Read this if you plan to take Hawaii 15 night cruise aboard Carnival Spirit!!
While we enjoy reading reviews prior to our bookings,for many reasons, this cruise did not have any reviews for us to work from, and we would have booked elsewhere and not wasted the money. So here are a few pointers if you too decide the price is too good to be true!!!
- 15 nights typically means a general age above 55+. NOTE THIS.
Embarkation: We saw the lines out and wrapped around the hanger at 2pm. Instead of waiting in the heat, we went down to marina a few steps and sat to eat, drink, and make last minute calls til 4pm when we went back to board with ease. Wait til later and you will have 1/2hr in line at most.
- joke! your onboard sea activities were: puzzles,sewing,glittering,and a race to get one of the window reading seats in the Artists' lobby. Scrapbooking is provided with kids colored construction paper, used glue sticks & scissors from the 80s & BINGO nonstop!ugg. Very insulting and definitely cheapened the experience.
- There were so many trivias and slide shows to bridge the gap it was obvious why you never saw the Cruise Director walking the ship. Embarrassed to answer the Q's people had about what better is offered BORING Sea days.
-The gym was our saving grace. We did not partake in Spa sales, but the gym,jacuzzi,steam,sauna were our hideouts. EVEN so, the steam room & sauna face a frosted wall, so the effect of being at sea with a spa experience is never there. Designers should know that cruisers like to feel the neverending sea and the calm of the waters while in a spa.
-There is no 'creativity' in spa's it seems. They sell the same old services, in the same old way, very traditional. blah. Grade C-
The water slide was not working for us passengers. It was though for a promotional video to be shot, so that was an Grade F
Movies onboard: Ironman I, Ironman2, Elizabeth, someother old movies. The screen was propped-up on a stage in the lounge which was not really a full screen to the stage, so if you sat in row 4 or higher, too far away to enjoy. Acoustics were not crisp alittle annoying. Either way, movies were not newer releases, so bummer. Grade C
- The MDR needs to be experienced,but we could only get service at dinner. We stopped going for breakfast or lunch as it was obvious there were not enough servers, and forget about a table for 2. Unless you sat at a 'group' table you were waiting...and waiting...and waiting...yea, forced to the buffet for breakfasts and lunch. (lines)ho hum. This got very old as the menus there were casseroles. The salad line was always open, but the same old stuff. Sushi looked the same everyday, Salad had the same offerings everyday, Desserts looked great, but were not tasty 60% of the time - occasional tira misu and other tasties, but not consistent. Coffee on this cruise was horrendous...count on it regulating your bodily system. After drinking Starbucks at home, you will be forced to start 'paying' for the onboard kiosks, but even then you will need a 2 shot espresso to come to a rich, bold flavor. I think if you are from average household with a 'drip' machine you will be ok, but bring your Starbucks press if you think being without coffee by day 2 will bother you.
Tea: expect the cruiser who decides to 'raid' the teabox daily for the herbals and good stuff. all that seems available daily is the basic lipton and green tea in the box. the good stuff was always missing from the box. earl grey,
camomile,orange spice, etc. bummer. Grade C+, B+ for MDR evenings
There were only 2 acts in 15 days that were broadway type acts. The other days were; B grade comedians and later part of cruise C/D grade commedians. 'damn checking account' was good, the later sail days commedians had walkouts and no laughs. horrible.
other nights were filled with: marriage game, passenger talent show, cruise staff introduction show, magician act/comedian, cant' remember what else whas thrown in. Grade C
Dance lessons onboard: Thank heaven for Tara/Steve. They taught 2 sets in the day but were put in a small dance floor/lounge area and there was no way we felt comfortable sprawing out to learn. The room had no air, and 10am was too early/close to breakfast. No staff out promoting anything, so it felt like a 'showup' and having alittle bonding or excitement to attend would have been nice. Grade A- for Steve/Tara.
Staff Involvement: Seriously lacking on this ship. No one speaks with you, no one gives any attention which by the way makes a passenger feel recognized out of their normal hum drum workday, so it seemed that you felt in a bubble on this cruise unless you gravitated to find 'like-minded' new friends to talk with, and that was tough in this group. That was here and there for us as we are late 30s and from city, not suburbs. This crowd overwhelmingly felt like Ohio, mid-America, Walmart shopper. Someone needed to step in and get a party started and that was really lacking on this ship. Grade D
Sell baby Sell. Kudo's to the Indian guys for pushing a more upscale 'Dream' photographic memory, but without the pull of all staff in all departments, this project will fall by the wayside. The oveall experience onboard is not there to carry the buzz coming from this department alone.
no comment, we saw only a handfull, seen but not heard --poor little guys are due their money back in our opinion.
All in all, we made up for the horrible seaday experiences by full days on land. RENT A CAR beforehand EVERYDAY so that you have a blast on land. We did not go through any of the overpriced ship excursions and heard the nightmares fo cost/benefit ratio, so do as we did, book excursions on your own and you will already see your fellow passengers did the same to save $$$$. All tour operators off ship are working at a discount due to economy, but the moment you mention you will be coming from a cruise ship, expect the price to go back up....so do it as if you are staying on island at a hotel.
Oahu: Pearl Harbor, Waikiki, Hanamu Bay Snorkeling
Maui: Hana drive is boring til you get to the end. Option for the West side of island taking the northwest drive on Rt 340, exciting, cliff-hanging, no shoulder of the road, drive with the most amazing views of hawaii!!(car rental cos ask that you do not take this road....but it is the most eventful drive)
Always bring your snorkel gear - tons of places on every island to get into the water off the road.
Kauai: NorthShore - waves are 25-30' in winter and where all the great surfers/celebrities are playing. The south of the island is less rough for snorkling. This island is more remote.
Expect to see Green Sea Turtles on land and in water. You do not need to go in water deep to see the sea life in Hawaii. Grab gear and go.
We will return to Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines and Celebrity for future cruising. We understand that times are tough, but Carnival does not have their act together.