This was my first time cruising in 26 years and I was a bit nervous considering some of the reviews. I decided though that the people who wrote the reviews would have been amongst the 10 per cent on our ship who just aren't happy with most things no matter how great they are. The ship is huge. It takes a few days to find your way around. It has several bars, swimming pools and eating options. It is a bit gaudy but that is what I loved about . By gaudy I mean lots of Grecian style murals, gold fittings and statues in the open area. I thought it provided character though.
Activities and entertainment
There was so much to do, I didn't fit it all in. Being a South Pacific cruise with a fair way to travel between ports we had 6 sea days on a 12 night cruise wich became 7 as we couldn't visit one of our ports due to rough weather. In the mornings there was always a talk by stu the cruise director in the major entertainment precinct Pharoahs Palace. Simultaneously you would find trivia, guess that sonf, guess that musical, wine and food matching or cocktail tasting, making or competitions. On warm days I preferred to lie in the sun on Serenity Deck (over 18 area). I always managed to get a Deckchair or Pod so not sure what all the complaints were about regarding this. I also braved the water slides despite being over 50 (I had to try) at least once. They were loads of fun and open almost all the time except for very windy days. We also played Bingo in the afternoon occasionally, high tea on sea days occasionally and assorted other things. The evening shows were amazing especially Will Martin the New Zealand singer who appeared for the first time on our cruise, the hypnotist and the comedy shows and magician relally can't keep going on in short though if you get bored its your own fault.
I couldn't fault any staff from the room attendants, the bar attendants, restaurant staff, cruise director, guest services. All were so friendly and eager to help . Our room steward was so friendly and it was great to come back each night to lovely little towel animals tidy rooms beds turned down and chocolates. Well done Carnival Spirit your staff are fantastic . Desi the Maitre D in the Empire Room was a beautiful person as well as the sommeliere in the Nouveau Restaurant unfortunately I don't remember her name but she gave a wonderful presentation in the Nouveau Restaurant about wine and food matching (small charge) despite a couple of extremely rude participants who had paid to participate but wouldn't shut up the wole time (thankfully not Australians on this occasion) I was embarrassed enough about the behaviour of some of my fellow Australians on this ship and the way they treated staff.
Port and shore excursions
Plenty of variety, reasonably priced. If you go to Noumea or Isle of Pines I would recommend doing one through the ship . Amedee island for Noumea was well worth the cost and some of our travelling companions did one on isle of pines where they got to swim with Turtles. At Suva you can get one on the wharf for half the cost but make sure it is not too long as the ship won't wait if you do your own tour. We went on a 3 hour village, sites and waterfall tour for half the price of the ships one. There was till plenty of time for shopping when we got back to Suva. Tendering at port denarau was a bit of a hassle so be patient at this port because it is worth it,
We had a balcony stateroom on level 5 . It was adequate for the price we paid. Plenty of storage and the beds are comfy. We shared with our 16 y old daughter. It was comfortable.
Our daughter didn't participate in kids club although I spoke to other parents in the restaurant with younger children and they raved about it.
Embarkation and disembarkation was very smooth. The tender ports are a bit of a hassle especially poet denarau in Fiji but worth the trouble . Port denarau Suva and isle of pines were my favourite ports.
So many choices the food was amazing I would recommend Any time dining and dining in the Empire dining room when u can because the food was beautiful and the service very attentive. I felt like I was dining in a four star restaurant every night. We dined in the Nouveau Restaurant on two occasions and I would recommend this it is well worth the $35 cover charge. There is also more casual dining with many options available on Deck 9.
Your cruise is what you make of it. I embraced it and had a wonderful twelve nights aboard. We couldn't visit one Port Mystery island due to bad weather. This wasn't the lines fault as they had safety of the passengers at heart on our cruise there was a wide range of guests from the very young to the very elderly. I had a wonderful time and would cruise again perhaps on less spread our routes such as the mediterranean. There was a few people on board who complained a lot but that's life . There might be some things you don't like but if so just go somewhere else or sulk in your cabin . I came back feeling more relaxed than any other holiday I have taken.