Before embarking on my first solo cruise, I had read some negative things about the Carnival Spirit, including embarkation issues, so I was pleasantly surprised that conditions had dramatically improved since the Hawaii/Ensenado/San Diego cruise.
I took the short cab ride from the San Diego airport to the ship and was aboard 1/2 hour later. Quickest embarkation I ever experienced. Of course, I had to wait for my cabin to be ready, but it wasn't a long wait and passengers were encouraged to go to the Lido deck for lunch in the meantime. Muster was carried out before the ship ever left the dock, and we didn't have to wear our life jackets, which I have had to do on all other cruises to date. The staff was efficient and friendly.
This was not only my first time cruising solo (hubby said he was burnt out on cruises and so stayed home to pet sit) but it was my first time in an inside cabin. I thought I'd be claustrophobic, but the room was not cramped and I had no problem. My room steward was a friendly little fellow and attentive to his job.
On this trip I participated in activities I normally would not have done if traveling with my husband, and had a wonderful time. I even went to a little kids' talent show which was a hoot, and joined some trivia teams and played Bingo. Despite the fact the casino got a substantial portion of my kids' inheritance, it was a lot of fun winning, while it lasted. Something that really impressed me was an invitation I received to a cocktail party for former passengers. Drinks were free and plentiful and I got in a lot of elbow-bending without signing one chit. Then, there was another farewell cocktail party later on in the cruise and I was kept supplied, once again, with more than adequate bubbly....again free.
I liked the food......I like any food I don't have to spend time planning, shopping for, preparing, and cleaning up after. There were even a couple of unusual (to me) dishes (a pickled butternut squash appetizer and something called Indian Milk (dessert)that I tried to duplicate when I got home. Both of these were part of the buffet on the Lido deck. I only ate in the dining room once (on lobster tail night) and was disappointed.
Cabo was wonderful, of course, and the shuttles to shore were well organized and went extremely well. I was somewhat surprised that the swimming pools aboard ship were both small, but it was fun watching people go through the water tube slides. One thing I could suggest that, if you are flying in to San Diego, you can take a taxi considerably cheaper to the pier, than taking Carnival's shuttle. The airport is only just 3 miles away and you can see it from the ship. I was among the first people disembarking when the cruise was over, and then had to sit on the shuttle bus until they had everyone on their list aboard the bus. I could have slept in. All in all, I was very happy with the Carnival Spirit and would cruise with her again. I see where she will be making the Alaska roundtrip from Seattle (my home base)this spring, so may just take hubby next time.....or not. :-)