Carnival Spirit Cruise Review by eric_pruitt: Alaska Cruise July 2011
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Alaska Cruise July 2011
We flew into Seattle a few days early and rented a car and drove up to North Vancouver BC. If you have the chance to do this I highly recommend it. We went to Grouse Mountain, Whistler, Stanley Park, Lynn Canyon, etc.
Embarkation-I dropped off my wife and son then returned the rental car back, then caught Shuttle Express back to the cruise terminal. The lines through security then to check in before you board the ship were very long, but went pretty quickly. The workers at the terminal were all very pleasant.
Once on board the ship we immediately went to our cabin. We stayed in 7152, balcony cabin. You absolutely MUST stay in a balcony cabin for the Alaskan cruise. If you take a caribbean it is not that big of a deal, but for Alaska it is a must. Our cabin was big enough for the 3 of us, very clean for the age of the ship, and the layout of it was well done. It had a lot of storage place for clothes, etc. But as stated in other reviews, make sure you bring a power More cord strip or an adapter. There is only 1 plug for electronics.
The ship itself was still in great shape. It was very well maintained and clean. There seemed to be too many wasted bars/clubs that could have been used for better entertainment. These bars were almost always empty, due to the Alaskan cruise being an older crowd. The dining room is huge, 2 stories, but nice enough. We are used to more dining rooms that are smaller, so this was a change. The wait service was average, but not spectacular. The food was better then I expected, but I went in with lower expectations, having cruised Disney previously. The food choices were plenty and most of it was well prepared, the right temperature, etc. Of course dinner took a little long for my liking but that seems to be all cruise dinners.
The entertainment----This was quite limited. The shows were average, but once again compared to Disney productions this is not fair. The main show focusing on New Orleans was pretty good. It is just a dancing/singing type show and the dancers were very little clothing at times, so probably would not bring younger kids to it. Other then the shows the daily entertainment is pretty limited for adults.
My son on the other hand had an absolute blast at Camp Carnival. If you do not know where it is located on the ship you will not accidently stumble onto it. It is tucked away forward on deck 5. But their activities and counselors were great. He wanted to go there constantly, which allowed for a lot of adult time. The cruise director did like to talk a lot rather it be on the PA or on talks in the lounges/shows. But he was entertaining and usually had something informative to say. There was a naturalist on board and she would come over the PA to alert us to wildlife off the boat and where it was.
The ports-You have to book excursions!!! They are the best way to see the different ports. We lucked out and were redirected through Endicott Arm instead of Tracy Arm due to low clouds. We got about 200 yards from the glacier there and the cruise through the arm is unreal. The waterfalls and general scenery all through the Arm is amazing!! In skagway I highly recommend the train ride, it was breathtaking. You are in Skagway the longest, but there is less to do there. That is the only complaint, is you wish you had more times at the other 3 ports. In Juneau we did the Glacier Gardens/Brewery tour. The Glacier gardens were worth the price, very well maintained and pretty. Ketchikan was beautiful but we were only there 6 hours. My wife and her sister snorkeled hear (Yes snorkeled!!) and raved about it. You wear a thick wet suit and they said they were not cold. They saw very interesting marine wildlife and both said they would do it again. My son and I did a guided nature walk and found it very informative and pretty. We saw a ton of bald eagles, salmon, spotted owls...But no bears.
In Victoria you are really cramped on time, only there for 5 hours. If you can squeeze in Butchardt Gardens I highly recommend it. We had been there before so we did not do that this time. But just walking around the inner harbor here at night is gorgeous.
The overall service was very friendly and prompt. One of our traveling party got sick but was tended to very quickly and recovered within a day and felt fine. We were not sure if it was food or a 12 hour bug, but the medical staff did a wonderful job.
The debarkation was very smooth. I really liked the way they did this, by grouping people by numbers and calling them on the PA to get off at different times. It made it less hectic.
Overall rating for me was about a 8 out of 10. Due mainly to the scenery you are surrounded by the whole time. The positives were scenery, kids area, ports of call, food, service.
The negatives were time in ports (too short) and at sea entertainment on the ship. For the money you pay I highly recommend though. Less
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