This cruise turned out to be two cruises in one. The first part of the cruise was 5 relaxing days at sea. The second part of the cruise was 7 hectic days in the Hawaiian ports. Unfortunately, the embarkation process (busses transferred everyone from San Diego down to Ensenada) started all of us off in a sour mood. The ship left San Diego late, which caused the busses to leave late. Instead of leaving at 3pm, we didn't leave until around 6:45. On the way down, we were escorted by Mexican Policia. But, right before we got into Ensenada, our bus quickly pulled off of the road into an abandoned lot, where an empty bus was waiting. We were pointed in the direction of the new bus -- neither bus driver spoke english. All we were told was that our bus was "broke" -- even though the bus made 95% of the trip without a problem. We literally could see the Spirit from where we were pulled over. Then, after loading onto the new bus, we went on to rejoin the convoy, and proceeded to make a wrong turn onto the pier. Once we made the correction and got into the queue, we pulled forward, right in front of a package that military personnel thought was suspicious. They called specialized military men to investigate...but left us on the bus not 20 feet from the package. We finally boarded the Spirit at around 9:45. We were all frustrated and tired from all day of traveling. The Spirit finally set sail around 11:00, leaving us without a day of meals, activities, and fun.
The first 5 days from Ensenada to Hawaii can be summed up by 2 words -- Cold and Wavy. The temps averaged 68 degrees, and the Spirit was constantly bobbing up and down in the big waves. Being at sea for 5 full days gave us the opportunity to find our way around the ship, and meet a lot of other cruisers. There were many activities planned, and the Entertainment staff went out of their way to make us feel comfortable.
One of the most helpful on the Entertainment staff was Joey. He quickly learned all of our names, and even played card games after hours with the children.
The main shows were awesome, especially the second show, The Big Easy. It's amazing they have all of those sets and costumes on board.
The entertainers were adequate. One comedian wasn't funny, and one of the evening acts actually put us to sleep.
We were disappointed with the dining experience. We requested 6:00 dining, because of our two children. However, 85% of the cruise was over 70 years old, so the early dining was understandably all booked. So, we opted for the Your Time Dining. We were able to eat at 6:00 anyways, so it worked out. Our wait staff all went out of their way to learn what our favorites were. Our disappointment was with the selection of food. There were a couple evenings that we looked at the menu and saw chicken, fish, and maybe a pork selection, but nothing that said "wow, I gotta have that". So a couple nights we actually chose to go to the buffet instead of the sit down dinner. The buffet was ok, but after all it was a buffet, so we didn't expect too much.
Overall we would give the cruise a 8 out of 10. Better food and a better embarkation process and it would've been a higher score.