My husband and I have been on four other cruises but this was our first with Carnival. There were five couples from a resort park in Southern California and we drove three hours and had no trouble reaching the pier and parking our vehicles in parking lots across from the pier. We arrived at the ship about 1pm and were on the ship within 20 minutes, just in time to enjoy a light lunch and beverages on the Lido Deck. Our rooms were close together as promised and the beds and bedding were superior. Our seating arrangements at the early seating were a window table with booth across and it worked out perfectly. There were few complaints on the food or service, but would have liked a little more variety especially in the dessert department. We felt the days at sea were filled with many choices to please people of all ages. We enjoyed the Hypnotist and comedian and spent a few hours in the casino each evening. My husband was delighted that there was Texas Hold Em, but it was done digitally with no live dealer. He's not a computer friendly person, but with some assistance, he learned the rules and procedures and met many fun poker players. We were satisfied with the cleanliness and service on this ship since our last cruise was a big disappointment. The friendliness of the crew was much improved over the last one also.
Our first port was Acapulco and since six of our group had seen this port the rest of us hired one of the pink ladies (Olga Escuen......email@example.com) to take us on a custom tour of the city for four hours. We stopped at Senior Frog's and Hard Rock Cafe and a short stop at a market area where Olga watched to make sure we were making good bargains. The tour to the Chapel of Peace gave us great views of the port and we also enjoyed the stop at a beautiful resort. We saw the turtle rescue station and had many stops for photos since we had two photographers in our group. This tour was $25 per person and Olga returned us to the ship so we could dine on board the Spirit. At 6:30 she met us on the pier and took us to the Cliff Divers Show for another $12.50 per person and we were the only ones with chairs to sit in due to her great timing and directions. If we go back, she has promised us a tour outside the city and a stop at her home. She definitely gave us our money's worth in personal attention and information about Acapulco. Feel free to contact her via email if you want a great day in the city. Our next stop found the same four hiring a taxi driver named Gus, who took us to all the places we requested in Ixtapa and Zihuatanejo. To our surprise, we ran into a friend at the Durango Pacifica Resort who we hadn't seen in many years. Gus also has fishing tours if you care to experience that type of excursion and he was very reasonable and informative. Since the majority of our group wanted to shop in Manzanillo we past up the Colonial Tour, which was my choice. The ship had buses at the pier for $3 rd/trip to the shopping area. We found the fabric store and were all happy with our purchases even though I had never purchased fabric by the meter. One of the reasons this cruise was a success is that we had eight friends along to make our own fun and we were all very compatible. Our disembarkation was a breeze, except one couple had quite a few pieces of luggage and one got left behind. Low and behold it arrived the next day at their door which is about 150 miles from the ship. We would gladly take the Spirit again and going back to the same ports will give us a chance to see all the things we didn't see the first time there.