Sail Date: September 2012
Boarding was very smooth, but a bit long in Seattle. Our luggage arrived to our room without any issues. Tough to get elevators when you first board because of the elevators being used for baggage movement. It was perfect having a ... Read More
Boarding was very smooth, but a bit long in Seattle. Our luggage arrived to our room without any issues. Tough to get elevators when you first board because of the elevators being used for baggage movement. It was perfect having a cabin with french doors so you could open them and get fresh air. It didn't matter that we had an obstructed view by the life boats, as long as we could get fresh air. We had the doors open every night. The cabin AC didn't seem to work well or at all. Room safes are locked by using your sail and sign card. Only problem with this is if there are two of you and one of you uses your sail and sign card to lock it, your spouse or cabinmate can't open it unless you are in the room. Would much prefer a number coded locking system like in most hotels. The overall food was very good. The dining room food was perfect every night. The choices were plentyfull. The wait staff was great. Not pushy. Not fake. The nightly wait staff show was always entertaining. All other food choices were good to very good. Some breakfast items were not warm enough and eggs were watery at times, but overall no complaints. There was ice cream and frozen yogart 24/7. Cabin was always kept clean and neat by Jeffrey!! He also always made sure we had ice in our room. I think they actually cleaned/entered our room 3 times a day. A very multi-cultural staff was always pleasant and willing to assist you. No matter where you were on the ship. The spa services were good, a bit pricey I think, but good. I had a message that was good, but aftwords they sold me a bunch of stuff that I didn't really want or understand that it was costing me money until she brought me my receipt to sign. I ended up returning it all the next day and received a full refund. I went to a "reduce back-pain" seminar. Was surpsised to find out it was an informercial for the Good Feet product. However, I ended up buying a set of Good Feet for $189, which they said was $90 off of the regular retail price. And the kicker, they actually worked at reducing my back pain!!! The casino is rather small and at times can contain the usual idiots that you will find in any casino. Most of the dealers were nice, some were very difficult to understand due to their language barriers. It rained almost the entire time on the cruise. BEWARE!!! All of the commercial (not locally owned) stores you will find in every port you go to. There are smart shuttles to take you from the pier to the stores. 2$ each way or 15 minute walk. In the rain, I'm paying the 4$!! Multiple stops in town so you can get off an hop on any where. My reccomondation, get off at the start of the route and get on at the other end of town. Easier to get a shuttle with open seats. We took the Jeep Adventure tour. Not what we expected. The excursion information led us to believe you were 4-wheeling in the back country for 5-5.5 hours. Not the case. You end up driving a highway for about 63 miles. Great views, but its a highway. The stop and let you get out at the half way point and then take you up a mountian road to do some 4-wheeling in an open area. Fun, but thought we would be doing that the entire trip. On our way back, it started snowing. The Jeep did not handle well in the snow. I also don't care for bridges or hieghts. My wife ended up driving a lot. In the Canadian territories the driving was better for me. Some nice commentary over our radios by the lead tour guide, who is not native to Alaska. Overall, I'm glad I went on the excursion, but woulndn't reccomend it if you also take the train ride like we did. The train ride was great. Juneau was the best shopping place for us. We were the next to last cruise for the season. Most everything in the stores were 30-50% off or MORE!! Kick myself for not buring more in Juneau. Not enough time in port to do excursions and shopping. My wife and I split up. She did the white water rafting tour which was great. Ketchikan was a nice little port. Smallest of them all, but still not enough time in port to shope and do excursions. We watched the lumberjack show, which I didn't want to see, but it was very good. Great funny guys and great at what they do. Reccomend the show. Still not enough time in port!!!! Victoria was supposed to be our last port, but we never made it there. The schedule had us in port for 4 hours, which I think is a waste of time. Not much to do in 4 hours at all by the time you figure on debarking and embarking times. As we were coming in to Victoria, we were told that the winds were to strong for us to dock....????????? Found that very intersting. We ended up anchoring in the bay for several hours and then continuing on our way back to Seattle. Now, the problem with this is that as soon as you enter Canadian waters, the shops and casinos have to, no casino or on-board shopping while we were sitting in the bay. NOT GOOD!! They did add a couple of onboard shows and bingo, but that was it. They should have compensated us monetarily for missing a port. They did reimburse us $17.85 for the taxes and port fees for Victoria, which they didn't have to pay because they didn't dock there. I would strongly reccomend dropping the Victoria port in lieu of adding more time to Ketchikan and Juneau. This was my biggest complaint of the entire cruise and I heard it from a lot of other passengers as well. Overall, I would give the cruise an 8.5 out of 10. Good and plenty of food. 95% of the staff were great. Bed was fantastic, in fact much better than most hotels I've stayed in. Never woke up when they docked. Drinks are a bit expensive, especially after they add their mandatory 18% gratuity. Average drink (Crown Royal and 7up/Siera Mist) was nearly $8.00. I didn't choose to buy the all you can drink card because I wouldn't have drank enough each day to be worth it. They need to make this cruise either 8 days instead of 7 and/or drop Victoria from the itinerary. That would make this a much better cruise. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2012
After spending many hours researching our Alaskan cruise by reading other reviews, I knew I had to write my own review at the conclusion of the trip. So, here's my report which will focus on the ship and the excursions, none of which ... Read More
