Carnival Spirit Cruise Review by Rick Howell: Carnival Spirit - Mexican Riviera
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Carnival Spirit - Mexican Riviera
Destination: Mexican Riviera
Embarkation: San Diego
Spirit (03/08/06) review. We had a really nice cruise and met a lot of nice people. Here goes.
We motored to San Diego on Tuesday, Mar. 7, to be there and have a leisurely embarkation. We stayed at the Downtown Comfort Inn. They have a cruise port shuttle (free plus gratuity). The hotel had a nice breakfast with hard boiled eggs, cereals, pastries, etc. When we headed to the cruise port at 11:15am, it was with several other people who were going to the Spirit also. It was a 5 minute ride.
We arrived at the cruise port and were delivered right in front of a porter, who took our bags. It took about 10 minutes to check in and we sat in the terminal with several hundred other people (that was a surprise) for 20 minutes before anyone was allowed to board. We were aboard by 12:30pm and headed for the Lido deck for lunch. We were able to go directly to our cabin and leave our carry ons.
Our Cabin- We had booked an inside guarantee and we received an upgrade to More an oceanview room. It had a couch and plenty of storage for the two of us.
The Spirit- We really liked this ship. It wasn't decorated like a Vegas casino. The interiors were richly decorated and never garish. The 2nd and 3rd decks were where the casino, bars and shops were. The 9th deck was Lido deck. 4th through 8th deck were all cabins. The atrium goes from the 2nd deck to the 10th deck and it is really something. It was a real treat to ride from the top to the bottom. The Casino is huge, the largest we have seen. This cruise was very smooth, few swells.
Eats- The food was good. There was always a variety of selections for every meal. At lunchtime, there was a deli sandwich area that was always busy. The pastrami-on-rye was great. There is one dining room and it is huge. We had the early seating and didn't miss any dinner. The food was ok with only one or two disappointments. The steaks were always medium and I like med-rare. Chateaubriand and prime rib were just right as was the lobster. I like the chilled soups and had some nearly every night. Desserts-I am diabetic and always on the lookout for sugar-free desserts. There was a sugar -free dessert available for lunch and dinner, and most were very good. That was a treat.
Ports Acapulco-We have been to Acapulco several times and did not take any excursions. We got off the ship and went for a walk. The usual problem?? Taxi drivers!! They swarmed us like flies and would rarely take no for an answer. I walked to the Fort across the street from the ship and went through the museum there. Cost-$3.50usd. I had been there before but there were more displays now. If you are into museums, I would recommend it. There is a overhead walkway just a little ways from the ship, making it easy to cross the street. The weather was warm and breezy, not uncomfortable. Carol went strolling into the town area and we were both back on board by about 3 pm. The Queen Mary 2 was in port at the same time and everyone was checking her out. It was anchored in the port and was tendering passengers on shore. There was another ship in port, a smaller cruise ship docked next to us. We had dinner and then walked on deck and saw 2 fireworks displays. It was a beautiful night. Tonight at dinner, shorts were allowed as proper attire in the dining room.
Zihuatanejo-We took no tours here. This is a tender port and we got off the ship and proceeded to walk to the little museum at the end of the malecon. It is pretty small, but has local artifacts from locations that are closed to the public. Cost was $1usd. It does not take long to browse through. We then bought a pound of coffee beans from a little shop which had a roaster set-up right next to the sidewalk. The aroma was very rich. After shopping a little more, we went back to the ship and hit the Jacuzzi. Perfect end to the day which was warm and breezy.
Manzanillo-No tours here either on another day which was warm and breezy.. We took the shuttle ($3pp/roundtrip) into the downtown area and walked around looking for vanilla and Tortuga oil. Bought Some and headed back to the ship for lunch. More books needed reading.
Sea days-To us, this was a very smooth trip. There was only one day when there were swells to make you walk funny. When we went ashore, we didn't have to worry about our sea legs. We sighted whales and dolphins on each sea day. We both participated in several shipboard activities. We went to several trivia games. I actually won a ship-on-a-stick. Carol tried the slot machine tourney, no luck. I tried the Blackjack tourney, no luck. We also went on a galley tour which was very interesting. Mostly, we read and relaxed. Isn't that what you are supposed to do?
Entertainment- We only went to the Vegas/review type shows this cruise. The dancers were really good and the singers did a good job also. The problem is we have seen the arrangements before and that was a disappointment. Everyone seemed to enjoy them.
Staff-Our dining room waiters, Lilex and Gigi, were excellent. We always had what we needed for a good experience and they sang and/or danced (I wonder what they think about doing that. No other line we have been on requires their waitstaff to do that every night) for our entertainment every night. Our room steward, Eduardo, introduced himself the first afternoon. After that, we never saw him or his assistant, but the room was always clean and we always had fresh towels and chocolates on the pillows at night. Good job. The ship staff was very friendly and we had no problems at all.
People we met-From Cruise Critic, we met Kathy and Gary and Helen and Sam, saw them and enjoyed their company throughout the cruise. Our dining companions were very friendly. We sat at a 10-person table in the Napoleon Room off to the side of the main dining room. Dot and John were from Kansas City; Susie and Tom are from Colorado; Sheryl and Pete are from Seattle (they won a 7 day cruise in a drawing on the last day, lucky, eh).
Disembarkation-We joined the Carnival Vacation club (we got priority luggage tags) and were able to get off the ship right after the people who had to catch air flights. We were off by 8:50am. We had plenty of time to go to the dining room for breakfast and then head for the waiting area. The hotel shuttle took 15 minutes from when we called to pick us up. Really smooth. We were on our way home (200 miles away) by 9:30am. Less
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