The Carnival Spirit or "Fun Ship" as the crew like to call it is now based in Sydney and cruises the South Pacific.
Our family took a 12 day cruise from Sydney to Fiji via New Calidonia in late January 2014.
We had cruised many years ago around the Hawaian Islands on the Norwegian Star and enjoyed the time on board immensely. This was our first cruise from Australia and we were very impressed by the ship, the crew and the amenities.
We had an inside cabin, in the aft section on the middle floor and found it quiet, and well appointed. The lack of a window turned out to be very beneficial in allowing us to sleep in without being woken by the early morning sun, as some other passengers found it woke them up at 5:00am.
Our embarkation was fast and professional and our cabin was neat clean and totally adequate. The stewart was friendly, very obliging and insisted on calling us by name every time he saw us.
We found the food to be plentiful, excellent quality and full of variety. We ate in the dining room for our evening meal and the buffet for breakfast and luncg. There was a staggering varariety of hot and cold dishes and the 24 hour pizza bar was very popular with the kids on board.
The enteretainment was varied and very professional with excellent musicians playing at different venuesdurimg the day and onto the small hours of the evening. We loved the piano bar and the Manila band in the Club Cool.
The evening shows were of an excellent standard with only one or two evenings when the entertainer struggled to bond with the audience. The comedians were also of a high standard and very funny. The adults only comedy was as you would expect, very explicit but appropriate and seemed to go down well with the full houses that turned up every night they performed.
It was amazing in a ship that big with nearly 2400 passengers that it was easy to find a quiet place to read or simply watch the sea flow past.
The cruise director did a great job of keeping the entertainment moving and the special evening parties were well attended and there were lots of participation by the passengers, a very good sign that the entertainment was appropriate and well received.
The gym was also well equiped and very popular.
Our children liked the kids club and ours made many friends during the cruise.
We purchased three on shore excursions and although a bit expensive we found that they provided good value for money.
We would definately recomment the Carnival Spirit as a great cruise ship for families, singles and older people as each group was catered for and there were lots of free activities that you could participate in or just do your own thing.
We spent very little time on our cabin and used it only to sleep and wash. The ship was well maintained, was spotlessly clean and a credit to the hard working, always smiling and friendly crew.
Now a word of warning.......Ever wondered how can a cruise operator afford to sell you a 12 night all inclusive package with accommodation, food, entertainmant and sail the whole ship thousands of kilometres around the Pacific to exotic ports for around $1,600 per passenger? The answer is very simple, the operator will try to "add value" by using the whole cruise as a giant on-line shopping channel, bombarding the passengers with hundreds of different ways to spend their hard earned money and what os more, the beauty of the cruise is that you, the passenger, are a captive audience for the whole 12 days!! A cruise is a sales and marketers dream!!
Passengers are constantly being offered many different ways to spend their money while on board. Our cruise for 4 adults cost around $6,500 in fares, but it would be very easy to spend that much again while on board. How? Drinks (soft and hard), fine dining, photographs, the casino, bingo, shore excursions, duty free shopping, art auctions, the spa, massages, hair dressers, the internet and special photo portrate offers. These are a trap for the unwary, so be warned, if you dont watch your on board spending and put a limit on your children's spending too, you will be in for a nasty shock at the end of the cruise as your purchases add up. Sort of the cruise ship equivalent to international roaming bill shock when you use your mobile overseas.
Tip, Dont use the internet onboard unless absolutely necessary. You can wait 5 minutes for one page to download and you pay by the minute, not the amount of data you use.
Try to avoid buying the hugely over priced glossy photos they try to sell you. $15 each for one photo is a huge amount!!. It soon adds up as the photographers roam the ship snapping you constantly, especially at meal times and on shore excursions.
Tip. At the end of the cruise, some of the photos taken early on in the cruise were being sold for as little as $2:50 each, so wait.
Finally a big thank you to Carnival for bringing their Fun Ship to Australia. Cruising is a truely great affordable family holiday is long as you watch your on board spending. Bon voyage!!