My husband and I took this cruise to avoid the holiday same ol same ol. We left the 23rd of December and returned January 1st. It worked! All in all we had a very good time. We were lucky to meet some new friends that I believe we will have for years to come. In fact we have all booked another adventure together on Holland America. Having said all this let me move on to the problems Carnival is having with their ship the Spirt.
Leaving San Pedro went very well, coming back into San Pedro again no problems. Luggage was handled (6 pieces) without issue coming and going. Loved our balcony room. Took advise from another review and brought a small nylon rope to hold the door open so we could hear the ocean all night.
Our #1 problem was food. Where to start.....If you enjoy your coffee as we do you will be spending lots of ship $$ at the coffee stands. The coffee they serve is vile and cold. We even tried ordering it in room still cold and horrible. First morning we stood in one of the omelet lines to watch them pour eggs from previously frozen then, defrosted milk like containers . I tried to tell the man that was making the omelet that I did not want the outside crispy but to no avail. Each and every omelet was served crispy and over cooked. Day 2 I grabbed oatmeal I mean how can that be wrong. If was 7:30 and the oatmeal was room temp. My husbands sausage and potatoes were the same. This is something that went on 9 days. Food on the buffet is not held at a proper temperature. The only hope of hot food from the buffet was the Asian food line where they cook in a wok right in front of you. Which from the length of the line each day at lunch was the conclusion many of the other guests felt too. I asked one of the buffet servers why the steam tables they were serving from were not hot he just looked at me and shrugged. I ate the very stale Â½ a bagel the rest of the trip for breakfast it was the least of the evils. We looked forward to leaving ship to get a meal!
We did open seating for dinner and loved it. You have the opportunity to meet so many interesting and fun people. Food here was better. 50/50 chance of it being eatable. We found food here to be better than a Denny's and not as good as chilies. Trying to give a comparison I don't eat at either but gives you an idea. I asked others at our table if this food was served in a restaurant in your town would you go back. The answer was usually no.
We did not purchase any tours with Carnival since reading others on here pointed out you pay 50% more than waiting till you get to port and buy them on the dock. By the way there is a great little hole in the wall cafe in Puerta Vallarta called Joe & Jacks it is yummy! It is located in the old part of the city over the bridge. My only negative was the last port in Manzanillo. What were you thinking Carnival? This is a toilet! The town is dirty and the whole place smells of urine. We ran back to the ship. I had read on here other people saying this was a must miss, but I thought they were being cranky no, they were being nice!
I had no problem with smoke. I know many people have posted that they did. I went to all the public rooms, clubs and Bars and never had any problem. We are both non smokers. Our room never smelled like smoke so I was really happy about that. We saw a couple of the comedy shows for adults they were good.
I thought Carnival handled the Xmas very well. It was not in your face. They decorated with a winter land kind of theme so that all people could enjoy the season. I would have liked them to change the music tapes after December 25th . We had another week or so of Xmas theme music playing in the background.
The employees seemed mega stressed. They work very hard. With the exception of the buffet all were very kind and curtous. The buffet area you can get run over, pushed , shoved etc. Its a war zone of guest verses employees. This area has a huge problem with language verses communication .
All in all again we had fun. I don't know if I would choose carnival again. The up side is I came home with a only 2 lb weight gain for 9 days! Yippie