Carnival Spirit Cruise Review by portland1: Glaciers and Ice Bergs and Bears, Oh my!
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Glaciers and Ice Bergs and Bears, Oh my!
This was a first cruise for my family. I traveled with my husband and two teen girls, ages 15 and 13.
All four of us stayed in one cabin with a balcony. We were afraid it might be too small, but we were actually very comfortable. Two twin beds combined for one queen bed for me and my husband. Our daughters had one twin, and a bunk pulled down from the ceiling. We thought the beds were very comfortable. We met other people on the cruise who didn't like them and thought they were too firm. For us they were great. If you like a firm mattress, you will enjoy the mattress on the Spirit.
The cabin had lots of storage space and even with four people we were able to unpack all of our stuff. The suitcases stored comfortably under the bed. I brought some extra hangers for the closets and we ended up using all of the hangers provided and all of the hangers I brought too.
The bathroom also had enough storage space for our family. The shower and bathroom were fine. More
We were happy we had a balcony and we spent a lot of time on it. On our glacier day we drank coffee and hot chocolate on the balcony while we enjoyed the incredible view. On a sunny day my husband and I enjoyed a bottle of wine on the balcony in the sun.
My 13 year old loved Circle C, the young teen club. She spent every spare second there and met lots of new friends. She had a fantastic time on the cruise and would be happy to do another one tomorrow.
Club O2 is for the older teens. My older daughter never got into Club O2 and I wasn't really happy with the way they structured the first day for the kids. They had the initial meet and great during our scheduled dinner, so my daughter missed that. I took her up to Club O2 right after dinner. We peeked in the door and saw a disco scene with about ten teens standing around. My daughter and a couple other kids we saw outside decided not to go in. This was a really intimidating scene to enter without knowing anyone. I wish Club O2 hadn't scheduled the meet and greet during out dinner. And I wish they had scheduled something less intimidating for the first day, like a game or a movie. As is, my daughter never went back to Club O2. Still she enjoyed the rest of the cruise and had a good time.
We all enjoyed the gym. My older daughter was at the gym almost everyday. She enjoyed working out there, and she also liked the showers and private dressing rooms. This came in handy for our family since we did have four people using one bathroom.
We also enjoyed lots of the other fun activities on the ship. We played mini-golf, shuffle board and ping pong. We walked around the track, swam in the pools, used the hot tubs, and sunned on the deck, and went down the water slide.
Yes the weather was warm enough to swim, so bring your bathing suit. For the first day and 1/2 and the last day the weather was warm and sunny. Our favorite pool was the fantail pool in the back of the ship. This pool was less crowded and the hot tub here is supposed to be adults only, although we did encounter a couple of kids there (not ours). There is also a covered pool that people were using throughout the cruise.
We went to a show almost every night. They had some great comedy shows, both family shows and R rated shows and my husband and I attended several. The girls also enjoyed the family shows. We also went to one of the Vegas-style shows. This isn't really our style, but we were on a cruise, so what are we gonna do? It was about what we expected.
The food was mostly very good. Our waiter, Jayson, was wonderful. Every Night he made suggestions of what we should order and he was always right. Our favorite was lobster night. The girls enjoyed dressing up for the two formal nights. Most people were not overdressed, although we saw a couple big dresses. I wore a black cocktail dress with red heels and felt that I fit in fine. On casual nights lots of people wore jeans. Several nights we enjoyed a cocktail and sushi at the sushi bar. We did not try to steak house.
Our room was always taken care of and the girls loved the towel animals.
The scenery was the most spectacular part of a spectacular vacation. We loved the views. We also felt like we really got to relax.
As to packing, like everyone says, layers are important. Don't forget to pack shorts and swimsuits. The first and last days will probably be nice. In Alaska it was sometimes rainy and sometimes cold. We brought raincoats, fleece, hats, gloves, sweatshirts, shorts, jeans, swimsuits, workout wear, and stuff for formal nights, and I think we used it all.
Don't forget cameras and binoculars.
We brought bug spray, but we didn't need it or use it.
We brought walkie-talkies and didn't use those either. To let other family members know where we were, we left sticky notes on the mirror.
I hope your trip is as wonderful as ours was! Less
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Cabin review: Carnival Spirit Balcony Empress 6273
Great cabin. We had four and were quite comfortable. Nice balcony. Plenty of closet space. Close to an elevator.
Port and Shore Excursions
After getting a wonderful cup of coffee at Paradise Bakery, I took the girls to Mendenhall too and we did a nice hike. We wanted to do the hike to the waterfall, but the park ranger suggested against that because she said the lake was too high. Dutifully, we did the East Glacier trial instead. This hike took us about 1 1/2 hours.
We also walked around on the other side of the parking lot from the visitor center. We heard there are sometimes bears over there, but I think we were too early. We did walk down to a nice beach area, though.
We traveled to and from Mendenhall by cab. The cab then dropped us off at the Alaska State Museum. Our Juneau day was rainy, so the museum was a good option for us. It held our interest for about an hour. The cost is $5 for adults and the kids were free. They also had racks for hanging our wet things and free lockers for our backpacks.
After the museum we walked to a restaurant for some nice fish and chips. I think it was called The Hangar. On the way back to the ship we did a little souvenir shopping.
Back on board we enjoyed warming up in the hot tub at the fantail pool.
We saw a brown bear crossing the road.
We enjoyed some small hikes. One of our favorites was on the sand dunes in Carcross. We also went to the post office in Carcross and sent some post cards and got the girls' passports stamped. (alright, I confess we got our passports stamped too).
A shout out to Murray. The guide is a must.
Skagway is a very small town. My daughters and I were able to survey the entire town in the time it took my husband to secure our rental car.
At the end of the day we did a short hike near the airport. It looks like there are more hiking options there too.