After spending many hours researching our Alaskan cruise by reading other reviews, I knew I had to write my own review at the conclusion of the trip. So, here's my report which will focus on the ship and the excursions, none of which were booked through Carnival. We overpaid for the airport transfer but only realized that after we'd booked and no refunds were allowed. Even though it was expensive, it worked flawlessly with minimal waiting at the airport and our bags showed up at our cabin, so not many complaints there. Boarding the ship went pretty well. We got on around 2:00 (4:00 departure) and had printed all of our documents in advance. The entire process was about 30 minutes. Our cabin was a 7A type (#5175) and the view was considered partially blocked but it really wasn't bad at all. I would recommend this if someone is looking to save a few hundred bucks. The first night we opted for dinner in the Nouveau steakhouse based on other reviews. It came with a complimentary bottle of wine and was delicious. I also heard that dinner in the Empire room was great that night. Carnival now offers "all you can drink" booze for a set fee per day. We did not opt for this but a few friends did. I don't believe they got their money worth (it equated to about 8 beers per day, and considering some days were spent at port, it was just not possible. Although they gave it a gallant effort!). We instead smuggled booze on using Rum Runners and then bought bottomless bubbles. None of us are soda drinkers so a full week of soda + hard liquor was definitely numbing. I do recommend the Rum Runners, though. Also, an added word of warning about the unlimited booze - every person in the cabin has to buy it. One of our friends doesn't drink and her husband wanted the bottomless booze but they wouldn't let him purchase unless she did too. To start out with a full day at sea was a bit rough and I got cabin fever quickly. We started the day with a workout (check out the small track up near the mini golf/basketball - it was quiet and peaceful each morning and a nice alternative to the treadmills) followed by breakfast. We all got pretty sick of the food at La Playa grill on Lido deck 9 by the end. Otherwise, there was not much to do. We hunkered down and played cards in the game room and also gambled a little. Dinner in the Empire Room was delicious. We chose Your Time dining (billed as "Dine when you want, with whoever you want") and decided to try to dine with our friends who had a 7:45 set time. However, the billing should be "dine with who you want, when you want, as long as they have Your Time dining too" because we ended up having to change to the 7:45 dining at a reserved table for the rest of the week in order to join them. The first port town was Juneau. It was cold and rainy. We went whale watching with Captain Larry and Orca Enterprises. I highly recommend this. Orca is the last privately owned tour. The guides on the boat were HIGHLY engaged and enthusiastic. We saw hundreds of orcas and a dozen or so humpbacks. We were cold and wet at the end and were happy to warm up with a Duck Fart from the Red Dog Saloon before re-boarding the boat. (We did see a bear downtown while we were wandering!) The walk back to the boat was FAR and my friend slipped and sprained her ankle near the gangway which was a bummer to happen so early in the trip. It was also a very slow embarkation process of about 45 minutes to get back on the boat. No fun standing around in the cold rain in that kind of weather! The next day was Glacier Bay and that was pretty incredible. We took the recommendations of some others and spent about half the time in our room, snuggled under the comforter. We ordered room service and were underwhelmed - not many offerings (fruit, cold cereal) to be had on the menu. The second port was in Skagway. We booked a private tour through Matt at Skagway Van Tours. It was nice and Matt was very accommodating and stopped for all of our many photo requests. We went to the Yukon, checked out the little village of Carcross, and headed back to town. Skagway is home to about 400 people according to Matt and lacks for entertainment. We had dinner back on the boat and it was good (the dinners all kind of blur together and all I really remember is the chocolate cake for dessert each night...) The next day we docked in Ketchikan. This was the highlight of the trip. We checked out Creek Street (do NOT miss!) and then had a float plane. We booked it through Shore Excursions Group but I found you can save $55 by going directly to the aviation company. The company we used was Southeast Aviation. Check out their website and book directly with them. WHAT A GREAT TIME! Mark, our pilot, was super fun and kept flying us around for close-up wildlife sightings. He also landed us in a cove to search for a bear (which we didn't actually end up seeing). I can not say enough good things about Southeast Aviation - I'm even sporting my brand new t-shirt from them right now. The final day was supposed to be a cruise of the Inside Passage but who knows if we actually cruised there or not. It was so foggy we couldn't even see the water from our balcony. Many times we noticed we weren't moving at all due to bad visibility. This made for another long day at sea. Our final port was in Vancouver, docking at 7 a.m. We had a flight back out of SEA so had a one-way rental and then a drive back, and wanted to be first off the boat. We got up at 5, ate some breakfast, and then got in line a little after 6. Actually, we WERE the line. Debarking was a little chaotic - haven't they done this before??? - and we couldn't find anyone from Carnival who knew where to go. Finally at about 7:30 when there were dozens of people lined up, they ended up moving the entire line to another area of the ship to exit, merging with some people who were already there. We were off the ship and through customs by about 8. Since we were at the front there was no customs queue at all. Overall, I can't say I would recommend this cruise completely. The ship is horribly dated in the common areas, and is very tacky/cheesy. Since we are about 30 years younger than the average Alaskan cruiser, maybe this is appealing to some. But the port towns were fun and I highly, HIGHLY recommend each of the excursions we did. I would not have done it differently if I did it all again! Read Less
Carnival Spirit Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 3.5 4.4
Dining 4.5 4.0
Entertainment 4.5 3.6
Public Rooms 3.5 4.2
Fitness Recreation 4.0 4.0
Family 5.0 4.0
Shore Excursion 3.0 3.7
Enrichment 3.0 3.5
Service 5.0 4.3
Value For Money 4.5 4.1
Rates 4.0 4.2

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