We are first time cruisers with my husband and myself in one cabin and 15yr daughter and 13yr son next door cabin.
Found the whole process of boarding very smooth and quick - we opted to the first boarding time of 3.00-3.30pm. Very smooth process.
Had already organised my Credit Card details through the website - so the only thing we had to do was to swap my husband and daughter from one cabin to another - was not a problem.
We found the food and entertainment great. We got into the spirit of it and participated in lots of events - bean bag toss, trivia, dodge ball. My daughter had the "timetable" and had us running from one end of the ship to the other!! Was good - we walked off the breakfast, lunch and dinners.
The staff were all fantastic - could not complain about anyone.
The staterooms were great - we had a balcony room and was more spacious that I expected.
The cruise director - Stu and his assistant - Eli were both great and really funny guys.
About the only complaint that I would have - was that the venues were cold!!!
They do get you on the price of drinks - but that was to be expected.
Waterslides were great for the kids. There was a good over 18 yrs area - Serenity - which was pretty crowded most of the time (as it was a school holiday cruise and there were a lot of kids)
I thought the shore excursions to be a bit pricey - I would not book them next time - now knowing what to expect.
My recommendation for Mare is to be one of the first off the ship - as the beach gets very crowded!!
We did miss out on one port - Isle of Pines - because of bad weather - but that was no-ones fault. The staff put on extra activities on board to fill in our day.
I had read some not so good reports on this website about the Carnival Spirit and I must say that we were pleasantly surprised.
I would recommend Carnival Spirit and look forward to returning.