As this was not our first cruise we had some reservations about the Carnival Spirit, however these were soon overcome.
Embarkation - easy and quick, we had a12:00 boarding and were at the OPT about 11:30, dropped our bags off, and thought we would just see what was happening with boarding, no problems, joined a very short queue and within 15 minutes we were walking onto the ship, customs done, sign&sail cards in our hands. Plenty of staff in red shirts with "ask me" welcoming us aboard and directing us to the lido deck for lunch. We had the buffet with friends and were in our cabin about 1pm.
Cabin 7200 - extended balcony - great room, good location, not too far from the elevators which take you to the buffet and pool areas. The extended balcony was bigger than I was expecting, 2 chairs and a little table. We took a bungee cord to keep the door open as I like fresh air and the door is not a sliding one, however wwe just used the little table to keep the door open. This cabin has no rooms opposite so there is very little noise and passing traffic.
Storage, ample for the 2 of us, and yes the bags fit under the bed. Unpacked, time to explore, camera in hand we were off. The restaurant is at the back of the ship and again into the lifts and not too far to walk.
Dining - lido deck buffet is is 2 sections with plenty of seating or you can go out near the pools or to the serenity (adults only) area to eat. Food was good, hot and fresh at all times. Breakfast starts at 6:30 with bakery items, juice, cereal, yoghurt and at 7:00 they start with the cooked items, omelette /egg station also. Coffee/cappuccino type machine also, orange/apple juice also. We had breakfast here a couple of times, but mainly went to the dining room which has a set menu as we like the idea of a quiet start to the day and also we don't eat as much!! There is pizza, coffee, tea, lemon cordial and the ice cream machines available 24 hours. The lido closes at 9pm, but it is till ice to go up after a show and have a coffe and a chat and fill up our dink bottles before bed - the water taste ok.
We had the early dining at 5:30 which is a little early when all you do all day is eat and when you at the ports not back on the ship until 4-5. We would go about 6 and there did not seem to be a problem, we were at a table with our friends and all went at the same time. The waiters do a show time during your dinner, they sing or dance and try and you sometimes are waving your napkin over your head or doing the conga and wonder why - ok for the first couple if times, but after 9 days I had had enough.
Entertainment - a couple of wonderful production show by the carnival spirit dancers, the costumes were beautiful. We also saw a couple of comedians a magic show and one singer in Pharaohs palace. There could be some improvement here, but still nice to see.
Daytime activities - trivia, name that song, art auctions, bean bag throwing, golf putting, hairy chest competitions, we did the activities that suited us. The activities did not seem to be scheduled at suitable times always and quite often around 4-6 when you are relaxing or getting ready for dinner.
Gym & Day Spa - seemed busy most of the time, not with me though. We used the spa in the gym area as it was normally quiet in the mornings and they clean it before they open it at 9am so we would go then.
Pools - too many children here for me, but they were having a great time.
Decor - it is a beautiful ship- not everyone will like it, but I thought it was ok, plenty of places to go and sit and chat, more than on p&o and princess.
Serenity Adults area - love this part of the ship, a bar some lounges, pods (I felt like Alice in wonderland) and a couple of hammocks. We would use this area early in the morning and late at night and on many occasions we were the only ones there. During the day pretty busy and yes people hog the spots.
Overall - we thoroughly enjoyed this holiday and would recommend travelling out of school holidays if you want to reduce the amount of children on board. I understand this is a famiy ship and there were not a huge amount of children on the particular cruise and those that were there were generally well behaved. We did hear stories about them running up and down the corridors late at night and in the elevators, but we had no issues.