We received news of our upgrade several days prior having booked an 8A. It was the first time we had a balcony and we brought the obligatory bungee cord which worked great. The cabins are spacious for 2, lots of storage space. We arrived at the port at 12, and were in our room by 1, had luggage by 3.
Having sailed on CCL Spirit Jan 2003, we were familiar with the layout of the ship. The decor was not to my liking, full of fat nudes, Renaissance style, I prefer a more contemporary look.
We entered the Spa raffle and I won a free facial which I had the second day. Be sure to show up at 9:30 for the drawing, very few people do and you have a good chance to win. The casino is fairly loose the first night to encourage gambling the rest of the time.
We had the second seating and had a very good waiter John from India. The dining room is always freezing. We sat with 2 other couples whom we enjoyed. We attended the art auctions which were disappointing at best. It seemed like an older crowd than we are used to on CCL ships (60+). The food was typical carnival fare. Our cabin steward wasn't the greatest, she always seemed to be in our room when we wanted to get in and one day our room wasn't made up till 4:30 although we had been out from 8:30-12:30.
The Lido deck lunch was always very good. It was easy to find deck chairs unlike previous cruises. We went to the gym which was never overly crowded to use the treadmill and the jacuzzi. The entertainment was so-so, I felt the lounge acts were lacking. We really enjoyed the ports and had great weather and this makes the cruise for us.
We saw whale spouts before we reached PV. In PV we went on the Mayan Beach Break to a nice hotel and beach, then we returned to the ship for lunch and went back to town to shop. There is also a Walmart in walking distance for sodas, beer, etc.
In Mazatlan, we took the ferry for $1 to Stone Island early in the day. We enjoyed this--went swimming and collected seashells (we are beach people). We had lunch on the ship took a quick shower and then went to town. The shopping was disappointing and it was very hot in PV and Maz. In Cabo, we walked along Medano Beach and then took a water taxi to Lover's Beach to snorkel. That was really great, the best snorkeling!
Disembarkation was a breeze, we ate in the dining room, went back to the room and it was time to get off. All in all a great cruise.