We got a fantastic upgrade at an already unbelievable price! From 1a to french doors! The ship (our 5th different Carnival) was out of this world!!! Spirit class is definitely the way to go. Embarkation was the best ever. Get there before 11am and go through the doors at left end of the terminal..there is a small counter/desk there where we were processed in 2 minutes flat. You will be on the Lido with lunch and a drink while others are waiting in an endless line just to process. Ship layout was perfect. Period. awesome. beautiful.
Cabin was superb!! plenty of space and good steward. Food everywhere was awesome...only negative was the dining room service (for our table) was inordinately slow. Two hrs plus everynight was too long for me. The shows were outstanding!!! only negative was that the entertainment staff poolside and elsewhere did not seem to really be enjoying themselves (director also struck me as though he had something else on his mind most of the time) Casino was very tough on me; but there was a 20,000 slot winner and a 2,500 Caribbean stud winner. (and i won the blackjack tournament for 500.00---just couldn't beat the ship). Nightclubs/bars were all very quiet everysingle night with the exception of Medussa's lounge/disco (it is where the "attractive" ship people hang out late at night) Ports of call: Belize: go on-line and reserve with coralbreezelimited for shark ray alley/2nd reef stop/caulkers cay. Just do it. Trust me.Caulkers caye was the highlight of the trip for me. (BECAUSE there is virtually nothing there but dirt road and broken down shops).
Some people really raved about cave tubing---not my thing---but again---reserve on-line in advance. cheaper and better!!! Costa Rica: We did the white water rafting. I would not recommend this. If you've been rafting before it will be disappointing---and no wildlife.(we've been to costa rica before so we were looking for something different) TAKE THE PONTOON BOAT excursion. Just do it! You will see two different kinds of monkeys, lizards, 2&3 toed sloths, crocs and tons of birds. Looks boring...but if you want to see the animals this is the one. And it really comes down to rafting or the pontoon boat in the end. Panama: We hired our own driver (60.00 for 4.5 hrs) didn't want to spend A LOT of money it would cost to do the ship's ecursion of a boat through the locks or the train coast to coast $$$$$$$ I felt as safe in Panama as I have anywhere else! Our driver took us to the locks (20 minutes was enough for me--how long can one stand there watching the water go up and down?) Then he took us all around the area including old u.s. installations... He really (and truthfully/fairly) explained to us the political climate, how they hated Noriegga and wished the u.s. was still there. More fun to me to learn about the people than to look at the locks.. Debarkation: Just Great!
Overall: I love Carnival!!!!