As a repositioning cruise, 3 days was a great way to know whether the Sprit would be added to our cruise repetoire. Sadly, We made up our minds not to return before we were even onboard
Since we are used to embarking around lunch time on most cruises, we were not impressed to have to wait till 4 pm to check-in. When asked why we had to wait till then, I was told first in first served, so the earliest you check in online, the earliest you get onboard. Hmm interesting! Then when we checked in, my husband was given a different card to me. Seems that they just forgot that we had both cruised with Carnival before. When we went to change the card - since he got a free drink and I didn't - it took over 30 mins with the staff member apologising constantly that the computers were very slow! Dear me Carnival, bit out of date are we!
As we would be staying for a week in melbourne and visiting our friends, we had 2 reds in the back pack. Carnival took these off us when they spotted them on xray! Not that that worried us as we had no intention to open them onboard but most cruise lines allow at least 1 bottle of wine/person, so grow up Carnival!
We arrived in our cabin and were pleasantly surprised. Knowing that carnival cabins are a good size, we had a great aft cabin with a large balcony. This made our exit from Sydney, very enjoyable. As we often sit on our balcony and read, our balcony was well used on this trip.
The decor on the Spirit has got to be seen to be believed. With an Egyptian theme and a mixture of 'cheapish' art deco, with low ceilings, I found this ship dark and quite depressing, making the other light, bright ships that also spend a lot of time downunder, to be much more palatable
On the subject of the palate, the food on this ship was not much better than the old Coles cafeteria that i visited as a child, I had sushi for lunch in the dining room and the rice was gluey and disgusting, like it was left over from the night before. Another time I had a cold beef salad and found the 'salad' had obviously been sitting so drenched in dressing for some time that it had totally drowned and recusitation was not possible - ugh !! The slices of beef were actually tender and nice but unfortunately the service and quality were just not up to a reasonable standard, so I ate each time with intrepidation! Every meal had a mixture of both edible and inedible food served up! The quality of the buffet upstairs was reasonable but it took time to find food as everything was quite scattered around. Unbelievably, there was no decaf coffee - again the only ship that did not provide decafe from the urns. if you wanted a non caffeine drink, you had to find the herbal tea , which again was not always easy to find
Entertainment - well the 2nd night production show was excellent - better than I have seen in a long time amongst different ships BUT where was the entertainment on day 1 and 3 - not even a juggler. The comedy shows in the lounge next door to the theatre were on every night and it would appear that comedy is the theme of the the Spirit. Sorry, not my scene Carnival, although I admit the family show on the last night was quite amusing. On the other hand, the comedy brunch was pathetic - 5 mins of comedic repartee with a 'normal' breakfast. Oh my, perhaps Carnival staff could visit other ships that offer a brunch and learn what a real one looks like!
The Captains celebration - what a farce!. This was the only ship we have been on that did not have the Captain introduce his staff from a podium and give a few words. Instead he 'mingled' with passengers shaking their hands and chatting briefly. There was no champagne and canapes as is usual on all other ships and the only celebrating that was done was by the odd single girl dancing on the dance floor in front of the bar on level 2. All drinks had to be got by going to the bar. I did not see any waiters walking around taking orders - self service all the way! And then there is the price for the cocktails - wow - $10 for most
Well, I have said enough, even though i could go on listing more negatives. In summary, Carnival Spirit is a ship providing budget food and service at a non budget price. When people asked if we had done many cruises, I answered "yes" and followed up with, " please don't base your opinion of cruising on this ship". This ship is below the standard of other ships including other Carnival ships and we will not be back.