We've been on a number of cruises with four different lines and Carnival Spirit compared well. We are a family of four and book two cabins on our cruises, one for us, one for the boys 14 & 15. We consider it to be our best cruise yet. Our boys agreed.
We had balcony suites and they were a very good size, with comfortable bed and sofa and very neat bathrooms. The cabin steward was a bit hit and miss, probably the least impressive we've had on our cruises.
Hallways were good size width and smelt pleasant! Self serve laundry is excellent and so valuable with a family of four.
The food is available 24hrs, served hot, Excellent selection and service in a hygienic environment.
The food in restaurant was well prepared and served very efficiently and pleasantly. Drink waiters were good too. First night fish was inedible, but other than that, great.
Buffet was surprisingly good. Lot of choices, and serving stations which eliminated long queues and waits. Deli was great, pizza bar very popular with my teens, and the stations which changed menus on a daily basis made dining here very pleasurable. Would have liked to see more fruit. Limited selection and not very good quality.
The Spirit also had burger bars on the pool deck and on the deck above. This gave even more options for hungry teens and relieved pressure on the buffet.
We had mixed reviews on The steakhouse ($35 per head). My husband ordered the rubbed steak and swore it was the best in his life. I had the surf and turf and left most of it on the plate. Service friendly and knowledgeable. Not sure about wheeling the lumps of steak up to you to assist your selection when ordering!
A little pricier than on other cruises. But, the cocktails are consistently good. Beer on tap at Serenity was warm.
ENTERTAINMENT ON BOARD
This was the one aspect which disappointed. Three shows in the Pharaoh's Lounge (which is really comfortable and a feast for the eyes), First show, billed by the Cruise Director as the best you will see on a ship, was really good - not the best, but very good. The shows decreased in quality from there, frankly they were boring.
Have seen the guy doing the comedy act where he 'controls your mind' on another ship. Okay - just.
Comedy Club (adult) was good. If you are easily offended, or even not so easily offended, some parts of the shows may have left you feeling a little uncomfortable.
The entertainers (read big band, guitar singer, piano singer etc), were all pretty mediocre.
The Spirit could do much better here.
The spa attendant was very professional and knew her stuff. The waiting room is in the middle of the gym (which doesn't particularly relax you before you begin the treatment) The room itself was very utilitarian with the smell of hot wax near my head making me feel nauseous. A few small cosmetic touches would have enhanced the experience.
SERENITY AREA FOR ADULTS ONLY
Well laid out around a tiny pool and spa. Became very crowded as adults retreated from the hoards of kids. Having said that, we always found a seat, or a pod, or even a hammock at one point.
The boys were involved in the 15-17 club and the 12-14 club. Both enjoyed the kids, the activities and thought the staff were very good. They braved the slide and used the main pool on deck. In addition they played putt-putt with friends and had ping-pong competitions on the substantial, well equipped tables. There was an arcade, which they didn't use and an ice-cream, deli bar, and pizza bar which they used incessantly. They said it was their best cruise and have already 'told' us that they want this trip again.
Usual array of goods and liquor. Shops were very well fitted out. Prices good.
Spirit doesn't do this well. Tendering is abysmal with waits until lunch time to get off the boat.
Sailed into Noumea on a Sunday, which meant EVERYTHING was closed. This is very disappointing. Have been to this port with another line on a week day and hired a car and visited many of the sights and attractions. This time it was a case of walking through a deserted, slightly seedy city center, and then hurrying back to the ship.
Isle of Pines is lovely for snorkeling. Make sure you pack snorkel sets with you before setting sail.You can book a tour on the boat (which is usually double the price), or you can decide where you want to go/what you want to see, and instruct a driver in one of the many waiting vehicles. It will cost you considerably less.
Mystery Island is still a mystery to us. We are mystified as to why it is a stop!!
This was a debacle. Supposed to board at 3.30pm. Still standing quayside at 5.30pm. Apparently the computer systems were down and they couldn't process passengers. Sydney weather meant that we were burned, then we were frozen as sun went in and winds picked up, then we were wet as the rain pattered down. Poorly handled. No shelter, no water as we waited for hour after hour in the elements. Could have been done much better. Captain very apologetic when we finally got on board and offered everybody a free drink!
Disembarkation was a totally different story. They couldn't have got us off quicker!
Loved this cruise. Found it relaxing, which is the main reason we go on holidays, Food choice and quality excellent. Cabins good size and comfortable. Clean, visually surprising and appealing ship. Staff obliging without being fawning. Morale seemed healthy. Captain probably the most visible and approachable of any ship we have been on. Cruise Director seemed a little lost!