We travelled on the Carnival Spirit leaving Sydney on the 7 October and heading out to Vanuatu and New Caledonia. We were travelling as a family of 4. My husband , myself and our 2 girls 3 years and 4 (nearly 5 ) years.
Overall we really had a wonderful time. Boarding the vessel was easy and once we found our bearings around the massive ship we really started to feel at home.
There are plenty of dining options and our children loved the pools , soft serve ice cream and mini golf. There was always plenty of food on offer somewhere on the ship and the room service was always very good and very cheap. The drink prices were high. $7.50 for a regular bear , $10.50 for a cocktail special and the prices went up from there if you wanted something different. $35 for a bottle of wine and upwards.
We all loved the waterslides and the splash park but it was best to use those on port days as it was very windy and a bit cold when the ship was underway.
We had cabins 4228 and 4230 adjoining cabins at the very back of the ship. Our balcony was huge and even thought the weather was windy we barely felt the motion of the ship and we all slept like babies. Our cabin steward was wonderful and as soon as we messed it up and disappeared he was there cleaning it up for us again.
We all enjoyed the shows in the Pharoah's lounge each evening and there was good variety.
It was nice to escape down to the adults only serenity area on occasion and have some child free time . We also enjoyed the spa , be mindful that they always try to sell you expensive products at the end of each treatment. The shopping was ok but people were a little bit crazy when the gift shop offered special deals . There was one day when they were offering beaded bracelets and another day when they offered boxed watch sets and people really did behave outrageously snatching , shoving it was amusing to watch although some older ladies said they found people to be very rude.
The ports we visited were Mystery Island , Vila Vanuatu , Lifou and Noumea. Mystery "Island and Lifou were beautiful tropical Islands. Vila was not my cup of tea. Book a tour there if you are going as the locals are very money hungry. We had to pay to use a revolting toilet and everything was very expensive. Noumea was lovely but it was a monday so the aquarium was shut. If booking tours with Carnival do it early as they book out very fast so we missed out booking through Carnival Spirit and I think we would have had a better more organised time on there tours.
Our girls were in the 2-5 year Camp Carnival Age group. It was a real disappointment. I was expecting for them to have fun activities ready for the children and a bit of a party atmosphere going on but it was the opposite. On the 4 occasions I dropped them off there were only some toys spread across the floor for the children to fight over, another time they were sitting on the floor threading fruit loops onto string, this was probably the most exciting activity, another time they were all expected to sit down and watch TV there was no other options. The staff were generally frazzled, annoyed and the opposite of fun. We dropped them off twice near the start of the cruise and twice towards the end because were were desperate to have a little child free time but we knew that they wouldn't be having a good time. The staff provide you with a mobile they can call on. Twice out of the four times we were called. The first time they said our 3 year old was upset. When we arrived she was sitting in the middle of the floor by herself. There were no activities or toys out to play with. The female staff member was also sitting on the floor with a least four little children all clinging to her crying. My daughter wasn't crying but it was a dismal scene. The second time they called it was my four year old, they said she had been asking for us for a long time. We had dropped her off at 6 it was not even 8 pm. I think she was just really bored.
Besides those issues it was a wonderful holiday. When back in Sydney getting off the vessel was easy but they really do get you off as soon as possible. Before 7 am a loud speaker blares loudly into your cabin that you are back in Sydney and they start announcing loudly every five to ten minutes the pre assigned numbers for disembarking . This was annoying as we weren't due to disembark until 8 am but this very loud speaker in the cabin woke our tired children up earlier than necessary. This was the only time the blaring voice fills the cabin , announcements are usually just made in the public areas and halls.
I would recommend Carnival Spirit, it was clean, the food was lovely but the Camp Carnival for ages 2-5 really needs a shake up.