My husband and I are both retired. We decided that we had the time to go to Hawaii round trip on the Spirit. The cost was not much more than the airfare would have been to fly into or out of Honolulu. We had met lots of other guests on the CC roll call...so we felt like to had friends before we began. We arrived in Vancouver the day before. Stayed at the Metropolitan Hotel which was very, very nice. It was 3 blocks from the cruise port so we were able to walk to the ship.
Embarkation was very easy, and we were on the ship by 12 noon. Our room steward, Jose, introduced himself and proceeded to be the best for the entire cruise. The ship has been redecorated this year and looked great. We had been on the Spirit for 2 other cruises so could appreciate the job. It was overcast and rain the 1st day out but that was the only day out of 24. We had 2 meet and greet times with our CC roll call group and also a gift exchanged which was a lot of fun. There was also a poker crawl and a door decorating contest. We did not participate in those but did enjoy seeing all the doors that were decorated. Such imagination!! Life on a ship is what you make of it. We try to use the time for relaxing when we can and also to see new and different places. This cruise filled the bill having 5 days on the water to begin and 5 days on the water to end our trip with lots of things to see and do in the middle. The cruise director Chis and his assistant Mark were very good. They are some of the most active people I have ever seen. Their Blues Brothers Show was absolutely the best!! Also, they head a Q&A about what it is like to live on a ship. They very patiently answered questions for 2 hours and it was very informative. Unfortunately they are leaving the ship.
The islands were all beautiful with each having their own special features. We rented a car in each port except Honolulu and planned our own tours. In Honolulu the bus system is very good and inexpensive. Since doing back to back cruises we had 3 days to explore Honolulu. The first day we went to Pearl Harbor, 2nd day Polynesian Cultural Center (bus ride was beautiful, following the coastline around the island) and the 3rd day we went to Waikiki beach. The only negative was the food in the dining room did not seem to be the same quality as previous cruises. The Lido buffets were good. I always enjoy their deli. We did eat at the Steakhouse Specialty Restaurant and the meat was unbelievable. THE BEST I HAVE EVER EATEN.
This was one of the best cruises we have been on mainly due to our CC roll call friends and the friendliness of the ship staff. Everyone on staff from the bottom up had a smile and a friendly word. One last word about the staff. We had a Medical emergency with a coast guard evacuation. I was so impressed with the care and preparation, no detail was left undone. They practice monthly for this and you could tell they knew what they were doing. It makes you feel more secure being out in the middle of the ocean Carnival does this cruise 2 times a year. I would highly recommend it.