into the city. Still, I enjoyed walking around.
Finally we found ourselves back in Seattle, where we had one more day to enjoy before heading home.
*Again, I seriously hated being nickeled and dimed at every turn, especially since they were so pushy. On our last night, a waitress actually said to us "Don't you two drink? I've never seen you with one." Yes, we both drink occasionally, but not for $9 per drink. Not that it's any of her business...I found that to be a rude question.
*People had warned us that we would be the youngest people on the ship by about 20 years. Not so. I do not have a problem with kids AT ALL, actually, I like them. But their parents need to stop them from cannonballing over people's heads in the hot tub and running into people carrying hot drinks. Not Carnival's fault, but be warned, there may be many children.
*If you want to see wildlife, your best bet is to take an excursion. The only things we saw were a bald eagle and some wild salmon.
*Be sure to pay attention to the amount of time spent in ports. I was seriously disappointed with this.
*Don't book your excursions through Carnival and save money.
*Eat the chocolate melting cake every day.
Overall, great trip on a decent ship (decorated in more of a Vegas style than an elegant one). I may or may not do Carnival again, but I am so very glad I got to sample what this great state has to offer with my new husband.