my wife and i took our 6th cruise but the first on carnival spirit. we had the wrap around balcony suite on deck 7.
CABIN: quite nice, with the balcony being the highlight and we spent a lot of time there. we did have a little bit of soot problem when leaving Suva. Another problem we encountered was cigarette butts ending up on our balcony overnight. worst night was the 2nd night when 3 butts ended up on our balcony with one of them landing on the outside lounge when it was still alight and ended up burning a hole in it. we complained at the desk because there was supposedly no smoking down our neck of the woods!!. we were under the serenity and were wondering if people were smoking there and getting away with it. the room stewards were fine. they came in at times when we were away from the cabin and tidied it to an acceptable level, nothing exceptional, they simply did their job. one point is that always referred to us by our first names which was nice.
DECOR: we liked it, but it certainly would not appeal to everyone.
DINING: we did the Nouveau restaurant on the first night and received a cheap bottle of wine because it was the first night. the experience was OK but not startling.at least the food was hot. i would not pay the additional $35 to do it again, but it was value when you equate the free bottle of bubbly into it. we also did the chefs table, and that was an experience to remember. the whole night was fabulous, from checking out the Empire kitchen to the fantastic dinner, not to mention endless buubly!!..well worth the $75 cost.
we tried the la playa grill on a couple of occassions. it is way too busy for our liking. queues at a lot of the stations, especially at breakfast. and trying to find a table, well that was nigh impossible!! biggest issue was the food was never hot, just barely warm. we tended to use the la playa grill for the Deli for lunch where you could get a turkey roll that was toasted, so it was always hot. that was all that we required for lunch. only other hot food was when you ordered an omelette, made to your requirement on the spot, problem being that it was nowhere near the quality of the empire dining room omelettes.
we had the late sitting at the Empire dining room. our waiters were fantastic to say the least, referred to everyone of the 6 of us at the table by name from the very beginning. nothing was ever too much for them, just ask!!.they knew what you wanted to drink, knew your likes and dislikes after a couple of days. superb service. once again the food was the letdown. selection was fairly limited and the food was not always hot. they have no idea how to cook a steak/lamb to order.one night 2 of us had the lamb ordered medium rare. mine came out totally cooked right through whilst the other persons lamb was on the rarer side of medium rare, bordering on being rare. every steak that i ordered came out overcooked.
we tried a pizza one day when we got back from a shore tour. what can you say, an indian chef, cooking an Italian Pizza. the quality of the ingredients was far from satisfactory which made the pizza far from satisfactory. we have had worse pizza before, but certainly had much better as well.
DRINKS: very expensive indeed when you compare to other other cruise ships. even carnival overseas. if you compare a standard local beer on carnival spirit you are paying 8 bucks, but a standard local beer on most other cruise lines/ships is $4-5 plus 15%!! expect to pay prices for alcohol equivelent to first class restaurants. $8-25 for a crown lager and $9-12 for a cocktail. basic wines were $27 to $50 with wines up to a couple of hundred dollars.we had paid the $7-00 per day for bottomless bubbles soft drinks. when the waiters saw that you had the tag on your sail and sign card, they stayed away from you. for example, i was seated next to a gentleman that was drinking beer. we both ordered our first drink at the same time. i had a coke and he had a beer. the waiter approached the beer drinker three times to see if he wanted another beer (which he did), and i was asked again....well... i was not asked again...AT ALL!!!! i had to go to the bar myself to get a 2nd drink...this needs to be addressed.
ENTERTAINMENT: if you are into trivia and trivial games of skill, you are well catered to!!. trivia was on virtually every day and on some days 2 or 3 times a day. you had a golf chipping comp every single day at 12 noon. most of the daily entertainment was aimed at fun which was only suitable for family fun!!. not a lot to interest a couple in their 50's. Bingo was a big part of the entertainment as well as a melb cup horse racing game.
there were comedy acts, who for the most part were not that funny. the nightly shows were OK, not las vegas style shows, but acceptable. the comedy hypnotist was for me the highlight as well as peter byrne the neil diamond impersonator. the showbank and the singers and dancers did their job, but were not exceptional. the best of them all was music manilla, a 4 piece band that were really, really good. andy the piano man was good as was twos company, with the lady having a great voice.
the big disappointment was a lack of dancing venues. personally we like to have a late dinner, then go to a late show, and then go and have a bit of a dance. there was virtually nowhere to do it!!. music manilla would play some music to have a dance, but if you joined them at the wrong time they could have been doing a bit of a fun segment which did not include music to dance to, just a lot of mucking around musically. they always entertained and they really enjoyed what they were doing. any of the individual singers were ok...just.
the karaoke seemed to be either staff or kids singing.
i won't report on the ports as they have been done a million times by other people but will say that if you are going to do a shore tour, think twice before paying double the price that the cruise lines pay for tours out in the pacific.
would my wife and i do another carnival cruise from australia by ourselves, that is a resounding no. but we would do one with our kids and grandkids!! it is a cruise for younger families!!. while on the subject of kids..... whilest there were quite a few on the cruise they were mostly well behaved. they just need to be taught how to be polite when it comes to the lines when in the la playa restaurant, they do not believe that they have to line up like evereyone else, so again i say they have to be taught (parents!!)